Espresso Options: Single Origins & Blends

Basic Barista Certification espresso options from stockton grahamEspresso, the product of a preparation process that evolved in Italy over the first half of the 20th century, has experienced tremendous change over the past 100 or so years: from the dark, almost burnt taste of the original espresso, to the lighter touch of café crema in the 1950s and back around to dark, smoky Ye Olde World Italian style made popular in the 1990s.

As a result, it’s not unusual to find many different opinions on espresso and espresso options. You’ll find, for instance, that those who were introduced to it in the 1990s prefer espressos that are dark, deep and bold similar to the traditional Italian style beverage. While today’s younger, mostly urban consumers include brighter single origins with cleaner bodies among their favorites.

What’s Espresso Anyway?

Stockton Graham & Co.’s customers know that espresso is not a type of bean or a roast level, but rather a method of preparing coffee. In essence, espresso is created by forcing hot water under extreme pressure through ground coffee to extract the heart of the coffee’s flavor. To help develop standards, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) defines the beverage as “a 25-35 millilitre beverage prepared from 7-9 grams of coffee through which clean water heated to 195-205 degrees is passed through for 20-30 seconds.”

With that said, virtually any roasted coffee can be prepared as an espresso; although certain varietals, blends and roast levels achieve better results. And the coffee you use as your house espresso will depend to a great extent on your brand, your store concept and your customers’ tastes.

Stockton Graham Coffees Espresso optionsHere at Stockton Graham & Co., we understand that up to 40% of the profits you make at your store will come from milk-based espresso options like lattes, cappuccinos and frappes. And after roasting coffee for over 20 years, we know that no two business owners are alike in their espresso preferences. While some prefer the sweet, bright notes of a Latin America coffee others gravitate to rich, thick-bodied blends of Indonesian varietals.

What’s more, if your store tends to sell more milk-based espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, you’ll want to consider a coffee that is designed to maintain its flavor in large amounts of milk. However, if your customers tend to prefer single shots, then we would recommend a different coffee for your house espresso.

And, of course, if your store is organic, you’ll also want a coffee that is organic certified like our Organic Fair Trade Guatemala San Juan Utapa, our Organic Mexico Chiapas or our Organic Sumatra Mandheling Triple Picked.

That’s why we offer a broad range of espresso options from sustainable single origins to custom blends. Here are just a few of our more popular offerings:

Single-Origin Espresso

Papua New Guinea: This single origin espresso presents upfront flavors of dried plums and apricots, balanced by a syrupy body with a sweet and tangy finish. Papua New Guinea or PNG, as we call it, can be quite versatile allowing for a variety uses.  At a shorter volume this makes for a distinct fruit forward espresso shot, while longer pulls balance the fruity nature with a milk chocolate sweetness to complement in-house cappuccinos and lattes. We recommend you use 18-21 grams of coffee for each 1.5 – 2 ounce extracted shot.

Seda Dulce: A single origin espresso option that utilizes two roast levels of the same Brazilian varietal. Created with the straight shot aficionado in mind, this espresso produces a quick burst of honeyed acidity followed by layers of sweet milk chocolate that give way to a buttery smooth finish. We recommend that you use 18 grams of coffee for each 1 – 1.5 ounce extracted shot.

Espresso Blends

Midnight Lotus: Our flagship espresso. Proven to complement a wide variety of milk based drinks while pleasing even the most discerning straight shot fanatics. This blend balances dried cocoa and fruity tanginess with a creamy body that has been the foundation of many a successful coffee bar. Its versatility is unmatched. We recommend 17 – 19 grams of coffee for each 1.5 – 2.5 ounce extracted shot.

Milano Blend: This is our take on the classic Italian style of espresso. Bittersweet gourmet chocolate finishes with hints of smoke and cedar. It is a smooth and complex blend with plenty of flavor to cut through even the largest to-go milk beverages. We recommend 18 grams of coffee for each 2 – 2.5 ounce extracted shot.

Organic San Remo Blend: An organic option that features ample crema loaded with caramel sweetness and rich dark chocolate flavors are balanced against a creamy smooth body. This coffee performs well in all sizes of milk-based drinks, as well as alone in a demitasse. Tasters comment that this espresso’s sweet and rich flavors linger with layers of sweetness long after the last sip. We recommend 17 grams of coffee for each 1.75 – 2.25 ounce extracted shot.

Your Own Blend

Our roastmaster Brandon Riggs and our sales representatives spend a great deal of time with new and current customers alike to understand your taste preferences and business needs so we can recommend espresso options that best suit your needs.

