Here at Topeca we are very excited to share with you our updated brand design. I feel like it’s been a long time in the making. For the past 2 years or so I’ve been feeling a little distant from our current branding. While it did a great job at establishing us in Tulsa as a small, family-owned coffee company, with roots in El Salvador, I felt like it didn’t really reflect the company that we have become. So, after much deliberation and heads banging against walls, and eyes staring into computer screens, we finally arrived to where we are now…with an elegant sleek new logo and brand design.

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It’s harvest time again down at Finca El Manzano and Ayutepeque. I just got got back from visiting Emilio Lopez at Cuatro M, where I tasted some great coffees, explored some new farms, and had a good time learning about his new experiments in processing this year. It’s been a tough year for coffee in El Salvador, and El Manzano was no exception. Coffee rust, known in Central America as “La Roya,” swept through the farms this year and near obliterated much of the crop. Before going down, I wasn’t sure how severe the effect of La Roya was going to be. Sad to say, it had a great impact at the cupping table. Despite the tough year, Cuatro M produced some exceptional coffees, and I feel as though I did a good job at snatching up many of the
primo lots.

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Topeca will be opening up a new project early February ’13. The project has been a while in the making, and has proven to be quite the undertaking. We hope the final product will be something innovative, not only for a place like Tulsa, but in the specialty beverage industry at large. We expect there will be many challenges to face upon opening, and I’d like to lay them out here for public discussion.

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In my last post, Coffee Bullies, I touched briefly on the concept of sample roasts vs production roasts. In this post I would like to explain the differences between the two roasting methods and the purposes for each. I will also pose some food for thought about roasting philosophy in relation to brew method. So, let’s begin shall we…

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Another thing you probably never think about while drinking your cup-o-joe (I hate that term), is all of the coffee byproducts and waste that gets created during processing. These organic waste products can have great environmental impact in some coffee producing regions. Let’s look at the typical waste products created by processing, and where they typically end up. Then we’ll take a look at what practices Cuatro M use to decrease environmental impact, and increase sustainability.

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It takes 00.5 seconds to say the words “Seed-to-Cup”, and only 00.05 to read the words “Seed-to-Cup” on this page; but do most people ever really wonder how long that journey actually is? As I sat in the lab at Cuatro M sorting through samples of green coffee I had pulled from the warehouse earlier that day, staring into endless piles of green bean cleaning out any defects, it hit me just how many hands a coffee has to pass through before ending up in your cup. It’s really quite astounding if you realize it. And to think for so long coffee producers were getting paid next to nothing for their hard work. Even with the coffee market as it is today with prices well over $3 a pound for specialty grade green, it still seems like very little to pay once you’ve had the chance to be involved at every step of the Seed-to-Cup process. In America, where we buy our food in clean, safe grocery stores or restaurants, it’s easy to never once wonder where your food actually comes from. How many hands have touched that apple before you put it in your mouth?

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