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Last year, our Holiday Blend was a big success. I couldn’t roast it fast enough, and the feedback was amazing.
But there were developments in the last year that made me worry as we approached this holiday season. Two of the ingredients of last year’s Holiday Blend each became unavailable as they’re not grown in enough supply that a coffee roaster can always count on there being inventory.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been evaluating many different blend combinations and possibilities for this year’s Holiday Blend, using the coffee cupping process. You can see just one of the cupping forms in the image to the left. Each possibility was evaluated, and described in terms of its flavor characteristics. I wanted to capture as many flavors as I associate with the holidays, namely chocolate, spice, a full body, and a natural sweetness. In short, it had to be a coffee as good as or better than last year’s Holiday Blend!
And behold…the Holiday Blend from the Make Good Coffee Co.!
A combination of dark-roasted South American beans to give the coffee a full body and chocolate flavor, with medium-roasted Central American beans for a touch of acidity, or “spice” on the end. The coffee also has a natural berry sweetness perfectly balanced in the blend so not to be overwhelmed by the dark-roasted beans.
The Holiday Blend is shipping this Friday, December 2, 2016. Get some for the coffee-loving person in your life. Or, get some for yourself so you can be the star of the holiday party. Or, just get some for yourself!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Make Good Coffee Co.!
I’ve said for years that I feel decaf coffee drinkers are even more appreciative of coffee’s flavor. I can’t tell if people think I’m joking when I say it, because we all know that right after the coffee’s flavor, we all love the caffeine.
Decaf coffee drinkers like coffee so much, that they drink it entirely for the flavor. Or, they’ve learned how social it can be to enjoy coffee with others, and don’t want to miss out.
I wanted to put care into how I roasted my decaf, and bring out its flavor.
And so, I give you the Joshua Bean Decaf! This coffee was grown in Brazil, the world’s biggest grower of coffee. I roast it to a medium-dark so that its body is properly developed, with a natural sweetness like berries.
Just like its caffeinated brother, the Joshua Bean Decaf is named after San Diego’s first mayor. His name was actually Bean!
For the full-caffeine coffee drinker, you might still enjoy this coffee when it’s late and you’d like the taste of coffee. It’s nighttime as I type this, and I’m enjoying a cup of the Joshua Bean Decaf.
For the coffee drinker that truly likes a deep dark roast, presenting…the Tres Noir French Roast.
Tres = very
Noir = dark
Well technically, “noir” translates to black in French but it’s a cooler name this way.
For this French Roast, I selected the Colombia Excelso coffee that we currently offer in a medium-dark roast that brings out its natural berry, almost red wine, flavor. That same bean, roasted to a dark and smoky French Roast, yields an entirely different flavor profile.
The Tres Noir French Roast offers a more well-rounded sweetness, combined with a strong caramel flavor. The aroma is fruity but smoky. Smoky, without tasting burnt. There can be a laziness to dark roasting, where the roaster simply leaves the beans in for longer in order to get the darker appearance. When coffee is dark-roasted this carelessly, the result is a burnt flavor, and I wanted to make sure I avoided that.
This roast is very carefully managed, so that you get the smoky flavor that is characteristic of a dark roast, without the burnt flavor. Instead, the flavor is rich, exotic, and fruity to the point of maintaining the red wine flavor that is characteristic of this bean. Remarkably for a dark roast, the Tres Noir French Roast even retains some of the acidity that gives life to this coffee. The aftertaste is pleasant and fruity.
If you are a dark roast coffee aficionado, then you must try the Tres Noir French Roast!
For the connoisseurs of espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos, The Make Good Coffee Co. wants to make it easy for you to have fresh and delicious coffee in your kitchen. I want you to start your day with good coffee, and I want you to be able to serve good coffee to your family and friends.
The Big Noir Espresso is a carefully roasted blend. It is a dark roast, but it is not burnt and will not taste burnt! You get a smooth and smoky blend of South American and east African beans, with rich chocolate and caramel flavor and some berry sweetness. Your espresso blend doesn’t need to taste like it was simply left in the roaster for too long. Start your day with a full flavor espresso blend.
The Roast Date is hand-written on each bag so that you know when it was roasted. Each bag you receive will have been roasted within days of shipping to you. That means fresher coffee with flavor that will jump out of the cup. Don’t drink coffee that’s been burnt or has gone stale.
