The story behind the Mister LGB, our most popular coffee blend when it comes down to sales and reputation is pretty long, and the start takes us back to 2009.
I was building a blend for our Caffenation Barista Championship contester Roeland Lenaerts and couldn’t find a name.
At Caffenation we were racking our brains over this and after many days and dozens of failed suggestions the barista himself came up with the, now historic, name 'Little Green Bag'.
The word ‘green’ related to the fact the first version was build with organic coffees only.
The components? I forgot, and can't find it back. I guess it was a Dominican Republic/Ethiopia mix.
I liked the name 'Little Green Bag' immediately for several reasons:
I was a big fan of Walter Mosley, an black American crime writer who always used a color in the name of the books he wrote, with Ezekiel 'Easy' Rawlins as the main character, brilliantly played by Denzel Washington in the movie adaptation of the first book in the series ‘Devil in a Blue Dress’.
On top of that the name was stolen from the George Baker Selection radio hit ‘Little green bag’.
A song that gained world wide attention when Quentin Tarantino used it at the introduction of his characters in his first movie and underground classic Reservoir dogs. When I watched this movie as a young guy, just arrived in the city of Antwerp, I was totally blown away, and having a coffee blend for the championship with such a über cool name was in my opinion the coolest thing ever.
Unfortunately the judges at the championship were not so fond of this name, the taste and the way Roeland did his show. As a result we were kicked out the championships at an early stage. I couldn’t believe what happened and decided from that day on to stop training barista’s for a barista championship, but that’s a totally different story which I won't bring up today.
Nevertheless we started off on the wrong foot, the blend became very famous and was mainly loved as the base for all milk drinks in our own or other bars, and even at home.
We didn't have specially designed bags for the blend, but that changed in August 2010.
It wasn’t more than logical when starting our own roastery in 2010 we still loved the title and idea behind the bag and had them printed in 250 and 1000 grams.
Here you see them on the shelf, next to the precursor of the brown Spro JOE bags, then black and called Single Origin Espresso - how original.
(in those days we even thought Colombia was written with a 'U'. 😆)
The blend ‘Little Green Bag’ was doing really fine for the first four years of roasting, but the name became problematic in 2014 when we were rebranding our coffee line.
First of all i was seriously annoyed by the fact it wasn’t possible to find enough good organic coffees all the time. When you need two or three ingredients for it, every 3 months, as it is a seasonal blend, it quickly becomes a problem as there are not so many good organic labeled coffees on the market. So I was willing to let go of the word ‘Green’, but how for God's sake could we find a good name that would fit in the new 'coffees-with-personality' concept? We were on the roll with the concept of giving every coffee taste/type/color a brief (male) name and another word in front to explain the name or enforce the meaning.
Like Filter FIL: It's very clear what it stands for; Fil is a cool name, it alliterates, the color red is always filter...
Or Roast ED; a tough brief name for a coffee full of character (a full history in my last blog post on this Caffenation news site)
It took ages to find a solution and it was Tony, the designer of the bags, inventor of the Caffènation name and builder of our visual identity, who suggested to stick to Reservoir Dogs where all characters wore names of colors, like mister pink or mister white, so why not calling it Mister LGB....?
I admit it stands out a bit in comparison with the other names, but it had a groovy feel, it stayed loyal to its original heritage and fitted great to any color, although green was of course the one to choose for.
Did you notice the difference between the 250 and 1000 gram bags? It's the same coffee but the target group is a bit different. We think the beans are as great for filter as for espresso, but the kilo bags are 99% for Barista's working in a professional environment (although lots of them working in bars were we deliver in eco-friendly re-usable 8kg buckets) and the 250 bags for consumers at home...
In 2021 we still use the Mister LGB as our preferred coffee on our most important coffee grinder. The idea is to marry milk like no other coffee does.
I know most competitors in our industry use a decent percentage of un- or half washed Brazilian coffee as their weapon of choice, but I like the coffee cleaner and with enough acidity to cut through the milk and marry the full, fat and sweet taste of this fresh milk. When you work with super clean cup beans, as we do in the LGB, you can, as a barista, still tune it the way you want to and emphasize different taste elements of it.
For the now upcoming Mister LGB Sunny Days version of our seasonal milk coffee blend we go back to its original version and use organic-only beans.
50% CEDROS washed/organic
50% RIRIPA washed/organic
Again a Peruvian coffee in our ‘coffee milk blend’, and with a good reason! The CEDROS lot, out of Cajamarca, is tasting on espresso like liquid chocolate, and therefore probably the best coffee in our milky way (galaxy) to blend into the Mister LGB.
The new crop Ethiopia is not only early this year, but also rocking hard! For this summer blend we thought the RIRIPA from West Arsi would be spot on. This coffee was originally selected for our Single Origin program and almost too good to be blended, but why not go the extra mile for once? Expect lots of fruity and tea-like flavors and a small lemon injection from this African pearl.
Price wise we like to be fully transparent about our coffees. Average FOB prices, this is Free On Board or the price paid at the exit of the country, for these two coffees are $6,57/Kg. On top of that comes transportation, insurance, climate controlled storage costs, handling and excise duties before hitting our own Caffenation pakt warehouse.
Enjoy the Sunny Days folks.