company - education - coffee - tea - equipment

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

La Bandera De Dota - The Flag Bearer of Tarrazu


On the Ground: barismo's roaster Chris Malarick reports from Costa Rica to share developments with partners at Exclusive Coffees. Chris' update starts with the introduction of a new farm in Costa Rica that's small size matches up well to our model. Stay tuned for more info as we build up to the arrival of this years lots.

As it's name implies, La Bandera de Dota sits atop a mountain like a flag reigning over it's farms that cover the hillsides from 1875-1920 meters in the microregion of Dota in Tarrazu. It's Diego Hidalgo Umana's first year running his own micromill and farming the land himself.  This is land his father had farmed before him since 1976, but he's made sure not to suffer the growing pains and experience the learning mistakes that often riddle a producer's first year processing their own cherry. 

I first met Diego at the cupping lab of Exclusive Coffees. Producers are always coming and going, dropping off samples to be evaluated and offered by Exclusive. They are checking up on how their produce is scoring and getting feedback or simply attempting to talk with traveling buyers and the Exclusive staff. I was cupping my morning table, finishing up my score sheet when Diego came over and asked how I liked the coffees. I told him overall the table was pretty good, but Number 13 was standing out as I liked it very much. Diego blushed and his face filled with a smile as he humbly told me that was his coffee. "It's my first year. I'm very excited! But I still have a lot to learn". I shook his hand and told him he was doing a wonderful job, and then immediately arranged  to visit him on my trip to Tarrazu in a day or so.

Diego has 24 acres of well groomed red and yellow Catuai/Caturra that he processes exclusively using a fully washed wet processing method. Once the cherries are picked at peak ripeness and pulped to remove all of the cherry skins from the parchment, they are then wet fermented to remove the sticky fruit mucilage.  After that, the beans hit the drying phase, something Diego has thought out very thoroughly. All of his coffees are dried in a greenhouse using a tiered system. He has 90 beds with 11 racks that stack in sets 3 deep. Coffees spend 10 days on the top rack and 2 weeks divided between the two bottom racks.  This slows down the drying processing, fostering more structure to the coffee which in turn gives it a longer "green life" once the coffee is in our storage. Everything is clearly labeled and organized as all of the data is collected on a central board at the helm of the greenhouse.













Diego's dedication to impeccable picking, processing and drying procedures makes him a perfect partner for Barismo. Not only does his mentality ensure that quality coffees will be grown, but that quality dialogues will be had. This is why we do this. We're more than excited to see Diego grow as we work with him in the years to come, and we're equally excited to share his beautiful coffees with you as well. -@gastronomin

From barismo to barismonauts: Jaime VanSchyndel gives you a look in on an event at barismo's new Somerville location at The Aeronaut Hub, as well as an introspective look at the local industry and our neighbors. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to see the new space!

Last Thursday night, barismo hosted an industry event where we gathered a group of our local coffee professional peers. The goal of the event was to get together a unique cross section of local coffee shop owners and barista in one location and just talk.  The guise of the night was definitely to introduce them to our new space, but inevitability it really became a discussion about how far this industry has come locally. 

So what did we learn?

My goal going into this event was to engage the community and have a discussion. This discussion would be about sharing where we've been and why we moved into Somerville.  The end goal was to answer, where do we go from here?  A discussion about sustainability, quality, and what local means to us is only valuable if others are willing to engage in that discussion.  After a long weekend to digest how these conversations were useful, I realized that they offered us some real feedback to guide our internal dialogue as coffee professionals about how to move barismo forward.

We learned that a select few people are locked in to their way of doing things to what may ultimately be a fault.  We could come back in five years and expect their shops to still be doing the same exact things regardless of how the community changes.  In spite of that, we also learned that the true majority of coffee pros locally are really excited to explore and are looking forward to what the next phase of our local scene could become.  Being an independent shop though is really hard and it takes a lot of time and energy to make any changes towards any new direction. This really represented the majority of people who came to the event and therefore defines our thinking about us as a roastery supporting them.

I also learned this local coffee pro community is bigger and stronger than I had expected going into that event. They showed up and were willing to talk freely about where they think the community is and where they think it's going. It clarified that indy shops have the motivation to do big things. Since I know for a fact that you don't have to be a big chain or a national company to put out quality products, it means these local shops have a lot of potential.

Excited as I am, the same obstacles that every indy shop faces slows down our community.  Time, money, and the energy to move forward are always in short supply when you run your own business.

For us, it's time to digest what we're learning and define the goals going forward.  Some of what we do to support coffee shops already builds on what we feel are basic solutions in training and organization.  Some of it is simply getting more barista to acknowledge coffee customers who choose independent shops over chains are more likely to learn and grow as the shop does.  A big part of what needs to change in our local coffee scene is also messaging. What I have come to realize is that we are at another turning point where the community may grow and improve a lot the next few years.  If the free discussions and shared knowledge we saw Thursday night continues, the end result will be better coffee in our area. - @jaime_vans

Stay Fresh Updates: Events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more. Sign up for updates here! We have a ton of events coming up as you can see, remember to follow us on twitter as well for up to the minute info. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Make Time for Introspection

I first discovered barismo in August 2009 when the company was just shy of one year old. I had heard inklings about this, then new, Boston area coffee roaster aiming to roast quality coffee and I was intrigued. The Arlington roastery back then was a quite place, but the coffees shared were excellent, and the level of conversation about the coffee was serious. I was interested in learning as much as I could, and everyone at barismo was interested in sharing that knowledge.

barismo has always been about ideas. Perhaps that is what drew me in initially, those ideas definitely kept me coming back, and eventually brought me into the company fulltime. March 2011 is when I did one of my first projects, it was the barismo wordmark hand-cut out of black vinyl lettering on an acrylic panel. This was barismo's first real 'sign' in the Arlington location after almost two and a half years of operation.

A little over two years later I find myself in a new roasting space in Somerville, in a more mature company, surrounded by a wider community that has excitement for the ideas that first brought me into the company. And here I am creating another barismo sign.

