Whether or not you have a go-to coffee, you probably have an idea of what you like. Something with a smoky taste, so you can add a splash of milk; or perhaps something on the sweeter side for your cold brew. We want to help you dig in a little deeper and learn more about every one of the roast colors, and what you’re tasting in your cup of coffee!
For each roast color, we’re highlighting a coffee that is really standing out right now. These recommendations come straight from our Roastmaster and Roastmaster Emeritus on what coffee they’re drinking these days. However, we DO want to encourage you to go outside the box, and take a look through all the coffees and roast colors on our website–try a variety to find that perfect cup!
Ready to dive in? Let’s start with the light roasts, and make our way to the dark side…
Light Roast Coffee
Nuanced • Bright • Lively
In the lighter roasts (both light and medium), you can taste the nuance and impact of terroir. If you’re a single origin lover, these coffees are your go-to. With a light roast especially, the specific qualities unique to the coffee’s origin stand out. If you’re sticking with Vienna and French roasts (the darker beans), you have to work harder to tell the differences between origins. With light, it’s all there in the first sip.
For those of you that cup your coffee and take the time to taste every flavor, the lights and mediums are probably the roasts for you. When purchasing a single origin coffee, the great ones are best at this roast color.
Light Roast Recommendation
Our Nicaraguan Flor de Jinotega is really making an impact right now. We received a fresh crop as of the beginning of June, and it’s tasting nutty, chocolaty, smooth and sweet. A really pleasing cup!
Medium Roast Coffee
Nutty • Spicy • Balanced • Fruity
Roasted about 20 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the light, the color on a medium roast coffee bean shifts into a chocolate brown. As you move from the light roast to the medium, the bright and lively acidity morphs into a smoother, deeper, and more balanced mouth feel. In every sip of a medium roast, you’ll find that a certain mellowness and maturity prevails.
Medium Roast Recommendation
Thanksgiving Coffee has many medium roasts that stand out, but our Fairtrade and Organic Mocha Java is a classic that we love more and more every time we brew it. This coffee has that balanced and nuanced flavor we referenced above, and was described as having a “delicately sweet aroma” by CoffeeReview.com, where it scored 90 points.
Dark Roast Coffee
Bold • Spicy • Chocolaty
The coffee bean color on our dark roast (sometimes called the Vienna roast) is still more brown than black. You could compare it to the color of baker’s chocolate. When this coffee is freshly roasted, the beans will have a shiny coat of coffee oils on their surface. The greatest dark roast coffees will have hints of carbonization, but shouldn’t be described as smoky or toasty — we’ll leave those descriptors to the very dark roast.
Dark Roast Recommendation
The preferred dark roast of the Thanksgiving Coffee Roastery right now is our Congo Coffee. Just launched earlier this year, this single origin is changing the way we think of dark roasts. As you sip this coffee, you’ll notice rich notes of chocolate and spice, with a syrupy mouthfeel.
Toasty • Smoky • Caramelized Sugars
Ah, the “French Roast.” This is the coffee that goes great with a splash of milk. The coffee bean color on our very dark roast is more black than brown, with rich and copious levels of surface oil. Roasted long and hot to produce deep carbony, smoky flavor notes. A well-made French roast will have caramelized sugar notes, licorice and roasted chestnut flavors, and a long wet (not ashy) finish.
Very Dark Roast Recommendation
We recommend the Sumatra as our very dark roast selection for a very good reason: you don’t find many single origin coffees that are roasted to this color. It takes some work to create a French roast that still has the flavors and nuances of origin, and this coffee does that well.
As we sign off on our roast color education, we want to remind you of something: if you aren’t sure you’ll like it, give it a try! Are you regularly a French roast lover? Give medium a go. Religiously purchase the Bolivia Light Roast? Add the Rwanda Medium to your order this month for something new. The best way to develop your taste preferences is to get outside your box and liven up your selection.
Enjoy your roast color adventure!
Oh yes, you CAN blend different roast colors! Paul Katzeff created an app for all you iPhone users to explain this even more. It’s called Smart Coffee, and it was designed to help you blend roast colors, and create a flavor profile that is specific to YOU. Check it out!
Friday, June 23 is Take Your Dog to Work Day! Then again, for a few of us here at Thanksgiving Coffee Company, everyday is take your dog to work day. Meet two of our office pups, Zoe and Brutus!
Zoe was adopted from the Border Collie Rescue of Northern California. These guys serve most of Northern California, re-homing animals that need new situations and families that will take care of them. Zoe’s mom is Patty, from our accounting team. Patty has been a part of the Thanksgiving Coffee family for 28 years, and Zoe for 8 of those years!
Brutus is a newer addition to our office. Co-founder and CEO Paul Katzeff adopted Brutus from the Mendocino Coast Humane Society just two months ago! He’s already adjusted nicely to life at our headquarters, although we found out he does not like to pose for photo shoots.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company has partnered with the Mendocino Coast Humane Society to create a Cause Coffee that benefits their shelter. This non-profit has been serving Fort Bragg and beyond for over thirty years. We are proud to be a part of their fundraising efforts, and stand with an organization that is doing good for the animals of our community! Learn more on the MCHS Cause Coffee page.
