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Costa Rica Cerro Paldo August 29 2013, 0 Comments

Hacienda Sonora is located within the Cordillera Central of Costa Rica, and sits at the foot of the Volcán Poás, an active stratovolcano. Since 1828, the volcano has erupted 39 times, and with each eruption comes a source of replenishment for the soil. Lava, tephra, and pumice help enrich the soil's composition through a process known as "chemical weathering". In this process, gases in the atmosphere react with sunlight and soil in order to create soluble molecules, which plants can then use as nutrients. Volcanic rock is rich in common elements, allows the soil to retain water longer, and insulates plants against temperature fluctuations. 

    The 247-acre farm sits at 1,200 meters above sea level, and supports an ecologically diverse environment. Nearly eighty acres of property is devoted to wild forest reserve, with an additional fifty acres applied to sugarcane production. Together, the forest and sugarcane help attract exotic wildlife, adding to the rich biodiversity of Hacienda Sonora.

    Due to natural-processing, Cerro Paldo delivers some of the best coffee from Costa Rica's renowned Terrazu region. By undergoing this procedure, producers can create some distinct tones and flavors within the coffee's profile. Unlike washed coffees, which often have more conspicuous flavors, naturally processed coffees tend to have a more ambiguous character, open to interpretation. Often, they suggest more complexity in aroma and taste. What's surprising about Cerro Paldo, though, is how remarkably clean it is. The flavor of lime is upfront and supported by a rich, full body. Notes of berries and semisweet chocolate are present throughout, leading into an impeccably clean finish.


-Robert Rybak

Panama Los Lajones August 29 2013, 0 Comments

Graciano Cruz calls the Los Lajones Estate his "playground". Sitting on top of a rocky outcrop overlooking the Cordillera Central,  Graciano waves his arm towards the pristine valley, which was formed by Volcán Barú, Panama's largest peak, and the Río Caldera. This region is more commonly referred to as Boquete by coffee buyers and enthusiasts, alike. The small town is celebrated as hosting the finest coffees in the world. Famous examples include the Don Pachi estate, which won the Best of Panama competition in 2011 for its Geisha naturally-processed coffee, and also fetched some of the highest prices ever for green beans. 

    There is good reason why Graciano would consider purchasing the estate in 1992 to one day turn into his personal "coffee playground". This area has cool annual climates, providing extended sugar development in the cherries. Thick, turgid fog  passes through the valley each day, allowing the shrubs to bathe in humid conditions which is ideal for plant maturation. As harvesting begins, these coffee cherries are left to dry on raised African beds, built entirely out of bamboo grown on the estate itself. Since 2003, Graciano has maintained an organically certified farm where  247 of the 395 acres are devoted to primary forest. This aspect keeps environmental impact at a minimum.

Our infatuation with this coffee began with its passion-fruit aroma. The cup has an amazing  sparkling sweetness, only possible through Graciano's meticulous processing of Los Lajone's ripest cherries. These flavors are saturated within a rich body, coalescing into orange creamsicle. By the middle of the cup the coffee's innate flavors, aroma and roast characteristics combine as viscous tangy fruit clings to the entire palate. Belated flavors of malted chocolate finish cleanly, concurrently eliciting hibiscus flower through retro-nasal olfaction. This coffee can be interpreted numerous ways in a variety of brew methods, each producing a novel experience.

Robert Rybak

Ethiopian Amaro Gayo July 09 2013, 0 Comments

There are numerous unambiguous flavor qualities which separate Amaro Gayo from the dozens of producing-regions located in southern Ethiopia. The word "Gayo", for instance, means "waterfall" in local Amaro language. And this describes perfectly the Nechisar National Park, one of Ethiopia's best preserved regions. This mountainous landscape is vegetated by thick bamboo forests and marked with dramatic terrain. Apart from being located within an ideal setting for coffee cultivation, Amaro Gayo happens to be one of the best preserved examples of what indigenous, untampered coffee production in Ethiopia looks like. With the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange processing ninety percent of the country's exported coffee, it is often difficult to identify a specific varietal, region, or producer through this operation. While the goal of this commodity exchange is to give opportunities to growers who otherwise would not have access to trade in foreign markets, it can sometimes miss incentives which give rise to sublime coffees. 