Just like the first, this one is made by hand, black 'barismo' letters painted on a white wall at the Somerville space. As coffee roasters I think we have always considered ourselves people who make things and we have an enourmous amount of satisfaction from the fact that we make this product right here in the local community, for our community.

Those two signs that I made are both quite simple in concept. Similarly our message as a coffee roaster has always been simple yet profound: transparency, quality, freshness. These shape our decision making at every step of the way, we are constantly moving ahead, and ever introspective.

As I finish the final touches on the sign and the new space, is a poignant time to reflect on how barismo has grown in the last couple of years that I have been with the company. Beyond all of the experience and knowledge that barismo has imparted thus far, I have solidified two lifelong habits that others here reiterate:
  • I know that I will always make things.
  • I will always be introspective about what it means to support that ethos.

Coffee is amazingly complex and enjoyable, both drinking it and learning more about it. Of course I happen to love the coffee barismo puts out there and feel ever critical to refine and make it better. However I do not encourage anyone to simply adopt brand loyalty for barismo. I think those who have found barismo love the way the coffee tastes and the ideas that we operate under just happen to really resonate. make things...think about it. - @timborrego



Stay Fresh Updates: Events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more. Sign up for updates here! We have a ton of events coming up as you can see, remember to follow us on twitter as well for up to the minute info. 

Stay tuned for Classes at barismo's new space at
The Aeronaut Hub, 14 Tyler St, Somerville MA 

We'll be re-launching our education programs this spring at our new roastery location at The Aeronaut Hub in Union Square, Somerville. All our classes are taught by our knowledgeable and experienced baristas. Our new class list will offer expanded content during weekend afternoons. More details coming soon. Check Here for Updates!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Getting Back to barismo 1.0


Evaluating for Quality: Jaime VanSchyndel gives you a bit of info on barismo's new Somerville location at The Aeronaut Hub, as well as some of our hopes and goals for the new neighbourhood. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to see the new space!

The first barismo was a one-on-one experience.  Back then, there were two of us and we worked every day.  When one of us got sick or needed a day off, the shop was closed.  If you came in during a roasting session, you'd have to wait for an interval to get a bag of coffee.  We didn't serve coffee and it was really more of a whole bean bar.  While we didn't sell coffee, you could come in and taste something, try a brew method we had on the table, then get a bag of freshly roasted coffee.  If you came in after a roasting session, you got a chance to hang out and talk about methods, processing, or really just engage about great coffee shops.  This is what we want to present at the new space in Somerville.  We want to get back to an experience where you can pick our brains and really get to as deep a level as you want to go about your coffee.

The roasting setup will be open air in front of a stage where you can watch and even interact with the roaster.  There will be ongoing tastings not only of coffee, but beers by Aeronaut, foods from other vendors and an array of collaborative tastings.  We are scheduling presentations soon by our Kenyan coffee source this year, some farm partners will visit, technology and new product demos, as well as an assortment of presentations about our fresh crop coffees as they arrive. We will do classes in this space at varying hours on the weekends on an array of topics.

We hope to host a lot of serious coffee industry events and gatherings for the coffee community.  Surely the lure of Somerville's new brewery can get even the most stubborn barista to come out to the space.

Stay Fresh Updates: Events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more. Sign up for updates here! We have a ton of events coming up as you can see, remember to follow us on twitter as well for up to the minute info. 

Friday, April 11, 2014 from 6pm-8pm 
Why Did We Do This? Origin Stories at Voltage Coffee
Local cafe owners Lucy Valena and Simon Yu will be sharing about their experiences visiting Direct Trade farms in Guatemala. Happening at Voltage Coffee & Art in Kendall Square this Friday! Sign up free at www.originstories.eventbrite.com Join us for an evening of stories, photos, and good company.


Sunday, April 20, 2014 from 5pm-7pm 
Espresso 101 class at barismo's new space at 

The Aeronaut Hub, 14 Tyler St, Somerville MA 
"A barista will explain grinding, tamping, and more, then watch as you pull shot after shot. Like an espresso coach, he’ll give you pointers on everything from your mouse tails to your brew’s hue. Small classes are taught monthly on Sunday nights" - from a recent Boston Globe article featuring barismo's Espresso 101 class. Sign up Here! 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Thinking Ahead

follow the freshness @BarismoBike

Evaluating for Quality: Jaime VanSchyndel gives you a bit of info on barismo's new Somerville location at Aeronaut Launch, as well as some of our hopes and goals for the new neighbourhood. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to see the new space!

Our new location in Somerville has a few serious advantages for us. Sure, the loading dock is nice and the bigger roasting capacity is great, but the more obvious benefits are geographic. Our bike.barismo.com cargo bike is now in the heart of Camberville and can more easily reach all our existing local clients. It will be shorter rides with a lot more coffee, employing local while keeping our carbon footprint down. The packaging as well will be free of cardboard boxes so we'll emphasize reduce and reuse. We are also toying with the idea of picking up grounds on the deliveries for our cafes to bring back for CSA farms to use (an idea that needs some refinement but has potential).

Somerville Mayor Joe Cuartatone
In our new space, we are dedicating a training area for espresso and brew methods. With the intensive barista training program we have been implementing the last few months for employees and accounts, we hope to build the best training program for coffee in the area. It may already have a leg up as the only locally owned and operated coffee training center in Somerville/Cambridge but we want it to be a resume builder for baristas as well.

Being next to BKBS and Artisans means we will be doing a lot of collaborations. Members of Artisans did the refurb and paint job on our new roasting equipment and you'll start seeing us at events such as this past weekends TEDxSomerville in Brooklyn Boulders (also simulcast at Clypd where we had a gs3 espresso machine setup).



Stay Fresh Updates:Events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more. Sign up for updates here! We have a ton of events coming up as you can see, remember to follow us on twitter as well for up to the minute info.

Sunday, April 6, 2014 from 5pm-7pm 
Espresso 101 class hosted at barsimo in Arlington
"A barista will explain grinding, tamping, and more, then watch as you pull shot after shot. Like an espresso coach, he’ll give you pointers on everything from your mouse tails to your brew’s hue. Small classes are taught monthly on Sunday nights" - from a recent Boston Globe article featuring barismo's Espresso 101 class. Sign up Here! 

