re: summer series

RE: In THE NEWS | Coffee drinkers live longer!

On our last 'Re: Summer Series', we wanted to cover a topic that seems to be perennially on the news... coffee & health. While there's a lot of information (and misinformation!) out there, the great news is that the latest (highly reputable, peer-reviewed) research seems to be on the side of coffee drinkers!

That's right. 'Coffee drinkers live longer' was the main conclusion of the most recent coffee study* in the latest issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). They followed a group of half a million people over 10 years and analyzed the relationship between coffee drinking habits and mortality, and found coffee drinkers (even those drinking over 8 cups a day!) died at a statistically-significant lower rate than those who didn't drink any coffee. This was also true for Decaf coffee drinkers, suggesting the non-caffeinated components in coffee are responsible for the effect (something that would make a lot of sense, if you consider that is mostly phytochemical antioxidants!). If you'd like to get into the details, here's the link to the study. And while the scientist in us is really excited... we must also point out that this was an observational study... which means we can not prove that drinking coffee will actually add a few years to your life... but we can always have fun trying! (and make a difference!)

Jolian & Lisbeth

PS. A few news of our own - we recently received a "cease-and-desist" letter from another Florida roaster who had apparently registered a Trademark for "Florida Cold Brew"... so we'll be temporarily out of a Cold Brew Blend offering (alternatively, we'll be more clearly identifying some great single-origins for Cold Brewing... i.e. Poaquil & Huehue!). On a more positive note, the new roaster has given us some amazing flavor profiles, and more flexibility to do lighter roasts... we're working on our first-ever Holiday Blend that will highlight this new capability (i.e. a mix of lighter-roasted and darker-roasted coffees to balance vibrant and bold flavors) - we would love to hear your NAME ideas!!!

Finally, on an even more positive note, we have some news from our Poaquil Co-Op! Coffee growers from the whole region are meeting next month, and they'll be sharing with them their "success story" with us!!! They also said they'll try to do a video message for all of you who have (and continue to make) this all possible! Stay tuned :)

CITED REFERENCE

*Loftfield E, Cornelis MC, Caporaso N, Yu K, Sinha R, Freedman N. Association of Coffee Drinking With Mortality by Genetic Variation in Caffeine Metabolism: Findings From the UK Biobank. JAMA Intern Med.2018;178(8):1086–1097. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.2425

RE: COLD BREWING! | It's COOL chemistry + our recipe!

Summer is definitely here! And, while we still think the aroma of a freshly brewed cup of coffee is the best smell in the world to wake up to... we must admit a cup of Cold Brew on the rocks is our favorite way to cool off! So, we wanted to share with you some of our 'secret' knowledge acquired through lots of research & experimentation (a.k.a. "plant watering batches")... and hopefully give you all the tips & insights you need to make the absolute best Cold Brew at home!

First things first... what exactly is Cold Brew? The name (kind of) gives it away... it's coffee brewed with cold water, over extended periods of time. Please note, this is very different from hot-brewed coffee served over ice (that's Iced Coffee!). What makes Cold Brew so different is that cold brewing over (relatively) long periods of time favors the extraction of specific components, while hot brewing methods tend to extract all soluble components. Why? Because the solubility of different components is largely determined by temperature. Caffeine, for example, is only slightly soluble (~1-2 g/100 mL) in cold water, yet fairly soluble in hot water (~65 g/100 mL). Naturally occurring phenolic acids are also significantly more soluble in hot water (which means very little acidity on cold brews!)... yet sugars and larger components (responsible for sweetness & body) are still soluble provided enough time (but be careful... too much time and you'll begin extracting bitter components)!

