Today I visited the Starbucks headquarters for a little tasting of the new Galapagos Islands Coffee.  This was a roasting event, which is a regular event at the headquarters.  I have only rarely been to this kind of event, but some of you may remember a similar event that I attended in this blog post here:

The Tweet Up Event at the Starbucks Headquarters

At the roasting event, Starbucks corporate partners talk about the coffee that is being roasted during the event, and coffee is roasted freshly from a small oven and the sounds of beans popping are amplified throughout the Starbucks event meeting area.  Partners taste the coffee being roasted up, and leave with a half-pound of beans (usually, but not always).  Because the Galapagos Island coffee is so rare, and the supply is so limited, at this event the corporate partners only left with a small sample bag of the beans.  I actually felt so guilty leaving with  a half pound bag of the beans, knowing that there really wasn’t enough for all the corporate partners.

The gathering area for this event is a big open area with natural sunlight streaming in, and monitors in a few key places to make it easier to accommodate large groups.  I wandered around the open area, running into a few familiar faces now and then, always accompanied by the person hosting me at the event.  These roasting events, as far as I know, are not open to the general public. So far each and every time I’ve been lucky enough to be inside the headquarters, I’ve had a Starbucks corporate partner with me.

I heard some interesting information about Galapagos Island coffee that I thought I would pass on to you.  The roast profile is fairly light.  When it is pulled out of the coffee roasters, the second popping continues even in the cooling/collecting tray of the coffee roaster.  I assume the roast profile is similar to Organic Shade Grown Mexico, though I don’t know that for a fact.  Starbucks purchased about 400 bags of the Galapagos Island coffee, and each bag is roughly 50 kilos.  In the pictures below, there are some photos of the beans as they came out of the coffee roaster at various roasting points … meaning at 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 9 minutes, and 11 minutes.  I don’t think I have the minutes in the roaster coordinated exactly with the photos, but it is a nice progression to watch the browning of a bean.  Also included below is a photo of the bag that the coffee beans came in green from Galapagos Island.  After roasting, it will work out to be about 30,000 pounds of roasted beans.

The stores selected to sell this rare coffee all performed much higher than average in whole bean sales.  Many of the stores selected sell close to 115 pounds of coffee per week, more than double the average store’s sales.  All of the Clover Starbucks are receiving the Galapagos Island coffee too.

Enjoy the photos! (By the way, one of my favorite of the pics below is labeled “having fun” and is number 1474 and it’s a great spur of the moment pose by a partner who saw me pointing a camera at her).