Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Perfect Shot?

Chances are you love coffee. Unfortunately, you will sometimes get a badly prepared cup of coffee at restaurants and gas stations. Even nice bistros with great food and wine skimp out on the coffee! Cafes are touchy. I have to sniff around for a while before I'm convinced it's worth going in. Sometimes, I find a café with pictures of beautiful cappuccinos with “rosetta” designs in the foam: that’s a start! It's hard to be sure without pictures unless you personally know a barista, and know for a fact that he or she kicks ass!

Hollandaise sauce is eggs and butter. Well a cappuccino is coffee and milk! I bet you mucho dinero that if I took a bunch of eggs and some butter and put them together without knowing what I was doing I would end up with something distinctly not hollandaise sauce. It’s the same when making a cappuccino, for the untrained. I enjoy drinking lattes and cappuccinos, but I also love making people the most delicious creations with coffee.

Everything in the coffee world is timing and ratios. Subtleties keep people searching for the perfect cup. The elusive “perfect shot” of espresso should taste like this: melted chocolate pouring as molasses, caramel velvet cream, and a luscious butter finish. All of this is possible, my friends! I can see it, smell it and watch the color as it pulls. I can taste it with my nose! When the blanket of flavor coats my tongue its viscosity is present and warming. Disappointment after disappointment is what keeps me going all day I suppose. When the planets line up, meaning you get the right day, the right weather, a quality roast, a clean machine, proper tamp, good water temperature, a hot group head, (not too hot, just right!), there you have it: your perfect shot of espresso! How often does that happen you might wonder? Infrequently, of course, but one can only hope....

The rich diversities of coffee tastes and aromas, from Bolivia to Papua New Guinea to Ethiopia and beyond make for a world of possible combinations for an espresso blend. We try to keep our secrets in this little world of coffee, but I will tell you that ours is a blend of organic, Fair Trade coffees formulated for rich deep flavors, an intoxicating aroma, and a full body. This blend will also make a great everyday coffee for French press or other means of preparation as well.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Espresso Machine for the Summer

As summer quickly approaches, Joe and I thought it would be nice to get an espresso machine plumbed into our office, so that we can enjoy the fruit of our labors more easily (and maybe show off a little bit too!). I dug around in my shed, and found a 10-foot chunk of the old bar from Higher Ground's "good ole days" and Joe went to work fitting it up for our new warehouse.

We traded some equipment with Matt from Three Squares Cafe in Vergennes, one of my good friends that happens to also serve some of the best damn food (and coffee!) in Vermont, and wound up with his 2-group La Cimballi espresso machine. As of today, the bar is built and the electricity is wired, all we need is to get the machine plumbed in.

I will let everyone know when we get it up and running, so that anyone in the area can swing by the warehouse and have an espresso or iced latte with us.

Speaking of our espresso, we just found out that both The Inn at Shelburne Farms, and Hunger Mountain Co-Op will begin serving our Organic Espresso Blend in their cafes in a few weeks. That is pretty exciting, as it's something we don't sell to often. I think that might change as summer becomes a reality. If you are a "foodie" take a peek @ Shelburne Farm's 07 menu: reading it alone could cause you to salivate!

'Till next time,

Saturday, April 19, 2008


There is a new addition to the Fresh Coffee Now family! His name is VII (Seven!) and he is an English Bulldog. Joe got him about a week ago, and he has since move into our office, and spends much of his life curled up, sleeping under my desk. My fiance has been trying to convince me to get a puppy, and I've held out until now. VII might just put me over the edge, however, as he is pretty much the cutest and coolest thing I've seen in a long time.

It's looking like it will be a good spring and summer here. We've got a new employee (Julia) and a puppy, and finally it's warm and sunny. I can't complain one bit!

In coffee news: we're looking forward to doing some major advertising on the FCN website starting in May. We might put Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee on sale for a couple weeks, and do some discounts on select gift packages.