Cappuccino Latte Art espresso optionsFor most customers, one or two of our coffees will fit the bill. But there are times when a one-of-a-kind house espresso is more appropriate, and we work with customers to meet those unique needs. This often involves several meetings at our Raleigh, NC coffee roasting facility where you can taste multiple coffees prepared using various methods. We also travel to your business location to learn more about your equipment, level of barista training and customer base. This gives us the insight we need to create the best custom espresso option for you.

Of course, when our roastmaster develops a new espresso, he evaluates taste and flavor in accordance with standards developed by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), The World Barista Championship (WBC) and The United States Barista Championship (USBC). These standards focus primarily on roast level, brewing procedure and flavor profile; for best results, we strongly encourage our customers to employ these methods of evaluation and brewing in your own store.

To discuss your store’s espresso options, call a Stockton Graham & Co. sales representative at 800 835 5943.

 

 

 

Stockton Graham & Co. Re-Launches Barista Certification

Basic Barista CertificationSome operators believe the only specialized training that a barista needs is how to operate an espresso machine. But think about it: Is proper operation of an oven the only specialized training a baker needs? Of course not. Excellent baristas, like excellent bakers, need to know the fundamentals of the ingredients they work with, how to measure and combine ingredients, as well as preparation and serving techniques for an optimal product.

To help operators provide the training their baristas need to deliver consistently superior beverages and great customer service, Stockton Graham & Co. recently updated our Barista Certification Program. The three-day course conducted at our Raleigh, NC facility focuses on espresso education and preparation of espresso-based beverages.

2015_Final_Coffee and Espresso BasicsThe course begins with Coffee College 101. Certified baristas are trained in the history of coffee, coffee processing and taste characteristics. They learn Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) standards for espresso extraction and milk texturizing, as well as best practices for drip or airpot coffee.

Lead by our roastmaster Brandon Riggs and our SCAA-certified barista Alex Jeans, the Barista Certification Program includes classroom training, interactive presentations, film, hands-on training, written tests and practical performance evaluations. Just like in the SCAA barista training programs, participants are required to demonstrate proficiency in pulling a perfect espresso shot and preparing several espresso-based drinks for a panel of judges.

As part of the program, our head roaster Brad Kirby and business development teammate Brady Butler run a session on equipment cleaning and maintenance. Both are factory-trained equipment technicians for makers like Nuova Simonelli, La Marzocco, Franke, Astoria, Rancillo, Fetco and Bunnomatic. Brady also serves as Chair of the Brewing Pathway Committee for the SCAA.

2015_Basic Certification Study Guide_071515-1Our Director of Business Development for the Northeast Region, Debra Dolan, provides one-on-one consultations on menu planning, customer service and maintaining quality standards. The goal is to ensure that Certified Baristas are fully equipped to deliver an enhanced coffee experience to customers.

“Barista certification is important because it instills a solid basis of coffee knowledge in trainees as well as confidence,” said instructor Alex Jeans. “Certified baristas should leave confident that they are competent to tackle any beverage that comes across their bar. This confidence will in turn lead to consistently great drinks and customer service.”

First District Barista Training

Michah Behan of First District Coffee practices texturizing milk at Stockton Graham & Co. Basic Barista Training in Raleigh.

First District Coffee Co. Completes Barista Certification

Micah and Elizabeth Behan, owners and operators of First District Coffee Co., were the first students to participate in our updated Barista Certification Program in July. First District, located in Fairview, Tennessee, is located in a renovated building that used to be a Farm Depot. Scheduled to open in the Fall of 2015, the Behans plan to serve espresso, tea, sandwiches, pastries and other light snacks. The building will also include a full catering kitchen and can be rented for group events such as wedding receptions or birthday parties.

The Behan’s two teenage children, Adonijah and Teagen, were also certified, as they will be working behind the coffee bar as business takes off.

Elizabeth Behan said that the entire family enjoyed the certification program. “There was lots of good info,” she said.

“The team was fully engaged, and we felt well educated and supported,” said Elizabeth Behan. ”We really feel much more prepared for where we are headed as a business.”

Barista Certification Training at Stockton Graham & Co.

Our resident barista Alex Jeans teaches Basic Barista Certification course participant Adonijah Behan about preparing espresso.

Skill, Practice and Understanding

Barista training is about skill, practice and understanding of preparation techniques. But it is also important for a barista to be conversant in the origins and processing of coffee. That’s because part of the barista’s job is educating customers on the differences between high-quality, craft-roasted coffee and mass-market quality coffee and helping them become smart consumers of quality coffee.

