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  • For the Birds: Altamira Oriole

    For the Birds: Altamira Oriole

    For the Birds is a blog series from Thanksgiving Coffee Company, highlighting one of the 200 Neotropical migratory birds who rely on shade grown coffee during their winter migration. In January, we featured the Cedar Waxwing, in February, the Magnolia Warbler, March was the Blackburnian Warbler, and to celebrate the re-release of our Song Bird Decaf, we are featuring the Altamira Oriole!


    Altamira Oriole

    decaf

    Song Bird Decaf Medium Roast Coffee

    The striking orange and black plumage of the Altamira Oriole (icterus gularis) graces the label of our newly re-released Song Bird Coffee Decaf, and with good reason. This delicious Smithsonian Migratory Bird Certified coffee is decaffeinated with a clean, all-natural mountain water process in the Chiapas region of southern Mexico, home of the Altamira Oriole.

    Altamira

    The Altamira is a large oriole and builder of the longest nest of any bird in North America. In the United States their range is limited to the Rio Grande Valley of southern most Texas, but their nests are a common sight throughout Mexico and Central America.


    Altamira

    The female bird uses the inner bark of trees, retama leaves, various grasses, and occasionally Spanish moss and plastic twine to create one of nature’s architectural marvels. Over the course of several weeks, she painstakingly weaves a two-foot long basket that hangs over an open space, road, or river, suspending her fragile eggs thirty feet above the ground.


    Altamira

    While many species of birds specialize in hiding their nests from the eyes of predators, the Altamira Oriole takes a different approach by building a home that is wildly conspicuous, but impossible to reach.

    decaf All of Thanksgiving’s organically certified coffees are shade grown, and a select few carry the Bird Friendly gold seal of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This certification ensures that tropical “agroforests” are preserved and migratory birds can find a healthy haven to eat and rest as they travel the hundreds of miles from your backyard to the coffee farms producing the beans you so enjoy every morning.
    You don’t need binoculars to find a coffee that protects forests, helps wildlife and supports the efforts of the American Birding Association; just look for the Songbird Coffee with the Altamira Oriole on the front.


    american birding association

    For the Birds: Altamira Oriole

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  • Join the Fight to Save Our Wild Horses

    Join the Fight to Save Our Wild Horses

    Thanksgiving Coffee, an industry leader in social and environmental justice for over forty years, stands in defense of our wild horses. The vanguard of fair trade shade-grown coffee, Thanksgiving has helped their nonprofit partners raise much-needed funds to champion their missions through the Cause Coffee fundraising program. And now, Thanksgiving is proud to support the efforts of the American Wild Horse Campaign (AMWC) with the release of Wild Grounds Coffee.


    Horses

    Save Wild Horses

    Today, both livestock and wild horses have the right to roam the range, but the political power of the cattle ranchers is stronger then the political power of wild horses. In the forty years since a bill was passed by congress to protect the wild horses, moneyed interests have worked tirelessly to chip away at it. Now, the use of our publicly owned grazing lands is being prioritized to create market value for ranging cattle, which only provides for 3% of America’s beef consumption.


    Unable to cull the herds or sell them for slaughter, the BLM began to round up what they considered to be an excess population. Today 35,000 horses, more than their entire population in the 1970’s, are kept in government holding pens. Not to be killed, yet never again to be free; this is a terrible fate to befall the national symbol of perseverance and freedom.


    “The whole thing is cruel and lacks any sense of the American Spirit”, says Paul Katzeff, CEO of Thanksgiving Coffee and Past President of The Specialty Coffee Association of America, “We just gotta do something about the suffering to restore our own sense of freedom. Can you imagine the conditions? Thirty-five thousand wild horses in shadeless pens in 100 degree heat waiting to die?”

    Wild horse

    The American Wild Horse Campaign

    The American Wild Horse Campaign is a champion for America’s wild horses and burros and they have been calling on Congress to reform the current ‘holding pen’ policies. Not only would such methods keep these animals in the wild, where they belong, it would also save taxpayers millions of dollars annually by no longer funding the removal of wild horses from the range and stockpiling them in government holding facilities and paying for their feed and water and medical needs.


    Thanksgiving Coffee Company, 2017’s Roaster of the Year, is sending Wild Grounds coffee out into the country with the mission to raise funds and educate others about the plight of our wild horses. Together, we will stand in defense of the mustangs who have an inalienable right to roam the western landscape, just as we stand up against those who would profit from their incarceration and eradication.


    Wild Wild_Grounds_Very We invite you to join us. Stand up for America’s wild horses and the pioneer spirit we all share. Order a package of award winning Wild Grounds coffee and you are not just supporting the horses; you are also supporting fair trade for the farmers, organic shade-grown coffee that preserve rich jungles forests, and the ethical standards of a certified B corporation. Since 1972, we have been proud to bring you a beautiful cup of coffee that tastes just as good as it feels.
    Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup.

    american

    Join the Fight to Save Our Wild Horses

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  • Roastmaster’s Select: Colombian Coffee

    Roastmaster’s Select: Colombian Coffee

    We’ve sung the praises of our Roastmaster’s Select Club before. An all-new coffee every month, micro-lots that you won’t see anywhere else, small batch roasts, and limited editions that taste magnificent.


    But if you aren’t ready to take the plunge and sign up for a blind monthly club subscription, we have another option. Every few months, we pick a favorite from the club, and feature it here on our website for non-members. We’ve featured coffees from Panama, Kenya, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and more in the past months.


    What’s up next? Our Colombia Medium Roast from the Cafe Colsuaves co-op.


    Coffee Cherry

    Coffee From Colombia

    Thanksgiving Coffee has sourced coffee from Colombia for years, and it continues to be a favorite origin of ours. We found this lot of coffee while searching for unique Colombian coffee for our club members. Roastmaster Jacob Long sample roasted the green coffee, and blind tasted it alongside a variety of samples — finding this Colombian to be a real stand-out.


    This coffee is sourced from the Popayan region of Cauca, on the western side of Colombia. We ended up purchasing 500 pounds of this micro lot, and we’re impressed with the way it turned out. It’s quite smooth and nuanced, with a great body and flavor. The Cafe Colsuaves group produces brilliant coffees by putting a strong focus on lot separation and processing control, creating some truly unique micro-lots.


    Colombian Medium Roast

    Jacob created a roast profile that brings out the natural flavors of this Colombian, and everyone here at the roastery is loving how it tastes. This Medium Roast is rich and smooth, with complex notes of milk chocolate and vibrant citrus undertones. At the Thanksgiving Coffee tasting room, we especially love it in the Soft Brew, and we’re planning on trying it in our Cold Brew Kit later this month.

    Give the Cafe Colsuaves Colombian Medium Roast a try. Add this coffee onto your next order, and we’re certain you won’t be disappointed. Don’t wait too long to get this coffee delivered! In just a few weeks, we’ll be rotating it out for a new Roastmaster’s selection!




