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A good friend asked if we were planning an Easter Blend in our coffee cuppings at the roastery. After giving it some thought, we decided that Easter is an excellent occasion for a new blend. After all, it involves family getting together, and in some families, exchanging gifts. My friend was looking for an Easter gift idea, and we started getting to work on the Easter Blend.
My hesitation was that Easter is a religious holiday, so what should the blend commemorate? We all know what the occasion represents religiously, so how did Easter become a celebration of family, chocolate, and rabbits? I did some research.
Let’s start with the Easter egg. It turns out that in the act of decorating eggs, the egg is meant to symbolize an empty tomb (never knew that!). The egg itself is a symbol for life and rebirth. The decorating of eggs started as the staining of eggs in red. The tradition of dying chicken eggs moved to plastic eggs and to chocolate in the shape of eggs. The tradition of the Easter Bunny emerged in the same vein as Santa Claus, where the bunny was a judge of what children were good enough to receive eggs at Easter.
Long story short…I put my mind at ease that an Easter Blend coffee is not sacrilegious :).
Our Easter Blend features a rich dark chocolate flavor. It is full bodied without being overly dark roasted, but still with a hint of smoke and also a hint of lively sweet acidity. The chocolate flavor notes were important to our cupping, and the complex flavor is meant to appeal to as many of your friends and family that will be enjoying it with you.
We use USPS’ flat rate envelope for shipping, so the shipping cost is always fixed. For that reason, we recommend ordering two bags to spread the shipping cost over two bags instead of one. It also ensures you’re not ordering too much that will go stale before you’ve had a chance to enjoy it. For variety, consider selecting a different coffee from our Store for your second bag. Everything is roasted within 48 hours of shipping to you, and all US points are a maximum of three days away from our roastery in San Diego. The coffee will be delivered to you within a week of being roasted.
When I first started roasting, I had three coffees: a medium roast, a dark roast, and a premium coffee. I wanted to capture as many coffee preferences as I could with a limited amount of coffees to start.
My philosophy in developing the roast profile of a dark roast coffee was to give the coffee drinker the smoky flavor and full body of a dark roast, without the burnt and bitter flavor that so often accompanies a dark roasted coffee.
That same philosophy is behind our latest offering for the dark roast afficionado…our new Excelso Dark coffee. The key is in the care that goes into attaining the full body and smoky flavor, while properly developing the inner bean and not burning its exterior.
This very versatile Colombia bean features a full body and berry sweetness when roasted medium. When roasted dark, the body becomes even fuller, and the berry sweetness turns into an almost red wine flavor.
We ship by USPS Flat Rate Padded Envelope, so I recommend ordering two bags of coffee (two Excelso Darks, or an Excelso Dark and a different coffee) so that flat rate shipping fee is spread over two bags instead of just one.
If you like dark roasted coffees, here is one with a hint of lively acidity, a sweetness uncharacteristic of dark roasts, and a smoky flavor that isn’t burnt or bitter.
If you don’t like dark roasted coffees, it might be because you haven’t tried this one!
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.
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 Coffee™ 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 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
A lot of my coffee education took place at the Fire Roasted Coffee Company in London, Canada. I’ll never forget walking up to their “wall” of coffees from around the world, and being overwhelmed by the selection. I didn’t know at the time that the world of coffee was so vast. I was fortunate that a well-educated employee approached me with questions that helped him decide which coffees to recommend.
A few months later, my brother asked me if any kind of tool existed online that helped connect the coffee lover with the right coffee for them. It reminded me of my own experience at Fire Roasted.
The Coffee Quiz was born!
With a little input from the coffee drinker, I felt that intelligent suggestions could be made to help guide that person to coffees they should try based on their preferences.
Think about the coffees you’ve really enjoyed. Did they have the smoky flavor of a dark roast? Or the brightness and variety of a lighter roast? If you’re not sure, start in the middle. You can always take the Coffee Quiz over again.
Acidity is tricky and misunderstood. Don’t think of acid as in pH content of coffee, or acid reflux (heartburn). Think of it this way…a banana and a raspberry both have unique flavors, but which one has more “pop”? If you answered raspberry, it’s the same concept behind acidity. How much “pop” would you like in your coffee? A lot can be too much, but not enough can be boring.
Go for it! Try the Coffee Quiz and find the coffee match that’s right for you.
Check out the Online Store here.
If you’ve been visiting the site these past several months, you know it’s been an ongoing adventure to get the coffee roaster installed and operational in San Diego, California. Last month, the roaster went live, and I’ve spent the last several weeks perfecting the first three coffees that I’ll be selling.
This year, we went on a coffee origin trip through Costa Rica and Panama, taking us into Panama’s green mountain highlands. We toured coffee farms, and met with the farmers and field workers. Going to coffee origin is an incredible experience that helps you appreciate the beverage we all love.
My Panama Boquete coffee is roasted medium to take advantage of the natural brightness of a Central American coffee. When a coffee is roasted too dark, it loses some of the uniqueness. To maintain this coffee’s natural acidity, I roast it to a medium color. You can expect flavor notes of berry and other fruit, and some milk chocolate flavor.