“The journey that the bean takes from seed to cup—that is, where the coffee grows, how the seed is removed from the fruit, how the coffee is roasted and how it is prepared—makes a profound difference in overall quality,” said instructor Brandon Riggs. “A really good barista will have the knowledge to translate the hard work that everyone else in the value chain contributes to an enjoyable and high-quality cup.”

Stockton Graham & Co. offers a range of training courses in addition to Barista Certification. Our Coffee & Espresso Basics, or Coffee College 101 is a fundamental course designed for any coffee business operator or team member. Brewing Fundamentals is our foundational class for coffee brewing and extraction. We also offer specialized courses on equipment cleaning and maintenance, as well as blending and cupping coffee.

For more information on our training courses, contact a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943.

 

March 2014 Marks 12 Years For Roastmaster and Green Coffee Buyer, Brandon Riggs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis month we celebrate the 12th anniversary of one of our key associates, Brandon Riggs. As our green buyer, roast master and director of operations, Brandon is an instrumental contributor to the success of both Stockton Graham & Co. and our customers. It is an honor and pleasure for me to be able to celebrate this milestone for all of us. Not only have his contributions been critical to our success, but he has become a personal friend. His skills, ideas and consul have helped me through the many cycles of business and life’s challenges and joys.

Like at any company, a lot can happen over the years, and we are proud to say a monumental step towards our success began the day that Brandon joined the team. Due to the fact that Brandon plays such an iconic role here, we wanted to take this opportunity to share Brandon’s journey, so you too can grasp the incredible milestone that he has reached!

Brandon’s story began in Kansas City, MO in 1999. As a young product out of the University of Kansas, he accepted a summer job at The Roasterie, a local, independent coffee roasting company. At that time, Brandon was not a coffee drinker and only had the intention of working in the coffee industry temporarily. After working there for a short time, an opportunity arose that allowed Brandon to serve as the assistant to the roastmaster at The Roasterie, and his career in coffee began. Brandon was taught everything from roasting to cupping to green coffee buying by one of the industry’s most skilled experts. With this experience, he not only quickly learned the skill of roasting high quality coffee, but also developed a deep passion for it.

In 2002, Brandon wanted to stay in the coffee industry but be closer to the coast, so he joined our team of coffee professionals. The past 12 years has been a time of growth and transformation for the specialty coffee industry and Stockton Graham & Co. Brandon has helped us hone our sourcing and roasting skills, while modernizing our production and equipment to meet the increased needs of our customers and the varieties of coffees we produced. Brandon has not only been instrumental in our production, but in developing and disseminating coffee knowledge to our team, customers and industry. He and Thom Swain, SE Director of Business Development, developed and instructed our first coffee college modules and industry events, including the Southeast’s first Barista Jam in 2005, regional barista competitions and the Southeast Roasters’ Group. In this time, Brandon has had the pleasure of working with hundreds of clients to develop custom and house blends, develop and lead onsite training at SGC’s Coffee College and even host special events.

Brandon is continuing to educate others about coffee and brewing techniques. He has played a major role in developing our Barista Certification Program and many internal staff training programs. He has participated in SCAA Roaster Guild Origin trips to further producer knowledge about specialty coffee quality and how to help improve their techniques to achieve higher average selling prices for their harvests.

Brandon has built many close business and friendship relationships over the last 12 years, and here are a few words those who he has had the opportunity to work with have said about Brandon:

“I have enjoyed Brandon’s commitment to the highest quality coffee and determination to satisfy customer expectations. His creative nature can turn a stated taste profile into an actual great blend of coffee. All of this is done in pleasant and fun style, making business enjoyable and productive. “–Don Keen, Dilworth Coffee

“Brandon is more than just a talented roaster – he is great friend and respected ally! Inman Perk Coffee is literally built on his patient guidance and gifted taste. We’ve been proudly runnin’ on Riggs’ Roast since day one!” -Guy Ettinger, Inman Perk Coffee

“Brandon is a roastmaster extraordinaire! In 2006, while at the beginning stages of opening my coffee lounge in Maryland, he worked with me for an entire day to come up with the perfect organic blend. We tried a myriad of blends. It was like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, except it was coffee – not too strong, not too weak, and just right! My customers absolutely loved my coffee, and I was able to steal a significant amount of business from the local Starbucks. Although I have since closed my establishment, I can still count on Brandon to periodically roast up a few pounds of my More Than Coffee! Lounge house blend. Now, that’s customer service! Friends forever…congratulations! Luv ya….Michelle (aka Sybil)” – Michelle Wiggs, More Than Coffee

