If you find yourself in Bogota

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phonto (4)Colombia is the second country in Arabica coffee production. However, usually almost all of its quality coffee is exported while locals and visitors drink tinto, a poor quality raw material that Colombians could not sell, because other countries would not buy and of course would not be consumed. Although I do not like tinto at all, I like Bogota very much.
It has a charm, is situated at an altitude of 2640 meters, a great feature of the place that can be verified easily,
if you climb to Monserrate, in the center of the city.

phonto (10) phonto (11) If you like to drink really good coffee, Bourbon worths a visit. It is a coffee shop that gets high quality coffee, 100% Colombian, and really stands out. Located in the upper class neighborhood of Rosales, amongst traditional houses, with the characteristic terracotta bricks, offers the best you can find.

phonto (6)The owners are Paola Laguna Becerra and Jose Alberto Rosero, they can recognize exquisite local production to supply their coffee house. They roast the beans in their in house micro-roastery and then,  they use them for espresso and brew bar needs. Their up to date brew bar uses a great range of methods and utensils, such as siphon, pour over on V60, aeropress, chemex and many more. People working on service are kind, smiley, and organized, elegantly dressed in aprons, everything in the coffee house is cared, with a fresh touch.

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 Apart from the great espresso shots I had been offered, I tried cold brew, in spite my initial refusal, as up to that time, not even one cold brew could  meet my taste criteria. However,  Bourbon cooperates with 21gramos cold brew. I am not at all a fan of this beverage, but I have to admit that it was so special, the only really good cold brew I have taste. So, if you find yourself in Bogota, Bourbon Coffee Roasters worths more than a visit, for all the above reasons and I am sure you will find many more.

In Gothenburg coffee shops

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I visited Gothenburg in order to attend Nordic World of Coffee, and stay close to my team, as Taf  and barista Konstantinos Iatridis was participating in the World Brewers Cup 2015. Scandinavian coffee scene became wide enough easily, everybody now speaks about an innovative Nordic approach. High consumption, strong local market, pioneer entrepreneurs.

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One of those is “da Matteo”. Along with other coffee people, we gathered around a table to rate Indian coffees, in the “Flavors of Indian”cupping. The truth is that Indian cupping panels are different from the ones I participate normally. It was the second time for me to evaluate Indian coffee and I can say that they have put together significant effort.

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As the purpose of my visit was the championship, I spent more time next to the young participant of the team, Konstantinos, who made it to the second place! Looking close to an event like that, I realized how important team work is. Konstantinos participated in the championships, both national and international for the first time this year, without any experience, but still willing to learn and to work hard. Before that, a chain of choices had to be made. I picked a great coffee for him to use in the championship, selected this specific lot out of 32 other. It is a Panama Geisha from the pioneer Ninety Plus, named Perci Pinnacle and has a natural process. It comes from the microregion Volcan, Sila de la Panto, at an altitude of 1800m. For the coffee’s profile, we worked with Ninety Plus during our visit in Panama, and our roaster, Elias Taloumis roasted the beans in our boutique roastery in Athens.

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Magnolia, dark honey and white, an indulging aroma perfectly matching plum and lychee in the taste, clean and clear aftertaste,  truly unique.  As far as training is concerned, last year’s world champion, Stefanos Domatiotis, taught Konstantinos  the do’s and the don’ts, techniques and secrets from the inside.  A handful of people also worked “behind the scenes”, in his practicing hours, helpers and supporters, Taf friends, our friends.  I am glad that he made it and we made it all together.
I left Gothenburg confident about new coffee scene, young baristi, rising initiatives
and great new things that will come.

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Back in Seattle

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It has been ten years since my last visit in Seattle. The picture on the left was taken in 2005, while the one on the right on February. Back then, the purpose of my journey was to take a close look at the new – in that time- coffee scene of the northwest coast. I was at the beginning, just before I formulate Taf’s program. In 2005, there were Starbucks, among other 3rd wave pioneer roasters such as Zoka, Vita and Vivace. Of course, a lot has changed in the city and its famous coffeeshops. Some still offer good coffee, some better and some worse. phonto (21)

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I entered the first historical Starbucks coffee, established in 1971 and then I came out to see the new, huge Starbucks, operating as a touristic attraction just a few meters in the opposite side of the road.I gave it a-four-minutes look, wandering around. Wastefulness in style, design, and consumption.
Needless to say I did not have coffe. I left quickly.

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I enjoyed coffee in the remarkable and famous Stumptown coffee roasters, they always serve good cup of Joe. I also had a  coffee in the glorious Vita, in Ladro coffee  and also a cup on the modern ELM, one of the latest openings, which created a pleasant memory already. Contemporay, nice and tasteful.
Seattle is undoubtably a coffee destination, however I would reccomend to coffee tourists to filter criteria.

If you find yourself in Milan

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Along with the huge Expo Milan, this year a new big idea was born. Mercato Metropolitano is an outdoor farmers market near the station of Porta Genova, in Via Valenza 2, in Navigli. It will remain there until October coming, and it is a great opportunity for everyone visiting the city to spend their leisure around the market’s stalls.

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It is 15,000 square meters big and the visitor can find local products of small production, of craftsmanship and farming, most of them artisanal and/or organic. Street food delicacies, fruits and vegetables, bread, patisserie, even flowers, beers and wine, and a coffee cluster! An open air cinema, a playground fro kids and also live cooking lessons are some of the activities one can join daily.

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I spent there some time, not only as a visitor but also as a participant /entrepreneur. Taf coffee meets La Marzocco and cafe Taglio, located in Milan, a great collaboration of the three to take over the espresso bar of the mercato. Taf coffee created and roasted a special house blend for the Mercato Metropolitano. The coffee friends passing by, can also taste Rosebud blend, single estate coffees from Taf’s direct relationship program.

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In the in-house micro-roastery, I was the first to roast some amazing Geisha beans from Panama, so they can be served in the brew bar for one week. Following La Marzocco’s initiative, every week a special roaster from around the world will join the mercato and roast its green coffee in order to serve it in the brew or espresso bar. I find it a great idea, good coffee made from professionals need to be shared in the people that loves it more!. See you in Milan!

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