20 years ago Nate and I worked on the Leylon Sneed...a 140-ft replica of a Chesapeake Oyster Bay Boat, out of St. Thomas in the USVI. You may have ridden this incredible boat to go snorkeling at Trunk Bay St John! While the Leylon Sneed has seen her day and, to our knowledge, no longer in commission, our memories of our her are clear as day.
Unfortunately, with the recent hurricanes, the people of the USVI, BVI, PR, and surrounding islands have devastated the lives of many. We want to help and we can, with YOUR help! Between now and the end of October, we will donate 10% of EVERY PURCHASE to the American Red Cross to help in the wake of these natural disasters. Please JOIN US! With your purchase, you will not only enjoy AMAZING teas and fresh-roasted, ethically sourced coffee from all over the world, but also help those in need. Visit www.eriecoffeeroasters.com to make your coffee, tea, or goodie purchase.
Thank you for your support!
Cheers! Lisa & Nate Zautke Co-Owners Erie Coffee Roasters
So there you are with your freshly roasted coffee beans, your new burr grinder, and your favorite mug. But suddenly, you panic; "Why does my grinder have 15+ grind settings on it?! Espresso Grind, Drip Grind, French Press Grind, and all those other grinds in-between... what does it all mean?!"
There are a handful of factors that can mess up the taste of your incredible coffee once you've gotten it home: type of water used, grinder type, grind size, water temperature, storage, just to name a few. Here we'll take a look at grind size...
The main idea behind grind size is based on how long your coffee is in contact with water during the brewing process.
The Rocky Road: Coarse Grind
A larger grind size is typical for a longer brew such as a french or coffee press. This longer brewing time (usually about four minutes) in partnership with the larger surface area of the coarse grind, allows the water more time & space from which to extract all of the goodness out of the coffee.
The Finer Things: Espresso
For an espresso, you're looking at about 20-30 seconds of water to coffee exposure plus the addition of pressure with which to extract out all of the lovely coffee flavors. With just those few seconds, you need a very fine grind to let that water flow through quickly, while simultaneously capturing all of the yummy goodness.
Middle-of-the-Grind-Spectrum: Drip et al
You usually use a drip coffee maker for larger groups of people or a larger volume of coffee at one time for yourself! You may have a conical filter or flat-bottom filter. Either way, you've got a relatively broad bed of grounds with water coming in contact through a spray head fitting. We're talking volume here, folks. This is where there is a lot more tweaking and playing around with tuning your grind...the middle of the road is a wide place, where really, it's a matter of personal taste. A couple things that might help:
Once you've got yours dialed, write it down! Or better yet, write it ON your grinder! Happy grinding :-)
Your beans’ greatest enemies are air, moisture, heat, and light.
To preserve your beans’ fresh roasted flavor as long as possible, store them in an opaque, air-tight container at room temperature. Coffee beans can be beautiful, but avoid clear canisters which will allow light to compromise the taste of your coffee.
Keep your beans in a dark and cool location. A cabinet near the oven is often too warm, and so is a spot on the kitchen counter that gets strong afternoon sun.
Coffee's retail packaging is generally not ideal for long-term storage. If possible, invest in storage canisters with an airtight seal.
Coffee begins to lose freshness almost immediately after roasting. Try to buy smaller batches of freshly roasted coffee more frequently - enough for one or two weeks.
Exposure to air is bad for your beans. If you prefer to keep your beans in an accessible and/or attractive container, it may be a good good idea to divide your coffee supply into several smaller portions, with the larger, unused portion in an air-tight container.
This is especially important when buying pre-ground coffee, because of the increased exposure to oxygen. If you buy whole beans, grind the amount you need immediately before brewing.
Freshness is critical to a quality cup of coffee. Experts agree that coffee should be consumed as quickly as possible after it is roasted, especially once the original packaging seal has been broken.
While there are different views on whether or not coffee should be frozen or refrigerated, the main consideration is that coffee absorbs moisture – and odors, and tastes – from the air around it, since it is hygroscopic (bonus vocabulary word for all the coffee geeks out there).
Most home storage containers still let in small amounts of oxygen, which is why food stored a long time in the freezer can suffer freezer burn. Therefore, if you do refrigerate or freeze your beans, be sure to use a truly airtight container.
If you choose to freeze your coffee, quickly remove as much as you need for no more than a week at a time, and return the rest to the freezer before any condensation forms on the frozen coffee.
Freezing your beans does not not change the basic brewing process.
© National Coffee Association of U.S.A., Inc.
