A Small Investment with Big Returns – Mendocino Woodlands Camp

Going to camp and spending time in nature should not be a luxury afforded to the few, but the birthright of all Americans. More people live in cities now than ever before, and access to wild places is limited. We need the next generation to care about open spaces, clean water, and fresh air, even while they live in a city, which is why it is our responsibility to insure that kids from all walks of life have access to the great outdoors.

The Mendocino Woodlands, a registered National Historic Landmark, is one the original 46 Recreation Demonstration Areas planned and built as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Today, it is one of only two RDAs still in operation, serving its original purpose of group camping and outdoor education, without interruption and virtually unaltered, since opening in 1938.

Each year, over 1,000 youths attend the various Mendocino Woodlands Camps. For many, this will be their first time exploring under a canopy of redwood trees, or seeing the night sky filled with stars. During their stay they will learn about flowers, and trees, and wild animals. They will sing songs, play games, make friends, and most of all, they will have happy memories of the great outdoors to cherish forever. Together, we must all be invested in the outdoor education of our kids, and now you, too, can lend a hand.

Mendocino Woodlands

After many years and countless miles, the loyal Woodlands flatbed truck is ready for retirement. Without this vital piece of equipment, they will be unable to transport supplies in and out of the remote campground. The Mendocino Woodlands has served the community through thick and thin for almost 80 years, and now they need our help.Mendo Woodlands

Thanksgiving Coffee is a proud supporter of the Mendocino Woodlands. In addition to their Cause Coffee, we are spreading the word about their fund-raising campaign for a new truck. We hope you will consider a small investment in the next generation by pitching in, or buying a bag or two of their Restore & Explore Cause Coffee. Lend a hand and raise your cup to the Mendocino Woodlands, a true American legacy.

Not Just a Cup, But a Just Cup.

Woodlands of Mendocino

New Thanksgiving Coffee Bags

You may have noticed our new look by now… Thanksgiving Coffee has new bags!

Thanksgiving Coffee Roasters Bags

This design is the result of months of work on the part of our Thanksgiving Coffee team – specifically our Brand Manager, Marchelo Bresciani. Our goals for this new package design were to celebrate our 70’s roots, and to help you find coffees that you can be confident you will enjoy. This post outlines some of the major things you’ll notice on your bag of Thanksgiving Coffee.

Roaster of the Year 2017

After winning this prestigious title from Roast Magazine, we knew it had to be an integral part of our packaging design, as well. You’ll notice in the far right image above, that our 2017 Roaster of the Year seal is prominently featured on the left side of our new design.

Learn more about how Thanksgiving Coffee became the 2017 Roaster of the Year!

Thanksgiving Coffee, Roaster of the Year

Packaging Patterns + Colors

The style of our new bags is a reflection of where we started. Thanksgiving Coffee Company was founded in 1972, and the rich/bold style of seventies can be seen in our new design. Bright yellow, orange and red splash across the bag – a reflection of award ribbons and racing stripes, in our classic colors. These colors were the inspiration of Brand Manager Marchelo, looking at coffee cherries at origin, and using those colors to represent who we are.

In addition to this coloring, we have a new way of designing our labels that puts the focus on roast color. The roast color determines about 80% of a coffee’s flavor, so we designed our new labels to make the roast color easy to spot at a glance. (Learn more about this on our Roast Color 101 blog!)

Light Roast in Yellow, Medium Roast in Orange, Dark Roast in Brown, Very Dark (French) Roast in Dark Brown.

