When I first started getting an appetite for quality coffee, I encountered coffee beans labeled as Peaberry. At the time I thought it was just another nickname for coffee or a type of coffee grown in particular parts of the world. After some time though, I realized neither were true. So what is a Peaberry exactly?
Coffee is fruit. If you've ever looked at a typical coffee bean, you'll notice that it's flat on one side, while the other side is round. Inside each coffee cherry, two beans face each other on their flat sides. During the development, sometimes one of the two seeds might not develop. This causes the surviving seed to become more rounded. These round-shaped coffee beans are called "peaberries." They're usually smaller than typical seeds and almost have a football shape after they're roasted.
There are a couple of myths that exist about peaberries that I want to dismiss. First, peaberries do not taste notably different than their normal counterparts. Some people believe that because the nutrients that the plant produces for two seeds is received by only one seed, that peaberries are of higher quality. That's simply not true. The premium that is associated with Peaberry lots comes from the sorting process, not the overall quality difference. As a matter of fact, in a typical bag of coffee you'll find a few peaberries. I will admit that 100% Peaberry lots roast different than a standard lot from the same farm. Because they're smaller in size, they react differently to heat and airflow. However, once a similar profile is achieved for both lots, they usually taste the same.
The second most common myth is that peaberries only come from Tanzania. That's false too. Tanzania is one of the most widely known coffee-growing countries that consistently separates a huge chunk of their coffee lots into Peaberry lots. This is basically derived from customer demand due to tradition. Peaberries occur in every coffee-growing country. On average, about 5% of every un-sorted bag of coffee beans are peaberries. I've had Peaberry lots from not only Tanzania, but from Costa Rica, Guatemala and Rwanda, to name a few.
In conclusion, I hope this clears up what a Peaberry actually is--a genetically flawed, but rare coffee seed. Next time you open a fresh bag of beans, check and see if you've got a few peaberries hanging around in there. Be blessed.
If you've ever purchased a bag of specialty grade coffee, you might notice a small pin hole located somewhere your bag. Occasionally when people grab a bag of coffee, they'll squeeze the bag with their nose near it to get a whiff of the goods inside. Believe it or not, that's not just a "smelling hole" as I've heard it referred to before. It's actually a one-way valve & it's critical to the shelf life of the coffee and the preservation of the bag itself.
When coffee is fresh roasted, it releases carbon dioxide. It's basically a by-product of the roasting process. When the coffee is ground, carbon dioxide is released expeditiously. If you simply place fresh roasted coffee in a completely sealed bag, the bag will expand and in most cases rupture. The other option is to let the coffee rest outside of a container. However, oxygen is the enemy of fresh roasted coffee. By allowing the coffee to be exposed to air for an extended period of time, it accelerates the staling process of the coffee. So, what can be done to retain the coffees freshness while allowing it to naturally de-gas? That's where the one-way valve comes into play.
That valve on your bag allows for the carbon dioxide to escape from inside the bag without allowing oxygen to enter the sealed bag. This valve increases flexibility for the roasters and allows us to immediately package the coffee without worry of the bag bursting on the shelf or in transit to the customer. Most of the canned coffee found on your grocery store shelf is ground & allowed to de-gas for an extended period of prior to being packaged and sealed. In other words, the coffee is stale before it's even sealed. Not good for the quality of the coffee & has a huge negative impact on your morning brew. We package all our coffee in foil-lined bags with a one-way valve. Our packaging provides an excellent barrier to the environment and helps retain the quality of your coffee for an extended period of time.
In conclusion, the next time you put your nose close to your bag to smell the contents inside, remember that small device is working day & night to keep your coffee fresh longer. Be blessed.
Sugar, spice and everything nice. Our newest offering from Colombia is a fantastic one and I cannot wait for you to try it. A real stand out on the cupping table, its complexity blew me away. It has a creamy body with a sweetness that lingers long after you've finished your last sip. My friend's parents makes this beverage they call "spice tea" which made using Tang and Red Hots candy and that what was I thought of when I first tried this coffee. Produced in the Cauca region of Colombia, our importer has developed a project to highlight the unique profiles of coffee in a specific region. Grown between 1400-1900 meters above sea level, this particular lot is a combination of multiple farmers in the Cauca region and is one of my favorite coffees so far this year. You don't wanna miss this coffee, my final cupping notes are creamy, tangerine, toffee & cinnamon. Click here to order a bag today!
