Jordan Dabov reminiscents about the long road he had to walk in the first 10 years of his labor of love, DABOV Specialty Coffee.

Jordan Dabov is someone who always has a broad smile on his face and radiates friendly energy. Why, then, he is so surprisingly serious and uncompromising when it comes to the coffee he offers to his clients? It is because he believes that handling the most special coffees in the world requires focus, dedication, and clear thought. He is proud that DABOV Specialty Coffee is a coffee company in all senses of the word – they not only begin and end their day with the idea of acquiring better coffee but also plan ahead, harvest after harvest. 10 years after they offered their first specialty coffee on the Bulgarian market, he and his team continue with the philosophy that the only compromise they can afford is not to compromise with any detail on the overall appearance (flavor, flavor, flavor) and image of their products. What was your idea for a business when you entered the Bulgarian market 10 years ago? Why have you chosen to sell Specialty Coffees when coffees with affordable prices could have brought you quicker and continuous profit? Jordan Dabov: We do not sell coffee because we are interested in faster or bigger sells and profits. I like a cup of good coffee as much as I would like to have one at hand whenever I feel like drinking one. Over the years, I have realized that many of my customers crave the same. I believe that my clients shouldn’t spend much time thinking about their coffee, and I keep on telling them this. However, someone must think about their coffee. And me, I think about coffee all the time! So, let me do that on behalf of my clients! Over the years we have realized that this involves great responsibility – when we entered deep into the world of coffee farms, coffee buyers, and even the company that is built the way we believe it should be build and we roast coffees the way we want them to be roasted. Responsibilities grow though, and when we approach them with responsibility, they will bring profits. For us, profits mean more coffee! We turn every profit into one more acquired coffee. The bigger the profits, the more opportunities to invest in the farmers we would like to be partners with – partners for life. Some coffees which unfortunately are rare, have very specific flavor. Today I call this ‘coffee flavor’ but it is totally different from what the industry calls ‘coffee flavor’, and after the industry, the coffee drinkers as well. Let me explain what I mean. Let’s just say that you like ordering espresso in a certain café where they have an espresso machine. When they serve it to you, you stir it, sometimes you add a little sugar. Although you expect a slightly bitter taste that will assure you that your espresso is of good quality and strong, sometimes you are caught by surprise by a stronger flavor. In the flavor I have in mind, there is a balance between sweetness and acidity, and there is no acute bitterness. Brewing emulsion. It runs down heavily on your palate and seals itself under your temple – forever. Have you adopted some specific rules for a successful business in these 10 years? Jordan Dabov: No 🙂 First and foremost, respect your supplier!!!!! Our suppliers are not the coffee buyers, coffee brokers or someone else in the chain. Our suppliers are the farmers who grow some of the world’s best coffees. These people are very important to us because we buy our coffee from them – they sell it to us (but in this process, a lot of emotions and other specific things are involved). Textbooks usually teach us to follow the opposite road – but this is wrong and simply doesn’t work. Our suppliers sell us with the coffee that we need. If we do not respect them, if we don’t understand their problems, if we do not cooperate with them and motivate them, everything that we do will be short lived. I don’t say that it wouldn’t work – but to us with Vesela (my wife who is also the CEO of our company), as people, this type of approach is unthinkable. We try to work in a similar way with our espresso machines suppliers. What is the most important thing that you have learned from the Bulgarian market and Bulgarian consumer? Jordan Dabov: When we returned to Bulgaria in the distant 2008, and we started ‘preaching the word of coffee’, the market was completely unprepared for this. There wasn’t Specialty Coffee on it, nor understanding of the nature of it, nor modern technologies to prepare it, nor milieu where to enjoy it. There have been probably few people who were able to buy some specialty coffee and enjoy a cup or two at home in the mornings, or in the evenings, just like my wife and I were doing. In 2009, I became friends with the now ex-executive of a distributor of hi-tech espresso machines. He invited me to their showroom because he had a client for their expensive machine, but he had no coffee for it. I went there with some coffee from a micro lot in Ethiopia. We drank all of it – everyone about 10 cups of espresso. The man went crazy about the coffee. Next day I went to his office with a kilo of the same coffee. We drank it with his clients. They bought the machine and started buying coffee from us. At that time, we still were not roasting our coffees, neither we negotiated with the farmers to buy directly from them. We were distributors of an American company for specialty coffee and they roasted them in Prague. Our clients were paying 90 leva for a kilo of Ethiopian coffee and they were preparing it on an extremely good espresso machine. Things started moving. Bulgaria had to walk a long road in order to reach the current situation of the specialty coffee market in the country. In my opinion, the situation is between good and very good. Of course, we can always look from a different side and lament our low consumption per capita. Perhaps, it is because of it that our sales are lower as well, but let me say that Bulgarian consumers are demanding, intelligent, sensitive and thoughtful. At least, DABOV Specialty Coffee clients are to 100%! What is the most important thing that you have thought Bulgarian consumers? Jordan Dabov: Bulgarian consumers should reply to this question. DABOV Specialty Coffee sell its products outside Bulgaria as well. How did this happen? Jordan Dabov: Our decision to sell outside Bulgaria was born not because we wanted to gain more profit but because I am extremely selfish, and I also hate everyone who hates or let us be kinder – looks condescendingly or full of doubts towards everything or everyone who comes from Bulgaria. In 2013, I started traveling to different farms to ‘learn the ropes’, and I also became a judge on Cup of Excellence (COE). Everyone I met – other fellow jurors, farmers, coffee buyers, changed the tone of their voices after they learned where I was from. ‘Oh, Bulgaria!’, The UK or German jurors would say. ‘Do you really know anything about coffee? Is there a market for it in Bulgaria?’ And coffee buyers and farmers would say, ‘That’s really nice – until today, not one Bulgarian company has ever requested an information or samples for our specialty coffee.’ I was very sad as I shared those conversations or sometimes even just attempts for conversations with my wife. I doubted that I would be classified as a juror for another championship even though I could pass the test. In other words, I was angry! Today, I have 8 COE contests behind my back as a juror and in some of them, I was the only European! But the most important thing is that it is almost impossible to come across a top farmer from Central America or Brazil who hasn’t heard our name, DABOV. We have a lot of work to do still but we have laid the foundations. Now, our goal is to show to Europe as well that Bulgaria can have company or, hopefully, companies that are synonymous to high-quality coffee products – starting from the raw material and finishing with the end product. According to you, coffee is a highly synergistic drink. Having this idea in mind, let us talk about your team. What kind of people do you like surrounding yourself with? Jordan Dabov: The core of our company hasn’t changed and is very stimulating for us. Here are the people I talk about: Jordan (10 years in the company) – coffee! Vesela (10 years in the company) – without her, there is no coffee! There is no company either. Teddy (9 years in the company) – without her, our coffee can’t reach our clients. Anita (8 years in the company) – she’s Vesela’s right hand. She does so many things! Sometimes I even don’t know exactly what. Ivo (5 years in the company) – he is Jordan’s right hand. Someone has to explain to our clients how to make their coffee. Our packaging is also more stylish thanks to him. Svetoslav (4 years in the company) – in order to have tasty coffee, our machines should work perfectly. By 2019, our team will exceed 15 people. Everybody in our team is a key team member and everybody inspires us and motivates us. Those who were different, are no longer with us. What have you accomplished in 10 years? Jordan Dabov: We have warmed up! Our job, or rather, what we do, is circular and infinite. We hunt for coffee, we find out the one that we need (and what we need is ultimately better and better coffees), we start negotiating, organizing the transportation, buying an insurance, thinking of eventual consolidation, preparing the warehouse, printing the labels for the packages, we start experimenting in order to find the appropriate roasting profile… year after year. What haven’t you accomplished in 10 years? Jordan Dabov: We still haven’t learned how to sell our coffees! We will have to work on that, find a way and build a team who will make it happen. Which one is your favorite coffee? Jordan Dabov: Probably the one I haven’t tasted yet!

