'Tis the Season for Sharing... Coffee with a Crowd!

A new Holiday season is fast approaching! The season for sharing is here, which means it’s the perfect time to cover our tips on brewing a cup of coffee that will impress any crowd! Our method recommendations largely depend on the size of your crowd… so, know your crowd, and get ready to make them one of the best cups of coffee they’ve ever had!

If you’re having a small gathering, and are an Espresso aficionado, you simply can’t go wrong treating them to a freshly roasted, wonderfully-extracted Americano, Cortado, or Latte! It’ll give you the opportunity to showcase your skills and share a unique experience with your family or close friends. Our Crema Espresso Blend is a solid crowd pleaser, but almost any of our single-origins -particularly washed and honey Central and South Americans- all have great Espresso potential!

A second option is to make them a Pour-Over with your favorite coffee! (Chemex is our go-to for making 4-6 cups at a time). It will also give you an opportunity to showcase your skills (i.e. grinding, timing, slow pouring), and show that you don’t need any fancy equipment to make an amazing cup! Pick one of our naturals or honey-processed coffees for the most memorable craft coffee experience!

If your group is a little larger (6-12 people), consider brewing the same coffee employing two methods at the same time, i.e. Pour-Over and French Press. This will not just allow you to prepare a larger volume of coffee in a shorter period of time, but will also add another dimension to the experience (i.e. as people will be able to contrast differences between methods… you can even offer them a ‘half cup’ of each method!). Expect Pour-Over cups to be cleaner and more ‘transparent’, and French Press cups to be bolder and heavier in body. Central and South American beans - and our Swan blends - really shine on both methods! (our Red Swan Holiday Blend this year will be extra bold and fruity - absolutely perfect on Pour-Overs and French Press!)

Finally, if you’re hosting a large group (12+ people), Drip (aka. ‘standard coffee maker') is the best way to brew coffee for a crowd! Consider getting an insulated coffee carafe with a 2-3 L capacity, which will allow you to make a couple of batches in advance so everyone can enjoy their coffee at the same time. Trust us, as soon as that first person starts pouring a cup… everyone will want one! Any of our beans would be great here, though we’d encourage you to brew Poaquil - and hopefully get a chance to tell the economic empowerment story of the Guatemalan farmers behind your cup!

Always grateful to roast for you… and get to Brew Greatness in the world with you!

Jolian & Lisbeth

PS. Our new Poaquil Honey + Poaquil Natural just launched TODAY! Plus, our Holiday Gift Sets, Stocking Stuffer Specials, and our 2019 Red Swan Blend will be launching next Fri, Nov 1 (and available until Dec 31). And, if you’re going to the Holiday Gift Market in Tampa (Nov 7-10), come say hi! (and get some coffee and a hug!) Find us at Booth #602.

Celebrating Coffee Greatness

Happy National Coffee Day! Our very first blog/newsletter post - “Celebrating Coffee” - was exactly two years ago… and laid out our vision for what “Coffee Greatness” meant to us: to see beyond great taste… to wholeheartedly try to make the world a better place through coffee!

So, we would like to take this opportunity to ‘add’ Greatness to this coffee celebration - to highlight coffee is not just an amazing drink worth celebrating (which it absolutely is!), yet it also offers this incredible opportunity to seek ‘greatness’, to build a better world - a world where small coffee farmers have an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty, a world where their children can go to school every day, a world of coffee lovers that see beyond great taste and who care deeply about the impact - the ‘greatness’ - behind each cup.

Today we gratefully raise our cups celebrating the amazing privilege we get every single day… to get to Brew Greatness in the world through our favorite beverage in the world - coffee!

Thank you for Brewing Greatness in the world with us!

Jolian & Lisbeth

PS. New 2019 Crops of Cafe Femenino have arrived! Andes launched earlier this week, and a new Huehue Cafe Femenino launched earlier today. We had some logistic challenges getting our Poaquil this year - but our 4,500 lbs are finally expected to arrive this week! Plus, we have a couple of very special surprises for you - stay tuned on our FB and IG for special coverage on a visit by three Poaquil CoOp members to the roastery (they won an educational grant and will be joining our Ethos panel at Tampa Bay’s Coffee and Art Festival next Sat, Oct 5th, and staying with us for a few days!)…. and a special announcement on a very unique offering from their CoOp this year!

