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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ecco Sends Roasters To Origin

Posted By on Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM


For coffee roasters, it's common, if not necessary, to send a staff member to what has been deemed "origin" -- the coffee's producing country -- to sample and learn about the coffee they might soon purchase. 

Traditionally, the task of world traveling and then purchasing the beans has fallen to the aptly named green buyer. Ecco Caffe -- who will soon have a San Francisco location -- is looking to change that: starting the first of the year, Ecco will now send their roasters alongside their green buyers, allowing for a greater understanding, and responsibility of the beans to be had by the roasting team. 

Gabe Boscana, the Roasting Manager for Ecco Caffe, told us, "I don't know of any other boutique coffee company that has made the professional decision to invest in their roasting crew in such a meaningful way." 

Allowing roasters to travel to origin and to participate in the buying condenses the long process that brings high-end specialty coffee to our eager hands. Coffee goes through a lengthy list of processes: planting, picking, washing, drying, milling, transporting, and roasting, and Ecco's decision gives the roasters the opportunity to both further their education about the bean while becoming a more active part in the coffee mechanism they're already crucial to. "This is a way," Boscana says, "for the folks who are roasting the coffee to influence the success and the voice of the company."

Allowing green buyers and roasters to share this responsibility increases both the knowledge and the importance of the roasting team. Boscana says, "It means that they trust our work, judgement ,and determination to do our best. It's a huge career and personal opportunity for the roasters to partake in the most essential part of of what makes our job exciting: picking the coffees we will roast and then sharing those with our customers." 

Ecco Caffe, though purchased by Chicago's Intelligentsia Coffee three years ago, has until recently been located in Sonoma and is a professionally respected but relatively unknown blip in the San Francisco coffee scene.  With a new roaster opening in Potrero Hill in the coming months and a bigger push in to the San Francisco market following steadily behind it, Ecco Caffe can use any help they can get in making their coffee stand out above San Francisco's sea of competition. "We won't just be sharing coffee," Boscana says, "we will be sharing our experiences."

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Noah Sanders


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