Six Months of Coffee

08.08

I planned on saving up a years worth of coffee bags, but when I recently packed up to move abroad, I choose not to save them any longer. So here is roughly six months of coffee consumed at the DCILY headquarters—minus a few bags I gave to friends.

View the high-res on Flickr

posted by on 08.08.2011, under Recommended Roasters

Clive Coffee Embraces Design & DCILY

06.27

I’d like you all to meet the newest supporter of DCILY—Clive Coffee. The first time I came across their website a year ago, I thought, “they’re doing everything I would do, if I were doing what they’re doing.” Clive Coffee is a number of things, and I love who they are because they’ve put design at the forefront of all of them.

Clive’s purpose is simple, to help you enjoy great coffee at home. They do this by selling a great selection of the top coffee and espresso brewing equipment for your home, leading classes that teach you how to use your new gear, and micro-roasting a nice range of single origin coffees. From the design of their website, to their gallery-esque showroom, to the beauty of their original products, they consider every detail.

I first wrote about Clive at the beginning of the year, after they launched their beautiful pour-over stand, but I didn’t take much time to talk much about the other great things they do, so I’m happy to finally share more of those things with you.

Aside from selling coffee gear, many people don’t realize that Clive is also a craft-focused coffee roaster. They sell individual 12oz bags, or you can create a reoccurring subscription with any of the coffees they offer mailed to your home or office. They sent me a sample pack of some coffee and I enjoyed a nice weekend cupping with my girlfriend, which led to a few fun tasting notes like “sun,” “marzipan,” “red,” “milk duds,” and “tar” (neither of us are very partial to Indonesians).

You will also find a lot of great information on the Clive Coffee website, including brewing tutorials, coffee 101, and a list of coffee definitions to help beginners or anyone else brush up on their knowledge. They have a palpable passion for coffee and design that comes across while talking with them and looking around their website. While I haven’t had the chance to visit their showroom in person, checking out their new space on a future trip to Portland is at the top of my to-do list.

For a limited time, save $10 on your first order from Clive, use code: TAKETEN

Visit Clive Coffee

posted by on 06.27.2011, under Design, Misc., Recommended Roasters

Review – Verve Ethiopian Worka

06.14

Verve Coffee – Ethiopia Worka, Dry-Process
12oz Whole Bean – $14.50
Santa Cruz, California
www.vervecoffeeroasters.com

I’ve known about Verve for a while, but I hadn’t actually tried their coffee until recently. I had been completely enamored with their packaging, so I’m not sure what took so long for me to order some. Recently, I met Josh Kaplan, director of wholesale for Verve, while I was in Houston and had planned a visit to Sweetleaf the following week in NYC—who brews Verve. So everything fell in place for me to finally experience their coffee.

After a great experience at Sweetleaf, where Rich served up my first cup of Verve, he sent me on my way with a bag of Ethiopian Worka. However, I wasn’t able to brew it until meeting up with Mike White a few days later. By then, the beans were slightly passed peak freshness—and though it was good, I felt like I missed out on what it really had to offer. After getting home, I ordered a bag of their Ethiopian Lomi Peaberry—and after a series of shipping mishaps—really enjoyed this sweet and effervescent coffee.

But after all the shipping issues, which weren’t the fault of Verve, they made up for it anyway by sending me a fresh bag of Ethiopian Worka and my very own OG mug. I now had a second chance to taste this coffee in its prime and it didn’t disappoint.

Aroma: After opening the bag, I was blown away with dueling characteristics of Booberry and Count Chocula cereals. Dry and malty, but incredibly sweet with vanilla undertones. Once brewed, the cold cereal aroma became a warm buttered blueberry waffle. L’eggo my Eggo, this cup was all mine.

Taste: When the coffee fills your mouth, you discover dabs of sweet maple syrup that have burrowed into the bluberry waffle’s grid-like caverns. The syrupy body coats your mouth like a spoon of Mrs. Buttersworth’s, followed by a finish that is clean and bright—like a final swig of orange garnished spring water as you leave the table after Sunday morning brunch. Heavy and sweet, but well balanced.

This coffee is really exceptional, one of my favorites in recent months. I have no idea why it took so long to try Verve, but I’m glad that I have and I’m looking forward to more of their coffee in the future. Everyone I’ve spoken with at the company has been really awesome and I’ve found out first hand, just how much they value customer service.

