2017: A Year in Review
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2017: A Year in Review

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2017: A Year in Review

Does anybody else feel like this year just began? 2017 has certainly been an inspiring year, and we have had so much fun looking over the calendar from the past twelve months to see what we’ve accomplished, what we’ve learned, and what’s coming up next in 2018.

To all of our friends and family who have been with us this year, THANK YOU! We adore you, and we can’t wait for another great year with you all.

We know this is a long blog post, so we made it easy to skip to different sections:

 2017 Roaster of the Year  Congo Coffee  Wild Grounds  Favorite Coffees  Package Rebranding  Global Coffee Expo  Cold Brew at Coffeefest • Customer Reviews  Limited Edition Coffees  Local Partners  Puerto Rico Coffee Donation  New Wholesale Accounts  Thanksgiving Coffee Team 

2017 Roaster of the Year

For the past twelve months, we’ve been celebrating our win of the 2017 Macro Roaster of the Year title from Roast Magazine. After 45 years of both leading and learning from the coffee industry, it was an honor to be recognized as the top roaster in the country.

2017 Roaster of the year

The judging for this award looks not only at the taste and quality of the coffee, but also at the practices within the company and their history as a whole.

Launch of the Congo Coffee

This is launch is very special to us, because we have such a long history with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Since 2004, we have roasted Gorilla Fund Coffee, benefiting mountain gorilla protection and research in Rwanda. As the DFGFI has grown and increased what they’re doing in Africa, we have been building alongside them, with our second Cause Coffee benefiting their efforts.

Congo coffee

Partnership with the American Wild Horse Campaign

This June, we had the chance to launch an all-new Cause Coffee with an organization that is doing important work in our country. The American Wild Horse Campaign is dedicated to preserving our free-roaming wild horses and burros as part of our national heritage.

We first met the people behind the AWHC at GreenFest in San Francisco. They tried our coffees, we discussed the needs of their organization, and decided to partner together to create Wild Grounds Coffee.

american wild horse

Thanksgiving Coffee Company has been teaming up with nonprofits for more than twenty years, and has been able to stand with some truly amazing organizations. We are so excited about what the American Wild Horse Campaign is doing, and we are glad to be a part of it.

Your Favorite Coffees

At the end of each year, we take a look back to see what the top sellers were on our website, and it’s always fun to see what coffees our customers have chosen. For 2017, these ten coffees topped the list: four french roasts, three dark roasts, one medium, one light and one flavored coffee.

Did your personal favorite make it to the top?

  1. Noyo Harbor French – Distinctly smoky with hints of jammy fruit, roasted nuts, and baker’s chocolate. This is our signature Fairtrade and Organic French roast.
  2. Grey Whale Blend – We blend our Mocha Java with a mellow, earthy Sumatra, and then add just a touch of vanilla.
  3. French Roast – Full bodied and toasty with intense dark chocolate notes and a smoky finish. This is our darkest roast – and we’ve been making it for over forty years.
  4. Paul’s Blend – Co-founder and Roastmaster Emeritus Paul Katzeff created this blend to showcase his favorite coffees. Blueberry notes add to hints of cashew and chocolate.
  5. Nighthawks’ Decaf Very Dark Roast – Bold and rich with intense notes of dark chocolate and toasted marshmallows. Our Decaf coffees are water-processed without chemicals. A classic French Roast.
  6. Mendocino Vienna – A bold, sweet blend with hints of nuts, chocolate, and caramel. Featuring coffees from Central America, South America, and Indonesia. The secret to Irish Coffee!
  7. Albion River Inn Blend – A full-bodied and well-rounded blend with sweet chocolate tones and a crisp, toasty flavor.
  8. Kona Blend – Simply elegant, with notes of tropical flowers and milk chocolate. A perennial favorite among light roast coffee drinkers.
  9. Sumatra Very Dark Roast – Full-bodied, smoky, earthy.
  10. Beaujolais Blend – Heavy bodied, complex and rich with a French Roast character, hints of caramel, nuts and spice.

Package Rebranding

When we took home the title Roaster of the Year, we decided to incorporate it into our packaging. The new design, which we launched in early 2017, incorporates the elements that make us who we are. Take a look at all the pieces that went into the new bag design through the link below.