But no means is greater than the dedication of Asnekech Thomas. Besides overseeing coffee-processing and ensuring production meets Specialty Coffee standards , Asnekech is also in control of many of the logistics behind Amaro Gayo's success. In an effort to revitalize local economy, the Ethiopian government granted Asnekech to establish her own mill and washing station. This allowed her to bypass the commodities exchange, meaning that her coffee is never substituted or blended with other regional producers. And since paved roads near Amaro Gayo are more than 100 miles away, Asnekech purchased her own trucks to provide that her coffees arrive in a timely manner. 
If you consider Asnekech Thomas to be the architect of Amaro Gayo coffee, than Ninety  Plus is a foundation in which it's built upon. This organization works with producers to provide cutting-edge technologies in cherry picking, sorting, and processing as well as marketing support. These factors help establish Amaro Gayo as one of the premiere growing regions in all Ethiopia. Most importantly, everything grown in Amaro Gayo is certified organic, enabling reinvestment into the land and longevity in the coffee shrubs. 
Presumptuous aromas of strawberry and blueberries transition into bright black berry jam flavor. The Harrar-like character of these coffees is apparent in both profile and shape (elongated seeds) . Natural-processing of the cherries allows for diverse ranges in complexity to be presented, ranging from a melange of drupe-like fruits to the delicate finish of vanilla and maple. Pervading throughout the cup is a palpable impression of molasses.

Ovis Canadensis July 08 2013, 0 Comments

Coffee is a seasonal product, having only a few months in which the overall flavor expresses the finest characteristics of that particular bean, region, or producer. In the beginning of 2013, we debuted "Ursus Arctos ", an espresso blend consisting of two naturally-processed El Salvador coffees and two washed-processed Guatemalan coffees. By determining the best component ratio for each bean and balancing this with established degrees of roast, we were able to capture a beautiful profile demonstrating sumptuous berry aromatics and a resonant chocolate finish. 

By late April we were beginning the process of creating a new espresso blend that would be a response to both the changing seasons and also a complete shift in profile from "Ursus Arctos". This meant finding new, in-season offerings that could deliver something  unique but also contained the right elements for a balanced espresso. 
"Ovis Canadensis" is an effort to recreate a classic espresso blend. This refers to accentuating the  inherent qualities of each coffee being used in order to acquire the right amounts of body, acidity, sweetness, bitterness and aroma. With espresso, body and aroma are always exaggerated due to the preparation involved. Flavors and olfactory sensations are concentrated in espresso, and this can sometimes lead to acerbic or astringent properties. Structure than becomes key in retaining the great qualities of each coffee, while restraining undesirable traits. 
We decided  to source a Brazilian Mokka Peaberry in order to capture thick body without muting any aromas emanating from our other coffees. Normally a coffee cherry produces two seeds, but a Peaberry is a mutation in which one bean occupies the space of the other underdeveloped bean, thus fusing to create a compact shape. Generally, these beans do not produce any significant difference in flavor quality, but when crossed-bred with the Mokka varietal, we are left with a deep chocolate body without the impediment of the usual "nutty" Brazil taste. 
The next step was finding a coffee to provide stability between body and aroma. This coffee would have to be incredibly balanced and not render the overall blend of being too rounded. Naturally, Antiguan coffees from Guatemala are renowned for their stone-fruit aroma, crisp acidity, and clean finish. In other words, this coffee would not present anything extraordinary as a shot of espresso, but would instead act as a buffer between skewed profiles. The last step in this process was then bent on finding a coffee to encapsulate aroma, while also keeping with our goals of creating a classic blend. 
Since classic blends tend to  utilize South American, Central American, and East African coffees, we knew that only Ethiopia could offer the brilliant, distinct aroma to our espresso that we desired. Located within the Borena Zone of Ethiopia, Kochere is a southern Ethiopian coffee noted for its lively, bright acidity and engaging floral aroma. When roasted for espresso, this coffee presents a dominant, perfumed fragrance while subduing much of its acidity in order to present a nippy lemon-lime quality. 
The result of these converging coffees is what we consider to be "classic"; enticing aromas, carrying coffee blossom, jasmine and lemon peel leading to a malted chocolate finish with a brief window of resonant flavors. It's laconic approach is meant to herald in those long,  listless days of summer. Perfect as an iced coffee or paired with cold milk. 
-Robert Rybak

Ursus Arctos Espresso Blend February 14 2013, 0 Comments

One of the most complicated and time-consuming tasks for any roaster is creating a distinct yet highly palatable espresso that can compliment any milk-based beverage while also being able to stand alone. Finding the right coffees to suit the espresso process and the appropriate proportion of each is a tedious endeavor resulting in a number of variables. Each of these variables has a direct influence on taste overall. This is why an espresso can sometimes be the product of almost a year’s worth of work. But through excellent sourcing and routine quality assurance, we have crafted a blend that truly represents the uniqueness of all our coffees while maintaining the traditional qualities of espresso we love.