Coffee Certifications

It’s no secret that coffee certifications are a big deal. Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Bird-Friendly, Organic, Non-GMO – the number of certifications that a coffee roaster can get is overwhelming. At Thanksgiving Coffee Company, we have a number of certifications that we researched and vetted. We certify our coffees through the organizations that are doing the best work: for farmers at origin, for migratory bird conservancy, and for our customers. These are the certifications that we have chosen:

  • B Corp Certification, through B Lab
  • Fairtrade Certified, through Fairtrade America
  • Certified Bird-Friendly, through the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
  • USDA Organic, through CCOF
  • Kosher Certification, through OK Kosher

These certifications are featured on various coffees throughout our lineup. Our Bird-Friendly coffee is our Songbird Collection, benefiting the American Birding Association. You’ll find Fairtrade Certified and Certified Organic coffees throughout our entire selection, and our company as a whole is certified as a B Corporation. Every single coffee bean that comes from our Roastery is also Certified Kosher. You can learn more about each of these certifications in the Sustainability section of our website.

In the new package design, you’ll spot our Fairtrade and Organic certification right there on the front label! Our B Corp and Kosher certifications are listed along with our Roaster of the Year badge along the side of every package.

Share a Photo of Your Thanksgiving Coffee Bag

We love seeing our customers share photos of their Thanksgiving Coffee at home. Next time you receive a package of coffee, send it to us! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram by searching for AJUSTCUP. Cheers!

Thanksgiving Coffee
• Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup •

Shine On – National Lighthouse Day

May GrayJune Gloom. Fog-ust. Summer fog on the Mendocino Coast is so much more than an atmospheric condition; it’s a season. While some places may also experience seasonal fog, what happens here every summer begs to be experienced first hand in order to be truly appreciated. All visibility is completely obstructed behind the uniforming haze of grey, while the damp, heavy air smothers the breeze and mutes all sound. Standing in the middle a thick a summer fog is a disorientating form of sensory deprivation, and it’s no wonder how these conditions lead to what is considered to be the most significant shipwreck on the west coast.

On a foggy summer evening in 1850, a sailing brig named the Frolic struck the reef just north of Point Cabrillo, forever changing the fate of the California coast by leading to the discovery of the towering redwood forests. The lumber harvested in the years to follow would build the city of San Francisco and lead to the creation of towns and mills all along the Mendocino coast. But first, they would need a guiding light to prevent other ships from suffering the fate of the Frolic.

National Lighthouse Day at Point Cabrillo

The Point Cabrillo Light Station was first illuminated in 1909, and it’s light shone bright thanks to a modern marvel known as the Fresnel lens. The creation of the Fresnel lens was an enormous technological breakthrough in its time, and one that we still see today. The Point Cabrillo Light Station houses one of only three Fresnel lenses in the United States made by the English firm Chance Brothers, and one of the few still in operation today.

Thanks to the stalwart commitment of Point Cabrillo Light Keepers Association, this beautiful and unique piece of history remains in full operation, but it’s no small task to keep the light on. Over it’s 100 year history, the lighthouse has been threatened with closure or decommissioning on more than one occasion, and each time the community has rallied in support of our shining light. Thanksgiving Coffee is proud to play a small role in preserving this priceless legacy with the Light Keepers Blend fundraising coffee. Clear away the morning fog with a cup of coffee, while supporting a lighthouse that does the same.

Happy National Lighthouse Day! 

Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup.

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Today is #NationalLighthouseDay and we are celebrating this piece of art along our Mendocino coastline: the Point…

Kenya Peaberry: Latest Arrival for August

Every month, our Roastmaster Jacob Long chooses a coffee in our warehouse to spotlight for the month. Our Latest Arrival is the coffee that has been delivered most recently to the Thanksgiving Coffee Roastery, and you’ll find that these coffees astound every time.

Kenyan CoffeeThe latest arrival for August is our Kenya Nyeri Peaberry, and tasting this coffee at its freshest is not something to be missed. This light roast from Africa has a unique mouthfeel with hints of milk chocolate, ripe peach, and caramel. We’re especially fond of this single origin, because it helped solidify our title as 2017 Roaster of the Year, from Roast Magazine. Along with our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and Paul’s Blend, the Kenya Nyeri Peaberry was judged during a blind tasting alongside a variety of other entrants – and came out on top.

