Coffee’s On!

The Coffee Bean International blog—featuring insights, news, and stories, covering everything coffee from tree to cup.

Of Dark Roasts and Oaky Wines

It used to be the morning ritual. One cup, never more. Usually Peet’s—or the darkest, and strongest option available. My philosophy was, “I like it strong with plenty of cream,” and it held up through over 15 years of passionate coffee drinking. Read more »

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Obesity, Breakfast Wars, and the Coffee Aisle

We’ll get to that intriguing title in a second. But first, let’s ask:

Is Coffee a Breakfast Item?

Sounds like a silly question, right? Especially for you, Mr. Café Owner.  You’ve known for years that 80% of your traffic comes before 10 am. Good coffee sales equals great profitability for you. What about on the grocery shelf? Do coffee and breakfast go together there? Seems like it should. But back to the intrigue… Read more »

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The Worse the Road, the Better the Coffee at Finca Suspiro, Nicaragua

Sunday morning in Nicaragua dawned cloudy and rainy. Rain is a rarity there during this time of year, and I dug through my clothes to find my rain gear – which, fortunately, I had along with me. My backpack filled up quickly with everything I thought I might need for the day – dry socks and clothes at the bottom, all serving as a cushion for my camera and tripod, with rain gear and hat on top if I needed to grab it quick. Outside pockets held bottled water, trail mix, hat, bar towels (amazingly useful for keeping camera and face dry while working in the field), and – if the sun came out later – sunscreen and sunglasses. Read more »

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Harvest Visit to Nicaragua

I was fortunate recently to be able to spend a week in Nicaragua, right in the middle of the coffee harvest during the middle of February. While I’ve been to most of the rest of Central America, this was my first visit to Nicaragua, which I scheduled to be able to spend time working the harvest and hanging out with my friend Erwin Mierisch and his family. Erwin, his father Dr. Mierisch, brother Steve, and sisters Maria Ligia and Eleane are owners of five stellar coffee farms in northern Nicaragua (two in the region of Matagalpa, and three in the Jinotega area) and a fantastic coffee beneficio (dry mill) on the lower-elevation coastal plain at the base of the regions’ mountains. Read more »

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Project Direct Nicaragua is on deck

It’s the very end of the picking season here in Nicaragua and most of the plants have been stripped of their fruit. However, this morning when Paul Thornton, Chris Wade and I drove through the mist at Finca El Quetzel, we came upon a group of pickers who were working a slope of red and yellow catuai in small pocket of the farm. We rounded a bend in the road and thought we heard singing. When we looked up, we spotted about 100 workers dotting the hillside. Read more »

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Fast vs Slow Roasting

I want to start a dialogue surrounding fast vrs slow roasting and the effect on body and acidity in the cup, caused by the speed of the roast. Your opinions please would be great on the two below points. I have always felt slower roasts mute perception of acidity, therefore helping embellish body. Contrary to this, I have always felt faster roasts embellish acidity perception, muting the perception of body. Any thoughts on these two points below? Are these two statements correct? Read more »

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Portland Business Journal: Coffee Bean International adopts direct trade program

The following story was in Portland Business Journal and Sustainable Business Oregon on February 10, 2010. Read it here.

Coffee Bean International announced Wednesday the launch of a direct trade program, “Project Direct,” working directly with farmers with a goal of paying higher prices for better quality coffee and directly improving coffee growers’ farms, communities, and quality of life. Read more »

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Avoid the 7 Pitfalls of Private Brand (Specialty) Coffee Launches

An exec at a large retailer recently confessed to me: "Coffee: It's like the more I learn, the less I know." Exactly. Without going into the ridiculously complicated supply chain of coffee, the one factor you need to realize is The Passion Factor: Specialty coffee consumers LOVE their coffee. We're not selling paper towels here! Coffee is the most affordable indulgence in the store. And it's also a tremendously complex product category wherein more and more consumers require more and more information. Recognize it and realize the passion! Not doing so is Pitfall #1. Read more »

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What's Cupping Best - Rwanda Nyamwenda

The new crop of Rwanda Nyamwenda from the COOPAC coffee cooperative is outstanding. Cultivated on the steep slopes of northern Rwanda’s volcanic mountains above Lake Kivu, the rich soil, high altitude, and abundant rainfall yield a stellar coffee that is characterized by heavy tangerine flavor and an intense blackberry fruitiness and floral aroma. The bright acidity complements a well-balanced body that is laced with notes of rich molasses. Nyamwenda is a washing station that can be accessed by a boat ride across Lake Kivu. Read more »

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Single-Origin Coffees versus Blends

So much attention these days seems to be given to single-origin coffees – served as shots of espresso, dripped in brewers, or brewed in siphons. Read more »

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