Tag Archives: cafe hound

Cafe Hounding: Cafe Samba – Bogota, Colombia

Cafe Samba
Bogotá, Colombia
Cra 7 # 58-48
Tel: 348 1697

Unfortunately, I enjoyed Café Samba so much that I’ve barely even took a photograph of the place, though having frequented it on many occasions spanning from 2006 to 2010.

It is difficult to state what the best part of the lounge/cafe/bar located on the Septima is: the coffee products, natural juices, and cocktails are simply the best in that part of Bogotá; the moderately sized food selection is equally impressive in quality. They make the most of what they have when it comes to ambiance of the place (lounge feel even without the chic lounge budget of the Chico and Parque 93 neighborhoods). Service is superior for the price range and the couch located at the front of the shop always seemed to be reserved for me. Also, the clientele is an attractive youngish blend of professionals and students.

My favorite item on their menu would be a fresh blended non-alcoholic natural joice cocktail of Maracuya, Mango and Orange Juice mix. The quality of their coffee is above average for a country that exports the majority of their high quality beans.  They use a high quality vintage Elektra espresso machine and decent coffee roasted in country.  I imagine they could improve their coffee quality if they sourced their coffee from a better roaster.

Musically, this café makes an impression on locals and visitors alike considering the high quality sound system wired from wall-to-wall and mounted in the ceiling. The “DJ” tends to be whatever barman  has a free moment. Luckily, all have terrific taste when it comes to selecting a good playlist.

View of Bogota afternoon from front of Cafe Samba

If you make it to Colombia, Cafe Samba is well worth a stop along the way.

Mushrooms, Aromatica Tea, Fruit Drinks in 2010

– Maher Hound

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Ano Novo Blend & Universal Education

Ano Novo Blend: Give the Gift that Keeps on Giving

The first custom Cafe Hound blend of 2010 is already receiving raving reviews from its first consumers!  As we continue to sell out our limited stock we are closely approaching our goal of having enough money to send a charitable donation to the Barefoot Foundation (Pies Descalzos) down in Colombia.  Below are some success stories from the English version of their website.

All content from the Barefoot Foundation website is the property of the Barefoot Foundation.

Source: http://www.barefootfoundation.com/index_en.php

Success Stories

The stories from the communities we serve inspire us to continue working for those who need us most. These comments from our students and their families describe the changes in their communities. For each success story, there are thousands more children who we hope to serve soon.

Ferley’s Story

Ferley didn’t think he’d ever get to go to school. His thin frame is shrunken by congenital rickets, making him look closer to six than to his eleven years. His mother Clarisa said, “I was afraid that if I let him go to school, the other kids would call him names and make fun of him, and that he would be a burden on the teachers.” Clarisa Rentería and her five children are refugees who fled the violence of Colombia’s civil conflict, eventually settling in Quibdó, a western Colombian city. She explains, “I arrived here in 1999. It was heartbreaking to lose it all and be left with nothing.” The family struggled to survive and could not afford a wheelchair for Ferley. Without a wheelchair, Ferley could not get around the rocky streets.

However, Ferley didn’t want to stay confined to the house. He begged to go to school and longingly studied his siblings’ homework. Pies Descalzos visited Ferley’s house and talked to his mother, convincing her that her son would be well taken care of. When Clarisa saw the desire and determination in her son’s eyes, she agreed. Pies Descalzos bought Ferley a wheelchair and he enrolled in the Pies Descalzos School.

Four years later, Ferley is a happy, popular student who always has a smile on his face. He and his best friend Bryan are inseparable and they dream of continuing their studies. “I like to go to school because I learn a lot and because I like to share with my friends.” Ferley loves math, social science, reading and dreams of becoming a professional singer of Vallenato, a Colombian folk music style.


Ferley with Shakira

To teacher Absalón Asprilla Gómez, Ferley is a special student. “When I face something difficult, I don’t complain, instead, I think about his situation. He is one of the best students in the school, with a permanent smile, despite it all. For me, this is very meaningful. It has helped me grow a lot as a person.”

