January 16 is Dian Fossey’s birthday, and we’re taking a moment to recognize a truly spectacular woman. Take a moment to learn more about Dian Fossey’s life through the interactive experience on the Gorilla Fund website.
Dr. Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke™ Research Center in Rwanda’s Virungas Mountains in 1967, to protect and study the endangered mountain gorillas. Although Fossey’s life was cut short, her work has continued through the Karisoke Research Center and grown into conservation efforts for other wildlife and programs for people who live near the gorillas.
Among the most legendary scientists of our time, Dian Fossey went to Africa at the urging of famed anthropologist Louis Leakey and began her groundbreaking studies of gorilla behavior. She faced and overcame many obstacles and ultimately gave her life to gorilla protection.
Thanksgiving Coffee has partnered with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund for over a decade, supporting their programs in Rwanda to save the mountain gorillas. Learn more about our partnership, and purchase Gorilla Fund Coffee from Rwanda on the Thanksgiving Coffee store.
Every month, we feature two of our coffees at a 20% discount. We do this to encourage you to try a new blend or roast, and see what kinds of new tastes you might like. Our special offers for January 2017 are our Bolivia, and our Dark Roast Guatemala. Learn more below:
Organic • Fair Trade • Kosher
This fine single-origin Bolivian coffee is crisp, with a syrupy, honey-toned sweetness marked by notes of cacao, spice, and a juicy plum acidity.
$12.40 during the month of January // usually $15.50
Dark Roast Guatemalan Coffee
Organic • Fair Trade • Kosher
Sweet cherry tartness, with notes of semi-sweet chocolate and caramel.
$13.20 during the month of January // usually $16.50
Guatemala + Bolivia Two exceptional coffees, 20% off this month.
The Guatemala coffee is from a group of farmers that know how to bring the rich volcanic soil to life. Our Bolivian farmers have learned the same magic. Although separated by thousands of miles of tropical forests and mountain ranges, both groups have similar farming practices.
We paired these two origins for a reason: when you blend these two coffees together some exceptional flavors emerge.
This pair of coffees gives you a chance to experiment with blending different roast colors. These two coffees are so compatible that the blend can often be better than the sum of its parts. But before you blend, you have to taste them individually at least twice – so you get to know them a little bit.
When you’re ready to blend, always add the dark roast to the light roast. Start by adding 5% dark Guatemala to the light Bolivia. by varying the percentage of dark to light in small increments you will discover dozens of coffee taste profiles. You have enough coffee to brew a different blend each day for a month. It’s what I do and I am always pleasantly surprised.
This is a write-up from the archives (2010) that is worth reading again. Former Thanksgiving Coffee employee Ben Corey-Moran discusses how seasonality affects great coffee.
Like all agricultural crops, coffee changes from year to year due to subtle shifts in environmental factors such as temperature, rainfall, sunshine, and equally subtle changes in harvesting, processing, and preparation by the farmer. This complex dance between farm and farmer produces a fascinating saga of flavor that tracks over time a mosaic of character, sweetness, nuance, and style.
Understanding the seasonality of coffee and working in harmony with its cycles allows us to deepen our relationship with coffee and the farmers who grow it. By focusing on coffee that is origin specific and in-season, we shorten the time and distance that separates us from the production of coffee. Featuring in-season coffees from specific farmers who are close partners transforms the experience of coffee from a generic commodity to a specifically local seasonal product.
Because coffee grows in both the northern and southern hemispheres, the coffee harvest is actually an ongoing cycle whose timing depends on latitude, elevation, and weather. Typically, coffees grown north of the equator are harvested between November and January while coffees grown south of the equator are harvested between May and July. After harvest and processing, coffee requires a resting period of two months before it can be shipped. Together, these steps add another three to four months to the arrival of new crop coffee. Consequently, late in our spring we expect the arrival of coffees from the northern hemisphere, while late in our fall we expect the arrival of coffees from the southern hemisphere.
Our monthly rotation of single-origin coffees features a fresh, in-season coffee produced by one of the farms or cooperatives we’ve worked with for years. Each is a unique expression of the farmer’s craft as it combines with the subtleties of varietal, soil, temperature, rainfall, and sunshine. Each is handpicked by our roasting team to showcase an exceptional example of the benefits that come from working directly with farmers, and the vibrancy of in-season coffee.
We hope you’ll join us as we explore the joys of coffee every month and for many years to come.
Ben worked at Thanksgiving Coffee from 2003 to 2012, in charge of coffee buying and supply chain development operations, as well as working with farmers and cooperatives throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Ben is now the Director of Coffee Supply at Fair Trade USA, leading their investment in producer services, industry collaboration, and supply chain development.
How are migratory birds and shade grown coffee trees linked?
The coffee industry has an enormous impact on migratory birds: when they fly south in the cold months, these birds rely on the trees that shade coffee farms throughout the tropics. When coffee plantations clear cut land to grow coffee in direct sunlight, not only does the loss of forested lands contribute to climate change, but our precious migratory birds lose their winter homes.
