If you’ve ordered our classic Mocha Java in the past few days, you may have spotted a difference in our packaging. Our new label design features a map that illustrates the story behind Mocha Java. In this blog post, we’re going to give you a little history lesson—so pour a cup of java (or grab yourself a mocha?) and have a seat.
While the word “mocha” may also refer to your favorite chocolate-y drink, that is not what we’re referring to in today’s post. Mocha Java is a historic blend of two origins an ocean away from each other: Indonesia and Yemen.
The History of Mocha Java
Back in the 1400s to 1600s, the majority of Europe’s coffee intake came out of the Red Sea, from the Port of Mocha [Makha or Mokha]. This coffee was grown in the country of Yemen, but was referred to by the name of the port from which it came. In the Pacific Islands, it was the same story. Most Indonesian coffee was coming out of a port on the island of Java, controlled by the Dutch East India Trading Company. This led to the term “java”, which has remained as slang for coffee to this day.
These two ports caffeinated most of the coffee-drinking world in those days, and trading ships passed through both on the same trip. Although 5,000 miles separated them, coffee from Java and Yemen lived together on the sailing vessels that made their way across the Indian Ocean and back to Europe. These two origins came together as the very first blend in the world of coffee, and it’s a combination that roasters continue to emulate.
The above pictures are a few examples of historic Mocha Java blends.
Mocha Java Today
These days, your typical Mocha Java has a few slight variations. Most roasters (and coffee enthusiasts) prefer Indonesian coffee to be sourced from Sumatra, the next island over from Java. On the Middle Eastern side, buyers will often source their “mocha” from the African country of Ethiopia, across the Red Sea from Yemen.
This is the case for our own homage to Mocha Java. For the Thanksgiving Coffee Mocha Java blend, we source our “java” from farmers in the the Takengon region of Sumatra, Indonesia. Our “mocha” is a natural-processed coffee that comes from farmer cooperatives in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. Our Mocha Java is a coffee that we’ve perfected over decades of roasting, and we strive to maintain its consistency.
The history of Mocha Java is a history of the coffee world as a whole. The coffee industry has changed significantly over the past five centuries, and we love looking back and researching where it all came from. Next time you brew up a cup of our Mocha Java, take your time drinking it, because you are sipping a truly historic coffee.
Mocha Java, Deconstructed
Now that you know the background of the Mocha Java, you have the opportunity to create your own. Our organic Sumatran Coffee is available in two roast colors, and we have three different organic Ethiopian coffees that you can choose from online. You can mix up the “mocha” and “java” to create your own perfect blend.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company • Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup • 2017 Roaster of the Year
Just a mile away from San Francisco’s crookedest street is a classic old-school diner on Lombard that has graced the city of San Francisco for over thirty years. Home Plate in San Francisco has long been the breakfast choice of Bay Area locals, and they have now grown into a new location.
Thankfully, they haven’t moved far. This homage to the baseball years of old has shifted their location to a block west on Lombard Street, into a larger space. With the added area, they’re almost doubling their sitting area, and will be able to accommodate many more visitors for breakfast and lunch.
Coffee at Home Plate San Francisco
Thanksgiving Coffee has been Home Plate’s coffee provider since the very beginning, and they’re one of our favorite accounts to visit in the city. The coffee at Home Plate also received an upgrade during the move; a new brewer was just installed, and we had took some time to train their new in-house barista on espresso drinks, as well.
The Bay Area continues to offer some of the best food in the country, and we are so happy to provide coffee for the leading breakfast spots.
Home Plate San Francisco is open now in their new location:
2150 Lombard St
San Francisco, CA 94123
Photos from Home Plate
People have been enjoying breakfast at Home Plate in San Francisco for over three decades, but these photos are from some more recent excursions at this hot spot on Instagram:
We don’t need to convince any Mendocino local that Cafe Beaujolais has magnificent food, but now fans of the travel agency Visit California are being alerted to the excellent cuisine available in this North Coast establishment.
Chef Julian Lopez of Cafe Beaujolais was recently featured on Visit California’s enticing food segment: California Dream Eater. See if you can get through all 142 seconds of this video without drooling (or calling for a reservation). They featured a dry aged duck breast with local foraged tree collards and poached sunchoke for dinner, with a dessert of candy cap mushroom banana cake, and cinnamon creme-fresh ice cream.
Huge congratulations goes out to our friends at Cafe Beaujolais for this great feature on the Visit California website! The team at Beaujolais has been serving Thanksgiving Coffee since the Lopez family took over last year, and they can whip up a spectacular cappuccino to be enjoyed at the end of your meal.
The Chow restaurants are a staple of the Bay Area, and have been for the past two decades. Since 1997, they’ve been serving up quality food for locals and tourists alike. Thanksgiving Coffee Company is proud to have been a part of this tradition for the past fourteen years, supplying freshly roasted coffee to every new location that has opened its doors, from Golden Gate Park all the way to Danville.
