Wholesale News, December 2019
By Honor Forte
Director of Sales, Wholesale Support and Training

Happy Holidays from Olympia Coffee HQ! This month we celebrate many good traditions but we want to give a special shout-out to the newest members of the Olympia Coffee Family - First to Nathan and Amy (our production manager and retail director) who welcomed their baby girl Elowen in October, and also to Troy and Chelsey (owners of Union Hill Coffee in California) who welcomed their baby boy, Winston, just last week. Congratulations to the new parents in the coffee family!

Below you'll find the usual helpful info detailing our work around the world this month, our coffee schedule, and training opportunities. This should be your biggest month of coffee and merch retail of the year so be sure to stock up on your biggest sellers for shoppers. We continue to offer 30% off of all merch for wholesale customers to be able to resell our items (or buy gifts for their staff) at a bigger than normal discount, but get those items on shelves asap. Expect your retail coffee bag sales to easily double by the week of Christmas too. 

Last thing is that we are busy preparing our 2019 Transparency Report, detailing our buying practices for every coffee purchase of this year. This is an essential part of our business model here, so expect to see that out sometime in January, but if you never took the time, read 2018's report here.

Read on for all the details and have a good rest of your Holiday Season!

Olympia Coffee Director of Sales
Honor Forte

PS. send this sign-up form along to your employees and coworkers to help them get this info from us each month. We appreciate it!
December Global Coffee Updates

By Oliver Stormshak
Owner, Green Coffee Buyer, and Roast Master

Welcome to our update on the comings, goings, and actions behind every coffee we source around the world. December is an extremely challenging and busy time in the coffee world, for both roasters and coffee farmers. If it wasn't already our busiest month at the roastery, Olympia Coffee will also be opening our 6th store this month in Columbia City, Seattle. Please visit us and say hi, maybe a high five too. So much of our team have been working their butts off to get this store open.

During the month of December, the communities of San Sebastian (La Plata) and San Fermin (Planadas) are busy harvesting coffee. We have contracted a larger amount of coffee during December to be shipped in January for February releases. This month, the following coffees will be harvested for Olympia Coffee to be roasted in the spring and summer: Decaf Asterisk San Sebastian, Sweetheart San Sebastian, and another 150 bags of San Fermin for Morning Sun, and Big Truck. Here in the USA, we have a really good supply on hand of San Sebastian Reserva that we will continue to roast as single-origin and be blending in Holiday Blend. We have a good supply on hand of single producer lots as well. At the beginning of December, we focused on Amparo Pajoy Calidad de Vida and the Reserve Lot of Clinton Ossa Red Bourbon. By the end of December, we will be sold out of Amparo’s lot and focused on another micro-lot from Clinton Ossa, a non-reserve lot. On the reserve front, we have a beautiful Reserve Box from super-producer Lucas Melo in Narino Colombia. Lucas Melo Reserve will hit the lineup just in time for Christmas.

I’m heartbroken to report that the region in which we work in the Gedeo District from Wenago Kebele to Banko Gotiti Kebele is seeing continued unrest and violence. The '19-'20 harvest has begun, and we had a trip scheduled this month but were not given safety clearance to enter the area. We are planning another trip for January and hopefully, the safety situation will have been improved. Meanwhile, we are planning a small conference in Addis Ababa to host our producers and work through a new transparency program in partnership with our importer partners Royal Coffee and Emory University. We are working on a better system of tracking and documenting the value chain of coffee and where value is lost and not being passed to farmers. More on this next year.

In the roastery, we are roasting our last few bags of Banko for the year. We have another beautiful washed lot right behind from our long-time Cooperative partners in the Wenago Kebele, Adame Garbota Washing Station. Adame Garbota is part of our 10-year relationship with the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU). On the Natural Process front, we still have another month to enjoy Jibicho Natural before we introduce you to another single producer natural lot. Also, early December will be the launch of your Sweetheart Yirgacheffe Reserve, which is a collection of grade 2 micro-lots from our partnering cooperatives from Yirgacheffe. In that collection we have Banko, Adame Garbota, Halo Bariti, and Oromia.

