Monday, September 28, 2009
I listen to NPR for hours every day as I drive around this state. I am extremely excited to be on the air, and especially on the Colin McEnroe show. It's a great program and we are thrilled they asked us to participate.
Update: Here's the show from today! It was so much fun to be there. Colin, Chion, & Patrick were great hosts, and it was a pleasure to meet Nell Newman. I would love to be able to go on there every month to talk about coffee with them. There still so much to cover and so many interesting parts of this business. Plus, they were all just really fun and great to hang out with.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Bean & Leaf is selling bags of beans, hot coffee & iced coffee in Hartford, Simsbury & Coventry, CT and we would love to see you there.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
This 1960s French Noir masterpiece stars Alain Delon as Jeff Costello - contract hit man, loner, and without question the coolest looking guy you'll ever watch on screen. Considered by subsequent generations of film directors as a key influence on their own work (i.e. Scorsese, Taxi Driver), the film cross-pollinates gangster, samurai and French cinematic artistry to create its own hybrid of stunning minimalist noir.
Rotten Tomatoes LOVES this film. And here's a NYTimes review from a 97 International Film Festival.
Hi-Def, popcorn, and a free movie. What more could you ask for?
The Ethiopian government decided to trademark that name and is now putting even more stringent stipulations for growing and exporting. But unfortunately, these new restrictions limit the growth of direct roast-to-farm relationships.
Monday, March 23, 2009
This is the 4th installment of our 3 month long International Film Festival and it is a movie we are all excited about.
From Janet Maslin's New York Times Review:
It is an hour and a half before a new year begins in Teheran (on March 21), and the city is poised for celebration. A stern and adorable 7-year-old girl named Razieh (Aida Mohammadkhani) is pouting about not having the right goldfish for this occasion. The fish at home are skinny. She wants a fat one with better fins. So she wheedles her mother into giving her money for this purchase, but then the money is accidentally lost. Razieh enlists the help of several strangers to try retrieving it from beneath an iron grate.Come on down to the Bean and enjoy a cheap (as in free!) evening of great art with good friends. Feel free to bring a bottle of wine, too! We cannot sell alcohol, but BYOB is allowed.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
On Saturday at 11am, Billings Forge will be hosting an open house to showcase their new space, "The Studio @ Billings Forge." There will be yoga, music, karate, dance and other fun events. And of course, Bean & Leaf coffee will be served. All events and activities are free so head on up to 559 Broad Street in Hartford and have some fun.
Then, next week on Thursday March 26 from 6-8pm we are back at 559 Broad Street, but this time at Firebox Restaurant. CT GreenScene is hosting a GreenDrinks event where we will serve Bean & Leaf coffee along with some adult mixers. I will giving a short presentation about the long journey a bean takes from a bush on a hillside near the equator to the delicious brew in your cup.
GreenDrinks are casual networking events for individuals and organizations that are interested in sustainability, eco-awareness and green initiatives. Whether your company is involved in projects like this, or if you are just someone that has an interest in chatting with like-minded individuals, we invite you stop by, have a few beverages and meet some new friends and make some great contacts.
Monday, March 16, 2009
It starts at 1pm at the corner of Bank and State and it ends at Hanafin's for hours of music and fun and silliness. Of course, Bean & Leaf coffee will be available there all day to mix with Bailey's, Jameson or both!
Don't forget to swing by the back bar where Jesse will be pouring perfect Guinnessessess.
Friday, February 20, 2009
So delicious, in fact, that it is one of the most expensive coffees on the planet. The reason for that, of course, is a combination of unique flavor and extreme scarcity. Geisha coffee grows best in a very small zone and the owners of Hacienda Esmeralda were fortunate enough to both own that part of the Earth and to recognize that they had something special there. Cupping it on Thursday afternoon was amazing.
It was originally collected in Ethiopia in the early 1930s by various British expeditions. The coffee had a low yield, but it was resistant to fungus, so it was used for hybridization. The path seems to be: Ethiopia (1931), Kenya (1931-32), Tanzania (1936), Costa Rica (1953), Panama at some point after that where it was found growing on the Peterson's land.
The Petersons were wonderful hosts and it was very interesting to learn that in their 35 years on the farm they had tried to grow nearly everything and anything. They found that grass grew best and so they raised dairy cows. Later on they expanded to producing coffee. However, it was in 2003 when their son Daniel decided to harvest and process some of the wild coffee that grew on their steep hillsides that the geisha was rediscovered. The delicate flavors in those beans have transformed their lives.
