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  • How to Make Perfect Steamed Milk

    How to Make Velvety, Naturally-Sweet Milk

    Milk becomes naturally-sweet when heated to the ideal, not-too-hot, temperature. (Ever get warm milk before bed as a child... or even as an adult?). It quickly becomes scalded-tasting at too high a temperature. For this reason, it is imperative that the milk steamed for espresso drinks not be over-heated.

    Excellent steamed milk vs. sloppy


    Step 1: Use cold milk

    For best results, use very cold milk and a very cold pitcher. Some baristas leave the pitchers in the refrigerator.

    Step 2: Use the proper amount of milk

    Pour only as much milk as you will need for a single drink into the pitcher (slightly more than 1/2 of the volume of the cup used). You should be selecting your pitcher based upon the drink you plan to make -  a 12 oz pitcher filled to a bit below the base of the pour spout for a cappuccino and a 20 oz pitcher filled to that spot for a latte.

    Step 3: Position the pitcher

    Position the pitcher parallel to the steam wand and put the wand into the milk so that the end of the wand is just submerged. Hold the pitcher with your non-dominant hand, with the weight of the pitcher held in your hand and with one finger touching the bottom and use the other to operate the steam knob and to gauge the temperature of the milk.

    Step 4: Steaming, part one

    Turn steam knob so that the steam is on full blast and stretch the milk for only a few seconds, allowing bubbles to form on the surface. Do this for a bit longer if making a cappuccino, for more foam. You should finish stretching the milk before it becomes warm to the touch, to ensure the smoothest, most fine foam.

    Step 5: Steaming, part two

    Turn the pitcher so that it is parallel to the floor, roughly perpendicular now to the steam wand, as you allow the steam wand to bury further into the milk (about one inch). The milk should begin circulating around smoothly in the pitcher, swirling from top to bottom like a convection current. Do this until the milk is just hot enough that you want to remove your hand from the side of the pitcher, then turn off the steamer and set milk on counter (remember to wipe the steam wand with a damp rag).

    Step 6: Polish the milk

    Polish the milk by swirling it a few times to make sure all foam is integrated and smooth. It will actually become shiny on top with this action. Tap the pitcher on the counter if any large bubbles remain. The milk should be shiny and smooth, with no visible bubbles, only tiny, frothy ones. It should taste creamy and be warm on the tongue, but not scalding – the right temperature to consume immediately at peak sweetness.

    Step 7: Rinse pitcher

    Rinse pitcher thoroughly and return it to a cool place.


    Integrating your milk with your espresso:

    • Pour your desired amount of milk into the pitcher, and leave on the counter while you...
    • ...follow Steps to Pull an Excellent Espresso
    • As soon as you have pressed the button to start your espresso shot, begin steaming the milk. Milk should take about 20 seconds, espresso about 23-30.
    • Follow all steps to velvety, naturally-sweet milk.
    • As soon as your espresso is done, begin pouring milk into it. This should be done by tipping the cup so that the milk can pour slowly down the side, again making a convection-like current in the cup. When you have about 1” of room left, bring the pitcher tip close to the drink surface (which may require tilting the cup) while continuing to pour and tip the pitcher at a steep angle toward it, jiggling your wrist so that the foam piles onto the drink. No scooping with a spoon should be necessary.

    Shop our best-selling espresso roasts!


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  • How to Select Your Perfect Roast

    How to Select Your Perfect Roast

    Roast color determines 80% of a coffee's flavor.

    Like a piece of bread, raw coffee is mostly carbohydrates like starches and oils, although there are over 1600 chemical compounds in a single coffee bean. When a slice of bread is toasted, it browns until it burns. Toasted light, you can taste the wheat. Toasted until burnt or very dark, you taste only the charred remains. So it is with our coffee bean (seed). The flavor changes with the degree of roast. A light roast Colombian tastes more like a light roast Nicaraguan than like a medium roast Colombian coffee.

    Roast color is a function of temperature and time. Relatively speaking, artisan roasters use variations of these controllable factors to create flavor. Roasting is a craft much like pottery is. Two potters using the same clay, the same glazes, and the same shapes will have different outcomes. Temperature + time in the kiln will determine what the craftsman’s effort will produce. So it is with coffee. Generally, the coffee begins to roast at 405°F when the starches can get no hotter and they break down into simple sugars that carmelize at about 420°F. That is when the light roast is pulled or dumped. It can take from 8-14 minutes to get to a light roast color.

     Between 420° and 475°F the color darkens until nothing is left to taste except burned plant matter!


    Light Roast - nuanced, bright, lively

    In the lighter roasts (both light and medium), you can taste the nuance and impact of terroir. If you’re a single origin lover, these coffees are your go-to. With a light roast especially, the specific qualities unique to the coffee’s origin stand out. If you’re sticking with Vienna and French roasts (the darker beans), you have to work harder to tell the differences between origins. With light, it’s all there in the first sip.

    For those of you that cup your coffee and take the time to taste every flavor, the lights and mediums are probably the roasts for you. When purchasing a single origin coffee, the great ones are best at this roast color.

    Medium Roast - nutty, spicy, balanced, fruity

    Roasted about 20 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the light, the color on a medium roast coffee bean shifts into a chocolate brown. As you move from the light roast to the medium, the bright and lively acidity morphs into a smoother, deeper, and more balanced mouth feel. In every sip of a medium roast, you’ll find that a certain mellowness and maturity prevails.

    Dark Roast - bold, spicy, chocolaty

    The coffee bean color on our dark roast (sometimes called the Vienna roast) is still more brown than black. You could compare it to the color of baker’s chocolate. When this coffee is freshly roasted, the beans will have a shiny coat of coffee oils on their surface. The greatest dark roast coffees will have hints of carbonization, but shouldn’t be described as smoky or toasty — we’ll leave those descriptors to the very dark roast.

    Very Dark Roast - toasty, smoky, carmelized sugars

    Ah, the “French Roast.” This is the coffee that goes great with a splash of milk. The coffee bean color on our very dark roast is more black than brown, with rich and copious levels of surface oil. Roasted long and hot to produce deep carbony, smoky flavor notes. A well-made French roast will have caramelized sugar notes, licorice and roasted chestnut flavors, and a long wet (not ashy) finish.


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  • Top 4 Organic Coffees

    4 of Our Best-Selling Organic Coffees

    Our organically grown coffee is free of pesticides and preservatives.

    Songbird Nicaraguan

    Each package sold benefits the American Birding Association's programs in Central America. By drinking shade-grown and bird friendly certified coffee every morning, you are supporting these coffee farmers, the efforts of the ABA, and the countless birds they are protecting through community outreach and conservation. Learn more. Since 1998 we have raised $212,012.30 and counting…

    Sweet without sugar, mellow without cream, it is a great breakfast coffee.


    Noyo Harbor French

    Distinctively smoky flavor with hints of jammy fruit, roasted nuts and baker's chocolate. This is our signature FTO French Roast, featuring coffees from Central America, South America and Indonesia.


    Paul's Blend

    Paul's Blend is one of the award-winning coffee roasts from our 2017 Roaster of the Year prize.

    With so many great coffees to showcase our work here at Thanksgiving Coffee, Roastmaster Jacob Long chose to present the Roaster of the Year judges with a few of our freshest coffees: the vibrant and rich Kenya Nyeri Peaberry, floral Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, and the beloved fruity-chocolatey 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.


    French Decaf

    Formerly known as "Nighthawks French", this Water Processed French decaf is roasted to our darkest level. It is amazing how much this tastes like regular caffeinated coffee! This coffee is organically grown in Mexico and decaffeinated at a nearby facility to reduce its carbon footprint.


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  • How to Pull an Excellent Espresso

    How to Pull an Excellent Espresso

    The quintessential expression of coffee is espresso.

    -Ernesto Illy

    A few words about espresso...

    Espresso was invented in Italy at the beginning of the twentieth century as a way to brew a fresh, delicious cup of coffee fast. It is made by sending pressurized hot water through the coffee grounds to extract the sugars and oils from the coffee. Because of the speed and high pressure of this method, a full, rich coffee is created, without many of the bitter notes that come out in coffee brewed at low pressures. With this in mind, you should strive to make every espresso beverage with careful precision and attention to freshness.

    Now, lets get into it! Keep reading to learn how to pull an excellent shot of espresso.


    Step 1: Remove the portafilter

    • Remove the portafilter from the machine. Knock out the spent puck.
    • Lock the empty portafilter back into the machine.
    • Run water to rinse for a few seconds.
    • Remove the portafilter and use a dry towel to thoroughly wipe the inside of the portafilter until it is clean and dry.

    Step 2: Grind

    • Grind every shot fresh.
    • Because coffee flavor begins to rapidly deteriorate as soon as it is ground, no grounds should be left in the hopper.
    • Grind only what you need to dose one shot, then immediately turn off the grinder.

