One of the UK’s top coffee roasters, Ricardo Pena from Coffee Gems roasters, recently moved his business right here to the flourishing and lively market town of Chippenham.
Coffee can be bought directly from Ricardo’s roasting house at Unit C11, Bumpers Way, Bumpers Farm Industrial Estate, SN14 6LH or you can visit the online shop at coffeegems.co.uk.
Visit Coffee Gems in person and you can have a great cup for free with the purchase of a coffee bag. Or maybe you fancy a “coffee experience” where you can learn about the coffee journey from bean to cup and taste coffee from different origins. Ricardo would also love to talk to local shops and cafes.
Ricardo’s love for coffee started not where it begins for most of us – as a customer, coffee drinker and enthusiast – but where coffee normally grows, in a remote Colombian region named Huila.
He grew up on his grandparents’ estate, and with sparkle of happiness he still remembers when coffee plantations bloomed and dressed in white, with scents of jasmine and fantasy or when his grandmother used to roast coffee in a copper pot, then the house was invaded for an unique powerful and complex fragrance that seduced and overwhelmed his senses.
Nowadays, for him, only the aroma of coffee can conjure up that happy childhood.
He takes his job very seriously, even personally visiting the coffee farmers in Central and South America to select the beans for roasting each year. Ricardo also likes to understand how they regularly cope with the endless challenges of climate change, selecting the right variety depending the type of soil, plant diseases, shortage of labour, high price of fertilisers on top of learning new techniques of shade, organic use of plague killers and their process techniques.
Ricardo says for Coffee Gems to continue to roast high scoring coffees (86 or higher) it is important to understand the source of the coffee. But also sustainability is central to his business and so it is fundamental for his business to know where the coffee come from, how this is cultivated and processed and how communities involved in coffee plantations are not left vulnerable.
“Visiting farmers is an act of showing respect and admiration and it is a always a humbling experience. Expertise and passion of producers is overwhelming to the point where we just wish to respect their tradition and devotion to produce honest and class-apart coffees. Every time we’re in front of our coffee roaster and a batch is in the drum, we feel challenged to present their sublime work in the best possible way. We roast with the aim to enhance the innate quality and complexity of these premium coffees, showcasing the work of the producer in the most transparent and delicious way possible.”
He has visited farmers in Colombia, Peru and El Salvador. In Colombia he visited the Huila region, where the coffees cultivated always rank in the top ten in the Cup Of Excellence competition.
After crossing the Amazon river on his way to Peru, Ricardo was able to enjoy seeing farmers working sustainably – employing local people, mostly indigenous, respecting fauna and flora and cultivating native plants for food.
The third stage of his journey was in El Salvador, to visit the Chalatenango region where the most amazing coffees in this planet are cultivated. He visited Ever Diaz, cup of excellence winner 2021 and his sister and father, all them prize coffee winners.
Find out more at www.coffeegems.co.uk