Tell us about Carrow Coffee and why did you guys start roasting coffee in Sligo?
We returned to Ireland in 2017 after four years living in Colombia. Andrew's family live on a farm in Sligo and we were keen to try rural living after the madness of Bogotá!
Where are you from and how did you get into coffee?
Andrew is from Sligo and Paola is from Trieste, Italy. Our passion for coffee came from our time living in Colombia where we visited coffee farms throughout the country and made friends with several farmers. Andrew started collecting samples and roasting in our apartment in Bogotá. We realised how different single-origin coffees could be, even from within one country. This is what we try to celebrate today with our current range of coffees - a display of the amazing diversity of flavours within Arabica coffee.
What is the best coffee experience you’ve had ever?
We visited Astrid Medina on her coffee farm in Tolima, Colombia after she won the Cup of Excellence in 2015. It took us over a day to get there by bus and Jeep with the road becoming steadily worse. Her hospitality when we arrived and the amazing views from her farm are something we will never forget however. (This is the article i wrote for Bloomberg at the time: http://www.bworldonline.com/
content.php?section= Agribusiness&title=colombian- coffee-from-former-rebel- territory-stands-out-at- auction&id=107059)
What do you think about sustainability in the coffee industry?
The issue of sustainability is hugely important if we are to enjoy drinking good coffee fifty years from now. One thing that we witnessed in Colombia was the amount of artificial fertilizer that is used on this crop. By buying directly from several farmers we feel we are in a better position to select coffees grown using natural manures & composts rather than chemicals.
Tell us about the coffees featuring in this months Brew Box?
For example, both the Colombian espresso and filter coffees in the February Brew Box come from our friend Frank Torres in Nariño. He's spent considerable time looking after streams, reforesting and generally preserving the biodiversity on his two farms - La Cafelina and La Indonesia.
Tell us something uncoffee related about yourselves?
We are farmers ourselves! When we aren't roasting or packing coffee we're usually planting or picking salad on our farm.
What's the plan for the future?
There isn't one. Just living day by day.