The Selection Process and How We Chose Our Kenya Kamwangi AA

We are so excited to present our NEW Kenya Kamwangi AA. This is one of the most unique coffees we have ever carried here at Buddy Brew. Our Head Roaster, Phil, has been tasting coffees from all over the world every single day. We have always stayed true to this. We get coffees from all over specific origins and compare them side by side. This year has been one of the craziest when it comes to the variety of coffee we have tasted. We are making connections with importers, exporters and growers from all over the world. Buddy Brew is making waves and everyone wants to work with us! In this post, I want to explain to you all how much time goes into selecting the coffee, developing the coffee and getting it into your hands!

For every coffee we decide to buy here at Buddy Brew there are about 40 other ones that we roast, sample and analyze and in the end, choose not too buy. That means we only buy about 2.5% of ALL of the coffees we try every year. That is A LOT of coffee to say no to! This is by no means an easy decision. Everyday we are receiving samples from incredible importers, some old friends and some young bloods in the market. We give them all a chance! There is so much amazing coffee out there, but we have to pick our favorite ones. That means we have to say no to a lot of really incredible coffees.

To tell you a little more about our importer and how we chose this one here is our Head Roaster, Phil:

I am excited to share this Kenya with our customers and baristas because this years offering is exceptional. It comes from Collaborative Coffee Source (CCS), one of our new coffee relationships we made this year. While I was in Atlanta this year at the the Specialty Coffee Symposium, CCS hosted an amazing cupping of some of there freshest offerings from various countries like Guatemala, Ethiopia, Burundi, Honduras, which were all farm and varietal specific. Each country had outstanding coffees unlike any I have had before, but their Kenya offerings were what I was most interested in.

Kenyan coffees are known to be some of the most amazing coffees in the world and always show up in the cup as BIG on all fronts (acidity, body, sweetness). Its very common that you will taste notes of stone fruit and a tomato like savory acidity. What I am most excited about with this offering is that it shows off more grapefruit like florals and a citrus acidity. Its so sweet and most importantly its clean with out ANY negative flavors. We kept the roast level on this coffee fairly light so that all the regional characteristics could be picked up in the cup, while still developing it enough to make sure those caramelized sugar notes are detectable as well. This is a pristine cup, I am really happy with it and I am also really excited about the future and getting to serve more amazing coffees from CCS.

Coffee is a never ending learning experience. We are expanding our knowledge by trying all of these great coffees and really learning what you guys love! We try to get a great variety of coffee so that we can serve every kind of coffee drinker. Anything from your traditional, sweet, and chocolatey coffee all the way to some of the most innovative and unique processing methods in the world creating a complex, fruity, and remarkable coffee.

Once we try all of our samples and finally decide on a coffee. We negotiate a contract to buy the coffee, sometimes directly from the farmer and sometimes from the exporters and importers who are at the origin and buying directly from farmers. Buying from these avenues gives us the chance to get our hands on some really exclusive and FRESH coffee. Sometimes we are buying lots of coffee that are still being grown and have not even been processed yet. Farmers are able to send us pre-sample selections of their coffee so that we can make a decision as soon as possible. Once we choose a coffee it can take anywhere from 1-4 months to get to us! That’s not saying the coffee spends that much time on a boat though. As I said before sometimes the coffee isn’t even ready for exportation. Trying these coffees so early will ensure us the coffee we want. This our reason for going directly to origin to find coffees. That way we get first pick on ANY coffee we would like. While Dave and Phil were in Colombia there were able to taste coffee at its freshest point. Now that we have chosen the coffee, we can move on to profile development!

