January’s latest arrival hails from the island of Sumatra. Members of our Single Origin Club will receive our Takengon Highlands Medium Roast. With this particular single origin, you have the unique opportunity to try the same Sumatra coffee roasted to a darker color. Our French Roast (or Very Dark Roast) is full-bodied, smoky, and earthy—and was actually one of our Best-Selling Coffees of 2017!
Learn a little more about the origin of these Indonesian coffee beans below…
Our Sumatran coffee was grown by members of the Asosiasi Kopi Gayo Organic Cooperative, also known as ASKOGO. This cooperative currently has 760 members, growing Fairtrade and Organic coffee in the Aceh Tengah and Bener Meriah regencies of Sumatra which are renowned for producing excellent coffee. The small farms are tucked into the dense tropical forests of the Northern Gayo Mountains, from 1000 to 1500 meters above sea level.
ASKOGO offers regular training activities to each of the farmers in their co-op, in order to improve the quality of their coffees, learn new harvest techniques, and implement more beneficial farming practices. This group was founded in 2008, and has continually improved their coffee in the subsequent years. We have been purchasing coffee from ASKOGO since 2015.
Sumatra Coffee Varietals and Origin Specifics
The Sumatran coffee we purchase is of the Typica, Bourbon and Catimor varieties. This coffee is grown in volcanic loam, a common soil for growing coffee, since you find these farms at particularly high elevations. The Takengon Highlands (where we source our Sumatra) have excellent soil, which accounts for such spectacular coffee coming from this region.
The processing method that most of Sumatra uses is “Wet-Hulled.” This process is traditional to Indonesia, and not something you’ll typically find at other origins. While it’s similar to the more common “washed” or “wet processed,” there are a few differences. Perfect Daily Grind does an excellent job of explaining the “Wet-Hulled” process in their 2015 article: www.perfectdailygrind.com/2015/10/indonesian-wet-hulled-coffee-your-one-stop-guide
You can purchase a Medium Roast and a French Roast Sumatra here on the Thanksgiving Coffee website. If you’re a member of the Single Origin Club, you’ll be receiving a bag of our medium later this month! If not, shop organic Sumatran coffee through the link below:
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
2017 Roaster of the Year
We don’t want to brag, but Thanksgiving Coffee Company actually has the best customers of all time. Because you purchased Songbird Coffee in 2017, we were able to raise over $9,000 for the American Birding Association. That’s $9,000 last year alone that directly funded birding education and conservation initiatives.
2018 marks fifty years of the American Birding Association providing leadership to recreational birders all over the United States. This group has been a pioneer for decades, and has inspired millions of young birders and conservationists through classes, workshops and conferences all over North America.
For the past 22 years, Thanksgiving Coffee Company has been a proud part of this legacy, educating birders and coffee drinkers about the ecology of coffee farms, and how they play an integral role in the lives of many of the birds we know and love. We took a leading role in preserving bird habitat by introducing Songbird Coffee in 1996, and we have continued to purchase from farms that grow their coffee organically, under the canopy of native forests.
The introduction of the Bird-Friendly Coffee program was another huge step toward uniting the coffee and birding industries. This certification was created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in 1998 and now represents the very highest standards of ecological sustainability, protecting habitat for migratory birds in coffee growing countries. We are proud to feature that seal on our nine Certified Bird-Friendly coffees in our online store.
We are birders ourselves, and constantly striving to provide coffee that not only tastes magnificent, but provides for the migratory birds that we love to watch every season.
Read more about Bird-Friendly Coffee from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, or shop for Bird-Friendly Coffee here on the Thanksgiving Coffee website.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
2017 Roaster of the Year
Does anybody else feel like this year just began? 2017 has certainly been an inspiring year, and we have had so much fun looking over the calendar from the past twelve months to see what we’ve accomplished, what we’ve learned, and what’s coming up next in 2018.
To all of our friends and family who have been with us this year, THANK YOU! We adore you, and we can’t wait for another great year with you all.
