Paul Massard is The Roasterie's green coffee buyer and currently a juror for the Cup of Excellence in Brazil.
Hello Everyone or Como Via Você (as I have quickly learned to say in Portuguese),
My flight here to Brazil was uneventful, the flight from KC to Houston was quick and easy and I had the pleasure of sitting with an interesting group in the back or our tiny little plane. Once we landed in Houston I knew that I only had a short amount of time to get from one side of the airport to the International terminal on the other side, so once we were sitting on their on the jet way without moving for 15 min I started to get a little nervous, but luckily I was able to run, and I mean run, and get to the gate just in time. The flight from Houston to Sao Paolo was an interesting 10 hours with 2 babies right around me and a row mate that took up all of her space and most of mine, all I can say is that I didn't get much sleep that night and I was pretty happy once I was off the plane and waiting to go thought immigration. Once through I was able to easily find the group of other judges from the Cup of Excellence that were waiting for me. As I was the last one to arrive we hopped on a bus and began our 4 hour journey north west to Machado Brazil. Once on the bus we stopped to get some local road side food and man I wish that they had places to eat like this in the US as I sure had missed this type of food since my previous adventure through Central America. Once we were finished we continued our trip, after about 15 min of the sun beating down and the wind blowing in my face. I was asleep, I woke up not soon after feeling a little embarrassed that I had fallen asleep in this car full of strangers but when I looked around and saw that I was the only one currently awake I was relieved and went back to sleep. The next thing I remember is waking up after our bus hit a nice sized hole, that would put that one we hit in Costa Rica to shame. We were now just 5 min from our hotel so I enjoyed the view. Once at the hotel we all checked in and decided that we would meet up at 7:30 for dinner. At this point there were only 7 of us from the International Jury here so we had a nice dinner that consisted of kinds of pizza, the only thing that they had in common was that every single pizza had both hearts of palm and green olives, which I found to be pretty weird but funny.
The next morning I woke up and decided that I would take a little walk around town, as we were not scheduled to meet up with everyone until 12 for lunch. After walking for around for quite some time I was a little scared of getting lost on my 1st day and decided that I should try and find my way back to the hotel. Machado is a small town of roughly 40 thousand people, but it was built right on the side of the mountain as you are either walking straight down hill or straight up hill and there is no flat ground to be found. After my little adventure I met up with everyone for lunch, at this time a few other jurors had arrived and we were taken to an interesting place, where you are supposed to work in catching your lunch in these little fishing ponds. Unfortunately we were not able to fish as they had already had our table ready. After a great meal and even better coffee conversation we were taken back to the hotel. Once we got back we again had some more free time before dinner. I again went off on a little adventure through the town square and up by this beautiful church before I started to get lost and again tried to find my way back. Once I returned everyone was in the lobby waiting to leave for dinner. Now everyone was here, we all walked a few blocks to where we would be meeting the group of judges that were staying at the other hotel. Once we were there it was amazing to see everyone. There are a total of 25 jurors from all parts of the world, with just the love of coffee in common. There are people here from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand Czech Republic, Norway, Lithuania, Iceland, Sweden, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Canada and the US and its amazing to me how the language barrier quickly falls as soon as we start discussing coffee.