It’s also very clear—once you’ve held a bag of their coffee in your hand—how great of an understanding and appreciation they have for design. There are few, if any, coffee bags that could rival the intricacy and production value of theirs. It feels nice in your hand and looks great on your counter. The best part is, the complexity and quality of the package reflects that of the product inside.

Order some Verve Ethiopia Worka

Design by Chen Design Associates

posted by on 06.14.2011, under Coffee Reviews, Design, Recommended Roasters

Meet GoCoffeeGo and Win $40 in Coffee

05.31

I’d like to introduce you to a new partner who joins Presso, in supporting all that goes on here at Dear Coffee, I Love You. Meet GoCoffeeGo, a company whose quirky Mod-themed website allows you to browse and order coffee from a growing, but carefully vetted list of great coffee roasters—all in one place. Once you’ve placed an order, it’s routed to the roaster who fulfills it with fresh roasted coffee shipped to your door.

So why not order directly from the roaster? If you already have a great relationship and unshakeable loyalty to a specific roaster, then by all means order directly from them. I definitely have my favorite roasters (a number of them sell through GoCoffeeGo), but I also love discovering new roasters and experiencing what else is out there.

GoCoffeeGo provides the opportunity to find quality roasters you may not have heard of, while also allowing you to schedule weekly shipments of coffee from the ones you already love. My favorite thing about the site is their Auto-Ship tool, which functions like a “Netflix queue” for your coffee. You can add all the coffees you’re interested in trying, from as many roasters as you like, and schedule how often you want them shipped to you. You can rearrange and edit your queue as you like, and if a roaster happens to sell out of a particular coffee, you’ll be notified and your queue adjusts itself accordingly.

I first discovered one of my favorite roasters, PTs Coffee, through GoCoffeeGo and I continue to enjoy the convenience it creates while exploring new roasters. It’s not the only place I order coffee from, but depending on your personal routine, the coffee and espresso beans from GoCoffeeGo may be all you’ll ever need—so check them out.

 


To launch this partnership right, we’re giving away a $40 Gift Card to GoCoffeeGo, along with a DCILY mug for the lucky winner to enjoy their coffee from. Here’s all you need to do to enter:

1. Visit GoCoffeeGo and browse all the great coffee they offer.
2. Come back here and leave a comment sharing the first two coffees you would order—roaster & coffee name.
3. Sunday night (June 5th) I will randomly pick one person from all the entries and announce the winner on Monday.

Easy right? Tweeting and sharing on Facebook won’t get you more entries, but it will give you good karma points. So start browsing, sharing and shopping and you may be treated to a pretty awesome reward next week.

 

 

 

posted by on 05.31.2011, under Misc., Products

Don’tcha Wanna Visit Kohana

03.25

While I was in Austin, Texas a few weeks ago for the North American Hand Built Bike Show, I made a coffee detour to visit Piper Jones at the Kohana Coffee roasting facility. Until this visit, I’d never had Kohana coffee, but was familiar with both PiperJo and Kohana on Twitter. So when Piper invited me to stop by, I was excited to meet her and learn more about the company.

Kohana is just four years old and Piper has been there for 3 of them—roasting for the last two. When I showed up, I thought I’d have a quick look around and taste some coffee, but Piper had other plans. While she let a press pot of their signature Hawaiian Prime brew, she got me started on roasting a new batch of Organic Ethiopian Sidamo. I combed through the green beans looking for any defective ones while the roaster pre-heated and Piper explained the process to a couple friends I brought with me.

Kohana got its start specializing in Hawaiian coffee and have built great relationships with farmers there, but they also offer coffee from other origins now. Piper is exceptionally passionate about what she does, she “gets it” in terms of how coffee should be treated, but like many roasters she has to balance the realities of business and principles—meaning dark roasts, blends, and other things the purist in me shudders at. There is a lot of potential in Austin and I know Piper isn’t slowing down. They recently launched a cold brew coffee that made appearances during SXSW and I’m sure it’ll be in high demand during the hot Texas summer.

Kohana doesn’t have a coffee shop of their own, but they have wholesale accounts around Austin and are also stocked at the Whole Foods there. It was great to break up a weekend full of bike love with some coffee love and finally meet Piper in person. The visit was fun, the coffee was delicious and I’m looking forward to seeing how Kohana grows.