Ursus Arctos was originally composed of two Guatemalan coffees: Antigua Hunapu and San Luis del Obispo. Last summer, I began experimenting with the crisp acidity of the San Luis del Obispo together with the rounded mouth feel and resonant creaminess of the Hunapu. As independent coffees, each extended a slight sweetness and a milk chocolate body, playing nicely into the qualities which makes Antigua a premier coffee producing region in Guatemala. But they also lacked the depth we wanted to display in our espresso. We were determined to match these clean, washed-processed Guatemalans with something that would leave a highly perceptible aroma and finish. Naturally-processed coffees tend to be more complex and have some beautiful, almost perfumed aromatics, something the washed Guatemalans were lacking.

As fall progressed, we had to decide which natural processed coffees we were going to use to slightly upset the balance we had created with our Guatemalans. We discovered two excellent El Salvadorian coffees through the Hi-U project. Hi-U is an organization whose mission is to provide only top-quality specialty coffee. Not only are these coffees specialty grade (the top 1%` of all Arabica coffee), but they are some of the highest quality of specialty-grade. Hi-U also implements processing techniques from the producer level that ensures traceability of their product. In the natural process, they ensure only red, ripe cherries are selected for cleaning and dried on raised patios to allow air circulation and as little contact with the cherry as possible. For green buyers like Augie’s, this is a coffee that speaks directly to us.

Both the El Salvador El Otimismo and the El Salvador San Jorje offered the best qualities of Bourbon a natural juiciness and piquant acidity, most reminiscent of citrus. The dry processing brings about an amazing blueberry quality of Ethiopian Harrar.

On a symbiotic level these coffees work best. Ursus Arctos is a well-defined espresso complemented by the dry fragrance of Tahitian Vanilla, cinnamon, and cherry, but also carrying delicious peach notes as well. Aromatically, the blueberry becomes dominant in the nose along with characteristics of jasmine. This espresso is characterized by elements of blueberries along, notes of tangy nectarine, and a warm buttery mouth feel. On the finish it delivers clean plum and a resonating cocoa aftertaste.

On espresso, we tend to profile coffees and roasts that best represent attributes we enjoy about them. For the washed coffees we may need to bring out the subtle chocolate qualities and emphasize them by pushing the roast further. This will create a more pleasant, thicker body to the espresso. Our naturally processed coffees often have a fruitier presence and we tend to take a different approach for these when roasting. Essentially, Ursus Arctos is an espresso which represents the best aspects of Augie’s assurance to quality sourcing, roasting, and brewing. But moreover, the objective behind Ursus Arctos is to find some kind of common ground in enjoying espresso. We want to deliver something accessible to the novice coffee drinker, but complex enough to stand out to the connoisseur. And after nearly a year of dedication to this concept, we've accomplished that.

 

-Robert Rybak


Kenya Kaimbu AA February 14 2013, 1 Comment

The Kaimbu coffee-milling factory is located in the Kiambu District, which borders the north of Kenya's capital, Nairobi. Situated within the greater Central Province, the Kaimbu association is part of a legacy of world-renowned coffee-producing regions. The coffees in these regions grow at a much higher altitude, and temperatures naturally range on the cooler side. In addition, the plants grow in highly fertile, well-drained soil. For coffee shrubs, these factors help produce well-developed seeds, which translates into a palatable and refined cup. Kaimbu AA is characterized by three varietals: SL-28, SL-34, and Ruiru 11. The term ‘SL’ stands for Scott Labs, which set off to improve on the original Bourbon varietal from the French-occupied island of Reunion. These coffees are specifically cultivated for their distinctly black-currant and red-fruit qualities. 

