Sunday, May 21, 2017

New Website Merge and Changes May 25th, 2017

On May 25th we will realize the dream we have been pursuing for several years to unite our three websites under one roof! 

As most of our long-time customers know, we have had contract restrictions on our reseller products and other issues that resulted in us having three different websites that retailed coffee. That will all be ending on May 25th, 2017, when we unite the whole product line under!

We created the Len's Coffee® website in 2015 when we created the Len's Coffee® trademark, as a green, unroasted coffee bean site for home, hobby and commercial roasters, but we had to wait a year for that trademark to be approved and for other changes to take place.

Now that we are able to bring all our products under one site, Len's will feature our full Trung Nguyen, G7, Bach, Truong  Lam, and Indochine Estates coffees as well as our own roasted coffees and blends, the new Cascara line, our Vietnamese teas, brewing accessories, and the full green unroasted coffee bean lines.

To celebrate, we will be running a Grand Re-Opening Sale on Len's Coffee, beginning May 25th, 2017. Please do not expect the full product line to appear on that site until May25th... we are "Under Construction" and testing for our final big day on Friday.

When the merge takes place you will be able to use your same account (your email address) to log in. It's possible you will be prompted to create a new password... but otherwise you will see no change.

Hundreds of products of all types on one website... no more confusion or duplication. We  hope you are as excited as we are, and will visit on May25th for the Grand Re-Opening!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cascara - Coffee Fruit is Here!

I fell in love with coffee fruit while touring the farms we buy our coffee from. The farmers would catch me munching on a coffee cherry and spitting out the seed (what we call the coffee bean) and give me the eye. Many times I asked, "Why aren't we using the fruit?" And I got lots of logical answers - it's hard to collect and handle, nobody wants it, we just use it for good compost, etc.

Well, thanks to Charbucks and a few others, coffee fruit (Cascara - meaning fruit skins) has finally made its debut in the USA in big volume, after decades and even a few centuries of being a favorite brew or "energy fruit leather" for Roman soldiers as early as the first Millenium. And we personally could not be happier. With 8X the antioxidants of blueberries and more polyphenols and healthy substances like anti-inflammatories and immune boosters than pomegranates, coffee fruit is the delicious way to get the good stuff into your body and mind.

We are not content to bring it in in just one form... we have the dried flakes, and the "simple syrup" that can be used to flavor espresso lattes and make sparkling sodas, and we have learned a dozen ways to enjoy both products. Cascara in any form has a truly unique taste that stands alone. With notes of honey, hibiscus, cherries and tamarind, it soon takes a place in the familiar lexicon of flavors that you crave. We've had to give our helpers here their own supply of cascara because they just can't get enough of it.

While it is delicious simply brewed hot as a tea or infusion, it pairs incredibly well with tart flavors like lemon, and it really kicks up any cup of coffee or espresso, which is why it's first introduction to most people was as a Cascara Espresso Latte. It is so versatile you can find many ways to brew or mix it, from Italian-style sparkling soda to iced teas, spiced teas, coffee espresso lattes, and as a flavoring for yogurt, pancakes, and a cocktail ingredient.

You will have a lot of fun with this! Look for our special "try me" prices on Cascara flakes and syrup in the next few weeks.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Costa Rica Estate coffee wins two Golden Bean North America Awards!

We are pleased to see that our Costa Rica Estate beans have joined our Brazil Adrano beans as winners in the prestigious Golden Bean competition in the USA. Golden Bean is one the world's largest and most-respected competitions, running for two years in Australia and now two years in the USA.

We don't have the full details yet, but the Estate beans were the base in two espresso categories.winning a 2016 Silver and Bronze. We were inspired by the care taken in developing winning roasts for the competition, and we went into the R&D room and worked for days on a new roast to see if we can expand on our previous single Medium Roast level. 

The original Medium Roast was determined to be our optimal roast for the beans before, but we wanted to add something with a bolder and wider taste profile. The result is the new Harlequin Master Roast, in which we slow-roast the base to Dark level and then use a normal roast time for 33% of the beans at City Roast (Light/Medium).