    Category_From the Roastery

    Roastmaster’s Select: Colombian Coffee

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  • Coffee from Rwanda

    Coffee from Rwanda

    I was trailing off to sleep, it was a cool summer night in Mendocino. Joan’s voice came into my consciousness and broke my reverie. She was not yet ready to say good night to the day.


    “Paul, I was listening to NPR today and there was this story about the poverty and the general plight on the African Continent. I think we need to begin focusing on buying coffee and supporting cooperatives in Africa like we do in Central and South America.”

    Mountain Rwanda

    Of course I agreed, and dozed off to spend some unconscious time thinking about the idea and all the effort it would take to be as bold an activist in Africa as we were then (and now) in Central America. I hoped that when I awoke in the morning my mind would have used the eight or so hours sleeping to clarify. I had no intention of just jumping into more work.


    What Joan was asking was not simple but as President of Thanksgiving Coffee she did have a big voice in things such as this. We would have to pick the countries we wanted to work in, we would need to take sixteen hour flights, we would have to find communities we could work with, we would need to buy coffee in container loads to be effective. A container load is 37,500 pounds. We would have to build a demand for these new coffees or we were going to have to buy less of other coffees, which hurts the farmers we are already working with.


    That morning at work, an amazing thing happened.


    I received a phone call from a professor at Michigan State University. She had recently received a USAID grant to help the Rwandan Coffee industry create a market plan for their reentry into the Specialty Coffee market, specifically aiming at the United States craft coffee trade. Yes, the entire country’s coffee industry!


    How serendipitous is that? One moment we are lying in bed thinking, and the next day the answer and the challenge arrives on the phone.


    Paul in Rwanda

    They asked Thanksgiving Coffee to be part of a small group of coffee experts. We would fly to Rwanda in three weeks to help a country only ten years from its genocide in 1994. A genocide that saw 900,000 Rwandans murdered by their fellow countrymen, and their entire coffee infrastructure destroyed in the process. I wanted us to be there to help, but I said to Joan after the phone conversation: “Joan, you started this last night, and your answer and opportunity came this morning so I think it is YOU who will have to fly to Rwanda in three weeks.”


    And that was the beginning of our now fourteen year odyssey with the Rwandan coffee farmers.


    Trips to Rwanda

    Farmers in Rwanda

    On that first trip to Rwanda, I remained in Mendocino. It was a first for us; me staying home and Joan going to do the exploring and experience the adventure.


    On her first day in Rwanda, she met with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International Executive Director, who was interested in linking the Rwandan coffee industry with saving the last 400 Mountain Gorillas, something Dian Fossey was murdered for trying to do. Joan saw the opportunity, and said that Thanksgiving Coffee would create a marketing plan for linking Rwandan coffee to Mountain Gorillas. That is how – on DAY ONE of Joan’s first trip to Africa – Gorilla Fund Coffee was born.


    When things are supposed to happen, they do.


    But usually, not so fast.


    Farmers in Rwanda

    Joan went to tour the gorilla habitat, trekking for hours into the Virunga National Forest and was gifted by coming upon a family of Mountain Gorillas, led by a 500 pound Silverback. In her words:


    “The rain is soft, the trail slippery and muddy. We’re moving quickly, breathing hard in the thin high-altitude air. Intent young trackers radio one another, ‘We are close.’ Suddenly the Amahoro Gorilla family crosses our path. Wow! What a sight. Two young gorillas grasp the pant legs of a couple in our group before bounding off to join the adults – which included a 500 pound Silverback. I am transfixed and transformed in the presence of these gentle giants. I still can not believe I was there and it really happened.”

    My own experience with the gorillas in Rwanda came a year later. I got a chance to hang out with a different family of gorillas. I sat cross-legged, facing the Silverback leader for 45 minutes exchanging grunts every so often but never allowing our eyes to meet. He had a very intriguing aroma about him. Musty, earthy, very Sumatra coffee-like. It was clean and powerful. I would recognize it anywhere. And yes, I did read the novel Ishmael about the Silverback Guru teaching a journalist about life’s questions. I sat with my Silverback thinking he might just know a lot more than me about the meaning of life. He had big Brown eyes.


    I took his portrait picture and it adorned our Gorilla Fund Package until 2016 when it was removed in favor of a younger gorilla image.


    Paul

    Shop Gorilla Fund Coffee


    Building in Rwanda

    On my second trip in 2005, I met with the Director of the USAID project and we mapped out a quality improvement plan to make Rwanda coffee the best it could be. We wrote a proposal which was funded the following year. It was a plan to put a tasting laboratory at every coffee cooperative so the farmers could separate their coffees and evaluate each lot individually.


    This was a great advance at the time, and it put Rwanda in the running to be one of the most advanced coffee regions in all of Africa. This project gave me the opportunity to travel the countryside and visit many growing regions and finally find the Dukunde Kawa Coffee Cooperative in Mussasa. It is the coffee we have purchased for the past 12 years and has won the reputation of being the best of Rwandan coffee for the past five years in the Cup of Excellence competitions held yearly. We use that coffee to help save the gorillas.


    Gorilla Fund Coffee has raised over $100,000 for DFGFI, since we began this program in 2005. Joan and I have attended many DFGFI celebrity fundraisers given in big city venues as honored guests for Thanksgiving Coffee’s work educating coffee lovers about the Mountain Gorillas. At one event I met and had a conversation with Gloria Steinem, at another I spoke with Sigourney Weaver who played Dian Fossey in the movie Gorillas in the Mist.


    Now we are partnering with DFGFI to inform the American Coffee drinkers about the plight of the Grauer’s Gorilla who is Critically Endangered in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In my youth, this area was known as “deepest, darkest Africa.” Using the same idea, we went after finding a good coffee from the Congo to represent the Grauer Gorilla, that we would create a dark roast from.


    Rwanda Women

    Congo coffee is new to the pantheon of craft coffees. It is a country rife with political instability and crazed rebels who wreak havoc on villages. In 2013, I turned down an invitation to visit the Congo by my long time friend Richard Hyde of Cafe Direct who was working with a group of coffee cooperatives there. He knew I could be a buyer, but I had enough coffee and the Grauer’s Gorillas that make their home in the Congo had not yet come upon the DFGFI’s radar.


    Three years later, the DFGFI began to work in the Congo, and I called my friend Richard to find out where I could get the coffee that comes from the mountains where the Grauer’s Gorillas reside.


    Rwanda Families

    In the beginning of this journey, we realized that it was the gorillas that could help the Rwandan people. Not many Americans will go out of their way to help the Rwandan people but all Americans want to support the Mountain Gorillas. So we focused on the gorillas to build the value and demand by consumers for this coffee.


    We used the Fairtrade model and certification to give money back to the Dukunde Kawo Coffee Cooperative. We created a climate change mitigation program and financed shade tree planting. We even funded a milk cow project to supply each family with whole milk and cheese for family use and for added income. Every sale of the Gorilla Fund coffee benefited not only the gorillas, but also the members of this Rwandan Coffee Cooperative called “Dukunde Kawa”, which means “Great Coffee”. We intend to follow that same model to inform the public of the Endangered Grauer’s Gorilla, and support industry in the Congo.