    Step 3: Fill the portafilter

    • Fill portafilter so that the coffee makes a cone shape about half an inch above the lip of the portafilter. This should be almost exactly 20 grams (hint: use a scale!)
    • Use the side of your index finger to carefully, but quickly, distribute the grounds in a circular motion. You should be packing the ground coffee evenly, with no overdosed or underdosed patches.
    • Level the dose by running the side of your index finger across the top. (very little coffee should wind up in the garbage if you dose and level correctly.)

    Step 4: Tamp

    • Lay tamper onto coffee evenly with very light pressure, but keeping your finger tips level with the top edge of the tamp's vertical edge.
    • Press tamper evenly and with enough pressure so that your fingertips make contact with the top rim of the portafilter basket.
    • Twist tamp so that it polishes the surface of the pressed coffee, and finish by wiping the grounds off the portafilter.

    Step 5: Prepping the group head

    • Purge the group head for one or two seconds.
    • Wipe dry with a clean rag to prevent premature infusion.

    Step 6: Pull the shot

    • Put the portafilter into the group head, make sure it fits snug. No need to overtighten. If it leaks, your gasket may need replacement.
    • You'll want to pull the shot directly into the mug you're serving the coffee in. Position it so that the espresso will fall roughly in its center.
    • Press the double shot button and wait between 18 and 26 seconds from the time the espresso begins to pour to finish. (It may not begin pouring for 3-5 seconds, meaning total shot time should be between 21-31 seconds)
    • Watch carefully to see that it has a thick consistency, reddish brown color in a thin, slightly wavering stream.
    • When the espresso begins to thin and turn from orange/yellow to white, stop the machine immediately.
    • The final product should have a thick crema of reddish-brown swirling color and be almost syrupy in body, with slight black flecking, small bubbles, and a warm, nutty sweet-tangy aroma.

    Step 7: Check your work!

    • If you are uncertain whether you followed the steps correctly, take out the portafilter and examine the waste. The top of the coffee should be hard and with a single, round dent in the middle (if your group head screen has a screw) and no pits anywhere.
    • Knock out the grounds, it should come out in a round, hard puck with a single knock.
    • Keep working to refind your technique until you find a perfect rhythm that generates consistent results and stick with it. Consistency is key!

    Shop our best-selling espresso roasts!


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  • How to Keep Your Coffee Fresh

    How to Keep Your Coffee Fresh

    Written by Paul Katzeff

    The Importance of Properly Storing Your Coffee

    Coffee is a perishable product. There are over 800 organic compounds in a roasted coffee bean. There are water-soluble compounds (the sweetness and bright acidity) and oil-solubles (the tars, tannins and bitters).
     
    These oil and water-solubles easily combine with oxygen when exposed to air, heat and light to form new organic compounds that change the flavor profile of fresh-roasted coffee. So, you will find as time goes by, that those flavors are muted, at first, and then evolve into a flat, sour and unsatisfying taste. However, the caffeine does not break down and its bitterness remains to overwhelm your palate. It is advisable to stop this “staling “ process by storing your expensive coffee properly if you want that great flavor you expect to be there.
     

    Coffee does not have immortality. If a roasted bean is left exposed, it will slowly stale within one week and even sooner if ground. However if properly stores, coffee can have a shelf life up to six months.


    Various Causes of Coffee Staling

    Staling is caused, in order of most harmful to least harmful

    1. Exposure to air (Oxidization)
    2. Exposure to heat
    3. Exposure to moisture
    4. Exposure to light

    Air (oxidization):

    Roasted Coffee beans are composed of approximately 800 organic chemical compounds. Many of these organic compounds create the flavor you love.

    There are sugars, alcohols, acids, Ketones, Aldehydes, minerals and all sorts of volatile flavonoids and antioxidants. When these organic compounds are exposed to air, many of them will combine with the Oxygen, forming new organic compounds that don’t taste good. The coffee becomes flat, losing its brightness and personality. This doesn’t happen immediately– it begins when you open a vacuum packed bag and the process continues on for about a month. The great flavor of high-quality coffee lasts longer at first but their fall over the cliff is more dramatic then lesser coffees. This is because the taste of lesser coffees when fresh often resembles stale coffee.

    Heat:

    All chemical reactions are speeded up by heat, so we want to keep the coffee at a low temperature. That will go a long way in saving the flavor.

    Oxidation can be slowed down or speeded up. Temperature is the factor and since Staling is caused, essentially, by oxygen combining with other compounds, we want to keep the beans cool but not frozen.

    Moisture:

    Your coffee beans are pretty devoid of moisture. When we put green raw beans into the roaster they are about 11% moisture. When they exit the roaster after being at high heat (400-465 degrees) they are really dry. But like a dry sponge, they will attract moisture from the air. This is Osmosis. Moisture softens the beans and further enables organic compounds to combine and change, reducing flavor and speeding up the oxidization process.

    Light:

    It takes an awful lot of light to make coffee stale; if you address the air, heat, and moisture issues, then the light will become a small factor. On it’s own, in my experience, light alone will take a long long time to damage coffee beans. However, if coffee beans are exposed to prolonged sunlight, then heat becomes the primary culprit.

    How to Keep Your Coffee Fresh

      • Air: Keep your coffee from contact with air by storing your coffee in a closed mason jar or a container with a good lid. It you plan to use your coffee in just under a week, the refrigerator is fine. Remember: coffee is under 5% moisture so it will absorb flavors if not in an airtight container.
      • Heat: Keep your fresh coffee away from heat; Cool is best. Refrigerator is recommended. Freezing coffee is a good thing to do if you are going on vacation and want to save your coffee for months. However, we don't recommend this for daily use as the frozen grounds will lower the water temperature in your hot coffee brewer. This will lower the extraction rate causing a weaker brew. The hotter the beans get while in storage, the faster the organic compounds will combine and become stale components.
      • Moisture: This plus heat = stale in 24 hours.
      • If you address the problems of Air, Heat and Moisture correctly, then Light will have little effect on your coffee.
      • Time: The best way to deal with time is by not buying more than you can use in 7 days.
      • Don’t open the coffee bag until you are ready to use its contents.
      • Close the bag and within the first three days, transfer the coffee into an airtight container. No need to purchase an expensive kitchen accessory. Just use a quart mason jar and seal it with a lid.
      • Cool is better than room temperature. Since warm air rises, store your sealed containers on your lowest shelves.

     

    We prepare our coffee in opaque packages which are flushed with nitrogen to remove all oxygen and moisture in the air. We are dealing with every factor that will impact flavor deterioration. For good measure, we vacuum seal and package our coffees within 18 hours of being roasted.


    Take 20% these coffees through the end of March!

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  • Coffee Tips: Part II - 7 Ways to Brew Your Coffee

    7 Ways to Brew Your Coffee

     

    We’ve talked about the basics, now let’s get into the fun stuff. We hope this post will help you find your ideal coffee brewing method. As with anything, there are pros and cons to each method – and we’ve done all the work and research for you.


    1. Stovetop

    This one is perfect for you if you want homemade espresso but don’t necessarily want to drop a couple hundred dollars on a fancy machine. The result is rich, delicious coffee that you can craft into lattes or just enjoy by itself.

    Grind

    Start with a fine grind setting (#3.5), slightly coarser than texture of granulated sugar. When pinched, the ground coffee should not compress or clump.

    Directions

    1. Fill the coffee chamber with finely ground coffee, be careful not to pack the coffee too densely.
    2. In a kettle, boil enough water to fill the water chamber.
    3. Place freshly boiled water in the water chamber, place coffee-filled chamber on top, and, using a towel or pot holder to protect your hand from heat, screw on the brewed coffee chamber.
    4. Place the stove top espresso maker on a burner at low to medium heat.
    5. As the coffee brews, watch and listen for a sputtering noise; this signals the end of the brewing. Immediately remove the espresso maker from the stove and run the bottom (water chamber) under cold water for 10 seconds to cool the chamber and stop the extraction.
    6. Serve your fresh espresso and enjoy.

    Pros:

    • Rich, delicious coffee
    • Inexpensive espresso machine alternative
    • Quick
    • Easy to clean

    Cons:

    • Learning curve
    • Needs your attention for the entire brewing process

    2. French Press

    The French Press is popular for its ease to learn and use, affordability and it’s nice and compact – doesn’t take up too much space in the kitchen.

    Grind

    Start with a coarse grind setting (#8) approximately the size and texture of kosher salt. The particle size should be flaky, with visible chunks.

