Sunday, August 30, 2009

Be a "preferred customer"

Once a month, approximately, we mail the list of our customers with news about special pricing on new products, or unusually good pricing that is a temporary special that we want to reserve for a limited number of customers. If you love unique, fabulous, gourmet coffee and tea and want to be on our mailing list, you can use the Contact Us form and simply enter the message "Please add me to your Preferred Customer email list."

Upcoming products

We are excited to be featuring several new product lines coming up this fall.

We brought back our first shipment of coffee from the Philippines and sold it out through the newsletter in two days, except that we saved a few Coffee Alamid bottles for sale on the web, which should be appearing on the site around September 1. The Liberica was an overwhelming hit and we have a lot of reserve orders for more. We have placed our next order with Arengga and we will keep you posted.

Sometime in mid-December we will be receiving our initial supplies from Highlands Coffee, Vietnam's second-largest coffee producer and coffee shop operator. We will be launching a new site at, and will feature the coffees through our newsletter. Highlands makes some very superior espressos, and we will have them in ground, whole bean and ESE pod form. We are featuring their Full City Roast and their water-process DeCaf, our first DeCaf coffee.

We have finally found a new tea producer as well. Tam Chau, a well-know producer in Vietnam, features the only Green tea and Jasmine scented Green Tea that we have taste tested and found equal to, or better than, the discontinued Tra Tien teas, which we cannot buy any more. They also have whole leaf tea bags!! Now everybody can enjoy some of the finest tea in the world, by the cup using a teabag or brewed with loose leaves.

Tam Chau is also famous for their Oolong teas... they feature several of the rare, numbered Oolong teas, and we will be trying two of their products on the Vietnamese Coffee site.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Here comes the Philippines!

We have been trying for years to find an exportable supply of the indigenous Liberica coffee, known locally in the Philippines as kapeng barako, that is grown in the Batangas region. This threatened species of coffee is one of the last 4 "great" species of coffee left in cultivation of any significant volume. The original stocks were brought to the Philippines as early as the 1500s.

Almost extinct at one point, the kapeng barako has been saved partly by government initiatives and local efforts, both economic and environmental. Liberica coffee grown in the Philippines is somewhat distinct genetically from the few known sources elsewhere in the world. Like all non-Arabica species, it is quite misunderstood by most self-appointed coffee experts, most of whom have never traveled to the Philippines or tasted a fresh cup.

Liberica has long been enjoyed as the only coffee in the region, until recent times. My Filipino wife grew up seeing the large, oddly shaped Liberica beans selling in the local open markets by the scoopful. The coffee is extraordinarily stable and survives many types of brewing... a version of "campfire coffee" is the most traditional method of preparation... the coffee is boiled in water and then strained into a cup. But the coffee brews optimally in a French Press or cone drip.

While many people rate Liberica as having a strong, earthly, almost objectionable taste, these reviews usually come from coffee that is stale. When fresh, the Liberica resembes very much the earthly tones of Sumatran Arabicas. It has a unique characteristic of "ripening in the cup". The taste is superb and smooth, almost free of bitters and very easy on the stomach. Yet you can step it up by brewing it stronger to get an entirely different experience. It's a fabulous cup!

We have recently brought back a small supply of the Liberica from the Batangas region, produced and roasted by Arengga, a very enlightened coffee company that is single-handedly revolutionizing much of the coffee industry in the Philippines, or at least, the production model and environmental manifest. Liberica coffee is not only the world's most unique coffee in terms of physical characteristics (huge beans grown on tall trees), but stands poised to effect great economic and environmental changes in the Philippines and beyond.

We have become a distributor of this coffee, and are now the only known exported source in the USA, and we will be able to offer it in higher quantities starting in late September. Stay tuned for more stories and news on Liberica coffee!