company - education - coffee - tea - equipment

Friday, February 13, 2015

For love of coffee

2015 marks our 7th year offering up fresh roast and per cup.  While a lot has changed (see dwelltime, Cambridge Cold Brew), a lot of our core love of coffee is still there.  The weather is just dreadful right now but it's a great time to look back before we look forward to the rest of the year.

I started in coffee a decade ago at a time when there were nearly all dark roasts being offered at local cafes. Mystery blends without roast dates made it pretty hard to find great coffee.  That doesn't even cover the lack of good tools and equipment back then.  These days, things have changed a bit and the equipment is getting to be a non issue and it shows.  More coffee shops are doing latte art and the execution has become better in our scene.  These days, there are still mostly dark roast blends at coffee shops in town and while you hear and see 'single estate' used a lot, there isn't that much of it actually being served.  Shops and roasters are really laying into 'freshly roasted' but it is surprisingly hard to find whole bean that's less than ten days off roast.  The messaging has evolved but there is a lot of room to grow in terms of the quality.  Meanwhile, the national 'indie' coffee scene is obsessed with venture capital, acquisitions, aggressive expansion, and (quietly) exit strategies but those topics are less discussed locally.  It's easy to be overwhelmed by it all.

In some ways, I am back where I started when I founded this company.  I find myself asking some of the same questions.  How do we (continue to) do what we do in a community of shops where so many shop owners may be pulling in the opposite direction?  After a lot of thought, I realized that we just have to acknowledge that barismo is on a mission.  We love coffee and just happen to also be lucky enough to have found a community of coffee drinkers that let's us be a little nerdy and obsessed about great coffee.  We have a complex business and a bit of an uphill trek but sometimes you just have to focus on what matters.  So, here's a break down of what our core goals are for 2015:

Fresh Roast  We will continue to strive to be the only coffee brand you will consistently see on shelves locally that is delivering coffee 24 hours off roast. We want you to take it home and enjoy it in the first two weeks while it is fresh.

Fresh Brew  We will push for, wrangle up, and argue for the most attentive, detailed, and cared for brews we can muster.  We promise that while you may have to wait a little longer for a brew, it wasn't sitting around all day staling and waiting for you.

Transparency  We will never blend up a mystery bag or serve up a murky 'dark roast' that lacks farm identity.  We also promise to share as much as you can stand to listen to about our farm partners and their stories of quality improvement.  Without transparency, we'd be taking credit for their work and that's not very barismo.

Education  We promise to share our brew methods, offer up classes, organize farmer events, and host cuppings.

Value  We believe that value is built on everything from how the coffee was processed and stored to roasted and brewed.  We will do our best to make the case for what makes good coffee and why we invested in the farms we did.  We don't roast anything dark (nothing goes into second crack) and we will continue to avoid obscuring the quality farms have worked so hard to create. 

Redefine the Regular Coffee  People want to drink good coffee.  We don't assume you want to drink bad coffee.  If you come in our doors, we know you came looking for more and we will do our best to provide that cup.  We want the chance to make your regular everyday cup something special.

While we admit we're on a mission for great coffee, it is a labor of love.  We do all this and more because we think it matters and we hope you agree.  Sure, we might not be willing to compromise, but in the end, we hope you will see and appreciate the effort from seed to your cup.  We want you to enjoy the coffee while we say thank you for the support over the years.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Coffee tree tap handles!

Keep it local Camberville, MA: barismo's founder, Jaime van Schyndel gives a run down on some cool new tap handles at dwelltime.

Coldbrew on tap is the new big thing right now.  Cafes, offices, and restaurants are picking this as a new option for quick serve coffee.  There are pre-designed 'javarator' setups you can buy and even a reddit section dedicated to the kegging of iced coffee setups.  This is the next big thing in coffee!  

To celebrate the last two years of serving coldbrew on tap at dwelltime, I came up with a fun idea back in the spring:

While visiting El Bosque de Parramos in Guatemala this spring, I picked up a section of a coffee tree stump from a plot of the farm that had older plantings.  This was one of 5 branches coming off the main stump and was still alive.  Avelino himself cut the stump off and chose this particular piece of wood.

I brought the wood back and left it with our friends and Somerville neighbors at DGF.  After some curing and resting time, the wood was cut into three sections, sanded and prepped as tap handles for a kegged coldbrew setup.

One of the cool aspects of this old stump is that is was right along the pathway.  It has several scars along it's backside that came over the years.  Over time, different farm workers would sit roadside and have their lunch.  They would invariably leave their machete in the closest stump, to which this little tree was the victim a few times.  Kind of cool to think about how over the years, the scars tell a story.  

Coffee wood grows fast and is typically not good quality.  The older varietals that are less dwarfed can get to 20ft tall and this is the type of heirloom bourbon we ended up sawing off to make our handles.  This particular stump may have had 20 years on this branch to get to this size.  It's color is a bit like poplar but it has a slight tint of green to the bark and wood.  Needless to say, I am excited to see how it ages and colors with time.

While we can't guarantee coffee wood tap handles for your setup, we can help you with a no fuss install and consistent quality product if you are in the Boston/Cambridge area.  If you are interested in serving
 coldbrew on tap locally or having this in your office, let us know.  We have been refining the process and have a separate division dedicated to expanding this.  We already have offices and clients across the spectrum setup for coldbrew coffee and tea on tap but are looking for some exciting new places to get this concept into while it's still hot outside. 


Thursday, July 03, 2014

NOW Roasted In Somerville

After some hurdles, we are now roasting in our new space! Our first full day of production roasting was on Monday. While we weren't planning on a few of the hurdles that set back the move until the last few days of June, the silver lining was that the majority of our 2014 crop coffees are just getting to port in the next 2 weeks, so we had to move just a quarter of the amount of coffee from 171 Mass Ave, Arlington to our new home at 14 Tyler Street, Somerville.

We took last Thursday to move over, and brought over some extra hands to help with moving bags of coffee. Among the many positives to our new roastery is the addition of a loading dock; many of our long time customers have seen us in the past having pallets of coffee dropped off on the sidewalk, then carrying them one at a time through the roastery and downstairs to our basement storage. Pallet jacks and forklifts are lightening the load quite a bit.

Along with the change in location, we've switched the actual roaster we use. Our trusty pair of 4 kilo roasters has served us well, but we had reached near maximum roasting capacity. Late last year we purchased a 12 kilo Probat coffee roaster and have been refurbishing it inside & out. We've been happy with the results so far, and you should expect a positive difference in our coffees going forward.

We're spending most of this week and next working out some of the logistics of our wholesale operation here. By the middle of the month we'll have updates with events & classes at the new space. While it's not a retail store or coffeebar, there'll be plenty of opportunity through the rest of the summer to get to see our new home.

Coffee Updates

We've released some new coffees over the past few weeks from this years crop of coffees out of Kenya & Ethiopia; in addition to Doppleganger (on our last blog update), we've released Homunculus (a 50/50 blend of coffees from two different mills in the same region of Ethiopia), and Kochere Grade 1 (one of the components of Homunculus). We have a second wave of coffees from Ethiopia & Kenya already lined up for later this summer.

We're expecting the boat carrying our coffees from Costa Rica to arrive at port in New Jersey on July 8th. It should take another week upon arrival to clear customs, then we'll be able to bring these coffees -- Jardin de Aromas & Bandera de Dota -- up to Somerville!
Confirming more good news & arrival details from Guatemala today; we'll have a further update for you next week!