Coffee Blog and News / Informational

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  • Three Ways You Are Ruining Your Brew

    Making great coffee at home is easy and involves changing some bad habits that are ruining your morning brew.   Take action against the following bad habits and you'll see immediate improvement.
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  • Roaster's Guild Retreat

    I've just returned from a four-day retreat with the Roaster's Guild, an official trade guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, or SCAA, and man was I blown away by the amount and quality of information and access to experts and seasoned pros in the industry! One of the underlying themes of this retreat was how time and temperature affect roast development so we had several exercises that explored that relationship. I took five classes that count towards a level 1 certification with the guild (six classes to go).  And while all the classes were great, the one event...

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  • Coffee Brewing Gear; A Buying Guide

    For the last several weeks we've been really enjoying our booth at the West End Farmer's Market and the main reason we love it is because it gets us in direct contact with you folks, where you can ask us questions and we can talk coffee all day.   The most consistent theme of questions is about the gear we use to brew our coffee.   I prefer a clean cup of coffee so my choices in green coffee, my roasting techniques, and my brewing gear all reflect that.  My daily brewer and the workhorse at the farmer's market is the Chemex....

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  • Our Farmer's Market Coffee Shop

    Yesterday was our second week at the West End Farmer's Market and we're thoroughly enjoying it!  It's a great way for us to meet new people who are just as excited about coffee as we are.  We've met so many people who are in different phases of their coffee journey, like the gentleman from St. Louis who was visiting his daughter and who roasts his own coffee in a Fresh Popper and the woman who wants to upgrade her coffee experience at home but didn't know where to start (a burr grinder is a great place to start).   The...

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  • What Is Specialty Coffee

    You hear me talk about specialty coffee a lot, but what does it really mean?  There are two answers to that question; there is a technical and a philosophical answer.   The technical answer as quoted from the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is: To be considered specialty grade, green coffee shall have zero category one (1) defects and five or less category two (2) defects. Their green coffee standards are well documented. The philosophical answer is that specialty coffee is the responsibility of everyone involved in the "chain of custody" of a coffee and that includes the consumer.  Specialty...

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  • Changes To Our Product Pages

    Our product pages now reflect additional information about the coffees we offer.  We do this because we want you to be an informed consumer. The extra information includes the country of origin, the region within the country, the producer (or farm), the elevation of the farm, the processing technique used and finally the specific tasting notes associated with the coffee.  Read on for a break-down of each section. Producer:  Finca El MolinoCountry: El Salvador Region:  Santa Ana Varietal/Cultivar:  Bourbon Process:  Washed ProcessElevation:  1300 - 1500 meters Tasting Notes:  Floral, citrus with a caramel finish Producer Different farmers use different techniques for processing their coffees. Some may have more resources to...

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  • Anatomy Of A Roast

    Roasting coffee isn't as simple as heating up coffee beans until they turn brown and smell great.  There's actually a lot of chemistry and physics involved.  But for the sake of a short and enjoyable/informative blog post I won't drone on about thermal dynamics or carbonyl groups.  Instead we'll break the roast down into three distinct phases.   The three phases are the drying phase, the maillard (pronounced mayard) phase, and finally the roast development phase.  Different roasters will have different names for them and not everyone follows the same theories, so if you talk to someone and they tell...

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  • Why Use A Burr Grinder

    Burr grinders are preferred over blade grinders for a couple of reasons.  The most important reason is that a burr grinder crushes the beans between two burrs (gear-looking disks).  When you adjust the grind size, you're moving the two burrs closer together or further apart.  In doing so, nothing larger than the space between the two disks gets through, which results in a relatively consistent grind size.   With a blade grinder, the blades whirl around and smack the beans and shatter them.  To control the grind size, you simply grind longer to get a finer grind.  But different coffee...

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  • Why Lighter Roasts Are Sweeter

    I focus on light roasts because the light roast brings out the specific flavors and aromas of the individual coffee varietal, whereas darker roasts tend to make all coffees taste similar; charred, smokey, and 'roasty.'   There's also a very specific chemilcal reaction that occurs about 1/3rd of the way into the roasting process and that reaction is called the Maillard reaction (pronounced "Mayard").  During the Maillard reaction, sugars, amino acids, and water are converted into other compounds and are therefore not available later in the roast.  Because I want a sweeter coffee at the end of the roast, I...

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  • What Is Natural Processing

    Natural or dry coffee processing is one of the oldest methods of processing coffees.  Once the cherries are picked from the tress, they're cleaned then spread out in the sun to dry on cement or raised tables.  They're left in the sun for weeks and are periodically raked and turned to ensure an even drying process and to prevent mildew growth.  Because the coffee is laid out in the sun for weeks, natural processing is only used in regions that have very little rainfall, little access to water, and long periods of sunshine.  Most coffees from Indonesia, Brazil, Yemen, and...

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