Jase Grimm – South Pole or Bust!

Base

Interview and introduction by Aryn Henning Nichols (originally published in Inspire(d)’s Summer 2012 edition) • Photos courtesy Jase Grimm

ColdJase2The South Pole conjures up images of – for me – an actual pole, lots of ice, and maybe some penguins. Turns out there is indeed a pole and ice, but not much living except a crew of 50 scientists and staff and some greenhouse-grown produce – now including cantaloupe (if you’re lucky)! Oh, and millions of dollars of cool, sciency equipment too. (Penguins do live in the Antarctic, just not as far inland as the Pole.)

Decorah native and chef Jase Grimm headed to Antarctica in 2011-2012 to be the Production Line Cook at the South Pole Station through a Lockheed Martin team that supports the National Science Foundation’s U.S. Antarctic Program. He’s there for a second time this winter – from November 2014 to November 2015 – and this time, you can follow his adventures, read his recipes, and watch fun videos at uncommonfruit.com. Inspire(d) caught up with Jase back in 2012 to hear more about what it’s like when you’re that far south. Turns out it’s cold…but you can still get some local foods on your plate! Read on:

The south pole, eh? How does one decide to go to the South Pole? Was the Midwest just not cold enough for you? Tell us the background on how you got involved in this adventure. What was your first impression when you arrived?

It was an opportunity that presented itself that I really couldn’t turn down. Two years ago, while I was working in Alaska, looking for more seasonal work I came across an ad for a job in Antarctica. A co-worker and I, after a few beers, decided it would be fun to apply. That year I was accepted as an alternate for a production line cook position at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, meaning if a primary production line cook failed a physical exam, or couldn’t perform the job duty, they would call me up. JasePlaneI ended up taking a position at a country club in Florida, AKA, hell on earth. I wanted nothing more than for Executive Chef James Brown to call me up and rescue me from Vero Beach, alas, it didn’t happen. But, to my surprise, my first day back in Alaska this last year James called me up and offered me the primary production cook position. I believe his exact words were, “How would you like to come to the South Pole?” Getting off the plane here was absolutely incredible… I was giddy. After two years of anticipation, thousands of dollars in medical tests, a 12-hour flight to New Zealand, a week amongst the Kiwis, a flight to the continent, and that last flight to the pole, it was almost too much. Also among my first impressions was how damn cold it was.

Tell us about a “typical” day in the South Pole.
My job description is Production Line Cook at the South Pole Station. I’m an employee of Gana-A ’Yoo Support Services, which is a company hired by Lockheed Martin whom the United States Antarctica Program (a derivative of the National Science Foundation) hired just this year to provide Scientific Support. My typical day goes a little like this:

4 am: My alarm goes off… I snooze until 4:25

4:30 am: Get to the kitchen, dressed in my chef costume (I will never feel comfortable in a uniform)

6:30 am: Put out another delicious, nutritious breakfast made up primarily of expired eggs, 10-year-old frozen breakfast meats, and all sorts of dehydrated/powdered goods

8 am: Break down breakfast as fast as possible so I can utilize the scant hour of Internet available via satellite that day

10 am: Prep for the next day’s breakfast and shoot the sh*t with my co-workers

12 pm: My favorite part of the work day… making some ridiculous, over-the-top dessert for dinner, I get a chance to express myself. My favorite day of the week is White Trash Wednesday… can anyway say giant Twinkie cake?

1:30 pm: Wrap up work, grab a bite to eat, attend any meetings (which vary from menu planning to hands-on blood drawing lessons for my trauma team)

2:30 pm: Volunteer in the greenhouse, germinating seeds or harvest chard, kale and arugula for the kitchen

3 pm: Work out and watch an hour of Sex and the City

4 pm: Help out with dinner, put out my dessert and socialize a bit with the dinner cook, then enjoy another delicious meal

6 pm: Retreat to my room for reading/feeding whatever television series addiction I’m nursing at the time (right now it’s Lost)

8 pm: Turn off the lights, and have some of the most vivid dreams I’ve ever had, most of them having to do with Decorah… I miss that place.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