This year’s crop continues to perform well, and now that we’ve established this relationship with the Othaya group, we hope to see many more years of great tasting Kenyan Coffee. We had the opportunity to meet with Jim and Phyllis, representing the Othaya Cooperative, at the Global Coffee Expo back in April, and snagged this photo of them with our Roastmaster, Jacob Long.

Othaya Cooperative in Kenya

A week later, we received this note: 

Greetings Jacob.

It was so nice to meet you at SCA and learn that the coffee we produce helped you win Roaster of the Year. I am so glad our Othaya Peaberry performed so well. That is really a tribute to your ability to find the sweet spot of that coffee.

I hope you are just as happy with the coffees that come this year. As I mentioned Royal did a special project with us this year with red ripe cherries. If I recall correctly I gave you a few samples to cup. It will be good to hear what you think of them.

What made this project unique is that Othaya selected their best farmers to participate in the project and they agreed to wait from 10 to 14 days to pick only their best ripe cherries on the same day so they could be processed as a separate outturn (lot). Once the parchment completed the drying process it was immediately placed in grainpro and delivered to their dry mill. After dry milling it was immediately put back into grainpro and delivered to our warehouse and queued for hand picking improvement. The coffee will be hand picked in the next two weeks and shipped. You can expect this coffee to arrive around the end of July.

Best,
Jim

We’re looking forward to many more years of providing you with some of Africa’s best coffee. Order our Kenya Nyeri Peaberry Light Roast today, and try some of this truly fantastic, award-winning Kenyan Coffee now.

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It Takes a Village to Raise a Whale

When the body of an adult killer whale (Orcinus orca) washed ashore in 2015, the community of Fort Bragg was presented with a unique opportunity. In the wake of a tragic death, a project was born that could benefit the town and further our understanding of the sea creatures that live along our shoreline.

Beached orcas are exceptionally rare and their bodies are a treasure trove of valuable scientific information. In a combined effort between the Noyo Center for Marine Science, the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, the California Academy of Sciences, Humboldt State University, and California State Parks, scientists and volunteers acted quickly to perform a necropsy and recover valuable tissue samples. Two years later and the Noyo Center’s Orca Project is on track to reconstruct the 26 foot long skeleton this summer for everyone to enjoy.

Over the next four weeks, the rec center/basketball court behind Town Hall has been transformed into a marine mammal articulation workshop, led by master articulators Mike de Roos, Michi Main, and Lee Post from Alaska. People have come from far and wide to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity, and there is something there for everyone. Young kids attending summer camp are learning about marine mammals and ecosystems, while high schoolers assemble their own porpoise skeleton. Grad students are taking measurements and gathering data, artists are photographing and sketching bones, all the while locals and tourists walk among them, drinking it all in, amazed by all the activity.

It takes a village to raise a whale skeleton; from recovering, transporting, cleaning, and housing the bones, to assembling the skeleton and raising it up for all to see. Everyone has a role to play, including Thanksgiving Coffee, who is keeping everyone working on the project well caffeinated. We are so enthusiastic about this amazing endeavor that we have also created a special Orca Project fundraising coffee to help support the mission of the Noyo Center.

Orca Project Coffee

It seems that our whole community has coalesced around whalebones, and Thanksgiving Coffee is no exception. Upon its completion, our small town will host one of the largest and most complete Orca skeletons in the world; something that the whole community can take pride in, because it took the whole community to achieve.

A History in Nepalese Coffee

In 1998, I was in Nepal. I was there because USAID offered me a free trip, provided I completed their mission.

The mission: to assess the coffee world in Nepal, from the farm to the cup. Nepal had some history in coffee production but it was in the distant past. Not much was known about Nepal’s coffee experience in 1998 – so they sent me to find out.

I was set down in a small city called Tenzen. I was housed in a small hotel in the foothills at about 5,000 feet above sea level. From my window I could see five 20,000 foot mountain peaks all lined up, covered in snow, and glowing golden in the late afternoon sun.

