It's especially funny for me to be asked to contribute to the Caffe Verona stories because I know that story in intimate detail. Caravali as a brand was just being fully launched when I roasted coffee at the old Airport Way plant and that's when I got to know Jim, Jerry and Gordon and also hang out with Tim McCormack. Ironically given what product purists they all were the main reason I got to spend time in the cupping room with them is that Caravali was developing a line of flavored coffees and they knew I had lots of experience with those awful products at the roaster I worked for in Boulder! And it was during that time that Gordon renamed 80/20 Blend as Caffe Verona for the Caravali line.
But the funny part of the story is how 80/20 itself was created. Yukon Blend (centrals with some Sumatra), along with House Blend, was the staple restaurant program coffee back in those days, but despite our sales reps being vigilant about making sure accounts used a full 4 oz. of coffee per half-gallon pot there were some high-volume restaurants that were constantly backing off on the dose in order to save money. Jerry Baldwin's response to those shenanigans was to order the restaurant account reps to close those accounts but at a certain point the volume they provided was too important to turn down so Jerry was asked for an alternative blend that would still have some "oomph" at the cheapskate 3-3.5 oz. dose. His response? " (*Expletive) throw 20% Italian Roast in it [Yukon]" - and thus was 80/20 born! OK well at least you know now the true story of Caffe Verona. 😂