Malawi AA – Dark Roast
Dark roasted coffee has a nice smoky taste that so many coffee lovers like in their cup.
We are excited that our Dark Roast Coffee is a Malawi AA coffee. The east African country of Malawi has a long coffee tradition, dating back to when the British planted coffee seeds in its green northern provinces in the late 19th century. To ensure a strict standard of quality, the “AA” means that it meets the highest standard before it’s exported.
You can expect a medium acidity and good sweetness in this coffee, with notes of citrus, berry, and some chocolate.
Marc’s Premium Coffee – Sumatra Toba Peaberry
I’m excited about all three of these coffees, but I’m the most excited about this premium Sumatra Toba Peaberry coffee.
Sumatra is the largest island entirely in Indonesia, and this coffee is grown alongside Lake Toba. Toba is the site of the world’s largest volcanic activity in the last 25 million years, and it is the world’s largest volcanic lake. Volcanic soil contains some of the best nutrients to grow coffee, and it’s reflected in the coffee’s flavor. Peaberry coffee is a special type of coffee bean where there is only one oval shaped bean in each cherry, rather than two joined beans.
Long story short: it’s a very special coffee. I’ve spent weeks perfecting how to roast it for an optimum flavor experience. I roast it to a medium-dark roast, to mute some of the strong acidity that is natural to this coffee, while developing strong berry and spicy flavor, and a nice body. Did I mention that this is a very special coffee?!
Shipping from the Make Good Coffee. Co. Online Store to US addresses is a flat 5.70, using the US Postal Service Flat Rate Padded Envelope. I’m not trying to make money from shipping, so I’m passing on the exact USPS cost. I encourage you to buy two pounds at a time, in order to split this flat rate shipping cost, over the cost of the two pounds of coffee. While two pounds of coffee is more than I would normally suggest you buy at one time, this coffee will have been roasted days before you order it, so it will be as fresh as you can find coffee. Also, it gives you two varieties of coffee to have in the kitchen, which I always like having for variety in my own home.
Check out the Make Good Coffee Co. Online Store. This website has always grown from the feedback of people who visit, so always feel free to let me know what you think of the coffees that I’m offering, or what you would like to see.
I’m so happy to finally announce that the Make Good Coffee Co. roastery is now open, and the online store will go live on November 9th, shipping throughout North America.
After blogging about coffee, traveling to coffee growing countries, and meeting and interviewing coffee roasters for almost ten years, I’m so excited to finally open my own roastery based out of San Diego, California.
There are two things I want to accomplish with this roastery, and both of them are behind the word Good in Make Good Coffee.
“Good” should mean a quality cup of coffee that you look forward to making for yourself. I go to bed thinking about how good the coffee is going to be when I wake up. My goal is to know coffee roasting as well as it can be known. I want to make the best coffee I can make, and never stop pursuing that goal.
“Good” should also mean that we can do good when we buy coffee. In the coffee supply chain, there is nobody that works harder or makes the least for themselves than coffee farmers. Many are dedicated to providing the best coffee, and if we help them remain sustainable by providing them with a fair price, then we help families and communities. And in return, we continue getting the best coffee from them. In my coffee travels, I’ve seen schools and health care facilities built in coffee communities that have been allowed to prosper.
I’ve spent the year roasting coffee, from the Boot Coffee course in San Francisco last December, to home roasting all my own (and friends’) coffee, and reading as much as I can. I can recite the owner’s manual for my roaster. I’ve spent the last several weeks perfecting my first three coffees. They will be:
– Medium Roast Panama coffee
– Dark Roast Malawi AA coffee
– Marc’s Premium: Sumatra Peaberry coffee
Come visit the Make Good Coffee Co. Store on November 9th, shipping throughout North America! Take the Coffee Quiz that asks you a few questions about what you’re looking for, and recommends a coffee based on your choices. And start making good coffee!
I meant to write this article a long time ago. As I traveled around the US and Canada, visiting coffee roasters wherever I went, I noticed that each one packaged their coffee differently. That is, they provided different information and package choices for their customers. After seeing so many examples, I wanted to write an article on the information that I felt was critical to the coffee lover.
Fast-forward a couple years later, and I’m opening the Make Good Coffee Co. roastery in San Diego, California and having to make those very same decisions myself.
Read: The Make Good Coffee Co. coming soon!
I decided it was a good time to share the observations I was going to include in that article, and how I’ve incorporated them into the labeling and packaging that I will be offering coffee lovers.
Contact information: This is more important than ever. While that’s obvious, I’m not only referring to brick-and-mortar contact information. I’m referring to virtual contact information as well. For instance, nobody needs my fax number! But if somebody happened to try my coffee and love it, and they regular interact with some of the same social media platforms as I do, I would be remiss not to share that information.