Choosing the coffee is a long and analytical process. This is the easy part! Developing the bean is a LONG, intense process. We break down each part of the roast (time, curves, air flow, heat, development, etc..). This is a very complex and intense process that I won’t go into today. Doing all of this takes about 30-40 “sample” roasts. We try every single one comparing notes, making changes, and configuring every variable possible. This can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks. For just ONE bean. If you ever come to our West Kennedy location, where our roaster is located, you can almost ALWAYS see our roasters “cupping” coffee (this is the term for tasting coffee). Here is our cupping formula for those of you who want to try this at home:

  • First get your supplies together! You will need:
    • A notepad (to keep notes on each coffee) Whole Bean Coffee, a Grinder, a Kettle, Cups (a cup for each coffee you would like to try), a Scale, at least 2 spoons (and one for every person who is tasting), access to a heating element and water, cups for water, a timer, and a cup (or a few) for grounds
  • Start to boil water.
  • Weigh 11.3 grams of coffee in each cup (you can repeat all of this in multiple cups to try beans side by side) then grind for a pour over (medium ground, right in the middle of most grinders)
    • So you will have a coffee mug or cup(s) with 11.3 grams of ground coffee at the bottom of it.
    • Give these grounds a smell. This is how we find the “aroma” of coffees. Use your note pad to put down what YOU smell. Cupping is a personal experience and no two palates are the same!
  • Grab a timer (or use your phone)
  • Boil water (preferably with a gooseneck kettle for better accuracy)
  • Place your cup with the grounds on your scale
  • Start your timer and start to apply boiling water (195 degrees to be exact) to your grinds. The faster you can apply water to the ground coffee, the better.
    • Be sure to wet ALL of the grounds. Dry grounds will reduce extraction and will produce a watery cup that will not give you the true flavors of the coffee
  • When your timer hits two minutes, you will then “break the grounds”. Use the back of your spoon to push the grounds from the surface down. Slowly move your spoon from front to back of the cup. Be sure not to spill! While you do this get your nose as close to the coffee as possible and give it a big smell. This will help you to better identify flavors in the tasting process!
    • Don’t forget your cups of water. They aren’t for drinking! They are for rinsing your spoon. Every time your spoon goes into a new cup you need to dip it in the water and shake it off. You don’t want to compromise your cups by mixing coffees
  • After this we will “clean” the cup. Take your two spoons and create a wall at the edge of the cup facing you. Drag the two spoons side by side and edge to edge, with the front of the spoons facing you, from the back to the front of the cup (the further edge to the closer edge) and scoop that top later of grounds and foam off the top of the cup. You want to scoop as much of the grounds off the top of the cup as possible, without removing too much liquid. Take what is in your spoon and dispose of it in a cup. Be sure not to put grounds down your sink or you could clog it!
    • Don’t forget to rinse your spoons!
  • After this wait until minute 8-10. The you are ready to cup! Be careful and make sure your coffee isn’t too hot. Every one has different thresholds for whats too hot. Burning your tongue will ruin your cupping experience (and hurt!). Fill your spoon with coffee and try to “slurp” the coffee off of the spoon. Be careful not to breathe too hard so you don’t choke on the coffee! We do this “slurping” method so we can spread the coffee over our entire palate. This way we can get the full experience of each coffee! Be careful not too drink too much coffee when doing this. There is A LOT of caffeine in these cups. Feel free to slurp the coffee, get a good taste, then spit the coffee into another cup or your sink. This is a lot like how wine tastings work. You still get the full spectrum of flavor of the coffee without getting too wired or sick from all of the caffeine.
  • Try and break down a few key notes of coffee. Flavor, body, acidity and roast level. Flavors will range from chocolatey to fruity to herbaceous to grainy to savory to any thing you can think of! Check out the SCAA Flavor Wheel below for more information on this. Body is going to be how it feels in your mouth. Is it creamy (full bodied), juicy (makes your mouth salivate), tea-like (light and clean), buttery (with a lot of texture) or however YOU think it feels.
  • Then clean up! This is a messy process and there is no way to keep it clean. Get your hands dirty and take notes! You will learn a ton and really understand the time and analytics we put into each bean we serve here at Buddy Brew.