Locally, City Market and Hunger Mtn. Coop are both serving our Mexico coffee as their Ice Coffee in their deli section. We will begin selling coffee in bulk bins at Fresh Market on Pine Street this Monday, and Outer Space, across the street from our warehouse, is now serving a couple coffees by the pump pot. I will post more about them next week...

Enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Tax Day!

Hooray for Tax Day!

To help keep everyone's mind off of taxes, here's a couple pictures of our Organic Mexico coffee, first in green bean state, and then cooling off in the roaster's agitator. Now all you need to do is brew some and drink it!!

It looks like spring is here today, and supposedly for the rest of the week (and month?). We were able to open the doors of the warehouse today, and let the sun in!

Have a great week...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Free coffee for the masses!

For the past few weeks I've been training a new demo co-ordinator, and I'm now happy to report that Julia Cerbone (of Pure Pop fame) is going to be our newest employee. Julia and I gave out coffee samples to a bunch of nice people at City Market and Hunger Mountain for past few weekends. Next week we have demos at the same places, Friday and Saturday respectively, and I'm going to go to North Country Coop in Plattsburgh Saturday as well.

In other news, Bodum products are on sale for 15% off, as promised, on the website. People, if you buy ground coffee from us, please think about picking up an Antigua Grinder and switching to whole bean coffee!

City Market has started serving our Mexico and Peru Decaf coffees in their Deli as Ice Coffee. Make sure and have a cup if you shop there! The Mexico will also be at Taste of Burlington, by the cup and the French Press, starting this week.

And last but not least, Joe has turned 1/2 of my office in to a motorcycle repair shop. Here's his bike, out front of the shop during a nice 70 degree day last week. After his finishes his newest moped project he'll be revamping a couple espresso machines we have on hand, one of which is going to be plumbed into the shop so we can pull espresso shots ALL DAY LONG!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A new season for Fresh Coffee Now!

As time goes on, we take for granted the gifts we have and lose the enthusiasm we once had at the goodness we’re blessed with everyday. I've been listening to the positive messages in my life and have looked at my gifts. Indeed, the darkness of routine masks the excitement we once had when things were new. It's not easy to realize what we live for every day.

When I started working with coffee, I remember how beautiful the aroma was and how to use the shiny espresso machine was a goal for me. As I continued my quest for knowledge through effort and interest, I conquered my goal, became an expert in my craft, and began to make people happy. The gift I have wasn't so I could make myself the most beautiful cappuccino, it was the knowledge I had of my craft that made me able to give people the best I could.
At some point, I got interested in roasting coffee. I took advantage of the opportunity I had to improve my knowledge and had to take gradual steps through time, bit by bit, and eventually I was able to do it myself. I had several teachers over the years and assembled a body of understanding that helped me do the best I can now. I have been blessed with the opportunity to put to work all the knowledge I've amassed and enjoy the rewards. I don't have to search out the best coffee roaster or the most skilled barista around to show the people I love what is available. I can make the work I have done available to people every day. I am thankful for that!

As the seasons change, so do our aspirations, and sometimes it seems we have to move on and start a new chapter. Our roasting company was at home in the basement of a café/restaurant for nearly two years and, with all the focus on the café, it was difficult at times to stay excited. It made me want to so something drastic to change the reality of the situation. I did my best to work through and now have the opportunity to reinvigorate my interest in coffee with a change for the better. I wouldn't want to give up my life's passion for a break from hardship.

Fresh Coffee Now has turned to a new chapter in its development, starting with our move to a more user-friendly venue. Gone are the days of huffing burlap sacks of coffee down stairs. Our commitment to quality is growing stronger daily, and with this our standards are growing also. We will be offering more organic, fair trade coffees then ever before, as well as our Jamaican coffee that stands alone in quality. Delicious standards like Guatemala Antigua, Yemen Mocha, and Indian Malabar, among others, will remain great sellers. I hope our loyal customers will spread the word among friends. Tell them how to get Fresh Coffee Now!