 

Kaimbu uses a screening system to grade their coffees and determine quality. AA happens to be one of the higher grades of coffee in Kenya, being that this is a much larger bean. This means the beans pass through 18/64ths of an inch sieve perforations, but cannot pass through size 16, the next size lower. The beans are larger than normal, which tends to fetch a higher price at the weekly Nairobi Coffee Exchange. While a larger bean size may indicate good development at high altitude, it is not a reliable indicator. Kenyan coffees are some of the most prized coffees due to geographic influences (terrior), excellent sourcing in cultivars (notably, the SL-28 and SL-34 varietals), and through one of the most organized coffee exchanges in the world. Kenyan coffees are also rare in their processing method. Unlike other washed-processed coffees, they undergo a longer fermentation time, which results in some of the brightest, cleanest, and most complex coffees out of any other producing region.


Kaimbu AA is featured for its unique caramel-apple tartness and berry aromatics. The residing finish is raisiny, with a red-fruit sweetness. Common among top-Kenyan coffees, Kaimbu features a somewhat syrupy body reminiscent of our Kenyan Gaturiri or Ethiopian Guji Shakiso.

 

-Robert Rybak


Kenya Kagumo-ini February 14 2013, 0 Comments

The Nyeri Province hosts a number of superb Kenyan coffees, and for good reason. A combination of ideal terroir qualities has helped champion this region's prominence in the specialty coffee market. As part of the Mugaga Farmers Cooperation Society, the Kagumo-ini milling factory has an elevated standard for their washed-coffee processing which allows them to create more perspicuous flavors in their beans. The factory also sits at an elevation of 1600 meters above sea level, allowing the coffee cherries to develop more complex sugars that enhance acidity. The high altitude restricts the development of a large amount of cherries, which makes these coffees rare.

Along with elevation, Kagumo-ini also has the benefit of volcanic soil. The soil is rich in common elements and nutrients such as silica, phosphorous, and potassium. A large amount of rainfall (50-60 inches annually) and a limited range in temperature (between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit) must work in conjunction with the altitude, giving us some sense as to why good coffee is so difficult to grow. As traditionally done in the Nyeri region, the beans are fermented, washed, then fermented again before being laid out to dry. This actuates a clearer sense or aromatics and flavors in the coffee. Often the fermentation process is confused with the similar name given to wine, but for coffee this simply means peptic enzymes break down the mucilage layer, producing coffees that are lighter in body than natural coffees, but higher in acidity.

 

Kagumo-ini displays a full range of profiles in processing even as it maintains the innate qualities of the SL-28 varietal. There are distinctly maple aromatics in the front with residing brown sugar that lasts throughout. A wonderful balance of honey sweetnees leads into rich, tannic qualities, expressing a tactile sense of apricot in the finish.

 

-Robert Rybak


Honduras Florentino FTO February 14 2013, 0 Comments

Honduras has slowly been establishing itself in the greater specialty-coffee world. Like many other Central American coffees, Florentino features less acidity and a greater balance in caramel-like sweetness and milk-chocolate body. A distinct citric tang of orange resonates on the palate and a clean finish highlights the washed-processed characteristics within the cup. Located within the Santa Ana municipality of La Paz, Honduras, producer Florentino Mendoza cultivates Catuai, a hybrid of Bourbon and Typica varietals. This coffee is labelled SHG, or Strictly High Grown, meaning the coffee is grown at a proper elevation, (which in the case of Florentino happens to be 1540masl) meaning cherries slowly develop, presenting a coffee which a much higher level of complexity.

Luckily for future Honduran coffees, the proper growing regions are plentiful and the land prices are some of the cheapest in Central America. But with shaky infrastructure backing its coffee boom as the world's third largest coffee producer, Honduras could also swing towards a direction of lower quality standards. But the country itself is hoping to maintain competition with other speciality coffee growing countries such as Guatemala and Costa Rica, which have long endured traditions of excellent coffee.



Florentino is featured for its unique, silky body, comparable to Swiss chocolate and its marked presence of blackberry aromatics.

-Robert Rybak


Ethiopia Sidamo Ardi January 02 2013, 0 Comments

Sidamo Ardi

On October 1st, 2009, paleontologists discovered a complete skeleton of Ardipithecus, one of humanity’s oldest ancestors. Nicknamed ‘Ardi’, this discovery was significant since it shed light on the earliest periods of our species, dating back nearly 4.4 million years. This same region would play host to another discovery, days later, of a varietal which would later adopt the name of Ardi. Ethiopia is not only the home to the birth of mankind, but also home of the indigenous coffee plant, which grows wild in forests all around the country. These two discoveries help show how close our connection has been with coffee, since its mythical origins of discovery by Kaldi, the goat herder, to the first documented time as a consumed beverage in the fifteenth-century. Our coupled history with this plant is mostly due to geographical proximity, but has somehow found its way around the planet and into the modern-day.

