In 2015, the Unorthodox Roasters spent over 10 months in all the major coffee producing countries in South and Central America.
Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia.
Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala.
What follows is a micro-fraction of all the photos from that journey.
After spending our time in Brazil completely entrenched in the magic of coffee roasting, we were hooked.
Next we decided to travel to Argentina, specifically Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is world renouned for it's heavy coffee culture. We just had to give it a go. Once there, we tracked down LAB Tosadores de Cafe, who shared some of their experience with us.
Reinvigorated by our time in Argentina, it was time to take our new found focus and head to Chile.
More well known for it's tea than it's coffee, we struggled to find very many speciality coffee joints. That being said, the coffee industry is slowly growing, and there are a lot of micro-lots popping up every year.
Eventually we found Original Green. At last, we found somewhere that could satiate our coffee needs!
By this point, we had done our share of studying the roasting process - and sampling the results, too! The next challenge was going to be finding a plantation that would let us visit!
To achieve this, we travelled to Bolivia, specifically Caranavi. This is located in the Yungas region of Bolivia - a tropical range of valleys where almost 95% of coffee production occurs in the country.
Bolivia has all the ingridients to grow amazing coffee, the main problem is a lack of infrastructure and technology to help the farmers. Not to be put off, there are still many community owned farms in the area. We payed one such endeavour a visit.
Now we had a taste of what plantation life might be like, we had to know more. The farm in Bolivia provided a light tour of the process, but we wanted to go further in depth.
Continuing our crusade we travelled to Peru, one of the top 20 coffee producers in the world. A little bit of research and we knew which spot we had to go to.
Our thoughts were staring to turn towards where we should source our coffee from, if we were to pursue this crazy pipe-dream of an idea. Thinking on ideal growing conditions, Ecuador was next on the list.
In Ecuador they grow both varieties of coffee, Arabica and Robusta, someting that only 15 countries world-wide can claim. There are plantations from the Andes to the Galapagos and everywhere in between.
A little research and we found out about a place called Baños, right next to an active volcano. On paper, this should have been the perfect place for us to start.
After a mildly disappointing spell in Ecuador, our last stop in South America was to be Colombia. Burnt by our high expectations last time, we really weren't expecting much from this visit.
Much to our delight, Columbia completely surprised us. There were so many options of places to go and learn about coffee. We were luck enough to get a whole range of experiences, from the field right into the warehouses.
As we left South America and flew over the Darien Gap to Panama it seemed like we had learned all we could about growing and processing coffee.
Little did we know this was still the start of our coffee education.
Our next port of call was to be Costa Rica, but we were playing a risky game. We were due to arrive during the Costa Rican winter, otherwise known as the Rainy Season.
Armed with anoraks we marched on, hoping to discover some hidden secrets from the local people. There are some really crazy methods of brewing coffee in Costa Rica, one of which involves straining the grinds through a really long coffee sock!
Moving on up the continent, we headed into Nicaragua. By this point we had been travelling for quite some time, so communicating was getting a lot easier.
We were keen to get a sense of the history behind Nicaraguan coffee, as it seemed to be fairly ingrained in the legacy of the country. We wanted to see everything from the small family farm to the huge businesses - and how their differences might affect the coffee.
Next up: El Salvador!
One of the worlds largest distributors of coffee - despite its small size, El Salvador has coffee woven into it's history. The farming industry and the governing people have been interlinked since coffee's introduction to the country, which has had positive and negative effects.
A good result would be that the drive to improve the coffee export is constant. El Salvador is the birth place of the Pacas and Pacamara varietals, which produce bigger plants and bigger cherries.
Taking all of that into account, it's safe to say we had a lot to learn.
We had one last stop before we were to return home, Guatemala. Originally we hadn't been sure what to do in this country, but a friend encouraged us to go Panajachel in the Wester Highlands of Guatemala.
Coffee beans grown here are known for their chocolatey flavour, with elements of toffee and acidity that meant we just had no other choice than to try some.
And then we returned, laced with enthusiasm,
to set up a coffee roastery in Scotland.