Espresso School Trainer, Tom Hespe’s take on why teaching is its own reward.

Teaching is its own reward. In my many years as a barista trainer I have never really tired of the process. It’s simple; new names on a list every morning. You never know who is going to join the next class. No doubt this would terrify some people, bore the hell out of others. Me?

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Toby’s Estate harvest in action

Hi All, A few weeks ago on the blog we ventured to Toby’s Smith’s Farm, Finca Santa Teresa, for a truly rich Panama coffee experience. I mentioned in my previous post that I was working on a multi-part video series to capture the passion and hard work that goes into bringing our Toby’s Estate coffee

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Behind the Panama Coffee Scene with Toby’s Estate

You may have already read parts of our recent trip to Panama for the 2014 coffee harvest, but I have been working behind the scenes to pull together a short video to give you a truly rich Panama coffee experience.


I’m not ordinarily big on bright gold and purple trousers but when in Coorg, do as the Coorgs do. Nithya, my friend whose wedding I’m in India to celebrate trades coffee beans in Australia. His was a traditionally arranged marriage, but the wedding is in true Coorg style and I’m determined to look the part.

The Story of Finca Santa Teresa. Yes, Toby’s Estate Does Exist!

The idea that Toby Smith was once on the fast-track to becoming a lawyer is incongruous. As he inhales the steam wreathing upwards from a small bowl, it’s hard to imagine Toby wearing a business suit and carrying a briefcase. Watching him sip coffee, expertly analysing the roast, there’s no doubt the coffee world won

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The Toby’s Estate Story

The most common question we are asked at Toby’s Estate is “Is there a Toby”  and  “Where’s the Estate”, so we thought it probably makes sense to start from the beginning and share  Toby’s Story (yes he exists!), and how Toby’s Estate came to be.


Ghotul Akbar Nooruddin Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili is the man who first bought coffee to the western world, but the guy who picks usp from the airport gives his name as ‘Jack’ then takes us to the hotel without speaking.


The landscape is flat, the road is flat, the flatness stretches out forever and beyond. The only change in the landscape was colour, with brown moving to a light ochre, then opening up to a palette of red and green. The verdant hills are held up by the rich, red topsoil, all set off by

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1560 metres up, overlooking the pristine cooling rainforest punctuated by giant up-flung trees sits Finca Santa Teresa, the farm I’ve dreamed of having since I got into the coffee game. It’s great to be handed a bag of green beans, to roast them, grind them and so on. But being able to grow the fruit

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