Shipping to all US points within 1-3 days. Your fresh coffee will not sit for days at the post office. It will be fresh when I ship it, and fresh when you receive it. Going to the store to buy coffee is convenient. Having it delivered to your address is more convenient.
I recommend buying two bags of coffee from the Roastery Store, for 2-4 weeks of fresh-roasted coffee at home. When you buy two bags of any coffee and use promo code NOIR at checkout, shipping is free. Fresh-roasted delicious coffee delivered to your front door, free of charge.
Life’s too short for bad coffee. Ordering from the Make Good Coffee Co. is an easy way to have better coffee delivered right to your door. Tell us if it isn’t better than the coffee you’re currently drinking, and I’ll give you your money back.
I once enjoyed a well-roasted coffee from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica, and it made an impression on me. When I first started roasting, I searched for this coffee but it was not available at that time. Fast-forward a couple years, and the dream has finally come true. I have Costa Rica Tarrazu coffee, and now you do too!
When I first started roasting, I was offering a delicious Panama Boquete coffee as my lightest roast. Central American beans are often best-roasted light, otherwise you lose much of the lively acidity that characterizes coffees from this region.
I had a minor panic attack when I went through my big burlap sack of unroasted Panama Boquete coffee, and learned that it was temporarily unavailable due to the seasonality of coffee farming. But every now and then, a negative turns into a positive and I was introduced to Costa Rica Tarrazu coffee in its place.
Two years ago, a friend and I made an origin trip to Costa Rica and Panama. Here’s a picture of us getting back to travel basics, and using a map and compass to find coffee farms. While there, we were able to meet with coffee farmers and workers, and truly get in touch with coffee origin. Trips like these truly drive the point home that much care has gone into making green coffee available to me, and it is my responsibility to treat it with as much care before it ends up in the homes of coffee lovers.
Coffee farming has a key part of Costa Rica‘s history, and it is still one of their top three exports. Costa Rican coffee is considered some of the best in the world.
And within Costa Rica, Tarrazu is considered one of the most desirable regions for coffee farming. The Geisha strain of coffee grown in Tarrazu is one of the most expensive coffees in the world.
Our new Costa Rica coffee is also designated SHB, for Strictly Hard Bean. Coffee flavor depends on the altitude at which it was grown. The SHB designation means that it was grown in the region’s highest altitudes, and is the best tasting coffee that this region has to offer.
Try this coffee! I roast it medium, which for me means the lightest that I roast any coffee in my line-up. This maintains the lively acidity that coffee lovers should look for, unless they prefer dark roast coffees. It has a milk chocolate aroma that is evident as soon as you open the bag, and reflected in the flavor, along with a naturally sweet berry flavor.
“I’ve been wondering how much caffeine is in a tablespoon of ground coffee (the actual grounds) but I can’t seem to find it on Google. Please help if you can.” – John
I have a hard time answering coffee questions without geeking out, so this is sure to be longer than what you anticipated as an answer .
Let’s get the chemistry out of the way. Caffeine, as well as another alkaloid named trigonelline, account for 1% of the weight of green, unroasted coffee. As an aside, did you know that the coffee plant produces caffeine as a defense against insects?
Green, unroasted coffee is dense and heavy with moisture, which is expelled from the coffee bean as it’s roasted. The amount of weight that the coffee bean loses as it’s being roasted varies, but let’s go with 15% of its weight as a good round number.
This is where the debate starts about whether or not different-roasted coffees contain different amounts of caffeine. Many years ago, it was my understanding that dark-roasted coffees contained more caffeine. I wasn’t alone, as I recall many people at the time equating a “strong coffee” with being dark-roasted. Further on, I started hearing that the roasting process itself burns off trace amounts of caffeine, which would mean that the darker the roast, the LOWER the caffeine.
But wait, there are a couple other ways to look at it! I’ve been told even more recently that the roaster never reaches a high enough temperature to burn caffeine, therefore caffeine content is THE SAME between a medium-roasted and dark-roasted coffee. To make matters worse, if the previous statement is true and coffee loses more weight the darker it’s roasted, then we’re back to the understanding that a dark-roasted coffee loses more weight but keeps the same amount of caffeine. That would mean it indeed has HIGHER caffeine, all other things being equal.
Sorry for the tangent. Let’s just assume that 15% of the coffee’s weight in moisture is expelled in the roasting process, and that the caffeine content stays constant. That would mean that caffeine would go from 1% of the coffee’s composition to about 1.2%.