Flavor Wheel

Credit to SCAA for creating this amazing flavor wheel. Check out their website for ENDLESS information about coffee and the coffee industry

And that’s how we cup! Do some research and find your favorite set up! Cupping is the best way to learn more about coffee. It is a great way to observe the uniqueness of each cup. You can really learn a lot about what coffee is your favorite. We are doing about 15 types of coffee in each cupping, multiple times a day. We have been doing this for a long time and we are STILL learning! Once we are done cupping the coffee (over multiple weeks) we are ready to bag it up and sell it! From here we create the perfect pour over recipe so that you can enjoy an amazing cup right here in our stores.

African coffees are some of the most distinctively unique coffees in the world. This is where coffee was born! You can find varieties of coffee here that can not be found anywhere else in the world. Coffee is so wild there, that scientists have not even identified all of the different varietals. Each varietal of coffee is very unique from the next one. Things that change are moisture content, beans size, and density. These variables are affected by altitude, varietal, and processing method. Our Kenya is a fully washed coffee. This means all of the cherry is removed from the coffee and then sun dried. A lot of African countries use the “natural” or dry process method. They do this because the lack of access to clean water. In this method the coffee is left in the cherry when it is dried. This produces a more “wild” cup. These will have notes of fermentation, fruit, and flowers.

We love natural processed coffees, but there was something unique about our Kenya that we had to have. It was able to produce an amazingly fruity and sweet cup without having to sacrifice on the cleanliness of the cup. This means the flavors are easily identified throughout the cup, from the first taste to the after taste. It is also a very complex cup, which essentially means there is a lot going on with the flavors! It starts with a well rounded, natural sweetness similar to cane sugar. From here there are peaks of acidity similar to a fresh grapefruit. The actual taste remind us of a concord grape. It has the sweetness of a grape with some more complexity like a darker stone fruit (cherry, plum, etc..). We know we over analyze coffee, but we believe this is necessary to give you guys the best idea of what you are buying!

We love coffee here at Buddy Brew. We are passionate about creating amazing coffees. It is such a unique process. It is an amazing combination of art and science. There are so many different ways to create a great cup and we love to try all of them. Coffee is more then just a morning beverage for us here. Coffee is our way of life and our passion. It is a social substance that brings people together. It’s a great way to start the day, the best gift and an amazing experience to share with someone. Coffee is such a staple in our culture and we embrace everything about it here! Buy our new Kenya today and you’ll have a new appreciation to the work we put into getting you guys the BEST coffee in the world! Come down to our location at 2020 W. Kennedy in Tampa, FL Monday-Friday to meet the roasters. They love to talk and teach, so bring on the questions!

Buddy Brew Coffee @ Hyde Park is Finally Here!

After a long wait, THE Hyde Park Village Buddy Brew is finally opening! Join us on Saturday May 21st for our grand opening. Doors open at 8:00 AM. We have an amazing NEW menu that you will be sure to love. We have had some great help from EWI and Built on getting our doors open and could not have done it with out them. We could not have done this without the amazing people over at Oxford Design. They are huge supporters of Buddy Brew and have helped us to grow to the place where we are today! They built all of THE Oxford Exchange, home of the of the 2nd Buddy Brew.

Getting this store open was no easy task. It was a major team effort with a lot of bumps and snags along the way. But we kept our heads up and worked together with some great people and the community as a whole and now we finally have our new home. We are so excited to join the Hyde Park community of business owners. It is one of the most unique an awesome group of people and Buddy Brew is honored to be a part of it!

Another big shout out goes to our awesome team at Hyde Park. We have some Buddy Brew veterans and a great new staff of up and comers at Hyde Park.?We are so stoked on the level of talent we have!

We’ve got a brand new look with brand new equipment and we’d love for you to come see it all! We will be releasing two NEW shirts as well, our Buddy Logo Shirt in roaster red and our new and improved Roaster Shirt in black with awesome white discharge print!

Photos by Ali 2016


Buddy Brew and La Palma Y El Tucan

Please check out our shop page here. You can buy this particular coffee here. For instructions on how to brew click here and for video tutorials check us out here. Be sure to come back to this post if you click away to learn a little about this amazing company you are supporting.