El Salvador
Early December is the kick-off of the '19-'20 harvest in El Salvador too. Our plan remains the same; going into this year we will continue to work very closely with the Ariz Family at Finca El Aguila, and Marco Ariz will continue to work with us on our individual farmer lots in Chalatenango. We already have a network of strong relationships with small scale farmers who pick and process all their own coffee in Chalatenango. We have seen possible growth from our customers in the USA with these coffees so we will continue to pursue this project as our main focus in Central America in 2020. Marco Ariz will return to living in El Salvador full time this month as well. He has been in Olympia since the summer, but will literally be harvesting our coffee on his farm in just a week or so.

Here in the roastery, early December marks the last weeks of 2019 harvested El Salvador lots. We are finishing up our Sweetheart Ricardo Ariz Bourbon Natural. I’ll go on record as saying this is one of my personal favorite espressos ever.

We are currently in Kenya, via the newest member of our Green Coffee team, Becky Cooper.  Becky is meeting with the Gitwe Cooperative who manages the Kibiru Factory. Kibiru is maybe our favorite factory for quality in Kenya, and we have been purchasing coffee from them for 3 years now. Becky's role this week there is to deepen our commitment to them in person. We're looking to ensure a bright future full of delicious juicy Kibiru Lots ahead.

In the roastery, we have a good supply for another month of Kiburu AB, both for blending into Little Buddy and for a single origin. We also have a good supply of the stunner Kamviu AA. We have one more lot from the 2019 harvest from the Gicherori Factory ahead of us too, before we get a shipment of new crop coffees from Kenya. Just a reminder, we sourced coffees from the Meru region of Kenya for winter and spring offerings, should be fun to introduce these coffees to all of you as they are entirely new to our offerings.

In the roastery, we are on our last few weeks of offering coffees from Guatemala, from the 2019 harvest. We have a very small amount of all the El Socorro lots remaining. As we enter into the new year we are starting at reset in Guatemala for the 4th time. Last month we announced we are discontinuing our program sourcing in Corral Grande based on your feedback, with hopes to start a new sourcing program in Huehuetenango where we can be more effective. Stay tuned this Winter and Spring for updates on this. We will be continuing our relationship with El Socorro, next year as well

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new crop coffees from Burundi this year. We sourced only one lot from Burundi this year, our smallest purchase in five years, but this is the lowest volume harvest from Burundi in memory. So it is. Burundi’s constant struggle to survive as a nation and coffee producer continues. Our partnership with Long Miles Project there continues to be an excellent representation of our goals and values, and we look forward to the 2020 harvest as hopefully things continue to improve and make their efforts even more worthwhile.

Now Roasting: December
by Tyler Meurk 
Wholesale Sales and Training

We are already right in the thick of the holiday season and in the PNW we are experiencing shorter days with long dark mornings. As we are all balancing busy schedules with holiday gatherings and life in general not slowing down, having great coffee around sure helps keep us going.

This month we have two coffees that I am really excited to drink when they hit the menu. The first is the Reserve Box from Lucas Melo in Colombia. From one of the highest altitude farms in the world at 2300m, this coffee was carefully grown and meticulously harvested to showcase the best possible quality from the region. Lucas Melo is a frequent Cup of Excellence winner and we are lucky to be able to enjoy his wonderful coffee this month! The second coffee I'm looking forward to later in the month is the next iteration of Sweetheart, Yirgacheffe Reserve. Consisting of only washed coffees from this famed area of Ethiopia. This offering of heirloom varietals will definitely be one of my favorite espressos of the year, yielding flavors of stone fruit and candied citrus.  