Pies Descalzos hasn’t just changed Ferley’s life; it has changed his whole family. Clarisa earns extra money for her family by preparing breakfast and lunch for the Pies Descalzos Foundation school as part of the “If I eat better, I will learn more” program. “We prepare lunch for the students and we help with the breakfast, so that they have food and they can study with full stomachs,” says Clarisa proudly. The meals they prepare are supervised by a nutritionist and made possible through Pies Descalzos and the Instituto Colombian Bienestar Familiar. This program helps make sure that the malnutrition that affected Ferley doesn’t affect other children.

The Barefoot Foundation helps hundreds of families like Clarisa and Ferley’s. The Pies Descalzos schools are open to everyone and serve as a center for community development. Parents, neighbors and grandparents learn sewing, artisan skills and literacy while teens engage in micro-businesses, sports leagues, and leadership development activities. This neighborhood is changing and growing thanks to the community, and the Barefoot Foundation and the Pies Descalzos Foundation.

The Story of El Minuto de Dios School, Altos de Cazucá

Elementary school teacher Consuelo Pachón barely recognizes her school, El Minuto de Dios, anymore. She teaches in Soacha an area south of Bogotá that was once a booming mining town. Today, its hills have been stripped of their natural resources, the mines left behind environmental damage and the jobs disappeared. The vacuum left by the mines has been filled with desperately poor people and internal refugees from Colombia’s civil conflict. Thousands flood in each year with nothing but their lives. Fifty-three percent are younger than 14 years old and many children have missed years of school while fleeing.

Before Pies Descalzos Foundation, El Minuto de Dios was in shambles. “At the start it was very hard. The school room walls were made of spare wood, the same kind they use to make fruit crates. The stairs were carved out of mud and, whenever it rained, the children slipped and fell. There weren’t bathrooms, just a latrine. “But now, the conditions have changed tremendously” she commented, raising her eyes to the ceiling in thanks.

The Pies Descalzos Foundation rebuilt the school; they installed sturdy buildings, libraries, computer rooms and safe bathrooms. Pies Descalzos, in alliance with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the government, and Secretary of Education of Soacha, the Minuto de Dios University and the Educational Alliance, support two schools in Altos de Cazucá. In each, they provide nutritious meals, extra programs for troubled kids, recreational and leadership programs, while supporting parent cooperative that help families leave poverty. The community and the children have a safe, supported place to develop. As Ana, one of the school’s parents said “they now have the possibility to imagine a tomorrow filled with human and professional possibilities in this society.”

Jhonathan’s story

Jhonathan wants to clean up Altos de Cazucá. The 17 year old environmental biology major at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University knows only too well the pollution that plagues this poor area south of Bogotá. He moved to Altos de Cazucá as a baby with his mother and siblings. The family struggled to eke out a living, but his mother wanted more for her children so she enrolled them in the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Institute, one of the Pies Descalzos schools.

“The Foundation radically changed my life,” says Jhonathan.  “It taught me to relate to other people and that material things aren’t the only things that count. It helped me realize what my life’s project should be.”  With Pies Descalzos’ support, Jhonathan scored among the highest students in the country on the high school exit exams. He and other top Pies Descalzos students received university scholarships from Pies Descalzos to pursue their dreams.

“The University is an enormous responsibility, not only for myself and my family, but to help the rest of my community,” says Jhonathan. He and another student, Maicol, are using their education to create a recycling business that will provide much needed jobs and help clean up the local environment. Jhonathan also returns to his old neighborhood to tutor kids in school and help them imagine their true potential. “We use games to make learning fun and to expand their interest in school” says Jhonathan.

He loves learning and is eager to continue studying. He would like to pursue a master’s degree in systems engineering and learn French and Portuguese. But, no matter how far he goes, he will never forget the Pies Descalzos Foundation, the Barefoot Foundation and the lessons they taught him about service and believing in his own potential.

Give the Gift that Keeps on Giving and contact Cafe Hound today at maher@cafehound.com or krislert@cafehound.com OR give directly to the Barefoot Foundation by following this link.  Thank you for your time and for relationship with Cafe Hound.  Happy 2010!