Friday, April 11, 2014 from 6pm-8pm 
Origin Stories at Voltage Coffee
Lucy Valena of Voltage Coffee & Art in Kendall Square will be sharing a bit about her time visiting producers in Guatemala with barismo. Join us for an evening of stories!

dwelltime's Too (April Fools People!)

logo concept, as drawn by the Wildflower Montessori kids during
an intense lunch meeting at dwelltime on Broadway in Cambridge

From the Arlington Patch
April Fools! Ok, we had some laughs over the Arlington Patch's post of our plans for naming the space 'dwelltime's Too'. We hope you were in on the joke, but to clarify we will Not be calling the space 'dwell x 2'. The East Arlington location will however be getting a dwelltime style renovation once the production space is fully moved. We will give updates as the project progresses, but the real facts of this story are as follows: 
  • Naming of the space is still TBD, but "The Refined Pallet" and "swell time" will not be considered for naming of the renovated space.
  • Expect an expanded dwelltime style cafe dining area at the Arlington space.
  • It is not Gus Rancatore's Birthday today.
  • You could wish Gus a merry unbirthday tomorrow at Toscanini's and you Will be served a Free spoon size sample of ice cream.

Original Post Below:

Evaluating for Quality: Jaime VanSchyndel gives you a bit of info on barismo's 171 Mass Avenue, Arlington location. Stay tuned for more updates and timeline on the revamped space!

Our East Arlington location at 171 Mass Ave is slated for some big changes this coming summer. As barismo moves into the Union Square Somerville neighborhood at the Aeronaut Launch, the East Arlington space is gearing up to reclaim the old roastery production space for more cafe service. With the redirection of the space into a full service coffeebar (a la dwelltime) we plan to change the name to match the new direction.

After much thought and deliberation we felt that it was necessary to keep the barismo name separate from the roastery division. The most logical step was to rename the revamped space 'dwelltime', however to avoid any confusion with the Broadway 'dwelltime' we have settled on 'dwelltime's Too'

We had some excellent runners up including 'The Refined Pallet' (which reflects our love for reclaimed pallet wood that the coffee comes delivered on) and 'swell time' (since most of our text messages auto correct 'dwelltime' to 'swell time' anyway). Once the roastery is fully transitioned to the new space we will be hosting a grand relaunch of the new dwelltime's Too. Stay tuned for details.

Stay Fresh Updates:Events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more. Sign up for updates here! We have a ton of events coming up as you can see, remember to follow us on twitter as well for up to the minute info.

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 9am-11pm
Gus Rancatore's Birthday Bash at Toscanini's
Stop by Toscanini’s all day to wish Gus Rancatore a very happy birthday! Free spoon sized samples of Ice Cream will be available throughout the day (feel free to stop by on Wenesday the 2nd to wish him a very merry un-birthday if you are not able to attend on the 1st.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

barismo #local #coffee #Somerville MA

barismo at Aeronaut Landing in Somerville

Evaluating for Quality: Jaime VanSchyndel gives you a bit of info on barismo's new Somerville location at Aeronaut Landing, as well as some of our hopes and goals for the new neighbourhood. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to see the new space!

In the still forming row next to Brooklyn Boulders and Artisans Asylum, we are moving into a collaborative Landing space that is best described as a 'food incubator'. Aeronaut Brewery, our next door neighbors will be brewing beer and serving as Somerville's first brewery in nearly a hundred years. They are often called 'science beer' but would recoil at the statement because it really misses the point. They are like us, quirky idealists stubbornly set on trying to control the production chain to effectively curate the ingredients in their product. A bit analogous to what we are doing as they are really attempting to treat their ingredients, not just as products, but as speciality items in an industry that treats it's ingredients as basic commodities. Expect transparency and acknowledgement for the craft/care of their barley and hops providers to be a trademark of their message. I doubt there is a better match for us in the beer industry. Somerville chocolates, and farm share, Something GUD will also be in the space, rounding out a unique marketplace for curated and specialized products.

We decided to go into Somerville for a handful of important reasons, beyond our kindred spirits in the brewery. When you look at the best coffee places in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville there are a few things that stick out. Boston is dominated by chains which use coffee from all over the US, but Cambridge and Somerville have the best independent cafes. We are well established in Cambridge and have wonderful relationships with cafes there.  The premier shops in Cambridge also appear to be fully invested in the local-MA-roaster-served-by-locally-owned-coffee-shops model. 

If you think about it for a bit, the list of cafes in the area using a MA based roaster is shorter than it should be given the quality roasting available. Somerville, however, has some of the better coffee shops in the area and a strong base of supportive coffee enthusiasts we want to introduce ourselves to. It is the one place that has come up repeatedly in customer conversations that's led us to believe the need for a local coffee roasting setup is there. While we acknowledge the lack of support many Somerville cafes have given local roasting businesses, we think that is a tiny obstacle in a community that is intensely supportive of #local #coffee.

The warm reception we got at the Somerville Winter Market and the Davis Flea over the last few years told us a few truths: Somerville loves great coffee and they will appreciate the hard work we are putting into sourcing relationship coffees and biking them around Camberville. We know it will take some time to become a real part of the neighborhood and we have a long road in front of us but we'll detail a lot more about our plans and ideas for the space of over the coming posts.
- Jaime | follow on twitter @jaime_vans and this blog for continued updates on this years harvest.


Stay Fresh Updates:Events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more. Sign up for updates here! We have a ton of events coming up as you can see, remember to follow us on twitter as well for up to the minute info.

Wednesday - Saturday, March 26-29th, 2014
New England Real Ale eXhibition at Aeronaut Landing
Get your tickets for NERAX Online. We are excited to be apart of the NERAX event that is taking place at Aeronaut Landing (this will give you a sneak peek at our new roaster setup as well.) We will be serving up samples of Cold Brew at the event. (Not cask conditioned, but still delicious!) 

