It seems the specialty coffee revolution is spreading further than we thought possible! Despite snow, sub-zero temperatures and a real lack of local cafés, the team at South Africa’s base in Antarctica are enjoying some very fine coffees this winter.
Thanks to Cape Town based specialty roaster, Origin Coffee Roasting, some of Mercanta’s coffees have made it to the world’s last great wilderness. Origin is the sole supplier of coffee to the hardy team of 11 scientists and technicians who are spending 14 months in the east of Antarctica manning South Africa’s base.
The team spent a day at Origin before they headed off to their new home on the Earth’s coldest continent, learning about about coffee and how to roast. As well as roasted beans, they have also taken a load of green coffee with them to roast on their own home roaster. We hope that this helps keep them warm and happy through their very long, dark winter – which typically runs from March/April to November/December!
Thanks to Joel from Origin for sending us the following update from Paul, the team’s leader:
‘Greeting from the Antarctic! We are now entering our 4 month of solitude on this loneliest and wildest continent on earth, sunshine hours are reducing and the sun, never high above the horizon, next month it will be permanently dark. Temperatures are down to 30 below and the wind can reach gust in excess of 200 kph. Still there are some fine days in between when one hardly can believe how treacherous the weather can be. Some pictures attached; the team took time out last week to enjoy a coffee break on the snow, while packing cargo for stowage for the coming winter.
Your coffee is being hugely enjoyed, the roasting is fun, the different varieties a challenge to our uneducated pallets, however Dominican Republic did was voted “best cup of the month”. The espresso cups you sent are hopelessly too small for the hunger, cold and thirst with which we gulp down the coffee, and for all this we are hugely grateful and think of you often. Many of the team, still talk about the “finest cup they had that last day in Cape Town when we visited your establishment and are planning to return with wives and girlfriends for lunch and bottomless cups no doubt.’
Read more about what the team are up to here .