New York City is great this time of year–especially when it’s 98 degrees with 100% humidity and you’re running across town decked out in full business attire!

Our first stop was Excelco, one of Ferris’s coffee brokers, to learn about how coffee is imported. 95% of Excelco’s coffee gets shipped to Germany to be decaffeinated, and is then brought back to the US for sale. We met up with Christina, one of two traders at the company, and were brought to the bean-grading room down the street. There are approximately 45 people in the US certified to grade coffee, two of whom are women (Christina is one). A panel of at least 3 judges is selected at random by a computer to grade each batch of beans, which are then accepted or rejected for sale to roasters.

Our next stop was Zabar’s (http://www.zabars.com/) to check out their coffee and packaging. Zabar’s is sort of a mix between a very crowded grocery store and a flea market, but had a lot of character and a great product offering. Not only does Zabar’s sell a ton of great meats and cheeses, they also roast over 400,000 pounds of coffee beans a year!

On the next day, Lawson and I visited the Fancy Food Show at the Javitz Convention Center. Imagine 6 football fields packed with food booth after food booth and you get the picture. We met up with some of Ferris’s suppliers like Madelaine Chocolates, Marich, Jelly Belly, and Koppers. We also spent about 5 hours visiting a few of the 2,500 exhibitors looking for new products (Ferris loose-leaf tea anyone?? How about Vosges Chocolate? http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/). Somewhere in between our 100th cheese sample and a third helping of chocolate-bacon pancakes (Vosges again) we decided to head back to the hotel and call it a day.

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