Category Archives: Coffee

Coffee culture stuff

Over 2000 Roasts on the Solar Roaster

After filling out my production records today I realized that I have completed over 2000 roasts on my little efficient Solar Roaster. When I bought the roaster in 2012 I didn’t really think I would be using it this long. Sure, I have had a couple of problems with electric coils but that was mostly because of a poorly designed ventilation system….and operator error. Just another reason to celebrate this year, 10 years roasting in Eastern Ontario and 5 years of roasting with my efficient electric Solar Roaster.

I know this sounds like an ad for the company that makes the Solar Roaster but you have to give credit where credit is due.

Once again it is farmers’ market season and we are attending 3 different markets this year. It has not been particularly pleasant weather wise but people depend on me to provide fresh roasted coffee and fresh brewed cuppas. I will brave the weather to do my duty to the vendors and community and continue educating the public at large about the healthy benefits of fresh locally roasted coffee as well as the delicious flavour.

One thing I am looking forward to is trying out my new Barbecue roaster as soon as it gets warm and dry enough to spend an afternoon outside. I think it should provide an interesting smoky flavour. I’ll let you know how my trials work out.

Not my roaster but you get the idea.

 

Benefits of Coffee Recognized by US Government

Coffee and Chicken 1

Well if the United States Government says it’s true it must be, right? After all the research done into the benefits of moderate coffee consumption, the US has decided that it must be true. It seems that even pregnant women can indulge in a little caffeine now rather than abstain all the way through their pregnancy.

Benefits of Coffee

Spring has sprung and we are entering into the “Market Season”. The first official event of the spring is the Small Business Spring Showcase this coming weekend at the South Stormont Town Hall. I’ll be there with a hot cup of coffee ready for anyone who wants to be healthy.

On the coffee front, I have had to de-list the Ethiopian Harrar because of a lack of supply. I will not be carrying the Jamaica Blue Mountain as well this year because the price has just about doubled because of a poor crop. It always puzzles me that when there is a poor crop the price goes up. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? I guess that’s why I’m a coffee roaster and not an economist.

Growing Coffee Trees

Growing Coffee Trees

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

06Oct12 Benny the Bean

 

Yes once again I have survived to celebrate another birthday. My theme song for this year was the Beatle’s “When I’m 64”.

It’s a month later and it still hasn’t gotten any warmer. For a coffee business that is a good thing because people are looking for a good hot cup of coffee. Sales just keep going up and up.

There is nothing new and positive on the coffee supply front or I should say on my coffee supply front. My supplier has run out of Jamaica Blue Mountain and is running short on the Galapagos Island coffee. They are even running out of Costa Rican coffee. But never fear there is always something new to try so I’ll look forward to the opportunity to bring in something different.

I have brought in some new hot chocolate though to help fight off the chills from this frigid weather. Now I can offer you some individual portion pack flavoured hot chocolate. I have Raspberry, Roasted Almonds, Vanilla Hazelnut and Regular Hot Chocolate.

I did come across yet another article extolling the healthy virtues of coffee for your reading pleasure.

How Coffee Makes You Live Longer.

Coffee and Chicken 1

Post Halloween Doldrums

Coffee Spoon Message

Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is way past and now we are waiting for the pre-Christmas markets to begin so we can get all excited about selling coffee again. There seems to be bad news everywhere with a bad crop in Brazil giving Tim Hortons a reason to raise the price of their coffee like substance. There is even talk of computers or robots taking over Baristas’ place in society because the majority of coffee drinkers just don’t care about the quality of their liquid caffeine beverage. This video is not just about coffee but if you watch it around the 3:00 mark you will see what I mean.

OK, that’s depressing, I think I am suffering from SAD and need to take more Vitamin D. Maybe I should be pushing more Hot Chocolate. That seems to be the growth area right now. Tea also seems to be a hot commodity. I carry both of them but just haven’t been marketing them. It’s only 10 days to the next trade/craft show where I can sell a lot of cups of coffee and simply talk to a lot of people about the great qualities of fresh roasted, fresh ground and fresh brewed coffee. That always makes me happy.

