thank you for keeping our job interesting!
Combining a passion for great coffee and find aged spirits led us to the combination of flavors you don’t want to miss. This mug of coffee drinks like a well-crafted cocktail, without the alcohol content. A great sipping dessert coffee or social coffee that will instantly impress.
Other roasters have begun experimenting with aging coffee beans in barrels — we didn’t invent it — but we did experiment and develop a combination of flavors that are a perfect match. We started with our Ugandan coffee bean — one of our best selling coffees (the base for Artist’s Blend, Bear Blend, Bayfront Blend, and many other House Blend coffees). Its natural undertones of raisin and fig, rich body, and sweetness made it the right choice for this project. We found an oak whiskey barrel that was originally built by a well known Tennessee distillery to make their sour-mash 9 year bourbon. The barrel was then sold to a local Pennsylvania distillery who used it to make a fine aged rum (fact of the day: fine aged rum is generally aged in a used charred whiskey barrel). We bought this barrel and aged 80 pounds of unroasted Uganda coffee in it, for just the right amount of time, and then pulled coffee out and put it in airtight glass containers.
We are now roasting these beans in small batches, as a light roast, marrying the flavors of fig and raisin and coffee, with rum, oak, and whiskey. The resulting mug is sweet, smooth, and one of the most complex interesting coffees to ever touch our lips.
We have other barrel projects underway, with other origins of beans matched up with other types of barrels — but these things take months to years to get right; and we are setting the standard high with our first release.
This coffee is sold in 1/4 LB sealed foil bags. It is available at retail online. For wholesale inquiries, please contact us.
we have acquired dried organic egyptian rose petals, and what a sensational flower a rose is! adding a small amount of these petals into tea adds aroma that invokes images of flower gardens, sunny mornings, and romantic strolls; and it adds a beautiful hue to the appearance. after much tasting and blending, we have settled on three tea blends to offer you for the spring and summer.
White Rose : a simple blend of white peony and rose petals. steep it at just 160 degrees for 2 minutes to bring out the ultimate sweetness and make for a very drinkable temperature. immerse yourself in the incredible aroma, and the taste of sweet honeysuckle and gentle rose. i did not think i would enjoy the taste of roses, but this was the tea that initially won me over. it is a powerful experience.
Chocolate Raspberry: we almost called this tea “gift basket” because it has a variety of ingredients often given as gourmet gifts. a black tea base (keemun) with organic cocao nibs, organic raspberry, orange, and apple pieces. rose hips and rose petals add beautiful color and aroma and subtle floral taste to the blend. this is a well-balanced tea that inspires your creativity and is a joy to sip at. steep it at 200 degrees for 5 or 6 minutes to bring out the most cocoa flavor.
Green Tea blended with Rose Petals: our popular dragonwell green tea is a sweet, slightly grassy, aromatic green tea. adding a small amount of rose petals enhances the flavor and aroma to make you happy on even the most dreary and cloudy day.
We have an incredibly special microlot from Guatemala that I hope everyone gets to try. It just arrived in the USA in March 2015 and is our first Central American coffee arrival of the 2015 crop season. If you are local to Western PA, you may have seen cards sitting out at our cafes where you can drink a cup of this coffee, and sign your name and add a note. Those cards will go directly to the farmer who grew this coffee, and he is bi-lingual, so he will be able to appreciate your kind words.
This is a sun-dried coffee, completely processed by hand, giving it all the sweetness, fruity, floral notes of an Ethiopian. But being a Guatemalan also gives it a white-chocolate taste and wonderful smoothness. This is unheard of in Guatemala, but the effort and attention paid off — this is not a coffee you will quickly forget, and the demand from repeat customers has been overwhelming in these first couple of weeks. We originally hoped to have enough stock to last us through the summer, but at this rate it looks like it may be gone before summer even arrives.
Order it roasted here http://www.happymugcoffee.com/special-mug/326-guatemala-dry-process.html or unroasted here http://www.happymugcoffee.com/central-america/322-guatemala-natural-process-dry-coffee.html
several customers have asked us why we don’t put roast dates on our packages. the idea being that a stamp on the label proves the coffee is fresh.
we have the fortunate position of having large local accounts and dozens of smaller online orders each day — and a roaster that is too small for the job. at best, it churns out 10 pounds of coffee per roast, and on particularly expensive beans, we cut it down to 4 pounds at a time. this means that we are roasting the popular coffees like sumatra and bear blend, an average of three times a day. the natural processed light roasts go through the roaster at least once, often twice a day. even the decaf beans go through at least once a day. the struggle for us is not keeping beans fresh, but rather, we struggle to roast enough to fill that day’s orders and meet deadlines. we rush to the post office at 4:45 with the day’s packages hot off the cooling tray.
once internet orders go out, any leftover coffee of the day gets packaged up for our local retail shelf space, set aside to brew at that week’s events, packaged up for the next morning’s local deliveries, portioned out into sample packets, etc. but there isn’t much leftover coffee to worry about these days. ( we do use an internal code to date the coffee that sits on retail shelves so that we can pull it if it doesn’t sell in a timely manner, but bags rarely sit there for more than 2 weeks. we refresh the stock of our retail accounts once or twice a week, depending on volume ).
