Our visit to Forte, hands down, was my favorite experience in Mexico City. I had an agenda before arriving complete with a running list of all the coffee spots I wanted to see. But the best parts of any trip I've taken are always the ones I haven't planned for. I love wandering through a city on foot and allowing space for serendipity.
We had just finished having some really amazing croissants at Panaderia Rosetta.(http://www.rosetta.com.mx/panaderia-en/). I still dream of those honey croissants.
Our next stop was Mercado Roma. As great as the market looked, I couldn't be happier that we never made it there that day. On our way to the market Forte Bread & Coffee caught both our eyes. The cute little La Marzocco GS3 grabbed my attention and the striking textured walls and concrete bar caught Nora's, so we wandered in.
We were greeted by the owner and lead barista Rafa Rivera. His passion for coffee, baking and achieving the highest level of quality in all aspects of his business was apparent immediately. Although Forte is a new endeavor for him, he is not new to the coffee game. He helped to start another coffee bar called Espressarte and moved on to open El Tercer Lugar(The Third Place). Immediately this caught my attention as the name of the coffee roasterie I started, La Terza, means "The Third" in Italian. Forte is an Italian name as well and means "strong". This word carries a lot of meaning to him and is a constant reminder of what it takes to sustain a vision and keep moving that forward.
Rafa shared a beautiful coffee that turns out his brother, Julian Rivera, used to win the Mexican Brewer's Cup Championship. Julian is the lead roaster and sources the green coffee for Polvora Coffee Roasters.
Rafa was gracious enough to arrange for Julian to meet with us the next day(our last and final day in Mexico City) to sample some of his favorite coffees. I could have never arranged or possibly dreamed up such an incredible meeting. Rafa also put us in touch with the great people over at Buna Coffee. Their roasterie was just a short walk from his place and they were so gracious to meet with us and give us an impromptu tour of their facility.
We arrived the next day as planned and took a closer look at the bakery side of his business. Rafa made us a stunning cappuccino to accompany our croissant. In addition to incredible pastries, Rafa also makes pizza once a week. Unfortunately our plane was leaving hours later so we had to miss out on the pizza this time around. Like everything else, I'm quite certain the pizza was breathtaking and worth missing a flight for.
Julian arrived with green coffee samples from last year's harvest from all around Mexico. These were coffees that represented some of his favorites. He went into great details to explain the level of care and craftsmanship the producer's put into their coffee. Julian introduced me to new fermentation methods and coffee varietals. Julian, in every sense, is a coffee professional. He embodies everything I aspire to achieve in coffee in terms of knowledge, skill, connection to the source, passion and dedication. Within this small coffee bar in Mexico City, we discovered some of the most talented and inspiring people I've met in my coffee career.
I look back at these moments as I prepare for this next stage in my journey. For a very long time, I've dreamed of running my own coffee bar and very soon that dream will become a reality. I think about what Forte means and the passion necessary for driving that strength. These two guys have accomplished a lot and have a lot to be proud of. They are doing everything I aspire to do with Adesso Coffee. Everything from working directly with the producers and celebrating the bounty of their harvest to executing their craft with excellence and care.
I know the road ahead will not be an easy one. It's comforting to know that all over my city, my country and even across the globe, there's people out there living their dreams, pushing ahead and doing their very best to excel in their craft.
I look forward to my next visit to Mexico and getting to spend more time with these incredibly talented guys.