Saturday, March 29th, 2014 from 9:30am-2pm
barismo at the Somerville Winter Farmers Market
Grab a freshly roasted retail bag of barismo coffee from the well stocked selection, as well as a fresh, made-to-order pourover or a delicious cup of cold brew iced coffee. This is the LAST MARKET for the season! More info about the market from their facebook page or on twitter @SomWinterMarket

Sunday, March 30th, 2014
TEDx Somerville at Brooklyn Boulders and clypd
Join us for TEDx Somerville, we will be hosting coffee for the event at both locations. Brooklyn Boulders Somerville is the main event, where we will be serving up samples of cold brew. You can get a full service coffee experience at clypd in Davis Square where they will be simulcasting the event for free (limited seating, get tickets online). Get tickets for your chosen spot, we will see you at one or the other!

Sunday, April 6, 2014 from 5pm-7pm 
Espresso 101 class hosted at barsimo in Arlington
"A barista will explain grinding, tamping, and more, then watch as you pull shot after shot. Like an espresso coach, he’ll give you pointers on everything from your mouse tails to your brew’s hue. Small classes are taught monthly on Sunday nights" - from a recent Boston Globe article featuring barismo's Espresso 101 class. Sign up Here!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Introduction to the Micro Mill Revolution

Francisco Mena at Exclusive Coffees in Costa Rica
On the Ground: barismo's roaster Chris Malarick reports from Costa Rica to share developments with partners at Exclusive Coffees. Chris' first update starts with a bit of an intro of what is happening on the ground in Costa Rica. Stay tuned for more info as we build up to the arrival of this years lots.
 
Francisco Mena, one of the three founding members of the dry mill, QC lab and exporter, Exclusive Coffees, told me at the opening of his presentation "boutique coffees aren't simply produced, they're created". Since the birth of Exclusive, six years ago, Costa Rica has seen significant increases in coffee produce quality and producer viability, something Mena attributes to their diligent work on educating their producer partners on everything from soil composition and plant tissue health to the advantages of direct partnerships over the C-market. This education is a saving grace for a lot of these producers, as coffee production has declined by almost 50% since 1995; the C-market is too volatile for a lot of these small farms, causing some to sell their land or cross over to more stable crops like bananas or pineapple. One of the biggest factors in increased quality despite decreased volume is the "micro-mill revolution". Small producers are moving away from processing their cherries at larger mills and starting to build their own micro-mills on their property, allowing them tighter control over the processing stage of their coffee which leads to better quality, and giving them increased economic viability. In turn, we've seen producers go from worrying about whether they will be able to make ends meet to having the confidence to experiment with planting new varietals, like Geisha and SL-28 and try out alternative processing methods, like white, yellow and black honey, something that has shown mixed results but embodies progress. Exclusives dedication to crop development and education continues at their lab, where they roast and cup out hundreds of samples a week from their producer partners, measuring everything from moisture content to density, which allows them to give critical feedback that helps the producer continue to improve their harvest. This is why we've found Exclusive to be a perfect match for Barismo, our shared ideology of transparency, education and quality has cemented a relationship that has facilitated favorites like Finca El Quizarra coming to our roastery for years past, and allowed for new relationships to flourish.  We have a lot in store for 2014 with the help of our friends at Exclusive, so be sure to keep your eyes open.
- Chris | follow on twitter @Gastronomin and this blog for continued updates on this years harvest. 


Canonical, Coffee Education and Tech Tips: Practical tips and advice to give you the tools to brew better coffee. Brought to you by Pete Cannon, who handles barismo's in house training, education, and technical services. 

We’re back to water quality again, to finally talk about how to filter it for coffee brewing. See Part 1 for the basics of water chemistry, and Part 2 for how our water tests in the Boston area.

The numbers for what’s ideal for brewing vary slightly based on who you ask. The SCAA water specification is available here. La Marzocco has a more specific set of water specifications for what is best for the health of espresso machines at this link.

We have some variation from these numbers in the Boston area — our water is relatively soft (very low hardness), but you can still brew great coffee with it. In Boston, our pH is slightly alkaline; in Cambridge, occasionally the pH swings higher, but alkalinity stays roughly the same. Tangentially, we’ve noticed a decrease in brewed coffee quality when pH increases towards 9.0.

In Boston, the only major concern for water quality are chemical impurities: things in our water that give off tastes. The most familiar of these is chlorine, but there can also be localized plumbing issues that will contribute to this. The good news is that this is easy to take care of with a simple carbon & particulate filter. For in-line filtering, something like this. For home use, there are a number of common countertop water filtration devices (e.g. Brita) that provide basic carbon filtration.

In Cambridge, for home use a basic carbon filter will work fine for brewing filter coffee. However, for commercial applications, there are some additional concerns due to chlorides. Historically, Cambridge has experienced intermittently high chloride levels at times, due to runoff from road de-icing chemicals. High chloride levels  cause metals to corrode — with espresso machines being particularly vulnerable.

For commercial usage, it’s critical to test your water regularly. Water quality fluctuates seasonally, so a test at one point of the year will not always be representative for the rest of the year. If chloride contamination rises to unacceptable levels (>30 ppm), reverse osmosis is the only way to treat that water. You will need to design an appropriate remineralization system to restore some minerals to that water afterwards. RO is expensive, but it sure is less expensive than buying a new espresso machine!
- Pete Cannon | barismo's training, education and technical services. Follow his updates here on the barismo blog.


Stay Fresh Updates: Upcoming events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more... Sign up to receive updates.

Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 9:30am-2pm
barismo at the Somerville Winter Farmers Market
Grab a freshly roasted retail bag of barismo coffee from our well stocked weekly selection, as well as a fresh, made-to-order pourover or a delicious cup of cold brew iced coffee. Catch us soon, only two markets left! And then where will you go for fresh roaster coffee in Somerville? Stay Tuned for updates on our new location...

Sunday, April 6, 2014 from 5pm-7pm
Espresso 101 class hosted at barsimo
"A barista will explain grinding, tamping, and more, then watch as you pull shot after shot. Like an espresso coach, he’ll give you pointers on everything from your mouse tails to your brew’s hue. Small classes are taught monthly on Sunday nights" - from a recent Boston Globe article featuring barismo's Espresso 101 class. (And then there was this endorsement.) One seat left as of posting, sign up Now! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Origin Week 2014

Gustavo Alfaro at Simon's in 2011

Evaluating for Quality: barismo's Roastery Manager, Tim Borrego shares about the upcoming origin trip where some of our long time accounts will be travelling with us to Guatemala to visit farms and producers whose coffees they serve at their cafes.