The coffee market is currently going through another period of adjustment. The coffee market has went up dramatically since the beginning of the year and there's currently no end in sight. For those not familiar with the market, coffee is traded on the New York Board of Trade as a commodity. Just like oil, pork bellies and orange juice, coffee futures are traded everyday and the price of green coffee goes up and down depending on the condition of the market. For instance, if forecasters predict a shortage of coffee in the near future, the markets rise. If there's a bumper crop, the opposite generally happens. So they say at least.
If you put gas in your car at least once a week, you know exactly what I mean. In my area, gas prices are around $3.20 per gallon as of today. Three days ago, the same gas at the same location was around 3.12 per gallon. What changed in between those days? Most of the time it's absolutely nothing. No oil refinery explosions or shortages have been reported yet a few cent increase occurred. A few cents may sound petty, but when you consider how many gallons are pumped into vehicles on a daily basis, that's an awful lot of pennies. Speculation, which is what us southerners call guessing plays a lot into it. Some folks guess there will be a shortage or a surplus and investors get to shuffling money one way or another. Hedging is another reason. During our most recent recession, coffees prices shot up almost two-fold. Was there a shortage? Nope. Commodities like coffee, oil etc were safe havens for cash while the markets were in a free fall. Consumers might put off buying more appliances or a new vehicle for another year until the market settles, but we couldn't go without fuel for our homes or cars. So while more capital was being shuffled to those safe havens, the valuation increased sending coffee prices surging. No shortage, just the free markets working.
Investors were celebrating at that time, while coffee roasters like us were pulling our hair out trying figure out our next move while our costs to produce in most cases were doubling. Unlike gasoline, which changes prices hourly at times, coffee consumers understandably expect stability. However things are different this time around. There's been an extended dry season in Brazil this year & with them being one of the largest coffee producers globally, forecasters are worried production output. I obviously don't like when there's a cost increase, but I'm lot more tolerant when I at least have an idea why.
In conclusion, our plan is to hold steady while this gets sorted out. Just wanted to give y'all insight to one of the many things that float in your neighborhood coffee roaster's head continuously. In the mean time remember you enjoy one of the most affordable luxuries known to man. Treat it that way. Be blessed.
It's been a little while since my last blog post, so I decided to go ahead & write one to give y'all the latest information. To begin, I want to says thanks for a great 2013. I attended my first SCAA event last year in Boston and returned with a bucket of ideas. We also got some great press locally and nationally including achieving #2 on Coffee Reviews Top 30 Coffees of 2013. I was totally humbled to be on a list that included roasters from across the country two of which were the previous year's Roaster of Year award recipients. We've got a long way to go before even being considered for Roaster of the Year. However, it reminds me of the story of when a farmer decided to enter his donkey into the Kentucky Derby. Someone asked the farmer "why did you enter your donkey into the Kentucky Derby, you know he's not going to win?" The farmer smiled and replied "well I figured the company would be good for him."
To my awesome customers, I want to say a huge thank you for your support. We really can't do what we do without you & I am very grateful for your continued support. For 2014 our plan is to continue offering high quality coffees while pushing the envelope a little further this year. I'm currently not at a place to disclose, but this year is going to be fun. However, I can disclose the info about our latest offerings:
Sumatra BIES UTAMA Cooperative: This is our first offering from Sumatra. I'm not generally a huge fan of Indonesian offerings. Indos typically can have too much of a wild, harsh earthy taste that's usually unsettling with my palate. However, Sumatra is working to improve their reputation and this coffee is a great example of that improvement. I cupped this coffee a couple months ago and really liked it. In mean time and few other East Asians from Sulawesi & Papua New Guinea came in that I liked, but I kept coming back to this lot. It's a really nice coffee too. It has a tad bit of earth on the nose, but man-o-man it is rich with a lingering sweetness that does not fade quickly at all. That's what I fell in love with & the reason I decided to offer it. A Fair Trade certified lot, it's a perfect coffee for the winter months & for your French Press.
One Man Band Single Origin Espresso: After months of delay, OMB is finally here. I kept trying to figure out the right time to release to this coffee, but just couldn't nail down a good date. The holiday rush hit and I decided to just hold off until now. Unlike our Confection Espresso which is meant to an everyday espresso offering, OMB is an experimental approach to espresso. Occasionally, I'll cup coffees for drip brewing that don't make the final list but for fun ill pull a few shots to see how they taste. After pulling a couple shots and then couple dozen more shots (no sleep til Brooklyn those days my friend), I couldn't part with this coffee. Our current One Man Band is Mexico Nueva Linda. It is so sweet, with tons of fruit exploding on your palate. I really enjoyed it and I think y'all will too. It's beautiful as espresso, but it's also a really good drip coffee too. Check it out!
