Monday, June 30, 2008

Upcoming Events

Farmer's Markets are springing up all over the place these days, and lots of them want Bean & Leaf there serving coffee. We can't do all of them, unfortunately, but we will be at the Coventry Farmer's Market on Sunday July 6th. They are even doing a Farmer's Fare that day and our coffee will be the perfect compliment to those fresh buttermilk pancakes, free-range eggs and grass fed breakfast sausage. I just hope we can keep up with demand! 2 weeks ago there were nearly 5000 people at that market.

The following weekend it is Sailfest in New London, and that means Bean & Leaf will be one year old! So if you are in town for the fest, make sure to stop by, say hi and have a drink.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Opening Day

Looking forward to the start of the expanded Farmer's Market here in New Haven this weekend. Wooster Square has been rocking all year, but now some of the neighborhood markets are up and running and we are lucky enough to have an account near Edgewood Park in the Westville section of New Haven.

Amelia's Deli is the name of the place, and starting tomorrow, they will be serving Bean & Leaf exclusively. Gonna start them off with some extra strong iced coffee and some hot Costa Rican and then soon they will be offering a few single origins, a house blend and some decaf. It is exciting to have the farmer's market right there, and we are hopeful that word will spread quickly that delicious coffee is only a few steps away.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fun for the Whole Family

Last night the Bean was hopping. Tons of people outside and quite a few inside as well. There were kids running around outside, conversation and laughter over cups, spoken word from the stage and the grind of beans about to be brewed from behind the counter. The whole family was there, all 3 generations, as well as a gaggle of friends and customers all hanging out, enjoying the gorgeous summer eve.

It was an amazing sight to pull into the parking lot and see.

I had been on the road all day, from Farmer's Market to coffeeshops to restaurants and beyond and seeing everyone there having fun made every mile of the road worth it. I can help make Bean & Leaf flourish by spreading our coffee far and wide and I have so much fun doing it.

Leads are coming to me quicker now. I have a network of people and accounts throughout CT that acts as ears and eyes, identifying opportunities for Bean & Leaf, and sending them my way. I'm always eager to hear about great restaurants, new coffee houses and any other place that fits the style and ethos of our shop. Please let me know anytime you see someplace that looks good!

Wait, you didn't know we had an ethos? Of course we do! Even Walter knows how important it is to have an ethos. Stop by, have a cup and hang out and you'll see what we're all about.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

West Side Roastery

SF is a coffee-lover's heaven. That city loves to drink and eat as local as possible and coffee is no different. I tried Philz where each cup is made fresh, The Beanery out in the Sunset where they roast their own, and Ritual, the coffee mecca of SF, out in the Mission.

Ritual Roasters blew them all away. They have a similar philosophy to Bean & Leaf, and it showed in every cup I tasted there. Their drip coffee is made via French press and all the beans are roasted in their machine right there in the shop. It was amazing to have a chance to watch the roaster at work and talk to her about temp turnarounds, first crack, sourcing beans and how even the change in weather can affect a batch.

Bluebottle Coffee and Flying Goat were two other roasters I had hoped to stop by and see, but they were too busy and just not set up to have guests into the roasting facilities. Both roasters were very friendly, though, and I was able to talk to each of them for quite a while and pick their brain about our craft. There is so much to learn, so many things to know and an immense number of variables when roasting the perfect bean that it is amazing to get a chance to talk to and watch other people do this work.

Building a great coffee community is very important to me, and I know that everything I learn while speaking to other roasters will enhance and expand what Bean & Leaf can do. Hopefully I will be able to return that favor many times over.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sidamo Success

Next time you're in the shop, ask for the Sidamo. I am roasting it very lightly, only a touch past first crack, but the flavor is amazing. It has the kick of a coffee roasted far longer, but the complex earthy flavors are still clear and present in the initial sip.

I tried it with a heavy roast and it just did not taste right. In order to figure it out I decided to start at the beginning with as light a roast as possible, and then work up from there to find the sweet spot. Turns out the sweet spot is right at the beginning.

Taste Testing

Today was a farmer's market at Billing's Forge in Hartford. Typically Bean & Leaf is there on Thursdays, but we gave Monday a shot this week. Ice coffee sold well, and I'm looking forward to more good days in the heart of Hartford.

Tomorrow I'll be roasting at the shop. If you stop by and say hi I'll be sure to let you taste some of the fresh coffee. Last week 2 customers were a big help. I had them taste some lightly roasted beans and others with a slightly heavier roast and, of course, they each liked a different cup. Therefore the solution became obvious. The Black and Tan-zania Blend. You get the earthy, cocoa hints of the light beans and then the strong, full coffee flavor of the darker beans. It's a perfect balance, and a fun way to draw out the best of an amazing bean.

Later on in June we will definitely have a coffee cupping. Look for a signup sheet in the shop in the next few days, or feel free to drop me an email if you want to participate. (just be sure to fix the address, I broke it to prevent spambots from grabbing it.)