By Amy Strauss
On First Fridays of Bridge Street in Phoenixville, Ed Humpal, coffee roaster of Kimberton Whole Foods, joins Chad Williams of Handcrafted Cookie Company to offer his signature “pingos” paired perfectly with the organic company’s sweet treats.
Humpal, who is individually progressing the local coffee revolution, has known Williams for years, as he has supplied his cookie dough to Kimberton Whole Foods before he opened his cookie boutique on Main Street.
“Reaching out to the food service, we have a thing where we can both help one another,” said Humpal. “By establishing little networks, the area becomes more local and more sustainable.”
Inspired to work closely with the cookie company after returning from a barista competition in Anaheim, California, Humpal noted the intense construction of fine, foamy espresso beverages, tackled as straight shots, to later recreate himself.
“Macchiatos are known as straight espresso drinks with a little half-and-half and foam on top,” he revealed. “In Portugal, the same drink is called a ‘pingo.”
“It is a short-intense drink, which would go well with small intense cookies,” he continued.
Last month, at First Friday, Humpal paired a sweet, strong vanilla pingo with Handcrafted Cookie Company’s Double Chocolate Cookie. Additionally, in honor of the recent cookie recipe contest, Humpal paired a snappy ginger pingo nicely with the new Lemon Basil Cookie.
“Lemon Basil is so crazy,” he confessed. “I was dreaming on the flavor of lemon and decided that ginger and lemon are both complimenting and contrasting.”
“It is so fun to work on menus, I love working with places and estab
lishing pairings with their menus,” he said.
Besides the relationship that Humpal has with Handcrafted Cookie Company and of course, Kimberton Whole Foods, he additionally works with Good Eatz in Reading, the Anselma Farmer’s Market and Artisan’s Market of Chester Springs, the King and Beaver Cafe in York, Espresso Yourself of Exeter, Camphill Cafe of Kimberton Hills and Wildflower Cafe of Phoenixville.
“I like giving up the idea of sending coffee out on trucks,” he said. Floored by the concept of “real food, real people,” Humpal, with the assistance of Kimberton Whole Foods, established direct trade bonds with coffee farmers seen internationally.
“There is so much done wrong in coffee by now in the world, many are looking at these direct relationships because they move faster and more directly,” Humpal said.
Through direct trade methods, international farmers are able to, with the consumer, establish true and tangible relationships that allow for them to receive a decent living wage as a grower, while the consumer’s produce is received as top quality.
“Other roasters are doing this, too,” he said. “Together, it enables specific relationships for the future of the children of the farms, so they may go out to universities and come back to the farms, and have control.”
Serendipitous with the missions that Kimberton Whole Foods’ supports, owner and founder Terry Brett suggests that “if all businesses were built on fairness, we would change the world.”
“Having direct relationships with the people like the growers, it follows the values that we support as a company,” he said. “Being supportive of these people initially allows for a more direct relationship of them.”
“Cultures have been exploited outside of the United States,” Brett continued. “It is certainly better having these sort of relationships than having them work all day for two dollars.”
Since Brett agrees with similar beliefs as Humpal, it was an easy transition for Kimberton Whole Foods to establish him as their main roaster.
“We have just began to open arcs for more relationships, finding more people we want to work with and we believe in what Ed follows,” he said. “It is a great opportunity and only the beginning.”
Humpal, personally taste-testing through all roastings, which are performed in Kimberton Whole Foods’ warehouse in Leola, works week-to-week, freshly fulfilling orders on a rolling basis.
“We continue to roast more and more coffee, everyone continues to order more than they used to,” said Humpal.
Identified under the moniker, Hobo Ed—a name birthed from his previous mobile roasting service seen throughout the theater festival circuit—Humpal supplies those adoring of the caffeine with blends like the Morning Mojo, a South America coffee with an Ethiopian highlight; decafs like the Peruvian and the Sumatran; Midnight Special, a French light roast; the El Amor de Madre, a caramel blend of Brazilian and Nicaraguan; and several other new and interesting concoctions.
Visit Handcrafted Cookie Company on First Fridays to meet and experience Ed Humpal in person, or snag a bag of his finely-roasted blends at area Kimberton Whole Foods, as well as the previously mentioned locations. For more information, visit hoboed.net.