Thursday, April 30, 2009

We have a winner!

Claire Small of Austin, TX won the custom Kohana surfboard at Whole Foods Market yesterday. The contest was through the month of April, culminating with the winner chosen at our Blue Hawaii demo. Victoria Lynden, our fearless leader, shuffled the entries and hand picked Claire's name out of the 'hat'.
We had lots of entries from Austinites (and other's) making their way through the store during April as we showcased our new North Shore Blend and Island Cacao - trying to get their 'surf' on with thoughts of giant swells making their way to theTexas coast.
Claire is pictured here with J'aime Mitchell, our friend and Whole Foods Coffee Specialist, and Victoria.
Congratulations Claire and happy surfin' GIRL!

Serious coffee business

Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...

as was the case yesterday. Kohana Coffee gladly joined Whole Foods flagship store in it's endeavor to give back. The cause was Austin Film Festival's Young Filmmakers Program and teams from the store supported the effort by dressing up as favorite film characters. This also coincided with our drawing of our surfboard give-away contest, so why the heck not pick Elvis' Blue Hawaii as our theme???

Our intent was to showcase Hawaiian coffees (100% Hawaiian Select, North Shore Blend and Island Cacao), play with our friend's at Whole Foods and have the drawing for the custom Kohana Coffee surfboard give-away. We were front and center - and maybe we didn't look so much like Elvis gals but Cristin and I did do a mean Mary Ann and Ginger imitation. Ted, well, he looked Hawaiian - but would not wear the Elvis wig. Out of the group he was the one who left with dignity intact.

It was a fun day - the team member costumes were great....Teen Wolf was a hit. We appreciate everything Whole Foods has done for us - it's always a treat working with them.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's up at Kohana?

Well....a LOT!

The Thrill of the Grill event at Central Market/Austin stores was great. We met so many of you there and had nothing but positive feedback to the coffees offered at the CM stores. Exclusive to CM are the Brazilian, Mexican, Honduran and specially created Lamar Blend coffees. They also carry Kohana's Rockin' Like Austin and Flores Bajawa which are big hits. The cold brew was a stand out and worked beautifully as the perfect 'iced drink for grilling occasions' offering. Check out the new display at the Lamar store - Christina Moyer is an artist when it comes to showcasing her products.

Speaking of display, we have one week left for the custom Kohana Coffee surfboard give-a-way contest at Whole Foods/Lamar. Hurry to that store and check out the Northshore Blend, Island Cacao and Flores Bajawa that are part of that end cap display - we take our hats off to the friends at Whole Foods - they have supported Kohana from the beginning and we are very grateful. Whole Foods Lamar carries a large assortment of Kohana coffees located in the local coffee section - you can see the surfboard there as well - BE SURE AND ENTER! The drawing for the contest will be held on 4/29 around 2:00pm. We'll have a full demo set up as part of the movie theme day. Kohana = Elvis's Blue Hawaii - looking for grass skirts and coconut bras.....

This weekend I'm sampling coffee at Breed & Co in Westlake. We're stoked about being there and proud to say that Breed & Co is the only local retailer of our fabulous 100% Kona Estate coffee. They also carry Kohana's Espresso Blend, Kohana Blend, Hawaiian Hazelnut, 100% Hawaiian Prime and our delicious dark roasted Kohana Panama. We'll be sampling the espresso and Kohana Blend from 11am - 3pm on Saturday, 4/25.

And finally, on Sunday, 4/26, I'll be back at Whole Foods Lamar with Victoria. We'll conduct an informative hour on coffee cupping, differences in origin, processes and coffees in general. 'Coffee Talk' begins at 11:00am in the coffee section of the store. Come be with us - we love to hear from you and turn you on to great coffees.

Look forward to seeing you soon - let's talk coffee!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

SCAA - Sunday

After arriving at the convention center early this morning – luggage in hand – one of our first stops was the WBC Espresso Bar for the ‘good stuff’. Coffee roasters and barista competitors from all over were showcased each day – pulling incredible shots, making beautiful art. It was a two-fold pull into that area – we had the coffee experience and were able to catch pieces of the competition. Champions from top countries came to match their skills against best in the world. Today, a world champion would be crowned. Victoria was completely enamored by the Japanese latte team – I think she went back 8 times….she was their favorite customer!

