Ask the Roastmasters

Roastmaster Emeritus

Paul Katzeff

A leader in specialty coffee for over 40 years, Paul’s passion is working with people and helping folks find their perfect cup. He believes that quality of life on coffee farms = quality coffee.

Roastmaster

Jacob Long

Jacob has been perfecting the art of roasting since he joined our team in 2007. He is responsible for our green coffee purchases, has received top scores for his roasts, and cups our coffees daily to ensure every roast is perfect.

Ask Your Question!

There is a vast wealth of coffee know-how between these two gentlemen. If you have a question about coffee, anything from farming practices to cupping methods, ask them with the comments area below.

60 Comments

  1. Bichha

    Hello,

    Please let me know what is the Bovine Bakery Blend and if I can buy it online?

    Thanks.
    Bichha

    Reply
    • Paul Katzeff

      The Bovine Bakery Blend is made with equal parts of our 100% Peru and Noyo Harbor French coffees. This special blend can only be found in their fine bakeries. I could tell you no more then that because it is not my decision to make. It is The Bovine Bakery ownership’s decision. They are protective of their blend. They sell their coffee in packages in Point Reyes, but not yet in Petaluma. I hope they will start next week. At least, that is their plan.

      I hope you will not interpret this as elitist on our part or on the Bovine’s part. So ask Carolyn at The Bakery or tell her you are waiting for her to retail the packages. I can tell you this, it is not about the ingredients, and there are five origins represented in the blend, it is about how they are roasted. By that I mean the BTU input profile during roasting, temperature of roast at finish, and time of roast. The countries of origin make up only about 40% of this coffee’s flavor profile.
      Sincerely,
      Paul Katzeff
      CEO

      Reply
  2. Lisa

    Hello,

    I have been drinking your Albion River Inn Blend, which I purhcase from Harvets Market in Fort Bragg for many years. In the past year there seems to be some change in the blend. It does not brew as strong in my drip coffee maker. I’ve purchased diffferent batches and still the same. I even took it to another house with the same coffee maker (and different water) and it still brews weak. I selected a different blend yesterday that was labeled dark and had the same experience. Perhaps our tastes have changed but wondering if you have any comments on this. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Paul Katzeff

      Dear Lisa,

      One year ago, I changed the blend. It was a blend of French roast and a Light roasted Nicaraguan coffee. In the restaurant setting it was too “Frenchy”, too carbon for a cross section of guests of all ages, backgrounds and cultural biases. So I exchanged the French roast with a slightly lighter Vienna roast. This change unmasked the blends sweetness, and it kept longer in their carafes.

      Then in March, we replaced the Nicaraguan with a Fair Trade Organic Ethiopian that was a close mimic to the Nicaraguan. I don’t believe that later change was what you recognized as making the coffee brew weaker.
      I think that our local well water is the cause. In the summer when our wells are low, there are more solids in solution. Coffee is a colloidal suspension, so when there are less spaces between the water molecules, there is less room for the coffee to go into suspension.

      My suggestion: try some bottled spring water when you brew next, or come in to our lab and we can experiment together.

      Let me know what you find, and thanks for sticking with us. That’s loyalty that any business would appreciate.

      – Paul Katzeff

      Reply
  3. Sandra

    Should I store my coffee, either beans or ground, in the refrigerator, the freezer or the pantry shelf?

    Reply
    • Paul

      Hi Sandra, thanks for asking!

      Store beans in the fridge, in a CLOSED container. A mason jar works. Grind beans the night or day before using – this allows the trapped gasses to escape and you get a richer brew with more intensity of flavors.

      Reply
  4. Wendy

    Which roast has the least acidity level? What would you recommend for those of us that can only drink coffee with low acidity levels?

    Reply
    • Paul Katzeff

      Wendy,

      I recommend medium roast coffees, but dark roasts work also. However, the acidity issue is not settled. what are the impacts of the other 800 chemical compounds on the digestive track? The darker the roast, the lower the acidity.