At the end of this month barismo is taking a group of our local accounts to visit our producer partners in Guatemala. Everyone involved is excited and we expect that there will be more updates from that trip once everyone returns. To give you a little bit of context of what this Origin trip is all about, it is important to talk about Origin Week that we hosted last year. In April of 2013 we had many of our producer partners in town for a national coffee conference. We took the opportunity to organize a week long series, a mini coffee university course, if you will, focused on sharing knowledge and stories with the local community. So this year Origin Week 2014, we are sending some local cafe owners who work with barismo to Central America to connect with some of our relationship producers at their farms and mills.
The cafe owners who are traveling with us to Guatemala this year choose a local coffee roaster instead of shipping from national roasters because they ask their customers every day to frequent their local business rather than supporting the national cafe chain across the street. However the value added goes beyond authentic local vendors or sustainable bike delivery, these cafe owners are invested in giving their barista staff a leg up in the coffee industry.
Access to knowledge and opportunity gives the service industry barista opportunity to gain skills beyond latte art, which is the equivalent to a high school degree in the coffee industry. We push for more 'higher-ed', taste focused education, in the Greater Boston coffee community. Some of the next few posts will be coming from someone who began his coffee career as a barista at Voltage Coffee and Art, he has worked his way up the ladder at barismo, and is just back from a trip visiting our Producer Partners in Costa Rica.
For the current generation of baristas who want a career in coffee, look for cafes that support authentic product: local roasters, local knowledge, local opportunity in the community you live in. 


Canonical, Coffee Education and Tech Tips: Practical tips and advice to give you the tools to brew better coffee. Brought to you by Pete Cannon, who handles barismo's in house training, education, and technical services.

Jumping back into the water series from last week. We will be focused on the two major water systems in the Metro Boston area as most of our area accounts use one or the other:
We've tracked both over time, and while water quality fluctuates seasonally, the range we've gotten is similar between both. This is based on line water that has gone through a carbon filter; the MWRA data is based on our East Arlington roastery, and CWD data from dwelltime (mid-Cambridge). Numbers are stereotypical of tests done between Summer 2013 and present.

MWRA

CWD

pH 8.0 8.0 - 9.0
TDS 94 ppm 90 ppm
Total Hardness 15.6 mg/L 12.3 mg/L
Alkalinity 65 mg/L 60 mg/L

Numbers are overall similar, except that pH swings have happened much more dramatically in Cambridge. While alkalinity is similar, pH tends to fluctuate more in Cambridge. Most concerning is chloride contamination; Route 2 runs just close to Fresh Pond Reservoir, leading to large amounts of road salt ending up in the reservoir. While safe to drink, it can pose significant problems for protecting equipment.

For those further interested in water quality, we highly recommend this talk by Scott G. of La Marzocco. At their worst, chlorides cause significant corrosion to brewing equipment. Stay tuned next week, when we'll follow up with filtration options and our recommendations.


Stay Fresh Updates:Events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more. Sign up for updates here!

Saturday, March 15, 2014 from 9:30am-2pm 
barismo at the Somerville Winter Farmers Market 
Grab a freshly roasted retail bag of barismo coffee from the well stocked selection, as well as a fresh, made-to-order pourover or a delicious cup of cold brew iced coffee. Catch us early cause it gets busy fast! We are there every week through the entire market. More info about the market from their facebook page or on twitter @SomWinterMarket

Sunday, March 16, 2014 from 5pm-7pm 
Espresso 101 class hosted at barsimo 
"A barista will explain grinding, tamping, and more, then watch as you pull shot after shot. Like an espresso coach, he’ll give you pointers on everything from your mouse tails to your brew’s hue. Small classes are taught monthly on Sunday nights" - from a recent Boston Globe article featuring barismo's Espresso 101 class. Sign up Here!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

El Chalum and other Epiphanies

Christian at El Chalum

On the Ground: barismo's Jaime VanSchyndel reports from Guatemala for the 2014 crop. We are excited to share developments of our Direct Trade partners. Stay tuned for more info as we build up to the arrival of this years various lots.

This year in Guatemala, we pursued several new farms to work with where we could possibly be a good match.  Our vision of a good match is having enough buying power to effectively get the farms attention, as well as the farm either being an excellent coffee or having the potential to produce improving quality in the future.  Of four new farms we found, one is on lake Amatitlan and was named El Chalum.  I ran across the son of the owner, Christian, in a cupping lab and he seemed eager to get my attention and have me cup their coffee.  It turns out this 120 year old farm with heirloom bourbon trees had been hit by a hurricane, the eruption of Pacaya, and a mysterious pollination problem (we think the removal of local bee hives is related) in the last few years.  The current yield on this farm was way down having just completed major pruning, they were looking to plant an entirely new section with an eye toward the future.  The Borubon he did have, cupped clean and had potential, but it was the visit and story he told that sold me.  Once on the farm (a narrow sliver down the mountain they describe as a pencil), he gave a quick tour.  As we struck up a conversation about yellow bourbon being better than red, he got very excited and took me down to an isolated coffee tree.  On the tree stood one lone Yellow cherry I plucked and tasted the fruit.  I proclaimed it sweet and he agreed.  He pulled up his phone and showed me a picture of a brix meter reading.  He then told me how they took the meter and walked the farm sampling cherry looking for the sweetest fruit until they found this tree.  it measured a 22 when others had been 16-18.  They decided to pick all the fruit on this tree to create a nursery for the new plot.  This, I will tell you is not a common practice.  The selection of seed is often for yield and disease resistance, so I was impressed.  This was the point where I advised that the new plot be named 'Epiphany' given the brilliance of the notion or 'Amarillo Dulce' for the more literal minded.
- Jaime | follow on twitter @jaime_vans and this blog for continued updates on this years harvest.


