Vin de Set and PW Pizza managers were invited to Ronnocco for a tour and cupping on Wednesday, August 31st. Pamela and Stephen from PW and Sarah and Marion from Vin de Set attended and we all really enjoyed the experience. We were already proud of the coffee we serve at the restaurants but the tour and cupping really made us appreciate the process and quality of the coffee.
We were greeted in the Ronnoco lobby by Mark Guyol. He gave us the history of the company and told us a little about the pictures displayed. It was such a treat to see all of the pictures of the first delivery fleat and even packages from back before there was a fleat when deliveries were made by horse drawn buggies. Ronnoco is a family owned and operated business with pictures of the famliy in the lobby and the two oldest members (well above 80) are still in the office most days of the week!
Mark Guyol then led us through the warehouse that was quite impressive in size and explained to us that if production stopped and no more boxes of coffee were placed into the warehouse, it would be empty within a couple of days. This explanation was to show us how fresh the product is. So when we, five minutes away from Ronnoco, receive our coffee it is as fresh as just roasted within 2 days!
We then were led to the roasting area. There were 3 large roasting machines that roast 500 lbs of coffee each. The roasters reach 400 degrees so you can imagine what the temperatures could be like but the workers in the roasting area seemed quite comfortable with air conditioning blowing over areas right where they stood. It’s always great to see how well the team members are treated at one of our vendors. It makes you even more proud and excited to work with them. Mark told us about how the custodian we passed during our tour just celebrated his 31st year with the company and also told us that the delivery person who delivers to our restaurants has been with Ronnoco for over 50 years!
We learned so much about how meticulous Ronnoco is about thier product and bean selection. Every bean is sampled and roasted by the cupper blindly to ensure the best possible quality of the coffee bean before it is purchased from countries below the equator. We were able to experience an actual “cupping” process. Cupping is one of the coffee tasting techniques used by cuppers to evaluate coffee aroma and the flavor profile of a coffee. To understand the minor differences between coffee growing regions, it is important to taste coffee from around the world side-by-side.
We sampled 5 different coffees. Or so we thought. 3 of them were actually the same but with different roasting times. The darkest roast is what is considered a Specialty coffee but does not mean it is more superior, it just means it roasted for longer. One of the coffees was the kind that you get at the grocery store already ground and mass produced and we all were able to tell that it was not of the highest quality while blind tasting. At the end of the tasting or cupping we were each presented a Coffee Cuppers Award for knowledge and interest of vintage coffees.
We then gathered around a table to enjoy more delicious coffee and chatted with Mark Guyol. We had such a great conversation about different coffee qualities and learned a lot about the decaffeinating process. It was such a great time that none of us wanted to leave! We could have stayed there all day!
You can learn a lot about Ronnoco from thier website but if I were you, I would call to see how you can experience the tour for yourself!