RE: Brewing The Perfect Cup

In our last Summer Series this year, we wanted to share our insights on how to brew a perfect cup. Here are 5 key elements that would enable you to Brew Greatness in any method!

1. FRESHNESS

There’s good reason behind our obsession with freshness - ALL great cups start with fresh beans (weeks old, not months old!) that are freshly ground right before brewing. See our previous posts for insights on why it matters, and how to keep beans fresh!

2. WATER

Water quality matters - remember your final brewed cup is ~98.7% water! Spring or properly filtered water is simply a necessity when brewing a great cup. The ideal brewing temperature is between 195 and 205℉, which is this slightly cooler than boiling (i.e. boil and wait a minute before pouring).

3. RATIOS

A ‘ratio’ is simply the amount of coffee you use in relation to the amount of water, or cups you’d like to brew. Using a 1:16 coffee-to-water ratio is considered ideal - i.e., an ounce of coffee for every 16 fl oz of water, for example (or half an ounce of coffee for an 8-oz cup). While weighing your beans and your water will always give you the best results, you can also use a consistent measure (i.e. a coffee spoon and a cup for which you know the weights or amounts of coffee and water they ‘hold’).

We should note, it’s ok to deviate from this ratio slightly, i.e. 1:15 for a stronger cup, or 1:17 for a milder cup - when it comes to coffee strength and taste - ‘perfection’ is in the eyes of the beholder.

4. GRIND

Size really matters when it comes to the perfect grind! If your grind is too coarse (or large) for the method you’re using, you’ll get a weak cup that lacks body and may be acidic. If your grind is too fine (or small), you’ll get a cup that is harsh, sharp, even bitter. Remember one grind size does NOT fit all methods, and small changes to grind size can make a big difference (in terms of the total ‘surface area’ of coffee exposed to the water) - so when it comes to grind adjustments - small changes are big!

5. TIMING

Time is of the essence when it comes to brewing! A great cup of coffee typically takes ~4-6 min to brew.

Remember brewing time is extraction time - i.e. the time necessary for your delicious coffee compounds to ‘transfer’ from the grounds into your cup. If too short, you’ll get a weak, acidic cup; if too long, you’ll get a harsh, bitter cup… yes, just like with grind size! They two are very closely related - coarser grinds need longer steeping times (e.g. French Press and Cold Brew), while finer grinds need shorter steeping times (i.e. Espresso is the ultimate example - as it extracts in 25-30 seconds).

Get these right, and you’ll be able to make a great tasting cup in ANY method! Let’s keep Brewing Greatness in the world!

Jolian & Lisbeth

PS. ‘Charley’s World’ - a local TV show - did a generous segment on us to help us tell our story and most importantly - spread the idea that we can make a difference. Thank YOU for making all of it possible!

There’s pics on FB, behind-the-scenes on IG, and here’s also a video.

RE: Coffee Processing: Washed + Honey + Natural Demystified!

You have probably seen the terms ‘washed’, ‘honey’, and ‘natural’ in our coffee descriptions, yet we thought a more in-depth explanation would make it a little more meaningful - and take your coffee connoisseur game to a whole new level!

First, some context on ‘Coffee Processing’ - this is the crucial step that transforms coffee cherries into “green coffee” that’s ready to be exported/imported/roasted! ALL coffees - yes, ALL coffees - must be processed before we can roast them! Otherwise, we would be trying to roast a ‘coffee fruit’, not a ‘coffee bean’ (technically, a coffee seed). Specifically, we need to remove three main layers (from the outside in) to get to our precious seeds: (1) pulp or exocarp, (2) mucilage or mesocarp (a sticky layer high in sugars), and (3) parchment (a papery layer protecting the seed).

There are three main processes worldwide : (1) Washed or Wet Process, (2) Honey (and variations), and (3) Natural or Dry Process. And it is when the layers are removed that makes all the difference!

