Origin Trips

Pura Vida in Costa Rica - A Barista's Trip to Origin

Pura Vida in Costa Rica - A Barista's Trip to Origin

Three years. That was the mark, the goal. As a barista, one of my employee benefits is a visit to origin after three years of employment. Those who work behind the scenes in coffee may not be phased by an origin trip, but for a barista it is something uniquely different. It gives a new perspective, a new purpose to what we do day-in and day-out...it takes something that is at the risk of seeming menial and mundane and makes it meaningful and worthwhile. This was my experience on my first origin trip to Costa Rica with CREMA. This is my story.

Origin Trip 2016: Costa Rica and Panama

Origin Trip 2016: Costa Rica and Panama

We Crema folk spend a lot of time with the coffees in our shop. We get to know what each one looks like – the size, the color, the shape. We can distinguish many of them by sight. But this  fruit  that we take such pride in, that we feel we know so well, have a past life. Four consecutive years of travelling to origin, this time to Costa Rica and Panama, have shown us this. Varieties, strategically selected by the farmer to both grow well and be tasty, are planted and nurtured into bloom.  They grow up in the rainforest and spend their earliest days basking in the Costa Rican sun and a flurry of Spanish, Cabécar, and Bribri. Each and every cherry is sought out by a discerning eye and plucked by practiced fingers. The pickers, sorters, and dryers - they know these same coffees, but in a different way.

Origin Trip: El Salvador 2015

Origin Trip: El Salvador 2015

I got on the plane in 2015, but I think this trip started for me sometime in 1996.

I was a senior in high school. I had a free period in the middle of the morning and a car to get off campus. So a couple of times a week I would drive four blocks to the donut shop. I would get a glazed donut, a cake donut, and a cup of coffee. The coffee was, of course, beige. It would shoot out of a spout whenever the donut-guy pressed the button on his automatic french vanilla cappuccino machine. It was sweet and syrupy and caffeinating and I would drink it in the car and try not to spill any on my shirt before class. That was coffee.