A lunch at Stone and Embers

Stone-and-Embers_01

This restaurant, located on the western edge of the Anderson Valley on Highway 128, about 25 miles from the Pacific Coast, serves the finest pizza west of the Mississippi River. I come from the Bronx where “Italian” means “old world”, authentic and spare. Dough, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, combined to make a savory blend, greater than the sum of its parts. I dropped in with Joan a couple of Sunday’s ago on a wine tasting trip, something we rarely do, being surrounded by great wineries, you seem to take them for granted.

Lunch was pizza and a draft, a North Coast Pale Ale from Fort Bragg’s North Coast Brewery. We sat at the bar, on high stools and watched the preparation of our pizza. The stone oven registered 900 degrees. Black Valley oak embers glowed in the oven. Sweet basil tickled my nose. The dough was spread, tossed just a bit and laid out on a wood panel board, covered with a right amount of tomato sauce, blobs of fresh buffalo mozzarella and slid into the oven. About four minutes later it was in front of us, bubbled up crust with carbony tipped edges just made me think of those days back in the Bronx in the 50s when the only pizza you could get was called a “pie” or a “beitz” and it came whole, not by the slice. It was “old country” just like the one we finished off at Stone & Ember.

A perfect Ten!

 – Paul Katzeff
Co-Founder & CEO

 

Find out more about Stone and Embers online at:

www.stoneandembers.com

Clean Cook Stoves – Phase II

Maama Vanessa with new Clean Cookstove
Maama Vanessa with original cooking fire

The Namanyonyi Cooperative
 in Uganda is an interfaith community of Muslim, Christian and Jewish farmers who have put aside religious differences to produce a fine coffee called “Delicious Peace.”

The Clean Cook Stove project was born out of a climate change mitigation initiative brought to Namanyonyi Cooperative (formerly Mirembe Kawomera) in 2012. It began with planting trees. However, the trees were quickly devastated by the cooperative’s highly inefficient cooking methods.

The coop members knew that if they had more efficient ways to cook, they would lower their use of firewood. The Clean Cook Stoves were the solution. In the first phase of funding, we were able to provide Clean Cook Stoves to the most disadvantaged cooperative members. The first 44 stoves were built for the elderly, families with children, and single-parent families. This was completed by December of 2014.

Farida Wafidi with new clean cookstove

Farida Wafidi with new Clean Cook Stove

The objective of Phase I was to test the ability of the coop and staff to find local materials and train local craftsmen, creating ongoing jobs with a new Clean Cook Stove trade or industry. Funds were generated by coop board using their Fair Trade premium and by Thanksgiving Coffee Company’s sales rebate of $1.00/ pkg. added to Delicious Peace coffee purchases by supporters of interfaith work.

With Phase I successfully completed, we now enter Phase II: to complete the next 50 stoves for this year. It is our goal to continue to provide guidance and funding for a “smokeless kitchen” with a clean cook stove for every member of Namanyonyi Cooperative by the end of 2016.

Clean Cook Stove Benefits

Aisa Kainza with new Clean Cookstove

Aisa Kainza with new Clean Cook Stove

As a result of the Clean Cook Stove project, the rate of deforestation has been curbed. The newly planted trees can develop deep root systems which then allows the soil to become more fertile for food production as the trees bring up the water table. This rich soil further strengthens the coffee trees and other food crops grown for subsistence. This will improve food security for the area’s farmers by increasing the diversity of foods immediately available to farming families.

These stoves use 1/10 the fuel to produce a cooked meal, while the chimney directs smoke out of the kitchen, reducing the risks of respiratory disorders to all involved with cooking. They also reduce the risk of fire, given that the homes are made of dry banana fiber & grass-thatched roofs. This also lowers the chances of children getting burnt or even dying.

This project is designed to create a new indigenous industry. Over one million rural Ugandans use open fire kitchens in their highly flammable homes. Utilizing local materials and local craftsmen, this project will become a model for future funders. The Clean Cook Stoves are part Health Benefit, and part Climate change Mitigation, while also providing new employment opportunities. Scale will lower costs, increase the number of cook stoves builders, and form the basis of a new and healthier cultural norm.

Delicious_Peace_light-front_web Delicious_Peace_dark-front_web Delicious_Peace_Decaf_blend-front_web

Support this project by purchasing Delicious Peace Coffee. $0.50 per package sold will be used to fund Phase II of the Clean Cook Stove project.

Shop Delicious Peace Coffee

Great. Decaf. Coffee.

Our Decaf CoffeesMany of the decaf coffees available in the supermarket are sourced from “past crop” coffees, which is why so many people think of decafs as tasting “a bit off” or “stale.”

We care deeply about the flavor of our decaf coffees. We send new coffee crop green beans directly to our Certified Organic decaffeination facility.

Shop Decaf Coffee
We have found a cooperative in Veracruz, Mexico that is a stone’s throw from the best decaffeinating plant in North America, which uses the Mountain Water Process. The green coffee beans are immersed in mountain glacial water to extract the coffee oils and caffeine.