    Directions

    1. Measure 2 grams for every ounce of water or 2 generously heaping tablespoons of ground for every 5 ounces of water.
    2. Bring water to a boil and pour a small amount into the press to pre-heat.
    3. Let the water drop to 200 degrees, about 2 minutes off boil.
    4. Pour out water used to pre-heat, pour in measured ground coffee, and pour the water to saturate grounds.
    5. Start timer. At one minute, gently stir dry cap with a spoon to completely saturate coffee in water. Place the top over the press.
    6. At 4 minutes, slowly press the coffee.
    7. Serve and enjoy.

    Note: Experiment with a finer grind for a more intense brew, or a coarser grind for a less intense brew.

     

    Pros:
    • Easy to use
    • Easy to clean
    • Quick
    • Inexpensive
    Cons:
    • Tends to be inconsistent flavor
    • Over-extraction can occur easily

    3. Chemex

    This one definitely isn’t for beginners. However, once you get the hang of it, the yield from one brew will make it all worth it.

    Grind

    Start with a medium-coarse grind (#7.5), slightly finer than the texture of kosher salt. The particle size should be flaky, with visible chunks.

    Directions

    1. Measure 2 grams for every ounce of water or 2 generously heaping tablespoons of ground for every 5 ounces of water.
    2. Separate 3rd and 4th layers of filter and place in Chemex pot.
    3. Bring water to boil and pour a small amount of water (approximately 4 ounces) through the filter-lined cone to rinse the paper filter and warm the pot below.
    4. Let the water drop to 200 degrees, about 2 minutes off boil. Empty the water that was used to rinse the filter and warm the pot.
    5. Place ground coffee in the rinsed and filter lined cone and pour a small amount of water (approximately 4 ounces) over the grounds to create saturate and create a bloom. Wait 45 seconds.
    6. As the bloom settles, continue the pour as slowly as possible, stopping the pour as necessary so that the water never reaches above the original bloom volume. This will require stopping the pour every 15–30 seconds. Pour slowly and in a circular motion, with the goal of dispensing the total water used to brew in 3–4 minutes.
    7. Remove the used filter and coffee and swirl the brewed coffee for 10 seconds.
    8. Serve and enjoy.

    Note: If the brew time is less than 3–4 minutes and the taste is weak, experiment with a finer grind. If the brew time is more than 3–4 minutes and the taste is bitter, experiment with a coarser grind.

     

    Pros:
    • Depending on the size, it can yield large amounts
    • Unique, clean tasting coffee – full flavor profile
    Cons:
    • Fragile design
    • Learning curve
    • Tricky to clean

    4. Hario

    There’s a reason this Japanese pour-over method is a popular one. It’s simple, elegant and delivers fresh, delicious coffee with ease.

    Grind

    Start with a medium-fine grind (#5.5), somewhere between the texture of granulated sugar and couscous.

    Directions

    1. Measure 1.5 grams for every ounce of water or 2 heaping tablespoons of ground for every 5 ounces of water.
    2. Place paper filter in cone over cup or pitcher.
    3. Bring water to boil and pour a small amount of water (approximately 4 ounces) through the filter-lined cone to rinse the paper filter and warm the server below.
    4. Let the water drop to 200 degrees, about 2 minutes off boil. Empty the water that was used to rinse the filter and warm the server.
    5. Place ground coffee in the rinsed and filter-lined cone and pour a small amount of water (approximately 4 ounces) over the grounds to saturate and create a bloom. Wait 45 seconds.
    6. As the bloom settles, continue the pour as slowly as possible, stopping the pour as necessary so that the water never reaches above the original bloom volume. This will require stopping the pour every 15–30 seconds. Pour slowly and in a circular motion, with the goal of dispensing the total water used to brew in about 3 minutes.
    7. Remove the used filter and coffee and swirl the brewed coffee for 10 seconds.
    8. Serve and enjoy.

    Note: If the brew time is less than 2:30–3 minutes and the taste is weak, experiment with a finer grind. If the brew time is more than 3–3:30 minutes and the taste is bitter, experiment with a coarser grind.

     

    Pros:
    • Compact and stylish
    • Easy
    • Smooth coffee finish
    • Inexpensive
    • Easy to clean
    Cons:
    • Needs special filters
    • Not as rich in flavor
    • Learning curve with pouring the water

    5. Aeropress

    Fun fact: the Aeropress was invented by Alan Adler, founder of Aeropress – formerly known as Aerobie, a company specializing in outdoor flying discs and sports toys including the Aerobie Pro flying ring, which was used to set a Guinness World Record for farthest thrown object (at a distance of 1,333 feet to be exact). ALSO, that record happened to be set by Erin Hemmings, who grew up here on the Mendocino Coast!

    The Aeropress is a unique way to get a quick cup of coffee on the go, and it’s so easy to bring with you anywhere.

    Grind

    Start with a medium-fine grind (#5.5), somewhere between the texture of granulated sugar and couscous.

    Directions

    1. Place paper in black filter cap and lock onto brew chamber, place over cup.
    2. Bring water to boil and pour a small amount of water (approximately 4 ounces) through the filter-lined and capped brew chamber to rinse the paper filter and warm the server below.
    3. Let the water drop to 200 degrees, about 2 minutes off boil. Empty the water that was used to rinse the filter and warm the server.
    4. Fill brew chamber to just below the “1” mark with coffee.
    5. Pour approximately 2 ounces of water onto the ground coffee in the brew chamber. Start timer.
    6. Wait 30 seconds for the bloom to settle.
    7. Slowly fill with water to just above the “4” mark, stir gently, and wait one minute.
    8. Place plunger and slowly plunge brew into cup.
    9. Serve and enjoy.
    Pros:
    • Easy to travel with/pack up
    • Can brew coffee, espresso and cold brew
    • Quick
    • Easy
    Cons:
    • Small yield, 1-2 servings

    6. Melita/Cone

    Grind

    Start with a medium-coarse grind (#7.5), slightly finer than the texture of kosher salt. The particle size should be flaky, with visible chunks.

    Directions

    1. Measure 2 grams for every ounce of water or 2 generously heaping tablespoons of ground for every 5 ounces of water.
    2. Place paper filter in cone over cup.
    3. Bring water to boil and pour a small amount of water (approximately 4 ounces) through the filter-lined cone to rinse the paper filter and warm the cup below.
    4. Let the water drop to 200 degrees, about 2 minutes off boil. Empty water used to pre-heat cup.
    5. Place ground coffee in the rinsed and filter-lined cone and pour a small amount of water (approximately 4 ounces) over the grounds to saturate and create a bloom. Wait 45 seconds.
    6. As the bloom settles, continue the pour slowly, stopping the pour as necessary so that the water never reaches above the original bloom volume. Pour slowly and in a circular motion, with the goal of dispensing the total water used to brew in 3-4 mintues.
    7. Serve your fresh brewed coffee and enjoy.

    Note: Experiment with a finer grind for a more intense brew, or a coarser grind for a less intense brew.

     

    Pros:
    • Easy to travel with/pack up
    • Can brew coffee, espresso and cold brew
    • Quick
    • Easy
    Cons:
    • Small yield, 1-2 servings

    7. Cold Brew

    What is Cold Brew?

    Cold coffee is the chilled-out variant of the hot coffee you know and love. More then just a cooler brew, cold coffees have their own distinct flavor profiles due to the differences in how the essential oils are extracted from the coffee bean; cold and slow vs. hot and fast.

    Most coffee retailers use hot-brewed coffee in their iced coffee drinks because it is faster/easier. They will typically brew hot with twice the amount of grounds for a double-strength concentrate that can be refrigerated and diluted. Unfortunately, this method completely misses the many benefits that cold-brewed coffee has to offer.

    Cold-brewed coffee is 67 percent less acidic than coffee that is hot-brewed.

    How It's Made

    Cold-brewed coffee is made by soaking coffee grounds in cold water for 12 or more hours, usually brewed overnight. This method allows for a slow extraction of the coffee’s flavor, producing a super-smooth brew that has 67% less acidity than conventional hot-brewed coffee. This means that cold-brewed coffee is less bitter and easier on sensitive stomachs.

    In addition to being smooth and low on acidity, cold-brewed coffee keeps for significantly longer with no loss of flavor. By brewing cold, the flavor compounds within the coffee are more stable and won’t degrade as quickly as hot brewed coffee, which can become overly bitter in a matter of hours.

    A batch of cold-brewed coffee can last for up to two weeks.

    Cold-brewing offers an alternate way to enjoy our delicious coffees. Try your favorite coffee brewed cold and taste the difference for yourself.

    Pros:

    • Smoother, less bitter than hot-brewed coffee
    • Refreshing summer beverage

    Cons:

    • Long brewing time

    We hope you learned something new! Did you find a new brewing method to try, or confirm that your current favorite is the only way? Let us know! Remember to follow us on social for more brewing tips and to join the conversation.