Official Release… “Cafe Hound”

Picture 1_3

Dear Readers,

Over the past six weeks, we have enjoyed unofficially blogging on cafehound.com and have seen the development of the blog and its traffic from visitors “accidentally” coming to our blog. It has been a pleasure to offer diverse information accessible on our blog. Today, we take another important step and officially introduce to you cafehound.com.

What you will find on our blog is random but hopefully informative. As the blog’s name suggests, we are Cafe Hound. We search for the best coffee the world can offer. In Cafe Hounding section, you can read our reviews of cafes from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Coming soon, we will add reviews of coffee houses outside the US. We are also proud to present to you the exclusive interviews of “Who Is Who” in specialty coffee industry. We are honored to have Chuck Patton (founder and owner of Bird Rock Cafe Roasters in La Jolla, California) as our inaugural feature in this interview section. To be added to the list of fame are Eileen Hassi (founder and owner of Ritual Coffee in San Francisco), Michael McGuire (owner and roaster of K-Bay Caffe in Homer, Alaska), Timothy Castle (founder and CEO of Castle & Company, Santa Monica, California), and Karen Cebreros (founder and CEO of Elan Organic, San Diego, California).

Cafe Hound is not only the place you can get reviews and knowledge about your neighborhood cafes. We carefully select and present to you interesting news and upcoming events in coffee industry. Moreover, with our expertise in economics, finance, international relations, and public policy, we devote a section of the blog to analytical and educational issues related to every stage of specialty coffee production– from crop to cup, or from beans to brew. Currently, we proudly review an interesting article by Christopher Bacon of the University of California, Santa Cruz, on how organic, Fair-Trade, eco-friendly coffee could potentially help poor farmers in developing economies get out of poverty. Our main objective is to present to you the cutting-edge academic research on coffee-related issues in a non-academic language. Stay tuned for more of these geeky but exciting posts.

You may want to ask yourself why we, as an academic economist and a policy expert, fell in love with coffee and decided to devote our time to this blog. We have explained it all in the About the Hounds section. For those who have known us before, this section will give you eye-opening stories of the “dark” (but creamy and aromatic) side of our lives. We hope it entertains you and answers your curiosity.

You may also want to know what we expect from this blog. Well, first and foremost, we view this blog as our way to get us exposed to more people in the coffee industry. This is not only those working in the industry itself, but also those who are frequent customers of coffee houses and share our passion in great coffee. Please come join us in our journey to search for the best coffee. Please suggest to us where we should go “cafe hounding.” If you have favorite neighborhood coffee houses, feel free to share with us.

Finally, we realize there are several blogs and discussion boards out there covering coffee and cafes. Many of them are fantastic and comprehensive. By no means do we view our blog as their competitor. Instead, we think that our blog will offer something different, and provide you with both casual and more formal, semi-academic knowledge. The Cafe Hounding section does not rate the cafes (like yelp or other restaurant rating websites) but rather presents you with objective reviews of coffee houses that we carefully select. Most of them are mentioned by local coffee geeks as the “best in town” cafes or employ baristas who have made it to the final round of national or international competitions. The Interviews section gives you behind-the-scene stories about people in your neighborhood cafes and others in the industry that you may not have known before. Finally, the coffee.edu section takes advantage of our strengths and expertise in our main professions as an academic economist and a policy expert. It is very educational in a strict academic sense, i.e. very nerdy, but hopefully is exciting for those readers who are interested in more than just the taste and aroma of coffee.

And with this introduction, we officially proudly present to you… cafehound.com.

–The Hounds

Interview: Chuck Patton – Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Name: Chuck Patton
Title: Owner, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, La Jolla, CA
Birthplace: San Diego, CA
Hometown: Pacific Beach community. Went to elementary, junior high and high school within a few miles of present day Bird Rock Coffee Roasters retail location.

La Jolla Light festivities.

La Jolla Light festivities.