    Rwanda Farmers

    It isn’t easy to do this kind of work in coffee. Lot’s of collaboration needs to be built into the process. There is always the risk that too much coffee will be purchased and sales will not match up. But we do this work for other reasons. Coffee is the medium, but it is not the message. This is how we work now with the American Birding Association, to save Migratory Song Birds, with Friends of the Earth to save Pollinators, with Defenders of wildlife to save our Wolves and soon, with more partners to save our wild animals.


    So join us in our efforts and purchase these coffees and together we will make a difference.


    Paul Katzeff, co-founder and CEO



    Category_Farmers & Cooperatives

    Coffee from Rwanda

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  • Roaster of the Year: Thanksgiving Coffee Company

    ONCE IN A LIFE TIME AWARD

    We are beyond excited to announce that we have been chosen as the 2017 Macro Roaster of the Year! This prestigious award is chosen through a vigorous process by Roast Magazine, and we are so honored to have been selected.

    Pictured Below: The Thanksgiving Coffee team outside our Fort Bragg headquarters

    Roaster of the Year Selection Process

    The selection process at Roast Magazine is truly impressive. In order to apply, the team at Thanksgiving Coffee compiled a 30 page booklet, outlining some of the most fascinating aspects of our company:

    Pictured Below: CEO Paul Katzeff at the original headquarters in Noyo Harbor

    Choosing the Coffee: Blind Tasting

    Being Roaster of the Year is not just about what we've done or where we came from… it’s about the coffee. After choosing the finalists from the information submitted to them from coffee roasters around the globe, Roast Magazine does a blind taste test. More from Unpacking Coffee Video 

    Pictured Below: Roastmaster Jacob Long in the Roastery

    For this test, they asked each finalist to submit three roasts, and our roastmaster Jacob Long made the decision:

    “This is an international competition, we were competing against the best artisan roasters from around the world. With so many great coffees to select from, I chose to present the judges with a few of our freshest coffees with amazing flavor profiles, vibrant and rich Kenyan Peaberry, floral Ethiopian Gedeb, and the beloved fruity-chocolatey Paul’s Blend.”

    These coffees were sent to two separate cupping labs for the blind tasting. The judges at these labs scored all of the coffees presented by the finalists, and then combined those with the scores from the written submissions. The top rated coffee company is then selected as Roaster of the Year.

    Each of these award-winning roasts is available through our Thanksgiving Coffee online store!

    2017 Macro Roaster of the Year

    The Roaster of the Year announcement was made at the Let’s Talk Coffee conference in Puerto Vallarta, where our Vice President Jonah Katzeff accepted the honor. During this event, Jonah also had the opportunity to meet with the great people of Sustainable Harvest, the Specialty Coffee Association of America and so many more movers and shakers in the coffee industry.

    Pictured Below: Vice President Jonah Katzeff accepting the award at Let’s Talk Coffee


    We want to say THANK YOU to our fans, our friends and family, and everyone who has supported us over the 44 years of coffee roasting. This is such a huge honor, and we can’t wait to share even more of our coffees with the world over the next year!

    Awards

    Roaster of the Year: Thanksgiving Coffee Company

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  • Flight Beyond Borders

    A celebration of International Migratory Bird Day

    Altamira

    Here in the United States, we sometimes claim a cultural ownership of beautiful birds like the Baltimore Oriole, perhaps forgetting that the very same species could just as easily be named the ‘Panama Oriole’, or the ‘Nicaraguan Oriole’, as it spends half it’s life in Central and South America. IMBD is a reminder that the health and abundance of these birds that are so much a part of our heritage does not stop at our own backyard feeders. If we wish to enjoy their beauty and their songs for generations to come, we must care for them and their well being across all borders.


    The growing demand for coffee, and the rise of the mono-cultured full sun coffee plantations, has demolished much of the wintering habitat for iconic birds like Orioles. In fact, many of these species are now referred to as ‘Coffee Birds’ because the only forest home left to them are the shade-grown coffee farms that preserve the jungle canopy.


    For over 20 year, Song Bird Coffee has been a leader in supporting the farmers who protect their native forests by growing delicious coffees under the jungle canopy, preserving priceless habitat and biodiversity. This year, on International Migratory Bird Day, we hope you will join us in protecting our precious songbirds, just by enjoying a great cup of shade-grown coffee.





    american birding association

    Flight Beyond Borders

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  • Smithsonian Magazine Feature – June 2004

    Smithsonian Magazine Feature – June 2004

    We’ve been digging into the archives a little bit, and came across this article from June of 2004. As Earth Day rolls around, check out this article from Smithsonian Magazine featuring Thanksgiving Coffee Company and our work in Nicaragua.


    Read the article on the Smithsonian Magazine website.




    Category_Sustainability

    Smithsonian Magazine Feature – June 2004

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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 Organic Coffee and Tea 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 less acidic than coffee brewed hot. The roasted flavor is diminished from a coffee that is cold-brewed. Another 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.

    Below is a shot from Caffe Etc in Los Angeles.

    Cold Brew

    Many people will assert their preference 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 Coffee 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

    Thanksgiving Coffee Company recommends the optimum ratio for cold brew coffee is 2 grams of coffee for every fluid ounce of water. Cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold water for up to 24 hours before straining. The longer the coffee steeps, the more intense the flavor will be. The resulting brew will be a concentrate, so be aware that you may want to dilute it or possibly serve it over ice.
     
    Here are some tips for making cold brew coffee:
    • Use Filtered Water: For the cleanest cup of cold brew, use filtered water.
    • Steep Time: Steeping for at least 12 hours will produce a good cold brew, but some say it's best to steep for 18–24 hours. Steeping for too short a time can result in a weak and astringent brew.
    • Strain: After steeping, strain the coffee concentrate through a coffee filter, fine-mesh sieve, or cheesecloth-lined sieve.
    • Dilute and Serve - You can dilute the concentrate with water, ice, milk, or creamer, and serve it over ice. Cold brew has 67% less acidity than hot brewed coffee, so you can also try mixing equal parts coffee concentrate and water in a tall glass.

    If you have a French Press, it can work very well for cold brewing and filtering. Add the cold water to the coarely ground coffee and don't push the plunger down until the brewing is complate.

    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

    Category_Coffee 101

    Cold Brew Coffee

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  • Micro-Lot Coffee

    Micro-Lot Coffee

    The world is lush with coffee growing regions, and inside those regions are thousands of small-scale coffee farmers, growing coffee in hundreds of different micro-climates and soil types. This is where we find the “micro-lot.”


    Together with dozens of varietals (air, shade, wind, sun, rain, soil type, etc.), the coffee flavor is created in all its possibilities.


    We have been in the coffee game for over forty years, and know the territory well, from Papua New Guinea to Nicaragua.