The Start of Something Great


Colombia is a truly beautiful country. It is and always has been one of our favorite origins for coffee. We love the people, the community, the food, and the amazing coffee companies striving to make a difference there. I (Cassidy, the web guy) have a personal bias and connection with Colombia since my father is a first generation immigrant from Colombia. That being said there are some amazing changes going on in Colombia that the world should know about.

The nation as a whole has grown so much over the past 30 years. They have gone from one of the most dangerous places in the world to a place that has become a safe tourist destination for people all over the world to come and see. The community shows gratitude to its visitors like no other. The tourists are treated like family, the environment is respected like it is sacred, and the families have some of the strongest ties I have ever witnessed.

One of the countries most recent endeavors has been the focus on specialty coffee. They are focused on not only the coffee, but the farmers as well. For generations companies have taken advantage of the lack of access these farmers have to buyers and pay them whatever they deem “enough”. In the past farmers had no incentive to produce quality coffee; all they knew was quantity. Now that places like La Palma y El Tucan exist (and an amazing company that deserves a shout out since they originally brought us to Colombia for the first time, Royal Coffee Importers) these farmers have the chance to be treated fairly and receive the price they deserve for providing the world with it’s second most important commodity (Let’s be honest we all prefer coffee to oil so let’s just call it our most important commodity).

Enough about my personal feelings about Colombia, let me tell you a little about this amazing company and the changes that they are bringing to Colombia and the world of coffee. They are an inspiration and are setting amazing standards for generations to come.



There is a lot that goes into specialty coffee that is far more important than finding the best cup in the world. It is also about fair and direct trade. It is about providing equal opportunity to all farmers, whether they produce 100 pounds of coffee or 1,000,000 pounds of coffee. La Palma y El Tucan has taken this idea one step further.

Let’s start with education. They provide farmers with the knowledge and expertise to provide a high quality coffee for our ever developing and growing demand of coffee. They employ agronomists to help the farmers learn about soil and all plants in general. The farmers now have the capability and knowledge to pass along to their children to forever keep producing high quality specialty coffee. They also provide some of the most technologically advanced processing centers for coffee in the world. They employ scientists in all fields to help them to create excellent cups of coffee. So much can go wrong in processing coffee. Providing this service to farmers gives them the potential for a larger yield of coffee as well as a much higher chance to succeed and create a quality bean. Not only do they provide education and amazing facilities to these farmers, but they also connect them to international buyers. Their entire facility was created as a haven for people looking to learn more about coffee and to find amazing coffees.

“We can’t help ourselves. We imagine a better world, with better coffee and better practices. And for as long as “better” exists, we have made this our calling.” – The Founders of La Palma Y El Tucan.



The average grower in their network is over 60 years old. Coffee’s slow maturation and market volatility discourages younger generations from maintaining legacy farms, often times seeking new opportunity in cities like Bogota (with little success). If future generations are going to continue their legacy, it has to make economic sense. The following are some of the things that La Palma offer to their producing partners:

  • They pay over 50% more than the country´s price average
  • They guarantee above-fair-trade price minimum
  • They train local cherry pickers in high-quality coffee harvesting methods
  • They provide transportation of their coffee
  • They donate coffee trees raised in their nursery
  • They give back organic fertilizers made at their farm from their coffee cherry pulp

Environment and The Name


“Sustainability is a popular buzzword in coffee, and the industry as a whole continues to set a good example of better, more conscious practices throughout the supply chain. We know that sustainability needs to be a pillar in all that we do, but this can still be an elusive concept for many, often driven by emotions more than facts. The world is better with coffee in it.” – The Founders of La Palma Y El Tucan.

Well I don’t think anyone can disagree with this statement. I can’t sum up their opinions better than that so here is a little more of what they are doing as far as sustainability goes:

“Financial and technical support are paramount to sustaining our coffee-growing families, but still you cannot eat money or even coffee! To further address lapses in sustainability, we’ve demarcated 6700m2 for our Agroforestry project. Simply put, agroforestry is an intentional integration of farming with the surrounding natural environment. In this instance, we are growing coffee next to a wide range of crops (such as beans, corn, and bananas) amongst perennial species like cedar, avocado, walnut, and guayacan.

