Café Imports Barista Origin Trip 2014 Destination Announced!

There are those who believe that coffee here began out there, far across the world, with  tribes of humans  who may have been the forefathers of the Roasters, or the Importers, or the Baristas. Some believe that there may yet be brothers in coffee who even now fight to survive, and grow great  coffee, somewhere beyond the border…

An artist's rendering of a command meeting during last year's Café Imports Origin Trip.
An artist’s rendering of a command meeting during last year’s Café Imports Origin Trip.

For years now, the crew at Café Imports has a lead a ragtag fleet of baristas on a lonely quest across the globe to visit farms, travel each link in the seed to cup chain, and bring face-to-face with coffee at origin. Their journey has lead them across the great tracts of Brazil, from the mountains of Costa Rica to its turquoise waters, and soon to the edge of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya so near to where modern humans and their precious coffee both first originated.

Noah Namowicz at Café Imports explains why these trips are important:

We have seen year after year that these trips are incredibly valuable to the barista ambassadors in our industry.   In our view, empowering the frontline of our industry has huge ripples throughout the entire supply chain.   We love these trips, they have become a very special time of year for us, and we will continue to support the barista profession in any way possible.

Today comes word that the quest will continue in 2014 as each of the US Regional barista champions will join forces with the US and WBC champions (though sometimes one person may embody more than one of those people, such events are rare and cannot be counted on to be repeated), and they will all make the long journey to the very place where the great globe is split in two, carving off the Northern Hemisphere from the Southern Hemisphere along that imaginary but powerful line called the Equator!

What kind of wildlife will they spot? Monkeys, tortoises, the blue footed booby? Or something even more treacherous? It matters not to these amazing baristas! Adventure is their first, middle and last names!

An artist's rendering of typical Ecuadorian wildlife.
An artist’s rendering of typical Ecuadorian wildlife.

And you could join them! This year the Café Imports Barista Origin Trip is going to ECUADOR! Will they be secretly smuggling Edward Snowden to exile or searching for Darwin’s original manuscripts lost overboard from the HMS Beagle? Quite possibly! For certain they’ll be visiting coffee farms, mills and more!

Here’s what Noah says to expect:

Arroz Chaufa, Cuey, Choclo, the musician Delphin,  world champion power walkers , smiley faces from Café Imports, and tons gorgeous big bodied, deeply sweet, floral microlot caliber coffee.  This Ecuador trip will have it all.

We chose Ecuador because we feel like it is an exciting relatively new origin to the specialty coffee scene, and has a ton of potential.   In addition, we have been consistently blown away by the coffees we have seen on our sample table over the past few years, so the baristas will get an opportunity to see how a country developing its specialty coffee infrastructure looks in its relative infancy.   The amount of discovery on this trip will be unlike any before it.   In addition, we love the opportunities the natural landscape provides us to have some fun (Galapagos Islands??)

Good luck to all barista competitors!  May you all win because this trip sounds too awesome to miss!

About Ken 263 Articles
Kenneth R. Olson (he/him) is co-founder and publisher of Barista Magazine the worldwide trade magazine for the professional coffee community. He has written extensively about specialty coffee, traveled near and far for stories, activities, and fun, and been invited to present on topics important to coffee culture. He is also an avid fan of the Portland Trail Blazers, the Washington Huskies, and public libraries.


  1. Win a regional barista competition in the US, the USBC or the WBC. Easy, right? It’s a great prize for the winners of those competitions, and we heart Café Imports for doing it!

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