This week, we are excited to welcome another Chow location into the fold. The newest version of the Chow Food Bar is a market and cafe that has been in the works for well over four years. Oakland is the lucky recipient of a brand new Chow Cafe, Bakery & Market!
This new location on Piedmont Ave will be expanding on what Lafayette has offered for several years, building out a market section that is sure to become the go-to for Oakland area shoppers.
The opening of Chow Oakland follows on the heels of the closing of Park Chow, a beloved location for many years. While we’re sad to see this parkside eatery disappear, it’s making way for growth in Oakland, which we love to see.
Chow Oakland just opened their doors this week. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try this spectacular new establishment, and be sure to send them our thanks for serving Thanksgiving Coffee! Sarah Han of BerkeleySide.com got some great shots on opening day, be sure to check them out!
Happy Valentine’s Day from Thanksgiving Coffee Company!
We might be challenging the status quo with the below statement, but we’re pretty sure you will agree with us…
There is nothing more romantic than coffee.
Sure, it’s sweet to get a box of chocolates. Yes, a steak dinner with a glass of wine is heavenly. But there is nothing more divine than waking up to the smell of freshly ground, freshly brewed coffee.
Give your significant other the best gift this Valentine’s Day. Wake up first and brew the coffee!
Want to surprise your better half with some new coffee beans? Here are a few ideas…
If you’re looking for something really sweet, these are a few of our favorite flavored coffees! A touch of vanilla and a hint of chocolate make these coffees a delightful Valentine’s Day treat.
Want something special? These coffees are special editions – something you won’t typically find at the grocery store!
If your Valentine’s Day includes chilling at home and watching a movie, decaf coffee might be a good idea.
No need to break the bank this Valentine’s Day – these two coffees are on sale all of February!
Thanksgiving Coffee Company 2017 Roaster of the Year Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International has been one of Thanksgiving Coffee’s longest partnerships, and we’ve had the pleasure of donating over $40,000, with the help of our customers and wholesale partners.
The DFGFI has been working tirelessly for fifty years to continue the legacy of Dian Fossey, in protecting the magnificent mountain gorillas of Africa. First in Rwanda, and now expanding into the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International has changed the way the world thinks about gorillas, and has preserved and documented five decades of gorillas in the mountains of the Virungas.
Now, they are going to be able to do even more, with the extraordinary donation from Portia De Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres. On January 26, Ellen’s 60th birthday, Portia gave Ellen the gift of furthering Dian Fossey’s legacy and joining the DFGFI by establishing a permanent research center in Rwanda.
This is a huge step forward for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, allowing them to expand their research in this specially-designed facility. President and CEO Tara Stoinski, Ph.D. said this about the gift:
“It’s impossible to overstate what this remarkable news means for the protection of these magnificent animals. We have continued Dian’s legacy for 50 years, and this new campus will serve as a brilliant focal point for our efforts to protect wild gorillas over the next decades.”
We are so excited to be able to watch as this new partnership grows and matures. Portia De Rossi also set up a Wildlife Fund in Ellen’s name: the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund. This fund will begin by supporting the Karisoke research facility, and will continue to take on projects for other wildlife preservation causes in the future.
Thanksgiving Coffee wants to give a huge thank you to Ellen and Portia for this amazing donation to the future of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas.
About the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International
The DFGFI was established in 1967 by Dian Fossey. She set up a research facility in the country of Rwanda, dedicated to the preservation and documentation of the mountain gorillas living in the Virunga wilderness. After her death in 1985, the organization continued her work in monitoring and protecting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, and later the Grauer’s gorillas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Thanksgiving Coffee and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International partnered in early 2004 to create the Gorilla Fund Cause Coffee, using Fairtrade Rwandan coffee. In 2017, we launched our Grauer’s Gorilla Coffee, using Organic and Fairtrade coffee grown in the Congo. Through the fourteen years we’ve worked with the DFGFI, we’ve raised over $40,000 to support these gorillas.
February 16 marks the dawn of a new year under the Chinese calendar. 2018 is the Year of the Dog.
Chinese New Year in Mendocino
Here in Mendocino County, we’re lucky enough to have an early relic of Chinese culture in North America. Located in the village of Mendocino is our own Taoist temple: the Temple of Kwan Tai.
The Temple of Kwan Tai is a California Historic Landmark, and an important part of Mendocino’s history. The Chinese population of Mendocino in the 19th and early 20th centuries had a huge impact on the development and growth of the community, despite not being allowed to become citizens, own property, or vote in local elections. Notwithstanding the rampant racism of the era against Chinese populations, the community grew and flourished, and many of their descendants remain to this day.
The temple is one of the oldest standing buildings in the village of Mendocino, as it was built in 1854. This is the same year that the historic Ford House was built, and the year the Big River Mill was constructed.
