Dear friends, I am in the land that time forgot, the land wherein the infection first festered, Seattle, USA.
Sunday/Monday I was in California for about 24 hours, helping to spread the love/word about Salvadoran coffee. Then it was on to the Great Northwhilst to do the same, and drive under dismal gray skies at midday. I haven't had a spare moment to hit up the cafés, but I'm carving out some time tomorrow.
In the meantime, I'd like to report that I'm starting to feel really partial to Salvadoran coffees, like to an old lover. All the necessary qualities are there: the beauty, the sweetness, the tang, and the moments of unexpected surprise. On Sunday night in Marin County, California, I stayed up late roasting coffees in the full-spectrum-lit lab of Willem Boot, on his lovely orange roaster; batch after batch of El Salvadors. I left New York City that morning, where things were headache-bright and cold as f***. California, upon deplaning, was predictably, mockingly balmy and soft. The air there has a silky quality you never know you're missing if you don't leave the East. There's a fig tree growing in the back yard at Willem's house.
Those coffees, roasted with love and alacrity (yes the two coexist), tasted all sweet and yet all different the next morning when we cupped them. Fifteen or so Bay Area lovelies made the trip out Golden Gate-wise to see us (and some new brewing equipment about which I will tell you soon... or don't bother reading it here cause I have a feeling it will be all over the place within a year). Again in Seattle, with CA in my rearview, the coffees were pulling into mind oranges and chocolates and the hills of Chalatenango, where I saw farmers learning to cup, all cowboy hats and creased faces. I've been five times to El Salvador in the last year, which is no boast but rather to point out it feels like another home almost and home feels nice but it also frees you up to really start saying some real stuff. You can take the kid off your gloves and throw a couple grown-up punches. I say without reservation that damn, when the Salvadorans do it up right, they do it up right.
Thanksgiving's come and gone (and I've made more than a couple pots for the parientes in the mean), and even though the stuff I have is roasted super light for cupping purposes, I'm feeling the beaches of La Libertad and the slopes of Santa Ana as I sit and watch my poor, bedraggled Seahawks take another lick on the chin. Here's to good coffee and family, to having a little food in your belly, and if the right team doesn't always win, at least the popcorn tasted good.