Evaluating for Quality: barismo's Roastery Manager, Tim Borrego revisits the reasons behind barismo's commitment to our specific brand of Direct Trade. This is the time of year where the seasonality of what we offer is felt the most.

Each year we see beloved coffees come and go, and this time of year when it is especially apparent. We have excellent stories of progress on beloved farms like El Bosque and fresh news about new relationships like El Chalum as reported in this post. At the same time we are working our way through the end of last years crop coffees. The coffee harvest season in Central America is roughly December to March so we spend a good amount of time travelling, touching base and gathering good intel on what is happening there at this time of year. It is bitter sweet to see Buena Esperanza, and the Finca Salaca lots disappear from the line up, but it is a good reminder to all of us about the seasonality of coffees. Our wholesale partners know this an are able to relay the message to their customers, but it can be difficult to smooth things over completely when someone hears that El Bosque will soon be gone (for a short while). These coffees have a finite life time and should be enjoyed in season, in the meantime we eagerly anticipate the fresh crop arrivals. Hopefully our travel reports are able to spark some hope to hold you over until then!
- Tim | check the blog for updates and contact directly at tim@barismo.com


Stay Fresh Updates: Upcoming events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more... Sign up to receive updates.

Saturday, March 8, 2014 from 9:30am-2pm
barismo at the Somerville Winter Farmers Market
Grab a freshly roasted retail bag of barismo coffee from the well stocked selection, as well as a fresh, made-to-order pourover or a delicious cup of cold brew iced coffee. Catch us early cause it gets busy fast! We are there every week through the entire market. More info about the market from their facebook page or on twitter @SomWinterMarket


Sunday, March 16, 2014 from 5pm-7pm
Espresso 101 class hosted at barsimo
"A barista will explain grinding, tamping, and more, then watch as you pull shot after shot. Like an espresso coach, he’ll give you pointers on everything from your mouse tails to your brew’s hue. Small classes are taught monthly on Sunday nights" - from a recent Boston Globe article featuring barismo's Espresso 101 class. Sign up Here!
 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Call my name, El Bosque de Parramos

On the Ground: barismo's Jaime VanSchyndel reports from El Bosque in Guatemala for the 2014 crop. This is barismo's fifth year working with El Bosque de Parramos, and we are excited to share developments of this 100% exclusive Direct Trade partnership. Stay tuned for more info as we build up to the arrival of this years various lots.

El Bosque de Parramos
On my most recent trip to Guatemala, I had lunch and toured El Bosque with owners Miriam and son Avelino.  We chatted at length about how much the farm had changed from that 'forest of coffee' we were introduced to years ago.  They asked many questions about how the coffee was received by customers and displayed intense curiosity in our relationships with cafes and customers.  The discussion then turned towards how much Bosque was beginning to look like an estate these days with it's clean rows and well kept trees.  Given the multiple lots coming out of the farm this year, we talked about how we would brand these for them.  They insisted barismo begin to identify the farm more as 'de Parramos' to make it distinct among other farms in Guatemala that carry a similar name.  Having secured their entire harvest the last 4 years, they wanted to know what coffees/crops were my personal favorite.  I let them know the Yellow Bourbon lot we did in 2012 was a personal favorite and really spoke to me about the potential of their coffees.  In turn, they committed on the spot to keeping a nursery of Yellow and would slowly replace the older red Bourbon trees with the seedlings in this 'Amarillo' nursery. Their sincerity in the discussions left me feeling real pressure to represent them well this year.  While it's clear Miriam is a humble person who cringes at the attention of having her name on a bag of coffee, she was willing to consider making a trip to Somerville/Cambridge/Arlington to see what we do and meet the people at the cafes that have served their coffee.
- Jaime | Stay tuned for more updates here on the blog and on twitter @barismo and @jaime_vans


Canonical, Coffee Education and Tech Tips: Practical tips and advice to give you the tools to brew better coffee. Brought to you by Pete Cannon, who handles barismo's in house training, education, and technical services.

Since opening dwelltime (our Cambridge cafe) in 2011, water has become a significant focus as we began to encounter differences between how our coffees tasted at the roastery versus the cafe. When brewing, you are using water as a solvent to wash away solubles from ground coffee. How much or how little “stuff” is already in your water has a major effect on how well you can extract desirable compounds from your coffee.

Water that is good for brewing coffee falls into a much narrower range than what is considered safe to drink. Municipal water authorities are focused on delivering safe drinking water, unfortunately coffee brewing is not on their priority list. Here are the 4 basic elements to look for in water brewing:
  • Odorless. Off-smells in water are the most noticeable quality issues. This can be as simple as chlorine from treatment, or they can come from plumbing issues. Fortunately, this is usually very easy to fix (more on this later).
  • Some, but not a lot, of minerals. We have two measurements for this: Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and Total Hardness. TDS is a basic snapshot of how much “stuff” is in your water, but it doesn’t tell you what that “stuff” is. The range we are looking for is generally between 75 - 150 TDS. Total Hardness measures just calcium & magnesium (the minerals that are best known for causing scale buildup). Some of this is good, but we don’t want too much (above 5 grains per gallon total hardness).
  • Near-neutral pH & moderate alkalinity. Ideally, your pH is close to 7.0. Alkalinity is best understood as how resistant a solution is to change its pH. If your alkalinity is too high, coffees taste flat and lack in acidity. Our alkalinity target is around 40 mg/L.
  • Very few "other contaminants". There are a handful of other contaminants that can cause bad things to happen; in our area, the biggest issue will be chlorides. Chlorides are different from chlorine — in the northeast, our most common source of this in water is road salt, and creates some unique problems. Having a lot of chlorides can make water a much more aggressive solvent, to the point where it will begin to dissolve metals and other nasty things.
The good news for most people in the Boston area is that water here is relatively good for coffee brewing. There will be some big exceptions for folks in Cambridge. Next week we'll follow up with our test results & special considerations.- Pete Cannon | barismo's training, education and technical services. Follow his updates here on the barismo blog.


Stay Fresh Updates: Upcoming events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more... Sign up to receive updates.