We are loving the new roast, hot or iced! To celebrate we are putting the Costa Rica Estate beans on sale for the rest of October, so that everybody has an extra reason to try this amazing coffee now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Papua New Guinea bean sourcing is classic charitable direct trade

We love our newest coffee, Papua New Guinea wild-grown organic coffee from Morombe province, at altitudes ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 feet. In recent years Papua New Guinea coffee has been hard to come by because the isolated highlands have been cut off by deteriorating infrastructure, and mostly, bandits who prey on farmers bringing their beans down to the coastline ports for sale.

Most of the Papua New Guinea coffee we see for sale has been sourced through illegitimate channels, "whitewashed" by using a registered broker for the final trade outside the country. But that is coffee with blood on the hands of those who sell it, because it is often stolen from farmers who are physically harmed in the process. Papua New Guinea coffee should not be purchased unless the origin can be certified.

That's why we like Butch from Highlands Summit, he is a bush pilot who flies a Cessna into an airstrip that his company created so they can actually fly the sacks of beans out in the belly of the plane, and on the return trip he brings medical supplies and food and necessities purchased in trade for coffee from the coastal cities. This three-way trade provides a wonderful humanitarian program for otherwise isolated and deprived villagers.

We are bringing in two grades of coffee. The first we call Grade A, and it is not screened for size. It has small beans and also gigantic beans, which is typical of this varietal growing wild from plantings established from Jamaica Blue Mountain stock over 100 years ago. We've had many customers tell us they prefer this naturally diversified varietal more than the expensive Jamaica Blue Mountain beans they have been purchasing elsewhere.

The other grade is the rare PSC-AA, which is screened for size and drops out the smaller beans and most of the peaberries, for an extremely uniform roasting experience. PSC-AA grade is recognized as one of the top 10 superior gradings around the world and is very hard to find.

Both grades have exquisite taste. The coffee is complex with fruity notes and a spicy aroma, and is super-smooth with wonderful body. Everybody loves this coffee! It's one of the rare treats we ourselves serve to guests and brew up on special occasions. We know you will love it!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Brazil Brazil Brazil Brazil

It's the country with so much coffee we had to name it four times! Actually, we did that because we have taken in a new crop of coffees to complement our fan favorite, the Brazil Adrano.

These new 2015 crops are artfully selected from the best of the best. Certified as one of the world’s best volcanic terroirs, and home to rich mineral springs reputed to have healing abilities, Poços de Caldas is a quintessential volcanic growing region.

The primary Arabica variety in these origins is Mundo Novo, a quintessential Latin American variety that forms the base of the world's most popular brands of coffee used in cafés, donut shops and restaurants. Here are a few tips on how to pick your favorite Brazilian:

Our favorite in the Deep Forest Roast, this is an intensely buttery coffee with so much rich caramel tone that we call it the coffee that is perfect for having with dessert... and you don't even need the dessert! Pleasantly acidic but smoother than polished glass, this is one of our staff favorites.

St. Domingos
Another registered profile of the Volcano Origin Coffee Co., St. Domingos is the coffee of choice for those who want to drink a naturally sweet coffee without the need for sugar. Perfect for icing and suitable for any time of day, St. Domingos is high in body and milk chocolate tones. What's not to love?

Santa Izabel
A true Microlot from D'Alva Family Farm, an oft-awarded, highly renowned producer who has nailed the quintessential high-mineral, super-rich volcanic terroir of the Poços de Caldas with their new Santa Izabel offering. You have never tasted a coffee like this before! This is not a coffee to be trifled with, sit down and savor every sip.

The "sleeper" coffee produced as a base coffee for coffee shop house blends and espressos, the favorable climate last season created an out-sized performance for what was intended to be a modest coffee. Veneza is an affordable trip to volcano coffee country, with a balanced profile that works hot or cold.

