love in the air

we like to think that our positive energy goes into the coffee beans as we lovingly roast and package them. probably my imagination, but it seems like if i’m upset, all of the coffee tastes sour and bitter, but when i’m excited, the coffee has an extra sparkle to it.
all that to say, our head roaster jason is getting married next weekend. so if you notice the coffee tasting extra special for the next few weeks, it might be because love is in the air.

summer help

we are borrowing a barista for the summer. emmett is from chicago and has been passionately expanding his knowledge of coffee for several years. we caught up with him at coffeefest in nyc this spring; but previously he studied abroad in costa rica where he lived on a coffee estate, and he has also visited coffee farms in hawaii. now he is tackling courses and special projects involving environmental sustainability and conservation as a full time college student at allegheny college in meadville, pa.
we are happy to have emmett help us out this summer. we will be able to show him the process of purchasing green coffee, roasting, and blending. he is going to teach us about cold-brew, espresso machine repair, and how to fine-tune our brewing methods.

pen giveaway in may

we thought it would be fun to give away pens in may, so all internet orders of $20 or more get a free pen included with your order. it’s a great pen and has 20 different logos of mr. mug dressed up in various ways.

deadlines

orders that we receive by noon eastern time ship same day. otherwise, it ships the following business day. we have shipped over 3000 packages this year and haven’t missed a deadline yet. the only reason your order would be held up is if there was a possible problem with your address or another issue, and we try to reach you for confirmation before shipping and don’t hear back in time. but that’s highly unusual. we’ve got everything down to a science right now and can’t wait to make your mug happy. we’re closed on weekends. weekend orders roast and ship on monday.

elections

everyone knew ethiopia halo bariti was going to win this weekend, and indeed, it won by double digits over every other candidate; but the race for second place proved to be close. pollsters were predicting outdoorsy sumatra (who was the establishment favorite), but in the end, kenya chomo earned the win, with ethiopia konga just a pound behind. kenya had done some advertising going into the weekend, and that paid off big. its policies of being sweet with strong winey, juicy flavor is making people pay attention. the ethiopia konga, which placed third, seems to be picking up supporters based on the popularity of halo bariti, but provides an option for people who want something a little less sweet and sugar coated.
frustrated that none of the candidates can seem to put a dent into the popularity of ethiopia halo bariti, ecuador has announced that is entering the race this week. it aims to give voters a non-mainstream, south american option that will blow them away with complexity, flavor, sweetness, aroma, body, and acidity — a strong candidate, with the whole package to offer, but will people notice? adventurous new guinea, which had previously suspended its campaign after seeing its popularity slowly decline earlier this year, has announced it will jump back into the fray, seeing an opening for a light roast indonesian candidate on the ballot.

coffee seasons

the coffees that really pop, the coffees you want to be drinking on any given morning, are the coffees that are in season right then. even though we carry guatemala all year round, this is not its finest hour. ethiopians do not have that spark they had 6 months ago. on the other hand, today is a great day for a mug of papua new guinea, colombia, or bali blue moon.

here is an overly simplified list of when coffees arrive in the usa. a honduras or guatemala from central america will have arrived somewhere between april and july, and will be at its peak of flavor for up to another 6 months after arrival (hence, for any central american coffee, between january and april is the worst time to drink it).

central americans — arrive from april to july
most africans (uganda, burundi, tanzania, rwanda) — arrive from december to march. kenya has two crops a year.
ethiopia — arrive from may to august
indonesians — arrivals from october to february for the main crop, but sumatra has an extended season
arabians (india, yemen) — usually arrive between november to february
south america — arrive from november to february for the main crop
decaf — not predictable

roast dates

probably the most common question i get, is how long ago the customer’s coffee was roasted.
i have long insisted that scrawling a date on a label proves nothing. it tells you the packaging date at best, not the roast date. we go through coffee so quickly, that most origins are roasted at least once a day, so why waste time dating everything — it’s all fresh!!!
but we are now dating packages anyway. a sticker with that day’s date hardly takes any time and has enough benefits to make it worth doing:
1 — it will help wholesale accounts rotate their stock.
2 — it will help retail customers hit their sweet spot for extraction (some customers won’t touch the beans until they are three days old. some won’t touch the beans after they are 2 weeks old. either way, it’s one less thing they have to keep track of.)
3 — some evenings we get a head start on roasting for the next day’s orders, and roasting date stickers keeps us organized and honest.

rainy day and phone rings.

caller says they are on an epic road trip and
want directions to come find us. they walk
in and i have french presses lined up.
“austin was fun,” she says.
“i love austin,” i agree.
“who wouldn’t love it! and we went hiking in flagstaff, and the grand canyon, spent a week in san francisco.”
“that sounds amazing,” i agree.
“we stopped in nashville for a smoothie and ran into a famous singer.”
“what a trip!” i say.
“but about half way through we cringed every time we ordered coffee — started skipping coffee — because it was all so disappointing. we went to hipster coffee shops, we went to the third wave roasters, we went to nationally known specialty roasters, we bought the best coffee money could buy, and none of it was as special as what we order from you.”
i’m smiling as i pour them mugs of rwanda gishamwana island, sumatra mandheling, bali blue moon, new guinea waghi valley, and colombia san antonio.
they just get quiet and smile as they sip their coffee. “yeah, this is what we were missing,” he finally says. they buy 8 pounds of beans and head back out in the rain to continue their journey.

word off the street is that we’re selling some pretty good coffee.