According to convertunits.com, one tablespoon equals 15 grams. 1.2% of 15 grams is 180 mg.
I invite people to double-check my math, and I am always more than happy to admit when I am wrong. I checked myself by looking online, and found it universally accepted that one metric cup of coffee contains around 95 mg of caffeine – ironic that number is exactly half of what I came up with above.
First off, who was Joshua Bean? I’ll never forget the night I was reading about the history of San Diego, California and learned that the last name of its first mayor was Bean. Bean?!? I couldn’t believe it. If ever I needed proof that San Diego is destined to be a coffee capitol in the US, its first mayor was named Bean. I decided that after creating my first signature blend, I would name it after San Diego’s first mayor.
Why a coffee blend? There is a science and an art to coffee blending. At this time, I’m carrying seven different single-origin coffees. Each one contains unique and specific aromas and flavor notes. I like every one of them and have roasted each one the best I can through trial and error, and more trial and error. With a coffee blend, there is an opportunity to create a coffee experience that no single-origin coffee captures. The opportunity to capture flavors from different coffees, to create a brand new coffee experience that is unique.
The picture above is a real photo of all of the coffee cupping evaluation forms that I used to evaluate, re-evaluate, and re-re-evaluate different individual coffees, as well as their contribution to the blend. Some of those cupping forms are filled out by fellow coffee aficionados with different opinions on coffee than my own, who contributed their feedback to the process.
Each coffee cupping allowed me to narrow down the recipe, until I was completely satisfied with the result. And here it is, the Joshua Bean Blend of coffee. It combines a natural berry sweetness in flavor with milk chocolate and spices. Natural flavors of berry, chocolate, and spices?! Get you some!
There is another personal and important reason for me in naming this blend. On August 12, 2012, two very dear friends lost their beloved son Joshua at the age of 19. I met Joshua twice. In fact, I met he and his father at the same time, and both of his parents have since become very important people in my life. Josh loved music, and I kept his mental image and photo nearby when making this blend. While you won’t find it on the cupping forms, I wanted there to be music in this blend. Listen to your own favorite music while you enjoy this coffee.
I’m so excited to formally launch the Guatemala Antigua SHB. This was a coffee of very personal significance for me to roast, because two years ago, my father and I toured Guatemala and specifically visited coffee farms while we were there. We also spent some time in the city of Antigua, coffee capital of Latin America.
Antigua is located in the central highlands of Guatemala. It is famous for its Spanish-influenced architecture and ruins of old churches. It is even designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The culture in Antigua that I was not expecting was its clear place as a coffee capital. There were cafes in every direction. Also interesting was that American chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King have been allowed to open outlets in Antigua – however, to preserve the local culture, these chains are not allowed to have prominent signs outside. You could potentially walk by the McDonald’s and not even know it was there.
One of the most interesting parts of the visit was our tours of Guatemalan coffee farms. My Spanish skills probably doubled as I struggled to translate from our fast-talking guide to my father, who doesn’t speak Spanish. When we were there, they had just completed construction of a new school within the community of coffee farms. When coffee was not being harvested, children had access to improving education. If we continue to invest in quality, we not only enjoy a better cup of coffee, but coffee growing communities have the opportunity to prosper.
The SHB designation of this coffee is abbreviation for Strictly Hard Bean, synonymous with Strictly High Grown. Coffee growing altitudes in Guatemala reach as high as 5,000 feet above sea level, and the SHB designation means that the coffee was grown at least 4,500 feet above sea level. Higher-altitude coffee grows slower, resulting in a denser bean, which results in a more desirable coffee. In short, these are the best beans grown in this area.
I roast the Guatemala Antigua SHB to a medium-dark. I try not to over-roast coffee, and with my connection to this beautiful country, I feel like it would be a disservice to “burn” it. A lighter roast doesn’t develop all of the potential flavor in this coffee, so I’ve found the perfect profile to be somewhere in the middle. A well-balanced coffee that is not high in acidity, a crowd-pleaser for its mellowness, with hints of berry and milk chocolate flavor. It’s the coffee I make for myself at home, and I hope you enjoy it in your home.
I’m so excited to announce that the Make Good Coffee Co. will be live every Saturday morning at the Scripps Ranch Farmers Market in San Diego, California!