We know this is a long blog post, so we made it easy to skip to different sections:
• 2017 Roaster of the Year • Congo Coffee • Wild Grounds • Favorite Coffees • Package Rebranding • Global Coffee Expo • Cold Brew at Coffeefest • Customer Reviews • CoffeeReview.com • Limited Edition Coffees • Local Partners • Puerto Rico Coffee Donation • New Wholesale Accounts • Thanksgiving Coffee Team •
2017 Roaster of the Year
For the past twelve months, we’ve been celebrating our win of the 2017 Macro Roaster of the Year title from Roast Magazine. After 45 years of both leading and learning from the coffee industry, it was an honor to be recognized as the top roaster in the country.
The judging for this award looks not only at the taste and quality of the coffee, but also at the practices within the company and their history as a whole.
Launch of the Congo Coffee
This is launch is very special to us, because we have such a long history with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Since 2004, we have roasted Gorilla Fund Coffee, benefiting mountain gorilla protection and research in Rwanda. As the DFGFI has grown and increased what they’re doing in Africa, we have been building alongside them, with our second Cause Coffee benefiting their efforts.
We now source Fairtrade and Organic coffee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and launched a second Cause Coffee in March of this year. This coffee’s label features the Grauer’s Gorilla, an endangered eastern lowland gorilla that inhabits the mountainous forests of the DRC. With every purchase of this coffee, we donate 10% straight back to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.
Partnership with the American Wild Horse Campaign
This June, we had the chance to launch an all-new Cause Coffee with an organization that is doing important work in our country. The American Wild Horse Campaign is dedicated to preserving our free-roaming wild horses and burros as part of our national heritage.
We first met the people behind the AWHC at GreenFest in San Francisco. They tried our coffees, we discussed the needs of their organization, and decided to partner together to create Wild Grounds Coffee.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company has been teaming up with nonprofits for more than twenty years, and has been able to stand with some truly amazing organizations. We are so excited about what the American Wild Horse Campaign is doing, and we are glad to be a part of it.
Your Favorite Coffees
At the end of each year, we take a look back to see what the top sellers were on our website, and it’s always fun to see what coffees our customers have chosen. For 2017, these ten coffees topped the list: four french roasts, three dark roasts, one medium, one light and one flavored coffee.
Did your personal favorite make it to the top?
- Noyo Harbor French – Distinctly smoky with hints of jammy fruit, roasted nuts, and baker’s chocolate. This is our signature Fairtrade and Organic French roast.
- Grey Whale Blend – We blend our Mocha Java with a mellow, earthy Sumatra, and then add just a touch of vanilla.
- French Roast – Full bodied and toasty with intense dark chocolate notes and a smoky finish. This is our darkest roast – and we’ve been making it for over forty years.
- Paul’s Blend – Co-founder and Roastmaster Emeritus Paul Katzeff created this blend to showcase his favorite coffees. Blueberry notes add to hints of cashew and chocolate.
- Nighthawks’ Decaf Very Dark Roast – Bold and rich with intense notes of dark chocolate and toasted marshmallows. Our Decaf coffees are water-processed without chemicals. A classic French Roast.
- Mendocino Vienna – A bold, sweet blend with hints of nuts, chocolate, and caramel. Featuring coffees from Central America, South America, and Indonesia. The secret to Irish Coffee!
- Albion River Inn Blend – A full-bodied and well-rounded blend with sweet chocolate tones and a crisp, toasty flavor.
- Kona Blend – Simply elegant, with notes of tropical flowers and milk chocolate. A perennial favorite among light roast coffee drinkers.
- Sumatra Very Dark Roast – Full-bodied, smoky, earthy.
- Beaujolais Blend – Heavy bodied, complex and rich with a French Roast character, hints of caramel, nuts and spice.
When we took home the title Roaster of the Year, we decided to incorporate it into our packaging. The new design, which we launched in early 2017, incorporates the elements that make us who we are. Take a look at all the pieces that went into the new bag design through the link below.
Global Coffee Expo
In April of 2017, seven of the Thanksgiving Coffee team traveled to Seattle for the Global Coffee Expo, put on by the Specialty Coffee Association. We had the chance to see old friends, meet with coffee producers, participate in industry discussions, and taste a lot of great coffee.
Check out our recap of this event through the link below.
