"Reach out to someone and experience the fun of a simple coffee exchange."
Let’s start with green coffee. It’s grown at origin then shipped across the world to roasteries, where the roaster roasts the coffee to their preferred style and taste, after which it is either bought in store by the consumer or sent to the customer via post. I know I skipped a whole lot of very important information here, but my point is: coffee travels! It spends months in a shipping container, is processed at port then travels across the sea just to get to its final destination, but is it really even done travelling then?
I - like many others - love drinking coffee and nothing excites me more than drinking coffee roasted in a far-off country, by a coffee roaster I may or may never have experienced before. The thought of drinking coffee that has been roasted in Japan, Oslo or the US fascinates me and really gets my palate excited. It fascinates me to also think that one particular farm’s coffee could be sent to multiple roasteries in multiple countries and result in a different cup. A roaster’s approach to coffee, roasting style and identity is just as important as a good quality green bean, and together these make the drinker fall in love.
I have taken part in a few coffee exchanges around the world, but it started late last year with my first experience through Third Wave Wichteln. Once a year, coffee enthusiasts around the globe sign up to be a part of this world-wide coffee exchange. There are some rules to follow; the most important is you must send fresh whole bean specialty quality. You await instruction on where you’ll be sending the coffee you’ve chosen; the anticipation of what I would be receiving killed me! I sent a bag of Padre Coffee to Lithuania and I received a bag of coffee from Taiwan. It was a nice Colombian coffee roasted by 190 Café House. This sparked me and really got me thinking that I’d love to exchange more coffee, and what better way to do it than exchange coffee with fellow coffee enthusiasts on Instagram.
I have sent and received coffee from France and The Netherlands with both experiences being amazing. I first exchanged coffee with my French coffee friend Maelle Allegrini who is now living in Bordeaux, France and then most recently, my good friend Dani Bordiniuc from Amsterdam. I sent Dani coffees from Proud Mary’s, Market Lane and Padre Coffee and I really couldn’t wait to see what I would be getting in return.
Dani sent me some of Amsterdam’s finest coffee roasters: Friedhats, White Label Coffee and Keen Coffee. Before you ask, “what about Bocca, or this coffee or that coffee?” - I was fortunate enough to have already visited the café roastery, so I asked Dani to send me coffee I had never tried before. Out of these three, White Label Coffee Roasters was my favourite. It was a naturally processed coffee from Ethiopia, Dimtu in the Guji zone. The flavour blew my mind: sweet, tropical and fruity, clean and balanced. It was hard to wait for the cup to cool down as I kept pouring that flavour down the hatch.
I’m thinking Germany next if anyone’s interested, but someone from Warsaw, Poland has already inquired about taking part in my next exchange. If you’ve got any suggestions on Polish roasters, please don’t hesitate to share them with me!
Each coffee tells a story and these stories gain traction when passionate people share that experience with each other. Your everyday coffee is a new experience to someone across the world and vice versa: it’s special, exciting and flavourful! Reach out to someone and experience the fun of a simple coffee exchange.