Rwanda COOPAC Cooperative: fresh crop Rwandans are still landing on our shores and man am I glad this one rolled across my cupping table. Another Fair Trade Certified lot, this coffee is beautiful. I'm not sure if y'all remember, but we actually offered a peaberry lot from COOPAC about 2 years ago. COOPAC reminds me of the Peru CENFROCAFE cooperative, in the sense that they consistently offer great lots of coffee year after year. This year's current lot did not disappoint. Super sweet, with lots of floral and honey-like tones throughout the cup, finishing with a long-lasting citrus finish. Rwanda is one of my favorite coffee producing countries in Africa and I'm glad I get an opportunity to share this amazing coffee with y'all.
Thank y'all so much again for a great 2013. I look forward to serving y'all again this year. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter if you haven't already to get the latest and greatest updates. Be blessed.
We loved our new Rwanda Nyamasheke Limited Micro-Lot Coffee so much that we decided to send it Coffee Review for evaluation. Coffee Review conducts blind, expert cupping of coffees & reports the results using a 100-point system much like you see constantly in the wine industry. They evaluate & measure the coffee's Aroma, Acidity, Body, Flavor & Aftertaste assigning a score to each criteria. After a thorough evaluation, our Rwanda Nyamasheke received a 95/100 score, earning an assessment of "Exceptional." We are really happy about results of review to say the least. This is Coffee Review had to say about it: Blind Assessment: Extraordinarily lush, nectar-like fruit – cherry, black currant, nectarine – balanced by a crisp, roasted cocoa nib and roasted malt notes. Balanced, lively acidity; full, plush mouthfeel. Flavor simplifies but remains resonantly present in a long, rich finish.
With our new logo rolling out this week, I wanted to take few moments to explain the new labels you will see on our packaging going forward. Our old labels simply featured our logo & in my opinion needed a little improving. This post will give you a brief overview of our new labels. Please refer to the image above as a reference:
A. The Blend Name or Farm Name tells what coffee you are purchasing. Country name is on top along with the specific farm name. If applicable, we also relay any certifications here such as Fair Trade.
B. Region: tells you what specific region of its respective growing country the coffee is from. If it is a blend, we list it as "varies seasonally". We do that because our blends are all comprised of coffees that rotate throughout the year, but have a similar taste profile.
C. Variety: tells what varieties or subspecies the coffee is. Specific varieties typically have similar tasting characteristics within a given region. For example, Bourbon (pronounced burr-bone) is a variety widely grown in Brazil. Brazilian coffees that are of the Bourbon variety in a given region tend to taste similar, notably sweet, balanced, heavy body. We commonly see varieties on wine bottles. For example Pinot Noir, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon are all different varieties of grapes & when we purchase either one of them, we expect a desired taste profile.
D. Altitude: tells basically how high in the sky the coffee was grown. Altitude affects taste as well. Typically, higher elevation = higher acidity. When I refer to acidity, I don't mean something that'll affect your stomach, but its taste. Bright coffees or coffees with higher acidity typically intensifies its perceived sweetness.
E. Notes: these are tasting notes that i experienced when evaluating this coffee. I brew each coffee multiple ways & list the tasting notes that I found was common in them all. These notes give you idea of the coffee will taste like. **Taste perception, brewing parameters & environmental influences such as water quality can affect what you personally taste. I'm always happy to hear what my customers' personal palates discover!
I hope this post helps you understand our new label & guide you through the coffee selection process. Be blessed.
Bob Dylan might of said five simple words, but actually he said 10,000. Times are a changing for us here at BeanFruit Coffee and we wanted to share the latest with you. We work really hard to source & roast some of the finest coffees available in the world. We currently sell our entire line of coffees at a retail price of $12. We initially decided to go with flat pricing to keep everything simple & easy. We currently offer some great coffees, but there are some exceptional coffees we've tasted, but couldn't possibly offer because of the cost barrier. I can't tell how many times I've blindly cupped some knock-your-socks lots of coffees only to not offer them because of price.
To push the envelope further & no longer pass up on those potential candidates, we are planning to introduce tier pricing. After getting some positive feedback from a few of our awesome customers, we decided to finally take this next step in our business. Our tier priced offerings will mainly consist of limited micro-lot coffees that we run across & will be priced at $13 and up per 12oz bag based on its initial cost. By doing this, we get to share some amazing coffees with you without having to turn them away completely. Not to worry, our main blends like Crimson Stamp, Old Route 4 & some of our other Single Origins will remain the same the price of $12.
In conclusion, we are really excited about this change. We really want to serve you to the best of our ability & look forward to offering you some exceptional coffees. Look out for our micro-lot offering updates via Facebook & Twitter. Be blessed.
