Es·pres·so – /eˈspresˌō/ noun: espresso; plural noun: espressos; noun: expresso; plural noun: 1. strong black coffee made by forcing steam through ground coffee beans. from Italian (caffè) espresso, literally ‘pressed out (coffee)’.
The Upsetter Espresso has been named a Good Food Award Winner, and it seems like a great time to talk about espresso roasts and perhaps clarify what that means. So let’s start with the basics:
What is espresso?
Espresso is coffee of Italian origin, brewed by expressing or forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Espresso generally has more body than coffee brewed by other methods, has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids which gives it a satiny mouthfeel, and has crema on top, which is a foam with a creamy consistency. As a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavors and chemicals in a typical cup of espresso are very concentrated. Espresso is also the base for other drinks such as a caffè, latte, cappuccino, caffè macchiato, caffè mocha, flat white, or caffè Americano.
What is an espresso roast?
Espresso is both a coffee beverage and a brewing method. It is not a specific bean, bean blend, or roast level, though it is more finely ground. An espresso roast is simply a way of roasting any green coffee with the intention of it tasting good brewed as espresso. Any bean or roasting level can be used to produce authentic espresso. For example, in Southern Italy, a darker roast is generally preferred. Farther north, the trend moves toward lighter roasts, while outside Italy a wide range is popular.
By lightly roasting a blend of high quality coffee beans from three different countries of origin, our Roastmaster developed a new espresso flavor profile; one with deeper complexities than many darker roasts.
Can I use an espresso roast in my home brewer?
Yes! The Upsetter Espresso was judged for the Good Food award, not prepared as an espresso, but served like all the other contenders as a drip brewed coffee. A blend designed with the extraction process of espresso in mind will also taste great as a drip coffee, a pour over, a french press, or even cold brew.
Try Some Today!
Order a bag of the award winning Upsetter and taste the difference for yourself. Do you already love the Upsetter? Please leave a review to let everyone know why this cup of coffee truly stands out in a crowd.
Thanksgiving Coffee’s Upsetter Espresso has been named a Winner of the 2019 Good Food Awards!
Each January, the Good Food Foundation organizes a three-day weekend to meet, celebrate, taste and buy from the nearly 200 Good Food Winners. The awarded products top the charts in a blind tasting and meet the environmental and social responsibility standards of the Good Food Awards. Each year, over 2,000 entries from all 50 states are submitted.
The coffees are judged and coded to be double-blind, so neither the volunteers nor the judges have any indication of what coffees are presented. Judges are broken up into groups, each team tasting up to 8 different flights of coffee. After the first round – which this year featured over 170 submissions – only 50 coffees move on. These represent the 10 highest scoring coffees from each region of the US: East, West, North, South, and Central. The finalists are evaluated again and the top two in each region become Good Food Awards winners.
The Winning Coffee
The Upsetter is a one-of-a-kind blend of coffees from around the world. This unique espresso is smooth and balanced, with complexities not found in single origin brews. Our Roastmaster, Jacob Long, spent a year developing this exciting advancement in espresso coffees, searching for just the right mix of varietals to roast to perfection.
Awarded coffees are usually single origins from Ethiopia. The quality and flavors of that region are legendary, and the fact that a blend has been judged their equal is no small feat. This award distinguishes the smooth complexity and rich flavor present in this coffee.
Authenticity with Distinction
To win a double blind tasting over 170 other distinguished coffee roasters is truly an honor. We thank the Good Food Foundation for recognizing the importance of authenticity and quality in the food we eat. When you love the work you do, and care deeply about the process from start to finish, it shines through to the finished product. At least, that’s been our experience here at Thanksgiving Coffee Company for over 45 years.
Thanks to you, our customers, for knowing that a great cup of coffee comes from the heart, just as much as it comes from the coffee beans. Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
“Behind the controls of the roasting machine, the roaster checks gauges, fiddles with knobs and valves, and works to perfect each and every roast. We’ve named our Upsetter Espresso after Lee “Scratch” Perry, known as “The Upsetter”. A Jamaican musician famous for his unusual remixes, he uses 8-track analog recordings to produce strange, unique, and beautiful sounds. Just as The Upsetter used reverb, volume, and pitch to perfect his mixes, we fiddle with the controls of our roasting machine to perfect the flavor of this unique espresso blend.”
