CVCRC partners with Café Negro at
Pebble Beach Food & Wine
By Janet McAthie
Every year a major food and wine festival takes place on the Monterey Peninsula the weekend after Easter. This year’s Pebble Beach Food & Wine was held April 28-May 1, 2011 and it was four days of fabulous chefs, bottomless wines, and exciting demos, dinners and debauchery. Thousands of foodies from around the country gathered in landmark Pebble Beach to taste the food of famous chefs like Daniel Boulud and Ming Tsai and to sample the legendary wines of hundreds of respected wineries like Roar and Rombauer.
This year Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting helped the event’s Guatemalan coffee sponsor, Café Negro, execute espresso bars and brewed coffee at several of the major functions and roasted all of the coffee used at every lunch, dinner, and after party.
Here we are pictured with our new friends, Alejandro & Claudia Maria Castaneda from Café Negro at the Lexus Grand Tasting on Sunday.
Janet & Dean McAthie, Alejandro & Claudia Maria Castaneda
Two weeks before the event, Alejandro and Claudia Maria arrived from Guatemala City to San Francisco and drove their rented Volvo filled with 600 lbs. of Genuine Antigua Guatemalan coffee to our roasting facility in Carmel Valley. The coffee was grown on a small family-owned estate called el Aragon. It is grown at 5,300 feet above sea level on the mineral rich soil on the skirts of the Water Volcano. The cherries are lovingly hand-picked and the beans are sun-dried the old-fashioned way.
El Aragon Estate, Antigua, Guatemala
We were all chomping at the bit to get the coffee in the roasting machine! To be completely honest, we were crossing our fingers that this coffee was as rare and as good as we had been told. Genuine Antigua coffee generally isn’t available in the U.S. because it goes straight to Japan and Europe after a bidding process. Antigua is considered one of the finest coffee growing regions in the world and frankly, we had never roasted it or tasted it!
We were Genuin Antigua virgins!
Oh man, we hit the mother-load! The coffee was beyond amazing. We ended up roasting it medium per Alejandro’s instructions, which meant we stopped the roasting process before second crack and before any oil appeared on the beans. The tasting notes were floral and citrus and the finish was dark chocolate! I can hardly describe the euphoria we felt as we took the beans straight from the roaster to the grinder to the TruBru and sipped our first taste. Mmmmm, a very flavorful and satisfying cup. We drank it black, no cream, no sugar.
Then Tina, our roast master, had a brilliant idea to roast it as a single origin espresso. She French roasted a batch and combined it equally with the medium roast. Alejandro loved it so much he took a big bag home with him to Guatemala City. He now drinks it every day!
Needless to say, the coffee and espresso caught the attention of many writers, chefs, and industry professionals at the PBFW event. It isn’t every day you get to taste a rare coffee from Antigua. We quickly realized that food and wine connoisseurs rely on coffee, sure, but they also appreciate the subtle differences between good and great tasting coffee. Luckily for us, Café Negro is planning on selling directly to U.S. customers through home delivery membership.
If you would like to attend next year’s Pebble Beach Food & Wine, visit their website: www.pebblebeachfoodandwine.com.