A Matter of Taste – Part 4: What’s Good?

    So, after wading through Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this series on tasting you must, by now, be an intrepid taste explorer.  You have a firm grasp on the difference between tastes and flavors, and have probably begun using your nose and tongue to discern them in the foods you […]


Well if you’re reading this, you’ve either stuck through Part 1 and Part 2 or you’re going to want to give them a scan before pushing on: Part 1, Part 2 Hopefully, you’re ready and raring to go with our continuing exploration of tasting. Here is a quick recap of the first two posts: 1) ‘Taste’ […]


In this post, we’re going to explore ‘flavor’; more specifically we’re going to try and distinguish flavor from taste. So like we did in Part 1, let’s start off with a definition: fla•vor/ˈflāvər noun: flavor 1. the distinctive taste of a food or drink. “the yogurt comes in eight fruit flavors” synonyms: taste, savor, tang […]


One of the things I enjoy most in my role is working with new customers and colleagues to help them learn how to taste coffee.  These folks come to the cupping table almost uniformly interested, engaged and anxious. Thanks to the growth in artisan food production (coffee roasting, craft beer and craft distilling, farm-to-table food […]

Our Commitment to Sustainability

  Over the last 15 years, we have come to be known as a sustainability-focused coffee roaster. That was no accident – we have worked diligently to make our practices, at home and abroad, as socially responsible and ethically-sound as possible. Our travels to origin over the years have informed our sensibility and outlook on […]


For a coffee company, creating a new blend is rare treat. Not as rare as pitching a perfect game in baseball, but at least as rare as those years where Christmas falls on a Thursday and you get a 5 day weekend out of it.… With so much of the focus in specialty coffee on […]

Brewing Made Easy

You’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it… the barista in your favorite coffee shop weighs out a small volume of fresh beans, takes them to an overly large (and probably white) grinder and fiddles with a nob or dial before grinding the microscopic amount of coffee into some sort of cup made out of surgical […]

What is espresso?

  In explaining coffee to the general public, us industry-folk go to a lot of trouble to compare it to other foods products. I often compare dark roasts to over-cooked meat, talk about the body of a cup in relation to different varietals of wine, explain roasting by likening it to popping popcorn, and we […]

The most important coffee equipment you probably don’t have

  For all of the different ways to make coffee (espresso, pour-over, immersion, electric brewers, etc) there are seemingly countless pieces of equipment to get the job done. And while each has its own idiosyncrasies, benefits and affects on the final cup of coffee you end up with, there is one particular piece of equipment […]

How Fresh Is Your Coffee Really?

  When we talk about coffee freshness, most of the discussion is around how to store it, when to grind it and how quickly to consume it. Often summed up neatly on the side of your bag of beans, there are actually some incredibly interesting implications to freshness of roasted coffee that I’m looking forward […]

The myths of dark roast coffee

  For a drink that so many of us consume on a daily basis, there are countless myths about coffee. First and foremost, I’d like to tackle some misunderstandings around “dark roast” coffee. In no way, shape or form, is dark roast coffee “stronger” than lighter roasted coffee. Heavier on the palate, perhaps, but certainly […]

Washed Processing & Natural Processing

Washed Processing Generally, coffees identified as “washed” are coffees which undergo de-pulping, washing, and fermentation. The key to this process is fermentation. In this controlled process, coffee (still encased in parchment and mucilage) remains under water for a length of time determined by local practices. During this time, the sugars from the mucilage left on […]

Coffee Travel

I’ve been thinking about travel a lot lately – specifically travel to origin. A few months back while in Guatemala, I got to looking at some old photos from past trips, and found a photo I took in Costa Rica last year. It was a photograph of my signature in the guest book of Finca […]

Oh, now I get it – Barista Comps

In the wake of this year’s national barista championship – a grouping of words I once thought silly and senseless – I find myself, once again, looking at coffee in a different light. I’ve been around coffee literally my entire life, born into it as it was, and have spent time in all facets of the […]

Reunion Island Coffee: An Origin Story

After listening to this week’s terrific This American Life episode, “Origin Stories 2014”, I found myself considering the origin story of Reunion Island Coffee. Along with questions about where the name comes from (“Is there actually a Reunion island?”), people always seem to want to know how we got started. The first, of hopefully many, […]

Beans - Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Coffee Revolution

On a recent trip to Costa Rica, I witnessed a “revolution,” though thankfully not the kind that culminates in a coup d’état. What I saw was the so-called “micro-mill revolution” — a new way in which coffee is processed and sold, that could help transform the way specialty coffee is traded, to the betterment of all involved.

Coffee’s Complicated Relationship With Capitalism

Originally posted on the Huffington Post on October 2, 2013. Sustainability in coffee means different things to different people, but at its heart, it’s about a healthy succession of the industry — from farmers to consumers, and everyone in between. To this end, coffee and capitalism are seemingly at odds with one another. High school […]

A Cup of Coffee You Can Feel Good About

Originally posted on the Huffington Post on June 13, 2013. For those of us living outside of the tropics, coffee will never truly be ‘local.’ We don’t have the heat or altitude to grow coffee, and if we do down the line, something has gone dangerously wrong in the fight against global warming. So instead […]

How Coffee Can Change the World — Part 1

Originally posted on the Huffington Post on February 26, 2013. Coffee’s capacity to create social equality and alleviate poverty is based on two key factors — its ability to connect developing (producers) and developed (consumers) countries, and the sheer volume of people who are employed by it. Conservative estimates show that number to be around […]

Should We Pay More For Coffee?

Originally posted to the Huffington Post on November 29, 2012. In the current age of going green and sustainability permeating every facet of our daily routine, the coffee industry is one that has taken the mission to heart, incorporating the concept into every aspect of the supply chain, from seed to cup. But for all […]