Posts by Woody
Woody has been around since opening day, and now he is one test away from being a "Q" coffee grader. The best part of his job is sourcing coffees from origin and his favorite coffee at the moment is our Kenya AA Kangurumai. Woody drinks it black and thinks you should too. He thinks that community is about counting on people and them counting on you. Without it you stop living life the way you should.
Wow, it’s been a whole month since I last wrote you on the happenings in the coffee lab? Well, we have acquired many samples and roasted many coffees. It is always a joy to receive samples from all over the world to try, so if you have coffee you want to send us, feel free! We will give you honest feedback. I would say the highlight of our month was a sample of Panama Bambito Estate, which was fruity, smooth and sweet; that one is a definite possibility for us to carry. We also had to do a search for a new naturally-processed Ethiopian Sidamo. After a long exhausting search with many weeks of sample roasting and tasting, we decided to go with a coffee from the Bushwick Seed Company from Brooklyn. Not only does this Sidamo have the berry sweetness we were looking for, but it is also sustainable; this coffee helps the village of Kellensoo where it is grown and processed to provide funding to build a library and create a computer lab. The Sidamo is available as a single origin, and is also an important component in both our Smart Blend and our Nordico Espresso. We have also released our spring seasonal Aurora, which is available now! Aurora has notes of citrus, a sweet aftertaste, and is light bodied and smooth. Well folks, that’s all for this week. Look for the Lab notes to make a comeback to weekly status next week.
Good day and Good coffee,
So there was last week…. We did a lot of coffee tastings and espresso tweaking. Sadly as time goes by some coffees start to lose their oomph; this is the case with a lot of fruity natural coffees, such as the Ethiopian Natural Sidamo which we use in several blends. For that reason, we are experimenting with some new coffees and working on the blends. Be on the lookout for a new blend coming your way soon, and for some possible news regarding current blends. We may also be bringing on a single origin as our special spring seasonal.
Last week we had a short week in the lab due to a bit of a crazy schedule, but we did get to sample the Sumatra Gayo Linge. Let’s just say right now it’s shining on our pour-over bar (30 grams of coffee and 500 ml of water for about 3.20 minutes) and it is oh so good. We got flavors of cocoa, roasted almonds, with a creamy mouthfeel and a raspberry sweetness in the finish.
Thanks for stopping by the blog today, good luck and great coffee!
Welcome to another week of lab notes, this week we sampled our experimental espressos, tasted production coffees and worked on dialing in our current espresso blends. If you will remember form last week we were going for fruity with a cocoa background. 2 of the three ended up tasting the way we liked but we still think we have some tweaking to do, the most promising was a 2 coffee blend of Bali and Timor, it had the cocoa and the berry fruitiness we were going for but the roast level needs to be tweaked, which i will be doing this week. In our tasting sessions the Colombia Valle de Cauca was the standout for the week, scoring high on both sweetness and flavor. Dialing in espresso is always a fun and daunting task, i mostly worked on dialing in the Brightside and let me tell you it is singing, Orange, biscuit like, malty and oh so sweet! We are currently enjoying at 18 grams with a 24 second pull resulting in about 1.8 oz finished shot.
In our next report we have 3 coffees we received from e-cafe Chiapas in Mexico to taste and review as well as reworked espresso blending and some in detail comparative brewing tasting.
This is to be the first in a series of public updates, keeping you updated as the the goings on here in the coffee lab with QC, Sample roasting, tastings cuppings etc.
This week we worked on a few new experimental espresso blends using Bali Kintamani Natural as the foundational flavor, this will be a limited production espresso as we are on the last half bag or so of the Bali. The goal with this espresso is to highlight the sweet watermelon candy\strawberry flavors found in the Bali. We roasted 3 different blends trying to highlight the fruitiness and balance it with smooth creamy cocoa tones. One of the things we do here at OVC as part of our Quality Control program is we brew up our coffees regularly using several different methods including manual pourover, chemex, batch brew, aeropress, french press, and cuppings. We do this to maintain their integrity of the coffees so that when they arrive to the customer they will remain consistently good. One of the focus coffees this week was our Winter Comfort Blend, which is smokey, sweet and full of warm spice and it’s only here for the winter season so if that sounds good to you make sure you pick some up soon.