Nepalese Coffee Roasters

I soon found out how this trip came about; A local Nepalese coffee store owner who roasted his own coffee (selling to tourists and mountain climbers) had requested coffee information from the U.S. Government.

The question foremost on the mind of that local coffee roaster in Nepal was not how to build an industry that would benefit coffee farmers, but how to market his coffee to tourists. He was interested in helping himself, not growing the benefits of coffee for the many farmers who had coffee trees on their land. These farmers did not drink coffee, and had no ready market to sell into. I immediately re-organized my time and the people I needed to meet. I visited the farms and spoke with the coffee farmers. I soon discovered that my host, the Nepalese coffee roaster, was not liked by the farmers, because he paid very low prices for the coffee he purchased from them.

I got back to my USAID sponsors in the U.S. and told them they had been sold a bill of goods by a self-serving local businessman, and that I could not narrow my study to “How to develop a coffee roasting industry in Nepal” in good conscience. The potential was minimal, and very few would be helped with this mission. Those helped would be the educated middle class, not the poorer coffee farmers, who numbered in the thousands.

Word got back to my host and he was furious. This is not a good thing to happen to someone in a foreign country in the 90’s, where anyone could disappear in some back alley in Kathmandu, or under twenty feet of snow on some nearby mountainside. But I persevered. I decided (since I was already there) to teach the coffee farmers how to prepare coffee cherries for home roasting in a wok. I figured once they knew how to prepare coffee for consumption, they would have the basis for growing coffee for flavor. The idea was that knowledge would open up doors to export coffee, and bring in more money for their families in the future.

Nepalese Coffee Farmers

When I travel to a country to teach coffee to coffee farmers, I always bring green coffee samples from five or six countries to show farmers how the final product looks. It is important to know what green coffee looks like after the seeds are removed from the cherry, perfectly sorted, graded, and then processed for export. I want them to see what they are aiming toward. I also bring a small popcorn popper (110V) to roast the coffee samples if there is electricity available. In this mountain village there was none, so we rested a wok on three round stones over a bamboo wood fire.

This was a great teachable moment. In an open wok, you can see the changes as they come about. We sat around the fire, stirring the beans with a long stick. The heat from a bamboo fire is hot, very hot. As the coffee turned from tan to a dark oily black, I took small portions from the wok and allowed them to cool in a cool metal pie tin. After 15 minutes of wok-stirred coffee beans, we had all seen the changes and we had four separate samples to taste: Light Roast, Medium Roast, Dark and Very Dark (French Roast).

So we began by harvesting five pounds of their local coffee cherries. In the process of harvesting I taught the importance of “Red Ripe.” We de-pulped the cherries by hand (squeezing each cherry until the wet and slimy seeds popped out. Then we set the seeds out to dry on newspaper in the shade. It took five days to get the coffee beans to dry. They start out at about 50% moisture to about 25% moisture, and they need to be at around 11% to begin to roast. The weather was not cooperating, so I finished the drying in a wok over a low flame for a few hours. Then we let the seeds rest overnight.

Now we had Nepal samples and the roasted samples I brought from Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Comparison tasting is a good way for novices to get an idea of their own coffee as it might fare in the export market against the quality of other coffees. In addition, we had the four different roast colors which I wanted to use to show them how they could get different flavors from the same beans.

My next week was spent teaching the principles of coffee roasting and coffee tasting . “If you don’t know what you are aiming at, you can’t hit the target,” I told them. So we spent time tasting and identifying flavors.

It should be noted that the Nepalese are tea drinkers, and chai is their drink of choice. So when I was asked how coffee was prepared in other countries, I told them it was a medium for carrying flavors. In the U.S. we used primarily milk and sugar, but in other countries coffee drinkers added other spices. I encouraged them to prepare coffee however they would enjoy it, and that is what they did. Coffee/Chai formulas were the order of the day, for the next week. Every family made their own version of coffee, and they were all different and delightful. Nothing I have tasted since has come close.

