I write to you over Georgetown at 36000 ft travelling at a speed of 592 miles per hour. Another long haul flight does not fill me full of happiness. What does make me happy is that my wife is happy for me to leave her and the amazing Has Bean team in charge. My trips and travel are hard on all of team HB, but most of all Sarah.
But I am also happy to be going back to Bolivia again. A country I first visited back in 2005, and fell in love with. Fell in love with the place, the people, but most of all with the coffee.
My visit in 2005 was my second Cup of Excellence jury and it was a tough competition where coffees submitted were sabotaged, and instead of the 60 normally going through it was 24. But apart from one, I loved all 24. Loved them enough to say that I would buy them, loved them. I also saw two of the most influential cuppers in the world throw out two 100 point scores, which made my jaw hit the floor.
I loved the place so much that I did a second jury in 2007 after they had a year off, and found my favourite coffee ever in the coffee world, along with some more amazing samples: truly exceptional coffees. I decided at this point that it must be the case that I love Bolivian coffees. Don’t get me wrong: I have tasted lots of Bolivians I don’t like. But at the top end, Bolivian coffees are right up my street.
I also love La Paz; something about the thin air, the chaos, and the lovely people. And the elements of danger I always feel in the city, an undercurrent that anything could happen. I also have great friends, the exporter we work with, Pedro and his family, whom I came out to see in 2010 and spent a week travelling with. Also there is Mario and Lupe from Machacamrca, who by now are coffee growing superstars, and whom I LOVE!
Last year I took a year off and was looked after by Pedro who sent me heaps and heaps of samples, and we brought in all the amazing coffees we have had this year. We have sold more Bolivian coffees than from any other region, and there aren’t many coffee roasters who can say that.
But I don’t like two years without going to see our growing friends; also, last year we bought some new coffees and I really want to get to know them better (I feel like I know them already: David Villca will get a huge hug).
So I’m on the long haul flight and now passing over the Amazon – the river, not the online book store (yes its been a slow type) – and I’m finally getting to the point.
In the olden days I used to keep a travel diary and share with the world. Normally it would be a typed-out blog post. But this time I’m going to mix it up a little. I’m going to type, as that’s fun, but I’m also going to audioboo and I am going to videoblog, and photoblog too.
So I hope you enjoy travelling with me virtually (trust me you wouldn’t in real life: I suck as a real-life travel companion) and I’ll enjoy having you along for the trip. But as a good travel companion, I’d like you to talk to me and keep me company in the comments, via email, via twitter, via facebook.