“I first met Brandon in Costa Rica on a buying trip when he was working for The Roasterie. I could see through Brandon’s quiet humbleness that he had quite a bit of coffee knowledge and a desire to learn more about coffee. I had no idea that a year later, he would be on our Stockton Graham & Co. team. It’s been over 12 years, and this short quote cannot express my admiration and appreciation for him as a friend, co-worker and coffee expert. Our success today is directly attributable to not only his coffee skills, but calm, humble manner of working with me, our customers and fellow team members. Perhaps the best evidence of my trust in Brandon is that I have entrusted the sourcing and roast development to him and am no longer allowed to operate his “roasters”. I am always confident that he will ensure that our customers have incredible coffee for their business. The past 12 years has been enjoyable and educational, and I am confident that our next 12 years will be even better. Thank you Brandon.” – Jeff Vojta, Stockton Graham & Co.

It is almost impossible to put into words the magnitude of the impact that Brandon has made on this company. Thousands upon thousands of hours put in, coming in early, staying late and even traveling overseas in search of the best of products, he has sculpted Stockton Graham & Co.’s coffee offering into what it is today.

When asked to reflect on the last 12 years, Brandon said, “I can still smell the coffee every morning when I come in and remove the lids from our containers, and it is as strong and as satisfying as it was on the first day. That is something I love so much, and I hope never changes.”

From employee, to customer, to friend, we would all like to congratulate and thank you on 12 years of a job well done, Mr. Brandon Riggs!

Jeff Vojta, Co-Founder & President
Stockton Graham & Co.

Sulawesi Single Origin Coffee is Available!

sulawesi-beanStockton Graham & Co. is pleased to have delicious Sulawesi Toraja back in stock and available to order! Due to a smaller than usual crop last season, this coffee was unavailable to us for a year. We recently received our first shipment from the October through December harvest period! Our Roastmaster, Brandon Riggs, compares Sulawesi to Sumatra, “It’s not as chocolaty as Sumatra, but it’s almost as if they are cousins. Sulawesi is roasted a bit lighter than the Sumatra.” Our Roasters are looking forward to incorporating this new varietal into more blends, because it works so well with other coffees.  We believe this is a stock we will have all year, so you can expect it to be available!

This Sulawesi comes from the Toraja region, offering you a great quality cup of coffee. Sulawesi is an island that is part of the nation of Indonesia. Sulawesi coffee fits well within the confines of traditional Indonesian coffee with its chocolate and earthy tones, and its soft acidic notes. What is unique to Sulawesi coffee is a spicy aftertaste.

Call your Customer Care Associate today at 800 835 5943, to get samples of Sulawesi or any of our delicious coffees!

Cupping Attributes:
AROMA: Spicy – Peppery
BODY: Heavy – Smooth
FLAVOR: Citrus, Bright, Sweet, Balanced
ACIDITY: Dry – Subtly Tangy
AFTERTASTE: Complex, Spicy, Slightly Sweet

Introducing Brandon’s Anniversary Blend

Chemex brew of Brandon's Anniversary BlendToday we had the pleasure of trying a new Stockton Graham & Co. blend in honor of Roastmaster, Brandon Riggs’ 10th Anniversary! Although Brandon had a strong desire for his Anniversary Blend to incorporate our Papua New Guinea, his favorite varietal right now, he was unable to find a truly-balanced good blend using the PNG. So instead, this “perfect” blend is equal parts Sumatra, Kenya AA and Guatemala, a favorite blend of Brandon’s over the years. A blend that “sticks with him”, Brandon always likes to serve this up to friends and new customers to try as an example of one of his best creations!

Larz Chemex brewing Brandon's Anniversary BlendLarz served me up a mug brewed using the Chemex brewing method, resulting in one of the smoothest cups I’ve ever tasted! I have to agree with Larz that the blend is delicious, incorporating bright, citrusy notes from the Kenya AA, followed by the chocolaty sweetness of the Sumatra. It has a pleasant, spicy, floral aroma and a smooth, medium body. It’s a great “anytime” coffee that an average coffee drinker will love, and true coffee aficianados will appreciate the nuances each specific varietal has to offer.

Brandon talking about Brandon's Anniversary Blend“I’ve never given this blend to anyone who didn’t like it,” said Brandon. “The blend is nicely balanced between the tangy acidity of the Kenya AA, grounded by the sweet chocolate notes of the Sumatra. The Guatemala blends the two opposites together perfectly.”