We hope you enjoy our Brazil Tour of four of the best coffees produced in Brazil this year. We will be featuring 4-ounce sample giveaways in our monthly emails (go to the Contact Page to sign up to receive these mailings for Preferred Customers), and running special prices on these roasted and green coffees all summer. Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tarrazu origin gets new validation

For decades it has been generally known that the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica as an origin name for coffee is a very specific (and relatively small) region at the highest altitude of the canton of Tarrazu in Costa Rica. A canton is what we might call a "state" in the USA. The canton of Tarrazu is large and covers the area from the West Coast at sealevel to the highest altitudes of the mountains. But there are three counties at the highest altitude, which have a unique terroir and climate.

Coffee from these three provinces, which are Dota, Leon Cortes and Tarrazu (county) are grown at such a high altitude that they are always Strictly Hard Bean (SHB) and are generally superior to anything that can be grown at the lower altitudes in less-favored regions climatically. Dota in particular has been certified by geological surveys to have one of the top growing region profiles in the world.

Our Costa Rica Estate and Nectar coffees are from Dota and are grown at altitudes of 4800-6200 feet. Less than 1% of the world's coffee is grown at such a high altitude, and Dota is further distinguished by having one of the best soil qualities available for coffee - a combination of old volcanic soil and minerals mixed with rain forest organic material and clay.

We are proud and pleased to see the latest decision in the courts of Costa Rica in the battle for the purity of the Tarrazu appelation in regards to coffee. We guarantee that you will always find our Costa Rica Dota Estate coffee to be the Best of the Best!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Tea: Phuc Long (Including Lotus Tea!)

How It Came To Pass

Phuc Long Lotus Tea

Long ago in days of yore, Trung Nguyen had a tea company called Tra Tien. They sold loose-leaf Vietnamese green tea in three varieties: classic green, jasmine green, and lotus green.
Then Tra Tien got discontinued. We searched and found a good replacement for the classic and jasmine green tea, but couldn't find any lotus green tea that held a candle to Tra Tien. Lo, how the streets of Boston did flow with tears. And angry customers--you have no idea how many people used to come by the farmers' market looking for iced lotus tea!

For years, we despaired of finding another awesome lotus tea. We would not settle! Only the best for you.

Then, we found Phuc Long. And it outshines even our memory of Tra Tien lotus tea. And there was much rejoicing. (Also giggling. Say "Phuc Long" out loud with an American accent and you'll see why--but not if your boss/kids are listening!)

A Somewhat Less Silly Account of Lotus Tea

Basket of tea and jasmine buds. Source: Wikipedia

Most people are familiar with jasmine tea; if not jasmine tea, then jasmine rice, or, if all else fails, jasmine perfume. The jasmine flower is used to scent a wide variety of items because it's one of the nicest-smelling flowers in the world.

To make jasmine tea properly (without additives), the tea leaves are mixed with the flowers in baskets or trays. Tea is highly absorbent of aromas, and the leaves quickly pick up the sweet scent of jasmine. This process may be repeated multiple times to make a stronger-scented tea. Once the flowers have imparted their aroma to the tea, they are separated from the tea by blowing them with giant fans--the lighter flowers blow away from the heavier tea leaves.

Lotus blossom. Note the yellow stamens in the center.
Lotus tea is made the same way, but with lotus flowers. Specifically, the golden stamens from the center of the flower.

These huge, magenta-pink flowers have a much subtler aroma than jasmine, one that is unfamiliar to most Americans but popular in Vietnam. It tends to taste different to everybody, but most describe it as reminiscent of chamomile, vanilla, or even a hint of anise,

Lotus tea also has a fuller mouthfeel and a slight natural sweetness. The aroma is not ruined by adding a splash of milk or packet of sugar, either, which is a bonus for those of us who love a milk tea.

It's also one of the best iced teas we have ever tried. It was incredibly popular back when we used to sell glasses of iced tea at markets, even with children who weren't normally fans of tea.

To shop for Phuc Long teas, including lotus tea, click here.