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!


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!


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).


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.


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!


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,


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

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! (

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!


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

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

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

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

THIS IS WHY & you're invited!

Earlier this month, a super talented, super generous individual wrote a story about us… we loved it so much, we wanted to make it our first guest post! (there’s also a quick invitation for you at the end of the post - please mark your calendars for March 10!). Here’s “THIS IS WHY” by Jeremy Reyes:


“Please copy us,” said Lisbeth, in an interview with Brandspark. In a world of patents and trade secrets, a craft roastery in Lakeland Florida has set out to be an open-handed example of how to make a difference in the lives of small coffee farmers and coffee consumers around the world.


Both Lisbeth and Jolian were surrounded by coffee farms as children. Lisbeth grew up in Guatemala City drinking “cafe con leche” while Jolian grew up in Colombia’s “Eje Cafetero” (coffee-lands). Decades later, they both came to Florida where they met, fell in love, and decided to pursue a life where they could make a difference in the poorest regions of the world (who happen to have the best coffee).

It all started in 2016 when Lisbeth and Jolian flew down to a small town in Guatemala called Poaquil. They met a small group of farmers, each working hard on their own small plot of land. There, they saw a huge problem. “Coffee farmers are born into some really horrible poverty conditions that are really hard to escape. There is a lot of suffering. A lot of times just being here in America, it’s very hard to imagine the world that so many people are born into and the level of poverty,” said Lisbeth.

Children in places like Poaquil, Guatemala don’t have the opportunity to go to school. “It’s a cycle; If you are born there, your parents will bring you to the coffee farm because they are paid per pound and they need the money for the family. Once the kids are 16, they barely know how to read or write. So they end up just staying at the farm working for pennies per pound because that is all they know. And the cycle begins again.”


Lisbeth and Jolian knew they had to do something. They didn’t want “likes” on a viral Facebook video only for people to go back to normal everyday life. They wanted to make a sustainable difference and contribute to change. So they brought back suitcases of coffee beans, raised right on the farm in Poaquil Guatemala and built relationships with those farmers and their families. “We roasted and sold the coffee right here in Lakeland” said Lisbeth. Now, they order 1,500 pounds of coffee every year from those farmers and pay them three times the market rate. The premiums they pay go directly to the farmer, bypassing corporations that pocket premiums and oppress farmers. In three short years, they have seen that small group of farmers grow from 10 members to 30 members.

Coffee production in these small towns like Poaquil drives the local economy. Ordering 1,500 pounds of coffee every year can change an entire community. These communities can now invest in more nutritious food, better schools, better healthcare, and a better future for their children. One of the conditions Lisbeth and Jolian has with the coffee farmers they buy from is that every single child has to go to school to get an education. These farmers are ecstatic to send their children to school, since they can make enough now to comfortably feed their family. Ethos believes this is key to creating a sustainable change and will contribute to breaking the poverty cycle.


Lisbeth and Jolian have a strong passion for fresh coffee made with excellence. They roast and ship the same day, something only a few roasters in Florida can boast. Every bag of coffee sold online is shipped within a few hours of roasting. At the Lakeland Downtown Farmers Market, they purposefully only make the amount of coffee they know they can sell, leaving no leftovers for the next day. When it comes to roasting the bean, Lisbeth and Jolian took us to their back room where they have high-tech machines that manage every technical detail of the roasting to insure the highest quality. Each batch of coffee is monitored closely, with every second of the process making a difference in the taste. Lisbeth is a food chemist, and spoke of many scientific processes that we couldn’t explain in a short blog post.


Partnerships and collaboration is the life-blood of Ethos. Everyone from the coffee farmers to the coffee shops that distribute their coffee are vital partnerships. They partner with other cooperatives and companies to buy ethical coffee from towns in Honduras, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Brazil. They partner with local cafes, restaurants, and coffee shops to help distribute the coffee. “We’re not saying we’re going to change the whole industry, but if we can make a difference in this small town in Guatemala, this small town in Colombia… I think it compounds. I think the biggest impact we have is the example we are setting; other people around us are seeing it. This kind of thinking, if it spreads, it could actually make a difference.”

Not every company is on board with the Ethos business model though, especially with profit on the line. While the giants in the coffee industry would like people to think of them as ethical and globally responsible, Lisbeth has other opinions. “People actually think that [large coffee chains] are fair trade and organic and all these things… Less than 1% of the volume that they buy is actually certified fair trade and organic. And, I always say fair trade and organic is the least you can do. It’s the minimum. We can do a lot better than that. It’s amazing all the things they do behind the scenes, but most people don’t really want to know.”

Ethos wishes that more coffee companies and roasters would copy their business model. While most coffee producers and consumers love a good story, it comes at a cost. “We will never be the cheapest coffee you can buy; the environmental & human costs are too high. Yet, we want to combine high quality, social impact, and environmental awareness into the freshest, all-around best coffee experience money can buy!"


Going forward, Ethos has just one message: “We are so fortunate. Not only do we have limitless opportunities for ourselves here in America, we also have the incredible ability to make a difference in someone else's life across the world.”



To celebrate our 3-year Anniversary! On Sunday, March 10, noon - 4 pm, we’ll have coffee & a (huge, custom-made) birthday cake at the roastery in Lakeland! We would LOVE to see YOU and have an opportunity to personally THANK YOU (and hug you… yes, I’ll definitely hug you!)

We’ll also celebrate with an extra coffee sample (one for you, one for a friend) with every single box we ship in March! Plus, we’re going to Guatemala next weekend… and bringing back some more surprises!!! Words can’t express how grateful we are to all of you (so we’re trying to feed you, hug you, caffeinate you, and bring you some cool stuff 😉)

Thank you for choosing to #BrewGreatness in the world!



Happy 2019! | This is YOUR year!

We hope you’re having a great start to YOUR year! These first days of the year have truly flown by us, yet we wanted to take a moment and give you an update on our plans for 2019!

Our main goal this year is to make it YOUR year - to find ways to do more, and give more to you - the people that we get to roast for! We want to make sure you not just fall in love with the coffee - but with our mission to create opportunities for small farmers and with our vision of a world where no child has to sacrifice school (for a life in the coffee fields) to help their parents feed their siblings - that is our dream*! We know we can’t do it alone, and that for us to achieve that dream, we must become coffee worth sharing!

This year, we want to make sure we give you an experience worth sharing - worth sharing based on a particular coffee you love or a new tasting note you just identified… worth sharing based on the incredible aroma you get from a fresh roast… but mostly worth sharing because you can give other coffee lovers the opportunity to make a positive (social, environmental, life-changing) impact through something as seemingly small as the cup (or cups) of coffee we drink every day! And perhaps also worth sharing because of the related (bigger) conversation about how the largest impact we collectively have in the world is all about the things we buy (or don’t buy!) - as every purchase is a “vote” (with our dollars) for the world we want to see.

So we want to begin the year with a request - if there’s anything you’d like to see from us this year… please share! (💌

We hope 2019 is YOUR year in every sense, and that it brings you the opportunity - and the courage - to pursue all your dreams,

Jolian & Lisbeth

* Yes, we’re big admirers of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr! Happy MLK Day!

PS. We just shared some photos and a video (on FB) from our Poaquil partners - they have some brand new coffee equipment thanks to YOU!