I wrote my report for USAID and sent it in (this was the 90’s, pre-email) and left Nepal via Kathmandu to Bangkok, and then to San Francisco. I left behind 200 farmers who had gained knowledge in roasting and tasting, but had no infrastructure to organize anything. My mandate was to assess the situation and my report gave a clear assessment: build the coffee agriculture in Nepal, and let the roasting trade find its own way. Help the farmers was my message.

It has been two decades since my report was sent off to USAID. I believed I had failed to create what the farmers needed, but I was wrong!

Life goes on and you can’t discount the power of knowledge and education.

2017: Thanksgiving Coffee and Nepal

On Apr 5, 2017, almost twenty years later, I received this e mail from Mike at HimalayanArabica Nepal Coffee:

Hi Thanksgiving Coffee,

I found your company through Greenpages Org as we are also going through the application process and I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to you to again.

HimalayanArabica believes in organic and ethical way of doing business and everyone along the supply chain from crop to cup can all benefit from doing business the right way.

Please give our coffee a try and you can get a free sample by simply emailing me your address and a phone number for the DHL packet.

I hope to hear from you soon and thank you for your time.

Kind regards,
Mike

Below is a shot of our Roastmaster Jacob Long on the left, posting with the same sack of Nepal Coffee as Michael Bowen, from HimalayanArabica on the right.

Nepal Coffee

I replied on Tue, Apr 11, 2017

Mike,

This e mail was very nice to receive,

In 2001 I was sent to Nepal by USAID to evaluate the Nepalese Coffee situation.

I was part of a team of two. We were asked to come by a man who wanted to develop the tourist trade for roasted coffee in Nepal. My report stated my opposition to this plan as it would not have created a coffee industry , but only one or two farms to provide him with coffee to roast and to sell in Katmandu. I recommended the development of the cultivation of coffee so that many could benefit.

I am happy to see and know that my vision was clear and that in fact, aid and market forces (and Nepalese common sense) made the right situation happen and now 16 years later someone is offering me coffee from Nepal that I can roast and market.

For starters, who in the US is your importer that will handle the coffee ?

What is the availability and shipping date?

How many sacks are available?

What quality do you have ?

Has the coffee been cupped and scored by Q graders or would you venture a guess as to its quality?

Who is roasting coffee from Nepal now?

Send samples to Thanksgiving Coffee Company:

PO Box 1918
19100 South Harbor Drive
Ft. Bragg, CA 95437

Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I am very interested and that is an understatement.

Paul Katzeff
CEO

Mike replied:

Hi Paul,

Thank you so much for your reply, it was very educational and got to understand a little piece of history of coffee here in Nepal. My name is Michael Bowen and I am a Korean-American grew up in Wisconsin. I spent some time in Korea and realized I wanted to do something else and somehow, almost magically, I came to live and work in Nepal and was given this fantastic opportunity to work with a company that has the same vision as I do, which is organic, ethical, sustainable and quality.

Raj, the owner, has been working tirelessly for more than 10 years to develop the farms in order for them to move towards the specialty market. Nothing is all set nor perfect here, but we are moving in the right direction.

Even though I have only come into the scene for a little more than a year, I can see that there is a lot of potential here which you undoubtedly saw 16 years ago.

Regarding your questions:

We do not have a dedicated US importer, at the moment.

There is about 8 tons available for shipment as soon as money is received and another 8-16 tons can be made available of the same quality from a different region after some weeks after the order is made.

We only have AAA specialty quality available for export.

Raj is a Q-grader himself and tastes the every batch that comes in. The samples we are sending out now have been sent out to various other graders from US, Europe and Australia and have scored between 83-86. Raj has scored this lot 85.5 SCAA standard.

