About five years ago, I started urging my friend Ryan Brown to write a book on buying green coffee. I thought Ryan was the perfect person to write such a book, as he was the most competent coffee buyer I had ever met. It took those five years, but last year Ryan finally gave in and wrote the book. I am pleased to say that it is a masterpiece.
My first memory of cupping with Ryan took place in the basement of Ritual Coffee in the mid-2000s. Ryan had about ten coffees blindly placed on the table, his nose no closer than six inches to each other. each cup and correctly stated what coffee was in each cup (mind you, many of the coffees were quite similar). was surprised; Ryan could probably sniff out my sister's beagle, and his green assessment seemed almost psychic compared to my ordinary abilities. My first thought upon witnessing that stunt was that I was going to keep this guy around for a long time and learn what I could from him.
Happily, the rest of the world can now learn from Ryan too. Dear Coffee Buyer is like Ryan's PhD level thesis on buying green coffee. The book is part master class in eco-assessment, part smart advice for professional organic buyers and those thinking of going into the business, part travel narrative, and part editorial on what terms like "direct trade". I hope all organic baristas, roasters, and shoppers read this book. If they do, the industry will be much better.
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