2012 was a great year for our small company. I honestly believe that the success of our business is 25% of the efforts of us & 75% of the support of the people around us. Instead of listing our successes, we want to give thanks to some people that influenced us & made this great year possible. In order of no importance, here goes:
- Ryan & Ashley Vaughn: Great friends, lending helping hands & occasionally a truck :-)
- Meredith Sullivan & Action Jackson: Huge supporters & inspiration to move forward
- Word of Life Church: Giving us an opportunity to serve them
- Caitlin Cox: pushed like a bandit to get our coffee in Sneaky Beans
- Byron McKnight: saying yes to Caitlin & for them banging Sat. morning biscuits. Awesome guy!
- Mitchell Moore: for serving us at Campbells Bakery & awesome advice
- Joe Hickman: awesome friend who always has an open ear for me & huge supporter
- Lemuria Bookstore: best bookstore in Jackson for real & their awesome team
- Jamie & Julia Weems: great supporters & overall awesome. Too many attributes to list.
- Jonathan & Sevanna Picarsic: best produce in the Jackson Metro, support & encouragement
- Meredith May: taking those awesome photos for us
- Jay Lide: great friend & supporter
- Justin Schultz: designing that awesome artwork for us
- Melanie's: owner's infectious personality & giving us opportnity to serve our coffee in Byram
- Alan Campbell: huge supporter & chief re-tweeter
- Fondren Church: giving us an opportunity to serve you guys
- Matthew Kajdan and Parlor Market: giving us opportunity to serve you guys & your customers
- Les Harvey: awesome supporter & encourager
- Team at Rankin County Schools: an opportunity to help get Gathering Grounds off the ground
- Tara Morrison: awesome supporter & giving me great advice
- The Coffee Adventures & Table in the Corner of the Cafe: my 2 favorite coffee bloggers
So many other friends, family & people I got to know over the past year, I am really grateful for your support. It really does mean a ton to me. If I forgot to mention someone, I apologize, I've only 2 shots of espresso so far today :-). Look for updates soon about some of our new projects for 2013. Be blessed.
Proper water-to-coffee ratios is very important to creating a great cup of coffee. I've found that using weight to brew coffee offers consistent accuracy. I weigh both the grounds & water when brewing. I know that sounds like a lot, but it's really easy with the help of decent kitchen scale. I don't use volume measurements because there is so much variability. I give you the coffee scoop:
These are 4 coffee scoops that I've collected over the years. Below each scoop is the approximate weight in grams that each scoop holds. As you can see, these commony used coffee scoops range from 6 grams to 20 grams. That makes a huge difference when trying to nail the right amount for your brew. When I'm asked, "how many scoops" I honestly have to guess because I just don't know what size scoop my customer is using. To deconstruct this even further, the roast degree affects weight as well. A scoop full of light roast coffee weighs more than a scoop of French Roast. Dark roasted beans expand more due to carmelization during the roasting process, but are less dense than their lighter counterparts. Darker beans take up more space, but weigh less. In conclusion, simply consider investing in a good digital kitchen scale. They are very inexpensive & once you start using them, they are invaluable. I use ours to make coffee & for recipes in the kitchen. I don't know about you, but I just feel more confident about the outcome of a dish when I've taken measures to reduce error. Worth the weight? I absolutely think so. Be blessed.
I really enjoy a good cup of black coffee. It is one of the most simple, yet delicious ways to coffee. In a sugar saturated culture, like the one we live in, the black coffee drinker is getting more and more scarce. It seems that black coffee is starting to be reserved only for coffee purists. I can't blame the general public though. With so much stale, bad tasting coffee lining the shelves of grocery stores & the expert marketing of sugary additive producers, customers shutter at the very idea of trying black coffee again.
Coffee on the surface is pretty simple: take this brown, ground up stuff, add hot water, strain, sha-zam!! Coffee! I beg to differ though. Coffee is one of the most complex beverages that exist. Need proof? Here is a list of the few things that can affect the way your coffee tastes:
- Weather Conditions
- Process (washed, natural etc.)
- Terroir (the land where it's grown)
The list goes on and on & the coffee hasn't even been roasted yet!
Why did I say all that? The production of high quality coffee is such a painstaking endeavor & with the right amount of care yields an awesome result that requires no other influence to be enjoyed. Especially nothing from the likes of a plastic bottle with artificially laboratory produced chemicals that you cannot pronounce with the promise to make your coffee taste like a candy bar. I'm sorry, I like Almond Joy & I love a good cup of coffee. However I think the two yield better results independently, not together respectively. Coffee is very akin to good produce. I have yet to desire a need to "doctor up" fresh, carefully picked Mississippi grown peaches. Why? They are so good on their own & require no foreign input from me to be enjoyed. With proper preparation, high quality coffee needs nothing either to be appreciated.
