St. Louis based Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co. is excited to announce the opening of four new stores in 2016. These will be the seventh and eighth stores in the St. Louis area and the second and third stores in Atlanta, Georgia for the company.
The first St. Louis location to open will be at the Gerhart building, located in the Gerhart Lofts at the corner of Laclede and Vandeventer, next to St. Louis University and the Cortex district. The second will be at the Mid Campus Center (MCC) building, located at 4590 Children’s Place, which is currently under construction on Washington University’s Medical School campus.
The Gerhart building is located blocks from Kaldi’s Coffee’s Roastery, and will join the burgeoning neighborhood in St. Louis. “With IKEA going in, and SLU right across the street, we saw the potential for this location. When Capstone Development approached us about opening a cafe, we couldn’t have been more pleased,” says Kaldi’s owner Tricia Zimmer-Ferguson. The cafe is part of a larger rehabilitation of the building, with other retail on the first floor and lofts on the second. The building itself dates to 1897 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. “Expect to see some classic architecture and details mixed in with some new modern touches” adds Zimmer-Ferguson.
“We’ve been looking to add a new location in St. Louis for the past couple years and these two are perfect fits” continues Zimmer-Ferguson. “Our relationship with Washington University just keeps getting stronger, and the new MCC building is going to be a beautiful addition to their campus. We’re excited to build out our location within the larger construction of the building, so we can form our ideal cafe from the ground up.” The Kaldi's Coffee at the MCC is in partnership with Bon Appetit Management Company.
The two new locations in Atlanta, Ga., will join Kaldi’s first Atlanta store at Emory University’s Dobbs University Center. Bon Appetit Management Company and Emory University invited Kaldi’s to open a store there last summer. Building on that success, Kaldi’s will open a full-service cafe at the Depot, a historic train station located at One Eagle Row, in the heart of Emory’s campus, and a coffee bar at the Emory University School of Medicine.
The Depot was built as the train station for Emory University in 1916, but service there stopped in 1970. Subsequent iterations of the building were an art gallery, a credit union, and a restaurant. “We’re excited to expand our presence at Emory University,” says Kaldi’s owner Tyler Zimmer. “We’ve been developing a different menu for this location too, since we have a full kitchen to work in.” Kaldi’s is working with Square Feet Studio on the Depot cafe. The Emory University School of Medicine location will consist of coffee service, house-made bakery, and some grab & go items.
We visited Beneficio Santa Rosa de Copan on our way to Las Capucas. Their facility was beautiful and they had a great cupping lab. We took a tour of the dry mill - they poke every bag for QC as they stack them in amazing pyramids in the warehouse. The really large white bags are micro lots that are separated. They are sorting by density and again by color - using electronic sorting (infared camera picks out the ones that aren't the right color).
We cupped the top 10 finalists for the cupping competition. There were lots of great coffees throughout the trip so it's no surprise that the top ten scored well (85+). We then went to the zipline! This course consisted of 5 ziplines that took us from a farm to the Las Capucas wet mill - what a great view from above! Brandon was the most courageous - great aerial videos and photos are thanks to him Bud and I were holding on too tight - no free hands for photography!
Brandon and I started the morning at the farm of Bernard Ornilla. His entrepreneurial spirit has resulted in many projects to better the community and continually improve quality. Bernard is always moving forward and his farm, Finca de Origenes Planon, is no exception. Located at almost 1700 meters in the Celaque mountains, this farm spreads down the mountainside and makes for a beautiful landscape. Finca de Origenes Planon, meaning "origins", the farm is compiled of many different varietals from many different origins across the globe. We saw red catuai, yellow catuai, and red bourbon among other varieties. Because the farm is organic, many other plants grow among the coffee trees including lemons, limes, avocados, bananas, and plantains.
The festivities began later that day with Te Van a Conocer Compa. There was great music, local vendors, wonderful dances and delicious street food. They announced the winners of the competition and we got to meet the farmers who's coffee we will be featuring at Kaldi's. The winner of the competition had visited Atlanta a few years ago. He was beside himself when we shared with him that we were going to feature his coffee in our cafe in Atlanta. What a great connection! We hope to continue to grow our relationship with the producers of Las Capucas in the future.
A lot of us at Kaldi’s are big big soccer fans. We’ve played growing up, we’ve played in college, our kids play, and we even had a go at an indoor league (check out that picture!). But this may be our proudest soccer moment yet. Starting this year, Kaldi’s is a proud sponsor of the Saint Louis Football Club and St. Louis Scott Gallagher.