Washed coffees get the first two layers, pulp and mucilage, removed as soon as possible after harvest. This is achieved by mechanically de-pulping and throughly ‘washing’ the coffee beans, and leaving only the parchment layer during the drying process (which can be under the sun, using mechanical dryers, or a combination of those two). Once beans are dried to ~12% moisture, they’re milled to remove the parchment layer and packed in 60-70 kg bags for export. This is the most popular method for Specialty coffees, as it yields incredibly clean, consistent, well-balanced cups. The highest scoring coffees worldwide are typically washed.

Honey coffees are characterized by the partial removal of the first two layers (pulp and mucilage), always leaving some pulp and mucilage around the seed to ‘ferment’ during the drying process. Depending on the amount of pulp/mucilage left, you may have a ‘Yellow Honey’ (no pulp, little mucilage, short fermentation, closer to a Washed), a ‘Red Honey’ (some pulp, most mucilage, medium fermentation), or a ‘Black Honey’ (most pulp and mucilage, long fermentation). ‘Honeys’ are very labor intensive, as they require constant monitoring and care during the weeks-long fermentation/drying under the sun. They’re also risky, as the whole harvest could be lost in an uncontrolled fermentation (i.e. yielding rotten, alcoholic, or medicinal notes). Yet, they can also yield amazing, sweet, complex, unique fruit flavors!

Natural coffees are dried with all layers! This means they’re dried as a fruit, under the sun or a combination of sun drying with mechanical dryers. Dried fruits are then ‘milled’ to remove all three layers (pulp, mucilage, and parchment) and coffee is packed for export. This is the most common method for Brazilian coffees, yet, it’s worldwide popularity has risen in recent years. It leads to sweeter, fruitier, and more full-bodied cups (vs. Washed), yet, as in the Honey process, there’s always the risk of an uncontrolled fermentation due to the high sugar content during drying.

We have excellent examples of all 3 processes currently online: try Poaquil or Kenya AA vs. Los Pinos (yellow honey) vs. Red Honey vs. Yirgacheffe, for example! We’re also working on some exciting new additions on this front with our ‘Poaquil’ partners! (we’ve been secretly experimenting for the past 2 years to bring something really unique to you… hopefully in just a few months!)

I hope this was insightful… and left you a little inspired to try something new!

Always incredibly grateful to get to roast for you, and Brew Greatness in the world with you,

Lisbeth

PS. We’re so excited about our Guatemala trip next year!!! We have a few spots before we hit our maximum number of people for the trip (which we would love to do, as we probably won’t do another one for a while!). The penalty-free deadline has been extended to 7/24… if you feel called, join us!

RE: Our Top Coffee Storage Tips!

Summer is here again, which means our “RE:” Summer Series on scientific answers to your coffee questions is back! In this first edition, we wanted to cover a topic that’s always relevant, yet especially important during the summer months, when temperature and humidity levels are at their peak…

OUR TOP COFFEE STORAGE TIPS (to keep freshness and keep Brewing Greatness!)

[ Hint: each tip addresses one of the three main factors responsible for the loss of aromatics and flavor changes in coffee - Temperature, Oxygen, and Moisture - which you can remember with the acronym “TOM”]

1- Keep your beans cool! Temperature is one of the main factors affecting your coffee’s shelf-life, so keeping your beans at temperatures below 75°F is a must during the summer months! If you’re traveling and taking your freshly roasted beans with you (which we love to do!), place them in your carry-on, and avoid leaving them in the trunk of your car (which gets really hot!). Generally speaking, chemical reaction rates tend to double for every 10° rise in temperature, which means that beans that would last fresh for a month in a cool place may only stay fresh for a week or two in our summer temperatures!

2. Keep your beans inside an air-tight container. Exposing your beans to the air not only “steals” away its amazing aromatics… the oxygen in the air also reacts with the naturally occurring oils in your coffee, and begin a series of oxidation reactions that result in undesirable breakdown products like peroxides, aldehydes, ketones, and free fatty acids (i.e. rancid taste).

