Enjoying the Variance of Craft Coffee

05.23

One of my favorite things about great coffee, is that no two are the same. For many years I thought coffee always tasted like “coffee.” Now, as my girlfriend begins to enjoy coffee with me, she describes bad coffee as tasting like “coffee.” Which usually means she isn’t tasting the coffee at all, just the roast. However, there is a growing segment of the industry who focus on roast levels that accentuate the coffees terroir—the natural environment including soil, topography and climate that affect its unique flavors—instead of trying to replicate a uniform taste with dark roasts and blends.

When you visit coffee shops who brew these coffees, they often do so one cup at a time—ensuring a fresh cup is made just for you. Baristas use a vareity of manual methods that not only bring out the best in the coffee, but also create a bit of theater allowing you an opportunity to engage them with your curiosity. This also prevents you from getting a cup of overheated swill from a giant batch pot that you have no idea how long has been sitting there.

This approach to coffee has been called many things, most commonly the “Third Wave.” But a new company called Craft Coffee, has taken a step towards defining it for consumers in a more understandable way. This start-up has developed a subscription based model that brings an evolving array of artisan coffees—that are craft roasted in small batches—right to your door each month. This allows connoisseurs a chance to indulge in a variety of great coffees, while giving beginners a fantastic way to explore and discover new coffees and roasters. It’s a win for everyone.

The Craft Coffee box comes with three 4oz bags, giving you enough for 6-8 cups of each coffee. Every bag is marked with information about the roaster, producer, origin, varietal, elevation, process and tasting notes. An extra notecard elaborates a bit more on each coffee giving you more insight into where it came from and why it was chosen.

Colombian coffee crops have been devastated by unrelenting weather and punishing floods. Which makes this coffee, a Caturra varietal, grown by Didier Reinoso on a small farm in the mountains of Las Mercedes, Herrera—where he also grows avocados, plantains, yucas and herbs—all the more exceptional.

The first box included the following coffees:

Gimme! Coffee: Caranavi Bolivia
MadCap Coffee Company: Las Mercedes, Colombia
Coava Coffee Roasters: Chalalacktu, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe

I would personally recommend any of these roasters, so it was a treat to have all three in one box. It made for a fantastic weekend of coffee tasting. This format allows a great opportunity for boxes to be specially curated, or even present the same coffee roasted by different roasters, creating new experiences and encouraging new exploration in coffee.

One thing I found curiously absent from the package where roast dates on the coffee. I know Mike & Mike, and spent time with them a week prior to their first shipment. They are both detail oriented and grasp the value of such a detail, so I can only assume they forgot or are still working out the logistics. Every bag is hand packed with love, so I can understand if certain steps may not have found their way into the system yet.

Overall, Craft Coffee is an affordable luxury that combines elements of surprise with culinary excellence and better understanding of the beverage we all love.

Get on next month’s list at CraftCoffee.com


Enjoy some photos from behind the scenes courtesy of Mike White.


 

 

posted by on 05.23.2011, under Misc., Products, Recommended Roasters

Brew a better world with Project 7

10.06

Project 7 changed the way people perceive bottled water and the impact is can on lives around the world. Now they are hoping to do the same with coffee. The company realized mass consumption isn’t going away, so they’ve embraced it, and turned it into an engine for good. They are a for-profit company who use their profits to fund charities around the world. Project 7 continues to use great design and marketing to further their mission, while also giving the consumer the power to choose which cause they support. They focus on seven areas of need:

  • Quench – provides a year of clean water for a person in need
  • Heal – provides medicine for a person suffering from malaria
  • Hope – provides a day of counseling for a child of war
  • House – provides food, education & healthcare for a day for an orphan
  • Feed – provides 7 meals for the hungry in the United States
  • Teach – provides schooling for a week for a child in Africa
  • Save – plants 10 fruit bearing trees

Each product is named after a respective cause, so you choose which one you support with your product selection. The coffee is only offered through a subscription program, but you can start with just 3 months. You can allow for a new coffee (and cause) to be sent each month or you can select a specific blend yourself. The coffee is all organic and Fair Trade certified, and they mention buying direct when possible.

The video, illustrated by Darren Dunham, fits well in the Project 7 vernacular, but also distinguishes itself as something new. From the beginning, Project 7 knew that design would be a valuable component of success and invested early. It’s paid off. There are many coffee companies who donate to many causes, but Project 7 has an established brand and a successful model in place that’s driven by a well communicated story. Their new video is engaging, informative, and well executed. I’m excited about their new venture and look forward to trying the coffee.

They are currently offering the first month free. Enter “CATALYST” when checking out.

More on P7 Coffee and Project 7

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posted by on 10.06.2010, under Design, Misc., Products, Recommended Roasters, Videos