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  • Coffee Tips : How to Brew Coffee - Part I

    BREWING COFFEE

    Just like in our coffee grinding blog, there are some basics we have to go over first. So, before we get into how to brew your own “just cup”, let’s go over those basics. I’d also like to thank the many Thanksgiving employees who contributed info from past articles so that we could have this educational piece on brewing delicious coffee: Jacob Long, Marchelo Bresciani and Paul Katzeff.  


    1. Coffee to Water Ratio

    “What? I’ve just been pouring copious amounts of grounds into a filter and adding a few cups of water.” I’d like to think we’ve all been there. At least I have, before I started working at Thanksgiving Coffee Company. But hopefully we caught you early enough to steer you in the right direction. 😉

    Using the correct amount of coffee will ensure that your coffee is brewed to strength, without over-extracting or under-extracting the coffee to compensate for an inappropriate dose. While we do recommend weighing 2 grams of coffee for every fluid ounce of water, we understand that not everyone has a scale at home. And if you don’t, just estimate about 2 heaping tablespoons of ground coffee for every 5 ounces of water used to brew.

    Photo

    2. Grind Size (yes, this again)

    This is one of the most important steps in coffee brewing. In general, a finer grind will produce a more intense brew and a coarser grind will produce a less intense brew. At the same time, a grind that is too fine will produce an over-extracted, astringent brew, and a grind that is too coarse will produce a weak, under-extracted brew lacking flavor. In pour-over methods, grind size also affects the rate of extraction, as water will pass more slowly through a finer grind, and more quickly through a coarser grind. We strongly recommend burr grinders over blade grinders. For more information on this, see our last blog “How to Grind Coffee“.

    Photo

    3. Water Temperature + Quality

    This one is a little bit more straight-forward. Water temperature dramatically affects the extraction of coffee’s flavor during brewing. We recommend brewing with water at 200° Fahrenheit for best results. Using fresh, clean, chlorine-free water is essential.

    Photo

    4. Coffee Freshness and Storage

    Coffee is very sensitive to heat, moisture, and oxygen. It should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container. For best results, grind coffee fresh, just before brewing.

    Staling is caused, in order of most harmful to least harmful

    1. Exposure to air (Oxidization)
    2. Exposure to heat
    3. Exposure to moisture
    4. Exposure to light

    …and, if you address the problems of Air, Heat, and Moisture correctly, then Light will have little effect on your coffee. Read more about storing your coffee here

    Photo

    5. Cleaning

    This is the last one – of the basics – and it’s pretty easy. Because coffee contains numerous oils that build up over time, we recommend thoroughly cleaning your brewing and grinding equipment after each use. This guarantees the best, freshest cup of coffee every time.

    Photo

    So… we covered all the basics. I know it’s a lot, but we still have all of the brewing methods to cover from stovetop espresso to cold brewing. Stay tuned for part two, and we’ll help you discover which method is best for you and why.

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    Coffee Tips : How to Brew Coffee - Part I

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  • Coffee Processing : Dry versus Wet

    Coffee Processing: Dry versus Wet

    There are countless variables that contribute to the complex flavors of your favorite coffee before it even reaches your cup. Many people know that the country of origin, coffee tree varietal, and roast color have an immediate impact, but fewer people know about the on-the-farm processing methods that also play a huge role in the flavor profile of the finished product.


    DRY PROCESS

    The ripe cherries are picked and immediately put on the drying patio in the sun to dry. The skin and pulp remain attached. The skin shrinks, locking the fruit sugars in. The cherry raisins up and drys hard around the seeds. The mass, when hard and dry, is milled (like white rice) to remove the hardened pulp and skin.


    The taste produced is sort of like blueberries or strawberries as the fruity flavors penetrate the porous seeds within. A mix of sweet and sour fruit. The acidity is softer and mellower.


    WET PROCESS

    When the cherries are ripe they are picked, the skins and pulp removed mechanically, and the seeds are wet and slippery, gooey with a honey-like outer taste. They are allowed to sit, slightly fermenting in the heat of a day/night rest in contact with each other. They are then soaked for 12-36 hours in a water bath, washed, and removed to drying patios where they will dry down to about 11-12% moisture over a 2-4 day period.


    The wet process produces a citric-like acidity or brightness with a slightly lemony flavor. In the extremes like coffees from Guatemala and Ethiopia and Kenya, the brightness is palatable. However, wet process coffees produce a softer plum-like acidity as well. Wet process coffees are more forward on the -palate than their brothers and sisters of the Dry Process.

    Mocha Java

    We produce two blends that combine these processes into one flavor profile: Mocha Java Blend and Paul’s Blend. However, these Ethiopian coffees presented to you today are the most clarifying examples of two on-the-farm processes. These distinctive flavor profiles are not caused by varietal differences, country of origin or agricultural practices.

    Paul Blends

    In this offering, we allow you to taste the words on this page. Try them straight at first and then see how they taste as a 50/50 blend or any combination. I prefer my coffee a bit on the fruity/ jammy side so I use a 70/30 blend with the Dry Process in the majority. But the reverse will do quite well for those who prefer a bright and lively acidity on the citric side but want a bit more body and fruit. Enjoy!

    We would like to acknowledge Hasbean Coffee in the UK for their excellent videos about coffee processing.




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    Coffee Processing : Dry versus Wet

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  • Brewing Guide

    Coffee Brewing Basics



    Coffee to Water Ratio

    Using the correct amount of coffee will ensure that your coffee is brewed to strength, without over-extracting or under-extracting the coffee to compensate for an inappropriate dose. We recommend 2 grams of coffee for every fluid ounce of water used to brew. Weighing coffee is the most accurate way to measure the appropriate dose. If a scale is not available, we recommend 2 heaping tablespoons of ground coffee for every 5 ounces of water used to brew.



    Grind Size

    Producing the correct particle size in ground coffee is one of the most important steps in coffee brewing. In general, a finer grind will produce a more intense brew and a coarser grind will produce a less intense brew. At the same time, a grind that is too fine will produce an over-extracted, astringent brew, and a grind that is too coarse will produce a weak, under-extracted brew lacking flavor. In pour-over methods, grind size also affects the rate of extraction, as water will pass more slowly through a finer grind, and more quickly through a coarser grind. We strongly recommend burr grinders over blade grinders.

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    Brewing Guide

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  • Iced Lavender Latte Recipe

    Iced Lavender Latte Recipe

    Iced Lavender Latte

    Ingredients:
    • 1 shot espresso
    • 4-6 oz. milk or milk alternative (oat, almond, soy)
    • 1-2 tsp lavender flavoring
    • 2 drops purple food coloring (optional)
    • dried lavender for garnish (optional)

    Directions:

    To make the lavender milk – pour about 4 oz of milk or milk alternative into a glass or container, adding in 1 tsp of lavender flavoring and purple food coloring. stir, or use milk frother for a fluffier finish.


    Add ice into a new glass, and add in your espresso. Pour your lavender milk over the espresso, add in more lavender syrup to taste, and garnish with dried lavender.


    Enjoy!





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    Iced Lavender Latte Recipe

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  • Lawrence's Cold Brew & Bourbon Cocktail

    Lawrence’s Cold Brew & Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.

    Yields 1 drink

    • 1 1/2 ounces cold brew coffee concentrate*
    • 1 ounce bourbon
    • 1 ounce heavy cream
    • 1/2 ounce maple syrup
    • Ice
    • Ground Nutmeg

    Add the coffee, bourbon, cream and maple syrup to a cocktail shaker (or other airtight container) with ice. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Strain out the ice, pour into a glass and top with ground nutmeg.

    Note: If you want to make this to serve a crowd, adjust the recipe using 3 parts cold brew coffee concentrate, 2 parts bourbon, 2 parts heavy cream and 1 part maple syrup.

    *Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate




    You can easily make cold brew coffee using a Toddy Cold Brewer. However, if you don’t have a Toddy, here’s an alternative method that uses a French Press.

    • 1 cup coarsely ground coffee
    • 4 cups cold water

    Add coffee to a French Press. Pour the cold water over the grounds, ensuring that all of the grounds get wet. Let steep overnight, or for 8-16 hours. After coffee has steeped, use the plunger on the French Press to strain your coffee.


    Pour brewed coffee concentrate into a container that can be covered and stored in your refrigerator. leftover refrigerated for up to two weeks used make iced lattes baked goods and other treats


    With Summer coming in hot, we figured a nice, cool coffee cocktail would help to cool us all down.


    Snap a photo of your coffee creation and tag us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter @ajustcup

    Laurence Cold Brew

    Lawrence began working for Thanksgiving Coffee in 2001, having returned from Ireland and in need of a job. He drove a delivery truck for Thanksgiving for two years and then moved into the main plant where he became an accounts rep, a position he holds now. He’s written copy for the company, proof read (skills he acquired while an editor for McGraw Hill in Los Angeles) and has also done various research projects for Thanksgiving such as cold brew, process steps for ready to drink beverages, and is currently at work on doing research on the current trend of “snap chilled” coffee.