Weight: As specialty coffee has evolved, we are being introduced to finer and finer coffees. We’re also even more exposed to the poverty in coffee-growing countries, but also the small ways that we can support development in those areas by ensuring farmers get a fair price. Both of these things combined mean that if you want to drink excellent and sustainably grown coffee, it will cost you a little more. For the most part, these are worth what you’re paying but to keep the “sticker shock” down, some roasters have migrated from a standard 16oz (1 pound) bag to 12oz. I didn’t realize this as I started buying my coffee from great local roasters, and believed I was buying a pound at a time when I was really buying 3/4 pound at a time. I believe the coffee’s weight should definitely be displayed on the label.
Roast date: I am adamant about knowing when the coffee I’m drinking was roasted. Isn’t this why we don’t buy our coffee from the grocery store or Costco or a Starbucks outlet?! I once had this conversation with a large roaster, who told me that he refused to put the roast date on the bag because he felt his customers would treat it like bread at the grocery store, reaching back for the fresher stuff while the rest became stale. I can’t agree, and have been recommending on this site that you always check to make sure the roast date is on the bag.
Origin: Speaking of “sticker shock”, the way that cheaper roasters have gotten expensive Hawaii Kona coffee into grocery stores and fast food restaurant chains is by introducing the “Kona Blend”. To sell coffee defined as such, it only needs to be 10% Kona beans, and 90% whatever. When you drink this coffee, you literally don’t know 90% of what you’re drinking. This is unacceptable. Quality coffee means that you should know exactly where it came from, and preferably, information on the farm and how you’re helping that area by purchasing this coffee.
WHY?: I’m a proponent of selling your “why” before you sell your “what”. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek. While every roaster now has a website that can easily tell their story, I would rather not leave it up to the individual to have to go to that trouble. In a small amount of space on the label is the opportunity to tell a short story of why you’re roasting, why you’re pouring yourself into this, why the person holding your bag of coffee should care about you when they can find coffee anywhere.
One-way valve: I think this is a given, but I included it here anyway. The one-way valve on the coffee bag that allows air (and the amazing smell of coffee) out of the bag, but doesn’t allow any in to compromise freshness. I think this valve is a must!
It was great to come back to this subject out of necessity when I came so close to writing the article a couple years back. Did I miss anything that you would like to see more on coffee packaging? What would you like to know about the roaster who prepared this coffee for you, or about the coffee itself?
I saw that Starbucks recently added cold brew coffee to their menu, to the tune of 4 dollars / cup. I wasn’t surprised at the price. But I was surprised that this was on the menu. What does it mean? It means that cold brew coffee has moved out of fad territory, into trend territory. I hate to say it, but when Starbucks adds it to the menu, it is something that is going to be with us for the long run.
I have traditionally drank my coffee hot. Iced coffee never appealed to me, not even in the summer. It just seemed weird that something would taste like coffee, but be so cold. Cold brew coffee, on the other hand, is not iced coffee and shouldn’t be confused. Cold brew coffee means that it was brewed over an extended period of time with room-temperature or cold water. In fact, it can be served hot. “Cold brew” makes reference to how it was brewed, not how it is served.
Naturally, there is all kinds of gear available for you to make excellent cold brew coffee for yourself at home. It would probably be worth it in the long run, rather than to pay 4 dollars per cup. But, I’ll save you even more money. I’ll explain to you how you can make cold brew coffee for yourself at home with nothing more than your french press and typical way of using it.
1) Clean your french press (press pot).
2) Grind your coffee coarse, just as though you were going to brew it in the french press as you normally would. Also grind as much coffee as you normally would, depending on the size of your french press pot.
3) Empty your coarse-ground coffee into the french press.
4) Add filtered room-temperature or cold water to the french press. Use the same amount of water as you normally would, depending on the size of your french press pot.
5) Without pressing the press down, put the french press (with coffee and water together) in the fridge. Leave it there 12 hours.
6) After 12 hours, remove the french press from the fridge, and press the ground coffee and sediment to the bottom of the pot. What you’re left with above the filter is cold-brewed sediment-free coffee.
7) Empty this coffee into another container. I use a mason jar with a screw-lid. Keep that other container in the fridge.
8) Voila! You have a container of cold brew coffee. Serve it on ice.
There are any variations to what I’ve laid out above. Here are some that I’ve become familiar with:
– You can vary between room-temperature and cold water, for brewing. I’ve used cold water. Regardless, I put it in the fridge so it’s going to get cold eventually. That brings me to the next variation – some people do not brew it in the fridge for 12 hours, rather they leave it on the counter to brew at room temperature.
– Try different coffees. The point of cold brew coffee is to mute a lot of the coffee’s acidity, so that its other characteristics can emerge in the cup. The ideal cold brew coffee would be one rich in flavor “hidden” behind a wall of acidity that not everybody likes. The cold brew process mutes that acidity.
– The 12-hour brew time is very subjective. I’ve heard of it brewed as long as 18-24 hours. Experiment with us to decide what you like best. I’ve observed that the longer the brew time, the lighter the color of the coffee.