A Peek Inside a Bottle of El Triunfo
By: L.J. Taylor, Equal Exchange Published:
When the chance to work on a brew with Harpoon came along, we at Equal Exchange jumped at it. Collaborate with another elite company rooted in New England, about the same size, established in the exact same year? YES, PLEASE! As work started on this edition of the 100 Barrel Series, we knew we had made the right decision. It was interesting, engaging and a blast to get to know the people of Harpoon and to make such an amazing tasting coffee porter.
As I sit with an El Triunfo in hand, it dawns on me that you might not know how many people joined together to craft this beer. At Equal Exchange, pronouns can get confusing. The use of we andI cannot truly represent all that goes into our coffee. These particular beans started with 225 small-scale farmers that belong to a co-operative in a U.N.-protected highland in Mexico, all working together to cultivate an amazing green (unroasted) bean. No one farmer can attach his or her name to the bean; the work of many is represented in each bag. The coffee beans were then imported, not on a faceless global commodities floor, but instead, face-to-face as part of a relationship that is not only about buying and selling, but also about protecting the cloud forest, the endangered species of that area, and the stewardship of this planet. And that is all before it hit U.S. shores.
Once the coffee beans were in our hands in West Bridgewater, Mass., our roasting team carefully crafted just the right roast recipe to highlight the best taste profile for these precious beans. Then, the mad scientists on our production floor created a process combining cold water and ground coffee, in just the right balance, to produce the extract infused in El Triunfo. Lastly, you cannot imagine how many samples of concentrated coffee were tasted to get just the right balance for this beer. Caffeine buzzed just thinking about it.
So, during this holiday season, if you happen to find an El Triunfo in your hands, share it with as many people as you can. No one taste can truly grasp all that it is. Only the smiles, hugs, handshakes and conversations generated while sharing can truly do this beer justice.