“We followed the club pretty close last year, so when the opportunity arose to be a part of this team, we jumped at the opportunity.” says Kaldi’s co-owner Tyler Zimmer. “Their proud connection to St. Louis and all the work they do with the city and with their youth programs only made us more excited to lend our support.”
We can’t wait to follow the team in the USL this year, and look forward to the years to come.
Wednesday was a travel day for our group. After spending the first 2 days in Pyin Oo Lwin, it was time to head to the highlands of Shan state. Myanmar has many different microclimates and the weather changed quite a bit on our drive. It is still 2 months until raining season begins and much of the drive was very brown. It will look very differently in May. It took us 7 hours to make the trip including a few stops to see some amazing heritage sites and pagodas.
Ywangan is home to many smallholders in the area. In 2013, there was a new emphasis brought to the area to try to increase quality and in return, a better price for their coffee. Traditionally, much of the coffee in the area was either consumed domestically or in China, neither bringing very high prices. Coffee has been grown in this area since 1890, after it was introduced by English Missionaries. There are dozens of small villages in the area and the Myanmar Coffee Association has begun to work with about 30 of them, representing over 400 smallholder farmers. Traditionally, the coffee is washed as each village has their own pulper. Winrock and USAID have helped set up a small cupping lab in Ywangan complete with a sample roaster and dehuller, where we will cup 14 different lots from different villages. Winrock also has a full time Q grader here training locals on technical and cupping skills. The goal is build a sustainable model locally.
We visited with Myanmar Coffee Association Vice Chairman, U Win Aung Kyaw at a local storage building where coffee is often stored before heading to the Mandalay Coffee Group to be dry hulled. The vice chairman was very grateful for the visit and is very encouraged by the improved quality they are seeing. They have doubled the prices that the local farmers are be paid to incentivize quality. He said they need to continue education and training but they are seeing an impact. Other small growers in the area are noticing the difference and want to be more involved with the association and Winrock. One of the bigger changes has been implementing some new ideas on the processing side. They have been doing some natural process coffees and the results seem encouraging.
After meeting with U Win Aung Kyaw, we met with Su Su Aung and many other smallholders, all women. She has been very active as a leader in the area since 2004-2005 when she began acting as a broker for the region and encouraging trade between the producers and China. Su Su Aung had a very impressive milling operation and some of the cleanest looking natural coffees you will see in any coffee producing countries. She has had training from Mario Fernadez and Marcelo Pereira, who is a Winrock employee and coffee veteran after stints in Costa Rica, Brazil, and Ethiopia. She is a role model for all the women producers in the region. Her production of naturals is small this year, 2,000 pounds, but she hopes for more next year.
Thursday we will begin to cup many coffees from the area and visit many local villages to see some production. More to come… #followthegoat
Buddha statues near Kyauk Se, Myanmar
U Win Aung Kyaw, vice chairman of Myanmar Coffee Association, Ywangan, Myanmar with Tyler ZImmer
Coffee buyers, Winrock International, USAID, Coffee Quality Institute,and Myanmar Coffee Assocation, Ywangan, Myanmar
Women producer group, Ywangan, Myanmar.
Also pictured, Craig Holt, Atlas Coffee Importers.
Su Su Aung(purple shirt), talking to the group and introducing other women producers
River valley between Kyauk Se and Ywangan
It is our second day here in Pyin Oo Lin and we start out the day by heading to the Mandalay Coffee Group’s office and cupping lab. We checked out their mill and the systems they have in place. This is the 2nd year that the mill is in operation and it is as nice as any in the world. All the coffee here is wet processed and fermented 24 hours in concrete tanks. The coffee is then moved to the concrete patios where the coffee is turned and raked until it is dry. It is then moved to their storage facility where the coffee rests until the parchment is ready to be removed at the dry mill. They are still finishing their dry mill on property so their coffee is milled at a nearby facility.
After the more in-depth tour of the mill we have 2 rounds of tables to cup. There are 17 coffees from the Pyin Oo Lwin region that we are evaluating. For perspective, last there were very few coffees scored over 82 points in the entire country. In this morning’s cupping I scored 11 of the 17 over 82 points with the lowest score being 80 and the highest score 85. This is a dramatic improvement in quality from last year and this is still a very small sample size. Most of the top coffees last year came from the Ywangan area in Southern Shan state which we will see tomorrow and Thursday.