Sidamo is a region of Ethiopia built upon this history. Since the founding of the Kingdom of Kaffa in the fourteenth-century, coffee cultivation has been a practice ever since. The region is known for producing some of the most diverse illustrations of acidity, ranging from dry, red wines to highly perceptible notes of blueberry. In some part, this has much to do with the dry processing that has made Ethiopian coffees some of the most unique. The Sidamo region is known for utilizing both washed and dried-processing methods, but the dry-processed coffees tend to exemplify the qualities which make this region distinct. The ripe coffee cherries are hand-picked and then left to dry on raised beds, where for a period of two weeks they are turned every three hours to ensure even drying.

What has emerged is a coffee that takes on a more skewed and less balanced flavor. For the Sidamo Ardi, this has resulted in an almost distilled fruit flavor, mostly due to the drying period in which the cherry pulp is left on the seed until it is removed. Aromatically, this coffee encapsulates Kirsch chocolate, combining the nose of brandy with the semi-sweet taste of cherries and dark chocolate. The finish is clean with remnants of the cocoa resonating on the palate. As a slow-drip Kyoto cold-brew coffee, the Ardi retains these same elements while magnifying the body and aromatics, creating an impression more closely resembling Bourbon.

 

Robert Rybak


Kaimbu December 21 2012, 1 Comment

 Kenya Kaimbu AA

The Kaimbu coffee-milling factory is located in the Kiambu District, which borders just north of Kenya's capital, Nairobi. Situated within the greater Central Province, the Kaimbu association is part of a legacy of world-renowned producing regions. The coffees in these regions grow at a much higher altitude, and temperatures naturally range on the cooler side. In addition, the plants grow in highly fertile, well-drained soil. For coffee shrubs, these factors help produce well-developed seeds, which translates into a palatable and refined cup. Kaimbu AA is characterized by three varietals: SL-28, SL-34, and Ruiru 11. The term ‘SL’ stands for Scott Labs, which set off to improve on the original Bourbon varietal from the French-occupied island of Reunion. These coffees are specifically cultivated for their distinctly black-currant and red-fruit qualities. 

 

Kaimbu uses a screening system to grade their coffees in order to determine quality. AA happens to be one of the higher grades of coffee in Kenya, being that this is a much larger bean. This means the beans pass through 18/64ths of an inch sieve perforations, but cannot pass through size 16, the next size lower. The beans are larger than normal, which tends to fetch a higher price at the weekly Nairobi Coffee Exchange. While a larger bean size may indicate good development at high altitude, it is not a reliable indicator. Kenyan coffees are some of the most prized coffees due to geographic influences (terrior), excellent sourcing in cultivars (notably, the SL-28 and SL-34 varietals), and through one of the most organized coffee exchanges in the world. Kenyan coffees are also rare in their processing method. Unlike other washed-processed coffees, they undergo a longer fermentation time, which results in some of the brightest, cleanest and most complex coffees out of any other producing region.


Kaimbu AA is featured for its unique caramel-apple tartness and berry aromatics. The residing finish is raisiny, with a red-fruit sweetness. Common among top-Kenyan coffees, Kaimbu features a somewhat syrupy body reminiscent of our Kenyan Gaturiri or Ethiopian Guji Shakiso. 

 

-Robert Rybak





Tell me how it is!


Honduras Florentino December 21 2012, 0 Comments

Honduras has slowly been establishing itself in the greater specialty-coffee world. Like many other Central American coffees, Florentino features less acidity and a greater balance in caramel-like sweetness and milk-chocolate body. A distinct citric tang of orange resonates on the palate and a clean finish highlights the washed-processed characteristics within the cup. Located within the Santa Ana municipality of La Paz, Honduras,  producer Florentino Mendoza cultivates Catuai, a hybrid of Bourbon and Typica varietals. This coffee is labelled SHG, or Strictly High Grown, meaning the coffee is grown at a proper elevation, (which in the case of Florentino happens to be 1540masl) meaning  cherries slowly develop, presenting a coffee which a much higher level of complexity. Luckily for future Honduran coffees, the proper growing regions are plentiful and the land prices are some of the cheapest in Central America. But with shaky infrastructure backing its coffee boom as the world's third largest coffee producer, Honduras could also swing towards a direction of lower quality standards. But the country itself is hoping to maintain competition with other speciality coffee growing countries such as Guatemala and Costa Rica, which have long endured traditions of excellent coffee.