If using condiments help you to enjoy your coffee more, that's fine. However, I urge you to at least taste every cup of coffee prior to adding them. If you know that the coffee you regularly buy gives you no inclination to consider drinking it black, throw it away. It's not worth your time or money. There’s too much high quality coffee available to settle junk. If it is worthy, please give the coffee an opportunity to impress your taste buds before making the decision. I genuinely hope that your expectations are exceeded. Be blessed.
You know if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: “Decaf!? Yuck! It’s like drinking non-alcoholic beer, what’s the use?” Decaf drinkers catch a hard time in the coffee world. According to the National Coffee Association, decaf drinkers make up only 10% of the entire coffee market. I really love my decaf drinkers & in an effort to bring more attention to the subject, I decided to write a blog about one of America’s invisible minorities.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in a variety of plants including its most famous carrier coffee. Caffeine wasn’t originally developed in plants as a stimulant for humans, but as a way to deflect bugs. When insects bite into plants containing caffeine, it actually paralyzes them, preventing the insect from devouring the plant completely. It wasn’t until many years later that coffee was discovered to be a stimulant presumptively by an Ethiopian goat herder. Read more about that story here.
How is coffee decaffeinated? Caffeine is removed from natural coffee by a number of means. One of the oldest processes is a chemical type that uses a plant based solvent to remove the caffeine. The raw beans are soaked into this solution to extract the caffeine quickly to encourage retaining the coffee’s natural flavor. Another common decaf process is water based decaffeination. The water process steams or soaks the beans in high temperature water to extract the caffeine from them. That water solution is then drained through carbon filters which captures the extracted caffeine. The beans are then re-introduced to the caffeine-free solution to absorb their organic flavors. Is the extracted caffeine trashed? Nope. It’s actually sold to beverage makers, pharmaceutical companies and other companies that repurpose it for use in their products. Why does decaf get such a bad rap? Most of it just doesn’t taste as well as its caffeinated counter parts. Why? Because 90% of the decaf coffee produced is made up of coffee beans that were rejected from the original lot. You read correctly, bad and/or inadequate coffee beans generally are sent to be decaffeinated. Most companies figure since decaf drinkers tend to be less discerning about the way their coffee tastes, they just spare them the left overs. However, the same old truth applies: garbage in, garbage out. In the words of Kenneth Davids: “pity the poor decaf drinker.”
Luckily, for the decaf drinker, things are changing. As quality coffee continues to evolve, decaf does too. Decaf is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves. Quality roasters like us, roast high quality beans that aren’t rejected from the original lot but are quality from the start making a positive impact on the taste. There’s a special place in my heart for my decaf customers. Most of them select decaf coffees for either health or personal reasons. I really enjoy a good tasting decaf myself, especially late afternoons when I desire coffee & not want to worry about losing sleep. Great decaf coffees are very rare & supplies are really thin. In actuality, I work the hardest for my decaf drinkers. Without the drive to drink coffee simply for a caffeine delivery system, they mainly have one desire in mind: great taste. Great taste is exactly what we have in mind when selecting coffees for our decaf & non-decaf drinkers alike. So next time your friend selects decaf to enjoy, don’t make fun of them, instead remember that common bond you both share for the cup. Be blessed
You know, with the explosion of Single Cup brewers on the market, I get asked all of the time what are my thoughts about these machines. So I wanted to give you my impression of these brewers. This isn't a bash party, but simply an evaluation of each. First off I want to say I do not own either of these machines. I've had an opportunity to try out a couple of them, but wasn't convinced that it's time to throw away my Chemex, French Press & etc. So with that being said, let's start the evaluation:
Keurig Single Serve Brewer
I wanted to first begin with the Keurigs because by far they are the most popular & most widely available Single Serve Brewer on the market. These are available in different models with different features for each. They range in price from about $80.00 for the basic Mr. Coffee edition to $250.00 for their top-of-the-line home edition model. The good thing about the Keurigs as well as the entire line of single serves are they are very convenient. Pop in a capsule, press a button, walk away & wa-la you've got a cup of fresh brewed coffee waiting for you upon your return. Also you can find the capsules everywhere you shop from department stores, grocery stores & you can even buy capsules that brew tea. Now if that isn't convenient, I don't know what is. Well, that's about where it ends. First off, those nice little K-Cups are on average between .60-.85 cents each depending on where you pick them up. Environmentally they aren't recyclable and the coffee quality just isn't up to par to me. I know I might hurt some people feelings, but it just isn't. Yes, I'll admit, it beats the heck out of Maxwell House brewed out of the Mr. Coffee. But that's not saying much. Low water temp + Bad, Stale Coffee= Recipe for disaster. The cups sizes are very limited too. Depending on which model you purchase, you can only brew 6oz, 8oz & 10oz cups. So don't expect to get your coffee fix or fill up your Travel Mug if you prefer a bigger cup of Joe. Your best tasting brewed cup is at 6oz, past that it just waters down the coffee because you can't add any additional grounds to the capsule. The Keurigs have constantly gotten ragged about their performance & reliability. Some of the common issues include: the water temp fluctuating from cup to cup, plastic-like taste to the water, noisy brewing & the machine plain shutting down with an average life span of about a year. I'm glad to hear that their customer service is great & is willing to replace the machine within in a given period for free. That's great, but that's really inconvenient don't you think? I don't know about you, but if I'm going to shell out a $150.00 on something that only brews coffee & tea, it better work for a long, long time & make an excellent cup of coffee too.