Thanks so much, Brandon, for 10 years of fantastic coffee!

Roastmaster and Green Coffee Buyer, Brandon Riggs, Celebrating 10th Anniversary with Stockton Graham & Co.

Brandon Riggs, Stockton Graham & Co. RoastmasterEvery now and then, Stockton Graham & Co. has an important announcement to make. Sometimes it’s about a new product, other times an upcoming event, but perhaps none of which have been more extraordinary than our current proclamation… We are honored to announce that our very own roastmaster and green coffee buyer, Brandon Riggs, is celebrating his 10th anniversary of hard work and dedication at Stockton Graham & Co. this month!

Like at any company, a lot can happen in a decade, and we are proud to say that one of our monumental steps towards the success Stockton Graham & Co. has experienced began the day that Brandon joined the team. Due to the fact that Brandon plays such an iconic role here, we wanted to take this opportunity to share Brandon’s journey, so you too can grasp the incredible milestone that he has reached!

Brandon’s story begins in Kansas City, MO in 1999. As a young product out of the University of Kansas, he accepted a summer job at The Roasterie, a local, independent coffee roasting company. At this time, Brandon was not a coffee drinker himself, and only had the intention of working in the coffee industry temporarily. After working there for a short time, an opportunity arose that allowed Brandon to serve as the assistant to the roastmaster at The Roasterie. Brandon was taught everything from roasting to cupping to green coffee buying by one of the industry’s most skilled experts. With this experience, Brandon not only quickly learned the skill of roasting high quality coffee, but also developed a deep passion for it as well.

Roastmaster and Green Coffee Buyer, Brandon RiggsIn 2002, a small, up-and-coming coffee roasting company in Raleigh, NC (Stockton Graham & Co.) had a roasting position open, and Brandon jumped on the opportunity! When he arrived here, he worked alone with little equipment, and the order volume was minimal. Our coffee selection was limited, and just about everything was done by hand. Today, 10 years later, Brandon is accompanied by Brad Kirby in the roasting department, and the two of them have larger, modernized equipment. Our order volume has more than tripled, and our selection of available coffees has grown tremendously! In this time, Brandon has had the pleasure of working with hundreds of clients to develop custom and house blends, develop and lead onsite training at SGC’s Coffee College and even host special events.

Brandon has built many close business and friendship relationships over the last 10 years, and here are a few words those who he has had the opportunity to work with have said about Brandon:

“I have enjoyed Brandon’s commitment to the highest quality coffee and determination to satisfy customer expectations. His creative nature can turn a stated taste profile into an actual great blend of coffee. All of this is done in pleasant and fun style, making business enjoyable and productive. “–Don Keen, Dilworth Coffee

“Brandon is more than just a talented roaster – he is great friend and respected ally! Inman Perk Coffee is literally built on his patient guidance and gifted taste. We’ve been proudly runnin’ on Riggs’ Roast since day one!” -Guy Ettinger, Inman Perk Coffee

“Brandon is a roastmaster extraordinaire! In 2006, while at the beginning stages of opening my coffee lounge in Maryland, he worked with me for an entire day to come up with the perfect organic blend. We tried a myriad of blends. It was like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, except it was coffee – not too strong, not too weak, just right! My customers absolutely loved my coffee, and I was able to steal a significant amount of business from the local Starbucks. Although I have since closed my establishment, I can still count on Brandon to periodically roast up a few pounds of my More Than Coffee! Lounge house blend. Now, that’s customer service! Friends forever…congratulations! Luv ya….Michelle (aka Sybil)” – Michelle Wiggs, More Than Coffee

“I first met Brandon in Costa Rica on a buying trip when he was working for  The Roasterie.  I could see through Brandon’s quiet humbleness that he had quite a bit of coffee knowledge and a desire to learn more about coffee.  I had no idea that a year later, he would be looking to locate to the East Coast and wanted to stay in coffee.  And, I thought that our small roasting company would never be able afford someone with his skills, passion and knowledge. However, after a long visit to the Raleigh-Durham area and spending time with the small, but dedicated team at Stockton Graham & Co., we were pleased and excited that he wanted to come east and join our team. It’s been over 10 years, and this short quote cannot express my admiration and appreciation for him as a friend, co-worker and coffee expert.  Our success today is directly attributable to not only his coffee skills, but calm, humble manner of working with me, our customers and fellow team members.   Perhaps the best evidence of my trust in Brandon is that I have entrusted the sourcing and roast development to him and am no longer allowed to operate his “roasters”.  I am always confident that he will ensure that our customers have incredible coffee for their business. The past 10 years has been enjoyable and educational, and I am confident that our next 10 years will be even better.  Thank you Brandon.”  – Jeff Vojta, Stockton Graham & Co.

