Guest spot on Coffee Podcast

I was asked recently to guest spot on a podcast about coffee, which makes a nice change from making podcasts (someone else gets to do the editing).

Valerian runs a podcast called  and I had super fun talking to him about how I got involved in coffee, what 7 year old in Cannock do, and my dreams of going to prison.

Below is part one, at 55 mins its a long one but I hope you get chance to listen.




I hope you enjoy it.



Some of you may have heard of the UKBC, some of you may not…for those who don’t know what I’m typing about UKBC stands for the United Kingdom Barista Championship and once a year the top baristas in the country compete to be crowned #1 in the UK! The lucky, skilled and amazing individual that takes that #1 spot then represents the UK at the World Barista Championships and fights against other #1 seeds from around the world to take home the title of best barista in the world!

If you already knew what the letters UKBC meant then it’s more than likely that you know the name Dale Harris : ) Dale is my Director of Wholesale here at Has Bean and loves few things in life more than barista competitions. The UKBC regional heats finished in Bristol last week (after heats in London and Glasgow over the previous weeks) and I think here a picture will speak a thousand (or maybe 607 words)…









@hasbean on Instagram

Those are the results of all competitors after the 3 regional heats and as you can see Dale is right up there at the top! OH MY DAYS WELL DONE DALE! Not only did he take top spot on the day but he was also awarded best espresso and best milk drink for the Midlands heat : D

“Hey Steve! #1 place wow! Best espresso and best milk drink too! What coffee was Dale using?” I hear you ask? “CAN I HAVE SOME?!”

Well my friends yes, yes indeed you can! All you need to do is click a link!

A coffee we originally found via the El Salvador Cup of Excellence but this time went direct to the farm and I’m so incredibly happy that we did : ) Dale used this coffee and this coffee alone for his routine and produced espressos and milk drinks that were considered to be the very best of the day, if you can’t make it taste amazing then it’s definitely you not me ; )

As a special little treat so you can try this amazingly delicious coffee I’ve decided to be really nice and offer a bit of a discount, pop the code “superdale” into the discount code box when checking out + click apply and it’ll knock 15% off the price of the coffee.

The UKBC finals will be held at the London Coffee Festival in April, I’ll be there cheering Dale on and I hope some of you can make it down to London to join me : )







@tailorsonali on Instagram


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El Salvador and the “Quality Coffee Event 2016”

I know many readers here will have seen my blog post, about the disappointment of the Alliance for coffee excellence cancelling a number of next years program in Africa and Central America.

One of the ones that disturbed me the most was the El Salvador program, which is one thats been super close to my heart. This was the the first cup of excellence program that I was able to buy the number one coffee (2007) and purchase that I followed through with a long term relationship (and many since). This has also be a a country that has been hit hard by the leaf rust epidemic thats swept through some of my favourite growing areas, and effected many of my friends who we buy coffee from.

It was also the place that I had emails reaching out to me, from producers (read as three separate people) who read my blog post and were compelled to contact me, expressing how upset they were that the program wouldn’t be coming and how some of them had been working on special lots to enter the competition, and their work was to be wasted.

So instead of a negative blog post about how bad this is, it’s lovely to report that the Consejo who are the supporting body for the Salvadorian coffee community have written to me and said that they plan to hold a national project to carry on the local specialty discovery program in house, and carry on the hard work done over many years of COE programs. Sure the protocols will be different I am sure, and some of the way its implemented will be different, but I am sure with a good group of people searching through samples for quality and using protocols and procedures, there will still be a very good opportunity to find true quality coffee and help producers find quality buyers.

I’m also really excited that the Consejo have asked me to be one of the judges for this program this year, and I am more than happy to offer my help and support to make sure something happens.

Dates are yet to be confirmed and I ma sure there are many hurdles to overcome, but I am excited to be involved, and I’ll be offering as much support as I possibly can, and very excited to be asked to be involved.

Watch this space!!!!

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Coffee Flower Tea

Some of you may have tried Cascara, and thought wow that’s it, I’m trying all the plant! But no no no there’s more! An idea that first popped into my head back in 2010 has finally come to fruition. Dale Harris my Director of Wholesale here at Has Bean towers likes to compete in barista competitions, and these competitions require you to come up with signature drinks. I remember sneaking back from Costa Rica with some coffee flowers to try and incorporate into this drink. We never found an effective way to use them, but it’s something that bugged me over and over again.

So with our partners in Bolivia I asked them if they could harvest some flowers for us, and see what we could do. This doesn’t damage the crop, as they are harvested just as they are about to fall from the tree but it does involve lots of work (which is just 1 of the reasons why we love the people we work with).

So the process begins after a coffee harvest when there’s normally a period of dry weather, during this time the coffee plant gets a little stressed at the lack of water. Then the rainy season comes which sparks the coffee plant into creating little blossom flowers, these flowers are one of the most amazing and powerful smells I have ever experienced (if you could make a aftershave of it then it’d be my smell of choice) and these flowers appearing mark the start of the process of the coffee plant creating its cherries for our lovely coffee beverages.