It was incredible to stand on the hillside in the morning and see and touch and taste those cherries. The cherries were mildly sweet and the raw seed inside was larger than I expected. A few of the bushes were knocked over under the weight of down branches or from the wind and that was sad to see. The rain lashed us sideways and the wind was fierce but that didn't matter at all. I had made it to origin and that felt great.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Landing in David, Panama was little wild. We could sense it on the approach as our 80seater hopped and floated through fierce winds.
"That was the scariest landing I've ever felt," Lu said to me, her fingers in my arm.
"It was a good one alright," I replied, easing my breath as the plane vibrated to a halt.
The taxi ride had just as much turbulence, both from the backroads we had to take around downed wires and due to the wind that was whipping down from the mountains. Several metal billboards lay crumpled on the side of the street, in many places wires crossed the road where poles were down.
The drive from David to Boquete took about an hour and as we climbed, the weather grew nastier. We crossed a raging river the color of frothy wet charcoal and scrambled into our hotel. I was thrilled Mat had reminded us to bring our raingear.
There was a message waiting for me. We had arrangements to be picked up in the afternoon at El Oasis to go and check out some local coffee farms, but the winds had other ideas. Cellphones were out in the Boquete region because cell towers had been knocked out or knocked over, but either way no calls were getting through. That meant no contact with our contact and so we sat stewing in the hotel wondering if we'd get through, or if we should just go stroll through town. Unfortunately, the town was being lashed by the Bajareque and not ideal for strolling.
Landlines still worked, though, and through the kind help of the hotel owner and the generosity of the Petersons, Lu and I were picked up and whisked away through microclimates and crazy rainbows to have a look at the operations of Hacienda Esmeralda. It was fantastic.
We had plans to visit the farm on the following day, but that afternoon they were going to be receiving some freshly picked berries and we would have a chance to watch them process the coffee. That was something we would not get to do the next day, but it is an facinating process and one I am very glad I got to see up close and in action.
So here goes:
Berries are picked by hand by workers. Workers bag their berries and tag the bag and then a pickup truck comes by to gather the bags. Bags are weighed when they are offloaded at the farm and then the berries are dumped into a deep, square concrete pit. The pit has a tube at the bottom. Water is pumped into the pit and then the tube is opened and coffee berry mousetrap ensues!
Berries flow in the water into another small holding tank where some float off and others flow through. The floaters are no good and are diverted. The good ones go into a circular mashing chamber where the pulp is separated from the seed. The pulp (mucilage) is sent one way and the seeds another, down another tube, into another tank where again good seeds go one way and floaters another.
In the end there's a big pile of coffee berry seeds but that's far from the last step before those seeds turn into the beverage you love so much.
More on that later...
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I believe that people still do want a quality cup, though, and that instead of saving money by buying a cup of poorly brewed commodity coffee, most people choose to brew at home.
That's fine by us. We would be happy to sell you 5lbs of coffee that you can grind and brew fresh every morning. We'll even sell you green coffee if you've got a little I-Roaster yourself and want to smoke up the house! (Our sampling roasts usually happen in the garage. Nicraugua & Uganda are next up).
Once you fall in love with quality, fresh-roasted coffee it's nearly impossible to go back.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Here's one I like: "It was in 1530 that the first coffeehouse was opened in Damascus, Syria. Istanbul, Turkey opened its first coffeehouse in 1554."
Feels pretty good to be part of a tradition that has lasted for 479 years.
If you see any that aren't true let me know!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
It's the Blend for Change and it's similar to our usual House Blend, but changed slightly (ha!). Peru & Sumatra remain the same, but in this new blend we've got Papua New Guinea in there instead of Colombia. It is amazing how different the coffee tastes with this slight variation.
Ordered lots of new green recently and I'm looking forward to roasting it up once it arrives.
And even more exciting is that in early February I will be making my first trip to origin. Boquete Panama is the destination and I will have a chance to sample some of the most unique and expensive coffee in the world. Can't wait!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
University of Michigan researchers Shalene Jha and Christopher Dick discovered that native trees have more genetic diversity in the coffee plantations than they do in other parts of the forest, and that's a very good thing. From the Science Daily article:
A concern in agricultural areas is that increasingly fragmented landscapes isolate native plant populations, eventually leading to lower genetic diversity. But this study shows that shade coffee farms, by being hospitable to birds, support widespread dispersal of native trees, in effect connecting patches of surrounding forest.So, long story short, drink shade grown beans. It's the only way to brew.
In addition, shade coffee farms may serve as reservoirs for future forest regeneration, as the farms typically fall out of production in less than a century. Given that potential---as well as their roles in connecting habitat patches, preserving genetic diversity and sheltering native wildlife---it is important to encourage this traditional style of agriculture, Jha said.