     

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    Lawrence's Cold Brew & Bourbon Cocktail

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  • Brew Your Espresso

    You read that right, Brew Your Espresso!

    What exactly is espresso? It is the highest form of coffee. By definition, it’s strong black coffee made by forcing steam through grounds. For a more extensive description, we dedicated a whole blog post to what exactly espresso is.


    The common misconception of requiring a fancy, expensive espresso maker can discourage many of us from brewing it ourselves at home.

    Although our espresso blends are designed for that high-pressure extraction that an espresso machine delivers, they can be equally as satisfying when brewed like any other coffee blend.

    The proof is in the… coffee. We made a 1-minute Bialetti Stovetop tutorial video as well as a French Press tutorial using the same espresso blend – with instructions from our brewing guide page. It really is as easy as it looks, and the whole process only takes about 5 minutes to complete.


    To help you start your home espresso-brewing journey, we’re giving you 10% off our Italian Espresso Blends all throughout April!


    Our Northern Italian Style Espresso, featured in our tutorial videos, is a delightfully smooth espresso, not at all toasty or burnt-like, but intense enough to show up and vote in a latte or cappuccino when properly pulled.


    For a more intense, pungent blend, try our Southern Italian Style Espresso. The blend consists of equal parts Guatemalan, Ethiopian, and Indonesian coffees. These are some of the finest coffees in the world, roasted dark to express a smoky punch, deeply toned notes of licorice, chocolate, and earthy sweetness.

     

    Happy brewing!




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    Brew Your Espresso

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  • Grinding Coffee at Home

    Grinding Coffee at Home

    Grinding coffee at home is an excellent way to improve your coffee experience. The fresher your coffee is when you brew it, the better it is going to taste. To help you get the most flavor out of your coffee beans, this post will cover a variety of methods to show how anyone can grind their own coffee at home. But first, let’s cover the…


    Grind basics

    Regardless of what you are using to pulverize your perfectly roasted beans into grounds, there are a few basic principles to keep in mind:


    1. Grind Size

    Using the correct particle size in ground coffee is one of the most important steps in coffee brewing. In general, a finer grind will produce a more intense brew and a coarser grind will produce a less intense brew. At the same time, a grind that is too fine will produce an over-extracted, astringent brew, and a grind that is too coarse will produce a weak, under-extracted brew lacking flavor.

    Coffee sizes

    Not sure what grind size to use? Here’s a handy guide:

    COARSE (looks like Kosher or sea salt)
    Cold Brew Coffee, French Press, Percolator, Coffee Cupping


    MEDIUM (looks like sand particles)
    Pour-over Brewers, Auto-Drip Coffee Machines, Aeropress (with 3+ minute brew time)


    FINE (looks a bit finer than granulated sugar)
    Espresso, Moka Pot (Stovetop Espresso Maker), Aeropress (with 1 minute brew time)


    2. Consistency.

    The size of the grounds should be consistent or uniform, meaning you don’t want to see large bits and super tiny bits in your grind. The reason: it is easier for smaller particles to become water soluble than larger ones. If there is a wide variety in the size of the particles in your coffee grinds, there will be a wide variety in the extraction time of your brew. The more consistent your grind size, the easier it is to extract the full flavor from your brewed coffee.


    Now that we’ve got the basics covered, the next step is how to get the best grind at home!


    How to grind your coffee

    The Burr Grinder

    Burr grinders are made of two burred plates with ridges that draw in and crush / grind the beans to a uniform size. This is what the pros use, and with good reason. Burr grinders deliver the most consistent grind with the least amount of work on your part. Just fill up the hopper, turn the dial to your desired grind setting, and turn it on. A burr grinder will cost between $60 — $250 depending on what features it comes with.


    The Blade Grinder

    While not ideal, a blade grinder will do a fine job if you put in a little effort. The first thing to remember is to pulse grind. Don’t grind all the coffee beans needed for your brew at once, instead, grind smaller quantities and pause regularly to shake the grinder. This will loosen all the bits and help you get a more uniform grind.


    Take your blade grind to the next level: Got a sieve?

    Sift the grounds through your sieve until you are left with just the large pieces. Then grind those large bits again until you are left with just medium and small grinds.


    Pro-tip: Use a paper towel to get rid of the ‘fines’

    ‘Fines’ is coffee lingo for the tiniest powdery particles in ground coffee. Too many fines will leave your coffee tasting bitter and over-extracted. A nifty trick to get rid of them is to dump all of your grinds onto a paper towel and then rub them down into the paper towel with your fingers. A few passes is all it will take. Then gently transfer the grinds onto a plate (or right into your brewer). This will trap the powdery fines on the paper towel, leaving you with the best (most uniform and consistent) grind possible from a blade grinder.




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    Grinding Coffee at Home

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  • Coffee 101 : How to Store Your Coffee

    How to store your coffee to keep it fresh and as tasty as the day it was received:

    Staling is caused, in order of most harmful to least harmful

    1. Exposure to air (Oxidization)
    2. Exposure to heat
    3. Exposure to moisture
    4. Exposure to light
    Sky

    AIR

    Roasted Coffee beans are composed of approximately 800 organic chemical compounds. Many of these organic compounds create the flavor you love.

    There are sugars, alcohols, acids, Ketones, Aldehydes, minerals and all sorts of volatile flavonoids and antioxidants. When these organic compounds are exposed to air, many of them will combine with the Oxygen, forming new organic compounds that don’t taste good. The coffee becomes flat, losing its brightness and personality. This doesn’t happen immediately– it begins when you open a vacuum packed bag and the process continues on for about a month. The great flavor of high-quality coffee lasts longer at first but their fall over the cliff is more dramatic then lesser coffees. This is because the taste of lesser coffees when fresh often resembles stale coffee.

    Apples

    The Oxidization process is clearly observed as a freshly cut apple browns over time

    Recommendations:

    1. Don’t open the vacuum bag until you are ready to use its contents.
    2. Close the bag and within the first three days, transfer the coffee into an airtight container. No need to purchase an expensive kitchen accessory. Just use a quart mason jar and seal it with a lid.
    Fire

    HEAT

    All chemical reactions are speeded up by heat, so we want to keep the coffee at a low temperature. That will go a long way in saving the flavor.

    Oxidation can be slowed down or speeded up. Temperature is the factor and since Staling is caused, essentially, by oxygen combining with other compounds, we want to keep the beans cool but not frozen.

    Recommendations

    1. Store your sealed container in a cool dark pantry or in the refrigerator. If you have ordered a five-pound bag, you will need five quart-sized jars and lids.
    2. Cool is better than room temperature. Since warm air rises, store your sealed containers on your lowest shelves.

    Rain

    MOISTURE

    Your coffee beans are pretty devoid of moisture. When we put green raw beans into the roaster they are about 11% moisture. When they exit the roaster after being at high heat (400-465 degrees) they are really dry. But like a dry sponge, they will attract moisture from the air. This is Osmosis. Moisture softens the beans and further enables organic compounds to combine and change, reducing flavor and speeding up the oxidization process.

    Recommendation:

    1. Do not store the beans in the original vacuum packed bag for more than a few days unless you have a heat sealer. Moisture creeps into the bag easily, and even more when it is in the freezer or refrigerator.
    2. A sealed container is the answer to moisture.

    Light

    LIGHT

    It takes an awful lot of light to make coffee stale; if you address the air, heat, and moisture issues, then the light will become a small factor. On it’s own, in my experience, light alone will take a long long time to damage coffee beans. However, if coffee beans are exposed to prolonged sunlight, then heat becomes the primary culprit.

    Recommendation:

    If you address the problems of Air, Heat, and Moisture correctly, then Light will have little effect on your coffee.




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    Coffee 101 : How to Store Your Coffee

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  • What is Espresso?

    Es·pres·so – /eˈspresˌō/
    noun: espresso; plural noun: espressos; noun: expresso; plural noun:
    1. strong black coffee made by forcing steam through ground coffee beans.
    from Italian (caffè) espresso, literally ‘pressed out (coffee)’.





    Upsetter Label

    The Upsetter Espresso has been named a Good Food Award Winner, and it seems like a great time to talk about espresso roasts and perhaps clarify what that means. So let’s start with the basics:




    What is espresso?

    Espresso is coffee of Italian origin, brewed by expressing or forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely-ground coffee beans. Espresso generally has more body than coffee brewed by other methods, has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids which gives it a satiny mouthfeel, and has crema on top, which is a foam with a creamy consistency. As a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavors and chemicals in a typical cup of espresso are very concentrated. Espresso is also the base for other drinks such as a caffè, latte, cappuccino, caffè macchiato, caffè mocha, flat white, or caffè Americano.