– Jacob Long, Roastmaster
You might not appreciate the similarities between a studio artist working a soundboard and a coffee roaster fine tuning his machine. Yet both require a deep well of knowledge, a desire to manipulate layers of input, and an artistic vision for how all the various elements will finally come together into a finished product.
The Upsetter espresso stands out as a truly bold step for espresso: a lightly roasted blend of the finest coffees from all around the world.
Enticing notes of caramel and rich milk chocolate are complemented by hints of sweet citrus. Especially well suited for straight shots of espresso.
It took over a year to develop the balanced taste and complex flavors of this espresso. Instead of using coffee from a single origin, Roastmaster Jacob Long played up the complexities imparted by different varietals. This one-of-a-kind blend includes sweet, nutty tastes of Nicaragua, spicy notes from Congo, and the beautiful fruit-forward qualities of Ethiopian beans.
By keeping the roast light, the end result is nuanced and lively; presenting richer flavors and deeper complexity than most dark roasted, single origin espressos.
Award Winning Coffee
The Upsetter espresso beat out 170 other coffees in a double-blind taste test to win this year’s Good Food Award. The award highlights the superior flavor of our blended espresso while honoring our social and environmental responsibility.
More than just espresso
Don’t let the name fool you: just because the Upsetter is an espresso roast, doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyed as a drip coffee. French press, pour over, or cold brew, the Upsetter tastes great no matter how you prepare it.
For a long time, certifications for responsible practices and awards for superior taste have remained distinct – one honors social and environmental responsibility, while the other celebrates craftsmanship and flavor. The Good Food Awards recognizes that truly good food – the kind that brings people together and builds strong, healthy communities – contains all of these ingredients.
This year, Thanksgiving Coffee couldn’t be prouder to have been nominated alongside so many outstanding roasters with our one-of-a-kind light roast espresso: The Upsetter.
The winners of the Good Food Award for coffee will be distinguished by exemplary flavor – sweet, clean, well developed body, balanced acidity and phenomenal aromatics. To qualify for entry, roasters and coffee farmers must emphasize fairness and transparency from seed to cup. Acknowledging the difficulties of verifying farm-level sustainability efforts across continents, the Good Food Foundation again turns to third-party certification bodies for assistance in identifying beans eligible for consideration.
In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, coffee entries must meet the following standards:
Roasted in the USA or US territories.
Beans must be certified through one or more of the following programs: NOP Organic, Fair Trade (FTUSA/Fairtrade International), SMBC Shade, Rainforest Alliance, C.A.F.E Practices, 4C/CAS – Global Coffee Platform, Demeter Biodynamic
To support the work of coffee growers, farmers and roasters around the world, roasters submitting more than one entry must be from different countries.
Members of staff, including our Roastmaster Jacob Long and CEO Paul Katzeff, will be attending the Good Food Awards event this weekend in San Francisco. Stop on by the Marketplace on Sunday to sample all of the amazing foods from producers across the country at Fort Mason in San Francisco. We hope to see you there.
Here at Thanksgiving Coffee, we are just as proud of our award winning coffee beans as we are of our amazing non-profit Cause Coffee partners. We know how hard it can be to fight the good fight, which is why we support so many organizations through our rebate program.
Baby Rhino Rescue: The plight of Africa’s rhinos is truly desperate. The death and carnage left by poachers is devastating, but even more heartbreaking are the abandoned orphaned rhinos. Thanks to the efforts of Baby Rhino Rescue, we have helped contribute $1,500 in milk money to keep the babies happy, healthy, and fed.
Defenders of Wildlife: Another one of our oldest partners, Defenders of Wildlife have been protecting wolves, polar bears, and other native creatures and their habitats since 1947. Together, we’ve raised over $17,000 since 2014 with the ‘Save our Wolves blend’, one of the select few Cause Coffees available for purchase in stores.
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund: Few of our partners are as directly affected by the coffee industry as the endangered Mountain gorillas and Grauer’s gorillas in Africa. We joined forces with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and contributed over $10,000 to help support their work in gorilla conservation, research, and education, particularly in communities in close proximity to gorilla habitat. Specialty coffee places a high value on natural jungle forests conserved by organic, shade grown coffee farms. A great example of economic solutions to ecological problems.
