Posts by Bruce mullins

Roaster Restoration – Part 1

Salvation of a Steampunk Roaster

I’m the first to admit that I’m passionate about coffee – and in particular, coffee roasters. That probably explains why I decided years ago to collect coffee roasters, and now find myself owning seven of them (not counting my three sample roasters, of course…they’re so petite!) in sizes ranging from a husky half-bagger all the way down to a diminutive three-pound countertop beauty.

Some guys collect cars. I round-up roasters. Same disease, different symptoms. Read more »


Coffee Bean Announced part of Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative with SCAA and Borlaug Institute

Coffee Bean International, along with other leading U.S. specialty coffee businesses and the SCAA, is proud to be a co-founder of the “Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative” (GCQRI). Read more »


The Worse the Road, the Better the Coffee at Finca Suspiro, Nicaragua

Sunday morning in Nicaragua dawned cloudy and rainy. Rain is a rarity there during this time of year, and I dug through my clothes to find my rain gear – which, fortunately, I had along with me. My backpack filled up quickly with everything I thought I might need for the day – dry socks and clothes at the bottom, all serving as a cushion for my camera and tripod, with rain gear and hat on top if I needed to grab it quick. Outside pockets held bottled water, trail mix, hat, bar towels (amazingly useful for keeping camera and face dry while working in the field), and – if the sun came out later – sunscreen and sunglasses. Read more »


Harvest Visit to Nicaragua

I was fortunate recently to be able to spend a week in Nicaragua, right in the middle of the coffee harvest during the middle of February. While I’ve been to most of the rest of Central America, this was my first visit to Nicaragua, which I scheduled to be able to spend time working the harvest and hanging out with my friend Erwin Mierisch and his family. Erwin, his father Dr. Mierisch, brother Steve, and sisters Maria Ligia and Eleane are owners of five stellar coffee farms in northern Nicaragua (two in the region of Matagalpa, and three in the Jinotega area) and a fantastic coffee beneficio (dry mill) on the lower-elevation coastal plain at the base of the regions’ mountains. Read more »


Single-Origin Coffees versus Blends

So much attention these days seems to be given to single-origin coffees – served as shots of espresso, dripped in brewers, or brewed in siphons. Read more »


White Paper: Fewer Four Buck Lattes, but More Great Coffee

The National Coffee Association's 2009 National Coffee Drinking Trends report discovered a 5% increase in specialty coffee brewing at home – learn how retailers and food service providers can take advantage of it.

Download the White Paper


Brazil's Cup of Excellence Competition – Touring the Farms

I spent Sunday and Monday traveling through Minas Gerais, meeting other farmers and visiting their farms. I was fortunate to be able to spend Sunday visiting Fazenda Sant’ana (“St. Anne’s Farm”), this year’s second place COE finisher Sr. Paulo Sérgio Noronha Barleta’s estate, located outside of Olimpio Noronha, a small community of about 2,500 people a few kilometers west of Carmo de Minas, MG. On Monday, it was my pleasure to visit the Sr. Junqueira’s Carmo Estate operation, and spent the day touring his impressive operation. Read more »


Brazil's Cup of Excellence Competition – World Class Farming

The Cup of Excellence award ceremony in Machado, Brazil was preceded by an opportunity to sit down with some of the finalist farmers that had traveled to the competition site. Read more »


Brazil's Cup of Excellence Competition – Coffee’s Journey to the International Jury

To get to the COE’s international jury, a coffee must pass through two previous competitions. The first is held immediately after the harvest, and is open to all growers that believe they have had an exceptional harvest. Needless to say, hundreds of samples are submitted! The vetting by the national judges reduces the assortment down to a more manageable group of about 100 coffees. Two weeks before the international competition, the second national competition is held to go through the initial 100 coffees to further narrow the field. So every coffee we start with ad already  passed through two rounds of competition, where each had been carefully roasted and then tasted – literally – hundreds of times. Read more »


Brazil's Cup of Excellence Competition – Cup of Excellence Program

The structure of the Brazilian Cup of Excellence competition was pretty much the same as the other COE competitions I’ve done elsewhere around the world. The basic structure calls for Monday through Thursday being dedicated to the actual competition, with Friday devoted to re-cupping the top ten coffees and then capped by meetings with the farmers. Friday evening is the ceremony where the winning coffees are announced and their proud farmers accept their awards. Saturday and Sunday is usually devoted to field trips to meet the winning farmers at their farms  (whenever possible), or visiting other growers and mills in the region to get a better idea of the agricultural practices in the region. Read more »