This is all done organically, to further decrease the need for inputs. With this model, we hope to be able to share with our neighbors a means to better support themselves and their families financially and nutritionally, while leaving the land enriched and viable for generations to come.

When we first set foot on what would become our land for growing specialty coffee, we invited a biologist to scour the terrain and to help us identify native flora and fauna. During the visit, we discovered that we had two rare species cohabiting the farm: the Emerald Toucan and the endangered Wax Palm. The fruit of the Wax Palm is an important source of food for the Emerald Toucan, and thusly the Toucan spreads the Palm’s seeds. The two are meant to be. But both species are challenged by habitat loss, which sadly is oftentimes driven by coffee plantations.

We would rather be a part of the solution than the problem. We’re starting with two initiatives:

  • Establishing Wax Palm nurseries and donating trees to the community, starting with coffee growers that are part of our relationship program
  • Reforestation with native trees in strategic areas to provide vital native habitat for wildlife, especially the toucan.


We strongly believe that some things are meant to be, and will do our very best to keep it that way.” – The Founders, La Palma y El Tucan



“At La Palma y El Tucan, we are very curious. Our curiosity drives us to challenge the status quo in all that we do. And when the status quo is no longer good enough, exciting possibilities emerge.” – La Palma y El Tucan.

This statement is originally what brought Buddy Brew and La Palma together. We were fascinated in the technology they were introducing to the coffee world. They were investing in new methods of processing and producing which bring out some of the most unique and amazing flavors possible in coffee. They are doing tests on varietals of coffee and even trying make them better!

“We are very proud to be Colombian, and to be a part of such a rich coffee-growing tradition. But how do we embrace this tradition while obeying our very curious nature? We have planted our farm with the most exotic coffee varietals available. With the utmost care and attention to detail, we cultivate and process these coffees to be only the most extraordinary and rare. We are thrilled that in 2015 our first microlots of Geisha, SL-28, Sidra and Typica will be available to those roasters who are in search of what has yet to be discovered.” The Founders, La Palma y El Tucan

The Farmers


I probably could have included this under community, but I really want to emphasize the love that they have for their farmers and community in general. Please visit their site to learn more about every individual farmer they work with and check out this gallery to see the faces of the amazing people who work so hard for you to have delicious coffee! Without these proud people we would not be able to enjoy the amazing coffee and comforts that we enjoy everyday. They call this section their “love and care” section. Again, the founders of La Palma y El Tucan put it best:

“We will always insist on quality, and we will never forsake community. If one is without the other, then nothing is gained.”

“As the first seeds were being sown on our farm, we reached out to over 200 coffee-growing families in our area. Once we better understood the challenges they were facing, we could see a clear opportunity for all. The producers in our region have limited market-access and little incentive for quality beyond quantity. In turn, they receive a standard price for a standard product. By working with our neighbors on better farm practices, using our team of specially-trained pickers, and by processing their coffee at our state-of-the-art wet mill, we can elevate their coffee to a quality level and market before unreachable. By way of our proprietary processing methods, the result is a limited collection of microlots as unique and special as the people that grow them, the people that roast them, and the people that enjoy them.” – The Founders, La Palma y El Tucan

To learn more about this project, including what we offer our growing partners, read about our Love & Care

To buy this coffee click here and to learn more about this amazing company and everything they are doing click here. We appreciate you taking the time to read this long rant, but we are so proud to be working with a company that really embodies what we believe here at Buddy Brew and we want our customers to be proud to support them! So next time you are purchasing a bag of coffee remember that companies like this exist and you are paying to show them your appreciation. You are paying to sponsor the continued practice of fair treatment for not only the farmers of Colombia, but for all of humanity.

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Buddy Brew x Modbar at SCAA!