Since our inception as a Wholesale Coffee Roaster, we have wanted to make sure that we were not only financially supporting our coffee farmers via Direct Trade, but also giving back to our local community.
From the very beginning, we have searched for ways to help others with our product. As any small business owner understands, money is incredibly tight...you see red more than black numbers, you don't pay yourself a salary, you barely squeak by paying your bills on time, and the like.
While this has also been the case for Nate and I at Erie Coffee Roasters, it hasn't stopped us from making a difference. We have always said, "We don't have money to donate, but we have a product". So, what do you do with that? Get creative.
Coffee roasting is an art and a science. No matter how good you are, every once and awhile you're going to have a bunk roast...new beans, new origin, human error, something will come up where your batch is, while drinkable, not up to your high standards as a roaster. Having Quality, Integrity, Reproducibility, Honesty, essentially coursing through our veins, we've never been able to bag up this coffee and sell it for $15/bag. We found it another, most wonderful home: Coal Creek Meals on Wheels.
Every couple months or so, we blend our imperfect roasts, older beans, etc, grind them up, and deliver to Coal Creek Meals on Wheels. We donate this coffee to MoW's volunteers and onsite clientele! In so doing, we've made a wonderful partnership which has only grown.
This brings me to the next stage of this sweet partnership: a 45th Anniversary Blend of coffee made specially for Coal Creek Meals on Wheels' 45th Anniversary! All year long we will be selling this coffee and donating $5 of every bag back to their organization. Please note: this is NOT the older, imperfectly roasted coffee that we donate, but rather a thoughtfully blended of two origins that are always freshly roasted. Buy a bag today and make your mornings even better knowing that not only are you drinking fresh-roasted, Direct Trade coffee that supports farmers, but also your local community here at home! Cheers!
To learn more about Coal Creek Meals on Wheels and the 45th Anniversary Blend or to purchase, click here!
Day in and day out, many of us, after brewing up that delicious cup, pot, or vat of coffee, end up throwing away our used coffee grounds or old tea bags. Do you have a flower or vegetable garden? Do you love your shrubs? Playing with the idea of composting? Why not give new life to those used coffee grounds and tea leaves and use them as compost or a natural fertilizer for your garden. Now you AND your plants can start your day with a caffeinated smile on your faces ;-)
According to Sunset magazine, by tilling in your used grounds 6-to-8 inches below soil surface, you will increase the amounts of phosphorous, magnesium, copper, and potassium available for uptake by your plants. It's important to keep in mind that you want to incorporate used coffee grounds into your soil as they have a more neutral pH...fresh grounds are acidic and could potentially harm your beloved plants.
Worms LOVE used coffee grounds and tea leaves too, and we know that the more worms in the soil, the more natural aeration occurring in your garden allowing for water and air to increase around the roots of your plants. Vermicomposting totes coffee grounds (and used tea!) as a favorite for worms. Composting and tilling the especially compacted, clay-laden soil that we have in our local area is necessary for happy, healthy plants, so why not add a little coffee ground treat for the worms in the soil too!
As an added bonus, coffee grounds can also be used as a natural slug and snail repellent. Essentially, the caffeine from the coffee grounds stops slugs and snails in their ooey-gooey tracks and they high-tail it out of the area. See the summary from Nature Journal of Science here.
As you can probably imagine, as a coffee roaster and special event coffee vendor, we at Erie Coffee Roasters tend to produce a significant amount of both coffee grounds and chaffe, both of which are great for gardening. Head roaster Nate worked with Kris Korba to find ways we could divert waste from our roastery and help out local gardens and farms.
Kris Korba is a beginning farmer, entrepreneur, experienced landscaper, and whole systems designer. Abundance Ranch, located at Hwy 52 and CR 5, is just one of the places Kris has gone from gardening to farming. As Kris points out, "Building soil is the first step in harvesting yummy veggies! By diverting waste streams such as chaffe and coffee grounds from Erie Coffee Roasters, I'm helping to reduce waste sent to landfills and making beautiful soil possible through worm composting." When not hands on at the farm and "on-call" for folks like us to pick up our natural waste, Kris uses his free time to explore the mountains on his bike. He searches for discarded materials he can use to build with--repurposing with a purpose!
If you have any leads on waste streams or want to talk composting, compost tea, or landscaping with a healthy conscience, please feel free to contact Kris at 303-709-9176.
Happy gardening, happy farming, and Happy Spring!
We are proud to have been showcased on the front page of the Business section of the Denver Post for our work with Non-Profits! In case you missed it (or don't follow the Denver Post), we'd like to share this article with you starring yours truly, Erie Coffee Roasters! Happy reading!