    What is an espresso roast?

    Espresso Blends Espresso is both a coffee beverage and a brewing method. It is not a specific bean, bean blend, or roast level, though it is more finely ground. An espresso roast is simply a way of roasting any green coffee with the intention of it tasting good brewed as espresso. Any bean or roasting level can be used to produce authentic espresso. For example, in Southern Italy, a darker roast is generally preferred. Farther north, the trend moves toward lighter roasts, while outside Italy a wide range is popular.

    By lightly roasting a blend of high quality coffee beans from three different countries of origin, our Roastmaster developed a new espresso flavor profile; one with deeper complexities than many darker roasts.


    What is the difference between espresso beans and coffee beans?

    This is a question that we hear in various forms all the time. Fortunately, our friends over at Earl of Coffee made a fantastic post that covers this question in detail!


    Can I use an espresso roast in my home brewer?

    Dustyontheroad

    The Upsetter Espresso has been named a Good Food Award Winner, and it seems like a great time to talk about espresso roasts and perhaps clarify what that means. So let’s start with the basics:




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  • Water is the Main Ingredient in a Good Cup of Coffee

    Most people who love their coffee go to great lengths to get exquisite beans, a capable burr grinder, and an expensive device for brewing.


    For some reason, however, they never seem to give the water a second thought. The truth is that water constitutes more than 98 percent of the final drink. Perhaps we ought to see it as the most crucial ingredient in a cup of coffee.


    I had been a coffee geek for years before I realized the importance of water. Once I finally understood the role of water in coffee extraction it changed my brewing for good


    Water chemistry can get pretty complicated, so this is my attempt to boil the most important aspects down to some actionable advice, so you can also brew better coffee at home.


    Water is more than H2O

    Water is water. It’s everywhere in our daily life, and we never give it a second thought. Sure, you can get some fancy mineral water in the supermarket, but that’s just marketing. Right? Well, it probably often is, but there’s also some truth to it. Water is a lot more than just H2O when you study it carefully. It usually contains minerals, salts, and some impurities.


    Depending on where you are in the world the water composition will be somewhat different. Rainwater percolates into the underground where it will go through layers of limestone and chalk. This process makes the water harder as it picks up minerals on the way.


    You probably never thought about it, but it’s not uncommon that a single liter of water contains enough minerals that it equates to the size of a headache pill.


    People who live in areas with much calcium in the water, however, already know this since they have to descale their electric kettle and bathroom tiles regularly.


    The science

    One of the things that has become apparent in the specialty coffee community in recent years is that water isn’t just an ingredient in coffee.


    The water – or rather the minerals in it – also acts as an extraction agent that pulls the delicious compounds from the coffee beans and into the cup.


    The British barista champion Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood and chemist Christopher Hendon did a research project a few years ago that shed some light on the process.


    It turns out that magnesium and calcium are the two most important minerals when it comes to coffee extraction. Especially, magnesium is vital if you want to be able to taste the fruity and lively flavors of light roasted coffees.


    It could be tempting to think that more minerals equate better coffee but that isn’t the case, argued Hendon and Colonna-Dashwood in their research paper. Instead, there is a sweet spot where minerals and a buffer are balanced to create the ideal water.


    When their book, ‘Water for Coffee,’ was published it made headlines within the specialty coffee community.


    However, beer brewers had been aware of the importance of water for centuries. In fact, that’s the reason why beers from London, Prague, and Brussels historically had their own style.


    Test your water

    So how do we boil all this science down to some actionable advice? Well, luckily you don’t have to study water chemistry to start making better coffee.


    One thing you can do today is to stop using hard water for brewing coffee if you live in an affected area. You should be able to obtain this information from your local water station easily. Otherwise, you can buy a cheap TDS pen online (I recommend the Xiaomi brand) and measure it yourself. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans have hard water in their taps.


    To find out if a certain water is right, you can check the label and see what the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) is. If it’s between 50 and 150, the water will most likely be great.


    However, if the water has a TDS score from 0 to 20 – which is typically the case with reverse osmosis water – it will not be ideal for brewing. The flavor compounds of the beans need some minerals to adhere to in order to be extracted properly. The taste will be astringent and somehow artificial.


    Soft water is better.

    What if you have soft water in the area where you live? Then you’re one of the lucky ones.


    You can probably get away with using a filter pitcher such as Brita. If you can find specific cartridges that convert calcium to magnesium, you should go for that.


    It may sound like a lot of trouble to go through, but using the right kind of water makes a huge difference when brewing manually. If you’re still unsure whether it’s worth the effort, I’d encourage you to test it at home. Just brew a cup of coffee with tap water and bottled water and taste them next to each other. The difference should be obvious.


    If you already care about buying freshly roasted coffee and have the right equipment, this last step will take your cup from good to great.


    About the Author: Asser Christensen is a Danish journalist. These days he mostly writes about coffee. He is a certified Q Arabica Grader with the Coffee Quality Institute. His work has been published in a range of newspapers and magazines in his native country, Denmark, as well as internationally. You can follow his coffee journey at his personal blog: ‘The Coffee Chronicler.’ If you already care about buying freshly roasted coffee and have the right equipment, this last step will take your cup from good to great.

     





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    Water is the Main Ingredient in a Good Cup of Coffee

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  • Espresso Blends: Softened Acidity + Heavy Body

    Here we are with another Coffee 101 post! Our subject today is espresso.

    Espresso Blends

    You may have scrolled past our espresso blends in the past, on the hunt for the newest single origin to try. We don’t blame you, we also search out the best in limited edition and micro lot single origins. But while we love these excellent coffees, this post is about something different. We want to tell you why we love espresso blends, brewed at home without the use of an espresso machine.


    What is a Coffee Blend?

    Paul Blends Need a quick overview on the coffee blend? It’s simple: two or more origins, mixed together. Creating a coffee blend is an art form. You have to understand and appreciate the nuances in different coffees, and bring the flavors together to be transformed into a more complex cup of coffee. With 46 years of history sourcing coffee from all over the planet, we have a unique relationship with the coffees arriving at our roastery, and can create some truly spectacular blends with the coffees we receive.
    One thing that’s special about a blend is the subtle shifts in flavor that we create to maintain freshness. We regularly modify the recipes for our blends, adding in our latest arrivals of coffee, while keeping a consistent flavor profile.


    Espresso Blends

    Now let’s talk espresso. What makes an espresso blend different from any other coffee blend?

    Our four espresso blends have certain characteristics: softened acidity, a smooth experience throughout the cup, and a heavy body with a really spectacular aftertaste. These traits are specifically built into the blend for the purpose of pulling a superb espresso shot, but using our espresso blends in your home brewer also makes an equally excellent cup of coffee.


    Espresso Blends

    One of our favorite things to do at Thanksgiving Coffee, is to encourage you to try new things. The world of coffee is vast, and there is no way any one person would be able to try all the amazing coffees out there. What we do have is the opportunity to experience and taste more than ever before as our world becomes better connected, and we love bringing these alternative coffee options to you.


    Every sip of coffee is a new experience, and we are honored to be a part of your coffee rituals.




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    Espresso Blends: Softened Acidity + Heavy Body

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  • Rhody's Garden Cafe is Open!

    Rhody's Garden Cafe is Open!

    Spring has arrived on the Mendocino Coast. The wildflowers are blooming, the rains have brought green grass, and there is new life everywhere. With the advent of Spring comes the opening of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden’s seasonal restaurant: Rhody’s Garden Cafe!


    Rhody

    Rhody’s is one of the many gems that Fort Bragg offers. Their lunchtime specials include locally sourced veggies, often grown right there in the garden! They use products from here in the community like bread from the Fort Bragg Bakery and Roland’s Bakery, and treats from Bolliver’s Fine FoodsCowlick’s Ice Cream and Costeaux Bakery. And of course, the cafe serves up locally roasted Thanksgiving Coffee, alongside all of their excellent menu items.


    Visit the Garden Cafe in Fort Bragg

    Rhody’s Garden Cafe
    Open from 11am – 3pm at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens every day of the week.
    18220 North Highway 1
    Fort Bragg, CA 95437
    (707) 964-4352
    www.gardenbythesea.org




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    Rhody's Garden Cafe is Open!

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  • Mocha Java

    Mocha Java

    If you’ve ordered our classic Mocha Java in the past few days, you may have spotted a difference in our packaging. Our new label design features a map that illustrates the story behind Mocha Java. In this blog post, we’re going to give you a little history lesson—so pour a cup of java (or grab yourself a mocha?) and have a seat.


    While the word “mocha” may also refer to your favorite chocolate-y drink, that is not what we’re referring to in today’s post. Mocha Java is a historic blend of two origins an ocean away from each other: Indonesia and Yemen.


