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!
For three and a half years, the Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club has brought outstanding micro lots and rare single origins to Thanksgiving Coffee customers. Forty-three unique coffees, selected by Roastmaster Jacob Long have been offered exclusively to members of this club. (For example: Mexico, Malawi, Sulawesi, Tanzania and Honduras)
Club members, get ready for our August selection, the 44th coffee to join the Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club: Fairtrade and Organic “Los Jóvenes” from ASOBAGRI in Huehutenango, Guatemala.
Coffee from Huehuetenango, Guatemala
Huehuetenango is a high-quality coffee producing region, known for its remoteness, extreme elevations and rugged terrain. This particular coffee comes from the Asociación Barillense de Agricultores, also known as ASOBAGRI. This association is very well-established, and is both Organic and Fairtrade certified.
The coffee we chose from the ASOBAGRI cooperative is a very specific lot, managed by a group of 70 young farmers beginning their careers in coffee production. Coffee farming is an industry that is aging quickly, with many children of second and third-generation coffee farmers leaving the family farms to move to cities and take on new endeavors. The “Los Jóvenes” project from ASOBAGRI is encouraging young coffee farmers to innovate and bring new ideas to the industry, while also bringing spectacular coffee to the table.
We are excited to offer a limited amount of this coffee to our customers, and support the efforts of ASOBAGRI to interest young people in coffee farming, and move the specialty coffee industry into the future. Want to give this coffee a try? Join the Roasmaster’s Select Coffee Club during the month of August and your first coffee will be Los Jóvenes from Guatemala.
About This Guatemalan Coffee
“Balanced, with notes of candied walnuts, and a lasting finish.” – Jacob Long
Altitude Grown: 1100-1650 meters
Processing: Fully washed and dried on patios and raised beds
Cooperative: 70 youth associated with Asociación Barillense de Agricultores (ASOBAGRI)
Region: Santa Cruz Barillas, Huehuetenango, Guatemala
Thanksgiving Coffee Company
2017 Roaster of the Year
Each month, it is our privilege to bring exclusive single origins coffees to the Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club. In 2018 alone, we’ve featured coffees from Ecuador, Mexico, Malawi, Sulawesi and Tanzania. This month, our coffee selection was grown in the beautiful country of Honduras, by members of the Cafe Organico Marcala Cooperative.
Coffee from Honduras
Cafe Organico Marcala, S.A. (COMSA) is a cooperative with 641 members in the Marcala region. This area is between 1300-1700 meters above sea level, and is a protected designation of origin within the department of La Paz, Honduras. COMSA boasts a newly renovated wet mill for processing and a demonstration farm where innovations in organic farming are being perfected.
Altitude Grown: 1300-1700 meters
Processing: Wet processed
Cooperative: Cafe Organico Marcala (COMSA)
Region: Marcala, La Paz, Honduras
Sourcing Honduras Coffee
Roastmaster Jacob Long sourced this Honduran coffee earlier in the year, while on the lookout for unique origins for the Coffee Club. Our friends at Cooperative Coffees have been working with COMSA for about a decade, and have often recommended the cooperative for their coffee’s quality and efforts in sustainability. This group has brought us spectacular coffees in the past, such as the Miriam Perez Honey Process lot that we featured in the Coffee Club during September of 2017.
This coffee is Fairtrade, Organic AND Bird-Friendly certified by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. We are always honored to feature coffees that hold such important certifications which ensure that the coffee is truly sustainably sourced. Unfortunately, we are unable to include these certifications on the labels for our Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club’s because they are only available for a short time, and it takes a while for the certifiers to approve the label.
Honduran Coffee Flavor Description
Unique and lively, layered notes of almond and red fruit.
Washed Honduran coffees are typically nutty and chocolatey, and you won’t often find fruity washed coffees from Honduras, making this coffee from the COMSA cooperative unique. While we typically roast the club coffees to a medium roast color, this coffee is inherently rich, and cupped so well at the light roast level that when we tasted it we knew it was perfect. This roast color really accentuates the notes of almond and hints of red fruit in the finish.
Ready to try our Honduras coffee? Join the Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club, and get first access to exclusive micro lots and rare coffees.
Did you miss your opportunity to try our Sulawesi last month? Not to worry, this month we have an equally exciting origin: Malawi. This is our second year of purchasing coffee from the Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union, and we are again impressed with what they have to offer.
Malawi is tucked away below the equator, in the center of Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia in Eastern Africa. This country is on the same lines of longitude as coffee-growing countries like Bolivia, Brazil, Southern Peru and the islands of Java and Sulawesi. The country of Malawi is growing in popularity as a coffee origin, and every new shipment we receive continues to improve in quality.
