Imagine waking up each morning in Costa Rica to the sounds and smells of hand-ground coffee, brewed via Aeropress by a certified barista champion. This was our reality on the Cafe Imports Origin trip, and it came courtesy of Cuvee Coffee‘s own Lorenzo Perkins.
Throughout the trip, it was dubbed Cafe Lorenzo, and each day the cafe was situated in a different hotel, lodge, or beach-front. Every service felt a little different. Some days featured a soundtrack of Leonard Cohen, on others, the Cure. On days the pop-up opened at Jaco Beach, Mr. Perkins was spinning Bob Marley.
The pop-up cafe also set up shop at the Aguilera Brother’s El Toño farm in the West Valley, as well as the Riojorco mill and a grand Riojorco dinner meeting in Tarrazu. Guests were treated to a wide assortment of coffees from the champion’s cafes and roasteries, and folks from Costa Rica were particularly interested in the Kenyan and Ethiopian offerings.
We sat down with Mr. Perkins for this exclusive interview as he finished his last shift, before packing up his brewing supplies and heading home to Austin, Texas.
How do you feel your project went?
Lorenzo Perkins: I feel like it was really successful, you know. I was a little worried about being an Aeropress only cafe – because it’s kind of a divisive brew method. But it seems like people really took to it. We had some really beautiful coffees and I think we showcased them spectacularly.
What coffees were used during the week?
Lorenzo Perkins: Oh man, so, we had a washed Yirg and a Kenya from Verve. We were rocking a Guat and some El Sals from Coava and a really rad Burundi from Counter Culture, a naturally processed Guatemala from Raul Rodas' Paradigma and the Colombia San Sebastian from MadCap.
Tell us more about your guest barista program.
Lorenzo Perkins: Yeah, our first guest barista was [2012 US Champion] Katie Carguilo. The awesome thing about running a guest barista program is they're always going to bring something new or different to the cafe. She actually brewed iced Aeropresses, which was appropriate for how hot it’s been.
Today, actually, we had the NW Brewers Cup champion Devin Chapman from Coava who expanded our menu again and brought some sweet V-60s to the program.
Devin Chapman: It was a dream, you know? Just make it work. Grip it and rip it. Step up to the plate. Grab the bull by the horns.
What did you brew while you were on bar?
DC: I brewed a V-City with the Santa Sofia Peaberry. Like I said, grip it and rip it. I was pouring out of the orange Bodum kettle into the V60 that was drained into poured over into a Hario Buono kettle that we used as a brewer. Cowboy’d up a little bit, which is what I tend to do in these circumstances and tend to love. So you know, when in doubt. When you don’t have the stuff? Just cowboy up.
LP: I think that’s kind of been the theme for Cafe Lorenzo: pulling all the resources that we have available and really making it work. It’s been kind of a boot-strap kind of cafe but, like I said, the coffee has been delicious, the response from all our guests have been spectacular. I’m looking forward to maybe doing this again. So just keep an eye out for Cafe Lorenzo.
We sure as heck will.