Tassimo Single Serve
The Tassimo is the 2nd most popular single server brewer on the market. They are available all over the place too. They use these proprietary T-discs akin to the K-Cup. They are pretty cool looking I must say & range in price from about $80.00-$170.00. The T-discs are available at most retailers, but not as widely available at the K-Cups & offer coffee, tea & espresso based capsules. The Tassimo is dubbed as the smartest brewer on the market. Each T-disc has a barcode on the label that's scanned every time one is placed onto the maker. This barcode tells the machine what beverage is being brewed & uses the exact amount of water for each. It also can brew espresso drinks like lattes with the use of an additional milk disc. That is pretty cool. Put in the capsule(s), press the button & there you go. The Tassimo isn't without its flaws though. One, those T-discs are harder to locate & don't offer half the variety of K-Cups. The coffee companies that are more familiar & more available are Starbucks, Gevalia & Maxwell House. Why would someone spend $180.00 to brew Maxwell House? I'm not sure & I guess the old adage "to each it's own" applies. The discs range in price from .50 to 1.20 per cup depending on what you are brewing. The cup sizes are limited to what's scanned on the barcode, so unlike the Keurig, you don't even have the option to adjust. I've haven't had a cup from this machine, but I can image what it tastes like considering the coffee options. Some common issues include: Slow brewing time, frustrating disc readings, inconsistent cups & messy clean-up. Unlike the Kuerigs, Tassimo has a bad customer service reputation. You'll get a little more practice pressing buttons on the phone with CS.
CBTL and Nespresso
These are the 2 final machines I'm going to mention in this post. Not because they are exactly alike but because of their popularity in the US & their similar design. The CBTL is one of the newest single serve brewers on the market and are starting to pop-up in outlets such as Bed Bath & Beyond. A birth of the West Coast based coffeehouse Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, they are very similar to Keurig as to how they brew, but also feature the ability to brew espresso. They are smaller than their cousins and range in price from $140-$180. They also have capsules available to make tea & hot chocolate.
The Nespressos have popping in stores like Williams Sonoma & actually is the oldest automatic single serve machines out. They began developing the machine in the 1970s and were released in Switzerland in 1986. The machines have been widely popular for sometime in Europe and are creeping into the US from the spike in popularity of single serve brewers. In my opinion it has the best design, but that design comes in at a price tag of $250-$800. The Nespresso main focus is espresso however. You can brew cups of coffee, but its strength comes from the espresso it produces. It does produce a pretty good cup of espresso I might add, making it the best tasting automatic single serve brewer in my opinion.
Next to the design, each of the brewers shares another common drawback: availablity of capsules. The CBTL capsules can only be picked up at the retailer where it's purchased or ordered online. So it's not the most convenient when needing more & capsules cost on average about .70 each, a little more expensive than the average K-Cup prices. The selection is very mediocre and only consists of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf blends. The Nespresso is even worse when it comes to convenience. The capsules are only available through ordering online with the requirement to join their coffee club after you purchase the machine. So stopping by to pick up some coffee on the way home from work is out the door. Plus as I said earlier, it's mainly an espresso machine. Don't expect to purchase one of these and replace your coffee maker.
The AeroPress is a great example of a low cost alternative to all of the machines on the market. The Aeropress is compact, easy to use, is only about $30 and makes an amazing cup of coffee. Of course, you can use any coffee of your choice & you can make a great cup of coffee in 40sec after water boil. It takes up practically no counter space & can easily be carried in a purse or backpack, making it ideal for camping trips etc. The downside is the brewer does not boil its own water & requires an outside heated water source such as a water kettle or the use of a microwave. The maker is a bit messier than removing a capsule, but there is no container waste. A "puck" of grounds is generated after each brew & can popped into your compost bin or trash can. Simply rinse off the plunger & your ready to go.