3. Keep your beans in a dry environment. This is perhaps our most insightful tip, particularly if you live in a place where summers are both hot and humid - like Florida! Most never think of moisture as having a large impact on shelf-life - yet its effects are profound! Oxidation reactions in extremely low-moisture foods like coffee are mostly diffusion-limited, which means even tiny increases in moisture content can increase diffusion - and oxidation rates - dramatically. One of the reasons we do NOT recommend placing your beans in the fridge, is that humidity inside your fridge tends to be relatively high (plus, it also de-gasses your beans faster, and they may absorb extraneous odors from the other foods in your fridge).

So, remember to avoid ‘TOM’ and keep your beans in a cool, dark, dry, air-tight container so you can enjoy them at their best!

Always grateful to get to roast for you… let’s keep Brewing Greatness!

Jolian & Lisbeth

PS. July 1st is the last day to sign-up for our trip to Guatemala in 2020! If this is something you really want to do… please consider joining us! Sign up at eo.travel/ethosroasters

Guatemala Origin Trip 2020!

We’re super excited to announce our first Origin Trip to Guatemala that will be open to you, our amazing subscribers, customers, and fans! We’ve started to include flyers on all coffee orders this week, and will continue until supplies last. If you can’t wait… no worries, you can also access all the information and sign up for the trip online! (eo.travel/ethosroasters).

The trip is organized and run by EO Travel (staffed with at least one Ethos fan/subscriber who made this all happen!) and it includes all transportation (flights from TPA, but there’s an option to book your own airfare if you’re flying from other areas), lodging, and some meals! If you have trip-specific questions or need help, they’ll be happy to answer any questions about trip logistics, payments, etc. Please note, the initial trip deposit is due July 1st.

If you love what we do and want to understand WHY we do it - we hope you’ll really consider joining us! Jolian and I will also be going as participants this time, so we can experience and hopefully refine any future trips (we probably won’t be able to go on all future trips, but our relationship with the Co-Op is so close, is as if you’ll be visiting our Ethos family in Guatemala!).

I know there’s a lot more reading about the trip you have yet to do… so I’ll keep this post short and sweet!

Thank you always for choosing to Brew Greatness in the world with us!

Lisbeth

PS. Our new Kenya AA is arriving next week… can’t wait to share this fantastic new origin with you… AA is Kenya’s highest quality grade, and the cup is complex, full-bodied and different from any of our other offerings!

Let's make it better! (New harvests will arrive soon!)

It’s such an exciting time! Our peak arrival season for new coffees is just beginning, and we can’t wait to introduce you to new origins and new favorites - while renewing all-time favorites!

We’ve renewed our commitment to our Poaquil partners in Guatemala (we’re now in our 4th consecutive year - we began sourcing from them since our early roasting days back in 2016!). We’ll be doubling our order this year, and adding some very special Natural and Honey processes from their most select Red Bourbon beans they’re doing just for us! We’ll keep sharing pictures (there’s some good ones on the drying process) on Instagram and keep you posted!

We’re also renewing our commitment to our Cafe Femenino offerings. Opportunity and equality for women around the world is a cause worth championing, and as a women-led business, is particularly close to our heart. It has been repeatedly shown that lifting women benefits not just their families, but also their communities, and perhaps most importantly - serves as an example for the next generation of women to aspire and dream even bigger!

Beyond these, and our core Signature Blends, we’ll be searching for coffees with the ability to Brew Greatness in the world - coffees that not just taste great, but have a compelling story and real impact. We realize our never-ending search for “better” is hard (as we may be discontinuing an old favorite), yet it is only through change, and the belief that better is always possible, that we can continue to raise the bar! So, we invite you to help us make our upcoming sourcing season even better… by sharing with us your “wish list” of regions/flavor profiles you’d like us to feature!

Finally, as some of you with recent orders may already know, we’ve launched our new "Featured Coffee” sampling program - we’ll feature a particular single-origin or blend each month, and include it with every order - along with a profile card that will tell you more about it! This month’s feature is Black Swan. We hope you’ll love this (please tell us - tag @ethosroasters on your Facebook/Instagram posts).

Always deeply grateful for the privilege to roast and Brew Greatness in the world with you!