Saturday, March 1, 2014 from 9:30am-2pm
barismo at the Somerville Winter Farmers Market
Grab a freshly roasted retail bag of barismo coffee from our well stocked weekly selection, as well as a fresh, made-to-order pourover or a delicious cup of cold brew iced coffee. Catch us early cause it gets busy fast! We are there every week through the entire market. More info about the market on their facebook page or on twitter @SomWinterMarket

Sunday, March 2, 2014 from 7pm-10pm
It Takes Two, take two, at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville
Brooklyn Boulders Somverville has rescheduled their "It Takes Two" event and we will be there serving up some samples of cold brew introducing ourselves to new neighbors. If you have not been to this excellent climbing gym in the heart of Somerville and for more info on the event check them out online www.bkbs.brooklynboulders.com and on twitter @BKBSomerville

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

El Bosque, in Pursuit of Quality

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New plot of Villa Sarchi at El Bosque
On the Ground: barismo's (el presidente) Jaime VanSchyndel reports from El Bosque in Guatemala for the 2014 crop. This is barismo's fifth year working with El Bosque, and we are excited to share developments of this 100% exclusive Direct Trade partnership. Stay tuned for more info as we build up to the arrival of this years various lots.

El Bosque is one of our most beloved farms and the huge reinvestment this farm has undergone is getting closer to realization. Located in the state of Chimaltenango near Parramos, I recently dropped by El Bosque to see the new varietals that are growing on the farm. They have the older Bourbon trees still in a few places which are topped, trimmed, and regrowing while producing moderate yields. Along with that plot are new plantings from the seeds of those old trees of heirloom Bourbon next to a plot with a number of newer dwarf Bourbon trees. These dwarf trees grow only three to four feet tall and are often called Bourboncito. While easier to pick and care for, the flavors are not as strong and distinct as the older trees. Beyond the Bourbon lots, there are several other new plantings we are excited about. Bosque now has Villa Sarchi planted, which many of you will associate with our Costa Rican coffees. The Villa Sarchi has always cupped well on other farms in Guatemala so we have big expectations. There is also some Yellow cherry planted on Bosque that needs identification but looks close to Caturra (some people argue if it's yellow it's likely Catuai). There's also some Pacamara and Gesha growing in a small test plots but these all need to be sampled at the end of harvest to see their potential. After five years, this farm is turning the corner on the agricultural side.
- Jaime | follow on twitter @jaime_vans and this blog for continued updates on this years harvest.


Evaluating for Quality: barismo's Roastery Manager, Tim Borrego revisits the reasons behind barismo's commitment to our specific brand of Direct Trade. The details always matter.

As a roastery, barismo is dedicated to what I like to think of as the pursuit of an authentic, quality focused product. Over the past five years as a local coffee roaster we have seen customers respond with overwhelming support for what we are doing, and we are grateful to see an amazingly complex product like coffee given the room to develop into what it is today. We have seen these same customers dive deep into the information that is offered and the stories behind the Direct Trade coffees that we promote. As we continue to introduce ourselves to new neighborhoods and new customers we hope that the message of our pursuit of quality is not boiled down to simply flavor experiences. Yes, we are confident in what we like and we hope to share that with you, but the relationships we develop behind these coffees are crucial to the sustainability of what we do. Direct Trade for us is about: seeking quality product at a sustainable price, working with appropriately sized (small) farms, developing sustainable long-term working relationships with producers based on mutual goals and respect. As we continue to give updates this buying season and as we release new crop coffees this year we want to give you more of that story and remind you that the mission behind our Direct Trade program at barismo is what makes this viable. We do not simply seek viability in the short term, rather, we have a long healthy future in mind, that is real Sustainability.
- Tim | check the blog for updates and contact directly at tim@barismo.com


Stay Fresh Updates: Upcoming events, classes and education, new coffees, and much more... Sign up to receive updates.

Thursday, February 20, 2014 from 7pm-10pm
Third Thursday Event at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville
Meet the roasters and taste some coffee! barismo will be hanging out at Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville serving up some samples of cold brew introducing ourselves to new neighbors. If you have not been to this excellent climbing gym in the heart of Somerville check them out online www.bkbs.brooklynboulders.com and on twitter @BKBSomerville

We will also be at Brooklyn Boulders for the "It takes Two" competition once it is rescheduled, see the BKBS website for more info.

Saturday, February 22, 2014 from 9:30am-2pm
barismo at the Somerville Winter Farmers Market
Grab a freshly roasted retail bag of barismo coffee from the well stocked selection, as well as a fresh, made-to-order pourover or a delicious cup of cold brew iced coffee. Catch us early cause it gets busy fast! We are there every week through the entire market. More info about the market from their facebook page or on twitter @SomWinterMarket

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy Holidays from barismo

If you are looking for that gift idea to really cover all the bases for your coffee aficionado, the sampler pack is the best item on our list.  It gives you a freshly roasted selection of coffees to sample in 8oz amounts.  For those that are local to us in Arlington, schedule pickup in store by choosing the in store pickup option under shipping.  Keep an eye on order timing so that we can provide coffee that's freshly roasted as close to the brewing date as possible.

We also have classes, gift certificates, gear, directly sourced Teas, and T-Shirts that make good gift items as well.

barismo will close early on Christmas Eve and be closed Christmas Day, avoid getting left out when making your coffee orders or last minute retail bag purchases.  Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Brewing Series


One of the signature styles of brewing with barismo is using cloth filters.  We discovered that depth filtration from cloth filters is better at brewing coffee without imparting 'paper taste' from paper filters and it doesn't have the sediment issues of metal filtration.  Cloth requires immense care and time consuming cleaning but that didn't stop us from seeing its potential.

The 'woodneck' is the throw back method, with its hooped flannel filter, nick-named for the wooden handle on the neck of the carafe.  It was the basis for the v60 design and is a free pour method involving no restriction of how it drains giving full control to the barista to craft the experience.  The cloth needs constant maintenace and care to keep it clean during both storage and normal usage.  This method produces shorter yields of rich but balanced and suprisingly nuanced cups of coffee.  