Christmas Coffee Elf

Christmas Coffee Elf

New Market in Manotick for Coffey’s Coffee

Manotik 19Jul14 Market 2

 

It’s always gratifying when someone recognizes your business as a benefit for the community. A couple of weeks ago I got an email from the manager of the Manotick Farmer’s Market, Jack Williams, asking me if I wanted to be a vendor. I know Jack from other events that I have attended as a vendor and obviously he recognizes how great my coffee is and that it would add value to his market.

I drove up to see the market on one weekend. It is in a great scenic spot in Manotick and the people walking through the market were really positive and appreciative to have the market there. The next week I showed up as a vendor. I wasn’t the only new vendor either. The market had grown from 6 vendors to 15. The third week I went to the market there were still 15 vendors and the number of people shopping were at least double. …as were my sales. I even sold a number of espressos and cappuccinos. It appears that there is a much more sophisticated coffee consuming public up there near Ottawa.

There were a lot more tourists there visiting the Watson’s Mill and Dickinson’s House Museum who wandered over to enjoy a great cup of coffee.

Watson's Mill 1

 

Dickinson's House Museum

Dickinson’s House Museum

 

It is over an hour drive to Manotick but how can I not go where I am so appreciated. It feels good to be wanted.

Morning Ritual

 

The Morning Ritual

Summer is Peaking around the Corner

Market Sign

 

At long last we are getting some warmer weather. Last week it hit 29°C with a humidex of 35 then the next night we had frost warnings. My wife is chomping at the bit wanting to get her garden planted but we still have to shuttle the seedlings in and out of the house when the temperature drops too low at night. I did however take a leap of faith and put my snow blower away.

Now that we have a promise of summer, the planning for the summer events and markets has started. Once again Coffey’s Coffee will be at the Long Sault Market. Other local events that are being considered to set up my little portable shop at are Food Lovers’ Field Days at Upper Canada Village (Aug 16 & 17) and the Stormont County Fair (Aug 29 to Sept 1). I have been invited to other markets and events but I haven’t committed to them, neither verbally nor conceptually. I may change my mind as the summer progresses but I’m still trying to find time for more golf.

On the coffee stock side of things, I have delisted the Australia Skybury. I still think it is a great coffee but it’s just not selling that well. Most of my Australian coffee buyers seem to have either moved out of the area or switch to the Galapagos coffee. You can only keep green beans in stock for so long before they start losing quality.

Always remember, if you are going to drink, drink good stuff.

Coffee Prescription

The Bean Eaters Club

I could also call this post Coffey’s Coffee Goes Back To School but I will explain about the bean eaters later.

 

It has been 7 years since my last official training course in roasting coffee and I decided it was about time for another one. If you’re wondering
why I would stress myself to attend a training session I would have to say that
it is just to refresh my previous understanding of roasting, to find out what
is new and exciting in the business and I also wanted to see some nice new and
shiny roasters. An added bonus is to meet like minded people who are passionate
about coffee. When I got the email from Robust Roasters that they were hosting
a training session for roasters and wannabe roasters I signed up right away.

The Place

Robust Roasters
is located in Scarborough (East Toronto) and are distributors of Toper
Roasters. Of course their decision to host the training is mostly based on
marketing their roasters and what better way to demonstrate their product than
to get your potential customers to actually use them. As a result, I am
seriously considering an upgrade. Not only did they provide the facilities and
equipment for the training but they also brought in an excellent instructor and
highly qualified coffee roaster in the person of Stephen Armstrong of Speak
Easy Coffee
.

Coffee Roasting Guru Stephen Armstrong

 

There were only 5 students in the class but they were from
across Canada, Jim from Vancouver, Tim and Dave from Richmond Hill, Shaw from
Hamilton and yours truly from good old Ingleside. I guess if you counted Peter
and Henry from Robust Roasters then there were 7 students because we were all
motivated to learn everything we could from our instructor. We listened to the
theory involved in roasting, we talked about the latest trends and gossip, we
roasted different beans from different geographical locations and we cupped the
results. I do believe everyone went home happy and better informed about coffee
roasting. Personally from what I learned, I am going to change my roasting
profile a little and try to improve the performance of my 12 year old
roaster.  I have also developed a new
respect for a lighter roast thanks to Stephen.