      Also, try a cold brew coffee for lower acidity levels: https://store.thanksgivingcoffee.com/cold-brew-kit-p279.aspx

      Reply
  5. rita

    Do organic coffees contain endosulfates?

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Hi Rita, the National Organic Program does not allow for certification of coffees grown using application of endo sulfates.

      Reply
  6. Barb Albanese

    Hi! I’m trying to find a caffeine content chart for all of the Thanksgiving coffees and wonder if you could direct me to that information. I’m unable to locate it on the website or online. Many thanks for your delicious coffees and sense of purpose!

    Reply
    • Paul Katzeff

      All regular coffees have a caffeine content of 1.25 — 1.3%
      – Dark roasts have about 10% less then light roasts
      All decaf coffees contain around .03% caffeine.
      Our Pony Express (Robusta) has a caffeine content of 2.5 — 3.5%

      These figures are within 10% correct as agricultural products vary from season to season and place to place.

      Reply
  7. Linda Just

    Do you have any coffees that are shade grown? I’m concerned about the destruction of the rain forests, which is typical with coffee production, as most coffee is grown in the sun. Destroying the forests decreases habitat for our songbirds.

    Reply
    • Paul Katzeff

      Hi Linda,

      Thank you for doing your research and caring about our earth. We absolutely do have shade-grown coffee. As a matter of fact, organic coffee must be grown in the shade, in order to be Certified Organic – so any coffee you see with the Organic label is shade-grown.

      If you’re looking to take it a step further and support migratory birds with your cup of coffee, our Songbird Coffee (benefiting the American Birding Association) is Certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.

      https://store.thanksgivingcoffee.com/american-birding-association-c39.aspx

      Reply
  8. Kara B

    Hello!
    I am a student at SUNY-ESF and I am currently taking a plant propagation class, for our term project we had to choose a plant to propagate and I chose to do a coffee plant from seed! I need to get in touch with a few propagators and I found you guys! So I was wondering if you could give me the run down of how you guys grow coffee plants? If it is another way other than from seed could you also describe that? Thank you for your time, this would be a big help!!

    Kara

    Reply
  9. Denise

    Hello!
    I am trying to learn how to grow coffee plants! Your info has been most helpful! Thanks a lot! I have a question tho . I transplanted my plants and now the are having yellow leaves and they have a few brown spots on them( the ones that are turning yellow).What do I need to do to help them out??

    Reply
    • Paul Katzeff

      Denise,

      You need to add nutrients (food) to your soil. They need nitrogen. You can use Miracle Grow Rose food.

      Reply
  10. Susan h

    Your dark roast blend mentions flavored like caramel. Do you use non-bean ingredients in the roasting process or add other flavoring after?

    Reply
    • Paul Katzeff

      Thanks for your question, Susan.

      No, we depend on the coffees natural flavors. Great coffees are subtle. In Paul’s Blend there is a hint of blueberry. In our French Roast, molasses. Great wines and not so great wines describe their flavors also. “Notes of black currant or suggestions of grapefruit.” Do they add flavorings? No.

      Reply
  11. Kayla

    Hi! I’m just wondering about how much caffeine is in the Pony Express blend? It says 3% caffeine but I’m curious as to how that translates to mg per cup. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Paul Katzeff

      Kayla,

      It is 3% by weight. You can do the math. It depends on cup size, brew ratio of H20 to coffee, water temperature and ground fineness. Water hardness too.

      Reply
  12. Rae

    I bought the Santa Rosa Organic blend at G & G Market in Petaluma and absolutely love it! I recently moved out of the area wasn’t able to stock up on it before moving to to Boise, Id. Do you offer coffee at any local stores? Can I purchase the Santa Rosa blend online? Thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • Jen at Thanksgiving Coffee

      Hi Rae! Thanks for reaching out. The Santa Rosa Organic Blend is another name for our our Old Town French Roast. Different packaging, same coffee! You can find it in our store at the link below. Cheers!

      https://store.thanksgivingcoffee.com/old-town-french-p44.aspx

      Reply
  13. Shelley

    Can you tell me which coffees are the least acidic please?