We highlighted the woodneck brews this weekend on bar at dwelltime and we had a lot of folks come out to try this body forward brew. If you missed the event don't worry we you can always come by the coffeebar at barismo for the same experience. The final brewing device that we are featuring for this series is one of technical precision and it happens to use cloth filtration as well...

When you go back and look at methods that defined us, the Syphon was that method.  While espresso was near and dear to us, our experimenting showed that you could make expressive drip coffee if you could harness the variables.  Enter the Syphon, or balance brewer. Using it in a novel way, we discovered you could get a stable brewing temp and take advantage of full immersion properties in a way that is entirely unique.  It meant being able to control everything in a very precise way. The variable controls we talked about, but were otherwise always chasing, became a reality with Syphon brewing.

The Syphon consists of a lower and upper chamber. When heating the lower chamber, steam builds forcing the water to syphon to the upper chamber. Once the temperature is stable, coffee can be brewed in the upper chamber. When brewing is complete, heat is removed thereby cooling the lower chamber which draws the coffee through the filter and back down.

For this method, we chose an aromatic and intense Panama and juicy Kenya to present. These are served as two 5oz servings per order, so bring a friends.

Dwelltime coffeebar
Tuesday, October 21th, 1pm-3pm
Coffee Shots Menu


Panama Don Pachi Gesha
$16.00
serves 2 (5oz) cups


Kenya Thunguri SL28
$7.50*
serves 2 (5oz) cups



*Those who show their registered ticket get a 2oz taster of Thunguri for free. Register online at www.freshflashback.eventbrite.com

Monday, October 14, 2013

Coffee Shots


Years ago before barismo was roasting coffee, we were busy conducting varied experiments in brewing. One of the early variations in espresso that we liked was nick-named 'the coffee shot'.  It wasn't quite the traditional approach. We were using some odd brew parameters where we were able to get exceptional results that simply couldn't be called espresso.

A 'coffee shot' is a single origin drip (not roasted for espresso)coffee pulled as a shot using a low temperature with a slightly higher yield in volume. The results are similar to what you'd expect from lever espresso machines but with the intensity of the particular coffee shining through.

To be served, it requires a dedicated grinder and five years ago it would have required an entire dedicated espresso machine! With new technology like the La Marzocco Strada that we have at dwelltime, we can operate individual group heads at different temperatures and different pressure profiles.  That means three different coffees at three different temperatures and three different profiles. blog fresh flash back: Coffee Shots

October 15th, 2013
Coffee Shots Menu

Panama Don Pachi Gesha
$7.00

Kenya Thunguri SL28
$3.50*




*Those who show their registered ticket get their first shot of Thunguri for free. Register online at www.freshflashback.eventbrite.com

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sustainable Agriculture Recap


As a part of barismo's Patio Grand Opening on Friday, we had a special presentation by Jon Orren, school teacher at Newton South High School. Jon has been involved with the Sustainable Agriculture Project at the high school for the past couple of years. The schools project is a three season educational garden that grows produce for use at the school and provides a tool for educating students about food systems, sustainability, and agriculture.

Over a year ago Jon approached us at barismo to see if he could get his hands on 'chaff', a by-product of coffee from the roasting process. He had done some research and found some interesting uses and benefits, particularly the ability of chaff to greatly improve soil composition and replenish nutrients. We started collecting our chaff and Jon began stopping by every few weeks to pick up a trash bin full of the stuff.

What is this stuff? Chaff is a thin dry skin that falls off the raw coffee bean during the roasting process. The un-roasted bean (also called "green coffee" because it has a greenish-blue color in the raw state) has a dense cellular structure. When heat is applied to the bean during the roasting process the cellular structure expands, loses moisture, and starts to develop sugars and complex compounds. The expansion of the bean causes the thin outermost layer to flake off of the bean inside of the drum. Fans pull air out of the hot rotating drum during the roasting process and the lightweight flakes of chaff are collected via cyclone into a large drum.

Using Chaff to Enrich Soil. When used correctly, Chaff can significantly replenish the soils nutrients, it does so in a way that even coffee grounds cannot (grounds can be very acidic and must be mixed correctly to maintain a proper Ph level). Having a way to replenish soil is especially important for a garden that is being used through three seasons. Jon's experience is that the the soil was richer with more organic life present and the crops came back with very healthy yields. In order to access all of the benefits that chaff has to offer, one must be aware of how to use the chaff correctly.

Working with Chaff. When chaff is wet it will clump together into a heavy dense mass that adheres to itself very easily. Wet chaff masses are very slow to breakdown and if they are left in that state they will prevent water from penetrating above or below causing bacteria or mold in some areas and dry soil in others. Jon brought in an example of a wet dried chaff clump that resembles a hard piece of paper mache. After some experimentation with mixing chaff with soil or mulch, they found that a 1-to-5 ratio (chaff to mixer) worked best. This mixture keeps the chaff from adhering to itself and turning into hard clumps, this allows the chaff to break down and begin to properly release the valuable nutrients back into the soil.

Putting your garden to bed. At the end of the growing season, when the soil is at its most depleted state, there is a technique that can be used to replenish the soil using chaff. A thick layer of dry chaff is evenly distributed on the surface of your garden bed and covered up with burlap. The dry chaff Must be covered with something like strips of jute (the burlap sacks that coffee comes packaged in) to keep it from being blown away in the wind. From the end of the fall through the winter the thick layer of chaff has enough time to decompose and you avoid the problematic clumps in your soil. In the spring your soil is fertile and ready to go for the next season!

At Newton South High School Jon has had so much success with the yields of produce that he has had to find creative ways to make use of the food they have grown. They have enough produce to provide faculty with a small CSA program, however there is still an abundance. Jon has been pickling much of the produce so it has a longer lifespan. Jon brought us a variety of pickles and kimchi to try out at the event. We also got some freshly picked produce to take home. Some of the more unique items were the West Indian Gherkin Cucumber (an egg shaped cucumber with peculiar spikes, from the Monticello seed bank), and a small grape sized cucumber called a Mexican Minature Watermelon.

We had a great turn out for the event thanks to everyone who showed up to hear Jon, and thank you Jon for sharing! We will list any links that Jon sends us for resources about using chaff in your home garden.