The Mzuzu Coffee Planters Co-Op
This coffee is sourced from family-owned farms organized around the Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union, which is an umbrella organization operating in the North Region of Malawi. This Northern Region shares a border with Lake Malawi, one of the African Great Lakes known for its rich diversity of wildlife. The Mzuzu cooperative provides support to 3000 members in six regional cooperatives where the average producer cultivates .5 hectares of land. The Mzuzu cooperative emphasizes gender equity and supports community improvement projects, including the construction of a hospital with the help of coffee premiums.
Altitude Grown: 1300-2000 meters
Processing: Fully washed, dried in the sun
Cooperative: Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union
Region: Chitipa & Mzimba District
Join the Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club
This coffee is only available to members of our Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club, during the month of May! If you sign up for a Coffee Club subscription before June 1, you will receive two bags of this splendid Medium Roast coffee from Eastern Africa. Don’t miss it!
Members of the Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club got something really special this month. April’s fresh micro-lot selection is our Sulawesi coffee in a Medium Roast, from the North Tana Toraja Regency of the island. The coffee that comes out of this particular region is fully washed, giving it a cleaner cup and a more refined flavor profile than most coffees from Indonesia, which typically use the wet-hulled method (for instance, our Sumatran coffees).
Altitude Grown: 1400 – 2000 meters
Processing: Fully washed and sun dried
Producer: Pedamaran Farm & PT Toarco Jaya
Region: North Tana Toraja, Southern Sulawesi, Indonesia
A Summary from Royal Coffee:
Sulawesi Toarco Jaya Peaberry is sourced from the Toraja people, an indigenous group from the central mountain region on the southern part of Sulawesi Island (formerly known as Celebes), Indonesia. The coffee is processed at the PT Toarco Jaya Estate, a joint Japanese and Indonesian coffee venture established in 1976. PT Toarco Jaya Estate is one of just a handful of Indonesian producers that utilizes a fully-washed process. PT Toarco Jaya Estate also has a long history of contributing to the region’s economic development and social improvement programs.
We have a limited amount of this coffee available, and are making it exclusively available to members of our Coffee Club. Interested in snagging a bag of our Sulawesi coffee? Join the Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club. You can cancel at any time by giving our office a call at (800) 648-6491. Make sure you place your order before the end of the day on April 30! Once May rolls around, we’ll be shipping out a new single origin to club members.
Photos from Toarco Jaya:
Thanksgiving Coffee Company
2017 Roaster of the Year
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
Every once in a while, there’s a coffee in our Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club that really stands out. Our March coffee for the club has been the Enjambre Cafetalero, a micro-lot from the Mexico/Guatemala border that has the potential to become one of our favorites from the region. As a matter of fact, Paul Katzeff called it “the best Mexican coffee” he’s ever tasted.
This coffee is exclusive to members of the club, but if you sign up as a member before the end of the month, you’ll have the opportunity to be one of the few to enjoy this excellent cup.
Balanced medium body, syrupy-sweet, notes of chocolate resonate in a lasting finish.
Enjambre Cafetalero Origin Specifics
Total Members: 250
Average Farm Size: 2.08 hectares
Total Size: 520 hectares
Elevation: 1200-1700 meters
Enjambre Cafetalero is a cooperative society located in the region known as “La Franja de Oro” or “the Golden Belt” of coffee, located in the municipio of Amatenango la Frontera in the borderlands with Guatemala. The organization was founded in 2005 and legally incorporated in 2010. For years the farmers of Amatenango had sold their coffee to intermediary middlemen, who would in turn then sell their coffee to the national subsidiaries of transnational commodity brokerage houses for export. With the objective to bypass the predatory practices of local middlemen, Enjambre was founded in order to provide direct avenues of sale to national buyers. However, after having allied themselves with the non-profit Impacto Café, they were able to join the secondary-level organization Cafemex S.C., and develop the capacity to sell directly to international buyers while maintaining the traceability of their product.
The organization has for a long time promoted soil and water conservation as well as environmentally friendly production practices. With the accompaniment of Impacto Café they were finally able to achieve organic certification for the 2017 crop year. The cooperative has made it a goal to improve the incomes of its members by offering a higher quality, differentiated product.
Information courtesy of Impacto Café.
Want to try this coffee from Mexico? Join the Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club!
Thanksgiving Coffee Company
2017 Roaster of the Year
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
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.
The 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.
A week later, we received this note:
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.
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.
We’ve sung the praises of our Roastmaster’s Select Club before. An all-new coffee every month, micro-lots that you won’t see anywhere else, small batch roasts, and limited editions that taste magnificent.
But if you aren’t ready to take the plunge and sign up for a blind monthly club subscription, we have another option. Every few months, we pick a favorite from the club, and feature it here on our website for non-members. We’ve featured coffees from Panama, Kenya, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and more in the past months.
