Ensayo: Rehearsal



The title of my first blog is meant to represent my stage of growth within the coffee industry, and specifically at finca (farm) Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters.

Although we are not a farm in the typical or horticultural sense, our goal is much the same… create and source productive new plants (or people), which will grow and help produce something special and financially viable for the farm (or company).

At a typical coffee plantation in South or Central America, newly planted coffee saplings are tended meticulously.  Their first year of growth is heavily defined by their environment and at year’s end, their suckers are carefully pruned to create optimal future growth.

In my first year as a barista at Batdorf & Bronson, my upbringing was much the same.  I was closely watched, given knowledge, training, more training, and at the end of my first year I was a well pruned product of a specialty coffee company.

The next two years of a coffee tree’s future can vary widely.  Some yearlings are planted in plots specifically cleared and prepared for new young plants.  These areas will be interspersed with shade trees and will be irrigated regularly.  Meanwhile, other yearlings will be kept in the nursery for up to three years.  These older trees are meant to replace unproductive or diseased trees in existing production plots and are grown to a larger size to help ensure that adequate sunlight will reach the young plant.

“At the age of two years, the young plant will flower and bear a few grains; at three, it will bear its first crop, which is called an ensayo, or rehearsal; at four or five years, it will reach an economically viable level of production; and will reach its highest level of production and cup quality at between six and seven years.”

(World Coffee & Tea; December, 1992 p.11)

In my second and third years as a barista at our flagship store in downtown Olympia, I refined my skills and always worked to create something special, something better. Imagining the similarities that can be drawn between the role of a plant, and the role of a barista may be a stretch, but truly their roles are not much different. This spring I was slated to have my first ensayo, and coincidently was offered a position as Batdorf and Bronson’s Wholesale Trainer and Educator.


The Training and Education department at Batdorf and Bronson provides FREE training for all of our wholesale clients. All of our courses will be tailored to the needs of your business, and will ultimately help to increase the experience your customers expect to receive.

Dan Graham
Training and Education

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