FoodGalleyWhat’s the rest of the South Pole crew like? What kind of work is happening at your job site
Everyone here is just as quirky as me, and that’s awesome. My kitchen crew is awesome. Spencer is our Sous Chef and he’s really down to earth, let’s us have a lot of freedom. Mel is the dinner cook – a tattooed ex-circus employee and my de facto best friend for the season. Our dishwasher is Kasia, the Polish Princess. All of the support crew, from materials persons to heavy equipment operators, is awesome and have incredible stories of their own. The amount of small world coincidence down here is astounding; for instance, Spencer used to live in Minnesota and visited Luther College to discuss local foods being incorporated into college dining programs, and while he was there he ate at a little bistro called La Rana. My buddy Max, who worked here this summer, worked at the same restaurant as me in Chicago (at different times), lived in the house I built my tall bike in (I never met him), and shared an ex-girlfriend with my brother Trevor. Too weird. Most of the crew, and I, are here to support science. The kind of science going on down here is cutting edge, and most of the time, completely over my head. There’s a lab called Icecube which is a $300 million attempt to determine the exact age of the universe. We also support a lot of climate science; measuring ozone, carbon levels in the atmosphere (both now and in history) and the like. During the summer we were lucky enough to have a science lecture every Sunday that would cover all sorts of topics like under-ice lakes and why Antarctica is resistant to global warming. It’s darn cool stuff.

Can you tell us about some of the beautiful/inspiring things you get to experience being in such a foreign environment?
It is a challenge to be somewhere so remote, so dry and so cold. And it really brings the best out of people. I’ve done things here that I never thought possible. For instance, I’ve run two marathons since being on the ice, one here at the pole and one at McMurdo. It also challenges me in the kitchen; working with no fresh ingredients and having to rely on dehydrated celery and powdered milk makes you damn creative. Just the environment here, though, is really beautiful; who knew that flat, white and endless could be so aesthetically pleasing? The sunset was also incredible… you just don’t know how special they are until you only get one a year. I got to see my first glimpse of the Aurora Australis this past week and I was reminded why I was crazy enough to sign up for a yearlong stint at the Pole. It was breathtaking, and I can’t wait to see more.

Jase_IceCouchWhat do you miss most about the Driftless Region?
I miss my family terribly. Mom, Dad, Maddie and Colin, I love you and can’t wait to see you! I miss my friends, and just all the good people I know. I miss the people I don’t know too… seeing the same folks day in and day out gets a little old. I miss the hills, bluffs, trees, streams and river. I miss topography period. I miss green things. I miss my dogs. I miss the rain. I miss the smell of dirt.

Let’s get down to the cooking – how many people are you feeding, what are your biggest challenges cooking in a south pole kitchen, and what does the menu usually look like?
Our winter population is 50 people exactly. Right now I’m cooking breakfast, but we switch every of couple of months, just to break up the monotony. Lucky for me, only about 25 people actually show up for breakfast. A typical breakfast might include ham and cheese scramble, hash browns, sausage patties, homemade biscuits and gravy (a specialty of mine), waffles with strawberries and maple syrup, mango smoothies, homemade vanilla yogurt, a bowl of canned pineapple and bran muffins. We try to keep it interesting and varied; the reality of it is that the galley plays a major role in the morale of the station so we do our best to make people happy. The biggest challenge by far is the lack of fresh ingredients. We’re working with eggs that expired on March 7, we’re on our last case of onions, and the only other freshies we have are pumpkins and sweet potatoes. Everything else is frozen or dehydrated. Our freezer is a big ol’ door that leads onto a deck outside so when you open up a bag of frozen snap peas they do just that: snap, because they’re brittle. If you toss a bag of frozen brussel sprouts into a hot pan they will literally shatter because of the heat difference. We also happen to be the driest location on earth; recently they clocked the humidity level at about 2% (keep in mind the Sahara sits pretty at about 10%.) Popcorn won’t pop unless you soak it in water overnight. Cookies go stale within a few hours. Yet another challenge – most specifically in the baking department – is the altitude. Our physical altitude is just shy of 10,000 feet but due to atmospheric and weather abnormalities here the physio altitude (what the air pressure says the altitude is) can vary by about 1,500 feet. Baking a cake takes a whole lot of finagling: add flour and liquid, reduce leavening, increase oven temperature, decrease baking time, etc… Needless to say, it all keeps things interesting.