It is truly an honor to support the work of our national non-profits, but helping out the ‘little guys’ at home is equally rewarding. Together with our community, we have helped raise money for so many amazing causes, including: land conservation, schools, field trips, historical buildings, health care, camp programs, and environmental science.
Friends of the Earth and the Noyo Food Forest: Its not always easy to see the impact that national organizations have on our every day lives, but BEE Bold coffee is the perfect example. Initially a fundraiser for Friends of the Earth, BEE Bold coffee started a local bee-friendly movement. Now, the funds raised also support the Noyo Food Forest bee-friendly community garden that teaches agriculture at the nearby Fort Bragg High School.
Mendocino Woodlands Camp: This historic 700 acre campground 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. For almost 100 years, this campground has hosted thousands of people from all over the world, helping them to shake their cares away beneath a forest of towering redwood trees.
Mendocino Land Trust: Protects and conserves open spaces and coastal vistas for the public to enjoy. From family farm lands, to sweeping ocean vistas, the Mendocino Land Trust is helping to keep Mendocino county beautiful for generations to come. They also design and build many of the coastal trails out here in Mendocino County that we know and love.
Mendocino Coast Humane Society: Almost every town has a local animal shelter, but caring for all those cats and dogs is no easy feat. It’s a big job that requires a lot of time and resources to properly care for and home lost pets, instead of putting them down. By selling a locally made product, our friends and neighbors can help animals find loving homes while supporting a community business. Its a win-win!
Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers: We are so proud to have a coffee that is helping to ‘keep the lights on’ for small non-profits, including the Point Cabrillo Light Station. First illuminated in 1909, the unique Fresnel lens is one of the few left in operation and an important piece of maritime history.
Thank you, you wonderful coffee conscious customers, for making this all possible. You are making the world a better place to live, one cup at a time. “Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup”
Do you know of a non-profit that would like to participate in the Cause Coffee program? Wondering how your organization can get their very own private label coffee? Give us a call! Dial (800) 462-1999 or send an email to Msmithyman [at] thanksgivingcoffee [dot] com
Most people who love their coffee go to great lengths to get exquisite beans, a capable burr grinder, and an expensive device for brewing.
For some reason, however, they never seem to give the water a second thought. The truth is that water constitutes more than 98 percent of the final drink. Perhaps we ought to see it as the most crucial ingredient in a cup of coffee.
I had been a coffee geek for years before I realized the importance of water. Once I finally understood the role of water in coffee extraction it changed my brewing for good.
Water chemistry can get pretty complicated, so this is my attempt to boil the most important aspects down to some actionable advice, so you can also brew better coffee at home.
Water is more than H2O
Water is water. It’s everywhere in our daily life, and we never give it a second thought. Sure, you can get some fancy mineral water in the supermarket, but that’s just marketing. Right? Well, it probably often is, but there’s also some truth to it. Water is a lot more than just H2O when you study it carefully. It usually contains minerals, salts, and some impurities.
Depending on where you are in the world the water composition will be somewhat different. Rainwater percolates into the underground where it will go through layers of limestone and chalk. This process makes the water harder as it picks up minerals on the way.
You probably never thought about it, but it’s not uncommon that a single liter of water contains enough minerals that it equates to the size of a headache pill.
People who live in areas with much calcium in the water, however, already know this since they have to descale their electric kettle and bathroom tiles regularly.
One of the things that has become apparent in the specialty coffee community in recent years is that water isn’t just an ingredient in coffee.
The water – or rather the minerals in it – also acts as an extraction agent that pulls the delicious compounds from the coffee beans and into the cup.
The British barista champion Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood and chemist Christopher Hendon did a research project a few years ago that shed some light on the process.
It turns out that magnesium and calcium are the two most important minerals when it comes to coffee extraction. Especially, magnesium is vital if you want to be able to taste the fruity and lively flavors of light roasted coffees.
It could be tempting to think that more minerals equate better coffee but that isn’t the case, argued Hendon and Colonna-Dashwood in their research paper. Instead, there is a sweet spot where minerals and a buffer are balanced to create the ideal water.
When their book, ‘Water for Coffee,’ was published it made headlines within the specialty coffee community.
However, beer brewers had been aware of the importance of water for centuries. In fact, that’s the reason why beers from London, Prague, and Brussels historically had their own style.
