Archive for Coffee of the World
We have upgraded our blogging capability. This means that we had to get a new blog address. All of the posts here are on it already, and future posts will be put there. Thank you: www.bvroasteryblog.com.
Buena Vista has been seeing some much welcome rain. The rain is increasing our humidity to 40% or so in the mornings, which then drops again to 24% by noon. Much different than the Midwest. The first cutting of alfalfa has happened, the river rose again last night via runoff, the blue gramma grass is putting up seed heads, and fire danger, while high, is tempered.
An article on the Bloomberg report talks about the recent rain in India and the effect on coffee yield. Our current Indian coffee is the Indian Monsooned Malabar. The Indian Monsooned Malabar, named for the process it undergoes that simulates its historic journey around Cape Hope and on to England, is a dark, buttery and earthy coffee that is very underappreciated. We expect samples for some new crop next week, which, once we select the best, we will optimize flavor and richness and soon feature.
A blurb in Fortune talks about Starbuck’s closing hundreds of stores, Starbuck’s has a Bitter Plan. It’s interesting to watch a transition away from the huge conglomerate into something less huge, both in terms of the drinks offered and the taste of an espresso.
We’ve found a great Ethiopian. It’s smooth with a medium acidity, medium body and an apricot finish. It’s very complex, from the mesmerizing aroma through the final drop. It’s also certified organic.
Of interest in particular is the country’s new approach to coffee: Ethiopia has developed it’s own national label, as noted in the November 9, 2007 CS Monitor article,
Ethiopia recently shook up the industry with a new tactic: trademarking its specialty coffees. Overcoming resistance to the idea from distributors – notably Starbucks – the country is hoping to empower its coffee industry to earn an estimated $88 million more per year, according to Oxfam America. The move could inspire producers of other commodities throughout Africa to harness branding and capture more value from the goods they sell to consumers in rich countries.
Does anyone use K Cups for their morning coffee? My father in law now uses them, and they are available on-line. You can buy coffee from a few larger roasters, as well as teas and cocoas. The way it works – take what looks like a large creamer container from the diner down the street, only it’s filled with your drink, and costs about $0.55 each. Stick the ‘creamer’ in the front of the brewer. A spear pierces the top and bottom to create two holes. Water passes through, steeping the coffee and fills your mug. Viola, a hot cup of coffee. The only clean up is tossing that little plastic creamer container into the waste bucket. With friends over, just use a few more K-Cups. You never have to make another pot of coffee.
It’s a heck of a marketing campaign – you have to use the Keurig specially-designed K-Cup brewer. They’ve got the lock on the $200 piece of equipment that anyone who wants this luxury item has to buy. Plus, any roaster who wants in on the game needs to invest the capital in a K-Cup packager. I don’t know how much those cost, but imagine it’s several thousand. It also takes any roaster out of being a specialty coffee roaster, in my opinion, which is not for us at the Buena Vista Roastery.
Brewing a K-Cup is extremely easy with little clean up. Still, there seem to be too many health and environmental concerns for us. Besides I enjoy watching our spent grounds turn to compost. But it appeals to a great number of people and I understand the allure, especially as we all are running around from place to place. As Adam Smith said, when demand is there, the supply will follow. There is also demand for the small batch, hand roasted coffee by people in touch with the nuances of the bean as it roasts. I’ll try a K-cup when I can, and in the meantime I’ll ask my father in law about how the butteriness in his K-Cup Sumatra compares with the body and sweet finish in ours.
Recently, we had a question about our El Salvador coffee. This congenial woman asked whether we had it and said it was an undervalued, under-appreciated coffee, which I have to agree with. She’ll be traveling through Buena Vista later today and will stop by the Roastery to try it out. We source our El Salvador through Vournas out of Los Angeles, and they in turn source it from the Batres family. Check out the description of the Batres’ farm in the Smithsonian. This Bourbon coffee has all the bells and whistles, being Bird Friendly, Shade Grown, Rainforest Alliance, Organic, Save the Whales, Vegan, and Stop ANWR. Of course it cups well too.
A couple of us from the roastery traveled to New Orleans for some recon on coffee and music festivals. We spent a couple days at Jazz Fest to prep for our humble music fest in Buena Vista, and a day touring the French Quarter – the FEMA enhanced section of town following Katrina. It was here we stumbled upon the Cafe du Monde’s chicory coffee and beignets (bin-yeahs)