sometime in the next 18 months we are hoping to install a roaster that can handle 25 pounds per roast, but until then, this coffee is FRESH. hand-stamping a date on the hundreds of labels we go through each day would just slow us down and cost more in labor. the postmarked date on your mailing box is the roasted date of the coffee inside it.
the proof of extremely fresh coffee is that when you grind it and put it in your pourover or french press, a “bloom” of bubbles appear as it releases carbon dioxide. your happy mug beans will always bloom.
we have several feet of snow on the ground and some of the coldest temperatures i’ve ever seen in my lifetime. i want you to think about how cold air has to be in order for water to freeze… ok? our current temperature of negative 18 degrees means that the air is currently 50 degrees colder than ice. mind boggling. we didn’t know what to do with all this snow, so we built a 12 foot tall snowman. while we were doing it, we drank a lot of ginger tea to keep warm and healthy. i want you to go play in the snow as well. add a free ounce of ginger tea to your next order right here http://www.happymugcoffee.com/tea/364-free-tea.html it’s enough to make 10 cups of tea, so drink up and go have fun. the promotion will last at least through the weekend, and maybe into next week if there’s still some left. the link will stop working when we run out. ginger is respected for its possible help with immunity, reducing inflammation, helping digestion, relief of nausea, and warm spicy flavor. i personally like to add a small amount of local honey or organic sugar to soften the spiciness, but it makes a good mug of tea even without sweetener.
roasting coffee beans creates smoke. the smoke is pushed up the exhaust pipe. the pipe is left with deposits of creosote. creosote is flammable, so buildup becomes a fire hazard. we have 25 feet of pipe, so once a year we get up on the roof, unassemble the exhaust system, and brush it clean.
one peer in the industry told us that we could just light it on fire at the bottom to create a controlled fire all the way up the pipe. but we choose to do it the old fashioned way and not play with fire.
last week was spent on the phone, talking to dozens of importers and farmers about their very best coffees and ordering samples of these coffees. all this week, boxes have been arriving and we’ve been roasting and labeling small bags of beans as anticipation builds. “here’s a coffee grown on a secret island in a lake in rwanda” “this box has three coffees from the island of java!”
today we gathered mid-afternoon with seltzer water, crackers, and 40 of the very best coffees on the market. even the bad coffees garnered serious discussions.
“this coffee tastes woodsy”
“more specifically, i think it tastes like a pencil”
“yes!! and not a cheap pencil — one of those fancier pencils with cedar in them”
“this coffee tastes like grass”
“not farm grass — more like lawn grass”
“maybe grass mixed with weeds”
“i would say something like a clover leaf”
“yes! a clover leaf!”
(both coffees were unanimously rejected after their thorough evaluations).
we found 5 exceptional coffee beans — mostly indonesians — but also some africans and central americans. tomorrow will be spent on the phone, and next week: we will have some fun new beans to offer to you.
Matt – his customer service background in coffee shops and grocery stores has built an attitude of exceeding expectations of every customer — a passion for perfection in every package that leaves this shop. when a customer opens up an order it should feel as if they are opening a christmas gift. favorite brew method: french press desert island coffee: sumatra (but there is no denying his weakness for fruity natural ethiopians and the elusive yemen mokka)
Stacy – teaches anthropology at the local university and has lived in peru, so she knows the life and culture of where coffee is grown. she works in every department as needed, and she is also our in-house tea expert and keeps the shop organized. most savored coffee: india favorite teas: earl greys and pu-erhs
Miles – has a doctorate in chiropractic care and a background working with motors and mechanics. his appreciation for top-shelf bourbon translates into a talent for blending and evaluating quality espresso, and he is our in-house forklift operator and equipment specialist. most satisfying coffee: sulawesi island most consumed tea: lemon-mint-ginger
Jason – has a master’s degree in library science and also works on a farm. he is the newest addition to the team and brings a background of home-roasting. he hopes to use design and photography talents to help our branding. his creative experimentation contributes fresh ideas and opinions to tasting, selecting, roasting, and blending. favorite hot drink: oolong chai latte
Darlene – (or “matt’s mom”) has a nursing license and handles our paperwork and accounting and some deliveries. homemade biscotti and cookies show up when she’s been around. she is our kenya coffee taste expert, but also handles quality-control of the decaf coffees. favorite espresso drink: vanilla soy latte favorite tea: chocolate mint
we have many friends who contribute to tasting notes, special events, technology, and deliveries. we listen to everyone who has ideas, criticisms, and complements about what we do, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have something you’d like to talk to us about. between all of us, we can get you the right answer.
about once a week we have to grease the fittings on the roaster and keep all the moving parts lubricated (just like you would grease the fittings on a tractor.) however, unlike a tractor, there is a chance of incidental contact of the grease with a coffee bean. so the hardware store special-orders us cans of grease that are “food grade” and consist of vegetable and mineral oils with no carcinogens or harmful chemicals. it is mostly tasteless and odorless. it fits right into a standard grease gun and works on any machinery lubrication fittings — but technically, you could eat it. mmmmmm