Check out Kohana Coffee

posted by on 03.25.2011, under Coffee Touring, Recommended Roasters

Best Coffee in Stockholm (Pt 1): Drop Coffee

02.02

Stockholm is the capital and largest city in Sweden, it also has the largest coffee scene. Of all the cities I’ve been to in Scandinavia, only Oslo rivals Stockholm for the number of quality coffee shops. However, most of them serve coffee from just a few of the same roasters. One of the newest roasters in town, Drop Coffee, currently only roasts enough to meet the demand of their shop at Mariatorget in Södermalm.

The space doesn’t look huge when you first enter, but it stretches back past the roaster to provide extra seating in a cozy alcove. I was fortunate to meet both owners—Oskar and Erik—during my visit, who were more than happy to talk about their love of coffee, their roaster, as well as the inspiration they draw from US companies like Stumptown. They’ve been roasting on their own for less than a year, but they’ve already begun building relationships with farmers and believe in paying fair prices for quality coffee.

I sampled a cup of the Brasil Villa Borghesi Daterra as well as a Kenya Ruthagati, which were both keenly brewed on the pour-over bar. While the newest barista, hailing from Tim Wendelboe’s in Oslo, served up a shot of their Winter Espresso that was soft, smooth, and packed with peaches & cream. As I was leaving, Oskar sent me on my way with a bag of Honduras Montana Verde that I’ve been enjoying all this week.

Drop is temporarily roasting on a 1kilo electric Giesen while their gas lines are properly installed, but it hasn’t prevented them from offering a quality product. I can’t wait to see how much things improve once they’ve got a more consistent energy supply.

Check out a video of Drop Coffee in action on SVT Rapport.

Drop Coffee – Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 10


View DCILY’s Best Coffee in Stockholm in a larger map

posted by on 02.02.2011, under Coffee Touring, Recommended Roasters

Review – One Village Coffee

12.03

One Village Coffee
Souderton, PA
www.onevillagecoffee.com

I first discovered One Village Coffee in late June and posted about their fantastic new packaging, but I hadn’t be able to try their coffee because of my travel schedule. The guys from One Village finally caught up with me and sent a spread of their coffees to sample.

One Village Coffee (OVC) is a Certified B Corporation, which means they’ve been certified to not only consider monetary stakeholders, but also societal stakeholders (eg. communities, environment, and employees). This is a fairly new distinction, but an honorable step to take for any business. The coffee is sourced through direct relationships with farmers and OVC is actively involved with community projects at origin in Nigeria and Honduras. Great company, great design, now let’s get to the coffee!


Organic Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
Light Roast

Aroma: Very herbal while presenting itself with a brisk and cool aura, a burst of sweet mint with chocolate undertones and a hint of cinnamon toast create an invigorating first impression.

Taste: The cup is mellow and full with very little brightness. The herbal minty aromas have transformed into into an earthy basil. Smooth, but with a dry mouthfeel more reminiscent of Indonesians that hint of leather and tobacco. The finish lands with a peppery kick that lingers on the tongue as a surprising, but pleasant conclusion.

Overall, this Ethiopian really shined. Although it’s different than others I’ve had in the past, I enjoyed the unique characteristics of it. I may be a purist, but when I was introduced to single origin coffee, my love for coffee truly began. I appreciate and enjoy the integrity of a bean’s natural flavor more than the attempts to craft a specific taste. It’s like playing with nature. Blends are the GMOs of the coffee world.


Artist Blend
Medium Dark Roast

Aroma: Caramel and deceptively sweet hints of vanilla bean roll out of the cup through a forest of old growth wood ravaged by a california wild fire.

Taste: The sweet but tart characteristics of Lemonhead candies are sadly muted by the smokey taste of an old campfire blanket. The carbon fog lifts towards the finish, ending on a brighter note, reminding you of what could have been.

While I wouldn’t buy the Artist Blend myself, I’m aware that some people really enjoy the smokiness of darker coffees. But the slight glimmering beans and the hollow use of “Bold” as a descriptor on the bag, evokes Starbucks Pike Place. I can tell there are some underlying flavors that would really shine in a lighter roast.


Nordico Espresso
Medium Roast

Aroma: Sweet and seductive, full of brown sugar scents and notes of mixed nuts. All of the goodies you’d put in a bowl of oatmeal, compacted into a 2oz shot.

Taste: Very smooth with a subtle and approachable brightness. The essence of almond and chocolate are most prominent with a touch of apricot. A well-rounded espresso for beginners with a finish that lingers comfortably after the goods are gone.