    We know the farmers and they know us. Together we find these small, exceptional “micro-lots” produced by individual farms in quantities of no more than 10-20 sacks (1500-3000 pounds).


    We pay the farmer a premium, and everyone involved is happy that a rare and quality coffee did not get lost in the crowd of good and quality coffee.


    When the coffee finally arrives at Thanksgiving Coffee Company, our Roastmaster Jacob Long roasts the coffee 3-5 pounds at a time, using his knowledge to bring out the magic from each bean.


    So when you see Thanksgiving Coffee offering a micro-lot coffee, you can be certain that you’re purchasing one hell of a great coffee.


    – Paul Katzeff


    Paul


    Category_Coffee 101

    Micro-Lot Coffee

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  • Seismic Joint at the Exploratorium

    Seismic Joint at the Exploratorium

    San Francisco’s Exploratorium is one of the great gems of the bay area. The exhibits inside Pier 15 will keep you and your family enthralled for hours on end. But before walking through those doors, it’s always a good idea to get caffeinated.


    And we have just the place.


    Seismic Joint Cafe

    In the same building as the Exploratorium is the Seismic Joint Cafe at Pier 15. This little coffee shop is the perfect pit stop before (or after, or during!) your visit to the Exploratorium. Grab a cup of the I Love Curiosity Blend, roasted by Thanksgiving Coffee! This coffee was grown in Nicaragua and Rwanda, and roasted along California’s North Coast.


    The Exploratorium

    The Exploratorium isn’t just a museum; it’s an ongoing exploration of science, art and human perception. Learn more about them in this quote from their website:


    Located in San Francisco, California, the Exploratorium is a public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art, and human perception. Our mission is to create inquiry-based experiences that transform learning worldwide. The vision is a world where people think for themselves and can confidently ask questions, question answers, and understand the world around them. We value lifelong learning and teaching, curiosity and inquiry, our community, iteration and evidence, integrity and authenticity, sustainability, and inclusion and respect.

    The Exploratorium creates tools and experiences that help you to become an active explorer: hundreds of explore-for-yourself exhibits, a website with over 50,000 pages of content, film screenings, evening art and science events for adults, plus much more. We also create professional development programs for educators, and are at the forefront of changing the way science is taught. We share our exhibits and expertise with museums worldwide.

    Enjoy your trip to the Exploratorium, and don’t miss out on a cup of Thanksgiving Coffee, right there on Pier 15!



    bay area

    Seismic Joint at the Exploratorium

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  • For the Birds: Blackburnian Warbler

    For the Birds: Blackburnian Warbler

    For the Birds is a blog series from Thanksgiving Coffee Company, highlighting one of the 200 Neotropical migratory birds who rely on shade grown coffee during their winter migration. In January, we featured the Cedar Waxwing, in February, the Magnolia Warbler, this month we’re focusing on the Blackburnian Warbler – the bird featured on our dark roast Songbird coffee.


    Blackburnian Warbler

    Songbird Coffee Dark Roast from Colombia

    With their bright colors and trilling songs, it’s no surprise that a group or flock of vibrant warblers is often called a ‘bouquet’. However, one of the most striking members of the warbler family would rather not join the bunch.


    Common along the eastern region of the United States during their migration, the Blackburnian warbler can be easily identified as the only orange-throated warbler in North America. Named after botanist Anna Blackburn, the Blackburnian warbler is territorial on its breeding grounds, solitary in the winter, and only forms flocks during migration. In fact, this little bird is such a loner that even though both parents feed and care for the chicks, the parents separate when the young are old enough to fledge and leave the nest, each taking part of the brood with them.


    But even the most solitary parent needs the support of a group every once in a while. After going their separate ways, the parents will sometimes join foraging flocks of kinglets and nuthatches with their begging young, the cries of which have been known to also attract chickadees.

    Blackburnian Warbler Coffee<

    Of the over 50 species of New World warblers to be found in North America, perhaps it is the colorful Blackburnian that stands out as a lone bloom, refusing to join the colorful assemblage of other warblers.


    Help protect the winter habitat of Blackburnian warblers by buying SMBC Song Bird Colombian dark roast shade-grown coffee.


    Dark Roast Colombian Coffee

    Toasted • Spicy • Dark Chocolate


    A rich coffee with flavors of toasted nut and dark chocolate followed by a smooth lasting finish, making this a clear winner for dark roast coffee enthusiasts.





    american birding association

    For the Birds: Blackburnian Warbler

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  • Raising a Mug to Support the Art Explorers

    Raising a Mug to Support the Art Explorers

    art explorer

    Frank Van Curen, Art Explorer and Paul Katzeff, CEO of Thanksgiving Coffee

    “I love doing art because until recently I had never done it before. It makes me feel really good. It makes me happy because I love learning new things.”

    “Doing art calms me down. I feel happy while I’m planning a design and working on my pictures.”

    “Art makes me feel calm…art makes life better.”

    “When I do my art I feel calm and like I’m experiencing what I think in my mind and throwing it onto the paper. The colors came from my brain and from nature. God gave me my talent and a giant heart that can love and do art and do other things.”

    “Art is both relaxing and exciting. It makes me feel good about myself.”

    “I like to spend a long time working on my portraits, often for weeks, even months. Sometimes I wake up in the night and plan what I’m going to do when I get to Art Explorers.” Frank Van Curen

    “Art makes me feel calm…art makes life better.”

    If you haven’t taken the time to stop by and meet the artists at the Art Explorers Studio and Gallery, then you are missing out on one of the great hidden treasures of downtown Fort Bragg.

    Art Explorers has been supporting artists with mental disabilities since 1996, providing a safe space for them to express themselves and find peace of mind with the stoke of a paint brush.

    Last weekend, the Art Explorers celebrated a new ceramics show in Town Hall in collaboration with their artist in residence, Sabine Brunner of the Little Cup ceramics studio. A departure from their usual work, the artists got to enjoy expressing themselves in ceramics with hand made sculptures and painted mugs. And what goes perfectly with a new, one of a kind hand painted mug? Why, a fresh cup of coffee of course! Which is why the event also debuted a new fundraiser for the Art Explorers program: Thanksgiving Coffee.

    Showcasing the artwork of 5 current Art Explorers, each bag label shares the story of the artist who created it. As the program grows, the work of more artists will have the opportunity to grace the front labels, highlighting the incredible talent of our local artists.

    Packages of Art Explorers Coffee, dark roast and decaf, are currently available for purchase at the studio, online, or at special events. Each bag sold supports the artists and staff members of the Art Explorers program, and with 5 different labels to choose from, you’ll want to collect them all!

    So take the time to stop on by the studio at 305 E. Redwood Ave (Tues. Thurs. + Fri. 9:00am – 3:00pm, Saturday 12:00pm – 3:00pm) and meet the artists, maybe buy a painting or some greeting cards, and pick up a bag of truly beautiful and one of a kind Art Explorers Coffee.

