Can you smell that?
Welcome to the world of coffee by Cafe Misiones! FreshBean partnered with Cityhackers Berlin and Cafe Misiones for their first live event of 2021.
On a quaint corner in Kreuzberg, nearing the border where the wall once divided Berlin, CafeMisiones is located in a contemporary ecological haven topped with lush greenery. A glance inside, and you cross into another world firmly grounded to its roots.
Misiones takes guests to the small, but brilliantly golden lit showroom to experience the culture of Colombia. The aroma will hit you before you finish taking your first step inside. Leader Michael Tauchert, who does direct trading with the coffee farms in Colombia, designed this workshop specifically for coffee lovers. From his life-changing journeys to this exotic country, they learn directly from him the complete process of what makes Specialty Coffee so special.
The workshop starts with a small taste test. Guests take two samples representing the worst and best coffee that can be bought – the Italian dark-roasted blend versus the silky Geisha Coffee. Instantly, coffee ideals begin to shift. “The idea is to help people understand that learning how to taste and develop the taste of coffee is important to judge the quality.”
Michael speaks thoroughly on the key differences between Specialty Coffees and the blended grounds we tend to buy in-store. Through smell and taste, he highlights the base categories of flavor profiles coffee beans should reach when carefully cultivated, selected, harvested, de-pulped, washed, fermented, dried, roasted, and brewed. No one of these steps is a small feat.
Colombian coffee farmers cultivate in a traditional way as they have for hundreds of years.
These farms are still home to 80 donkeys (once 500) that transport strictly the only coffee cherries that are ripe in size and color to the washing stations. Not allowing motorized vehicles in the vicinity of the coffee plantations is vital to the farms’ ecological health as well as the resulting taste of your coffee. Therefore, a lot of attention and history is packed in our morning cup that we do not easily realize. Moreover, understanding what we are drinking and how it affects us, affects how we purchase coffee, and for Colombia, it is a matter of preserving a way of life for at least 500,000 families.
Michael continues to explain about the coffee belt – the geographical latitude south of the equator known to be the only area in the world that grows coffee plants. He breaks down how coffee cherries grown in different climates will differ in characteristics of flavor, of which there are up to one thousand. He then demonstrates the temperamental process of how beans are roasted in cutting-edge machinery just as your local roaster does several times a week in the back of the coffee shop.
“It has to be precise. An additional 5 to 10 seconds of roasting too long or too short can alter the flavor, and also affect the flavoring notes of the following batch of beans to roast.”
Coffee drinkers are invited to see how modern technology monitors the flavor profile curves that help the roaster gauge how to get it just right. Graciously, every Misiones coffee bag comes with a breakdown chart of what profiles the coffee cherries they are drinking emit, helping to train our sense of tasting quality. Finally, Michael guides his guests through what coffee sommeliers call ‘cupping’ – a tasting technique used to train the palette on the different notes in coffee varieties and even the countries they come from.
Michael not only shares a working relationship with the farmers in Colombia, supporting their culture and way of sustainability but kinship with the locals and their families. As a younger man, he spent a healthy portion of his life in Colombia where he built a home and started his family, naturally extending to local Colombian farming communities.
If you are intrigued about what you consume and wish to better understand why Colombia is world-renowned for its coffee, it would be harder to find someone in Berlin more knowledgeable than Michael and Cafe Misiones. You too are invited to join the Misiones journey.