• Making great coffee and making a difference

    by John Knotz | Jul 28, 2016

    At Community Coffee Company, taking care of people is a cornerstone of our philosophy. And it’s our belief that no matter what we do, we can do more. Our historical social responsibility programs have supported the local communities where our high-quality Arabica coffee is grown for generations.

    The objective of our latest project is to create a program that partners to directly support the coffee growers and their families. ECOM Foundation, a 501c3 organization, provided that platform. Creating spaces and opportunities for education and the dissemination of knowledge are key factors to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods at origin. In partnership with our customer Southwest Airlines and through the ECOM Foundation, we were able to support the construction of two new school buildings, outfitted with electrical generators, computer equipment and classroom furnishings. The building project improved availability and quality of education resources and services to the isolated coffee farming communities of Union Buenavista and Tierra y Libertad located in Chiapas, Mexico.

    The problem

    The towns of Union Beunavista and Tierra y Libertad are situated on unpaved mountainous roads 2-3 hours from the closest town, creating obstacles for teachers and students to reach educational programs, especially during the rainfall season when mudslides and damaged roadways are prevalent. Additionally, the local communities had limited and low-quality educational resources, with infrequent teacher interaction, no adult education or training resources for community members and no opportunity for university education.

    The solution

    To support these communities whose economy is based on coffee farming, Community Coffee Company in partnership with Southwest worked with the ECOM Foundation, to fund the construction and maintenance of two satellite schools. These schools provide a space for grade school education plus further learning for coffee farmers and the entire local communities through health, practical skills training and much more. Further, the program established an alliance with Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) for the curriculum to be delivered online via satellite Internet.

    A member of the community is employed as School Director to act as liaison between ITESM and students and manage the center operations. Further, a committee of local community members are responsible for maintenance and school activities to generate greater community buy-in and involvement.

    ChiapasBlogImageBenefiting more than 2,400 people

    An integral part of the program involves the specialized curriculum. Coffee farmers are provided advanced agricultural training to improve their productivity and reinforce the long-term stability of their communities’ livelihood. The local youth are provided access to a world-class education. Youth ages 12-18 will have the opportunity to gain technological and academic skills, inventive-thinking behaviors, and values and discipline to better prepare them for success in the global marketplace. Other community members may receive on-going training on the use of computers, email and Internet. Finally, the entire community will have the opportunity to access university education without relocating. 
  • Cancer Experts Give Coffee Positive Rating

    by John Knotz | Jul 21, 2016

    If it seems like good news for coffee lovers keeps appearing in the headlines, you’re right! And the latest comes from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization. They just finished evaluating the carcinogenicity of drinking coffee and a few other beverages; here’s what they said …

    The Good News!
    Based on an extensive review of more than 1,000 human and animal studies, there is no conclusive evidence that drinking coffee causes cancer according to the IARC. Coffee was given a “3” on a 1 to 4 scale of classifications, where “1” indicates substances that are carcinogenic to humans and “3” states that substances are not classifiable as carcinogenic. This is an improved score from when it was evaluated in 1991 as possibly carcinogenic, and it’s a rare occurrence when IACR positively reclassifies the food, chemicals and occupational exposures it evaluates. Tea and caffeine also have a “3” classification. And it’s interesting that only one substance (of the 900 studied) in nylon called caprolactam has received a “4” – probably not carcinogenic to humans – rating.

    There’s More …
    Additionally, IARC stated that their research review found coffee drinkers had reduced risk of liver and uterine lining cancers, along with no increased risk of pancreas, female breast and prostate cancers. And although IACR does not look at the benefits of the substances it studies, this evaluation adds to the abundance of already-existing research producing positive health messages associated with moderate coffee consumption, including:

    • Lower risk of death from all causes (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurologic diseases, suicide)
    • Decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, liver and other cancers, neurologic diseases and cardiovascular disease
    • Improved memory, alertness and concentration

    Read more here for the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s positive coffee and health news.

    Mate and Very Hot Beverage Warning
    In the same report, scientists called out a warning about beverages served at very hot temperatures (>149F), classifying them as probably carcinogenic (2A rating). Mate, an infusion made from dried leaves of the ilex paraguariensis tree, is traditionally served in South America and in other parts of the world at a very hot temperature, often with a metal straw. It is associated with increased risk of esophageal cancer in studies. According to the National Coffee Association, coffee in America typically is safely served at a temperature averaging about 140F. Some flavor experts recommend serving coffee between 120F and 140F for optimal taste.