    Learn more: www.artexplorers.org

    art explorers

    Raising a Mug to Support the Art Explorers

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  • MacCallum House

    MacCallum House

    The MacCallum House is a cornerstone of the village of Mendocino. This gorgeous Victorian home once housed the most prominent family of the Mendocino Coast, and now houses the #1 rated hotel in the village of Mendocino, according to Tripadvisor!


    Maccallum House Mendocino<

    This stunning building sits tall on Albion Street, looking over the houses and water towers, with views of the bay below. The house is surrounded by one of the most stunning gardens in the village, begun by Daisy MacCallum herself in the late 1800s. Daisy was an early member of the American Rose Society, and her passion for gardening  is still evident on the MacCallum House grounds today. The restaurant often serves produce grown in their own Chef’s Garden.


    Maccallum House Mendocino<

    The MacCallum House is a landmark of Mendocino, and the favorite hotel for many of the tourists that visit our area. The Mendocino Coast would not exist as it does today had it not been for Daisy MacCallum’s family, and their prominence in the community made this area what it is today!


    These days, the property has a restaurant, bar, hotel, a community hot tub, a greenhouse, and two floors of suites above the first floor cafe. We are delighted to be working with such an amazing partner, to participate in the history that this property offers.


    Thanksgiving Coffee and the MacCallum House

    The MacCallum House was originally completed in 1882, and became a bed and breakfast almost a century later in 1974. Thanksgiving Coffee became one of their first vendors in 1975 – providing coffee for the guests of the inn, and later the restaurant itself.


    Mendocino Coast Mac House<

    We created a special blend for guests of the MacCallum House, and now sell this unique coffee on our own website:


    The MacCallum House Blend is full-bodied with dark chocolate overtones and a finish of sweet spices. This coffee is grown in the mountains of northern Nicaragua, surrounded by mango, guava trees, and avocados.

    The gorgeous Victorian-style craftsmanship of the MacCallum House graces the label of this organic blend, so every time you reach for your bag of coffee in the morning, you’ll be reminded of the stunning Mendocino Coast.


    During the month of March, our MacCallum House Blend is 20% off as our Monthly Special! Usually $14.50, you can purchase a 12oz bag for only $11.60 until April.


    “In 1971 when I first arrived on the Mendocino Coast, Daisy MacCallum had just been moved to a nursing home. I would sneak into the MacCallum House and climb to the attic to read 100 year old books and journals – and imagine myself living back in the early days of Mendocino.”


    Paul Katzeff, Co-Founder and CEO





    breakfast

    MacCallum House

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  • Albion River Inn

    Albion River Inn

    Along the Mendocino Coast, we are lucky to have some of the most picturesque views in the world. From the stunning sunsets at Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, to the trails and forests in the Mendocino Woodlands: our coastline is a sight to behold.


    In addition to our stunning views, we are lucky enough to have some truly magnificent restaurants and hotels – and one in particular has been a mainstay of the Mendocino Coast.


    Albion River Inn<

    Albion River Inn has been operating for over 35 years, and even before that was a successful restaurant. Located on some of the most beautiful property in Albion, any family who gets the chance to view a sunset from the grounds will never forget it. Sometimes it rains, but we promise – it’s still stunning.


    This facility has been featured in countless publications, including Sunset Magazine and Wine Spectator. With only 22 rooms, the Albion River Inn is often difficult to book – but always worth the wait.


    Mendocino Coast Gardens<

    Albion River Inn Restaurant

    The restaurant on the Albion River Inn property uses ingredients grown and caught locally, and specializes in some of the best seafood you’ll find along the North Coast. A fun tidbit about the restaurant building: it was built out of wood salvaged from the Girlie Mahoney shipwreck, from 1919! This restaurant has won Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence on nineteen different occasions, thanks to the great Chef Stephen Smith, and sommelier Mark Bowery.


    albion river<

    Thanksgiving Coffee and the Albion River Inn

    The Albion River Inn Restaurant serves Thanksgiving Coffee, and has done so for the entirety of its existence. We worked with the restaurant and inn to create an organic blend unique to their brand. The Albion River Inn Blend is consistently a top-seller on our website, and those who enjoy it at the Inn are consistently impressed with the flavors presented in the dark roast.


    A full-bodied and well-rounded blend with sweet chocolate tones and a crisp, toasty flavor, our Organic blend is grown high in the mountains of northern Nicaragua. Its rich complex flavor is a delightful reminder of the Albion River Inn and California’s magnificent North Coast.

    albion river<

    This unique coffee is 20% off during the month of March, and is a coffee you’ll likely order again and again. This coffee is one of our bestsellers, and has never been on sale before now! Snag a bag or two online for your next morning cup of coffee, and be sure to stop by for a meal next time you’re near the Albion River Inn.


    “Before it became the Albion River Inn, it was a rickety old dance hall that the hippies commandeered back in the day to dance to psychedelic music. The floor shook and being so close to the edge of the cliff, overlooking the shore 60ft below – I thought it might just fall into the ocean. That was back in the early 70’s.”

    – Paul Katzeff, Co-Founder and CEO




    albion river inn

    Albion River Inn

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  • Congo Coffee for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

    The Incredible Story of a War-Torn Region Redeemed by the Coffee Bean

    Map Congo<

    The Democratic Republic of Congo is in the heart of central Africa and considered to be the most bio-diverse country in the entire continent, which is quite a distinction. Iconic African wildlife such as jungle elephants and white rhino roam throughout the four national parks, and it is one of the few places on Earth that many great ape species, such as gorilla, chimpanzee and bonobo, call home. Its lush forests and equatorial climate means that the DRC is also an excellent region for growing some of the best sweet Bourbon varietals of coffee trees in the world.


    Map Congo<

    But despite the country’s wealth of natural resources, decades of war, genocide, and political unrest has condemned many of the 68 million civilians to lives of poverty, disease and violence.


    The lack of businesses and income-generating activity pushed the DRC into deeper turmoil and left the once productive coffee sector neglected or abandoned. Most of the coffee farmers could no longer bring their harvest to market and fled the region, while others resorted to smuggling their beans into Rwanda in hopes to barter for food and supplies. So near, and yet so far: smuggling coffee is very dangerous and many people have lost their lives in the attempt.


    Due to these circumstances, the small amount of coffee still produced in DRC was coming from small farms with old or rudimentary equipment and no access to international markets. All of that changed when Joachim Munganga founded the now-famous SOPACDI co-op.


    Congo Coffee Farm

    SOPACDI (Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Développement Intégral) was created by Joachim Munganga in 2002, as a means to bridge the ethnic strife of the region in order to tap into the international specialty coffee market. The co-op is located on the shores of Lake Kivu, which straddles the border between the DRC on the west bank and Rwanda to the east. Joachim started with his own farm and worked to rehabilitate an old, rundown estate with a central washing station for the co-op to process coffee. It wasn’t until 2008, when SOPACDI joined forces with the UK’s Twin Trading Company, that the doors to the international coffee market were opened wide. Together, they designed and obtained funding for a program to assist them with business skills and to begin rehabilitating the farms and improving the infrastructure, which included spearheading the construction of the first new central coffee washing station to be built in the country in over 40 years.