Thanksgiving coffee

Global Coffee Expo

In April of 2017, seven of the Thanksgiving Coffee team traveled to Seattle for the Global Coffee Expo, put on by the Specialty Coffee Association. We had the chance to see old friends, meet with coffee producers, participate in industry discussions, and taste a lot of great coffee.

roasting team

Check out our recap of this event through the link below.

Cold Brew at Coffeefest Portland

In October, Lawrence and Jacob attended Coffeefest in Portland, and entered the West Coast Cold Brew Competition. While we didn’t take first place this time around, we did make it to the top four, and had a great time hanging out with other roasters on the cold brew circuit.

jacob long

In addition to our cold brew coffee making waves in Portland, we are working toward a Nitro Cold Brew product that will be available for wholesale accounts in the New Year. We will have more information as the summer months begin to creep closer.

Coffee Reviews

We never get tired of hearing what our customers have to say! Here are a few highlights from product reviews over the past year.

Anonymous in Moraga, California • Grey Whale Blend

I’ve been drinking Grey Whale coffee for over 10 years now. It’s my all time favorite! It doesn’t seem to have much of the bitterness I taste in many other coffees and the very subtle vanilla flavor adds to the smoothness, but doesn’t overwhelm. I only drink this coffee black because the flavor is that good!

Coffeeholic Birder in Port Clinton, Ohio • Songbird Colombian

I was told that bird friendly coffee was THE way to go for bird conservationists. I had no clue that I was going to have THE very best cup of coffee I ever had. It was. I highly recommend the ABA’s coffee. Save Wood Thrushes, drink this coffee!!

Liz in Washington, D.C. • Nicaragua Light Roast

I have been drinking coffee since high school but always with milk and sometimes even with cocoa powder as I couldn’t stand the bitterness – that is, until this coffee arrived at my doorstep. It is light, fruity, and for the first time ever, I am drinking black coffee and enjoying every moment of it. Thank you Thanksgiving and SOPPEXCCA for helping me find the right coffee for me!

Mayumi in San Marino, California • Wild Grounds Light Roast

We got the coffee mainly for the wild horse cause, but the aroma and the taste of the coffee exceeded our expectations. The light roast is very well done with an enticing smell and a hint of chocolate – pleasantly light but not at all under-roasted. We have had some disappointment lately with the lightly roasted coffee beans lacking aroma ordered from other specialty coffee roasting companies. Your coffee truly shines among the sea of so many coffee beans on the market. We look forward to ordering it again very soon.

James in Des Moines, Iowa • Nighthawks’ Decaf – Very Dark Roast

Excellent flavor. Your coffee is the best. Good taste and fresh.

Jerry in Oakland, California • Paul’s Blend

Retirement years have become even more enjoyable since I was introduced to Paul’s Blend. My awareness of Thanksgiving Coffee started with weekend in Mendocino a few years ago. Every year we return to Mendocino and Thanksgiving Coffee. Now, thanks to online ordering, everyday I can sit down with a cup of Paul’s Blend and the SF Chronicle ipad edition and feel like I’m back in Mendocino.

You can see more reviews from satisfied customers in the review section of each individual product page. Visit the Thanksgiving Coffee webstore to read them, or leave your own review.

Songbird Nicaraguan Coffee Review

In addition to all the kind words from our customers, we also got this VERY special review from Run by Ken Davids, this website is by far the best review portal for specialty coffee, and the team there was very impressed with our Songbird Nicaraguan.

Check out the excerpts below, or read the full article, and the full review on

The New Nicaragua, from

“Perhaps the only coffee presenting a classic Nicaragua profile among all of the nine highest scorers is Thanksgiving Coffee’s Organic Shade-Grown Nicaragua (92), a blend of the respected Maracaturra, Caturra and Catuai varieties meticulously processed by the traditional wet method. It is also the only coffee we review that is certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Institution, hands-down the most uncompromising and rigorous of environmentally focused certifications. The idealism and passion that drove the growing and farm management that produced this coffee clearly went into its processing as well: It is an impressively pure coffee. Of all nine coffees we reviewed this month, it most clearly represents the classic Nicaragua cup of tradition, with its inherent balance, quietly juicy acidity and buoyant, satiny mouthfeel.”

A Review of Songbird Nicaragua, from

“Balanced, crisply sweet-tart. Lemongrass, cardamom, cocoa powder, rhododendron-like flowers, fresh-cut cedar in aroma and cup. The structure fuses sweet, tart and savory tendencies, enlivened by a quietly juicy acidity. Buoyant, satiny mouthfeel. The crisp finish is richly sweet, with notes of lemongrass and vanilla-like florals carrying into the long.”