The Temple of Kwan Tai Today
The Temple of Kwan Tai plays an active role in the Mendocino community, by putting on two spectacular events around the time of the Chinese New Year. These are the Chinese New Year Children’s Parade and the Chinese New Year’s Dinner. The public is encouraged to attend both of these events, and it’s always a joy to see members of the community and visitors the area join in on the celebrations. You can see the parade in the village of Mendocino on the late morning of Thursday, February 15th, and purchase tickets for the dinner on the evening of the 17th. The proceeds from the dinner help keep up the temple, and fund the annual parade.
Our own Lorraine Hee-Chorley, on the accounting team here at Thanksgiving Coffee, manages the temple and the events it puts on. Lorraine is a direct descendant of the man who first built the Temple of Kwan Tai in 1854, and actually wrote the book Chinese in Mendocino County, documenting the lives of early Chinese settlers of this area.
Thanksgiving Coffee is happy to donate coffee for the New Year’s dinner, and our employees look forward to attending and volunteering every year!
The Golden Beet Awards are local to the state of Illinois, but are a significant part of the local food movement. People all over the world are paying more attention to shopping local, and this movement is being commended in the form of awards by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.
This year, the 2018 Gold Beet Award winners include Cristaudo’s Cafe & Bakery, a foundational piece of the Southern Illinois food scene. Cristaudo’s has been a part of the Carbondale scene since 1977, and for the past forty years they’ve served excellent meals, baked goods and coffee.
Cristaudo’s has served Thanksgiving Coffee in their cafe since 2014, and we are honored to work with an organization that has such a strong commitment to supporting community, and to environmental sustainability. Carbondale area non-profits use Cristaudo’s as their go-to caterer, because of this same dedication to the community (as well as spectacular food!).
Rachel Cristaudo said this in her interview with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance:
“There are so many reasons why buying local is important to us. Among those are strengthening the local economy, utilizing the best ingredients, caring for the environment and building community.”
Cristaudo’s took home the Golden Beet Award in the category ‘Restaurants & Institutions.’ There are five total categories for this award: Innovative Farmer, Restaurants and Institutions, Farm to School, Community Food Projects, and Scaling Up.
Visit Cristaudo’s in Carbondale, and thank them for their generous support of the Southern Illinois community!
Join us in taking a closer look at Bolivia as a coffee origin.
Bolivian coffee is primarily grown in the Yungas – a band of forests growing along the slopes of the Andes. This is the Caranavi Province, located just northeast of the city of La Paz. It’s a fertile land that is excellent for growing coffee, and ranges from 800-1800 meters above sea level.
For many years, the only way to access the coffee farms of this region was via the Yungas Road – a steep and winding route that led from the city of La Paz into the Andes. This path was the one link between Bolivian coffee farms and the rest of civilization until the early 2000s. It has been called “The World’s Most Dangerous Road” or “Death Road”, and currently attracts mountain bikers looking for a high-elevation thrill. These days, there is a paved, two-lane road that allows for faster and safer traffic to move between La Paz and the coffee villages to the northeast.
The History of Bolivian Coffee
As the poorest country in South America, Bolivia has historically had a number of problems. Transportation of goods over the Yungas Road was a monumental issue for years, and the overworked coffee farmers had no reason to care about the quality of their product, knowing they would be underpaid whether it was good quality or not. Coca farming was a much more lucrative business than coffee.
USAID made huge strides in Bolivia in the early 2000s, by building wet mills in the Yunga forests. Processing at origin made the quality of the coffee increase dramatically, and helped a new generation turn toward coffee instead of coca. The swelling popularity of the Fairtrade and Organic movements also assisted in boosting the Bolivian economy, and improved the caliber of coffee coming from the country.
Thanksgiving Coffee and Bolivia
This year’s crop of coffee from Bolivia landed at the Thanksgiving Coffee headquarters in late January, making it our latest arrival for February 2018. We continue to be impressed with how much Bolivian coffee has improved in the 40+ years that we’ve been sourcing and roasting it.
Co-founder and CEO Paul Katzeff writes about his first time roasting Bolivian coffee in the late seventies:
“It was not memorable. Like most coffees from South America that were not from Brazil, Venezuela or Colombia, it was poorly prepped and inconsistent from sack to sack. It was long before coffee was even called ‘Specialty.’ Coffee farmers in Bolivia were not selling or even thinking about producing better quality. Their market was used as filler for the multi-national brands. My interest back then was only because I was exploring new possibilities, seeking treasure where treasure had not yet been found. Bolivia came into its own as an origin within the last 10-15 years and quality has improved steadily into a well-prepared, sweet and bright flavor profile. Bolivia has come a very long way in a very short period of time.”
Thanks for taking the time to dig into the origin of your coffee – check out our light roast Bolivian coffee below:
Bolivian Coffee Origin Specifics
REGION: La Paz, Caranavi Province ALTITUDE: 800-1800 meters above sea level GENETIC VARIETIES: Typica, Catuaí, Caturra CERTIFICATION: Fair Trade, Organic PROCESSING METHOD: Washed DRYING METHOD: sun-dried on patios
Thanksgiving Coffee Company Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
2017 Roaster of the Year