Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Happy Place and Saigon Legend Civet

Cascara Hibiscus Rooibus BlendWe can't stop drinking these. Big hit at the Open House today... The Happy Place Cascara/Hibiscus Blend is astounding hot plain or as a latte, 50/50 with milk. Possibly the highest anti-oxidant drink on the planet at this point, with a tangy, fruity flavor that is out of this world. Cascara Hibiscus Rooibos Blend uses only three ingredients: Coffee Cascara (dried fruit), Hibiscus flowers, and Rooibos African tea. It comes with 6 brew bags to make it easily, and a recipe for a stunningly delicious latte.

The new Saigon Legend: Civet Edition is our "Magnum Opus" for 2017. It is the culmination of our research into the best coffee blends of Golden-Bean-Award-Winning Arabicas plus 20% genuine Philippine Civet Coffee from the "pampered Pet" plantation at Julia Campbell Forest Preserve in the Philippines. It is definitely a case of Happy Mouth, with its smooth body, chocolatey tones and haunting persistence on the palate.
It's packed in a pillow!
We created a cute Pillow Pack for small gifting or trying this extraordinary coffee. It includes a color insert with anecdotes about the coffee and its origins.
We also have a full size 8-oz bag in an attractive gloss gift box and 8 oz bags on their own. We made a small number of ground bags (we prefer the whole bean for ultimate freshness, as sometimes people will hold onto gifts for a long time waiting for that special moment to brew them... sigh). So mostly we have it in whole bean.

This is a definite Bucket List coffee.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Persistent Coffee Myths #142: Uniform Particle Size of Grind is Good

We had a customer walk in today who told us he read an interesting article about how you could achieve a more consistent particle size when grinding your beans if you freeze the beans first... Okay, where do we start?

First of all, please... never put coffee in the freezer. The foil and plastic bags get brittle at that temperature and allow the coffee to soak up odors from the freezer. What do you have sitting next to that coffee? Fish, garlic spinach... whatever it is, that's what your next cup of coffee will taste like. Coffee is one of nature's most efficient odor-absorbing substances, which is why they use spent coffee grinds to clean the floors in fish rendering plants. Yes, eeeeew. Also, freezers are not cold enough to stop the normal oxidation process, so it doesn't even help to keep your coffee fresh.

Somewhere at some time, some burr grinder manufacturer popularized the notion that burr grinders make uniform particles when they grind, and that uniform particles are for some reason optimum when brewing. There are two points to this, and both are wrong.

1. Burr grinders do not make uniform particle size. They do make a MORE uniform overall size than small countertop types, but not by much. I enjoy grinding some beans in our $900 Bunn burr grinder and showing it to customers along with some I ground in a $15 small blade grinder. They can readily see tons of "fines" in both samples. It is a comment on human nature that somebody makes this claim, and everybody copies and pastes and re-blogs it, but they never actually look at samples from both grinder types to see if it's true. It's simply not true.

2. Uniform particle sizes do not improve an average brewing. If you are lucky, it might improve the occasional brewing. This is simple math: Coffee grinds have a "sweet spot" for brew time. In a Press, that sweet spot is maybe 20 seconds, and is affected by the humidity that day, the temperature of your water, whether you stir it or not, etc. Since this sweet spot is very hard to hit on the button, except for odd people who want to watch all these variables and use a thermometer and stop watch, we might want to consider the math of non-uniform particle sizes.

The average person just adds hot water to a press or drip machine or pourover and does not have total control over these variables. That means they are more than likely missing that "sweet spot" most of the time. Now, if you have a 50% variance in particle size, your "sweet spot" gets broadened considerably. Yes, a few particles overbrew, and some underbrew, but here is the final funny thing: That's good. Because any time you are getting exact extraction from one particle size you are not getting as wide a range of elements in your brew as you would otherwise. The positives outweigh the negatives.

Summary: You will hit a "sweet spot" much more often with non-uniform particle size, and you will get a fuller range of tones extracted from the beans. As often, the simplest methods and the cheapest machines are fine for everyday use and enjoyment.

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!