    Mocha Java

    The History of Mocha Java

    Back in the 1400s to 1600s, the majority of Europe’s coffee intake came out of the Red Sea, from the Port of Mocha [Makha or Mokha]. This coffee was grown in the country of Yemen, but was referred to by the name of the port from which it came. In the Pacific Islands, it was the same story. Most Indonesian coffee was coming out of a port on the island of Java, controlled by the Dutch East India Trading Company. This led to the term “java”, which has remained as slang for coffee to this day.


    These two ports caffeinated most of the coffee-drinking world in those days, and trading ships passed through both on the same trip. Although 5,000 miles separated them, coffee from Java and Yemen lived together on the sailing vessels that made their way across the Indian Ocean and back to Europe. These two origins came together as the very first blend in the world of coffee, and it’s a combination that roasters continue to emulate.


    Mocha Java Today

    These days, your typical Mocha Java has a few slight variations. Most roasters (and coffee enthusiasts) prefer Indonesian coffee to be sourced from Sumatra, the next island over from Java. On the Middle Eastern side, buyers will often source their “mocha” from the African country of Ethiopia, across the Red Sea from Yemen.


    This is the case for our own homage to Mocha Java. For the Thanksgiving Coffee Mocha Java blend, we source our “java” from farmers in the the Takengon region of Sumatra, Indonesia. Our “mocha” is a natural-processed coffee that comes from farmer cooperatives in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. Our Mocha Java is a coffee that we’ve perfected over decades of roasting, and we strive to maintain its consistency.


    The history of Mocha Java is a history of the coffee world as a whole. The coffee industry has changed significantly over the past five centuries, and we love looking back and researching where it all came from. Next time you brew up a cup of our Mocha Java, take your time drinking it, because you are sipping a truly historic coffee.


    Mocha Java, Deconstructed

    Now that you know the background of the Mocha Java, you have the opportunity to create your own. Our organic Sumatran Coffee is available in two roast colors, and we have three different organic Ethiopian coffees that you can choose from online. You can mix up the “mocha” and “java” to create your own perfect blend.




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    Mocha Java

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  • Klekolo World Coffee is the Best in Connecticut

    Klekolo World Coffee is the Best in Connecticut

    That’s right, folks. Since 1994, Klekolo World Coffee has been serving up excellent espresso, with spectacular customer service. This year, Klekolo won the title Best Coffee House in Connecticut, from Connecticut Magazine. This comment from the magazine says it all:


    “There is something very Middletown about Klekolo World Coffee. Italian-speaking construction workers drinking espresso, punk or emo or metal music on the stereo, and an endless parade of interesting characters. Klekolo speaks to the essence of this offbeat, not-quite-college town. Tons of varieties of coffee. Live music. Constant eavesdropping and people-watching opportunities.”


    klekolo

    If you ever find yourself in Middletown, don’t miss out on a chance to stop in and order a cup of coffee! Klekolo has been serving Thanksgiving Coffee since the day they opened, and we love having the opportunity to work with Yvette and her awesome team of baristas. Check out some of these photos from recent visitors to Klekolo – the Best Coffee House in Connecticut!


    klekolo

    klekolo

    klekolo

    Get a great cup of coffee at the address below:


    Klekolo World Coffee
    181 Court St
    Middletown, CT 06457


    (860) 343-9444


    Monday • 6:30AM–10PM
    Tuesday • 6:30AM–10PM
    Wednesday • 6:30AM–10PM
    Thursday • 6:30AM–10PM
    Friday • 6:30AM–12AM
    Saturday • 6:30AM–12AM
    Sunday • 7AM–7PM


    www.klekolo.com

    Check out our other cafes, restaurants and grocery stores on our Thanksgiving Coffee Store Locator page!




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    Klekolo World Coffee is the Best in Connecticut

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  • Coffee 101 : Roast Colors - What do They Mean?

    Roast Colors: What Do They Mean?

    It’s time to get educated.


    Whether or not you have a go-to coffee, you probably have an idea of what you like. Something with a smoky taste, so you can add a splash of milk; or perhaps something on the sweeter side for your cold brew. We want to help you dig in a little deeper and learn more about every one of the roast colors, and what you’re tasting in your cup of coffee!


    For each roast color, we’re highlighting a coffee that is really standing out right now. These recommendations come straight from our Roastmaster and Roastmaster Emeritus on what coffee they’re drinking these days. However, we DO want to encourage you to go outside the box, and take a look through all the coffees and roast colors on our website–try a variety to find that perfect cup!


     


    Roast Color

    Light Roast Coffee

    Nuanced • Bright • Lively

    In the lighter roasts (both light and medium), you can taste the nuance and impact of terroir. If you’re a single origin lover, these coffees are your go-to. With a light roast especially, the specific qualities unique to the coffee’s origin stand out. If you’re sticking with Vienna and French roasts (the darker beans), you have to work harder to tell the differences between origins. With light, it’s all there in the first sip.


    For those of you that cup your coffee and take the time to taste every flavor, the lights and mediums are probably the roasts for you. When purchasing a single origin coffee, the great ones are best at this roast color.


    Light Roast Recommendation

    Nicaragua Our Nicaraguan Flor de Jinotega is really making an impact right now. We received a fresh crop as of the beginning of June, and it’s tasting nutty, chocolaty, smooth and sweet. A really pleasing cup!
    Roast Color

    Medium Roast Coffee

    Nutty • Spicy • Balanced • Fruity

    Roasted about 20 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the light, the color on a medium roast coffee bean shifts into a chocolate brown. As you move from the light roast to the medium, the bright and lively acidity morphs into a smoother, deeper, and more balanced mouth feel. In every sip of a medium roast, you’ll find that a certain mellowness and maturity prevails.


    Medium Roast Recommendation

    Mocha Java Thanksgiving Coffee has many medium roasts that stand out, but our Fairtrade and Organic Mocha Java is a classic that we love more and more every time we brew it. This coffee has that balanced and nuanced flavor we referenced above, and was described as having a “delicately sweet aroma” by CoffeeReview.com, where it scored 90 points.
    Roast Color

    Dark Roast Coffee

    Bold • Spicy • Chocolaty

    The coffee bean color on our dark roast (sometimes called the Vienna roast) is still more brown than black. You could compare it to the color of baker’s chocolate. When this coffee is freshly roasted, the beans will have a shiny coat of coffee oils on their surface. The greatest dark roast coffees will have hints of carbonization, but shouldn’t be described as smoky or toasty — we’ll leave those descriptors to the very dark roast.


    Dark Roast Recommendation

    Congo The preferred dark roast of the Thanksgiving Coffee Roastery right now is our Congo Coffee. Just launched earlier this year, this single origin is changing the way we think of dark roasts. As you sip this coffee, you’ll notice rich notes of chocolate and spice, with a syrupy mouthfeel.

    (Bonus Points: every purchase of our Congo Coffee benefits the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International!)
    Roast Color

    Very Dark Roast Coffee

    Toasty • Smoky • Caramelized Sugars

    Ah, the “French Roast.” This is the coffee that goes great with a splash of milk. The coffee bean color on our very dark roast is more black than brown, with rich and copious levels of surface oil. Roasted long and hot to produce deep carbony, smoky flavor notes. A well-made French roast will have caramelized sugar notes, licorice and roasted chestnut flavors, and a long wet (not ashy) finish.


    Very Dark Roast Recommendation

    Sumatra We recommend the Sumatra as our very dark roast selection for a very good reason: you don’t find many single origin coffees that are roasted to this color. It takes some work to create a French roast that still has the flavors and nuances of origin, and this coffee does that well.


    As we sign off on our roast color education, we want to remind you of something: if you aren’t sure you’ll like it, give it a try! Are you regularly a French roast lover? Give medium a go. Religiously purchase the Bolivia Light Roast? Add the Rwanda Medium to your order this month for something new. The best way to develop your taste preferences is to get outside your box and liven up your selection.


    Enjoy your roast color adventure!

     

    Oh yes, you CAN blend different roast colors! Paul Katzeff created an app for all you iPhone users to explain this even more. It’s called Smart Coffee, and it was designed to help you blend roast colors, and create a flavor profile that is specific to YOU. Check it out!

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    Coffee 101 : Roast Colors - What do They Mean?

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  • Kona Cold Brew Marinade for Pot Roast

    Kona Cold Brew Marinade for Pot Roast

    From Lawrence Bullock


    Here’s a cold brew marinade for those foggy summer weekends (or anytime, actually) when company’s coming, and you have a bit of prep time. You will need a full two days for prep, and another ten hours for the slow cooker.


    Kona

    Cold Brew Recipe:



    One 12oz package of Thanksgiving Coffee Kona Blend, cold brewed for 24 hours. I used our Cold Brew Kit. Once the cold brewing was complete (24 hours) I filtered the coffee using a mesh filter. If you don’t have one of those, simply pour off the cold brew into a second container until you see the sludge. Set the strained cold brew aside. Discard any solids left at the bottom of the cold brew kit, and you’re left with roughly 50 to 56 ounces of cold brew coffee.