Thats it for this weeks update see you next week for the tasting notes on the espresso blends.
2012 was a good year! We turned 5, we had a party, we went to origin, we formed new partnerships, and we became (hopefully) a bit wiser. We added a new old face and also said goodbye to one of our own.
We turned 5 in March and we celebrated in August with Indy Hall at their joint. We had some of our customers come out and set up booths, made espresso drinks, and had beer donated by Victory to help us celebrate. A big thank you to all who came out, and to all who support us on a daily basis. Without you none of this would be possible.
We visited 2 origins last year. Rob went to Honduras in February and met with the farmers and coop who process the coffee we use more of than any other coffee. While on this trip, he was able to procure an amazing Micro Lot from Gerardo Penalba. I was able to visit 2 regions in Costa Rica, to cup coffees and visit coops and farms. I was also able to bring back a few lots from both areas, with lots from El Llano from the Navarro family, Saga, and a lot from Espirito Santo. Steve was also able to visit the farms and Gerardo’s family in Honduras.
We partnered with Synesso to bring some amazing machines to the area through RBI East. We once again partnered with Victory Brewing to make our third collaboration brew with them: Victory Village V3. We also partnered with several small businesses to create some delicious coffee-infused goodies, such as Cookie Confidential and Foam Floaterie. We sponsored a home brew contest with Philly Beerscene, and once again donated money to some worthwhile causes, including the farm in Nigeria that helped us want to become a social coffee roaster.
We added Jess Lyle permanently to our ranks. She had worked for us part time for several years while at Eastern College, and is now a full-time employee. At the end of the year, we said goodbye to Zoe Kohner, who helped us grow in many areas of our business. Gaelyn Amick headed into the office and became a permanent fixture in the customer service role, make sure you say hi when you call with your order.
We did some great things, met some amazing people, and had a great time doing it. Thanks to everyone we met, worked with and to those who inspired us this past year. Here’s to 2013 being even better than the year before it.
Coffee is a crop and much like any other produce it has a season and a time of peak ripeness. The best beans are picked at the height of ripeness; the deepest reds, juiciest yellows and oranges are what we are looking for from our coffees when they are picked. When the best most ripe coffees are picked they burst with flavor. These coffees are then cleaned, sun dried and shipped to us to roast. The key to great fresh coffee is in keeping the proper moisture level in the beans. Coffee is traditionally shipped in jute or burlap bags so they will lose that moisture from day one. We strive to bring you fresh vibrant coffee and that is why we only offer certain coffee’s and blends for a limited time, we want you to experience the freshest most amazing coffee you can find all year round.
If you clicked on a link and ended up here, welcome. If you were just browsing the blog, greetings. Either way thanks for taking the time to look up what we mean when we say Village Visited. Here at OVC we think it’s a pretty good idea to say what you mean and do what you say you are doing. Village Visited is just that, we have always wanted to be able to visit farms, meet the farmers, the growers and those who processed the coffees we roast and you drink, This past year (2012) we started doing that with trips to Honduras and Costa Rica. Our goal upon visiting these countries is to find the farms that grow the coffee we already use, cup some smaller “Micro Lots” they are producing and buy some amazing coffees right on the ground. We get to see how the coffee is treated, how the pickers are paid and housed and what sort of care is taken to produce amazing coffees, we get to meet amazing people and learn what they do and we are able to thank and encourage them to keep doing the good they are doing.
Visiting farms is both exhilarating and humbling at the same time, maybe one day you can come with us!
Hey all, I recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica to visit coffee farms, cup coffees and meet people. This trip was a life changing experience for me, where I learned not only about coffee and how it is grown and processed, but also how the farmers and the people who work at origin are just as into coffee as we are. Without them, exactly none of what we do at One Village would be possible.