    Reply
  14. Barry losow

    If I roast a batch and let it degas for 12 hours. Can I reroast to darker ? What happens chemically and taste wise?

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      During the roasting process, starches are converted to sugars which become volatile after first crack. If you re-roast you will degrade the sugars that have been coaxed out and end up with a cup that tastes bland and lifeless.

      Reply
  15. Kristi Kaneshi

    Any plans on expanding your market to the Pacific Northwest? I tried using the store locator but couldn’t find anything close, was wanting for try a few different varieties, is there a sample type pack online or does everything come in 12oz. Thanks :))

    Reply
    • Jen at Thanksgiving Coffee

      Hi Kristi, I’m so glad you reached out!

      We are always looking to expand into new territories, and we’d love your feedback–do you have a specific market near you that you’d like to see Thanksgiving Coffee at? We’ll give them a call and see if we can get that fixed for you.

      As for sample packs, that’s something that will be coming in the near near future, but we unfortunately don’t have any at this time. Stay tuned!

      If you’re looking to taste some of the best that Thanksgiving Coffee has to offer, give our Roaster of the Year Bundle a try! You save a couple bucks from buying the three coffees separate, and you get free shipping when you hit $50.

      https://store.thanksgivingcoffee.com/roaster-of-the-year-bundle-p361.aspx

      Cheers!

      Reply
  16. Stephen Prevost

    A friend & I sample different coffees with higher caffeine content. The copy on your Pony Express talks about Uganda Robusta but never states whether PE is a blend or pure Robusta? (Also) Do you prefer African-sourced Robusta to the more common Asian sources?

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Hi Stephen,

      Our Pony Express is 100% Robusta. We typically source our Robustas from Indonesia (Java) and Africa (Uganda).

      Reply
  17. Eric

    Two questions:
    1. I tend to like coffee with a lot of cream and sugar (or a shot of Irish Cream), but I want to cut back. Which type of coffee would naturally appeal to someone with this kind of palate? (Yeah, I know that’s heresy, but what can I say?)
    2. I’ve read that coffee’s health benefits (from polyphenols and chlorogenic acid) are best maintained by slower roasting at lower temperatures (in contrast to typical commercial brands, where processing speed and economy are prioritized). Is this a consideration in your roasting methods, and which of your coffees would you steer me towards since this is a priority for me?

    Reply
  18. Bert

    Since losing our beloved G&G Market in Santa Rosa we are desperate to replace our favorite Thanksgiving coffee. It was the House Blend which I think was previously the Equus Blend. It appears to be a medium/dark blend with large size, oily beans. Smooth, toasty, hint of chocolate and no bitterness.
    Can you suggest a replacement?

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Hi Bert, don’t you worry!

      The coffee you’re looking for is our Old Town French, and it should be available in Bulk at the Safeway on College Ave (formerly G&G Market). If they don’t have it, we can get you set up through a subscription on our website as well: https://store.thanksgivingcoffee.com/old-town-french-p44.aspx

      Cheers!

      Reply
  19. Nate

    Do any of your non-espresso specific beans lend themselves well to brewing as espresso? My local Erewhon market carries many of your varietals but does not carry the espresso blends so I am trying to find which of your normal coffees would work best for espresso. I generally enjoy light/medium beans with fruity notes.

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Hi Nate! Not knowing exactly which coffees that your particular Erewhon Market carries makes this a little tricky, but let us see if we can help you! My recommendations would be:
      Paul’s Blend – Fruity and chocolatey.
      Mocha Java – Fruity and herbal.
      Sumatra Medium – Rich, with herbal notes. Lot’s of crema.
      Nicaragua Jinotega – Chocolatey with hints of apricot.
      Ethiopia Natural – Very fruity.

      Hope that helps – feel free to reply here with any other questions!