desserthamburger

Does anything grow in the South Pole? Any local ingredients?
We are blessed with a food growth chamber, aka greenhouse, and an incredibly competent greenhouse manager named Joselyn. She’s awesome. She brings us bok choi, kale, chard, arugula, amaranth, tomatoes, cilantro, mint, parsley and so many other great things almost every day. Today she brought up two tiny cantaloupes (I’m told the first to be successfully cultivated at the pole) and they were heaven. You really don’t know how much you miss these kinds of things until you can’t have them.

greenhouse

Would you recommend this experience to other adventurers? What advice would you give them
This has been the adventure of a lifetime. It was a hard choice to stay here for as long as I’m going to, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have met incredible people, done things that most people only dream of doing and have memories that will last me forever. If you ever get the opportunity to do something like this, or anything that makes you a little nervous, or puts you out of your comfort zone, do it. The appreciation that I have for my friends, and family, and my hometown is so much stronger now than it ever was before. The best part about going out into the world and having adventures is knowing that Decorah is always going to be there for me when I get home.

Remember, follow Jase’s adventures and food at uncommonfruit.com.

GiantTwinkies

—————–

Aryn Henning Nichols is inspire(d) by Jase’s adventures, and remembers her own adventures teaching English in China in 2004-2005. 

Brian Andreas: Love and Magic (Or Something Like It)

FallingIntoPlace
By Aryn Henning Nichols • Images courtesy StoryPeople

There’s magic in that cup of coffee (tea, beer, water) you’re drinking. Also in that stack of papers sitting right next to you. Definitely outside that window. Here’s a little (big) secret: There’s magic in everything.

“Finding magic is simple if you just let go of all the things. Just stop,” says Brian Andreas, artist/writer/magician behind the internationally known art and publishing company, StoryPeople. “People forget the world is magical, so we need to be reminded. To remember. To enjoy the moment.”

SLM coverThere is definitely magic to be found at the StoryPeople studio in downtown Decorah. Bright walls plus busy doers and makers create a scene filled with energy. Brian stands in orange pants and a tee shirt behind stacks upon stacks of the latest – his twelfth – StoryPeople book, Something Like Magic. He’s in town from Santa Barbara signing copies – 2,500, to be exact – to be shipped out to the lucky folks who pre-ordered before the October release date. Also on the visit’s agenda: Plan “all the things” with the StoryPeople crew. Everyone munches on raw cacao beans and dark chocolate as they happily tack “Yay! Actual signed copy – Woo-hoo” stickers on the books and wrap them up.

Brian takes a break when his hand stops working –“It just started moving by itself!” – and sits down to chat over a cup of tea.

“The past few years I’ve really started rethinking life and identity. What does love want from me? What lights me up? This carries through in the work I do. It’s all about enjoying the moment. I want to tell everyone about it. It’s the legacy of our future. It’s a big f-ing deal!” he says, throwing his hands up in the air between sips of Earl Grey.

This exploration is prevalent in Something Like Magic. It’s the first StoryPeople book that doesn’t follow a he said/she said point of view. Instead, it’s an I/you.

“The divine in you/the divine in me. Love with a capital L.” And love, as Brian says: “It’s the most important thing.”

He continues, obviously passionate about his mission.

BrianAndreas“How do I tell the world how much everyone’s loved?” he asks. “It is so simple. Love is the most important thing.”

It was this phrase “sometimes you just need to remember the most important thing” – uttered to him on a garden bench outside a party – that “cracked open,” as Brian says, his consciousness. It was like a secret he just forgot for a bit – and he’s not the only one.

“These are secrets because a lot of us know them and along the way, a lot of us forgot. That’s exactly why I call them secrets,” Brian writes in the Something Like Magic introduction. “Each one is something like magic, because all it takes is a moment of remembering them and suddenly the whole world sparkles again. The funny thing is it never stopped sparkling. We just stopped seeing it, because it was too simple and we were convinced it must be something different. We let ourselves be convinced the most important thing was something different than the love and magic that’s been here all along.”

Love and magic are, of course, no strangers to the whimsical StoryPeople tales. Since its inception in 1993, the stories and drawings have pondered, prodded, and delighted in life. Readers can find them adorning everything from wood sculptures to colorful prints to coffee mugs and more. They’ve also been collected in a series of books for adults and children, and have twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Brian Andreas’ own story, like most people’s, has taken him on a zig-zagging journey. From Iowa City, Iowa – where he was born in 1956 – to Chicago to Luther College in Decorah – where he met his now former wife, Ellen Rockne, – to California – where he and Ellen founded StoryPeople – back to Decorah and finally back to California.

