Roast Magazine’s 2008 Roaster of the Year

by JulieCraves on November 20, 2008

I’m in the habit of mentioning Roast Magazine‘s annual Roaster of the Year awards, and I’m a bit tardy in posting the 2008 results.

This year, the macro Roaster of the Year goes to Topeka’s PT’s Coffee Company. Over 95% of the 225,000 pounds PT’s roasted last year came from small lots. Thus PT’s is a great source of very special single origin coffees, many of them sourced under their direct trade model, which includes healthy environmental practices.

It’s been awhile since I have had any of PT’s coffees, so in honor of their honor, I placed an order. I was especially keen to try their Finca Kilimanjaro, from one of Aida Batlle’s El Salvador farms. I’m a big fan of her coffee; you can read our reviews of several of her coffees from Counter Culture here. Aida received organic certification on all three of her farms earlier this year (Mauritania, Kilimanjaro, Los Alpes). The Finca Kilimanjaro is grown at 1650 m on the slopes of the Santa Ana volcano under diverse shade. There are 30 ha in coffee.

This coffee recently scored 95 from Coffee Review. PT’s has already sold out of this coffee, so I won’t do a full review. Let me just say this coffee deserved that 95, and is another stellar example of Aida’s commitment to exceptional sustainable coffee. She grows the Kenyan SL28 variety at Finca Kilimanjaro, and it’s wine-like acidity shines through. This coffee is juicy, very floral — it reminded me a lot of the famous Hacienda La Esmeralda — with a truly room-filling aroma. It was easily one of best coffees I’ve had all year, and had we been doing a review, I would have given it 4.25 motmots.

Moving on, Roast’s micro Roaster of the Year is Coffee Klatch of California, whose coffees are frequently high scorers at Coffee Review. Even roasting less than 100,000 pounds a year and with only four employees, owner Mike Perry still makes several trips to origin a year. He also pursues a direct trade model, and in fact often travels and buys lots with PT’s Jeff Taylor. About a third of Coffee Klatch’s coffees are direct trade, but they also carry Fair Trade selections, as well as a variety of organic coffees. They note that a few of their organics such as the Peru and Mexico are “also shade grown and therefore considered ‘Bird Friendly.'” However, there is no mention of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (the certifier that trademarks “Bird Friendly” coffee) and not enough information in the item descriptions for me to figure out if these are SMBC-certified farms.

Here are my posts on the 2005, 2006, and 2007 winners.

Revised on November 14, 2019

Posted in Coffee awards and competitions

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