My Final Thoughts
It's not that I hate single serve brewing devices. They do serve a purpose of creating one cup at a time. The thing that really irritates me is that each maker tells the consumer what kind of coffee they must enjoy. With the exception of the AeroPress & Keurig, you have to use the machine's proprietary pods or you can't even use them. Even the Kuerig's My K-Cup isn't meant to replace the machine's pods. My experience with them includes leaking & under extracted cups of coffee. I believe it was intentionally designed that way. When Green Mountain Coffee purchased the rights to Kuerig's design in 2006, they were initially losing about $60 a machine due to the significant production cost of the hardware. Corporations traded on the stock exchange are in the business to make money. According to their current Annual Report (Click Here, Filed Nov 2011, Business Overview, 3rd paragraph), they are still using that same strategy. So the big idea is to take a hit on the hardware & make it up on the back-end with the sale of the pods. So the My K-Cup was designed to underperform compared to the capsules because GMCR makes a lot more when you purchase their proprietary capsules than when you load the machine up with another brand's coffee. With the exception of Starbucks & a few others have you also noticed that GMCR has being acquiring every roaster that offers a coffee for their machine? I don't know about you, but that makes me a little nervous. From Caribou, to Tully's even Van Houtte they are now all under the umbrella of Green Mountain. Starbucks has already released a statement that they are working on the production of their own single serve machine. If this continues, we'll look up and every large roasting company who wants to enter the single serve market will force you to buy their machine to drink their brand of coffee.
In regards to price & taste, all of these machines are very expensive in my opinion. Initial cost and per cup price they just don't add up. Forking over $150-$300 for a machine is a huge chunk of change for a chunk of plastic that can only be used to make coffee. I honestly would prefer you to purchase a $20 drip coffee maker & buy coffee from the supermarket. Both produce subpar coffee but at least you keep a hundred or so bucks in your pocket & you can pick up any type of coffee you like anywhere without the restrictions of corporate contracts. All of these of machines listed above have an average cost of $.70-$.80 per cup. In terms of traditional roasted coffee, that's about $31-$36 a pound (based on the standard coffee ratio of 10g of ground coffee per 6oz cup of coffee). At that price, you can easily purchase top quality Arabica coffee from some of the most reputable roasters in the nation and even afford to buy 100% Hawaii Kona if that's your thing.
I have to admit I'm a huge advocate of manual brewing methods. Manual brewing is the best way to achieve a high quality cup of coffee at home with very little investment. You can pick up an AeroPress or Chemex for less than $40 & with a tiny amount of skill you can brew a cup of coffee that will knock your friends' socks off. At the same time, I'm not against good technology. I will recommend a Technivorm in a heartbeat to customers because I know it consistently brews an excellent cup of coffee. It costs about $300.00, but it's handmade, built with quality parts & brews awesome coffee. Of all the 100s of automatic coffee makers on the market, it is 1 of only 2 brewers on the market actually approved by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (2nd being BonVita FYI).
At the end of the end of day however, it's your choice. That's one of the beauties of this great country. Don't let my views & opinions deter you from what satisfies you. I just totally agree with another roaster in the industry whose motto is: "Life is Just Too Short for Bad Coffee." -Be blessed.
An awesome customer of mine wanted to get her best friend a good gift for Christmas. She loved our coffee and decided to get her friend a bag of BeanFruit coffee to try. Her friend usually drank Maxwell House brand coffee every morning. She gave her a bag of our Costa Rican, she tried it and absolutely loved it. She loved it so much that she decided to put it up in the cabinet and "save" it for special occasions. Believe me, I feel honored that she loved the coffee and thanks for the compliment, but don't save the coffee. You know why? Let me explain.When coffee is fresh roasted, it releases CO2 gases. When the coffee has aged (about 4 weeks), the gases are almost minimum. The gases escaping from the bean isn't the issue, its the flavors and aromas that leave with the gas that is the problem. In other words, the way that fresh roasted coffee she tasted on today, will not taste the same in 2 or 3 weeks. If the coffee is ground, this accelerates the aging process. Also, coffee is very porous and absorbent. So if she places her coffee next to her dried herbs and spices in the cabinet, it is a good chance her coffee could end up taste like rosemary for example. Canned coffee from the grocery store is usually old when purchased. On average, coffee purchased from your local grocery store is about 3 months old. Even the most sophisticated packaging cannot stop the aging process. Please see image below. I took 2 equally size samples of coffee and put both samples into a Melitta. I poured equal amounts of hot water from a kettle onto both samples. On the left, is our coffee that was roasted 2 days ago and on the right is a canned coffee I purchased from a local grocery. As you can see, the coffee on the left is very fresh by the amount of foam or bloat that is on top. That "bloom" as some call it, is caused by the gas that is still trapped in the coffee. The sample on the right has no bloom and is flat because its age. The bulk of the flavor and aroma is already gone on the. The opposite is true on the left and so those flavors and aromas will end up in the brewed cup of coffee. This why I reccomend drinking that fresh roasted coffee when it is first purchased. It just dies. I wish I could say BeanFruit's coffee won't ever get to that point, but it eventually does if it isn't consumed soon enough. That's why roast it and sell it witihin 2 weeks of roast date. That makes sure the customer gets the full enjoyment of the coffee. Its a beautiful thing. What does your coffee look like? Give it the test and see. Be blessed.