The water/coffee oils/caffeine solution is then passed through a special filter to remove the caffeine. The flavor rich, but caffeine-free coffee solution is then returned to the coffee beans under pressure, to re-infuse them with their original oils. The decaffeinated beans are then thoroughly dried and tested for quality to maintain the flavor profile of the original coffee.

A note from our co-founder, Paul Katzeff, about decaf coffee…

Co-Founder Paul KatzeffI have always loved my after-dinner coffee with a dessert. The next three hours were bright and awake for me, perfect for reading a book without dozing, or watching a ball game. But, my body stopped metabolizing the caffeine as fast as when I was younger, and the coffee had to go if I wanted some good sleep.

Then the decaf revolution began to speed up, and decaf became tolerable for me. I accepted less flavor in favor of good sleep but I also knew there was a better train a-comin’ and I wanted to ride it, even be it’s conductor.

Thanksgiving Coffee is a small decaf railroad engine and we have done what I had hoped we could do. We have found a way to make decaf indistinguishable from caffeinated coffee flavor. There is a quality in the cup you will find as satisfying as any coffee you ever loved, and wanted more of.

As a coffee lover, I invite you to join me in a good night’s sleep after a great cup or three of our decaf, roasted to the exact flavor profile you love. I know you will be amazed, and hope you will feed me back your tasting comments below!

Sincerely,
Paul Katzeff
CEO & Roastmaster Emeritus

Shop Decaf Coffee

A new look!

This month, we have some exciting news to share! Over the past several months, we’ve been working on some big projects to make it much easier to find coffees you’ll love. We’ve organized our coffees by roast color, improved our packaging and built a brand new website. You’re invited to take a look at our new look, below…

New-look-poster_vertical

Visit the online store to see all of our new packaging!

Origin Trip: Nicaragua 2015 – day 1

This coffee buying trip to Nicaragua marks the 30th year Thanksgiving Coffee has traveled to this beautiful country. It is also the first year that Thanksgiving Coffee is sending staff without the guidance and counseling of CEO Co-Founder Paul Katzeff.

The trip represents the “passing of the torch” to a new generation. It’s a generation that grew up with coffee as a medium for carrying the message of the people, their craftsmanship, and their hope for a better life through coffee cultivation.

Jacob and Jonah carried The Company message to the cooperatives that our mission, and the value we place on long term relationships, bridges generations. We are in this together, and prosperity for all is the common thread we value most.
– Paul Katzeff

Adventures at Origin: Nicaragua

Nic_2015_trip-mapJacob Long, Nicholas Hoskyns, and I (Jonah Katzeff) traveled together from March 23rd-27th. We visited first and second level coffee cooperatives that produce approximately 25% of our annual green coffee purchases. We cupped and selected our Nicaraguan coffees for 2015, met with cooperative leaders and farmers, and visited beautiful coffee farms.

We were received warmly everywhere. I am so grateful to the hundreds of hands that touch coffee, from the time it is picked to when it is exported. Our 2015 Nicaraguan coffees will be exceptional. The new harvest will be available starting in late May.

DAY ONE

Solcafe and Byron Corrales’ farm visit

Cupping-at-SolcafeCenocafen-cuppers

• We cupped the Solidaridad washed and dry-processed (natural) micro lots, along with Byron’s washed and dry-processed coffees in the morning at Solcafe- the dry mill that processes and exports coffees from first level cooperatives.

• Cecocafen is the second level cooperative that owns the dry mill and is the exporter for many first level cooperatives.

• They have constructed a new cupping lab that is much more spacious than the older one. It was interesting to see on this visit that three cupping labs had been moved to new locations.

Next-gen-with-tree

• We then traveled to Byron’s farm for a delicious lunch consisting of beets, carrots, squash, potatoes, cheese, tortillas, gallo pinto (rice and beans), and mini chicken tamales.

• After lunch, Jacob and I toured Byron’s two farms with Byron and his daughter, Sara.

• Byron showed us the tree where Paul, Byron, and Arnulfo (Byron’s grandfather) first agreed to work together 22 years ago (in the photo at left).

• We learned about some of the biodynamic techniques Byron is applying to the land.  Byron expressed that the 3 most important factors resulting in great coffee are: the producer/farmer, the quality of the soil, and the skill of the roaster.

• We also learned about some of the negative effects resulting from climate change on his coffee trees – fruit not ripening at all, or not ripening fully, and trees flowering now [end of March] when they typically flower in May.

Byron-with-goat

• Byron is taking action now by replacing older trees with ones that are more resistant to climate change. He is also planting more shade trees to protect the coffee trees from the sun.

• He expressed concern that if changes are not made now, there may be a lot less coffee in the future.

• We visited a small grove of a variety of pine trees (7 total) that Byron smuggled back from Brazil. There are no other varieties of this pine in Nicaragua.

• We then returned to Byron’s farm called Finca de Los Pinos and said our goodbyes to Byron’s parents, and returned to Matagalpa for the evening.

