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.

2016

part of the culture at happy mug is the desire to bring the geekiest, rarest, most amazing coffees of the world to the average coffee drinker without intimidating them with fancy language and high prices. but as we celebrate our 5th year in business, we regrettably have to raise prices for the first time ever. in january, every package we mail out is going to cost us 70 cents more in postage. our insurance rates are going up 20% — we’ve never had an incident, but the industry as a whole has had a lot of them. happy mug has a great team right now with a lot of passion and talent, but our talent needs a raise before someone snatches it away. we needed more space, and so our rent went up 40%. we need a new website, and that’s not cheap either.
there’s just no way around it — if happy mug is going to survive another 5 years, we have to raise our prices. the standard mug line is going up $1 a pound, and the special mug line is going up $2 a pound. but even after the price hike, we are really cheap.

the new rwanda gishamwana island — the cheapest price i could find online is $17/lb and we are at $13
the new ecuador hakuna matata — the cheapest price i could find is $19/lb, and we ask $13
the new india veer attikan — i found it for $18….we are asking $11
our popular ethiopia yirgacheffe halo bariti — i found it for $18.50…we only are asking $13

the reason we are cheap is because we operate in rural western PA where cost of living is far below average compared to the rest of the country. on top of that, i fight and bargain for every nickel from vendors and freight carriers. i don’t spend money on things we don’t need; we minimize mistakes and reward efficiency. we fight bills that aren’t fair, shop around for bids on services, and we buy in bulk and stock up when supplies go on sale. i barter coffee for oil changes and haircuts. turn lights off when we leave the shop. re-use shipping boxes and packaging materials. i’ve been dragging my feet on this price hike for a long time, and i hope customers understand.

thank you for your support. we will continue to bring you the best coffee in the world, from the fairest farms grown by farmers with incredible passion for what they do, and get it to you quickly at prices far below what you would have to pay from other roasters.

drink coffee. be happy. stick with us. 2016 will be a great year.

moving day

The new 1200 pound roaster arrived on an oversized pallet, without a pallet jack or liftgate or anything on the truck.  I rounded up 5 big guys and we pushed it to the end of the truck, and then stood on the edge of the pallet to counterbalance the weight.DSC_0334DSC_0338It’s 2.5 times bigger than our first roaster.  Once we put it in place, it made our old roaster look like a toy.

DSC_0354We can now churn out 120 pounds an hour when we have both running at full capacity.

coffee deprivation

i walk into the new space this morning and my helper hands me a cup of coffee.  he has found the box with the electric water kettle, unpacked a french press, plugged in a grinder, found some leftover sumatran beans.  i take a sip of coffee for the first time since thursday.  i can’t stop smiling.  this is going to be a good day.

progress report.  things are in high gear.  new roaster arrived, pallet racking is up, packaging stations are built, everything has moved into place, electric is hooked up, internet and computers and printers are running.  plumbing got behind schedule, and we hit a snag with hooking up gas and letting out the exhaust.  hopefully those projects will be completed monday and we will be back in business.

moving day

the plumber, electrician, and roofer are lined up.  we have been letting inventory dwindle and have been working feverishly to prepare the new space for our impending move.  on thursday morning, the roaster will be disconnected.  we will move it over to the new space and also receive delivery of the newly built roaster from oklahoma.  we will probably be out of service for a few days while we get everything hooked back up and get permission from the health department to get running again.  next week marks our 5th year anniversary.  thank you so much for your support.  in our new space, with two roasters, we will be able to continue providing you with great coffee, with fast turnaround time, while keeping our overhead low and our prices reasonable.  here’s to 5 more years of drinking great coffee and supporting great causes.

if you’d like to visit us when the dust settles (or if you owe us money and want to send us a check), you’ll now reach us at the following address:

happy mug coffee
lakeside commons
220 w plum st suite 750
edinboro, pa 16412

customer requests

DSCN1552we certainly have creative customers.  one comment this week suggested “can you draw a pterodactyl delivering coffee on the outside of my package”?

thank you for keeping our job interesting!

Whiskey Rum-Barrel Aged Coffee

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.IMG_20150817_175959337

roses

 

happymug_rose_teawe 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.