Cold Brew at Coffeefest Portland
In October, Lawrence and Jacob attended Coffeefest in Portland, and entered the West Coast Cold Brew Competition. While we didn’t take first place this time around, we did make it to the top four, and had a great time hanging out with other roasters on the cold brew circuit.
In addition to our cold brew coffee making waves in Portland, we are working toward a Nitro Cold Brew product that will be available for wholesale accounts in the New Year. We will have more information as the summer months begin to creep closer.
We never get tired of hearing what our customers have to say! Here are a few highlights from product reviews over the past year.
Anonymous in Moraga, California • Grey Whale Blend
I’ve been drinking Grey Whale coffee for over 10 years now. It’s my all time favorite! It doesn’t seem to have much of the bitterness I taste in many other coffees and the very subtle vanilla flavor adds to the smoothness, but doesn’t overwhelm. I only drink this coffee black because the flavor is that good!
Coffeeholic Birder in Port Clinton, Ohio • Songbird Colombian
I was told that bird friendly coffee was THE way to go for bird conservationists. I had no clue that I was going to have THE very best cup of coffee I ever had. It was. I highly recommend the ABA’s coffee. Save Wood Thrushes, drink this coffee!!
Liz in Washington, D.C. • Nicaragua Light Roast
I have been drinking coffee since high school but always with milk and sometimes even with cocoa powder as I couldn’t stand the bitterness – that is, until this coffee arrived at my doorstep. It is light, fruity, and for the first time ever, I am drinking black coffee and enjoying every moment of it. Thank you Thanksgiving and SOPPEXCCA for helping me find the right coffee for me!
Mayumi in San Marino, California • Wild Grounds Light Roast
We got the coffee mainly for the wild horse cause, but the aroma and the taste of the coffee exceeded our expectations. The light roast is very well done with an enticing smell and a hint of chocolate – pleasantly light but not at all under-roasted. We have had some disappointment lately with the lightly roasted coffee beans lacking aroma ordered from other specialty coffee roasting companies. Your coffee truly shines among the sea of so many coffee beans on the market. We look forward to ordering it again very soon.
James in Des Moines, Iowa • Nighthawks’ Decaf – Very Dark Roast
Excellent flavor. Your coffee is the best. Good taste and fresh.
Jerry in Oakland, California • Paul’s Blend
Retirement years have become even more enjoyable since I was introduced to Paul’s Blend. My awareness of Thanksgiving Coffee started with weekend in Mendocino a few years ago. Every year we return to Mendocino and Thanksgiving Coffee. Now, thanks to online ordering, everyday I can sit down with a cup of Paul’s Blend and the SF Chronicle ipad edition and feel like I’m back in Mendocino.
You can see more reviews from satisfied customers in the review section of each individual product page. Visit the Thanksgiving Coffee webstore to read them, or leave your own review.
Songbird Nicaraguan Coffee Review
In addition to all the kind words from our customers, we also got this VERY special review from CoffeeReview.com. Run by Ken Davids, this website is by far the best review portal for specialty coffee, and the team there was very impressed with our Songbird Nicaraguan.
Check out the excerpts below, or read the full article, and the full review on CoffeeReview.com.
The New Nicaragua, from CoffeeReview.com
“Perhaps the only coffee presenting a classic Nicaragua profile among all of the nine highest scorers is Thanksgiving Coffee’s Organic Shade-Grown Nicaragua (92), a blend of the respected Maracaturra, Caturra and Catuai varieties meticulously processed by the traditional wet method. It is also the only coffee we review that is certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Institution, hands-down the most uncompromising and rigorous of environmentally focused certifications. The idealism and passion that drove the growing and farm management that produced this coffee clearly went into its processing as well: It is an impressively pure coffee. Of all nine coffees we reviewed this month, it most clearly represents the classic Nicaragua cup of tradition, with its inherent balance, quietly juicy acidity and buoyant, satiny mouthfeel.”
A Review of Songbird Nicaragua, from CoffeeReview.com
“Balanced, crisply sweet-tart. Lemongrass, cardamom, cocoa powder, rhododendron-like flowers, fresh-cut cedar in aroma and cup. The structure fuses sweet, tart and savory tendencies, enlivened by a quietly juicy acidity. Buoyant, satiny mouthfeel. The crisp finish is richly sweet, with notes of lemongrass and vanilla-like florals carrying into the long.”
