About five years ago, I began pestering my friend Ryan Brown to write a book about green-coffee buying. I thought Ryan was the perfect person to write such a book, as he was the most competent coffee buyer I'd ever encountered. It took those five years, but last year Ryan finally gave in and wrote the book. I'm pleased to say it's a masterpiece.
My first memory of cupping with Ryan took place in the basement of Ritual Coffee in the mid-2000s. Ryan had about ten coffees set up blindly on the table, brought his nose no closer than six inches (15cm) to each cup, and correctly declared which coffee was in each cup (mind you, many of the coffees were quite similar.) I was amazed; Ryan could probably out-sniff my sister’s beagle, and his green evaluation seemed borderline psychic compared to my ordinary abilities. My first thought upon witnessing that trick was that I was going to keep this guy around for a long time and learn what I could from him.
Happily, the rest of the world can now also learn from Ryan. Dear Coffee Buyer is like Ryan’s doctorate-level thesis on green coffee buying. The book is part masterclass in green evaluation, part clever advice for professional green buyers and those thinking about getting into the business, part travel narrative, and part editorial of what terms like “direct trade” really mean. I hope every barista, roaster, and green buyer reads this book. If they do, the industry will be much better for it.