When you’re preparing for your first run to become the next World Barista Champion, you might have other things on your mind than to busy yourself with finding new ways to market your coffee roastery. After all, isn’t the WBC the greatest stage for that? Well, if you’re Ian Kissick, owner and founder of Formative Coffee in London, you might see this differently.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted out of the blue by Nicholas Pastellopoulos, Head of Coffee at Formative who was interested in finding out how they could partner with us. The funny thing was, while in London for the Coffee Festival, I really wanted to visit Formative’s café in Westminster but the only day I could go was Sunday and on Sundays they’re closed. It must have been some telepathic transmission then that linked the two of us up later.
What Nick proposed was highly enticing. In a video call, both he and Ian told me they wanted to showcase a coffee from the same producer who provided Ian’s winning coffee from the recent UK Barista Championships, Colombian coffee grower Wilton Benitez. How was I ever going to say no to that?
And why did they want to showcase such a coffee you might ask? Good question. Formative only recently started roasting its own coffee. In fact, when Formative first made a splash on the London coffee scene, it was mostly sourcing its coffees from the likes of La Cabra and others before starting to roast in 2022 at the PLOT Roasting facilities in South London. Initially, only meant for the café, Formative quickly began selling bags to local fans and saw an opportunity to get the name out further.
That’s why, in time for Ian’s World Barista Championship run, they wanted to get one of their coffees into our box. Though Ian didn’t get into the finals, representing the UK in Athens was an incredible experience for him and helped raise the national profile of Formative from high end London coffee shop to world class brand.
For the July 2023 European coffee roasters box, Formative will roast a lush and super sweet Castillo from Wilton Benitez that was processed with a special preparation method. Wilton’s fearless approach to coffee growing has inspired many others in the region and helped coffee farmers score much better points for their coffees than they would otherwise have. Wilton’s background in chemical engineering gives him a very different perspective on coffee production and allows him to challenge the status quo by asking important questions.
Wilton meticulously measures and calculates the fermentation and nutrition levels in his many labs to ensure that the coffees achieve their maximum potential. El Paraiso 92, his farm in Cauca, is widely regarded to be one of Colombia’s best and it’s the first time that we have one his coffees in our box. Expect a wonderful cup with notes of tropical fruits and cane sugar.
Get this coffee alongside carefully chosen single origins from Coffee Collective and Manhattan Coffee in our upcoming July 2023 European roasters box. Visit our shop to see all options.