Limited Edition Coffees
Over just the past six months, we launched two separate limited edition coffees on the Thanksgiving Coffee webstore. The first was from Nepal in July, and the second was our Kenya Red Cherry Project in November. Both of these coffees were very well received, and we hope to bring you even more limited edition coffees in 2018.
In 2017, we had the opportunity to partner with three new local causes, to create an extra stream of income for their organizations: Art Explorers, Family Medicine of Mendocino County, and the Noyo Center for Marine Science. Each of these nonprofits are doing very important things for the Mendocino Coast, and we are honored to be able to stand with them. Follow the links above to learn more about each individual cause.
This fall, we had a surplus of apples in the company orchard, and we were able to harvest and donate over 2500 pounds of apples to the Fort Bragg Food Bank. Our orchard features 25 heirloom varieties, and we were very happy to be able to donate so much to our friends and families in the community who need it.
Puerto Rico Coffee Send with the Hogwarts Running Club
At the very end of this year, we teamed up with the Hogwarts Running Club for a really great project. This partnership was thanks to two individuals on our team who are members of the club: Megan Smithyman and Marchelo Bresciani. Through the amazing give back of this group, we donated over 1,000 packages of coffee to relief workers in Puerto Rico, and the club sent another 4,000 more packages through other coffee roasters across the country.
New Serving and Retail Accounts
We opened numerous accounts in 2017: restaurants, hotels, office accounts and cafes! Take a look at a few of the new ones to come on board this year.
Here in Northern California, we added some spectacular restaurants to our roster. Cafe Beaujolais, Relish Grill, Lizbby’s Restaurant and Bar and Mayan Fusion were just a few of the great additions here in Mendocino County.
As for grocery stores, Thanksgiving Coffee is now available in twenty new Safeways from Redding to Sonoma in California. Look forward to even more in the new year. We can also be found at Dahlia & Sage in Cloverdale, a great new grocery store featuring a lot of local Northern California brands.
For hotels and bed and breakfasts along our coast, we are excited about two fabulous new additions: Heritage House Resort in Little River, and Noyo Harbor Inn right across the Noyo River from us in Fort Bragg. The Noyo Harbor Inn is going to be opening in the next couple weeks, and the Heritage House has long been a staple of the Mendocino Coast.
The addition of Noyo Harbor Inn and the Heritage House Resort brought us to complete our Magnificent Nine–the nine best restaurants on the Mendocino Coast all feature their local Mendocino Coast roaster, Thanksgiving Coffee Company. These restaurants are: St. Orres in Gualala, Albion River Inn Restaurant in Albion, 5200 Restaurant and Wild Fish in Little River, the MacCallum House Restaurant and Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino, Noyo Harbor Inn and Cucina Verona in Fort Bragg and Newport Ranch in Westport.
Breakers Inn is currently working toward providing Thanksgiving Coffee in each of its 28 rooms on the Gualala coastline. We are coordinating with them and a few other hotels along our coast to provide a revolutionary new in-room brewer. This product will be available to all of our accounts in the coming months!
Five new Wild Birds Unlimited stores across the United States have begun selling packages of Thanksgiving Coffee. Missouri, New York, South Carolina and Illinois were added to our list of WBU stores carrying our Songbird Coffee lineup.
As always, you can view the Thanksgiving Coffee Store Locator page to see where you can pick up a bag or a cup of Thanksgiving Coffee near you. Interested in carrying Thanksgiving Coffee? Reach out through our contact page!
Changes to the Thanksgiving Coffee Team
Thanksgiving Coffee is always growing and changing, and 2017 featured some big updates. Longtime employees David Woolis (28 years), Bill Adams (24 years) and Susan Coy (10 years) retired in 2017, and we of course, miss them very much. Our fearless leaders Paul and Joan Katzeff continue to move us forward into the New Year, alongside Vice President, Jonah Katzeff.