It is almost impossible to put into words the magnitude of the impact that Brandon has put on this company. Thousands upon thousands of hours put in, coming in early, staying late and even traveling overseas in search of the best of products, he has sculpted Stockton Graham & Co.’s coffee offering into what it is today. When asked to reflect on the last 10 years, Brandon said, “I can still smell the coffee every morning when I come in and remove the lids from our containers, and it is as strong and as satisfying as it was on the first day. That is something I love so much, and I hope never changes”. From employee, to customer, to friend, we would all like to congratulate and thank you on 10 years of a job well done, Mr. Brandon Riggs!

How to roast coffee: An Interview with our Roastmaster

Ever wanted a custom house blend for your shop? Wonder what happens during the process? Need more background on our Roastmaster for your customers? Stockton Graham & Co. answered these questions from a curious customer and you will find some interesting answers after the jump.

1. What is your definition of craft roasting?
Craft roasting is a combination of art and science.  It is art from the perspective of years of accumulated coffee knowledge and roasting many batches of coffee, and science from keeping up with cutting edge technology in regards to roasting processes, and those outcomes.

 2. What possessed you to become a Roastmaster?
A standard industry definition of roastmaster is still being developed as this is an ever- changing industry based on new knowledge and innovations.  However, it generally means someone who has had hands-on roasting experience, sample roasting, blend development, green sourcing, origin visits and instructing on coffee.  My first coffee boss began to let me cup coffee samples and production lots for quality control purposes and this opened my eyes to all the wonderful flavor, taste and aroma attributes that coffee can embody.  I kept cupping coffees, learning more about the coffee processes and the people responsible for producing the coffees.

The more I learned and experienced, the more I wanted to continue to learn.

3. Any special training needed?
The best training for roasting great coffee, no matter the size of your business, is constant cupping and tasting your coffee.  Once you begin to understand what is happening in the roaster, and begin to understand the modifications you make for different origins, you can start to catalog those results and build upon that knowledge as time goes by.

The coffee industry, Stockton Graham & Co. included, now has a number of groups offering training on cupping, sensory development, roasting processes, green sourcing, etc. Working with your co-workers and peers is an integral part of learning and keeping your skills fresh.

4. As a roastmaster, do you have a number of steps to follow in order to create a great blend? If so, what are those steps?
In creating a blend for someone, you first need to understand what they are looking for in a coffee.  Then you begin to taste different varietals with them that highlight desired traits that are wanted.  After several varietals are selected, you begin to blend several together to see what you can make.  This is where your experience kicks in because over time you begin to understand what works well together, and what doesn’t.  In this industry, you constantly learn something new, so it is important to approach developing a coffee blend with a balance between what you know, and what you can learn.

5. What are the benefits of roasting in small batches?
The main benefit of small batch roasting is that you get to really hone in on each individual coffee varietal, and make it the best it can be.  Even the smallest modifications to a roast profile can dramatically change the flavor of the coffee, so roasting in small batches allows you to give each coffee more focused attention, thus perfection in each roast.

6.  What is the process you use when creating a custom blend for a customer?
Before we start with any roast, we ask questions of the customer and we listen.  We need to know what they like in the coffee, who will be drinking it, when and how it will be prepared and served, etc.  We seek to know what coffees the customer thinks are good and why they liked them, as-well-as coffees they may not have liked as much. After these initial discussions, we usually try several coffees to benchmark the customers’ preferences.  We listen to their feedback and tweak the coffees, roast levels and blending ratios to find the perfect balance, flavors, acidity, body and overall cup appeal for the customer.

7. Do you have any advice for our customers on how to serve and enjoy the best cup of coffee?
In order to enjoy great roasted coffee, you need to start with cold, filtered fresh water. The proper water-to-coffee ratio must be correct, too.  No matter what style of brewer you own, we recommend using two tablespoons of coffee for every six fluid ounces of water.  This will provide the best flavor extraction.  Grind only what you need and keep the rest stored in an airtight, dark, cool location.  Never store coffee in a refrigerator; a pantry is typically the perfect place.

Additionally, coffee is perfect to share with friends and family, to savor and enjoy over conversations.  So do not keep it all to yourself, but invite a friend over or send some as a gift.