“Life isn’t this linear path, even though when you look back, you can see, ‘Oh yeah, that led to that, and so on,’” he says. “When you’re dancing your way across a stream, you pick up the rocks that aren’t wet.”

While Brian currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, StoryPeople has kept its heart (and headquarters) in Downtown Decorah since 1994. Brian travels between the two states frequently to keep up on business, family, and friends.

The company technically began while Brian, Ellen, and their two boys, Gabe and Matthew, were living in Berkley, California in the early 90s. But Brian’s stories started long before then – in college, he wrote lots of letters, and each contained a quote from his own fictional character, “John O’Keefe Beefheart.” Nudged by Ellen to put some of that into his artwork, Brian made his first StoryPeople piece: A 4×4 block, covered in layers and layers of gesso, hand-stamped with a story. Well….a little story, anyway.

“My stories are really, really short. They have to be! Hand-stamping those letters takes a long time,” he says with a laugh. This new style of work took off, and soon, so did the family – back to Iowa.

KindridSpirits“We were in Berkeley, and got a call from a friend. ‘Get down and away from the windows. There’s an armed man outside.’ We got down and pretended we were playing a game with the boys,” he says. “Later, we found out they were robbing the bank a block away, and we thought, ‘Oh good. No big deal.’ Then we thought, ‘What? No big deal?!’ Three weeks later we were on our way to Decorah.”

At that time, StoryPeople was at a massive growth point, expanding quickly from 50 galleries nationwide to more than 200. But Brian knew they could produce this art from anywhere…as long as they were willing to take the leap.

“It was either Decorah or Sonoma. But we had family in Iowa. And I’d experienced Berkeley studio assistants,” Brian says with yet another laugh. “Working with people from Iowa sounded a lot more appealing.”

Getting things off the ground in rural Iowa was definitely not without its trials, though.

“I wouldn’t say any of it was hard – it was all interesting,” Brian says. “I don’t whine about something that doesn’t exist. Creatives forget – you can create it! If you don’t want to make it, quit whining about it.”

A self-professed “practical Virgo” to a T, he knew if there was something he needed, he could make it happen.

“I came to town and said, ‘Where’s your [Internet] gateway?’ I asked if I could use Luther’s, but they said no. So I walked into our office and said, ‘We’re gonna have to start an ISP (internet service provider).’”

So they did. Brian launch the Salamander ISP shortly after they arrived in Decorah. And when they couldn’t find the right printing options in town, they opened their own print shop, CopyLand (which still exists under different ownership on Water Street in Downtown Decorah).

“Once you’ve invented yourself, that ‘not possible’ doesn’t exist,” he says.

In addition to inventing himself (and businesses), inventing moments is a favorite.

“I have this thing where I invent past memories with people – we did it at a conference I spoke at recently. We start off telling a story – remember that day we all went to that lake in the mountains? The sky was so blue… – and one person continues on until it feels like we’ve all had this shared experience, even though it wasn’t real. The mind can’t discern between real and fantasy,” he says. “It’s so fun!”

This willingness to play, to make-believe, to always find the love and magic in the world – it’s what keeps StoryPeople so popular. Followers world-wide find little pieces of their lives in the hundreds of artworks produced.

“The stories really do sneak in there – one that didn’t made sense to someone one day might crack open for them another day,” Brian says. “There are lots of people out there starry-eyed from StoryPeople stories.”

Brian hopes – no, believes – that this positive energy indicates a change coming.

“I’m excited about this time in the world – there’s this this new consciousness that’s emerging. I feel like there is a cracking-open process happening all over. Ah!” he says, holding his hands out one more time. “I love living in this world! It’s such a wonderful place to be.”

——————————

ArynRoxie_MasksAryn Henning Nichols has long thought Brian Andreas was inspiring – meeting him solidified that notion; he was so much fun to chat with! She especially enjoys the idea that things are shifting in the world – positivity will reign! Let’s keep that moving forward, friends!