Jolian & Lisbeth

PS. If you have a few minutes (and haven’t yet done it), we would be forever grateful if you could review us on Google and/or Facebook - as it will help other coffee (and impact) lovers (like us)… find us!

Spotlight on Greatness 2019

As we reflect back on these first 3 years of Brewing Greatness, we realize that one of the best things along this journey (besides getting to roast coffee for amazing, like-minded people who also believe we can change the world!), has been working with some amazing, inspiring entrepreneurs! So, we couldn’t think of a better way to end our 3-year anniversary celebrations than to do a “Spotlight on Greatness” on 3 of our partners who are Brewing Greatness with us!

Chef Ivy Wolf | Ugly Cupcake Muffinry | Jacksonville Beach FL

Chef Ivy Wolf reached out to us when she was looking for a coffee roaster who shared her values (of high quality, sustainability, freshness, and making a difference!). To say she’s passionate, creative, and experienced is an understatement - she has a background in Psychology, a prior career in athletics as a professional Equestrienne, and a decade of culinary experience. During the past 5 years, Chef Wolf has refined her focus to fresh and healthy eating. She believes (as we do!) that eating well is the key to good health, and that doing so can be done in exciting, creative ways. She features fresh, local ingredients crafted with professional perfection... everything from the Bruffins to the Benedicts is absolutely amazing, with beach views and coffee to match! (Instagram @uglycupcakemuffinry). So, the next time you’re in the Jacksonville area, we hope you’ll give her a chance to delight you! Menu, hours and more at www.theuglycupcakemuffinry.com

Meghan & Stewart Mackie | N+1 Coffee | Winter Haven FL

N+1 Coffee started about a year ago, when the Mackies decided to add a high-quality craft coffee bar to their Bike Shop, and to their hometown! Their name was inspired by the idea that the ideal number of coffees (or friends, or bikes) is always N+1 (i.e. you can always have one more!). N+1 has now outgrown its original spot inside the Bike Shop and has now its own (beautiful - find them on Instagram @nplus1coffee) space next to the Bike Shop, and they’re open every day of the week! They feature an impressive Pour-Over menu, Espresso drinks (pulled on a state-of-the-art “Strada”), Cold Brew, loose-leaf teas, and locally baked pastries. They pick up freshly roasted coffee every week (yes, every week!) to ensure unparalleled freshness… and we’re already planning some Ethos Cuppings (aka. coffee tastings) there for this Summer, so stay tuned! More at www.facebook.com/nplusonecoffee/

Berna & Erkan Nar | The Market at Cafe Zuppina | Lakeland FL

We were introduced to Berna & Erkan through two of our amazing Ethos fans - who are also huge fans of their fine-dining restaurant, Cafe Zuppina (which, by the way, is the best restaurant in Lakeland - according to many local publications, and perhaps most impressively - over 500 reviewers in TripAdvisor). They are known for being “passionately committed to offering the freshest organic and local ingredients possible” and all we can say is that their level of care and focus on quality of every single ingredient is admirable - they taste-tested each of our coffee origins and blends against several local (and national) roasters, and on several methods (including traditional, sand-cooked Turkish coffee!). We were impressed with their level of professionalism, their depth of research, and honestly ecstatic when they told us they’d chosen us to be their roasters! If there’s a foodie paradise in Lakeland, this is it! World-class, yet fresh and locally sourced, Mediterranean food, craft coffee, Italian gelato, and French pastries by people who are deeply passionate, highly trained, and well-traveled (and it shows!). More at www.cafezuppina.com

We hope you’re ready to discover a new favorite place! AND… if you make it to ALL 3 before the end of 2019 - we’d like to offer you a FREE 1-lb of coffee of your choice completely on us (we’ll ship free too!). Just: (1) visit and take a picture at each place, (2) share on Facebook and Instagram (don’t forget to tag us - @ethosroasters), and (3) send us an email with your IG handle, your name, and shipping address… and choice of coffee!

We can’t wait to see your posts… and hear your thoughts on these amazing places!

Thank you for choosing to Brew Greatness in the world with us!

Jolian & Lisbeth