I’ve been drinking a lot of single origin shots recently, which tend to be very bright and acidic. I enjoy it, but it’s definitely too intense for many people, especially those drinking shots for their first time. OVC’s Nordico Espresso is really smooth and balanced, a nice way to introduce someone to espresso without completely shocking their senses.

Check out more at One Village Coffee

posted by on 12.03.2010, under Coffee Reviews, Recommended Roasters

One Village, one beautiful bag

07.01

Able recently sent me photos of the new packaging they worked on for One Village Coffee. While I plan on tasting this coffee as soon as I settle down from my summer travels (the reason for a lack of recent updates), I couldn’t wait to post their beautiful coffee bags. They’ve already made the rounds on The Dieline, Lovely Package, and even Swiss Miss (a huge honor) and all for good reason.

The colors work great together and set a much more welcoming tone than the dark earthy colors normally used by coffee companies. The information draws you in to really engage and educate the customer about the company. The hand drawings carry over well into the website—although a little overwhelming at times—it maintains enough hierarchy to easily navigate through all the information on the site. Can’t wait to taste what’s inside!

Our hope is that the bag provides multiple touch points for customers who want to learn more about the company and get more involved. We are currently working on manifesting the “village” experience online, on university campuses, in grocery stores, and farmer’s markets. –via Lovely Package

One Village Coffee designed by Able

posted by on 07.01.2010, under Design, Recommended Roasters

Liga Masiva

04.07



In light of my comments yesterday, regarding coffee companies who work to improve the lives of farmers, I wanted to share one who is doing just that—connecting farmers with the consumers of their product. These relationships help educate the farmers and the consumer on many levels as well as help build a new sense of appreciation for the whole coffee system.

Last week I met with Emily Kerr of Liga Masiva and was extremely inspired by her heart for the Dominican Republic and the farmers who live there. While holding down a day job, she has successfully built and continued to grow Liga Masiva. Emily’s relationships with the farmers are as sincere as family and the passion expelled when she talks about her work is contagious.

While Liga Masiva is sold and brewed mainly in Dominican populated cafe’s in Washington Heights (NYC) as a way to connect customers with their DR roots, they have also begun reaching people though online sales, including a coffee subscription club. My favorite part, is the subscribers get postage-paid postcards each month to send messages directly to the farmers. Such an awesome way to show the coffee producers your appreciation and remind yourself of the families you are supporting.

check out Liga Masiva

posted by on 04.07.2010, under Misc., Products, Recommended Roasters

An open letter to Red Diamond

01.15

Dear Red Diamond,

This was meant to be a review, but I found your coffee unreviewable. I chose to reframe my efforts as an open letter to your company instead, which claims to be one of the three oldest coffee companies in the US. If this is true, I must know, how can you be so terrible at what you do?

Maybe you’ve grown content over all these years and swept aside all concerns of quality and reputation. Maybe you built your company on unbreakable contracts with diners, drive-ins and dives that continue to generate revenue, despite the poor quality of your product. Or maybe in light of the current economic conditions, you’ve cut back on expenses by collecting your beans from the remnants strewn among the putrid floors of international shipping warehouses. I could speculate all day.

The size and shape of your 100% Arabica beans can’t even maintain the illusion of consistency and their leather brown skins are speckled with leprosy. I should have known that paying the price of a medium coffee for an entire 12oz bag of beans would yield mediocre results; but I never imagined coffee could leave the same taste in my mouth as the morning after vomit from a night of heavy drinking.

I will however give you credit for infusing your roast with an aroma that could convince a child they had a mug of Swiss Miss hot cocoa in front of them. The sweet smell of caramel coated s’mores is endearing—enticing even—but as soon as said child takes his first unsuspecting gulp of nostalgic winter comfort, he’d be kicked in the mouth with a carbon footprint flavored beverage unworthy of the shadiest gas stations.

While you offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee of your product, for $2.99, it’s not worth the check you’d print my refund on. The only thing that would satisfy me is never having to taste your coffee again. I also exhort you to remove the distinction of “the south’s finest” from your bags; this title belongs to one of the other fine Birmingham based coffee roasters.

Thank you for ensuring that I truly appreciate every cup of coffee I have after yours.

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posted by on 01.15.2010, under Coffee Reviews, Recommended Roasters