What’s up next? Our Colombia Medium Roast from the Cafe Colsuaves co-op.
Coffee From Colombia
Thanksgiving Coffee has sourced coffee from Colombia for years, and it continues to be a favorite origin of ours. We found this lot of coffee while searching for unique Colombian coffee for our club members. Roastmaster Jacob Long sample roasted the green coffee, and blind tasted it alongside a variety of samples — finding this Colombian to be a real stand-out.
This coffee is sourced from the Popayan region of Cauca, on the western side of Colombia. We ended up purchasing 500 pounds of this micro lot, and we’re impressed with the way it turned out. It’s quite smooth and nuanced, with a great body and flavor. The Cafe Colsuaves group produces brilliant coffees by putting a strong focus on lot separation and processing control, creating some truly unique micro-lots.
Colombian Medium Roast
Jacob created a roast profile that brings out the natural flavors of this Colombian, and everyone here at the roastery is loving how it tastes. This Medium Roast is rich and smooth, with complex notes of milk chocolate and vibrant citrus undertones. At the Thanksgiving Coffee tasting room, we especially love it in the Soft Brew, and we’re planning on trying it in our Cold Brew Kit later this month.
Give the Cafe Colsuaves Colombian Medium Roast a try. Add this coffee onto your next order, and we’re certain you won’t be disappointed. Don’t wait too long to get this coffee delivered! In just a few weeks, we’ll be rotating it out for a new Roastmaster’s selection!
It is an unmistakable feeling when you find the right one. Your pulse quickens, your lips curl involuntarily into a coy smile, and warmth radiates from deep within as your thoughts swirl upward. When you meet, the worries of the world melt away, and for a few sweet moments you know contented bliss.
I’m not speaking of love (though the feeling is remarkably similar). No, I am talking about the complex and wonderful pairing of coffee and chocolate. Those of you who have experimented with such delicious decadence surely know what I am talking about. Your whole pallet comes alive, as nuances explode and recede in a dance of flavors. For those of you that haven’t enjoyed a nibble of chocolate followed by a sip of coffee, oh are you ever in for a treat!
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we hit the dating scene to find our Valentine- a chocolate company that shares our values of sustainability and social justice, one who is dedicated to the pursuit of delicious perfection. And much like a grand love story, we found THE ONE, our perfect pair- fellow California B Corp Alter Eco. To win their affection, we sent them some coffee in a box with hearts drawn all over it, and asked them kindly to ‘Be Our Valentine’… they said yes!
Very much in love, we decided to move in together right away. Our Roastmaster Jacob Long was tasked with the deliciously difficult challenge of tasting Alter Eco’s many chocolates, and combining them with our coffees to find the perfect pair.
After many rounds of tasting countless coffee/chocolate combinations, we all agreed on one pair that was truly a world-melting flavor experience:
Our Fair trade Organic Mocha Java Coffee and Alter Eco’s Chocolate truffles. Oh yes!
The creamy smooth chocolate truffles blend seamlessly with the complex flavors of our beloved Mocha Java blend. Try this: take a bite of a chocolate truffle and let it melt away on your tongue. Just before the last bit of truffle melts away, take a healthy sip of the Mocha Java and loose yourself in the exquisite moment when these flavors combine. Then take a long, deep breath, and reflect on how excellent life is in this moment.
We are thrilled to share our love with you and we hope you share this perfect pair with someone you love, too.
Back in 1978 (that’s thirty eight years ago) I was just beginning to learn about coffee. I spent the first six years getting comfortable with the fire and heat it took to convert it from a tasteless seed into a toasted reddish brown carrier of comforting flavor.
Then I turned my focus to understanding the botany and chemistry of this magical “bean.” One of the first things I wanted to know was what made my coffee so much better then every canned coffee on the shelf.
Back then, a one pound can of Folgers or Martinson’s cost one dollar. My coffee, packed in a clear bag, closed with a twist tie at the top, was $3.50 per pound. I wondered, how could those big coffee companies turn out coffee at such a low price?
Back then there was not a lot of intellectual conversation about coffee in print or on the web. (There was no web, the closest thing to it was The Encyclopedia Britannica.) Coffee was an unsophisticated cup of Joe and not much more. There were no “to go” cups. You didn’t see people walking in the streets, or driving cars with cups of coffee in there hand. Cars didn’t have cup holders yet. Cane sugar found its greatest use in coffee and there was no such thing as corn syrup in packaged foods. It was a simpler time, a time before craft beer, and when people smoked in restaurants.
My investigation led me to Robusta coffee vs. Arabica Coffee.
