Leaving San Diego I planned a short stop at Café Virtuoso, a local Fair Trade coffee roaster. I was a little late getting on the road but my delayed departure led to a surprising bonus. Every Friday morning they host a small tasting session that anyone can join in on, where they check on the quality of a couple of batches of coffee. Result! I love coffee and this was a great way to end the US part of my trip.
Spoon in one hand, spitting cup in the other, I went to work to decipher the complexities of four different coffees. And of course the slurping. I managed to do this a little too well on my first slurp and nearly got into a fit of coughing. Apparently it meant my airwaves had got a full dose and that’s a good thing. During the session I talked to Stephan, one of the company partners and he told me how they check the aroma of the coffee beforehand (among other things) while the tasting itself looks at flavour, acidity, body and aftertaste. I left it to the pros to figure out the exact differences between the coffees but was able to pick out differences between the coffees they had. Something to look into in future I think.
After the tasting I lingered and talked to Rigo from the company for a while, who told me more about the company philosophy and how they also help women from one co-operative through their work helping to making the coffee sacks.
It was a great inspiration to be involved in the tasting and get a better idea of the company and its involvement in Fair Trade. When I meet people involved in the movement it always makes me remember why I’m doing this trip and how Fair Trade can really help those producers.