    Since then, SOPACDI has grown to include over 5,200 farmers, 20% of whom are women. In a region infamous for rampant sexual violence, SOPACDI has been a leader in promoting gender equality and supporting the widows of those farmers who died trying to smuggle their beans into Rwanda. In addition to the revitalizing their lost coffee economy, SOPACDI has earned the distinction of being the first certified fair-trade co-op in the DRC and was also named 2014 Sustainability Award Recipient from the Specialty Coffee Association of America. They even hosted the DRC’s first internationally recognized coffee cupping competition, Saveur du Kivu, in 2015.


    Economic stability saves lives, and not just human ones. Poor economic conditions result in the rise of eating and selling bushmeat, further endangering the sensitive wildlife of the DRC. As the animals are hunted, their numbers drop and they retreat deeper into the dense jungle. As logging companies and farmers clear away the forests at an alarming rate, they provide poachers an even greater access to hunt. That is, of course, unless the forest and the animals who live there can become a better economic resource to the people of DRC as a sustainable living ecosystem. Such is the hope of shade-grown coffee.


    Coffee trees love the shade and they naturally thrive under a jungle canopy. Many coffee farmers additionally supplement their resources by growing shade-loving food crops, such as banana and avocado, along side their coffee trees, all within the natural infrastructure of the forest. By weaving the livelihood of the farmers into the success of a thriving jungle ecosystem, we are simultaneously supporting sustainable commercial goods and conservation.


    Dian Fossey<

    Specialty Coffee Saves Gorillas

    Grauer’s gorillas are the world’s largest ape and only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over the last two decades their population has plummeted by an estimated 80 percent, which is why the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International has set up a program to help save them based on their success working with mountain gorilla populations in Rwanda. These efforts include daily protection and monitoring, tracking the gorilla groups, scientific research, data collection, local education programs, and community engagement.


    Save Gorillas<

    By employing the local Congolese people to protect the gorillas, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International is helping to foster a love for these creatures within the community while also creating an economic benefit. They now operate a permanent research and conservation field station in the core of Grauer’s gorilla range, working closely with traditional landowners and other local partners to help ensure the future of the species and countless others at risk in DRC.


    Thanksgiving Coffee is proud to support the economic renewal of the DRC by partnering with SOPACDI to bring you Grauer’s Gorilla Congo Coffee. Not only does the purchase of this coffee promote the livelihoods of the SOPACDI farmers, but a percentage of all online sales benefit the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and their continuing efforts to conserve and study the great apes of the DRC.


    Coffee changes the world, but it is quite possible that there is nowhere on Earth more profoundly impacted by the humble coffee bean than the Democratic Republic of Congo is right now. Together, we can all do our part to help stabilize this unique ecological treasure for future generations to enjoy by simply enjoying a good cup of coffee.





    africa

    Congo Coffee for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

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  • Fair Trade: A Movement for All

    Fair Trade: A Movement for All

    The following is an excerpt from a post from our fair trade certification: Fairtrade International:


    True fair trade is about mutually beneficial relationships rooted in trust and respect spanning geographic and cultural boundaries.

    As a global movement, fair trade brings attention to people around the world who work under exploitative conditions and highlights the true costs of goods in global supply chains. Organizations and activists, businesses and brands, farmers, workers and artisans have diligently worked for more than 40 years to bring greater balance to the terms of trade.


    In recent months, we have watched as the term ‘fair trade’ has been grossly misused by politicians to energize their supporters while vilifying others. We have seen the term used to exclude people and encourage an isolationist agenda. These ideas stand in direct opposition to the concepts of justice and inclusivity that underlie our movement.


    For far too long, conventional trade has maintained a narrow focus on the lowest common denominator. Efficiency at all costs, lower prices, and little consideration for the full social, economic and environmental impacts have been hallmarks of conventional international trade. Massive consolidation of power in supply chains has resulted in fewer options for consumers, farmers and workers, and unprecedented wealth controlled by few. Oxfam’s recent report on global inequality revealed that just eight men control more wealth than the world’s 3.6 billion poorest people combined.


    IF WE HOPE FOR A SOCIETY – IN THE U.S. AND AROUND THE WORLD – THAT IS MORE EQUAL AND JUST, WE MUST PRESS TRADE INTO THE SERVICE OF PEOPLE.

    Global trade and the trade deals that accompany it are not inherently bad. They provide an opportunity to deliver the benefits of trade more broadly, but only if they are used for that purpose. Fair trade, with its focus on inclusion and empowerment, shows that trade can – and must – be more equitable.


    If we hope for a society – in the U.S. and around the world – that is more equal and just, we must press trade into the service of people.


    True fair trade creates shared value throughout supply chains.
    True fair trade promotes openness and transparency.
    True fair trade respects human rights.
    True fair trade supports diversity.


    We support trade that is truly equitable for all, including artisans, farmers and workers, traders and brands, consumers and civil society. Fair trade will never be about exclusion, but about expanding the benefits of trade for those who need it most.


    As the U.S. considers renegotiating or entering into new international trade agreements, we encourage the inclusion of true fair trade principles. We urge all who care about human rights, shared value, transparency and diversity to call, write or meet with their elected officials and make your voice heard.




    See the original article from Fairtrade International here, and check out the list of names that have signed on to this agreement!





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    Fair Trade: A Movement for All

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  • For the Birds: Magnolia Warbler

    For the Birds: Magnolia Warbler

    For the Birds is a blog series from Thanksgiving Coffee Company, highlighting one of the 200 Neotropical migratory birds who rely on shade grown coffee during their winter migration. In January, we featured the Cedar Waxwing; this month we’re focusing on the Magnolia Warbler – the bird featured on our medium roast Songbird coffee.


    Magnolia Warbler

    Song Bird

    Songbird Coffee medium roast from Nicaragua

    If you live east of the Mississippi river, you might be familiar with the Magnolia Warbler. This brightly-colored little songbird can be seen in the spring and fall as it passes through on its annual migration. Despite the name, these bird is rarely seen in magnolia trees. In 1810, ornithologist Alexander Wilson collected a specimen from a magnolia in Mississippi. At the time, he gave it the species the more accurate name of “Black-and-yellow Warbler”, but he used “magnolia” for the Latin name, and it stuck.

    magnolia-warbler

    Like many warbler species, it can be hard to imagine how such a tiny bird, weighing little more than a quarter, can make a 3,000 mile journey, but they do it every year; from their summer breeding range in the Canadian Boral forests all the way down to Central America.