It has been quite a year. Join us in raising a cup of coffee to the last twelve months, and look forward to the next! 2018, we’re ready for you.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company
2017 Roaster of the Year
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. The Category 4’s 155 mph winds barreled across the island, leaving 3.4 million residents without power and destroying about 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s crops, including 90 percent of Puerto Rico’s coffee farms. What had taken farmers generations to build was completely lost and decimated within a few hours. Rich jungle forests filled with coffee trees, the pride of Puerto Rico, have been reduced to little more than barren branches and twisted stumps.
Of all the agricultural products produced on the island, few have the same cultural heartbeat as coffee. Puerto Rican coffee used to be called the “coffee of popes and kings,” because in the 19th century the Vatican exclusively served Puerto Rican coffee. For many Puerto Ricans, coffee is far more than an agricultural product- it’s part of their national identity.
While we continue to hear about the devastation and slow return of basic services to the island, there has been a clear cry from the people of Puerto Rico for a taste of home. Unfortunately, coffee is considered a ‘luxury item’ by many aid organizations, which means that doctors, nurses, teachers, and construction workers on the island are doing their best to overcome the impossible, without the aid of their favorite beverage. We think the hard working people of Puerto Rico deserve the dignity and normalcy only a cup of coffee can deliver, now more than ever before, and Thanksgiving Coffee is here to help.
Two very different non-profit organizations have joined forces to start a Coffee Aid Drive to get coffee to the people of Puerto Rico: The Hogwarts Running Club and Convoy of Hope. Since it’s inception only a few short years ago, the Hogwarts Running Club has combined the fandom of the Harry Potter book series and running for health and fitness into an online organization 60k strong that has raised over $1.2 million in charitable donations. Convoy of Hope has been around since 1994 and specializes in the transportation and distribution of food and supplies for disaster relief. Together, these two groups are gathering donations for 12-16oz packages of caffeinated, pre ground coffee to send to Puerto Rico.
When Thanksgiving Coffee was approached about the Coffee Aid drive, we knew we could make a real difference to the people of Puerto Rico by helping to send delicious, ethically sourced coffee with a message of love. So far, over 600 packages of coffee have been ordered from Thanksgiving Coffee and over 2,000 packages have been donated to the Coffee Aid Drive. Would you like to contribute? You still can!
From now until December 10th, you can buy a bag of our special Coffee Aid coffee Salazar’s Brew for just $8- no tax, no shipping. Each bag includes the price of shipping it to the Convoy of Hope warehouse where all the Coffee Aid donations will be sent until the December 15th deadline. After that, tons of donated coffee packages will be palletized and transported to the island to help the people of Puerto Rico enjoy the familiar taste of home.
Puerto Rico’s road to recovery will be a long and arduous one, but perhaps it will be a bit more bearable with a cup of coffee in hand.
Not Just a Cup, But a Just Cup.
As we express gratitude for our families and friends during this season, you are at the top of my list. Thanksgiving Coffee’s supporters are some of the most forward-thinking and philanthropic people I have ever met, with great ideas and great heart. It’s an attitude that invigorates all of us here, and inspires us to grow and to give.
In the spirit of this season, I want to share a story and an opportunity with you. Back in 2015, I traveled to Africa to visit a coffee farm in Uganda. On my way off the mountain, riding in the back of an old Toyota pickup, my driver and I passed a party in progress. It was spilling out onto the dirt patio alongside the road. We slowed down to listen to the drummers banging out some rhythms that made you want to get up and dance. In the crowd was a young man with an old and bulky video camera, recording the chaos. He saw the pickup and rushed over to offer me a DVD he had filmed and edited. His name was Elijah.
This started a three year relationship between me and Elijah, via email from 10,000 miles across the globe. I’ve referred this young man to other business owners needing footage in Uganda, and have watched his skills grow and improve as he continues to work in his passion.
We have an opportunity here to showcase what Uganda can offer to the world at large, and support a young man who has the skills and is ready and willing to work.
I believe in Elijah, and I am excited to introduce him to my friends and family and supporters of Thanksgiving Coffee. In the spirit of giving this year, I am asking you to invest in the future of Uganda, by giving the gift of a charitable donation. Follow this link to back the campaign!