We Visited Coffee Heaven and Lived to Tell the Tale

I like love coffee. It's part of my Cuban DNA.

Growing up in a Cuban household, coffee was The Staple that was ever-present. I can remember having café con leche for breakfast before school. Of course, this was back in the day when no one was calling the authorities if children were given caffeine. But I digress....

Eric's coffee preference is a strong, sweet espresso, specifically La Llave by Gaviña. Mine a deep, rich Columbian roast. My favorite is Don Francisco, also by Gaviña.

The Gaviña Gourmet Coffee Roasters invited me to come up and take a tour of their facility, which I jumped on. A day surrounded by our favorite coffee? That's the closest definition of heaven I can come to.

The tour required us wearing hairnets. And in Eric's case a "beard net." (One of my favorite words in Spanish is the one for "hairnet." It's "redesilla," but that's not important right now.)

This is me and Eric in Coffee Heaven.

Eric & Marta
How attractive are we??

I so love the long and rich coffee history of the Gaviña family and their commitment to selecting the best coffee beans from around the world. Their dedication to quality is pretty much unsurpassed.

Bags of coffee

Our tour guide, Leonor Gaviña-Valls was wonderfully knowledgeable.

Leonor Gavina and Marta Darby
Leonor Gaviña-Valls and me. I predict hairnets will soon be back in style...

Eric was decidedly beside himself that we happened to be there at the exact moment they were running the La Llave Espresso through production.

Eric and la llave
Eric and and miles and miles of La Llave Espresso.

Also impressive was the fantastic collection of coffee roasters displayed throughout the facility.

Coffee roasters
Just a sampling of the many and varied coffee roasters found at Gaviña Gourmet Coffee.

After the tour, it was time for "cupping."

Like wine tasting, cupping is the art of observing the aromas and tastes of brewed coffees. You begin by noticing the different colors and textures of the coffee, before and after roasting.

Coffee cupping

The next step is to deeply sniff the coffee grounds as hot water is poured on them.

Coffee cupping 2 Eric & Marta coffee cupping

We look so pro, don't we?

Then comes the slurping. Loud slurping. The slurp gets the coffee all the way to the back of your tongue and it fills your mouth, engaging all your senses. Again, no polite sipping here. Slurp away, people! Noisy slurping is the only way. (Obviously, this was extremely fascinating to me. I even shot a video of the slurp-fest, which I may or may not share someday. Sorry, today is not that day.)

Also, a disclaimer: I may not be articulating the cupping ritual exactly. All I remember is that there was sniffing and slurping and there was coffee and it was wonderful.

We determined that Eric really, really likes the La Llave espresso. And I really like the Don Francisco. But then, we knew that. And honestly, if we didn't already love those brands, after spending a day with the Gaviña family we would be their biggest fans.

Our cupping experience was made all that more delightful by the knowledgeable Michael Gaviña who lives and breathes coffee and walked us through all the smelling, tasting, and slurping that is The Art of Cupping.

Check out this beautiful ad with Michael and his father, Pedro Gaviña.

Don Francisco ad

We finished off our day at Gaviña Gourmet Coffee exactly as we had hoped.

Cafe La Llave
Ah, nectar of the gods.

A great big thank you to the Gaviña family for their kind hospitality and for a delightful day.

Also, thanks for the surprise of lovely parting gifts. Coffee heaven indeed.

Cafe La Llave and Don Francisco

You're all invited over to my house. "Estoy colando!"

If you don't already, I suggest you follow them on Facebook: Don Francisco Gourmet Coffee. Café La Llave.