Best of Panama auction 2018 auction has just finished with record prices gathered and Dabov Specialty Coffee has acquired one more great coffee for its catalog!

Lamastus Family Estates that won the two first places on the Best of Panama 2018 auction for Geisha Washed and Natural earned more than $150 000 for 90 kg of coffee. This is an amazing price in the world of Specialty Coffee.
As we have already informed you, Best of Panama is one of the most significant events for the world of specialty coffee. This year the competition was held for the 22 time and gave the world the opportunity to get closer to some of the most exclusive cafes such as the incomparable Geisha. The industry experts confirm their opinion that 2018 was a spectacular year for the specialty coffees tasted and rated in Best of Panama.
The prices went crazy on the Best of Panama 2018 auction after last year’s $601 paid for the best coffee in Panama from Jason Kew – an Australian Chinese coffee hunter.
The Best of Panama 2018 auction lasted for more than 8 hours and finished with record prices. 49 lots of really special coffee varieties were bought by some of the best coffee trading companies in the world and brought the farmers that have cultivated them the deserved payback.

Do you know that Dabov Specialty Coffee was one of them? We succeeded to secure lot №16 from the washed geishas from Agricola Geisha, produced by Dona Elvira. Our coffee hunter Jordan Dabov gave it 92,50 points!

As you remember, he was the only judge from Europe in this year’s competition – a rare and hard-earned privilege that many industry insiders from all over the world still can only dream about.
Prices started from $30 per pound (approximately $60 per kg) and the record price was paid for the best coffee in 2018, found in Panama, in the Lamastus Family Estate – the Natural Geisha which was bought for $803 per pound (approximately $1600 per kg).