    The Bottom Line
    There has been criticism of IARC’s classification system of studied substances because it does not address the likelihood of actually developing cancer (cancer risk) from the substances in each category. At any rate, the IACR gave a positive nod to coffee and health by calling out its association to reduced risk of several cancers and by upgrading its classification based on findings from an extensive body of research. All of this supports drinking moderate amounts of coffee as part of a healthy lifestyle. Cheers to that next cuppa joe!

    www.thelancet.com/oncology  Published online June15, 2016  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(16)30239-X

    International Agency for Research on Cancer. Volume 116: coffee, mate and very hot beverages. IARC Working Group. Lyon, France; 24-31 May, 2016. IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog Risks Hum (in press).


    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.

  • The Origin of Espresso

    by John Knotz | Jul 11, 2016

    Espresso was born out of the need for speed. In the late 1800s, coffee was wildly popular among Europeans. As café culture spread across the continent, baristas sought a faster way to brew individual cups for customers, and inventors began toying with the idea of using steam to speed up the process.

    Under Pressure

    An Italian named Angelo Moriondo is generally credited with developing the machine that would lead to modern espresso-makers. In the 1880s, he submitted a patent for a device that used steam and boiling water to brew large batches of coffee, but the machine was never produced commercially and no physical examples of it survived.

    Two other Italians later built upon Moriondo’s idea to develop a machine that brewed a single cup of coffee in seconds. In 1906, Luigi Bezzera and Desiderio Pavoni introduced their invention at a World’s Fair in Milan, calling the resulting beverage “caffe espresso.” It was the first time single cups of coffee were made expressly for individuals. Pavoni named their machine “Ideal”; it saw some success regionally after the fair but was never widely received.

    It wasn’t until after World War II that a lever-driven machine was developed. This iteration of the espresso machine eliminated the need for massive boilers and standardized the size of the drink. The spring lever also increased the pressure used during the brewing process to create a foam on top that eventually became known as “coffee cream.” Later, in the 1960s, a motorized-pump machine was introduced by Carlo Ernesto Valente; it provided nine bars of atmospheric pressure to brew espresso.

    The French Press Method

    You don’t need a big, expensive machine to enjoy the rich, caramelized flavor of our Espresso Private Reserve® roast. It’s perfect as an everyday coffee, brewed in a standard drip coffee maker. Or, for a special preparation, try using the pour-over method or brew with a French press.

    Here’s how to capture the robust flavor of this roast using a French press:

    1. Gather your supplies. You will need a French press, coarse ground coffee, fresh water, a tea kettle and a timer. If you don’t own a French press, you can purchase one here.
    2. Heat enough water for the amount of coffee you want to make to between 195°F and 205°F.
    3. Add two level tablespoons of coffee for each six ounces of water. After this, pour the hot water to the band (fill line) of the French press.
    4. Place the plunger on top of the French press to keep the heat in, but do not press it down yet.
    5. Set the timer for four minutes; when the time is up, push the plunger down slowly. It is a good idea to hold the handle and the lid as you push down to stabilize the French press.
    6. Pour the coffee while holding the lid on the French press, and enjoy!
  • Helping the Whole Person: Supporting Military Members and Veterans

    by John Knotz | Jun 30, 2016

    Did you know that North Carolina has 10 military bases, and that 775,000 veterans call the state home? Serving that large military population is a big job. Community Coffee Company has a long history of supporting military personnel, and we’re proud to partner with the USO of North Carolina, an organization that steps up with important programs and services to help military families.

    Life in the military isn’t easy. Deploying to active war zones for months at a time, spending long stretches away from family and witnessing traumatic events takes a toll on even the toughest person.


    Stan Williams knows how hard the road is for veterans. He served for more than 18 years as a jet engine mechanic in the Air Force, and deployed six times, including to Iraq and Afghanistan. During his Air Force career, the work started to weigh on him and bring up difficult psychological issues from his past, Williams says.

    He describes a day that changed everything for him: In June 2010, he was a first-responder to a military plane crash. “Three of my brothers burned to death that day, while I stood by helplessly and watched,” he said. “I did everything I could to save them, but failed.”

    After that day, Williams struggled with dark moments. He was depressed and desperate for someone to understand what he was going through and to reach out to help, he says.

    Finally, he says, “my faith, resilience and therapy got me on my road to recovery, and the USO of North Carolina played a part in that.”

    Now Williams is dedicated to helping others through the USO. As a resilience trainer, he teaches mental, social, physical and spiritual life skills to airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines, Defense Department civilians, veterans and their families.

    What does resilience mean in this context? Williams puts it this way: “Resilience is a form of applied positive psychology — coping skills that help ease the ill effects of everything from post-traumatic stress disorder to normal everyday stressors.”