• We enjoyed pizza with the Corrales family in Matagalpa!

This story will continue in our next post, so check back soon!


The green coffee sourcing team:

Green_Team

Nicholas (on right) is the Managing Director of Etico. He organized our visit and traveled with us throughout the week. Nicholas was born in England, but Nicaragua is his adopted home after spending almost 25 years there! Etico imports our coffees from Nicaragua as well as green coffees from Guatemala, Mexico, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Jacob (second from right) is the Director of Coffee Control and Roastmaster at Thanksgiving Coffee. He is responsible for developing the roast profiles of all our single origins, blends, and decafs. He approves all the green coffees we purchase and ensures that the coffee roasted at Thanksgiving is consistent roast after roast.

Jonah (on left) works in Business Development and as an Account Manger. He serves in a variety of roles that include green coffee sourcing, managing the San Francisco Bay Area accounts, and special projects, as assigned by Senior Management.

Gauging Success by Access to Clean Water and Education

It’s hard to define what “success” is. We’re trying to do it all the time – to evaluate our efforts at Thanksgiving Coffee. We love this definition of success from our friends at Jhai Coffeehouse….
Image reposted from jhaitribe.tumblr.com
Clean-Water-800px

Jhai coffee house judges its success each year not by the amount of money earned but by the number of children who have access to clean water and hygiene education.

– Tyson Adams, Founder of Jhai Coffee House

Jhai Coffee’s Impact

Our partners at Jhai Coffee are making a huge impact in their community in Laos. In 16 months, Jhai Coffee has completed 21 community hygiene programs, installed 25 water filters and 7 clean water wells, which are providing thousands of schoolchildren with clean water. We’re proud to partner with Jhai coffee to roast their coffee in the United States!

Jhai’s Impact infographic re-posted from jhaicoffeehouse.com

Jhai-Coffee-Impact-Infographic

Musasa, Rwanda – 92 points

Musasa Rwanda - 2015
re-posted from CoffeeReview.com

Blind Assessment:
Immaculately sweet; lyrical. Peach, honey, lavender and honeysuckle, fresh-cut cedar in aroma and cup. Sweet, high-toned acidity; lightly syrupy mouthfeel. Peach, honey and flowers carry into a crisply sweet finish.

Notes:
Rwanda’s tremendous potential as fine coffee producer has only come to fruition over the past several years owing to generous support from international aid agencies, the specialty coffee community and the industry of its growers. Made up entirely of the admired Red Bourbon cultivar and certified fair-trade, this lot comes from the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative; this collection of farmers in known as Musasa, after the areas major town. In 2012 Thanksgiving won the SCAA’s Sustainability Award for work they’ve done with this cooperative since 2004. One of the country’s pioneering socially and environmentally progressive roasters, Thanksgiving aimed to combine coffee quality with social and environmental responsibility many years before the latter preoccupations became fashionable. Visit www.thanksgivingcoffee.com or call 800-648-6491 for more information.

Who Should Drink It:
Those who enjoy a profound natural sweetness in a Fair-Trade-certified coffee. Sweeter and more delicate than a typical good Rwanda.

Read the full review on CoffeeReview.com

Customer Stories: Yorkville Market

by Marchelo Bresciani, Marketing Coordinator

Yorkville Market signIf you find yourself headed inland along Highway 128, your first respite from the winding road will be the Yorkville Market, and it is not to be missed. Those who have been to the Market in the past know that it needed a lot of renovations, but more then that, it needed someone with the passion to take on the challenge of making the Market a vibrant part of the community again. That someone is the new owner and Yorkville native, Lisa Walsh.

Lisa fondly remembers going to the Market for ice cream sandwiches as a child. She left home to attend UC Santa Cruz, and then moved around a bit over the next 10 years. When she heard that the Market was up for sale, she dreamed about buying and fixing the place up, but it seemed “too far away to be a reality.” That all changed after she moved back to Yorkville. With the help of her mother, she bought the Yorkville Market, and with the help of her husband and two brothers, she has restored the Market to its former glory- and then some!

The Market now has a whole new kitchen and concrete flooring, with more exciting features on the way. There are fresh muffins made in house, and the deli serves up sandwiches with bread from the Fort Bragg Bakery. During the renovations, Lisa made a point of saving as much of the original building as she could. One great example is their new wine bar, which was made with redwood salvaged from the old walls.

Yorkville Market features some of the best locally made goods from around the county, with everything from honey, soap, and wine. Lisa even has plans to offer a “rent a picnic” service so her customers can enjoy the gorgeous landscape with their lunches.

When I asked why she chose to serve our coffee, Lisa told me “Thanksgiving Coffee has always been a part of the Yorkville Market. The cupping experience was transformational. Discovering the flavor varieties from one coffee to the next was really eye-opening.”

We are so pleased to continue to be a part of the Yorkville Market story, and can’t wait to see the rest of Lisa’s plans come to fruition.

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