Connecting Stories:
Brian has literally written thousands of stories – on various napkins, scraps of envelopes, and in the pages of his journals. You can see many of his current stories almost instantly on instagram: instagram.com/brianandreas (“It’s a blast!” Brian says of Instagram). You can also follow StoryPeople at facebook.com/storypeoplebybrianandreas and at twitter.com/storypeople.

The number of stories that have been made into prints is roughly 300, with hundreds more offered through products (cards, apparel, wooden sculptures, ornaments, calendars, etc).

They have galleries in the U.S. and U.K., and fulfill orders worldwide. Learn more at storypeople.com.

K’uun Coffee

KuunBeansHand

The K’uun Coffee Bar in Decorah recently opened its doors, so readers can now grab a cup of brew right here in Decorah!

By Kristine Kopperud Jepsen • Photos by Aaron Zauner

There’s nothing like that first warm-sweet-nutty sip of coffee in the morning. At our house – maybe yours too? – it practically constitutes a food group. Coffee brings order, wakefulness, and even, yes, a certain assurance that we’re right with the world – especially on dark winter days like these.

We’re not alone in this dependence, say Honduran natives Fernando and Barbara Vaquero, and they’re betting their combined 25 years in food and agricultural engineering on it. In 2012, they founded K’uun Coffee, a micro-roastery based out of their home in Calmar, Iowa. Their mission? To reveal the soul of Coffea Arabica and the memorable flavor and aroma that makes it so indispensable.

More than 2 billion cups of coffee are poured every day over the world, and the beans that make it happen change hands at a pace second only to crude oil among commodities traded on the global market. As Fernando, the roast master, explains coffee’s origin, his animated eyes leap from topic to topic as his hands sweep points along, like phrases in an orchestral score.

Barbara, who wears most other hats in the business while also caring for their two daughters, ages 10 and two, interjects with subtle but telling clarifications. This is, after all, the third business they’ve built together, all while one of them – sometimes both – is employed full-time elsewhere. In this case, Fernando works as Assistant Plant Manager for Swiss Valley in Luana, Iowa.

Barbara apologizes for the split-seconds, really, that it takes her to translate phrasing from her native Spanish language; but she needn’t have to. Her words are as clear as her passion for the roast. “We just wanted people to really taste the coffee – not the over-processed version of it that is so common,” she says.

The craft of custom coffee roasting is a part of their heritage – having grown up, literally, in coffee production in rural Honduras. Unfortunately, the more displaced the coffee drinker is from coffee’s origins – predominantly Mexico, Central and South America, Africa and Asia – the more misunderstood the process, Fernando says.

“People don’t know what they’re drinking, or how it can taste if it’s crafted right.” Ever had a dark, dark roast that scraped the buds from your tongue? he asks. “That’s what failed roasting tastes like, and it’s been giving ‘dark’ roasts a bad reputation for years.” His other favorite myth? That lighter roasts contain less caffeine. “The roasting process intensifies the nuanced flavors of the bean,” he says, “but it also extracts the caffeine.” In other words, that ‘blonde’ roast really is more of a bombshell.

At K’uun, they roast to order – to order! – and deliver the freshest coffee available, making batches as small as one pound or as large as 20, and hand-delivering them within a week. This prevents the oils that surface after roasting from oxidizing and getting stale or rancid. They specialize in helping customers hone in on the flavor and feel they most enjoy in their coffee, then creating it from their current inventory of beans.

Roaster

“I really enjoy it from a food science point of view,” Fernando says. And no wonder. Growing up, his family produced oil palm, coffee, and livestock. By trade, he became an industrial engineer, fascinated by how things work, and, more specifically, how to help farmers in developing countries build profitable enterprise and trade relationships.

That’s where his interests overlapped with Barbara’s. They met when she applied for an agribusiness position – like him – at the Department of Agriculture in Honduras. Fresh off a degree program in agricultural economics at the University of Illinois, Barbara was among many applicants leading a peer discussion as part of the job interview. “Fernando almost killed my presentation, asking question after question after question,” Barbara says with a laugh. “I thought, ‘Who is this guy? And what does he need to know all this for?’ But, that’s how he gets from the start of something to a solution: You ask a lot of questions. He’s still the same man today.”

Together, the Vaqueros moved their interests north, settling first in New Mexico, where Barbara worked as a health inspector for the State, and Fernando in plant management for Leprino Foods, the dairy conglomerate that produces cheese for many pizza companies.