Test your water
So how do we boil all this science down to some actionable advice? Well, luckily you don’t have to study water chemistry to start making better coffee.
One thing you can do today is to stop using hard water for brewing coffee if you live in an affected area. You should be able to obtain this information from your local water station easily. Otherwise, you can buy a cheap TDS pen online (I recommend the Xiaomi brand) and measure it yourself. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans have hard water in their taps.
To find out if a certain water is right, you can check the label and see what the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) is. If it’s between 50 and 150, the water will most likely be great.
However, if the water has a TDS score from 0 to 20 – which is typically the case with reverse osmosis water – it will not be ideal for brewing. The flavor compounds of the beans need some minerals to adhere to in order to be extracted properly. The taste will be astringent and somehow artificial.
Soft water is better.
What if you have soft water in the area where you live? Then you’re one of the lucky ones.
You can probably get away with using a filter pitcher such as Brita. If you can find specific cartridges that convert calcium to magnesium, you should go for that.
It may sound like a lot of trouble to go through, but using the right kind of water makes a huge difference when brewing manually. If you’re still unsure whether it’s worth the effort, I’d encourage you to test it at home. Just brew a cup of coffee with tap water and bottled water and taste them next to each other. The difference should be obvious.
If you already care about buying freshly roasted coffee and have the right equipment, this last step will take your cup from good to great.
About the Author: Asser Christensen is a Danish journalist. These days he mostly writes about coffee. He is a certified Q Arabica Grader with the Coffee Quality Institute. His work has been published in a range of newspapers and magazines in his native country, Denmark, as well as internationally. You can follow his coffee journey at his personal blog: ‘The Coffee Chronicler.’ If you already care about buying freshly roasted coffee and have the right equipment, this last step will take your cup from good to great.
When you love the work you do, and care deeply about the process, it shines through to the finished product. At least, that’s been our experience here at Thanksgiving Coffee Company. Our farmers love and respect the coffee trees they tend, just as we love and respect the farmers by offering a fair value for the their crop. The dedication and authenticity we have for every aspect of the supply chain delivers a delicious cup of coffee directly to you; one that you can feel good about. “Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup.”
But how do we know that our dedication to the highest standards delivers the best tasting cup of coffee?
We know our coffee tastes great, but it’s really special when we are awarded by a third party. Let’s kick off the new year by celebrating a few of our award winning beans. For the entire month of January, enjoy 20% off your favorite ‘Just Cup’ of these coffees:
One of our best selling coffees and an award-winning roast from our 2017 Roaster of the Year distinction. This blend is always a crowd pleaser that can be enjoyed black or with a splash of cream.
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. A solid blend that offers deep fruit notes with sweet nut and aromatic wood complications.”– CoffeeReview.com
Selected as the #13 coffee on Coffee Review’s list of the Top 30 Coffees of 2014. “This may not seem like a win,” says our Co founder Paul Katzeff, “but a closer look at the numbers tells a different story. The top 30 were selected from 3,000 samples tasted over the course of 2014, so we were in the top 1%. It should also be noted that of the top 13 coffees, 12 were from Ethiopia. Our Maracarurra from Nicaragua was therefore, The Coffee Review’s selection for the best non Ethiopian coffee of 2014. Even though that distinction was 5 awarded years ago, Byron has continued to improve upon all his farm’s coffees, and this year’s selection of Maracaturra is even better than the 2014 edition.”
94 POINTS – “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.”– CoffeeReview.com
An award-winning roast from our 2017 Roaster of the Year distinction, Ethiopian beans are highly regarded for their flavor and consistent quality.
93 POINTS – “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.” -CoffeeReview.com
The final winner of our 2017 Roaster of the Year distinction, you can always count on the peaberry for a high quality and even roasting.
Five star rating: “Wonderful Taste!” “This has been my favorite coffee since I first tasted it last year. It has supplanted Ethiopian Sidamo, my previous favorite. I like it so much I gave some as a gift to a fellow coffee lover — the only time I have thought enough of a coffee to make such a gesture. I anticipate that it will henceforth always be my first choice to enjoy the start my day.”
So ring in the New Year by sharing a cup of delicious, award winning coffee with the special people in you life.