Florentino is featured for its unique, silky body, comparable to Swiss chocolate and its marked presence of blackberry aromatics. 


Rwanda Coko CO-OP February 19 2012, 0 Comments

Rwanda Coko Cooperative

by Dolores Dickson 

 

Coko, a small Rwandan cooperative, understands expanding production is foolish if their quality level drops. They have embraced their unique circumstances, like steam embraces the soft pillows of Uncle Ben. This co-op uses a Colombian washing-station instead of the traditional fermentation process, and their coffee comes from the closely surrounding area. The resulting cup quality is terrific plus some. This situation has allowed Coko to start an independent co-op on a site with little access to water – a situation fit like a glove for their amazing fermentation process.

 

Coko is a warm, intimate cup that highlights the best characters of Rwandan coffee. The dry fragrance is floral with glorious rays of citric sun. The cup has a defined finish that kicks back on a savory clove note – imagine the affectionate baby of a vanilla bean and twiggy spice wrapped warm in a blanket of Meyer lemon peels. This is the perfect cup of hearty affection for those sweater days and attitudes.

 

The full city roast level tastes of cocoa with a bit of carmelization. The roast has melon and floral whiffs from the first sip on the surface, and a total cherry eclipse of the heart of the cup as it finishes. The body is clear with friendly support from a creamy mouthfeel. This pleasant roast makes for a cup with super-mega-ultra character. 


Why We Single Origin October 13 2011, 0 Comments

 To answer this question it is best to talk what is espresso to us. To us it is an excellent brew method in which we can create drink after drink with incredible consistency and speed. We currently offer a two bean blend consisting of 50% El Salvador La Manzano and 50 % Guatemala I’xil A’chimbal. We find this blend creates a rich mouth feel with an enticing chocolaty body and beautiful rust colored crèma. This blend helps us create a quality experience when you come in contact with our espresso, it covers both the high sweetness and the low body all in one, in our minds it's a step towards perfection.

  The desire and goal with our single origin espresso offerings is to help you the customer understands what truly is espresso and how it can manipulate the bean chosen to create a unique experience. We are going to start offering an option for single origin espressos (opposed to a blend) in addition to our decaf and seasonal blend. This will allow the customer a chance to spend an extra  $.50 to get a truly unique espresso experience. The single origin will guarantee a flavor unlike anything espresso has given you before, no longer our we shopping for a balanced coffee we are going to shoot for the stars in an effort to blow your mind with a sweet acidity or deep dark chocolate notes. In an effort to preserve the quality of the single origins we will be limiting which drinks we allow the shots to be served in. The drinks which we allow our single origin espresso to be served in our the following, Doppio, Competition Cappuccino (5oz), small Americano and a macchiato. This will ensure the quality of all of our single origin espresso will not be altered in larger beverages where the espresso flavor is lost in too much milk. I hope all our espresso drinkers will take the dive with us in an effort to peruse the finest coffees in the world and help us break down the barriers of specialty coffee. 

Thanks so much and enjoy a double shot today!

 


Mommy Where Does Coffee Come From? September 20 2011, 1 Comment

Recently scientists, via the extensive endeavor known as The Human Genome Project, came to the conclusion that all people could trace their genetic origins to the Eastern corner of Africa. Ethiopia to be exact. This discovery sent a wave of excitement up the spines of people everywhere as it became apparent again that we are all from the same family-tree, all of us distant cousins to one another. The shiver of wonder went even further up the backs of coffee enthusiasts far and wide as we realized that coffee and humans could both trace roots back to Ethiopia. It’s as if coffee and humans were made for each other. Destiny.

In a quausi-religious revelation I concluded that no doubt, the garden of Eden must’ve been located in Ethiopia, and it must have been packed full of lovely, blossoming coffee shrubs. Sounds heavenly to me.

Though the story of coffee’s discovery is only partially religious, it is nothing short of legendary. Story has it that a goat herder named Kaldi was moving his flock through Southern Arabia and noticed that his goats were plucking the bright red cherries from a six foot unattended local shrub. After munching the fruit the goats began acting strange; they started dancing with delight and increasing in prolonged and undeniably giddy energy. The legend continues with Kaldi eating the fruit and finding the energetic properties of caffeine to be both invigorating and beneficial in helping him get through his workday.