Background

Cafe Hound: Where does your passion for specialty coffee come from? When was that?
Chuck: I started drinking a lot of coffee in high school just for the buzz.  Several years ago, my wife got me a home roaster and I spent a lot of time experimenting with different beans from Sweet Maria’s until the hobby grew into a business.
CH: Tell me about your entry to coffee industry.
Chuck: I bought a one pound fluid air roaster for about US$3,500 and began a home delivery service. I also sold my coffee at the La Jolla farmers market.
CH: How many years of experience do you have in coffee industry?
Chuck: I started the business in 2002.
CH: Did you work for other coffee establishments before starting your coffee business?
Chuck: No. I was self taught.
CH: What was the first location of your business?
Chuck: I did not have a location at first.  I roasted out of the VFW on Turquoise because they had a health permit.  Then, I rented space in a restaurant that is now out of business on La Jolla Blvd.  I converted his wine bar into a coffee bar for morning business but it did not do well.  I chalked it up to a learning experience.  Then, I rented a coffee kiosk on Turquoise behind Albertson’s and operated out of there as the smallest licensed coffee wholesaler in California.  Then, I bought the business of a guy who was burnt out.  It included a list of wholesale accounts and a Probat L12 but, operated out of Miramar.  So, we did that for about a year until we moved here.
CH: Who were your initial clients?
Chuck: Most of our clients are from Bird Rock, La Jolla, and Pacific Beach.


Pony spotting at BRC

Bean & Drink Talk

CH: Where do you buy your beans from?
Chuck: Different brokers. If we are buying directly from farmers, we still need to work with an importer and exporter.
CH: Do you roast your own beans?
Chuck: We roast our own.
CH: Do you sell wholesale or online?
Chuck: Yes, we do wholesale and also sell online.
CH: How often do you order beans? How often do you roast?
Chuck: We roast 5 days a week and order coffee at least twice a month.
CH: How do you name your blends?
Chuck: We only have two blends. We focus on single-origin coffee.
CH: What are your top 3 favorite roasts of the recent past?
Chuck: First, Ethiopia Amaro Gayo city roast. Second, Panama La Esmeralda city roast. And third, Costa Rica Micro-lot full city roast.
CH: What is your favorite drink?
Chuck: Coffee.
CH: What drink is the most sold at Bird Rock?
Chuck: Lattes.
CH: Are there any interesting stories behind your drink names?
Chuck: Trophy wife and sugar daddy are self-explanatory considering the area our café is located.

P1000231

Looking Ahead

CH: Do you have any plans for expansion?
Chuck: Secret.  No comment.
CH: So…what’s next?  Beyond the business, what else you would like to do through your work?Chuck: We are currently working on a water filtration project for some of the farmers we are working with in Huila. I will return to Colombia next month to install the second generation of prototypes in a few of the farmers’ homes. I believe we have a responsibility to the farmers we buy coffee from that goes beyond simply purchasing “Fair Trade” coffee so we will focus on projects like this in the future.
CH: What else do you want to tell our reader?
Chuck: We are continuing to seek out and purchase high quality coffee directly from farmers so we are increasing our travel time as we begin to develop relationships with farming groups.
CH: Thank you for sharing your interesting story with us.

Business Information

Bird Rock Coffee Roaster 5627 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla, CA 92037 Tel. 858 551 1707 www.birdrockcoffeeroasters.com

Special Thanks

We would like to thank Chuck and the good folks at Bird Rock Coffee for roasting the beans used in the first release of Kris/Maher Blend. Maher also wants to thank all of the employees for keeping him caffeinated and happy over his last year of residence in Pacific Beach, especially Hector, Jocylynn, and Tony. Maher knows he’s forgetting the two dudes that used to make sure he got his morning espresso as he rushed to school – unfortunately, the key word was “rush”.

Photo credits: cafehound.com and http://www.lajollalight.com/life/258652-taste-of-bird-rock

 

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

http://www.birdrockcoffeeroasters.com

5627 La Jolla Blvd.

La Jolla, CA 92037

858 551 1707

HRS: Mon-Fri 6am-6pm; Sat-Sun 6:30am-6pm

Background

Name: Chuck Patton
Title: Owner
Birthplace: San Diego, CA
Hometown: Pacific Beach community

· Went to elementary, junior high and high school within a few miles of present day Bird Rock Coffee Roasters retail location.

