Starting the day with a cup of coffee is one of the necessities in life, according to some folks. But for those people who consider themselves gourmet coffee aficionados, then the latest line of imported coffees available exclusively at Poco Loco may cause them to go, well... a little bit loco.
Called PocoLocales, a name fashioned by the coffeehouse and gelato shop's co-owner Susan Reynolds, the brand new bags filled with some of the world's finest whole bean coffees have just arrived at Poco Loco.
"We have broken down the world's most famous coffee regions into four — South America, Central America, Africa and the Islands," explained co-owner Paul Reynolds, who consulted with master cupper and coffee roaster Ed Miller, who created the original Sanibel Blend, sold exclusively at Poco Loco. "They are some of the smoothest, richest and most sought-after coffee beans grown anywhere, and we wanted to bring them here to Sanibel. Nobody on the island is doing anything like this."
The four regional coffee offerings include (from the Islands) Haitian Bleu, Kona Extra Fancy, Jamaican Blue Mountain and Mandehling, hailing from Sumatra; (from Africa) Kenya AA and Tanzanian Peaberry; (from Central America) Costa Rican Tarrazu, Guatemalan Antigua and Panamanian Reserve; and (from South America) Brazilian Robusto and Columbian Supremeo. In addition, a Peruvian import is already in the works.
Before the contracts to bring these coffees to Sanibel were signed, Paul and Susan asked their daughter, Mary McBeath, to help design the bags which would be used to sell the gourmet blends at Poco Loco. McBeath created four colorful logos, made by combining watercolors with colored pen drawings, each featuring a different theme, background and bird species.
"We wanted something that already fit in well with our business logo," said Paul Reynolds, noting the iconic cartoon featuring four birds on the front door of the eatery, located in Jerry's Plaza.
"I think it was a total family effort," added McBeath, who also works as a barista at Poco Loco. "We all brainstormed some of the ideas of what we wanted. I think they came out pretty good."
Last week, the first shipment of PocoLocales arrived at the business. Other varieties are expected to debut this week, and in the coming months additional blends will fill out the exotic assortment.
"All of the coffees are organic, shade grown and fair trade certified," noted Paul Reynolds. "They come from communities which have been built on growing coffee. In one case, I think the family's estate contains only a handful of coffee trees. That's something the people of Sanibel can embrace — one community supporting another."
According to Poco Loco's customer pledge, every bag they sell has been roasted within the last couple of days because they know how important freshness is.
"Even more critical is grinding the beans, and you will never find a bag of coffee in our shop where the beans are already ground. We do that for our customers at the last moment to achieve our freshness requirements," their website states. "We take our products this seriously because discerning customers will know the difference."
Asked which variety each member of the family enjoyed the most, Susan stated that she like the coffee from Costa Rica best, having lived there years ago.
"I've been touting their coffee for the past 20 years," she added. "It's smooth, has a full body, not acidic at all."
After McBeath described her favorite beans coming from Kenya, which offer a "satisfying full flavor," Paul declined to pick only one.
"I can tell good coffee from terrible coffee," he said, noting his affinity for their original Sanibel Blend. "But what's more important that is often overlooked is the quality and the pedigree of the beans."
For more information on the PocoLocales line of worldwide coffee blends, visit Poco Loco in person at 1700 Periwinkle Way in Unit #9, call 395-0290 or online at www.pocolocosanibel.com.
Poco Loco owners Paul and Susan Reynolds, along with their daughter, Mary McBeath, holding the first group of 'worldwide blends' — called PocoLocales — featured at the coffeehouse and gelato shop.