Wednesday, March 15, 2017
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
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
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
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.
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?
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
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
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.|
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.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
But generally the delays are only 1-2 business days on our end. We can't see yet what might be happening on the delivery end... hopefully people are getting their coffee and tea in a timely manner.
We apologize for the delays and hope everybody will have patience with us as we cope with this record-breaking weather extreme. If another storm comes in any time soon we will have to resort to shipping the snow to someplace else -- there is no more room for it here! (Hmm... I wonder how much snow will fit in a USPS Flat Rate box...)