After cupping we visited two more estates beginning with the Lone Star Estate. The ways that some of the farms get their names is quite funny. In this instance the owner had a friend from Texas and next thing you know you get Lone Star Estate! This was another relatively large farm of about 100 acres, 85 of which is planted with coffee, one of the other crops is dragon fruit. Lone Star grows only the S795 variety which is a hybrid of Liberica and Kent (typica) at 1150 meters above sea level. This is one of the more popularly planted varieties planted in Myanmar. We did come across just a few yellow fruited plants, probably yellow catuai. We had tasted this coffee as a pourover on Monday at the MCG offices but it did not show quite as well on the cupping table, scoring 81.5 for me.
After Lone Star we headed to other side of Pyin Oo Lwin to Mr. Sai Wan’s farm, Green Land. One of the first things we see is Sai Wan’s nursery filled with SL 34, Sarchimor (a Costa Rica hybrid) and Panama Geisha! He also had macadamia and a type of shade tree called silver oak that was actually an evergreen. Most of the farm is planted with Sarchimor with a small amount dedicated to SL 34. He is planning on planting more SL 34 this year. A large portion of the coffee is washed and fermented 24 hours, though he has begun to do some small experimenting of naturals. Sai Wan had 3 coffees on this morning’s table and all 3 scored 83 points or higher. I scored his lots, 83, 84, and 85 respectively, the 85 lot being a naturally processed lot of sarchimor, great results for his first year of processing naturals!
Pyin Oo Lwin has been a great experience so far. Such big improvements are being made in a short period of time, though they still have a ways to go in overall quality. Tomorrow we head off to southern Shan, near Ywangan to visit the many small holders in the area.
More to come, #followthegoat
Coffee and rakes at the drying patios, Mandalay Coffee Group
Drying patio at Mandalay Coffee Group, Pyin Oo Lwin
Fermentation tanks, Mandalay Coffee Group, Pyin Oo Lwin
Naturals drying at Green Land Estate, Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar
Parchment is stored here until the coffee is ready to be dry milled
We got off to an early start, as we had to leave for the airport in Yangon to fly to Mandalay, the old capitol of Mynmar. It was about a 2 hour flight to Mandalay, in the center of the country. It is hot and dry this time of year, like Yangon, with raining season beginning in April and May. We had a 2 hour drive up some very windy roads to the Pyin Oo Lwin area.
As we made our way up the mountains, the temperatures cooled down but the landscape is still very dry this time of year. Our first stop was to the Mandalay Coffee Group and the Myanmar Coffee Association. The Mandalay Coffee Group is a group of local producers that received a grant from Winrock International to build a new wet mill and dry mill. It is state of the art and is among the nicest mills you will see in any coffee producing country. The wet mill has new fermentation tanks and most of the coffee is dried on concrete patios or raised beds. We had brief discussion there with many from the group. They were very enthusiastic about our visit.
From there we drive about 5 miles to visit our first farm of the trip, Shwe Pu Zun. As we drive up, we see very tall, skinny, evergreen like trees planted in between the rows of coffee. The trees are extremely shaded. We found out later that one reason the trees are so heavy is to keep the temperature of the farm more even since they have threat of frost in this area. They had a small wet mill where all the coffee is washed, some of demucilaged and some is pulped and goes through a 24 hour dry ferment before finishing the washing process. Shwe Pu Zun is about 100 acres planted in 2000-2002. It is mostly planted with Catimor, S795, and SL34. There are probably a few other varieties mixed in, but they are for the most part sorted when picked and processed. Their annual production was about 100,000 pounds grown at about 1050 meters above sea level.
The next farm we visited was about 40 acres and home to the 2nd place winner in the cupping competition last year, Sithar Farm. This farm is owned by Thu Zaw and his father in the law. The coffee is grown at about 1100 meters and is a mixture of SL34, Catimor, and S795. This year, they are expected to produce about 18,000 pounds of green coffee. They also have future plans to expand the farm.
Overall it was a great first day getting introduced to Pyin Oo Lwin. There is much excitement about the possibility for specialty coffee here, and they have taken many steps to begin improving the process. We will learn more today as we move through the first round of cuppings.
More to come, #followthegoat
This is a map of Shwe Pu Zun
Pickers at Shwe Pu Zun
Shwe Pu Zun Coffee Farm, Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar