On a spring morning, Colby Barr and Tyler Wells, two pioneers of the specialty coffee scene, sit inside a brick loft in the Arts District of Los Angeles, drinking Verve Coffee’s Elida Estate Green Tip Gesha, a rare coffee varietal from Panama. While gesha coffee beans are nothing new, renowned for their coveted status and almost tea-like aromas and flavor notes, the green tip gesha is an even more rarified variety. Wilford and Thatcher Lamastus of the farm Elida Estate have been cultivating gesha plants 1,800 above sea level for years near the protected rainforests of Boquete, Panama, making them one of the highest grown geshas on the market. When the plants began to mature, the youngest leaves on the ends of the branches were either bronze-tipped or green-tipped. The latter produced higher grade beans which were then separated into an entirely new cultivar. Since then, the fully roasted and award-winning fruit has been sold exclusively through Verve Coffee Roasters for $65 per eight ounces. It’s steep price tag, but so were the conditions by which the coffee was born.
Barr needs little introduction in the still exponentially growing specialty coffee movement. While cortados and single-origin-this-or-that coffees are now offered on nearly every corner of an urban city, there was a time when only close confidants of the industry were scheming and discovering the future of coffee. Evidently, that future turned out to be a whole lot tastier, and proved to be a major global market for the taking. For Barr, co-founder and green coffee buyer, that opportunity was Verve Coffee Roasters, which was established on the coast of Santa Cruz, California in 2007. Today, their locations span beyond Northern California with several stores in Los Angeles and their newest in Tokyo, Japan.
In partnership with KitchenAid®, Life & Thyme invited our good friend (and go-to coffee expert) Tyler Wells, founder of the much loved Handsome Coffee Roasters and now Blacktop Coffee, to sit with Barr for a candid conversation on the growth of coffee culture, making coffee at home with innovative tools (like the KitchenAid® Precision Press Coffee Maker), and Verve’s trajectory to success on the first episode of Get Something Brewing.