Limited Edition Coffees

Over just the past six months, we launched two separate limited edition coffees on the Thanksgiving Coffee webstore. The first was from Nepal in July, and the second was our Kenya Red Cherry Project in November. Both of these coffees were very well received, and we hope to bring you even more limited edition coffees in 2018.

Nepal Thanksgiving coffee

Local Partners

In 2017, we had the opportunity to partner with three new local causes, to create an extra stream of income for their organizations: Art Explorers, Family Medicine of Mendocino County, and the Noyo Center for Marine Science. Each of these nonprofits are doing very important things for the Mendocino Coast, and we are honored to be able to stand with them. Follow the links above to learn more about each individual cause.

Art Explorer Thanksgiving coffee

This fall, we had a surplus of apples in the company orchard, and we were able to harvest and donate over 2500 pounds of apples to the Fort Bragg Food Bank. Our orchard features 25 heirloom varieties, and we were very happy to be able to donate so much to our friends and families in the community who need it.

fort bragg

Puerto Rico Coffee Send with the Hogwarts Running Club

At the very end of this year, we teamed up with the Hogwarts Running Club for a really great project. This partnership was thanks to two individuals on our team who are members of the club: Megan Smithyman and Marchelo Bresciani. Through the amazing give back of this group, we donated over 1,000 packages of coffee to relief workers in Puerto Rico, and the club sent another 4,000 more packages through other coffee roasters across the country.

puerto rico coffee

New Serving and Retail Accounts

We opened numerous accounts in 2017: restaurants, hotels, office accounts and cafes! Take a look at a few of the new ones to come on board this year.

Here in Northern California, we added some spectacular restaurants to our roster. Cafe Beaujolais, Relish Grill, Lizbby’s Restaurant and Bar and Mayan Fusion were just a few of the great additions here in Mendocino County.

As for grocery stores, Thanksgiving Coffee is now available in twenty new Safeways from Redding to Sonoma in California. Look forward to even more in the new year. We can also be found at Dahlia & Sage in Cloverdale, a great new grocery store featuring a lot of local Northern California brands.

For hotels and bed and breakfasts along our coast, we are excited about two fabulous new additions: Heritage House Resort in Little River, and Noyo Harbor Inn right across the Noyo River from us in Fort Bragg. The Noyo Harbor Inn is going to be opening in the next couple weeks, and the Heritage House has long been a staple of the Mendocino Coast.

The addition of Noyo Harbor Inn and the Heritage House Resort brought us to complete our Magnificent Nine–the nine best restaurants on the Mendocino Coast all feature their local Mendocino Coast roaster, Thanksgiving Coffee Company. These restaurants are: St. Orres in Gualala, Albion River Inn Restaurant in Albion, 5200 Restaurant and Wild Fish in Little River, the MacCallum House Restaurant and Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino, Noyo Harbor Inn and Cucina Verona in Fort Bragg and Newport Ranch in Westport.

Breakers Inn is currently working toward providing Thanksgiving Coffee in each of its 28 rooms on the Gualala coastline. We are coordinating with them and a few other hotels along our coast to provide a revolutionary new in-room brewer. This product will be available to all of our accounts in the coming months!

Five new Wild Birds Unlimited stores across the United States have begun selling packages of Thanksgiving Coffee. Missouri, New York, South Carolina and Illinois were added to our list of WBU stores carrying our Songbird Coffee lineup.

As always, you can view the Thanksgiving Coffee Store Locator page to see where you can pick up a bag or a cup of Thanksgiving Coffee near you. Interested in carrying Thanksgiving Coffee? Reach out through our contact page!

Changes to the Thanksgiving Coffee Team

Thanksgiving Coffee is always growing and changing, and 2017 featured some big updates. Longtime employees David Woolis (28 years), Bill Adams (24 years) and Susan Coy (10 years) retired in 2017, and we of course, miss them very much. Our fearless leaders Paul and Joan Katzeff continue to move us forward into the New Year, alongside Vice President, Jonah Katzeff.

It has been quite a year. Join us in raising a cup of coffee to the last twelve months, and look forward to the next! 2018, we’re ready for you.

paul and joan katzeff