    Williams shares his story with others who are struggling. “I tell people about my experience and my recovery, and they say, ‘Wow, I’m going through that too,’” he says. “A lot of people with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) don’t get help because they’re worried they’ll ruin their career. I ask them, ‘What’s more important, you or your career? You’re not going to wear your uniform forever.’”

    Through USO of NC programs like Warrior Reset, Williams and other resilience trainers let veterans and their families know that someone understands and cares. While the military offers mandatory resilience training and education, Williams says the USO is an invaluable addition. “We’re losing 22 veterans a day to suicide,” he says. “We need organizations like the USO stepping up and bringing people together, reaching out and saying, ‘We do care about you; we are your community.’ The USO helps with the whole person. That work saves lives.”

    The USO of NC has become an extension of Williams’ family, he says. “I consider them family because they help me so much,” he says. “They have been such a blessing for me and a vehicle for me to follow my passion around raising awareness about PTSD and helping veterans.”

    We are proud to support Williams’ work, as well as that of his colleagues at the USO of North Carolina.

  • Fight Boredom – Take Action!

    by John Knotz | Jun 30, 2016
    If you’ve ever felt stuck in a rut or bored, relax. You’re not alone! In fact, someone even went so far as to have an entire month – July – dedicated to anti-boredom.

    What’s the Cause?
    Psychologists have studied what fuels feelings of boredom and found that awareness and attention are important factors. They say that at the heart of boredom is the desire to engage in a satisfying activity, which requires attention. And when a person is unable to do this, frustration and “boredom” set in. This feeling is not only unpleasant but has been correlated with overeating, drug abuse, gambling and low productivity and performance errors at work.

    Boosting Attention
    Though there’s not a great deal of research on coping with boredom, caffeine has been widely studied for its role in enhancing attention – an important element in preventing boredom. As little as one, 8-ounce cup of black coffee with about 100 mg of caffeine has been linked with increased alertness and concentration. The stimulating effects of caffeine begin 15-45 minutes after drinking caffeinated coffee and last about 4 hours. And caffeine’s positive effect on mood and memory has been documented, too.

    Keep in mind that more caffeine isn’t necessarily better. Individuals metabolize caffeine at different rates, and consuming caffeine too close to bedtime may affect sleep. Also, caffeinated energy drinks – often targeted at youth – may have high caffeine concentrations, along with other additives.

    Change It Up
    Realistically, boredom can’t always be avoided. And some experts even argue that it can encourage creative thinking. But if you feel inclined to make a few switches in your daily routine, check out these thought-starters …

    Exercise – If you’ve been doing the same thing – or not very much – for quite some time, your muscles and mind may be ready for a change. Grab a friend and try a new class, park or part of town to explore while skating, jogging, biking or walking. And just for fun, read Caffeinated Workouts…the Truth in the Buzz before you go to learn about how caffeine works during exercise and its potential benefits.

    Menu – Adding a few new foods to your current routine can add health and interest to your diet. Ask friends who like to cook if they would like to do a simple recipe exchange of their family favorites. And set an attainable goal. Just including 1 or 2 new dishes or foods from the grocery store each week will add variety. Here’s an easy way to enjoy a new, refreshing beverage when it’s hot outside: make cold-brew coffee at home

    Sleep – Most experts recommend 7 to 8 hours nightly for adults. If you’re not getting enough, try to get more. It could mean fewer colds, symptoms of depression and even consuming fewer calories.

    Free time – Add a new hobby, sport, reading genre, etc., to your repertoire. Or pursue something on your bucket list that’s been there for a long time. July is as good of a time as any to plan and make it happen!

    Einother S.J.L. & Giesbrecht T. (2013) Caffeine as an attention enhancer: reviewing existing assumptions. Psychopharmacology, 225(2):251-274.

    EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) (2011) Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to caffeine and increased fat oxidation leading to a reduction in body fat mass (ID 735, 1484), increased energy expenditure leading to a reduction in body weight (ID 1487), increased alertness (ID 736, 1101, 1187, 1485, 1491, 2063, 2103) and increased attention (ID 736, 1485, 1491, 2375) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061. EFSA Journal; 9(4):2054.

    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.
  • Dessert-Inspired Coffee Takes the Cake

    by John Knotz | Jun 23, 2016
    Dinner is great and breakfast is fine, but we all know the best meal of the day is dessert! The smells, the sight and the sugar all pull you in (even when you know you
    shouldn’t) to somehow always leaving room for dessert.