The Bean Eaters Club

From left to right is Peter, Shaw, Stephen, Tim, Yours Truly Handsome Guy, David and Jim. Henry was taking the picture. Someone has to.

Why the bean eaters club you ask? Well, it is the habit of
roasters to pick a cooled bean out of a newly roasted batch of coffee to crunch
on and get an early estimate of what that coffee will be like to cup (evaluate
in a cup). It certainly did feel like a club to have like minded coffee
roasters go through a training session together and get really buzzed on
caffeine.

As for the nice shiny new roasters, I am impressed. The only
bad part of the whole training session is that I became aware of the
inadequacies of my current equipment and now I have to do some number crunching
to see what size of nice shiny new roaster I can afford.

A Fresh Roast On A Shiny New Machine

I guess my final point is that, like all professions, it
helps to keep the skill and enthusiasm up to date by attending seminars or
training sessions. I can’t wait for the next one.

Who says you can’t reach an
old dog new tricks. It just takes a little longer, with lots of repetition.

New Coffee

Good news! I have just received my first super premium coffee bean order. OK, it’s not in the same categorie as Kopi Luak or Esmerelda but it is a premium bean. I am going to introduce Autralian Skybury to my customers as soon as I do a trial roast and cup it.

The Australian coffee is going to be price at about $20 per pound but I will post the full pricing for this coffee on the Price Page.

I’m just so excited that I can hardly sit still. OK, time to roast.

Basic Brewing

After two posts I have come to realize that I can’t help but engage in SSP (shameless self promotion). Just the act of creating a blog is SSP so I am not going to appologize any more for it but I will acknowledge any blatant use of it.

As indicated in the category selection I am going to talk about coffee. So, today, I am going to talk about making coffee. If you don’t really care about brewing your own then you should take this time to go grab a cup of Timmies or Starbucks or whatever your favourite caffeine source is. For the rest of you (if there are actually anyone reading this) I am going to outline some basics concepts of home brewing.

There are three basic components of making a pot of coffee; the coffee, the brewing device (coffee maker) and the water. The simplest one to explain is the water. Basically, if you won’t drink the water then don’t use it to make your coffee with it. Personally I wouldn’t use distilled water because it extracts far too much flavour out of the coffee, including all the nasty sour straw flavours that you get from cheap under roasted coffees found in certain coffee chains.

The type of coffee maker dictates how you grind the coffee. If you use an electric drip machine then the coffee should be ground so that a full pot is brewed in 4 -6 minutes. Espresso makers use espresso grind, percolators use a coarse grind, vacuum pots use extra coarse, french press uses medium coarse and manual drips use fine grind.

OK, so now comes the SSP, the coffee. In my humble opinion the coffee is the most critical part of the three items I mentioned. the coffee should be a good quality specialty arabica bean, fresh roasted, fresh ground and the right grind size. Oh yeah, I almost forgot about quantity. Always use enough coffee to brew a decent pot. The coffee industry experts recommend 1 to 2 coffee spoons per 6 oz cup and a coffee spoon is 2 tablespoons. Never try to skimp on the coffee. It will just taste sour and straw-like. A strong pot of coffee can always be diluted with hot water after it’s brewed. There is nothing you can do with weak coffee.

The absolutely best coffee is that which you roast yourself at home and then grind just before you make a pot. I do know someone who actually gets up early in the morning to roast his coffee in his oven for his breakfast. While I think that is a high dedication to the ideal of fresh roasted, but not even I would do that. However, I think that anything over two weeks old is not fresh and I won’t sell you it as fresh.

So there you have it, my first coffee category post. If you have any questions I will try to answer them. If anyone is actually reading this please make a comment. Please drop me a life line.