New Coffees Out in December:

Colombia, Lucas Melo Reserve   Expected in 1 week
Kenya Gicherori AA   Expected in 3 weeks 


Coffees Low in Inventory:

Guatemala El Socorro Honey Maracaturra   2 more weeks  
Guatemala El Socorro Pacamara   2 more weeks
Colombia, Clinton Ossa Red Bourbon   3 more weeks  

Seasonal Blends and Espresso Updates:

Big Truck
Organic Blend
Sweet chocolate, and ripe berry flavors, all in a dense heavy body
Roasted for Espresso

Big Truck's Current Components:
Colombia, San Fermin Organic (Washed Process) 
Ethiopia, Jibicho Organic  (Natural Process)

Espresso Specs:
Dose: 18 grams using 18g VST Baskets
Volume:  36 grams finish weight
Extraction Time: 24-32 seconds 
Brew Temp: 200F




El Salvador Ricardo Ariz Bourbon Natural
Seasonal Single Origin
Flavors of chocolate, berry and cream

Sweetheart's Current Component:
El Salvador Ricardo Ariz Bourbon Natural 

Our Training Department Recommends:
18 grams in
38-42 grams out
28-30 seconds

"This does not mean that your range day to day will be 38-42 grams, but that each day, the coffee will most likely be sparkling at a different point within that range, so I encourage you to get a little bit more intentional and specific for your day to day dial-ins. At 42 grams out, I was noticing really jammy flavors of raspberry, and milk chocolate, with a deliciously silky body and vibrant acidity. At 38 grams out, this coffee was still amazing, but tended to be more chocolaty and less berry-forward.This stellar coffee steals the show either straight or in milk."

- Retail Trainer Jeremy Williamson


Little Buddy Blend
Seasonal Blend 
Flavors of sweet berries, stone fruit, and chocolate

Little Buddy's Current Components:
Kenya Kibiru AB, El Salvador Ricardo Ariz Natural, Ethiopia Adisu Kindane Natural

Espresso Specs:
Dose: 18 grams using 18g VST Baskets
Volume: 41 grams finish weight
Extraction Time: 28-30 seconds
Brew Temp: 200F

Decaf Asterisk
Seasonal Single Origin, Sugar Cane Processed
Flavors of milk chocolate, caramel and marshmallow

Current Component:
Colombia, San Sebastian

Espresso Specs:
Dose: 18 grams using 18g VST baskets
Volume:  36 grams finish weight
Extraction time: 25-30 seconds 
Brew Temp: 200F

Coffee Training
Classes, Schedule and Locations

We are proud to welcome any of our wholesale partners to our Training Lab spaces to prepare for customer service and advance themselves in the pursuit of higher quality coffee.

All trainings are FREE and we highly encourage attendance.
All Classes are lead by Honor, Tyler or another member of our experienced training staff.

Cafe Fundamentals:

This class is to prepare any barista who is new to coffee, or new to serving Olympia Coffee in a retail setting. This will train baristas to serve espresso and milk beverages, and clearly communicate Olympia Coffee's offerings to customers. Classes are for 3-6 attendees at a time and all 3 hours are hands-on and open for Q and A. 

Attend this training In Seattle: 
First Thursday of Every Month
10am-1pm, in the La Marzocco Showroom in Ballard

Attend this training In Olympia: 
Second and Fourth Thursdays of Every Month
10am-1pm - Olympia Coffee Training Lab

Sign Up For Cafe Fundamentals Now

Advanced Training Series:

    Advanced Coffee Extraction:  
Cupping, Pour Over, and Single-Origin Espresso deep-dive
    Advanced Milk and Latte Art:  Alternative milks and new approaches to latte art
    Customer Service and Bar-Flow Hospitality and efficiency behind the bar
    Coffee at Origin Everything you want to know about coffee before it becomes coffee

These trainings have been developed for Olympia Coffee's own retail staff to seek the next-level in their coffee education and customer service. We have now developed them for our wholesale partners as well. They are offered in a 4 month rotation and also available by request.

Attend In Seattle:
Third Thursday of Every Month, one class per month
10am-1pm -  La Marzocco Showroom in Ballard

Book for Your Own Staff:
Whenever needed, for groups of 3-6 in Olympia, Seattle, or at your shop

Current Rotation on Third Thursdays:

December 19th:  Coffee at Origin
January 16th: Advanced Extraction
February 20th: Advanced Milk and Latte Art

Sign Up For an Advanced Training Now
If you'd like to join us, RSVP by the Monday before the class at 4 pm at the latest.

You can RSVP to or by calling our roastery at 360-753-0066. We have limited spots to keep these classes quality-focused, so be sure to call ahead.
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