My trip starts on an early Monday morning in Philadelphia, with me rushing to the airport to get to my plane before takeoff and boom: 7 hours later I land in the tropical paradise of San José, Costa Rica. Here I meet our translator and soon to be friend, Sebastian, and the director of the Coopranaranjo (a coffee coop in the Naranjo region), a man known as Jose Antonio, but you can call him Tio Vega. Next, to the hotel to eat some dinner and plan our route; we want to make sure we can get the most out of the trip. My accomplices on this trip are Jamie Schoenhut, president of Royal Coffee NY; Ryan Ludwig, manager at Blue State Coffee in Boston; and Bob Garver; owner and roaster of Wicked Joe and Bard Coffee in Portland, Maine.
Tuesday, our first full day in Costa Rica, finds us heading to the Coopranaranjo Headquarters to cup 16 microlots of fantastic coffees. We are met once again by Jose Antonio and his fantastic staff, where we enjoy a mid morning snack, or elevensies as the hobbits would call it, and are shown a short presentation about his coop. We then head off to the cupping room to cup and discuss flight after flight of coffee. During the process we choose several of the very best lots to import and start roasting back here in Souderton.
After the cupping we head out to a typical Costa Rican restaurant where I experienced my first, and definitely not last, chicharrones. The fried pork cubes which are available throughout Central America are a fantastic staple, not a day went by that I didn’t get to have at least one helping of this delectable food. After lunch we headed back to the HQ and met with the directors of the coop. Jamie presented the reason we were there: to find exceptional microlots (micro lotes) of coffee and to develop lasting relationships with the farmers and coops. After the presentation we spent time getting to know the coop members and board outside on the back porch.
Wednesday finds us heading to the other side of the mountains to a region known as Tarrazu where we are going to meet the association members of ASOPROAAA and cup some more amazing microlots. We are greeted at the headquarters by a man known only by his first name Rudy. It went a little something like, “Woody, meet Rudy, Rudy, Woody!!” We then laughed and knew that this is going to be a fun day. We once again commence the cupping ceremonies and are once again blown away by the great coffees and pick several lots to import.
After the cupping we head over to Luis’s house. Luis is the manager of one of the processing plants for ASOPROAAA. At Luis’s house we are treated to what I would call an upscale version of the local cuisine, of course including chicharrones as well as some other local foods. But mostly chicharrones. We get to tour Luis’s fantastic property and finalize our pricing with the association. After the tour we head back to ASOPROAAA headquarters where Jamie shows his presentation to the farmers and staff. We again get to share why we are there, our passion for meeting the farmers and bringing back excellent coffees, and how we are going to use them. We finally head back to the hotel after a long, fun day and get ready for visiting the farms.
Thursday comes early and we head back to the Tarrazu region. The first farm we visit is the Saga Farm which is owned by Francis Monge Campos. Francis recently purchased this lot and has only been working it for one year. The coffee we chose from this farm is a 100% bourbon varietal and is only planted on 3 hectares of the 35 he has available, the rest is caturra. He has started using organic farming principles on the farm, adding many porro shade trees and using organic fertilizers. It is mind blowing to consider that pickers must hang on to the side of steep hills and carry baskets of coffee all day long. Luckily the conditions have improved and the pay scale has increased; making it more rewarding for the hard work they do. After visiting Saga we thank Francis and head for our next visit.
The Brothers Navarro, Juan Carlos and Jose Luis, run three coffee farms. We first visited one called La Guirra (it was one of the better lots we tried at the cupping). After that we headed to El Higueron, another of their farms, and possibly the most beautiful coffee farm I have seen, stretched out in rows all along the hillside and interlaced with lemon, orange, banana, India cane and porro trees for shade and to add organic nutrients back into the soil. Our final stop with the brothers Navarro finds us at their home farm, El Llano, where we are greeted by the entire family and are invited in for a hearty lunch. While we were there we found out that this year was the first time they actually drank the coffee they produced. In years past they would just drop it off and get paid for the beans, but now, thanks to ASOPROAAA and their microlot initiatives, they are drinking what they produce and they are so happy with how good their coffee is. After the wonderful lunch and family time we head to Naranjo to visit Guapinol farm. This one is well established and has been in the family for years. We toured the grounds with Eduardo Calvo, who has been farming since he was a boy with his father and grandfather.