There are several ‘roasters’ here in Nepal, but we also do our own roasts. Raj was the first to bring in equipment from abroad, from pulping machines to a roaster from Italy, but now there are several places where roasting is done. Raj, I believe, has the most experience roasting and you can check out our website at the ‘home’ section for testimonials for more reviews of our coffee and you can check out some roasted beans we offer.

We will send out samples this week and I will notify you the tracking number.

Kind regards,
Mike

That’s the story in a nutshell.

Time + Knowledge = Evolution.

We received the samples from Mike at HimalayanArabica, and I was surprised at the flavors and the cup quality. But I was more surprised at how good I felt about what I did twenty years ago in the hills of Nepal. I believed that I had failed to make change happen for those isolated coffee farmers, and that there was no hope for Nepalese Coffee.

Life goes on.

Paul Katzeff
Mendocino, California


Order your own bag of Nepal Coffee now.

Rich and velvety with underlying hints of raisin.

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Only the Strong Survive: A Story from New York

I was born in The Bronx. I played stick ball. I hung out at the corner candy store. I bought two pretzels for 3¢.

We read comic books, which cost a dime. Once they were read, we traded them for 2¢. You could take your old comics out on the street, set them up on a wooden box, and collect your money for pretzels or an egg cream (8¢). The 50’s were pretty good for a kid. You could go anywhere in the city for a nickle subway ride, and you never thought it was dangerous.

I could tell you a million stories about growing up in the Bronx, including the time I went back in 1975, five years after I had left for California. I discovered that “my” candy store had become a Korean market. The soda fountain, comic books and telephone booths were all gone. (telephone booths were for the local bookies to take their bets and call in their bets they wanted to “lay off.”

I bought a t-shirt that stated The Bronx: Only the Strong Survive.

By the time I was 13 in 1951, I was traveling to Harlem to see the NY Giants play baseball at the Polo Grounds. One night, I remember sneaking into the Polo Grounds to see the Giants play the Cubs. I don’t remember the game at all, but I do remember what happened after the game…

It was about 11:30pm. I was waiting in the parking lot with my program for the ball players to come out of the locker rooms. Autographs were my goal. A reward for successfully sneaking into the game. It was dark, it was Harlem, it was late at night. All the cars were gone. There were no overhead street lamps to light up the parking area. But it was safe… or was it?

Where were the players? I had waited. Paid my dues, but nothing was happening as I watched the last few cars abandon me to being totally alone on a three acre unlit parking lot at midnight in Harlem. Then, a door opened and out came four players. The encounter went something like this:

#1: Hey kid, what are you doing here in the dark?

Kid: Waiting to get autographs.

#2: Where you live kid?

Kid: Palham Parkway.

#3: How you getting home?

Kid: I will walk over that bridge (138th st) to the subway and take the train home.

#4: Get in the car, we’ll take you to the subway station.

I got in the car and have no recollection of anything else. Thirty-four years later, while showing my six-year-old son my baseball card collection (the one most mothers are reputed to throw away), out popped the Giants’ 1951 program. I had not looked at it for over thirty years. Much to my surprise, it had three autographs on the cover and one inside. Who were these players who saw fit to rescue a 13 year old white boy from the long dark walk to the subway?

Willie Mays, Monte Irvin, Hawk Thompson. All Hall of Famers. Inside was Don Mueller, the 1951 national league batting champion. They’re the first four guys from the left on the bottom row of the photo below.

There is a lot of the Bronx still left in me. I had my first cup of coffee in the Bronx. They said it was mountain grown and good to the last drop.

Today, 65 years later, I want you to taste a Bronx-influenced blend of coffee I proudly named for myself (THAT’S Bronx Moxie!) I am proud of this blend. It took a lot of personal coffee experience to understand, as I eventually did, how to get the flavor profile I wanted. It’s a Bronx kind of coffee! Intense, heavy, with blueberry/strawberry notes and a long finish. The coffees are from Ethiopia and Nicaragua. Two countries where only the strong survive.