Officially we started our days split apart; me to a comparative cupping lab and her to a branding lecture basically showing that brand isn’t all about a logo but more about who you are and what you represent. We believe that Kohana Coffee does that – as the proof of who we are is in each cup. She also attended a lecture helping you to know who your target/audience/consumer is. We think we know you…because we feel you’re discriminating coffee lovers like us. We want to know more – what do you want ultimately, what makes a difference, what do you like and not like? As we begin to know and fully understand what you want we’ll translate that knowledge into how we do business. Got ideas? We want them.

We headed back to the competition for a quick bite and to see who was generating the most excitement. We saw Lee Jong Hoon of Republic of Korea and Michael Phillips of the USA in their final round. It’s just so amazing to see in person.

Our afternoon was spent at the Craft Roasting lab – it was Victoria’s first experience in hearing the science side of roasting as well as getting some ‘hands on’ - it requires such multi tasking – using all senses, from hearing first crack to checking color, temperature and timing to creating what you feel/know is best for that particular bean. It was good for us both to be there.
We’re on the plane home to Austin – wrapping everything up in our heads. Taking in the most important and pulling it to the front for quick implementation. We’ll let you know how it works – but for now we’re just happy to have been there and grateful it was so well organized.


P.S. GWILYM DAVIES of the United Kingdom won the 2009 World Barista Championships. Michael Phillips came in 3rd! Check it out at

Saturday, April 18, 2009

SCAA Day Two

Another day in Atlanta and you can't imagine how much they can pack in...

We started at the International Women's Coffee Alliance Breakfast that did it's job of inspiring and connecting women in coffee from around the world. The program highlighted stories that celebrate the strength of women working to empower their lives and the lives of people in their communities. Presentations were made by Esperanza Castillo, an agronomist from Peru who's worked diligently to improve the conditions and lives of those around her from the 70's - and Vilma Ruiz from Finca Los Andes in Guatemala who inspired us by her commitment and dedication to the path she's been led to since youth. What a way to start our day.

Victoria had to exit early for an Espresso Lab and I headed towards the "Turning Industry Macro-trends into Profitable Business Building Programs" led by Torani's Andrea Ramirez. Both had good information we can bring back - the espresso lab just establishing good practice and the macro trends providing useful statistical information for decision making in this shaky economy.

We met for lunch and BEAUTIFUL espresso drinks at the Barista Competition and saw the Korean competitor wow the crowd with signature drinks. He had such a loyal following - Korean flags were flying. The tension is building towards tomorrow's final rounds.

This afternoon was spent on the trade floor for me - and an aroma lab for Victoria. We both left exhausted but full of new and useful information. Dinner at Eno, a local wine bar, proved tasty and eventful. It was a beautiful night and the walk there/back there was medicinal.

We're packed for tomorrow - ready for the final day and wrap up to SCAA 2009. It's a lesson in absorption - what you're not getting in your head you acquire through osmosis. The great thing about being here is that you're learning from industry leaders - from their lessons learned - how nice is that? Re-creating the wheel is not something I'm terribly fond of unless it's through inspiration.

Go coffee!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Biggest event of our year

Well, we're here - in Atlanta - at the Specialty Coffee Association of America annual event. Victoria and I arrived yesterday, ready to take it all in over the next 3 days. After registering and checking out the opening reception we headed to our hotel to ready for the next day.

Today after checking out the lay of the land (and where we were supposed to be - when) we headed off in different directions. Victoria headed to lectures about professional vs consumer expectations of specialty coffee and the intricate details about grinding coffee. My morning was spent cupping coffee - five flights of coffees (3.5 hours worth) - looking for differences in region, processing and overall quality. For those of you that know me - you can imagine I was reeling from the caffiene. It was a good refresher for old habits that may need changing and I hope to bring back nothing but good to Kohana Coffee's faithful followers.

Our afternoon was spent at the trade show floor - seeing latest technology, visiting with vendor partners, sampling every type of coffee/coffee product imaginable and eventually stepping out to the World Barista Championships being held at the same time. The finals are Sunday and a new champion will be 'crowned'. These baristas are amazing.

Before leaving we stopped by our friend's Coffee Kids reception. They do unbelievable work and deserve so much support from us all. Their efforts help coffee-farming families improve the quality of their lives. It's quite simple - if growers can't sustain themselves they can't farm. If they can't farm we can't buy coffee to roast and sell to you. Please do what you can for this strong group doing the right thing for us all.

Overall, we're taking in lots and hope every minute of learning can be applied back to making Kohana Coffee the best that it can be. We'll check back in tomorrow and fill in from there...