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Archive for the ‘The Mokk-a Story’ Category

So now we have Cafe Svenska!  What next?  Cannot go on the shelf with just one blend.  And so the search continued.

Which country will I attack next?  Let’s try Italy!  Certainly a country known for its wonderful coffee.

So in late 2007, while chatting with some friends I asked….do you happen to know a good coffee roaster?  They promptly sent me many brochures on coffee roasting equipment.  This is NOT what I meant!

Enter Fernando - the owner

Enter Fernando - the owner

I was looking for a small roaster of very nice coffee.  The man not the machine!  Clearing up the misunderstanding, we talked a bit and I went over for a long weekend to visit.

Enjoying some small, romantic cafes, in and around Naples I choose my favorite.  Now let’s see if the Italians would be as easy as the Swedish. 

Around the end of January 2008 I contacted the roaster of the coffee I fell in love with and asked to arrange a meeting with him.

 

Enter Fernando, the owner of the small roasting facility.

I went over to meet with them in early February 2008.  Nice facility!  Larger than my tiny roaster in Sweden but still on a small scale.  If I am going to get this going in Europe one day, and that was certainly a thought, I needed someone large enough to roast and distribute for me.  Maybe they can do it??

When I entered their office I was warmly welcomed.  They thought I was a wealthy American woman coming in to place a large order!  That unfortunately was not the case!!  I sat down at the conference table and said, “I have tried your coffee and fine it very nice.  Would you consider selling me your recipe?” 

Their expressions changed instantly!  Angelo, Fernando’s son, looked at me and said, “YOU MUST BE CRAZY!! You expect for me to sell you a recipe that took me years to perfect??”

Now, I was not quite sure what to do next.  Remaining calm as always, (this was an expensive trip) I began telling them more of the story.  I had copies of the design files with me so they could see what I had in mind for package design, name, etc. so I slowly, without hesitation, continued to walk them through the plan.

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They listened patiently.  The entire time I was talking Fernando would not look at me.  He looked and spoke only to Angelo.  This is certainly body language that I understand but it was not going to stop me.  I had not been kicked out yet!  Around 2pm we broke for lunch.

We left the office and walked down the street to a wonderful, small restaurant where they were quite well known.

Fernando, Enzo (my Italian friend that was there to assist with translation) and Fernando's son Angelo

Fernando, Enzo (my Italian friend that was there to assist with translation) and Fernando's son Angelo

The food was perfect!  Far too much but “That’s Italian” I suppose.  Lots of Antipasto to start and just when I though we were ready to go back to work….the pasta arrived….and of course then desert!  Wine, wine and more wine.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent showing me their facility.  They sell only in the South of Italy so it was not big but very clean and organized.

Lavello Italy February 2008 012

When the day was complete, Fernando invited me, Enzo and his wife to have dinner with him and his wife Norah.  We were asked to be at their house at 8:00.

What a lovely home and what a lovely lady Norah was.  She had homemade pizza and champagne ready for us.

That's me on the left, Norah, Fernando and Enzo's wife Linda, a dear friend of mine

That's me on the left, Norah, Fernando and Enzo's wife Linda, a dear friend of mine

 

We talked for a bit and enjoyed a FEW BOTTLES of Champagne before leaving for dinner.

Dinner began with wine, of course, and then came plates of Antipasto!  It was all so good I could not resist it…..and then of course the pasta and desert. 

Where exactly was I supposed to put all of this after such a large lunch??

After desert or with desert, I don’t remember now,  I was introduced to Limoncello!  Oh my!  That was almost my favorite!  Was perfect after all of that food.  Then of course a small espresso.  I had to roll myself into bed that evening but I must say, the Italians certainly know how to cook!  They also know how to eat…by the way!  Why are they not a bit larger??

Enzo says you should never put oregano in your pasta…..ok but I personally like it!

Tomorrow I will continue with Day #2 in Italy and the ongoing conversations with Fernando and Angelo!  Cafe Italia was going to be mine….

Stay tuned!  www.mokk-a.com!

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Cafe Svenska

images[4]In the summer of 2007 I took a trip to the far Southeast Coast of Sweden with some friends.  Sitting at a small café one morning, I ordered….….A Cup of Coffee!!

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My, this was really very nice coffee!  Maybe it was time to put my plan into action.

I asked a few questions and found out that the restaurant owner bought the coffee weekly from a small local roaster so I asked if he could arrange a meeting for me.  He was pleased to do so.  I can be very convincing but after telling him a bit about my idea he seemed intrigued and he felt that the roaster would be also!

Could this crazy idea I had really work?  Would any roaster be willing to sell a recipe to me that took him years to perfect?  Well all he could do was say “no”. 

This was the beginning of what became

Mokk-a European Coffee Blends

 Today exclusively found at Central Market stores in Texas! 

www.mokk-a.com

9-0625x10 Svenska

 

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Ok everyone is saying that I need to talk about the coffee….well I had to start somewhere.  First had to tell you how I ended up in Europe in the first place.  I’ll take you back to Siberia later.  Actually found some pictures yesterday of the trip but need time to work on them a bit.

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a joint venture with a Portuguese company…well…they tuned out to be the biggest client of my now husband.   Frans came into Houston with Antonio, my Portuguese connection, and that was the beginning.  After flying from Houston to Holland every few months I finally agreed to move over in 1995 leaving my brother, Mom, wonderful friends and family in Texas. 

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Through the years Mom came to visit quite often and I of course flew to Houston about every three months to see her.  In July of maybe 1993 I returned to Holland from a six week visit.  I got back home on a Friday.  Around 1:30am Sunday morning the phone rang.  Mom was in the hospital with Pneumonia!  Mom had not been in the hospital since I was born!  Immediately I called the airline and booked a flight to return to Texas Monday morning.

Suppose it was that trip that got me into coffee.  The coffee in the hospital was terrible!  I of course was accustomed to drinking wonderful Dutch coffee!  I always packed some in my suitcase when I traveled.  But this trip was a bit too sudden and as the grocery stores near my home are not open on Sunday…..

During my travels while living in Europe I had been served such wonderful coffees and one day I had another “creative moment”, and what I considered to be possibly another “crazy idea”.  Maybe even crazier than the Siberian Adventure, if that is possible.

Wonder if I could find exquisite, small roasters in tiny villages in Europe, get them to work with me on their recipes and sell them under my own brand name in the US?  Well it was a long shot but I decided to give it a try.

Now please keep in mind, coffee is one of the most competitive and mature markets in the world.  Why did I think I could compete with Illy and the others, not to mention Starbuck’s?  I am not particularly a fan of Starbucks but they did create the social idea of coffee in the United States. 

My requirements would be these….give or sell me the recipe of my choice,  allow us a look into your secret roasting methods and work with us on perfecting each blend,  allow me to roast everything in the US for the US market and let me sell it under my own brand name.  Not asking too much….right!

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