BeanFruit Coffee Company is proud to announce its addition of micro-lot coffees. Your next question is going to be, "what is a micro-lot coffee?" Let's say for instance you had a peach orchard. In most areas of the orchard, you produce generally good fruit. However, in one area of your orchard there is this one spot where the peaches are exceptionally good. The trees in this one little area of your orchard produces more plump and sweeter fruit than the majority of your orchard. Usually, all of the fruit from the entire orchard is mixed and sold together. Well, with a micro-lot you seperate these exceptional fruit from the entire lot and sell them seperately. Thus creating a "micro-lot" of very sweet peaches. Imagine this same principal being applied to coffee.BeanFruit Coffee Co now has access to some of these exceptional micro-lot coffees. These very limited, very exceptional coffees. They are only available for a very short time. Due to their availability, we can sometimes only offer 15-20 (12oz) bags of these exceptional coffees. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. So, stay on the look out and keep your ears to the ground. We will make an announcement each time we are able to get our hands on these little gems. These are some fantastic coffees tha you definitely don't want to miss. Be blessed.
I am not certain about this, but I feel that as coffee drinkers, we sometimes are under the impression that we must select one type of coffee to drink all the time. I don't personally have an exclusive coffee that I must have. Instead, I have an assortment I like to enjoy. In the morning, I tend to go for coffees that have a higher acidity like a good high grown central american or african. In the afternoon, I prefer darker roast coffees with a good body. I think the "pick one" mentality originated from the canned grocery store competition that started in the past. I remember you were either a Folgers drinker or a Maxwell House drinker. Unless you were trying to impress your guests and you would brew some Community Coffee. Sure there is nothing wrong with picking a favorite, but don't feel committed to just one type of coffee. Keep your self open to enjoy new coffees. There is more than one great coffee out there for you. Not only do you get to expand your selection, put you give your palate a chance to experience different tastes. You ever dated someone who only ate hamburgers all time? You say "I am in the mood for Italian", response "I want a whopper." "Ooh I heard there was a new sushi place in town," response "I want a Big Mac." It gets old quick doesn't it? Treat your coffee the same way, you and your tongue will be happier. Be blessed
I was talking with a friend a mine and we were discussing coffee. I asked what type of coffee he liked and his reply was "I like my coffee strong, that's why I like it dark roast." After explaining to him about coffee strength, I felt it neccessary to create a post about this subject. The truth is, the darker the roast, the weaker the coffee. Let me explain. Coffee naturally contains caffiene. When coffee is roasted, a chemical process happens. Oils and other materials that are in the coffee bean break-down and are lost throughout the roast as sugars inside of the bean begin to carmelize. Which means longer the roast, the darker the beans get which in turn lowers the amount of caffiene inside of the bean. Lighter roast coffees retain more oils and caffiene when the roast is complete. The strength mis-conception is the more pugent (charred) odor and taste that is associated with very dark roasted coffee. I'm not sure if you have ever burned dinner one afternoon and thrown it in the trash, but it can light up your home with a strong odor pretty good. Same principle applies with coffee. So, the next time you need a little vitality and vigor to start the day off with, be sure to make it a light to medium roast cup of coffee. You'll be glad you did. Be blessed.
Hello fellow coffee lover and/or blog reader. This is my first post, so I am going to give it a whirl. Well I finally received in the commercial roaster that I had been waiting on for a while. I had been roasting for some time on a small one-pound roaster that did the job for while, but it started to clunk out. It was time for an upgrade and so I decided to go with something with a lot more power. It felt good to get the new roaster unloaded. It roasts like a charm and I am really having fun roasting on it. Better control always equals better taste and definitely picking up the subtle differences in the cup. I mean, who doesn't like improvement? Stay tuned, new updates coming soon.