Unpacking Coffee is a celebration of coffee through episodes that focus on individual coffee roasters and their unique stories. The show’s hosts, Kandace and Ray, share a mutual love for all things coffee and created Unpacking Coffee to make the wide world of the specialty coffee industry more accessible.
In their newest episode, Kandace and Ray unpack Thanksgiving Coffee to find out what it means to be Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup. They chat with Paul Katzeff about his political activism, and how his background in social work shaped the company that Thanksgiving would become.
“I was the first social worker to become a coffee roaster,” Katzeff told K-Ray. “When you bring two ideas together for the first time — or two professions together for the first time — you’re going to get an explosion of new ideas.”
This episode also features Roast Magazine‘s founder and publisher Connie Blumhardt, who provides some detail on everything that goes into the selection of Roaster of the Year.
“I think the most interesting thing about Thanksgiving winning, to still be a contender ahead of the curve and really stretching the limits of what most roasters do, was really impressive to me that they still have this amazing culture that they’ve adhered to for 30 plus years.”
So kick back with your favorite Just Cup, and enjoy this delightful episode all about Thanksgiving Coffee, made in some kind of Fort in Mendowhatnow California.
Once a month, members of the Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club have the opportunity to sample unique micro-lot coffees from around the world. Everything from our excellent Enjambre Cafetalero Mexico Coffee, to special micro-lots from farmers in Malawi,Sulawesi, and Honduras. Following the harvest cycle, Roastmaster’s Club Members have exclusive access to these one-of-a-kind coffees at their peak freshness, and now it’s your turn! We were so impressed by this beautiful Tanzanian peaberry coffee that we ordered a fresh lot, just for you, for a limited time. Don’t miss your chance to try a bag of this exquisite coffee from volcanic foothills, nestled at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Towering at almost 20,00 feet above the African landscape, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest point on the African continent and the highest “freestanding” mountain on the planet. It is in this nutrient-rich volcanic soil, at the foothills of the monumental giant, that some of the best coffee in the world in grown.
Tanzania is enormous, bordered by a few of our other coffee producing countries, like Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Just below the equator, Tanzania is in a prime location for growing coffee, but produces less than one percent of the world’s Arabica coffee supply. This year, the micro-lot that we received is excellent, and we think you’ll love it too.
Coffee from Tanzania
Unique and lively with hints of white grape.
Tanzania is perfectly situated for growing exquisite coffee, yet it produces less than one percent of the world’s Arabica coffee supply. Still, this modest production plays an important role in the nation’s economy as its third largest agricultural export. This year, the micro-lot that we received is superb and we are so thankful to be able to share it with you.
This Tanzania peaberry coffee is a premium blend from high grown estates in Southern and Northern Tanzania. The Southern Estates (lunji, Utengule, and Kanji Lanji) are located in Mbozi and Mbeya, in the southern highlands of Tanzania. The Northern Estates (Mondul, Burka, Ngila, and Lyamungu) are located in the Karatu District on the slopes of the Ngorongoro crater, surrounded by the Ngila Forest reserve, as well as on the southern foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Altitude Grown: 1400-1800 meters Processing: Washed, Sun-dried Grower: Estates of N and S Tanzania Varietal: N & KP, Kent, Bourbon
Order a bag of this limited edition coffee and taste the one-of-a-kind flavors imparted by Mount Kilimanjaro, while supporting hundreds of small family farms. Are you curious about what this month’s special Roastmaster’s Select coffee? Be the first to know by joining the Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club today!
Living in a small rural town means that we all have to work together to support our community resources. Fundraising events are seasonal cornerstones out here on the Mendocino Coast, and of all the events we participate in throughout the year Winesong is the most prestigious. Since 1985, Winesong has raised over $7.5 million for the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation and has contributed to our local health care services by funding everything from ultrasound machines, ambulances, and patient beds to uninsured cancer treatments. Every year it takes the whole town, and an army of volunteers, to put this event together and Thanksgiving Coffee is always there to lend a hand to serve everyone a delicious cup of coffee.
And what a beautiful event to attend! Held every September at the Mendocino Botanical Gardens, guests are surrounded by dahlias in full bloom while they enjoy wineries, musicians, and food vendors from all over California, culminating in an exciting live auction at the end.
We were happy to share our beautiful Congo medium roast with guests from near and far who appreciate a great cup of coffee while supporting health care services for our community.
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company 2017 Roaster of the Year