Thursday evening we head over to the home of one the Coopranaranjo board members for a goodbye and thank you dinner. We are treated to some amazing grass-fed beef steaks and some fantastic chorizo from the grill; as well as some of the local beverages. It was a great cap off to the week and a chance to get to know some of the farmers and coop members even better. I don’t think I will soon forget the hospitality and warmth we received, nor the friendships that have started as a result.
This trip has taught me many things; most of all it is that coffee is a precious thing that touches many lives along its path to our cups. We should never take for granted the process by which we are able to drink this amazing beverage. I highly recommend visiting a coffee farm, getting to know those who work so hard for their craft and, when we get this product, to treat it with respect knowing how hard the people have worked to make it all possible.
Well winter is here, the days are shorter and the nights are colder and we are here to help keep you warm and motivated during these times. We have just released our new quarterly coffee list and I wanted to highlight a few of the changes we have made. First of all, our wintery Nor’easter is still out and available. It is a viennese roast (lighter than French, but a bit darker than full city) of Indonesian coffees blended with just the right amount of a lighter bodied Central American coffee. It is roasty, chocolaty, and a tad on the smokey side, perfect for those cold/mild/unseasonably warm winter nights. But it won’t be around for too much longer and you won’t be seeing it again until next year, so stock up now.
We also have 6 new single origins we are quite proud of, a Rwanda Gatare Washing Station Bourbon, an organic Bali Blue Moon semi washed, and some delightful little numbers from Colombia, Ethiopia, more Ethiopia (this one’s decaf), and Honduras. The Rwanda is lighter bodied with grapefruited notes a nice snappy acidity and a creamy english walnut finish. The Bali Blue Moon is syrupy, full of warm spices and cocoa. And I’ll let you discover the others. It looks like we’ll also have a late arrival or two which I (or possibly Jacob) will be blogging more about when the time is right. Hint: think decaf thoughts.
That’s all for now so until next time, good night and good coffee.
This may sound odd to some of you, but yes, fresh coffee is a seasonal crop—much like tomatoes, corn or lettuce—and is best when freshest, with a few exceptions. Coffee is grown in what we like to call the coffee belt, which is an area not surprisingly close to the equator. Coffee is grown in all major continents with the exception of Europe which has no countries which can grow coffee. Coffee is grown in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Several small North American Islands. The proper climate is warm and rainy with lots of sunshine. Coffee harvesting takes place throughout the year, and most places have one crop per year. Some have a second or fly crop also. The coffee which is considered specialty coffee is a variety known as Arabica, and requires high elevations and longer growing time than it’s less flavorful, and more caffeinated, cousin the Robusta bean.
Specialty coffees are for the most part picked by hand by skilled pickers who pick only the red ripe coffee cherries to be dried and processed. After the coffee is picked it is bagged and moved to where it will be processed and dried, there are several methods for doing this but all result in a dried coffee bean which has about 11% moisture content, the coffee is them milled to remove the outer shell and bagged for sale and shipping. The coffees are then auctioned or sold to buyers, and shipped to America in freight containers to be sold by coffee brokers.
At this point the specialty coffees are sold to coffee roasters around the country, which buy anything from 1 bag to hundreds of bags a week. The beans are roasted to perfection and sent on their way to be ground, and enjoyed by the consumer. Here at OVC, we use only the freshest coffees we can find and sell them at the peak of flavor. This is why sometimes you will find we don’t have a certain coffee or that your favorite is out of stock for a little while. It’s a difficult balance between giving the customer what they want and only giving them the best. The goal should be to make sure the coffee you are drinking is the best all the time. After all who likes an unripe tomato?