      Reply
  20. Lori

    My husband and I have enjoyed drinking Puerto Rican Alto Grande coffee we bought on vacation. Can you recommend some of your coffees we might enjoy that might be similar?

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Lori, thanks for reaching out! I have two recommendations for coffees close to that particular coffee. Our Nicaragua Flor De Jinotega and our Guatemala Guaya’b will have a very similar flavor profiles.

      Reply
  21. David Bragen

    Hello, I was wondering, if I have you grind for auto-drip, is that suitable for Mellitta cone/carafe or cup? I sometimes use #2 filters, sometimes #4 size. Recommended I saw 7.5, how does that compare?

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Hi David! Melitta is optimal with a more coarse grind. We can specifically grind for Melitta – just request in the customer comment section of your next order! Cheers.

      Reply
  22. Wes

    I have recently started experimenting with home roasting coffee. I have had a few batches that seemed mediocre. More recently I am roasting a “Colombian Arabica” that has been very disappointing. I am hoping it is me / my profile and not the beans. I have tried a 350 degree approach as well as a 460 degree approach. Strangely enough, they each have yielded very similar and poor results. The brew results in a very weak and green / underdeveloped coffee flavor. The actual brew looks like a cloudy tea, both through a keurig brewer as well as a french press. Each of these example roasting profiles have run for 16 to 18 minutes. I am using a Gene Cafe electric roaster. I really want to get to a stable and consistent result. I would be very grateful for any guidance you guys might offer. Thank you.

    Reply
  23. Donna R

    How much caffeine is in the mocha Java medium roast and does it come in decafe? If not, can you recommend a good tasting decafe.
    Thank you for your coffee. I sampled it at Orchard Nutrition here in Redding Ca. and could not believe the difference from what I had been drinking. I am not a big coffee drinker but when I do, I enjoy a great tasting one, especially one that does not pucker my lips
    Again Thank You

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Thanks for the question, Donna! Our Mocha Java blend is right on par with other Arabica coffees. If you’re looking for something decaffeinated, the Nighthawks Royal Decaf (another medium roast) would be a great choice for you. Cheers!

      Reply
  24. Alan Rappoport

    Hi, I have been enjoying a half-and-half blend of gorilla fund coffee and Noyo harbor French roast. Can you recommend one coffee that taste approximately like this blend?

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Hello Alan! It seems that you enjoy a classic blend of 1/3 very dark with 2/3 medium roasted coffee beans. By combining the rich, smokey mouth feel of a french roast with the lighter, brighter notes of a medium, you really can get the best of both worlds. I would recommend our Albion River Inn blend to you, which is a personal favorite. Enjoy!

      Reply
  25. Darlene

    My husband and I have been drinking Sumatra med coffee for years… recently my cardiologist recommended that I go to decaf , not to my liking but I am willing to try it…can you recommend something that would be close to the organic Sumatra… I am having to sneak this past my husband … Thank you

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Hi Darlene,

      We understand the struggles of needing to reduce caffeine consumption, which is why all of our decaffeinated coffees are processed with clean mountain spring water, as opposed to heavy chemicals. Since you enjoyed the medium roast, I would recommend our Nighthawk Royal decaf. If you are looking for a darker roast, we also have it available as a french. Enjoy!

      Reply
  26. Christopher Cicala

    Is there something special about espresso coffees, like the way they are roasted to be able to be finely ground, or less oily? I was using Beaujolais Blend and I just clogged up my burr grinder to the point where I think I burned it out, because although I was not aware, it was backing up, not flowing through. So I’m wondering if it was too oily and so in the future I need to use specific espresso blends.