Paul Katzeff, co-founder and CEO of Thanksgiving Coffee Company

Fourth of July Mendopendence Parade!

We had so much fun participating in Mendocino County’s Fourth of July parade! Check out a couple shots of our piece of the parade, and a few photos of the day…

A great drone flyover video of the July Fourth parade in Mendocino, from California Poppy Films. What a crowd!

And this video is actually the ENTIRE parade from the guys at Mendocinosportsplus… you’ll see our crew at 41 minutes in!

The Mendocino Beacon also filmed the parade live from the judges stand in front of the Kelley House Museum. Check it out below! The Thanksgiving Coffee crew heads through that video at 49 minutes in.

The photos below of our Thanksgiving Coffee families were captured by Sam Koski Jones – thanks for sharing!

Roast Colors: What Do They Mean?

It’s time to get educated.

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!

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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.

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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.

(Bonus Points: every purchase of our Congo Coffee benefits the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International!)

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Very Dark Roast Coffee

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.

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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!

Kona Cold Brew Marinade for Pot Roast

From Lawrence Bullock

Here’s a cold brew marinade for those foggy summer weekends (or anytime, actually) when company’s coming, and you have a bit of prep time. You will need a full two days for prep, and another ten hours for the slow cooker.

I started by making the marinade, which was cold brewed Kona Blend Coffee. Kona Coffee

Cold Brew Recipe:

One 12oz package of Thanksgiving Coffee Kona Blend, cold brewed for 24 hours. I used our Cold Brew Kit. Once the cold brewing was complete (24 hours) I filtered the coffee using a mesh filter. If you don’t have one of those, simply pour off the cold brew into a second container until you see the sludge. Set the strained cold brew aside. Discard any solids left at the bottom of the cold brew kit, and you’re left with roughly 50 to 56 ounces of cold brew coffee.

I bought two chuck roasts. Chuck roasts are an inexpensive cut, but flavorful.

I put the cold brew into a container that I knew could contain the roasts and the cold brew. A lidded container is preferable, but if you don’t have one, use cling wrap to seal it off. Use enough cold brew to completely cover the meat.

I then placed the meat, covered in cold brew, in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Once the cold brew marinade process was over, I poured the leftover cold brew coffee into a container and set it aside.

As you can see, planning ahead is essential as two 24 periods are involved, and THEN a ten hour cook time.

But it’s worth it.

I then used the directions on a product called Johnny’s French Dip Au Jus. This product can be found in most grocery stores, or online, these days. You only need one little bottle, but I usually buy two and keep one in the pantry. Johnny’s French Dip Au Jus contains: Water, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (Corn, Soy, Wheat), Red Wine Vinegar, Tomato Paste, Worcestershire Sauce. The basic recipe for the au jus, according to the label on the little bottle is two parts water to one part au jus. Instead of the recommended water, I used the cold brew that I had marinated the roasts in. Using those directions, I ended up with 3 cups of au jus liquid. It pretty much covered the roasts. You can make more of the au jus if you wish. Make enough to cover the roast (or roasts) completely.

I refrigerated any remaining cold brew to save in case it was needed. Any product that has touched raw meat should be refrigerated.

Cooking the Pot Roast

I set the slow cooker to ten hours and let it cook. For ten hours.

A coffee-saturated roast beef was the result. The coffee flavor was evident but not overwhelming and taste tests went well. A wide rage of ages (15 to 67) tasted the roast at completion and enjoyed it.

I didn’t really need the extra cold brew marinade so I discarded it. For health and safety reasons, I didn’t freeze it, or save it for later. Any product that has touched raw meat should be discarded if not used in a timely fashion.

You can add carrots, potatoes and any number of vegetables associated with standard pot roast recipes, but I chose to not include them in this recipe because I wanted to taste what a strict coffee au jus and meat only combination tasted like. I’m sure adding the vegetables would be just fine, and I’ll probably do that next time!

How do you take your coffee?

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