Back then Every coffee company said their coffee was “Mountain Grown,” an indication that it was High Quality with “Deep, Rich” flavor. But it was pretty much a lie. The canned coffee was basically the lowest grades of coffee they could put into the mouths of unsuspecting and gullible American consumers. The truth was that the major portion of the canned coffee blends was coffee from a variety called Robusta, and Robusta was really cheap coffee with a rough, leathery flavor with wood notes and an ashy dry finish. But it had a heavy body and packed a punch that my coffee did not come close to.
So what was going on here? I was roasting Arabicas, and they were blending in Robustas with their Arabica’s to lower their cost. Robusta was all about volume and price. Arabica was all about flavor. The difference between Specialty Coffee and the 300 year history of coffee leading up to 1978 was the focus on Arabica varieties and the disdain for the Robusta variety.
The botany of these two varieties was very different. Although a raw coffee bean is known to have over 1600 chemical compounds, we tend to define coffee by its caffeine content. (Did you know coffee is 20% coffee oil by weight?) I learned that Robusta varieties have 2.5 -3 times the caffeine as Arabica varieties. I learned that caffeine is a waste product of photosynthesis and is stored in the plant only because the plant, unlike the animal kingdom, can not get rid of its waste. So there it is. And being water soluble, it is not destroyed by the high heat of roasting, and comes out into the cup when coffee is brewed.
So why do these two varieties produce such different levels of Caffeine?
To get to the answer you need to know that the two varieties do best in different environments. The Robusta variety likes the lowlands where the sun is hot, the air is heavy and moist, and the ground is rich in alluvial soils. The Arabica variety loves the cool dryer climates of the high country between 3,000-6,000 ft above sea level. Here the soils are young, with a very thin layer of topsoil, the ground is cool and the forest shade trees are essential for the light sensitive leaves of the Arabica tree.
Photosynthesis is the process by which the plant takes in sunlight (energy) and along with the soils nutrients and water, converts these assets into food. In this case, into coffee berries which contain two seeds and a whole lot of sweet juicy pulp that surrounds them. The seeds are the way the plants reproduces itself, and in the two different environments that these varieties call home, the seeds wind up with different amounts of Carbohydrates (food) and Caffeine (waste). Why?
Germination risk is the reason. The tree evolved to maximize its chances for survival.
When a coffee tree drops its berries at the end of a growing season, it wants the seeds to have a high success rate, meaning it wants its seeds to germinate. In the case of the Arabica variety, high up the mountainside, the conditions for germination and young seedling survival are slim. The soil is dry and cool , and the rainy season is six months after the seeds are ripe and fall from the tree to the ground. The tree knows that it might be a while for the conditions to become perfect. So it prepares the seed by being very efficient with its photosynthesis.
It produces more food and less waste for each seed. High carbs for the long wait and for energy for sprouting under difficult conditions. The Robusta tree does not waste its energy on producing a lot of carbs for the seed’s germination energy because it knows that the soil is warm and moist, and that the nutrients are there in the soil to feed the plant in its sprouting stage. Why waste energy on producing long chain, complex carbohydrates? So the energy goes into the production of Caffeine.
I like to think of the Robusta as a Buick that will operate without being highly tuned and the Arabica tree as a Ferrari that will not run unless it is highly tuned.
Hardy Robusta – Fragile Arabica. Arabicas taste better because they have the need to put food in the seed. That food is a complex starch that under high heat, breaks down into simple sugars which caramelize and produce the flavor of coffee. Robusta has starch to convert to sugar in the roasting process and thus, it is less sweet. Now, caffeine being one of nature’s most bitter substances, adds a distinguishing bitterness to coffee- and 3 times more in Robusta. Arabica coffees have less caffeine, and more carbohydrates so it is sweeter and less bitter. The major negative in Robusta, Caffeine, becomes a positive when you forget the flavor and use it for the speedy pick-up that its caffeine gives the drinker.
In 1978 Thanksgiving Coffee Company introduced Pony Express, “The Jackhammer of Coffee,” the start your day with a “Blastoff” drink.
It is natures natural five-hour power shot. It will make your heart race, it will keep you on your toes, and if you want to stay awake, you will stay awake!
Today, Robusta coffees are quite a bit more flavorful, mostly because the way coffee has evolved over the past 35 years. Flavor counts for value, and value means higher price. When I first created Pony Express, the flavor was metallic with a petroleum aftertaste. It was rough and not to satisfying. Today, our Robusta comes from places like Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines. It is clean and has a flavor that will take you back to a time when coffee was “Just a cup of Joe”, but this time, you might just develop a taste for it and never look back.
– Paul Katzeff
DARK ROAST • HIGH CAFFEINE