The absolute truth about coffee’s origins is probably a little different though; according to further research, this story of the dancing goats is only (at most) a half-truth. Coffee was as I mentioned earlier, first cultivated in the Central plains of Ethiopia and then some time later was moved to Yemen. Kaldi’s discovery would thus have been more like Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World. There was already some decent history behind the fruit before Kaldi found it for himself.

The next stage in coffee history is undeniably religious though as the diaspora period that separated man from his destined drink ended with Sufi monks discovering that the beans could be roasted and brewed into a liquid that helped them energetically accomplish religious practices. The drink proved so good, it put a little extra Whirl in their Dervish. Shortly afterward it was declared by the 1600’s Pope Clement VIII to be nothing short of a gift from God and something to be consumed with clear conscience by Judeo-Christians and Gentiles alike, the drink increased in popularity throughout Rome and Italy and was soon a commodity throughout the world. Today it is in demand second only to oil.

No matter how you view the origins of man, whether religious or irreligious it is undeniable that the two of us go way way back. Our history together is both funny and romantic and might even be a match made in heaven. I think so at least.


The End of a Winter Love Affair September 20 2011, 0 Comments

You walk in the room. She catches your eye. Unsure of your feelings, you know you should try…just a little taste. Tempting. You cannot deny her cocoa complexion, a honey sweetness that entices your senses. You call out her name, “Pahlu!” and she responds, exceeding your expectations. Now, more than ever, you know this meeting is not coincidence…it is destiny.

This third generation coffee, the Guatemalan “Pahlu”, has been treated with the utmost care and love. Thank you to the Palacio family for this beautiful encounter, we can’t wait for the next!


Dude Is This Like Homegrown? September 20 2011, 0 Comments




Thanks to Stumptown Coffee for these beautiful pics

Since I started working at Augie’s I have had a handful of customers come in and ask if our coffee is grown locally, to which I’ve replied (with a bit of rambling) something like, well it’s roasted in our back-room and it’s prepared fresh here with the best methods possible, but no it’s not really grown locally. Often the customer’s reply, with some disappointment, is that the he/she wants to support small local business, shops at farmers markets and wants to shop ethically, which is why they asked in the first place whether the coffee was grown local.

We love and respect those that want to shop locally and support small business and American production of items. Without this sentiment a business like ours could never make it, so hats off to you devoted small business supporters. This being said, coffee doesn’t really grow in North American climates (with the exception of Hawaii, which has a much more balmy environment and which also has the benefit of not being anchored to our continent).

Coffee plants and cherries do their best growing and blossoming in countries closer to the equator, stretching North approximately to the tropic of Cancer and South to the Tropic of Capricorn. Coffee plants require temperatures of over 70 degrees Fahrenheit year round and rich moist soil to really thrive. Some coffees are shade grown in rainforest environments and others are grown more in the open. Some specialty coffee plants require exceptionally high altitudes to yield their best fruit and end up having super unique flavor profiles when compared with lower grown varietals. A coffee tree after being planted only starts to bloom and produce clusters of beautiful cherries after around three to five years of maturing. The plants are delicate and costly and take a lot of patience and care from farmers (similar to the vines on vineyards).

Coffee grows on an evergreen shrub, which if left unattended can reach up to 30 feet high. These plants on a farm are pruned from 6-9 feet high to make harvesting the cherries easier. These plants come in a surprising amount of varieties, again like grapes, and produce different types of cherry-like fruit varying in color from yellow to red and a few other colors in between. All these fruits contain seeds, which are actually the beans we end up roasting and making our coffee from.

Now don’t get me wrong, we’ve seen coffee shrubs in Huntington Beach and heard handfuls of stories about people that have tried to grow coffee plants in beach cities throughout the continental United States, but the end result has always been subpar. The fruit ends up not tasting quite right, the beans roast up with funny flat flavors and the proof is in the pudding that coffee’s flavor is an environment issue, nature vs. nurture or something. Anyways, that’s just a scratch in the surface of the science that goes into coffee growing but it’s also the answer to why we don’t grow it here in Redlands.

Although I’m sure if we could yield a tasty crop, being obsessed with good coffee production, we would probably try growing it too.

~Brian


Why We Don’t Brew Decaf September 20 2011, 1 Comment


We at Augie’s have decided to stop brewing pots of decaf. Don’t be mistaken though; we’re doing this because we really love our decaf drinkers. Because of this love we stopped brewing decaf and started making each cup fresh per order in the form of an Americano.