This weekend is the 24th annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, and it’s one of the Mendocino County events that is not to be missed. As you’re driving to and from the festival and need a coffee fix, here are a couple places to stop by and grab a cup of Thanksgiving Coffee!
Did you know that our Upsetter Espresso Blend is a reference to one of our favorite reggae artists? Lee “Scratch” Perry will be performing at Sierra Nevada this year. The label design on our Upsetter (a light roast espresso blend) is a reference to his label: Upsetter Records. Can’t wait to see him perform this weekend!
Have fun at Sierra Nevada… maybe we’ll see you out there!
National Trails Day was just last week, but we never miss a chance to get outside and enjoy this gorgeous Spring weather. This Saturday is National Get Outdoors Day, and you don’t have to tell us twice! This weekend, we’re all about the Mendocino Woodlands. Just about six miles out from the village of Mendocino, you get a chance to step into a the Redwood forest.
The Mendocino Woodlands is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has been operating and maintaining the park since 1949. The Park is a National Historic Landmark built as a Recreation Demonstration Area by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s. The park boasts over 700 acres of redwood trees and accompanying wildlife, along Big River. This spot is actually the oldest group camping facility in the United States.
We created Restore & Explore as a Cause Coffee, benefiting this beautiful area. For every purchase, 25% is donated directly back to the Mendocino Woodlands, and helps keep this forest pristine.
If there’s one thing that we know for sure, it’s that coffee was meant to be SHARED! While we may be some of the worst culprits at hogging the coffee, there is simply nothing better than sitting down with a friend for a latte on a weekend morning. Coffee tastes better when it’s paired with friendship and comfy chairs – it’s just a fact.
Not that we’re biased at ALL, but we do have some the very best cafes in America serving up caffeinated beverages from Thanksgiving Coffee Company. Stop by one of these coffee shops on Best Friends Day, and share a cup (okay, get two different cups) with your bestie.
This weekend, we celebrate National Trails Day — put on by the American Hiking Society! As residents of beautiful Mendocino County, Thanksgiving Coffee employees are well-versed in the art of getting outdoors. We all feel pretty lucky to live along a coastline that all of California vacations to.
Mendocino County has some of the most stunning cliffs, breathtaking sunsets and magnificent ocean views you’ll find anywhere. Why? Because we have organizations and volunteers keeping our parks and public spaces preserved. The Mendocino Land Trust has been protecting and preserving this area since 1976, and we are proud to be partnered with them. The Fog Dodger Coffee benefits the Land Trust, and their work here in Mendocino County. For every purchase, 25% is donated back to the MLT!
In honor of National Trails Day, we’re highlighting a few of our personal favorite hikes in the area! From the Thanksgiving Coffee headquarters….
Paul Katzeff, Co-Founder and CEO
I am not a great hiking enthusiast. I don’t like the idea of walking just to walk or hiking just to hike. But living in one of the more beautiful spots on the planet, I do feel the need to see the beauty. I like the hidden beauties, the places that seem as if I am the first to stand on a spot of land and see the beauty around me. My “hiking” rarely takes me to the same spot twice so hiking to the same spot twice is rare.
I was on my way back from San Francisco, traveling on HWY 128. It was a warm summer day. The sun was high, the sky powder blue, and the air still. I pulled over at mile marker 2.98, with only a few more minutes until I would hit the coast. It was the spot where I stopped back in 1971 to rest after traveling cross country in my ’46 Mack Truck which contained a double waterbed and a wood cook stove and was my home on the road. What attracted me then (and now), was the 120 year old second growth Redwoods that bordered the Navarro River for a 16 mile ribbon on both banks.
In 1971 the additional draw was a campsite with 100 semi naked and totally naked Hippies who had come (like me) one family at a time, attracted by the desire to stop and rest by a river and commune with the forces of Redwood nature. Forty-six years later, curious to see the spot I camped on when I was scared to be naked among strangers in public (wasn’t that illegal?), I parked my car and walked in under the trees and down to the river. It was quiet, very quiet. I picked some wild blackberries and walked out on a fallen log that had silently met its maker in a storm that put it horizontal ten feet over the river, all the way to the far bank.
I shimmied out to the middle of the log and watched the salmon fingerlings in the water below. A raven being chased by a starling flew by breaking up the silence.
Then, silence. I sat and waited for the next event to happen. The cicadas hissed. I looked around for a sign. I was alone.
That’s the kind of moment I hike for.
Larry Tholberg, Sales Team
The beach at Van Damme, though tiny, has been rated one of the top ten beaches in the states. It is a hot spot for abalone diving, kayaking, hiking and more. Across from the beach is the State Park which features a fairly easy to moderately difficult hike if you follow the trail all the way to the pygmy forest. When the trail splits, stay left for what my family thinks is the prettier trail. We like to park a car at the bottom and arrange for a ride up Little River Airport Road to the Pygmy parking lot – then we hike down to the coast. Bring a snack and water if you do this.