There are approximately 50 farmers markets in San Diego County, and in a period of a few weeks, I visited easily more than half of them. We have great markets across the County and throughout the week, but the one that I liked the best is in Scripps Ranch.
I was ecstatic when the owners of the market let me know that they not only had a spot available, but were excited to welcome a coffee roaster as one of their new vendors.
Local certified and 100% organic produce, plants and flowers, arts and crafts, even live music! And of course, I’ll be bringing the whole line-up of coffees every Saturday morning.
If you live in San Diego or are visiting over a weekend, make sure you visit…
Scripps Ranch Farmers Market
10380 Spring Canyon Rd
San Diego (Scripps Ranch)
Open every Saturday, year around, rain or shine from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm
Alright, this blog post title is kind of a cheat. This is really about three different ways to greatly improve the quality of coffee that you drink at home without spending more money, followed by two ways that will cost you just a little bit of money.
- Use filtered water
More specifically, apply whatever standard you have for drinking water to your coffee water. Coffee is 99% water (not exactly, but you get the idea), so it amazes me what care people put into their drinking water that they don’t apply to the water they use to make coffee. If you use a Brita to filter your drinking water, use that same filtered water to make coffee. If you have a drip brewer, keep in mind that the water never reaches the point of boiling, so many things that would be removed from the water through boiling will remain in your drip brewer, and into your coffee. That affects flavor. I mainly use a Chemex and AeroPress at home to brew coffee. Both methods require that water be boiled first, then cooled. And even though I boil my water, I still put filtered water into the kettle to boil.
Never was this point more clear to me than when I was staying at a hotel, and needed to make myself a coffee in the room. Using tap water, the coffee I made was as bad as you could imagine. I made the next cup with bottled water, and while it still wasn’t a great coffee, there was a very noticeable difference in flavor between the two cups.
- Clean your machine regularly
Vinegar is an excellent mild cleaner. It will help maintain your coffee making system to run the occasional cycle through it of vinegar and water. You can play with the ratios, but I recommend starting with a mix that is somewhere between 1:4 to 1:2 water:vinegar. If you use a drip brewer, take note of what the water looks like after it’s been run through the cycle, to see what difference you’re making. Coffee is oily, sticky, and perishable. That means it wants to stick to parts of your coffee maker, and go stale. That stale coffee ends up in your otherwise fresh cup of coffee if you don’t clean your machine regularly. I suggest running the vinegar cycle monthly.
- Don’t grind until you’re about to brew
Growing up, my parents always ground their morning coffee the night before. They did it for two reasons. One, it then just required a flip of the switch in the morning to get the coffee brewing and two, the grinder wouldn’t wake up anybody the following morning. The latter reason is way more valid, but even still, upsetting my neighbors with the sound of my grinder is the price I pay for fresh coffee! There are two distinct points at which coffee begins going stale…when it has been roasted, and when it has been ground. After it’s been ground, it begins to expire at an even faster rate. If at all possible, grind your coffee only as you’re about to brew it. Otherwise, it is much staler and you will taste the difference in your cup.
And now, a couple ways to improve your coffee by investing only a small amount…
- Upgrade your equipment cheaply
The last tip wouldn’t matter if you don’t own a grinder, and buy your coffee pre-ground. If that’s the case, for heaven’s sake, invest $20-30 in a propeller grinder. A burr grinder offers a more consistent grind, but if you don’t have a grinder at all and aren’t ready to invest in a burr grinder, then buy a propeller grinder and start grinding your coffee only as you’re about to brew it.
If you’re not happy with your coffee maker, take $20 to Target and buy the Black and Decker drip brewer. Black and Decker strips down all the bells and whistles and while by far not the best machine on the market, I believe it is the best value. For $20, you will get a decent of cup of drip brew coffee.
- Buy from a local roaster
I had to say it! The grocery store is full of coffee options, and they’re all stale. The conventional grocery store channel simply cannot purchase and stock fresh coffee. Somebody in your area offers an affordable fresh roasted coffee, or better yet, visit our Online Store and learn about the Colombia Excelso that costs only $12/bag. It’s one of my favorite coffees right now, and comparable in price to what they sell at the grocery store. Buying coffee online means it gets delivered to your door, so you don’t have to make an extra trip for it. And while there are far cheaper coffees at the grocery store, the difference in flavor will be FAR greater than the difference in price.