If we want to continue enjoying these birds, we have to preserve their winter habitat – and choosing to purchase only shade grown coffee is an integral part of that habitat preservation. Our SongBird Coffee is Organic and Fairtrade, and certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
“In this picture of shade grown coffee we see the lower level, dark green coffee trees. On the second level there are banana trees and on the overstay third level, native trees. From the mottled bark I can see that the tree is Inga, a tree with nitrogen setting qualities in the root system. It shades the coffee trees from above while providing leaf litter to refresh the thin topsoil layer, while at the same time adding Nitrogen to the soil with its roots.
This was taken on a trip to Jinotega, Nicaragua. Altitude is 5,000 feet ” – Paul Katzeff
January 5 is National Bird Day and to celebrate we are going to kick off a new monthly blog post – For the Birds – highlighting one of the 200 Neotropical migratory birds who rely on shade grown coffee during their winter migration. We will start off by getting to know the birds representing our Songbird Coffee lineup:
Songbird Coffee light roast from Guatemala
The Cedar Waxwing is the perfect representative for our light roast Guatemalan coffee because the ripe cherry sweetness of the coffee reflects the fruity diet of these strikingly beautiful backyard favorites. As social birds, you can usually see them in large flocks around fruit trees such as juniper, cedar, and mulberry, passing berries from one bird to another before swallowing them whole. In fact, the Cedar Waxwing is the only bird in North American whose diet is comprised primarily of fruits and berries.
Unfortunately for the birds, their fruit based diet means that eating overripe or fermented berries can leave them visibly tipsy. For those Waxwings who have had ‘a few too many’, some rescue groups have made ‘holding tanks’ to keep them safe while they sober up before flying home.
All of Thanksgiving’s organically certified coffees are shade grown, and a select few carry the Bird Friendly gold seal of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This certification ensures that tropical “agroforests” are preserved and migratory birds can find a healthy haven to eat and rest as they travel the hundreds of miles from your backyard to the coffee farms producing the beans you so enjoy every morning.
You don’t need binoculars to find a coffee that protects forests, helps wildlife and supports the efforts of the American Birding Association; just look for the Songbird Coffee with the Cedar Waxwing on the front.
Every month, we feature a specific coffee that has just recently arrived at the Thanksgiving Coffee Roastery. The most recent green coffee arrival is our Organic Peruvian Coffee, and this batch is tasting spectacular. Order the freshest coffee we have, and snag yourself a bag of our 100% Peru!
Light Roast • Organic • FairTrade • 12oz • $15.50
Delicate honey-toned sweetness, juicy citric acidity, subtle chocolate notes, and hints of ripe papaya.
We drank a LOT of coffee this year. American adults drink an average of 382 million cups of coffee every day – multiply that by the 365 days of 2016, and we have a pretty caffeinated nation. As for the year 2016, there were a couple coffees that you (our customers) especially enjoyed this past year… let’s take a look at the top five!
Top Selling (Favorite!) Coffees of 2016
SongBird French Roast
Full-bodied, smoky, and intense.
Below: A shade-grown coffee farm in Guatemala, where some of the coffee beans from this blend were grown.
2016 has been a whirlwind of a year. These past twelve months have sped by, and it’s crazy to think that we have only a few days left until a brand new year is upon us! A lot has happened at Thanksgiving Coffee Company in 2016. Let’s take a look back at the year we’re leaving behind.
Roaster of the Year Win
The highlight of our year would have to be our win of Roast Magazine’s 2017 Macro Roaster of the Year. We worked hard to accomplish this goal, and are honored to be able to share it with our customers, whose loyalty and support got us where we are.
The three coffees chosen during Roast Magazine’s blind tasting are available as a gift pack, complete with our article in Roast Magazine and a tasting card for your own experimentation.
Best For the World
We were honored to be named as one of B Corporation’s Best for the World companies this year. This distinction recognizes our efforts at home and abroad to better the coffee industry and our communities. We scored in the top 10% of all B Corporations!
“These companies redefining business success are the enterprises we celebrate in our Best for the World coverage. The 1,800-plus businesses around the world that have undergone the B Impact Assessment and certified as B Corporations – as verified by the independent nonprofit B Lab* – are all leaders demonstrating the many ways businesses can be a force for good in the world. The B Impact Assessment gives companies a score based on how they perform on metrics for impact on their communities, the environment, workers and customers.” – bftw.bthechange.com
2016 Cause Coffee Partnerships
In 2016, we had the opportunity to launch TWO new Cause Coffee partnerships, and we’re enthusiastic about both of them. Learn more below:
Bee Bold Mendocino
The Bee Bold Mendocino partnership was the brain child of Thanksgiving Coffee Company’s co-founder, Paul Katzeff. In an effort to save the bees here in Mendocino County, we created a local action committee. On a global scale, we partnered with Friends of the Earth to create our Bee Bold Coffee.
We are very happy to be partnering with Baby Rhino Rescue to support the orphaned rhinos of Africa. At the largest rhino orphan sanctuary in South Africa, Baby Rhino Rescue provides essential physical, nutritional, medical and emotional support to rehabilitate those baby rhinos fortunate enough to be found in time to save them.