Cafehound.com: Where does your passion for specialty coffee come from? / When was that?

Chuck: Started drinking a lot of coffee in high school just for the buzz.  Several years ago, my wife got me a home roaster and I spent a lot of time experimenting with different beans from Sweet Maria’s until the hobby grew into a business.

Cafehound.com: Tell me about your entry to coffee industry.

Chuck: I bought a one pound fluid air roaster (~US$3,500) and began a home delivery service; selling my coffee at the La Jolla farmers market.

CH: How many years of experience do you have in coffee industry?

Chuck: Started the business in 2002.

CH: Did you work for other coffee establishments before starting your coffee business?

Chuck: No. Self taught.

CH: What was the first location of your business?

Chuck: Did not have a location at first.  I roasted out of the VFW on Turquoise because they had a health permit.  Then, I rented space in a restaurant that is now out of business on La Jolla Blvd.  I converted his wine bar into a coffee bar for morning business but it did not do well.  I chalked it up to a learning experience.  Then I rented a coffee kiosk on Turquoise behind Albertson’s and operated out of there as the smallest licensed coffee wholesaler in California.  Then, I bought the business of a guy who was burnt out.  It included a list of wholesale accounts and a Probat L12 but, operated out of Miramar.  So, we did that for about a year until we moved here.

CH: Who were your initial clients / client profile?

Chuck: Most of our clients are from Bird Rock, La Jolla, and PB.

Bean talk

CH: Where do you buy your beans from?

Chuck: Different brokers. If we are buying directly from farmers we still need to work with an importer and exporter.

CH: Do you roast your own or purchase from a wholesaler?

Chuck: We roast our own.

CH: Do you sell wholesale? Online?

Chuck: Yes/Yes

CH: How often do you order beans? How often do you roast?

Chuck: We roast 5 days a week and order coffee at least twice a month.

CH: How do you name your blends?

Chuck: We only have two blends.    We focus on single-origin coffee.

CH: What are your top 3 favorite roasts (country, degree of roast, specific origin/farm if possible) of the recent past?

Chuck:

Country

Most specific Origin

Roast (degree of roast)

Ethiopia

Amaro Gayo

City Roast

Panama

La Esmeralda

City Roast

Costa Rica

Micro-Lot

Full City Roast

Drink talk

Favorite Drink: Coffee

Most sold at Bird Rock: Lattes

CH: Are there any interesting stories behind your drink names?

Chuck: Trophy wife and sugar daddy are self-explanatory considering the area [our café is located in]…

Looking Ahead

CH: Any plans for expansion?

Chuck: Secret.  No comment.

CH: So…what’s next?  Beyond the business, what else you would like to do through your work? (Training initiatives, Farm visits, Educational programs, Environmental programs, etc…)

Chuck: We are currently working on a water filtration project for some of the farmers we are working with in Huila.  I will return to Colombia next month to install the second generation of prototypes in a few of the farmers’ homes.   I believe we have a responsibility to the farmers we buy coffee from that goes beyond simply purchasing “Fair Trade” coffee so we will focus on projects like this in the future.

CH: What else do you want to tell our reader?

Chuck: We are continuing to seek out and purchase high quality coffee directly from farmers so we are increasing our travel time as we begin to develop relationships with farming groups.

End of interview.

Special thanks to Chuck and the good folks at Bird Rock Coffee for roasting the beans used in the 1st release of Kris/Maher Blend. Maher also wants to thank some the employees for keeping him caffeinated and happy over his last year of residence in Pacific Beach: Hector, Jocylynn and Tony. Maher knows he’s forgetting the two dudes that used to make sure he got his morning espresso as he rushed to school – unfortunately, the key word was “rush”.

Photo credits: Cafehound.com and http://www.lajollalight.com/life/258652-taste-of-bird-rock