The amounts we have are tiny and won’t be around for long. We’ve also got a number of different varietals that all taste quite different.

We played with brewing it as a tea, and boom a unique drink! Our hard working partners in Bolivia have spent a huge amount of time and energy collecting these and we’re also able to separate different varietals of flower, which surprisingly taste very different.

We have –


We even made a brew guide here to help you get the best out of the flowers :


We’re selling them in one brew sachets, that’s how little we have, but it’s an experience you will want to enjoy. Were also selling in a 5 pack so you can try them all side by side.

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Cup of Excellence announcment

Another huge shock that a non profit US lead organisation makes terrible communication announcement and fails to involve its membership in the decision making process. Following on from the SCAA announcing cutting its regional barista competitions.

It’s no shock to me that the cup of excellence arrogantly sent out an email last night saying without blinking they will be stopping for one year the competitions in El Salvador, (one of my personal favourites), Nicaragua and Mexico along with all the african programs of Burundi and Rwanda. No consultation with the membership (not that I expect it I only hear from them at renewal time when they want my benefactor membership fees that I’ve paid since 2005) to slash the program in half.

Its a program that I love, without it I wouldn’t have half the relationships we have for buying great coffee, I owe it so much. I also wouldn’t have met some of the greats of the coffee industry on jury’s and be able to call them friends, I learned so much in those jury days.

I loved it so much I was on the board of directors for a couple of years (much to the annoyance of the board and officers of the organisation). You see they like to build the board, and when I asked to be part of it I was told to go away and thank you for your interest, but the “nominations committee” had decided who they would have instead of the membership. So I raised 20 names and forced a ballot for what I believe was the first time, and got voted on. This gift meant I had a horrible two years flying to silly parts of the world (art my own cost) to sit on board meetings where you were powerless to do anything, and decisions were made else where behind closed doors, and in private meetings.

But this is a distraction, the news that came through last night was typically delivered without a concern or consultation for the membership, or thoughts of how this might effect some of the hardest hit coffee producers in the world.

The announcement states that the 2016 program will only include Brazil(BSCA),Colombia(FNC),Costa Rica(SCACR), Guatemala(Anacafe) and Honduras (SCAH)) while they fine tune the program.

Why are these remaining and the others being cut? Well its funny all the remaining competitions have coffee organisations in country with some money to pay for the program and are the very easy wins. This means bye bye to Nicaragua (who has had trouble funding the competition for a few years), El Salvador (the Consejo has been in disarray for a while and leaf rust has decimated the Salvadorian coffee industry), Mexico (thats a young program and only been in place a few years with varied success) and the African programs in Rwanda and Burundi (typically hard to run when your based in North America previously Montana and now Seattle are renowned for being a long way from Africa).

Why are these countries that need all the help being cut ? whats the rational to take away the tool the people need the most?

To take time out to fine tune.

A new auction platform.

I’ve had this priced up as I was trying to help a producer who ACE didn’t want to help. Around $15,000 and a month development time. Maybe I can put the organisation in touch with my dev team.

Update exciting competition standards

I’ve been told for years they are always in development and evolving and we have the best standards in the world for coffee competitions. But if this needs looking at, set up a working group, let them worry about that.

Creating and implementing and electronic cupping form.

I can help with this, I have a customer who is doing this for the has bean app. But if your not happy with that theres catador thats a wonderful app, I am sure if you talked to them they will help out

Improving post auction logistical issues with respect to purchased lots and deliveries

Really ? We live in a world of importers that do this all the time and have expertise. Were closing down half the program because of this?

You need to kill half the program for some of the most needy countries to do this ? It’s a joke, if there are reasons I’m willing to listen and hear them, but these are excuses and cop outs.

I’ve fell out of love with the organisation for a long time, and this is the nail in the coffin. I’ve spent around $15,000 – $20,000 on membership over the last 10 years with samples and alike. Spent many more thousands on flights for jury’s, and many more on flights when I was on the board, not to count the many thousands on lots over 10 years. But thats me done, I’m out I’m off to support an organisation that supports its producers and members.


2016 COE Schedule Announcement

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Too Much coffee

Not many of you know (I know this as not many people go there), but we have a forum called Has Forum. The board has been empty for a long while, and I think its time to wind it up. Its a shame as I love forums, but you need other people there to talk too.

But good news. I am the founder member of a coffee forum called I used to be very active on there, but the software got a little old, and the community dropped away. So much so the owner was going to wrap it up also. So I stepped in and offered to host the site and take on the running.

Part of the new revamp is that sponsors can have their own forum, so there is a Has Bean Coffee forum there. Also if you sign up the members room might have some special member offers too, so even more reason to get involved. And hopefully there will be more people coming along over time.

The great thing about the rest of the forum is that is a non advertising (and is managed by a group of admins who are amazing). A friendly forum where being nasty won’t be tolerated and keyboard warriors rejected, but also where no question is too stupid. With over 120,000 posts most have been asked and you can search, or ask again and hopefully we will build up enough people to answer them.

Look forwards to seeing you pop along soon.