Originally published in Parent News in September 2010…
For this coffee review I’ll recount what for me is one of my most memorable coffee experiences ever. I saw an advertisement for Café Don Pablo (CDP) coffee in a recent Costco magazine. Costco recently expanded the stores that carried CDP and our local store in Myrtle Beach is one of them. I called them up and requested a bag to review. A few days later I opened the large mailbox at my office and the smell of fresh roasted coffee wafted out. They not only sent me a bag. They sent me three 2-pound bags, one of each flavor, to review.
I was overjoyed. I receive coffee from a lot of companies for my reviews, and my first contact with a company says a lot about them. Some companies refuse to submit their beans for a review. Others will send a little sample pack and that’s it. Every so often I’ll run across a company like Café Don Pablo that goes above and beyond. I received an abundance of coffee, brochures, and marketing information in one huge box.
There was so much coffee I decided to throw a party. I wanted to have another coffee party for a while, and this was the perfect excuse. I e-mailed Darron Burke, the owner of Café Don Pablo, and mentioned the party to him. I asked if he could send me a few more brochures so that I could pass them out to the guests. Less than a week later I received three more large boxes here at Coffee Scholar headquarters. One box held enough 12 oz. bags of Wounded Warrior Project Columbian Supremo coffee to give one to each guest. The other boxes held brochures and a lot of sample packets. The Wounded Warrior Project Columbian Supremo coffee is one of CDP’s many offerings. A portion of each bag sold is donated to the non-profit to support wounded soldiers.
Not only did Darron send me the additional coffee to distribute to my guests, but he mentioned that he and his wife would be in Charleston at a Costco event and would be able to attend the party. This was a huge coup for me- coffee, a party, the owners of an international coffee brand in attendance. I didn’t think it could get any better, but it did once my wife, a former chef, formulated the menu.
Of course, the coffee was the main item. Darron sent me three of his company’s best products. There was a Signature Blend with beans from Colombia, Guatemala, and Brazil; a bag of Guatemalan beans; and a bag of decaffeinated Columbian Supremo. Their decaf coffee is made using the water process method, which helps retain the flavor without adding chemicals like other decaffeinating methods. There was also a chocolate fountain with fresh fruit. My wife made espresso-rubbed steak with homemade green chile pesto. Kate from Katering made me a batch of her signature kahlua and chocolate bread pudding. The food was excellent!
We also had a special treat from The Ice Cream Mixologist. Elliott Duncan is an expert with homemade ice cream flavors. He’s like a chemist or mad scientist ice cream maker. He’s an ice cream expert and creates custom flavors for individuals and companies for events. For instance, if you wanted a custom Hawaiian flavor for a luau party, he could do it. He actually created and sent my wife the recipe for a custom blend of coffee ice cream made from CDP beans. She made the ice cream, and it was awesome.
We also had goodie bags for each attendee with samples from other great sponsors, including Mutineer magazine, Ocean Breeze Awnings & More, and Verve magazine.
We all had a great time at the party. Darron and Eliana regaled us with tales of coffee. They told us all about how it’s made, the farms in Eliana’s home country of Columbia, and how they met. Be sure to check out next month’s column for more information. I’ll tell you more about the Café Don Pablo history. I’ll even reveal the secret of how Darron became known as Don Pablo.