We released two new coffees this year, as a part of our Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club. Every month, members of this club receive two 12oz bags of our latest coffee arrivals. They’re the first to receive all of our newest blends and single origins. These two coffees were our favorites of the new single origins released in 2016.
Lively and complex. Milk chocolate and caramel notes give way to a smooth, lasting finish.
Kenya Peaberry Coffee
A unique mouthfeel with hints of milk chocolate, ripe peach, and caramel.
Thanksgiving Coffee in the Community
Here at Thanksgiving Coffee, we’re lucky enough to live in a community that cares about one another. Every individual has their place, and tries to give back with what they can.
Volunteer Hours worked
As a certified B Corp, we encourage and support participation in building community. From volunteering at the humane society to coaching the high school football team, our team of people here at Thanksgiving have given their heart and soul to our local community. Over 275 hours were volunteered during 2016!
Pounds of Coffee Donated
Another piece that comes along with being part of the community is the opportunity to give back what we make here at the roastery: coffee!! We make sure that local events and fundraisers are always well-stocked with Thanksgiving Coffee. During 2016, we had the opportunity to donate over $12,000 worth of coffee to community events and fundraisers. These dollars translate into substantial income for the non-profits involved, who sell our coffee by the cup.
Events Thanksgiving Coffee Attended
Roasters Guild Retreat
Back in August, we got the chance to send our Roastmaster Jacob Long to the Roasters Guild Retreat in Wisconsin. Jacob and his team won the team challenge at the event, and had the opportunity to work with many of the greats in the coffee roasting community.
Let’s Talk Coffee
Let’s Talk Coffee had to be one of our favorite events of the year – for good reason. During the red carpet event, Roast Magazine and Let’s Talk Coffee announced our win for the 2017 Macro Roaster of the Year! Jonah Katzeff accepted the award at the event in Puerto Vallarta.
B Corporation Champions Retreat
Co-founders Paul and Joan Katzeff attended the annual Champions Retreat for the B Corporation in Philadelphia in 2016. This event was an excellent way to spend time with the brands and leaders that are shaping our world. The champions retreat brought leaders from every industry together for lectures, community events and stimulating conversation. We are so honored to be a part of such an inspiring group of innovators!
At this year’s San Francisco Green Festival, we had the opportunity to serve thousands of lattes, americanos, cappuccinos, pour-overs and more, to the amazing folks of San Francisco. Being around brands and individuals that care about taking care of our planet was a truly wonderful experience. The conversations that we had with everyone who stopped by our booth were inspiring!
New Coffee Reviews in 2016
It’s always a highlight of our year to hear that people are loving our coffee – and that it’s scoring GREAT! Take a look at what the experts at CoffeeReview.com had to say about two of our favorite roasts…
Paul’s Blend: 92 Points
“Richly and sweetly pungent. Concord grape, roasted cacao nib, cedar, hazelnut, lemon blossom in aroma and cup. Brisk, lightly juicy acidity; delicate, satiny mouthfeel. The crisp, nut-toned finish leads with Concord grape notes in the short and cedar in the long, with hazelnut throughout.”
“Delicate, deeply sweet. Baker’s chocolate, magnolia, peach, black peppercorn, sandalwood in aroma and cup. Gentle, rounded acidity; velvety mouthfeel. The richly drying finish consolidates to baker’s chocolate and peach. An engaging coffee particularly appealing to those who value delicate, cocoa-toned coffees with gentle acidity and engaging spice notes. Reassuring environmental and socio-economic credentials.”
Now that 2016 is coming to a close, we look forward to what 2017 has to offer. What were your highlights from this past year? Share with us on social media.
Be sure to follow us to get the latest updates on what’s happening at Thanksgiving Coffee Company!
“In the midst of winter, I at last discovered that there was, within me, an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, today marks the beginning of winter and the end of daylight’s steady retreat. It is the winter solstice, our shortest day and our longest night.
There is a poetry to the seasonal shifts created by the Earth’s axial tilt. Every revolution around the sun brings the fresh new wonders of spring, the joy of long summer days, the beauty of autumn’s transition, and the tranquility of long winter nights.
It is no wonder that people from cultures all over the world gather close with their loved ones when the nights get long. It is a timely reminder that even when the night seems endless, when it feels like cold and darkness might prevail, the light always returns. As we gather with our loved ones this winter, take solace that starting tomorrow, every new sunrise brings with it more daylight then the last.
From all of us here at Thanksgiving Coffee, we hope your short days will be merry and bright, and that your long wintery nights will be warmed by the love of friends, family, and a Just Cup of Thanksgiving Coffee.
The image above is an “analemma” – a series of photographs of the sun taken from the same location, at the same time each day, over the course of an entire year. The sun that appears at the top of the image was taken during the summer solstice, and the one closest to the horizon is the winter solstice sun.
There’s a myriad of traditions surrounding December 25 – exchanging gifts, singing carols, attending midnight mass and so many more. One of these traditions, and one especially close to our hearts, is the Christmas Bird Count.