    When the “Maggies” head south for the winter, they can often be found on shade grown coffee farms along with other migratory birds such as Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Western Tanager.


    magnolia-warbler

    Although the population of Magnolia Warblers is thought to be stable, the birds are often victims of collisions with towers and other man-made structures, especially during migration. Habitat loss on their nesting and wintering grounds is also a threat. Supporting Bird Friendly coffee is an important way to keep Magnolia Warblers and other “coffee birds” common.


    magnolia-warbler map

    Song Bird

    Medium Roast Nicaraguan Coffee

    Nutty • Smooth • Milk Chocolate

    Sweet without sugar, mellow without cream. This Smithsonian Bird Friendly Coffee is fruity, nutty and chocolaty with hints of dried mango. Sweet without sugar, mellow without cream, it is a great breakfast coffee. This coffee is roasted to a light milk chocolate color where its bright and complex flavors explode into life.




    american birding association

    For the Birds: Magnolia Warbler

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  • The Perfect Pair

    The Perfect Pair

    It is an unmistakable feeling when you find the right one. Your pulse quickens, your lips curl involuntarily into a coy smile, and warmth radiates from deep within as your thoughts swirl upward. When you meet, the worries of the world melt away, and for a few sweet moments you know contented bliss.


    Chocolate and Coffee Beans I’m not speaking of love (though the feeling is remarkably similar). No, I am talking about the complex and wonderful pairing of coffee and chocolate. Those of you who have experimented with such delicious decadence surely know what I am talking about. Your whole pallet comes alive, as nuances explode and recede in a dance of flavors. For those of you that haven’t enjoyed a nibble of chocolate followed by a sip of coffee, oh are you ever in for a treat! I’m not speaking of love (though the feeling is remarkably similar). No, I am talking about the complex and wonderful pairing of coffee and chocolate. Those of you who have experimented with such delicious decadence surely know what I am talking about. Your whole pallet comes alive, as nuances explode and recede in a dance of flavors. For those of you that haven’t enjoyed a nibble of chocolate followed by a sip of coffee, oh are you ever in for a treat! Very much in love, we decided to move in together right away. Our Roastmaster Jacob Long was tasked with the deliciously difficult challenge of tasting Alter Eco’s many chocolates, and combining them with our coffees to find the perfect pair.

    After many rounds of tasting countless coffee/chocolate combinations, we all agreed on one pair that was truly a world-melting flavor experience:


    Our Fair trade Organic Mocha Java Coffee and Alter Eco’s Chocolate truffles. Oh yes!

    perfect pair

    The creamy smooth chocolate truffles blend seamlessly with the complex flavors of our beloved Mocha Java blend. Try this: take a bite of a chocolate truffle and let it melt away on your tongue. Just before the last bit of truffle melts away, take a healthy sip of the Mocha Java and loose yourself in the exquisite moment when these flavors combine. Then take a long, deep breath, and reflect on how excellent life is in this moment.


    We are thrilled to share our love with you and we hope you share this perfect pair with someone you love, too.





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    The Perfect Pair

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  • The Life of Dian Fossey

    The Life of Dian Fossey

    January 16 is Dian Fossey’s birthday, and we’re taking a moment to recognize a truly spectacular woman. Take a moment to learn more about Dian Fossey’s life through the interactive experience on the Gorilla Fund website.



    Dr. Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke™ Research Center in Rwanda’s Virungas Mountains in 1967, to protect and study the endangered mountain gorillas. Although Fossey’s life was cut short, her work has continued through the Karisoke Research Center and grown into conservation efforts for other wildlife and programs for people who live near the gorillas.


    Dian Fossey

    Among the most legendary scientists of our time, Dian Fossey went to Africa at the urging of famed anthropologist Louis Leakey and began her groundbreaking studies of gorilla behavior. She faced and overcame many obstacles and ultimately gave her life to gorilla protection.

    READ MORE

    Thanksgiving Coffee has partnered with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund for over a decade, supporting their programs in Rwanda to save the mountain gorillas. Learn more about our partnership, and purchase Gorilla Fund Coffee from Rwanda on the Thanksgiving Coffee store.


    Dian Fossey




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    The Life of Dian Fossey

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  • Shade Grown Coffee Trees

    Shade Grown Coffee Trees

    How are migratory birds and shade grown coffee trees linked?

    The coffee industry has an enormous impact on migratory birds: when they fly south in the cold months, these birds rely on the trees that shade coffee farms throughout the tropics. When coffee plantations clear cut land to grow coffee in direct sunlight, not only does the loss of forested lands contribute to climate change, but our precious migratory birds lose their winter homes.


    If we want to continue enjoying these birds, we have to preserve their winter habitat – and choosing to purchase only shade grown coffee is an integral part of that habitat preservation. Our SongBird Coffee is Fairtrade, and certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.


    Shade

    “In this picture of shade grown coffee we see the lower level, dark green coffee trees. On the second level there are banana trees and on the overstay third level, native trees. From the mottled bark I can see that the tree is Inga, a tree with nitrogen setting qualities in the root system. It shades the coffee trees from above while providing leaf litter to refresh the thin topsoil layer, while at the same time adding Nitrogen to the soil with its roots.


    This was taken on a trip to Jinotega, Nicaragua. Altitude is 5,000 feet"


    – Paul Katzeff





    bird friendly

    Shade Grown Coffee Trees

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  • For the Birds: Cedar Waxwing

    For the Birds: Cedar Waxwing

    January 5 is National Bird Day and to celebrate we are going to kick off a new monthly blog post – For the Birds – highlighting one of the 200 Neotropical migratory birds who rely on shade grown coffee during their winter migration. We will start off by getting to know the birds representing our Songbird Coffee lineup:


    Cedar Waxwing

    Songbird

    Songbird Coffee light roast from Guatemala

    The Cedar Waxwing is the perfect representative for our light roast Guatemalan coffee because the ripe cherry sweetness of the coffee reflects the fruity diet of these strikingly beautiful backyard favorites. As social birds, you can usually see them in large flocks around fruit trees such as juniper, cedar, and mulberry, passing berries from one bird to another before swallowing them whole. In fact, the Cedar Waxwing is the only bird in North American whose diet is comprised primarily of fruits and berries.

    cedar waxwing


    All of Thanksgiving’s organically certified coffees are shade grown, and a select few carry the Bird Friendly gold seal of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This certification ensures that tropical “agroforests” are preserved and migratory birds can find a healthy haven to eat and rest as they travel the hundreds of miles from your backyard to the coffee farms producing the beans you so enjoy every morning.


    We are thrilled to share our love with you and we hope you share this perfect pair with someone you love, too.


    Songbird

    You don’t need binoculars to find a coffee that protects forests, helps wildlife and supports the efforts of the American Birding Association; just look for the Songbird Coffee with the Cedar Waxwing on the front.



    american birding association

    For the Birds: Cedar Waxwing

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  • Peruvian Coffee: Latest Arrival

    Peruvian Coffee: Latest Arrival

    Every month, we feature a specific coffee that has just recently arrived at the Thanksgiving Coffee Roastery. The most recent green coffee arrival is our Organic Peruvian Coffee, and this batch is tasting spectacular. Order the freshest coffee we have, and snag yourself a bag of our 100% Peru!