With their older daughter, Barbara Cecilia, in the mix, they started their first business together: A donut shop, Daylight Donuts, they built from scratch. Needing to pair their fresh-baked pastries with the best coffee around, Fernando turned his attention to coffee roasting, creating a blend that met the New Mexican culture’s requirements for a light but bold roast.

In 2011, they sold the shop and moved to Calmar for Fernando’s position at Swiss Valley, bringing their commitment to really good, affordable coffee with them. Today they source the majority of their single-origin beans through a Fair Trade certified broker in Minneapolis that represents Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, and more. Knowing how U.S. customs work, they’ve also established a direct-trade relationship with a grower in Cameroon. Plus there’s Barbara’s favorite coffee – their Peruvian decaf – decaffeinated by a natural washing method using pure water, not chemicals.

Barbara delivers the finished product, most often to Decorah’s The Perfect Edge, a local pick-up point where they recently opened The K’uun Coffee Bar. They also sell through Oneota Community Food Co-op, their (newly relaunched) website, www.kuuncoffee.com ($11/lb), and in bulk, as they do for the dining services at Luther College and other business around Northeast Iowa.

KuunVaqeros

(Above photo courtesy K’uun Coffee)

“Coffee is unbelievably complex – it’s true! – followed by cigars, wine, beer and cheese,” Fernando says, offering a taste of the different ‘notes’ of beans from each of the coffee-producing regions, ranging from chocolate to earthy to citrusy to floral. Each is affected by the growing location’s altitude, the latitudinal climate, the composition of the soils that nourish the trees, and that growing season’s particular weather.

But it’s in the roasting that all that potential comes to full bloom – or goes up in acrid smoke. There’s the physical heating of the beans – at K’uun, that’s in state-of-the-art Ambex roasters – and then there’s the seasoned intuition to sense – in the aroma and sound and feel of the beans as they heat – when a particular batch has reached its potential.

“Roasting is the perfect release of what’s already in the bean,” Fernando explains. “I can’t ‘put’ flavors into it – it’s my job to bring its natural complexity out, and there’s no ‘second chance.’”

Their incorporated name, Bean Masters, Inc, leaves room for another native of Central and South America: Cacao. But with the addition of their younger daughter, Isabella, now two years old, the Vaqueros are intent on growing their cottage business as sanely as possible, enjoying the way roasting, distribution, and marketing offer teachable moments and routines for their young family – without over-committing their time.

“You get back what you put into it,” Barbara says. “We come from a culture that’s very social, made up of very small, close communities. You have to be honest with people, make them a good, fair product, and take the time to share it. It’s the right thing to do.”

Having won some of their start-up funding in 2012 through Winneshiek County Development Inc, K’uun Coffee is also intent on giving back to the community through a fund-raising initiative called “Growing Together.” The program helps organizations such as The Family School of Religion (CFSR) of Calmar achieve fund-raising goals. K’uun also partners with Luther College, designating five percent of total coffee sales on campus to a scholarship fund for students. In October 2013, they presented the first installment – more than $900.

That fusion of culture and enterprise is, in fact, the origin of their business name. “‘K’uun’ means gold in Mayan, the foundation of our ancestry in Honduras,” Barbara explains, “and agricultural products are the currency of our region’s culture. So we combined them –‘gold’ and ‘coffee.’”

——————-

Disclaimer: While the heaven of great coffee brewing is a welcome start to Kristine Jepsen’s midwinter work routine, she isn’t usually the first one to the coffee pot in the morning. She’s more of an early afternoon devotee, which perhaps explains why her most creative hours are in mid-evening!

How to Order Custom-Roasted Coffee

Intimidated by having to pinpoint the winning characteristics of your favorite cup of coffee? Don’t be. The Vaqueros love the opportunity to connect with customers and share both their knowledge of the roasting process and the unique personalities of the beans they have on hand. Just call them (563-562-9033) and ask! Are you looking for a caffeine kick? (This might mean you’re after a light or medium roast.) Complex, full body? (Perhaps a medium or dark roast, using beans of the origin best suited to produce desired flavors.) Earthy? (Asian.) Chocolate? (Central America.) Citrus or floral? (African.)

“There’s no single ‘perfect’ answer – it’s what you like,” Fernando says with a grin.