Traditionally decaf is brewed in the same way as the fully leaded stuff, in large quantities and placed in air-pots and left on the counter awaiting order. However, much less decaf is purchased than it’s addictive counterpart, therefore much of the decaf that is consumed around our great country is stale, cold, and hours old. Augie’s prides itself in quality and freshness, and this includes our production of decaf.

Decaf Americanos (Americanos being the Italian method of making American style coffee) provide the best option in creating fresh, great-tasting decaf coffee.  Choosing the Americano as our decaf preparation method allows our workers to quickly prepare a great tasting alternative to brewed decaf coffee for customers. The flavor profile is nearly identical and we are sure you will love them.

Robert Wesley Pearson


Steven..The man the myth the legend.... September 20 2011, 1 Comment

If you've ever been to Augie's chances are this man has touched your life.

He celebrated his birthday yesterday and to honor him a video was made.

Watch this video and learn about him, and his passion for his beard and for coffee.

Your Friend Steven from Dan Rogers on Vimeo.


You Want Me to Cup What? September 18 2011, 0 Comments

Augie’s Coffee House at 113 N Fifth Street in Downtown Redlands has started a monthly cupping (tasting) class. The cuppings will occur the third Saturday of each Month from 5:00 – 6:30 pm. The class is $20 per head and includes an 8 oz bag of beans, 4-6 coffee samples, and an hour and a half of coffee discussion. The cuppings serve as a tool to teach about quality coffee, highlight the work of the coffee farmers, and bring attention to the fact that Augie’s now roasts all their own beans. A sign up sheet is available at the shop with a maximum number of 12 participants, calls to sign up are also acceptable @ 909 798 2255

Just wanted to pass on the word to all our Blog followers that this is going on this upcoming Saturday. If your ready for a explosion of flavor in your mouth this is the place to be.


Pour Over of the Week 1-31-11 September 18 2011, 0 Comments

 Our delicious Costa Rica Candelaria is a perfect compliment for rainy weather. With hazelnut sweetness and a savory mouth feel, not even a holiday sweater could make you feel this warm. The co-op that produces this coffee uses a unique drying routine called “honey processing” to bring out an extra sweet and delicate taste.  The honey process involves leaving the coffee cherry on the bean longer when the fruit is drying which allows the coffee to sustains much of it’s sweet fruitiness. This sustainable co-op uses many “green” practices in an effort to better the community. Come in soon to try this very special micro lot from the beautiful mountains in Costa Rica.


Why We Coffee August 24 2011, 0 Comments

Coffee has an undeniably rich heritage in American History. Since Anti-federalists dumped tea into the Boston harbor and cowboys hand ground beans on the trail, coffee has played a big role in the daily American routine.

Coffee is as relevant to the Armani wearing CEO of a massive corporation as it is to fixed gear bike-riding hipsters. Your grandma drinks it, hobos drink it, jack-Mormons drink it, the cast of Friends never stopped drinking it, Samuel L. Jackson drinks it and you most certainly drink it. It is a tradition, an addiction and an American passion. Even with so rich a heritage, we at Augie’s Coffeehouse believe that the American Coffee journey is just beginning.

Traditionally, American coffee has been darkly roasted, pre-ground and served weeks to months after it has been roasted. Cheaper beans (including the dreaded Robusta) have been mixed in with more flavorful Arabica beans, and then darkly roasted to mask bitter or undesirable flavors.

In more recent history however, better American Coffee roasters have sought to stray from the over-roasted, less complex coffees and have begun to treat the drink with the same attention and delicacy as vineyard owners treat their grapevines with.

We at Augie’s are diving headlong into the ever-expanding, joyful ocean of specialty coffee. We’ve been learning and perfecting brewing and roasting techniques while befriending some of the greatest coffee enthusiasts worldwide. Roasting all of our own beans has brought us into new spheres of knowledge and joy as we engage importers and farmers, explore the world of green coffee and find out which coffees taste best at which roasting temps and times. We as a staff and as general explorers have been delighted to discover that the coffee industry is one full of friendly people willing to share secrets and desiring to expand knowledge and excitement anywhere. We have discussed and shared beans and experiences with roasters and baristas from across the states, met award-winning farmers who share especially outstanding coffees, and we have had jittery and excited conversations with all of them.

This blog is here to draw you into that over-caffeinated conversation, to get you excited about the lovely process that brings coffee to your table and belly and to help you grow in your love for our favorite drink.