    Light Roast • Organic • FairTrade • 12oz • $15.50

    Delicate honey-toned sweetness, juicy citric acidity, subtle chocolate notes, and hints of ripe papaya.


    Peruvian Coffee




    Category_From the Roastery

    Peruvian Coffee: Latest Arrival

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  • Your Favorite Coffees of 2016

    Your Favorite Coffees of 2016

    We drank a LOT of coffee this year. American adults drink an average of 382 million cups of coffee every day – multiply that by the 365 days of 2016, and we have a pretty caffeinated nation. As for the year 2016, there were a couple coffees that you (our customers) especially enjoyed this past year… let’s take a look at the top five!


    Top Selling (Favorite!) Coffees of 2016

    SongBird French Roast


    Full-bodied, smoky, and intense.


    Below: A shade-grown coffee farm in Guatemala, where some of the coffee beans from this blend were grown.


    Shade grown coffee


    Noyo Harbor French


    Fudgy chocolate notes, toasty hints of caramelized pecan, and a lightly smokey, brown sugar sweetness in the finish.


    Below: A coffee farmer picking berries in Uganda, at the Mirembe Kawomera co-op.


    Noyo harbor


    Delicious Peace, Uganda – Dark Roast


    Fudgy chocolate notes, toasty hints of caramelized pecan, and a lightly smokey, brown sugar sweetness in the finish.


    Below: A coffee farmer picking berries in Uganda, at the Mirembe Kawomera co-op.


    Uganda Coffee


    Grey Whale Blend


    Just a touch of vanilla, added to a blend of two brilliant medium roasts.


    Below: The Grey Whale coffee package label


    Grey Whale blend


    Mendocino Vienna


    A bold, sweet blend with hints of nuts, chocolate, and caramel.


    Below: A shot of downtown Mendocino, featuring the old masonic temple.


    Mendocino Vienna roast


    Selecting Your Coffee


    We can’t help but notice that FOUR of the top five coffees on our website this year are dark roasts. Do you know how you should be selecting your coffee roast? We have a handy page on our website that teaches you a little bit more about the flavor profiles you’re drawn to…


    Selecting Coffee Roast

    Cheers!




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    Your Favorite Coffees of 2016

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  • My Laos Experience: Part I

    An American Family Grows Coffee

    How poor quality coffee becomes great: the time it takes

    Back in 2004 I received a call from Lee Thorn, the president of the San Francisco chapter of Veterans for Peace (VPAT). Lee was a Vietnam veteran who dropped bombs on Laos and destroyed the lives and villages of innocent civilians - and forty years later he was still feeling guilty for having done so.



    He said that VPAT was an organization that wanted to make amends to the Laotian people, and asked if I would help him and his group do so. He explained that while on a return visit to the Highlands of Laos he had seen the farmers growing coffee. His idea was to import their coffee to the states, have Thanksgiving Coffee roast and package it in a branded package (Jhai Coffee) and then have his veterans group sell it to other VPAT chapters around the country.



    That was back in 2002, almost fifteen years ago!



    I was all for it if Lee could develop the sales. We began with a single container - which we imported without even tasting it for quality. The price we paid was fully 50% higher than the world market price and that extra amount went to the farmers as a bonus for selling to us instead of their long-standing Japanese buyers. Even though the farmers were happy to get the bonus, they feared losing their long-standing buyers that didn't care about quality.



    Coffee Farms in Laos

    Coffee was planted in Laos by the French. They had colonized the country in the early part of the twentieth century. That part of the world was eventually known as “French Indo China” and included Vietnam and Cambodia. The French knew their coffee varieties and carefully selected the Typica variety as most suitable for the Laos climate and soil conditions.



    Knowing this, I was certain that if the farmers picked fully ripe cherries and processed the pulp and seeds properly, we could get some really great coffee. We could also become the first coffee roasters in the states to offer coffee from Laos. The story would be War Veterans Giving Back to Those They Harmed.



    Coffee from Laos

    Moving Forward with VPAT

    The first container arrived and the coffee was fair. The flavor was flat, acidity was low, sugars were not developed well and it was obvious the farmers needed greater supervision in their coffee farming practices. The coffee had hints of greatness and obvious potential. But it would take training in new systems for bringing the coffee to export grade.



    I decided to continue with the project although I was finding the coffee hard to sell. Lee had also over-estimated the sales potential of the other VPAT chapters. I believe this “adventure” cost Thanksgiving Coffee $50,000 in advertising, marketing, labels and brochures. By the end of that first year we had roasted the coffee into many French Roasts (irony) and had sold 50,000 Jhai Foundation Coffee Packages.



    Lee hired a “Development Director” to work in Laos with the farmers to improve their agricultural practices, to harvest only red ripe cherries and to reduce imperfections to 2%. The 2003 Crop was really sweet and filled with caramel and nutty flavor tones, and I was happy!



    That year my son Jonah was living in Cambodia. I asked him to make a visit to the Jhai Farmers to reinforce our commitment to the program and to the Jhai Farmers Cooperative. There he met Will Thomlinson, the VPAT Development Director that Lee had hired. Together they mapped out a plan for Thanksgiving Coffee to purchase two Containers (75,000 pounds) in the following year.



    Now, with really good coffee that I knew could only get better, new and better harvesting practices, and a guarantee of sale, I and The VPAT members went into full sales and marketing mode. We sold a lot of Jhai Coffee packages. We raised a lot of money for the Laos coffee farmers. The money was given to VPAT and they transferred the money to Laos. I was more interested in the coffee side and building a new market for Laos coffee in the USA. My plan was to bring in great amounts of raw coffee as it became available over the years and to resell the coffee to other artisan roasters. It all seemed to be falling into place.



    The following year, in 2005, Mr Thomlinson went rogue, selling our contracted coffee from that years crop to a Japanese company.



    The project died.



    The VPAT members dispersed and we at Thanksgiving Coffee got stuck holding 20,000 empty Jhai Foundation packages, 50,000 brochures, and egg on our face.



    We moved on, a bit wiser and a bit poorer for the effort.



    A Decade Later

    Fast forward to 2014. Ten years pass and I get a call from a young man who was living in Seattle but traveling to Laos. He was so in love with the Lao people and obsessed with the fact that the children had no books in their schools. He started a program with a local coffee roaster, and called it “Coffee for Books.” One book was donated for each pound of coffee sold.



    This young man wanted my advice and help to use Lao coffee beans for his project. He said he had met and made friends with coffee growers on the Bolivian Plain in Laos (The same region I had been dealing with a decade before) and was going back. Then asked if I would be his adviser, and implied that I would roast and package Lao coffee for his project, if he got the coffee exported to the USA.



    I thought of the song lyric: “once burned, twice shy babe” and told him I would think about it – and get back to him before he left for Laos.



    His name was Tyson Adams.



    Read My Laos Experience: Part II now…



    Category_Farmers & Cooperatives>Jhai Coffee

    My Laos Experience: Part I

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