The prices of the geishas on Best of Panama 2018 auction went crazy starting from $50 per pound ($100 per kg)

All lots from the famous Esmeralda farm led by the Peterson family were traded for very high prices:
Esmeralda Geisha washed – 9th place was sold for $140 per pound
Esmeralda Geisha natural – 3rd place was sold for $151 per pound
Esmeralda Traditional washed – 1st place was sold for $100 per pound

Who won the best coffees in the world from Best of Panama’s online auction?

Only a few companies dared to bid in the auction. Some of them started showing interest in more than three lots and finishing with none. Most of the companies are from the Asian market, some from the USA and Europe.
The total sum in the auction paid by the buyers was around $550 000 paid for 109 boxes of 50 pounds of green coffee.
Three times the bids were placed at the last possible second and this infused the auction with more tension.

Do you know that…

Geisha coffee neither comes from Panama nor does its name have a Japanese influence. It originates from Gesha, Ethiopia but it was in Panama where this variety has blossomed because of the high altitude and the combination of a climate and soil perfect for its needs. A little more than a decade ago it attracted the attention of coffee experts worldwide after it won the Best of Panama competition in 2004.
Read more about the winning coffees from Best of Panama 2018 on our website. Check out the official page of Best of Panama as well!

Which is the next Cup Of Excellence winner coffee that will come to Dabov Specialty Coffee? In September, we are expecting one more extraordinary specialty coffee from Finca La Virgen Nicaragua, produced by Ramacafe!

After the exciting and exhaustive cuppings and following the announcement of the winners, Dabov Specialty Coffee won the online auction of Cup of Excellence for Nicaragua La Virgen COE #6 2018.

We have chosen Finca La Virgen’s Nicaragua La Virgen COE #6 2018, the superb coffee with exceptional qualities, especially for you. The winner of the prestigious 6th place in Nicaragua’s Cup of Excellence 2018 stole the heart of our coffee hunter Jordan Dabov. Unsurprisingly, because of his experience, he was again invited to be among the judges at the most prestigious world coffee competition.

What is the taste of this Nicaraguan winning coffee?

Nicaragua La Virgen COE #6 2018 is characterized by a breathtakingly rich palette of flavors. In its taste, you can find notes of honey, watermelon, strawberry, golden raisin, banana, mango, and papaya. This consistent coffee with enhanced sweetness and velvety finish has a floral flavor and leaves a sense of malic acid. It is juicy and creamy. We bet that its colorful and strong body will make you choose it again and again.

Let us take a walk in the remarkable Finca La Virgen where this winning coffee was born.

Finca La Virgen belongs to the Huec Figueroa and Ponson Guyre families. It has grown specialty coffee since 1995. This makes for more than twenty years of experience, tradition, and innovation! Friendship, partnership, and passion for coffee have turned the farm into an exemplary model for sustainability, productivity, quality, and technology. Located in the breathtaking green mountains of Matagalpa region, Finca La Virgen boasts 180 hectares of coffee. How many of them do you think you can drink?

Who manages Finca La Virgen?

Gabriela Hueck is the professional who is behind this project. Always smiling and in a good mood, dispersing positive vibes around her. An incredible woman with huge energy, Gabriela produces for years some of the best coffees in Nicaragua. We are very proud to have one of them in our roastery.

What makes Finca La Virgen special?

In Finca La Virgen, they take care of the pickers who take care of the coffee. One of the first projects of the company since its establishment was the construction of homes for its permanent workers. Its founders treat the ecosystem with deep respect. La Virgen follows the path of sustainable development by investing in free education, computers, and health care for its employees and their families.

The farm is a heaven where people live in harmony with nature. They constantly improve their quality of life thanks to their work and the cultivation of specialty coffee. Isn’t this swell?

Unfortunately, the world of your beloved specialty coffee could be extremely dangerous.

You probably do not know that because of the political turmoil in Nicaragua in April 2018, all of the Cup of Excellence coffee was evacuated in Auckland, California. There, it expects to be exported all over the world. It is from there that one of the most remarkable coffees in our catalog, La Virgen-Ramacafe, will arrive in your cup. Right after you come back from your summer vacation, come to our shop and make sure you buy some of this coffee for you!

You may well remember that last year in Mexico, a truck transporting specialty coffee was abducted. This deprived farmers of participating in Cup of Excellence, and selling their coffees. Our Alliance for Coffee Excellence community organized a fundraiser for these farmers and we gathered a significant amount of money for the 6 farmers whose coffee was stolen. That’s why the prestigious competition has taken measures to protect the participants and their valuable production.

Which are the other winning coffees in Nicaragua Cup of Excellence 2018?

A lot of amazing coffees were presented in this year’s competition. You can check the full list of the winners in this article.

Do you know that…

It takes 7 days to set up the roasting profile of every new green coffee that is delivered to Dabov Specialty Coffee’s roastery. After numerous sample roasting and cuppings in the laboratory, our team determines the tastiest profile of your coffee.

Visit Finca La Virgen yourself at their official website.

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