Now that you understand the chemistry... it's time to have some fun making it! (we promise is a lot easier than understanding all that chemistry!). Here's our step-by-step Cold Brew recipe:

1. Mix 40 oz spring water (~5 cups) for every 8 oz of coarsely ground coffee

2. Steep for 14-18 hours under refrigeration (we commonly do 16 hours, but you can do up to 20 hours if you like a stronger brew)

3. Dilute up to 1:1 with ice/milk/water & enjoy (you'll have enough for 12 large cups) 

4. Keep refrigerated and consume within a week (8-oz batch is perfect for 1-2 people drinking 1-2 cups a day!)

Some of our favorite origins to Cold Brew are Central and South Americans... our Florida Cold Brew Blend is actually a mix of two Guatemalan beans at a medium-dark roast level, and was the 'winning' combination in our taste tests (and our best-selling Cold Brew at the farmer's market!).

Happy Cold Brewing!

Jolian & Lisbeth

PS. The new R15 roaster is finally up and running... and we couldn't be happier, or more eager to share it with all of you... watch out for pics/videos in our Instagram and Facebook over the next few weeks... and monthly tours/tastings starting in Sept! (sign-ups available online Sept 1st!). We're also working on some AMAZING new additions (including our first-ever Holiday blend!)

RE: FRESHNESS! | Why it matters? How can you keep your coffee fresh?

Summer is here! And we wanted to welcome it by launching our "RE:" Summer Series - i.e. posts intended to increase your coffee knowledge and bring your coffee experience to a whole new level! They're inspired by questions we frequently get... and we hope you'll help us keep them relevant and interesting by suggesting new topics!

This first one is on a topic we're particularly obsessed about - FRESHNESS! It is perhaps one of the most important quality attributes in coffee, and a major predictor of both aroma and flavor intensity! Why? Because the chemical reactions responsible for coffee aroma and flavor are the same that happen in baking (ever compared a freshly baked loaf of bread with one that's been sitting in your pantry for a week?) - the Maillard reaction (between amino acids and reducing sugars) and Caramelization (the thermal breakdown of sugar). It is these two 'non-enzymatic browning' reactions that transform green coffee components into delicious nutty, chocolatey, 'freshly roasted' aromas & flavors in our coffee beans! We've included links to their Wikipedia pages, for those who'd like to have some fun looking at the chemistry! (I actually had to memorize all the chemical steps for both of these for my PhD Qualifying Exams... they're THAT important... and also responsible for flavor in any food product that's baked, cooked, roasted, browned, dried, etc.... but I digress!).

Now, the tricky part is that all of the aromas (which are also key to certain flavors) formed in these reactions are volatile... which means they're lost over time. In roasted coffee, this loss is exacerbated by the natural "de-gassing" process, i.e. the release of carbon dioxide that has been trapped within the bean's cell structures during the last roasting stages, and slowly released for months after roasting. And while there's nothing we can do to stop this... there are some ways you can keep your coffee fresh longer!

The first is to BUY FRESH! - using your beans within a month of the roasting date will always give you the best experience! You can expect mild flavor changes after 6-8 weeks, and pronounced changes after 4-5 months (yet we hope your beans won't ever last you that long!). The second is to  GRIND FRESH - keeping your coffee beans "whole" means less surface area will be exposed to air...  leaving those delicious aromas "trapped" inside the beans for much longer! And the third is to KEEP COOL (but not in the fridge!) - keeping your beans in a cool (air conditioned), dark place (i.e. your pantry) and in a tightly sealed bag (i.e. the bag we ship to you is specially designed to keep your coffee fresh... only make sure the zipper is always tightly sealed!) will slow down de-gassing, and protect against flavor oxidation! Placing your coffee bag inside an airtight container will also provide some extra protection! Please don't place in the fridge or the freezer - as this will accelerate the de-gassing process (and your beans may 'absorb' some of the aromas/flavors of the other foods in your fridge).

Thank you so much for reading... we hope this was interesting & helpful... and please email us if you have any ideas/questions for our next "RE:" post!

Lisbeth

PS. Quick update on the R15 roaster... we finally got the electrical upgrade project approved, and the new panel was installed on our building last Friday... and are expecting Lakeland Electric to connect our new power as soon as this week!!!