    Reply
  27. Chris Cicala

    Per my earlier email: I didn’t mean to sound accusatory like this was somehow your fault that I burned out my grinder. I am just trying to find out things I don’t know about espresso since I am new at attempting to make it in a Gaggia consumer type machine. What should I be thinking about, looking for when picking out a coffee bean to use. Or is my best ,or possibly only, choice to use the blends that you have already designated as such.
    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Hello Chris,

      It sounds like the grinder may be adjusted too fine, this can cause a
      backup in the grinder. As far as which beans can be used to prepare
      espresso? Any roasted coffee beans can be used, light roast to dark roast,
      Sumatran to Colombian. BUT… Certain origins will perform much better
      than others when brewed as espresso. As far as roast color, the roast
      color will determine the texture of grind required. For lighter roast
      grind finer, darker roast more course.

      We offer three espresso blends(light,medium,dark)which are especially well
      suited for espresso. Upsetter Espresso, Northern Italian Espresso and
      Southern Italian Espresso. Feel free to reach out to me by phone for
      further assistance!

      Jacob Long
      Roastmaster

      Reply
  28. Yolanda Fletcher

    I live in Fort Bragg and am a big fan of your Upsetter Espresso, which I’ve been purchasing by the bag at Harvest Market. Two questions: 1) Will this blend ever be available in bulk so I can reuse my own bag? 2) Are the bags you currently use biodegradable and/or compostable?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Hi Yolanda! Thank you so much for your support. I’m glad you enjoy our coffee. Unfortunately, our bags are not compostable yet. As the technology improves and the prices come down for biodegradable packaging, you can be sure that we’ll continue researching friendly bag options.

      We are working with Harvest Market to have the Upsetter available in the bulk display. If it’s not available yet, you can place a bulk order of 5lbs or more through them. I hope that helps! Please give us a call if you have any additional questions (707) 964-0118.

      Reply
      • Yolanda

        Dear Megan,
        Thanks for your reply. Keep up the search for sustainable packaging – I believe it’s a crucial step to producing a truly sustainable product. In the meantime: another question. If I were to purchase a 5lb. Bag of the Upsetter from Harvest, is it proper to freeze what I’m not using immediately? Does freezing really work to keep coffee beans fresh? It could take a month and a half to use it up.

        Thanks so much!
        Yolanda

        Reply
        • Jacob Long

          Hi Yolanda,

          To keep coffee at its maximum freshness you need to keep oxygen out and prevent sun damage, which is why opaque airtight containers are the best storage solution for day to day use. Freezing coffee is OK if you use it for long term storage, but it’s not ideal for the beans to be changing temperature frequently. What we would recommend is that when you buy a 5lb bag, store 4lbs in the freezer and keep the pound you are currently drinking in an airtight container in the pantry. Then, replenish your container from what you have in the freezer, 1 pound at a time.

          Enjoy!

          Reply
  29. Rosemary Bootes

    Hello,
    What is the best way for me to store a 5 lb. bag of coffee beans? It’ll be about 3 months before I get into the bag (I bought two 5 lb. bags to take advantage of the discount this month). I saw your comment above about the refrigerator. That would be a storage problem for me. I live in an apartment and the fridge is usually jam packed already with weekly produce, left over containers, etc. I do have a vacuum sealer. I would appreciate your advice. Thank you

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Hi Rosemary,

      Thanks for getting in touch! Given your situation, I would recommend using the vacuum sealer to break up the 5lb bag into a few smaller, more manageable sizes. From there, storing the coffee in a dark, cool, and dry place is ideal. If the smaller packages means there’s room for one or two in the fridge or freezer, that’s great for long term storage, but the vacuum seal will really help the most with freshness.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  30. Hollie

    Hi! Thinking of purchasing some of your coffee. What goes well if brewing with the chemex method. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jacob Long

      Hi Hollie,

      Thank you for your question. Any of our medium or light roasts will shine when brewed properly through the Chemex. I recommend grinding coffee slightly more course than drip for the best flavor extraction.

      If you are seeking coffees that taste chocolaty and nutty, try our wet-processed coffees including our Peruvian Miel Dr Cajamarca or Medium roast Congo. If you are a fan of coffees with more of a fruity character, I recommend our dry-processed coffees such as Ethiopia Natural Halo Bariti or Byrons Natural Maracaturra.

      Reply

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