What a week! We just returned from one of the largest Buddy Brew events in our history! We teamed up with Modbar to set up an awesome Pop-up booth right outside the lectures at SCAA. Modbar is an innovative espresso machine company doing some ground breaking stuff! We will be featuring Modbar at our new location in Hyde Park Village (coming really soon, we promise).

For those of you who do not know, the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) trade show is the largest of it’s kind in the specialty coffee industry. They strive to connect everyone in the coffee industry, be it roasters with farmers, farmers with importers, coffee shops with roasters, and so much more. It is one of the few times where all of the brilliant minds in coffee get together and teach each other everything they know. They provide some amazing tools, classes, and training to help keep the specialty coffee world expanding and striving for perfection.

Some of the biggest names in coffee were out at the SCAA trade show and so was Buddy Brew. In the past we have teamed up with La Marzocco to be the featured coffee at their booth. This year we decided to mix it up and set up our own booth. With the help of an amazing artist named Ron Francis, who happens to be our dear friend and long time loyal customer, we were able to set up an amazingly unique booth. He built us an entire booth from scratch and even came up to Atlanta to help us set it up! People were drawn from all over the trade show, to see our phenomenal booth, to try our coffee and to get one of our AWESOME Special Edition Large Tote Bags.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. Buddy Brew would be nothing without our exceptional team. A special thanks goes to Josh (training manager), Max(Oxford Exchange Manager), Phil (Head Roaster), Jay(Wholesale Sales Representative), and Tess(Marketing Team) for doing an amazing job setting everything up and running this show. Buddy Brew went to SCAA to make a splash and we made a tidal wave! Only time will tell, but we had an amazing performance on a national stage and we can’t wait to provide Buddy Brew to the whole country, and then the whole world!

Barista Jam and Latte Art Throwdown @ The Oxford Exchange!


It’s throwdown time! with Pete Licata!

Buddy Brew Coffee and Nuova Simonelli are thrilled to welcome you to a very special Barista Jam & Latte Art Throwdown featuring, Pete Licata, World Barista Chamption 2013. Come enjoy a night of competition, coffee, camaraderie and conviviality!  Enjoy light bites, cash bar, meet and greet with Pete and a fun packed night at Oxford Exchange.  Join us and throw down or come watch and enjoy the festivities.  Oh and come check out Warby Parker’s new showroom at Oxford Exchange.

RSVP to join us as a spectactor or Register to participate in the latte art throwdown competition (Spots are limited so sign up quick.)  Throwdown participants:  $10.00 buy in at the door the night of and prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Can’t wait to see you!

Please contact us at for more information. Spaces are limited!


Thanks to our sponsors:

Nuova Simonelli, Victoria Arduiro, Oxford Exchange



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¡Bienvenidos a Colombia!

We recently went on an amazing sourcing trip to Colombia to find and try some of the best coffees in the world. Dave and our Head Roaster, Phillip Holstein, made their way down there and got to check out some amazing farms, coffee, and people. Phil and Dave started their trip in Medellín. They flew in early, before the rest of their group arrived, and got to take in the beautiful red brick city. The city is quite the marvel to look at, sitting in a massive valley and surrounded by mountain ranges. They also got to try some coffee from the best coffee shop in Medellín, Café Pergamino. From there they made their way through many small towns checking out all of the Santa Barbara Estates of Antioquia.

Once they were finished in Medellín they hopped on a plane to Bogotá. They did not spend much time in the capital of Colombia, they went straight from there to the city of Neiva. Neiva is the capital of the department (state) that is one of the most famous coffee growing regions in the world and the most popular specialty coffee producer in Colombia, Huila. This is where we found the coffee that we would bring home! Dave and Phil got to taste coffee from farms all over the region. It was truly an amazing experience. We owe a huge thank you to the incredible farmers and people of Colombia. They treated us like family, fed us amazing food, and were the perfect portrayal of the beautiful country where they reside. Enjoy our pictures and look for our direct trade Colombia to be arrive in the United States in April!