Marchelo Bresciani, Brand Manager
The Lost Coast Trail is one of the few places where I’ve truly felt the wild of wilderness. The rugged landscape and remote location of this trail isolate you completely, leaving no trace of our crazy modern world just beyond the steep rolling coastal canyons. You are left with the sights and sounds of untouched nature, and the stunning vistas of the wild Pacific Ocean.
Jen Lewis, Digital Marketing
It’s the most obvious trail in Mendocino County, but it was the first spot that took my breath away on this coastline: The Mendocino Headlands. One of my top places to whale watch, walk, slackline, and simply sit by the water. Best part about it? A GREAT view of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse from just across the waves.
From the quiet trail through the trees (in my photo below), to the land bridge over the waves on the south side of the park – this area will transfix you every time.
Support Mendocino trails with your cup of coffee! Purchase our Fog Dodger coffee and 25% of the proceeds will be donated to the Mendocino Land Trust, so they can continue to keep Mendocino County beautiful!
We’ve sung the praises of our Roastmaster’s Select Club before. An all-new coffee every month, micro-lots that you won’t see anywhere else, small batch roasts, and limited editions that taste magnificent.
But if you aren’t ready to take the plunge and sign up for a blind monthly club subscription, we have another option. Every few months, we pick a favorite from the club, and feature it here on our website for non-members. We’ve featured coffees from Panama, Kenya, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and more in the past months.
What’s up next? Our Colombia Medium Roast from the Cafe Colsuaves co-op.
Coffee From Colombia
Thanksgiving Coffee has sourced coffee from Colombia for years, and it continues to be a favorite origin of ours. We found this lot of coffee while searching for unique Colombian coffee for our club members. Roastmaster Jacob Long sample roasted the green coffee, and blind tasted it alongside a variety of samples — finding this Colombian to be a real stand-out.
This coffee is sourced from the Popayan region of Cauca, on the western side of Colombia. We ended up purchasing 500 pounds of this micro lot, and we’re impressed with the way it turned out. It’s quite smooth and nuanced, with a great body and flavor. The Cafe Colsuaves group produces brilliant coffees by putting a strong focus on lot separation and processing control, creating some truly unique micro-lots.
Colombian Medium Roast
Jacob created a roast profile that brings out the natural flavors of this Colombian, and everyone here at the roastery is loving how it tastes. This Medium Roast is rich and smooth, with complex notes of milk chocolate and vibrant citrus undertones. At the Thanksgiving Coffee tasting room, we especially love it in the Soft Brew, and we’re planning on trying it in our Cold Brew Kit later this month.
Give the Cafe Colsuaves Colombian Medium Roast a try. Add this coffee onto your next order, and we’re certain you won’t be disappointed. Don’t wait too long to get this coffee delivered! In just a few weeks, we’ll be rotating it out for a new Roastmaster’s selection!
Today is Endangered Species Day, and we’re asking you to stand with Thanksgiving Coffee and our partner organizations to save our wild creatures. In honor of Endangered Species Day, send a package of these coffees to a friend, or sign up for a monthly subscription to keep your donations going.
This weekend marks the largest celebration of Fairtrade ever! May 12-14, we invite you to join us in celebrating the certification that protects the producers: World Fairtrade Day.
Fairtrade Cafe Giveaways
For World Fairtrade Day, we’re excited to feature a few of our California cafes that serve Fairtrade certified Thanksgiving Coffee. We invite you to visit these cafes this weekend, and enter to win a prize pack of Thanksgiving Coffee and Fairtrade goodies at every one!
Not close enough to one of these cafes? No worries! We’ve got some amazing Fairtrade certified coffee available online… and there’s a perk if you order over the Fairtrade weekend. Snag 20% off a selection of our Fairtrade coffees this weekend only, and gift a bag or two to your friends!
*Discount will be available Friday, May 12 through Sunday, May 14.
What is Fairtrade?
Now let’s dig a little deeper… what does Fairtrade mean? We thought we’d let our buddies over at Fairtrade America explain that for us!
The Fairtrade system offers an alternative to conventional trade. By guaranteeing a minimum price and a premium payment, which producers invest into their businesses and communities, Fairtrade gives people in developing countries the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future.
These guys have been the driving force behind fair wages and fair treatment of producers at origins for over two decades, and we are proud to be one of their certified companies.
Participate in World Fairtrade Day
How else can you participate in World Fairtrade Day? Commit to buying only Fairtrade products this weekend, or at least take the time to dig into the origin of the goods you’re purchasing. Check in with your local coffee shop, your local farms and grocery stores. Instead of grabbing a bar of Hershey’s, snag some Divine instead! Instead of getting the generic bananas, find the ones with the Fairtrade stamp.
Learn more about World Fairtrade Day, and see what events are happening in your neighborhood! Check out their microsite at www.fairtradechallenge.org.
Share with us how you’re celebrating World Fairtrade Day on your social media channel of choice!
This Friday through Sunday, take 20% off five of our Fairtrade coffees at the link below! This sale ends at 11:59pm PST on Sunday night, so don’t wait to snag your bag of Fairtrade Thanksgiving Coffee this weekend!
*Discount will be available Friday, May 12 through Sunday, May 14.
*This discount cannot be combined with any other offers.