    I bought two chuck roasts. Chuck roasts are an inexpensive cut, but flavorful.


    I put the cold brew into a container that I knew could contain the roasts and the cold brew. A lidded container is preferable, but if you don’t have one, use cling wrap to seal it off. Use enough cold brew to completely cover the meat.


    I then placed the meat, covered in cold brew, in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Once the cold brew marinade process was over, I poured the leftover cold brew coffee into a container and set it aside.


    As you can see, planning ahead is essential as two 24 periods are involved, and THEN a ten hour cook time.


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    But it’s worth it.

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    I then used the directions on a product called Johnny’s French Dip Au Jus. This product can be found in most grocery stores, or online, these days. You only need one little bottle, but I usually buy two and keep one in the pantry. Johnny’s French Dip Au Jus contains: Water, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (Corn, Soy, Wheat), Red Wine Vinegar, Tomato Paste, Worcestershire Sauce. The basic recipe for the au jus, according to the label on the little bottle is two parts water to one part au jus. Instead of the recommended water, I used the cold brew that I had marinated the roasts in. Using those directions, I ended up with 3 cups of au jus liquid. It pretty much covered the roasts. You can make more of the au jus if you wish. Make enough to cover the roast (or roasts) completely.


    I refrigerated any remaining cold brew to save in case it was needed. Any product that has touched raw meat should be refrigerated.


    Cooking the Pot Roast


    I set the slow cooker to ten hours and let it cook. For ten hours.


    A coffee-saturated roast beef was the result. The coffee flavor was evident but not overwhelming and taste tests went well. A wide rage of ages (15 to 67) tasted the roast at completion and enjoyed it.


    I didn’t really need the extra cold brew marinade so I discarded it. For health and safety reasons, I didn’t freeze it, or save it for later. Any product that has touched raw meat should be discarded if not used in a timely fashion.


    You can add carrots, potatoes and any number of vegetables associated with standard pot roast recipes, but I chose to not include them in this recipe because I wanted to taste what a strict coffee au jus and meat only combination tasted like. I’m sure adding the vegetables would be just fine, and I’ll probably do that next time!




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    Kona Cold Brew Marinade for Pot Roast

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  • Hot Coffee, Cold Coffee: How Does Temperature Affect Taste?

    Hot Coffee, Cold Coffee: How Does Temperature Affect Taste?

    From Lawrence Bullock


    Biologists have only recently started understanding how and why temperature affects the taste of food and beverages. No research has been conducted specifically regarding coffee. But there are three main theories; the first holds that lukewarm coffee tastes bad because cavemen didn’t have refrigerators.


    Karel Talavera of the Laboratory of Ion Channel Research in Cuba has studied the way that taste receptors inside our taste buds respond to molecules at different temperatures. He and his colleagues found that certain taste receptors are most sensitive to food molecules in the 20 to 35 degree Celsius (68 to 95 degree Fahrenheit) range — in other words, molecules at or just above room temperature. The taste receptors in question don’t always register molecules much hotter or colder than this range, so we don’t taste them.


    “This is still an obscure phenomenon that we cannot explain, but that could fit to the fact that taste perception does decrease above a certain temperature,” Talavera says. In short, hot coffee (around 170 degrees F) may seem less bitter than room-temperature coffee (73 degree F) because our bitter taste receptors aren’t as sensitive to bitter molecules in the coffee when those molecules are hot.


    According to Talavera, our sensory systems tend to be designed by evolution to perform most effectively at the temperatures we are typically exposed to. “Our ancestors did not eat food at extreme temperatures,” he said. Their meals consisted of mostly foraged berries and freshly hunted meat in the 20 to 37 degree Celsius range — almost exactly the window in which our taste buds are most sensitive. Because piping hot or ice-cold coffee falls outside this realm of maximum taste, our taste buds don’t sense the drink’s true bitterness.


    However, the temperature-dependence effect observed by Talavera and colleagues is more pronounced for sweet taste receptors than bitter ones, and so it may not be the only factor at work. Some researchers think tepid coffee’s bitterness has more to do with smell than taste. “Odors influence coffee flavor very strongly, and it is easy to go from sublime to horrible,” Paul Breslin, an experimental psychologist who studies taste perception at Rutgers University, wrote in an email. Even very bitter coffee, such as espresso, tastes great when hot because of its pleasant aroma, he pointed out.


    According to Barry Green, a taste perception scientist at Yale University, hot coffee releases more aromatic compounds than room-temperature coffee, so it has a greater chance of impacting taste. He also said that milk, coffee’s frequent companion, tastes worse at room temperature, and a combination of these factors probably explains the nearly universal opinion that lukewarm coffee leaves something to be desired.


    One last theory holds that hot coffee’s heat could be distracting us from its strong flavor. As Breslin put it, “It is possible that an attentional mechanism is at work. You do not think about how bitter or sweet [coffee] is when it is hot or cold. Hot coffee may force you to think about temperature, which is a bit of a distraction from its bitterness.”


    None of the researchers profess to fully understand coffee’s temperature-dependent deliciousness, but it seems to be at least slightly, only a matter of opinion.




    Below: A photo featuring both hot coffee and cold coffee from one of our cafes, The Good Earth Coffee and Tea House in Oroville, California


    Cold vs Hot Coffee
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    Hot Coffee, Cold Coffee: How Does Temperature Affect Taste?

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  • Cold Brew Coffee

    Cold Brew Coffee

    Versatile, Healthy, Easy

    In addition to being simply the best summertime drink, cold brew coffee has the distinct advantage of allowing you to taste more subtle notes in coffee than its hot-brewed counterpart. Some of the delicate tones in coffee can become masked in a hot drink.

    The taste of coffee comes down to the chemistry of the brewing process. When you expose coffee grounds to hot water, they release oils. These oils are full of acidic compounds that won’t dissolve at lower temperatures. The bite of those compounds anesthetizes the tongue and prevents you from noticing the coffee’s flavor. The acidity can be nice in hot coffee, but for cold drinks, it’s a decided drawback.

    Steep in Hopland serves up Thanksgiving Coffee Cold Brew on a daily basis. Below is a shot of one of their customers’ favorite drinks!

    Cold Brew

    Studies have shown that cold brew coffee is 67% less acidic than coffee brewed hot. The burnt flavor is eliminated from a coffee that is cold-brewed. The other upside of not having that acidic taste is that it’s healthier for both your stomach and your teeth.

    And since cold brew coffee has never been subjected to heat, the chemistry of it doesn’t change. Hot coffee’s chemistry changes as it cools. Your day-old cold brew won’t taste stale, like a cup of day-old hot-brewed coffee certainly will. Caffe Etc in Hollywood serves Thanksgiving Coffee’s cold brew in 24oz portions to their morning customers. These people take their coffee with them to work, and save half of it in the fridge to consume later. There is no deterioration, and no second trip to the coffee shop this way!
    Below is a shot from Caffe Etc in Los Angeles.

    Cold Brew

    Many people will argue that cold brew coffee simply tastes better. Undertones of chocolate, fruit, and nuts dance on the tastebuds more obviously with cold-brewed coffee. Our own preferences for cold brew here at Thanksgiving are single origin coffees, but some of our customers have used our Grey Whale Blend, and even our high caffeine Pony Express in their cold brew explorations. To find your preferred taste, experimentation is important – and cold brew is forgiving enough to allow that. You may even find that your tastes are seasonal.

    As we experiment with our coffee for cold brew ourselves, we’d love to hear what your favorite cold brew coffees are! Share with us using our contact page, or on social media.

    Another good thing about cold brew: It’s versatile. If you like your coffee hot, just add boiling water to the cold brew concentrate. Voila! Fresh hot coffee without the acid bite. If you’ve perfected your cold brew mix, but don’t want to dilute your drink with ice, freeze the mixture and use coffee ice-cubes. This way the mixture won’t get weaker as it melts – perfect for a picnic or a day on the beach. But here’s something to remember, though:. Ice cubes often pick up taste from the other things in your freezer,so be careful you don’t introduce off-flavors.

    For our final little tidbit: A lot of recipes may avoid using coffee as an ingredient because of its acidity, but cold brew coffee, with its lowered acid content can be great for baking or marinating. Also, you can consider using cold brew in cocktails. Experiment with everything! You may discover your perfect cold brew libation. And if you do, let us know about it.

    How to Cold Brew Coffee

    Cold brewing coffee is easy, it’s fun, and it basically becomes a necessity as we head into summer. And we’re here to answer any questions you might have about how it works.

    Lawrence Bullock
    Thanksgiving Coffee Company

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    Cold Brew Coffee

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