    So what happens when you combine cake, pie, cookies, custard and coffee? Probably
    a weirdly delicious mess, but in this case you get a mouth-watering list of new
    recipes to try. Now, desserts aren’t just for eating…you can drink them, too! This list
    is quite the treat as we take classic desserts and turn them into delicious coffee
    treats. Try them all for yourself!

    Red Velvet Cake Latte

    Who doesn’t love a classic red velvet cake? Now you can have this sweet dessert in
    latte form! Enjoy the smoothness of red velvet with the extra boost of the latte as
    you sip, slurp and savor this delicious treat from PopSugar.com!


    2 cups whole milk
    1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
    1/2 cup cold-brewed coffee
    Whipped cream, for garnish
    Red sugar sprinkles, for garnish


    In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Remove from heat and
    mix in the chocolate chips and red food coloring until the chocolate is completely

    Add 2 tablespoons of coffee to each mug. Divide warmed chocolate milk over coffee.
    Finish with whipped cream and red sprinkles.

    Oreo Cookie Frappuccino

    What is it about Oreos that make them milk’s favorite cookie? Is it the chocolatey
    goodness? The creamy and addictive center? One thing is for sure…Oreo is now
    coffee’s favorite cookie, too! Combine this classic cookie snack with a cool and
    creamy frap to make one of this summer’s most irresistible drinks by Thrifty DIY


    1/2 cup cold brewed coffee
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    4 Oreo cookies
    Whipped cream


    In a blender, add the coffee, milk, vanilla and Oreo cookies and blend for 1 minute.

    Poor into a coffee mug or a Mason jar, and top with whipped cream and a crushed Oreo if you wish.

    Creamy Vanilla Crème Brûlée Coffee

    Get ready for a major sugar rush! Ditch ordering crème brûlée at a fancy restaurant
    and make this coffeehouse-style drink right at home! This smooth and decadent
    coffee sensation will have you licking your lips until the very last drop.


    3 K-Cup® pods of Community® Vanilla Crème Brûlée coffee
    1 cup water
    ¼ cup sugar
    2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
    2 ½ cups 2% milk
    Whipped cream
    White chocolate shavings
    Graham cracker crumbs


    Brew 3 K-Cup® pods of Vanilla Crème Brûlée coffee and set aside.

    In a small bowl, combine sugar and dry pudding mix. Stir in milk and coffee. Chill
    until serving. Yields 3 servings.

    Pour into mugs or mason jars. Top with whipped cream, graham cracker crumbs
    and white chocolate shavings.
  • USO-NC Gives Veterans a Support Network

    by John Knotz | Jun 16, 2016

    IMG_1435.JPGWhen veterans return from combat and settle in back at home, who can they call for help? Critical programs like the Warrior Reset Program provide troops the support they need to bounce back after combat. Sgt. Brendan Cashion of the 211th MP Company (N.C. National Guard) is a volunteer suicide-prevention officer who has seen the impact of these programs.

    He says that military and USO training have opened his eyes to the scope of the problems returning veterans face — and to simple solutions. “Most of the time, veterans just want to talk to somebody who’s been there — people who understand what they’ve been through,” he says.

    Community Coffee Company has a long history of supporting military personnel. The company recently celebrated a landmark of 4.2 million cups of coffee shipped overseas to military personnel.

    Community Coffee also serves military members through the USO of North Carolina’s Patriot Circle, an elite group of corporate donors that demonstrate their support of the troops and their families by backing critical programs offered by the USO of North Carolina. Through this partnership, Community Coffee provides in-kind coffee products to be served at the five USO of North Carolina centers, its mobile center and at key events, along with a donation to support statewide education, health and human services programs, and career-transition programs.


    Cashion said he has known from a young age that he wanted to help troops reintegrate after combat, and he has experienced the pain of suicide in his own extended family. “I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to let that happen to someone else,’ ” he says. But it wasn’t until Cashion returned from his first deployment that he understood how difficult reintegration can be for military members. “I saw that it was a very serious ordeal. Soldiers were coming back and dealing with a lot of stressors, with PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. They were turning to substance abuse and alcohol,” he says.

    During his five years as a suicide-prevention officer, Cashion has completed 21 successful suicide interventions, including one long-distance intervention that involved a team of volunteers reaching a veteran in Georgia. Through his work, he has realized the importance of awareness — educating military members and their supporting community about veterans and suicide prevention. “I thrive on being able to open soldiers’ eyes,” he says. “When we do briefs at company level, at first people don’t pay attention, but the more I speak and involve the crowd, the more it touches everybody and opens their eyes.

    “Veterans aren’t sick. They aren’t crazy. They just need help, and they need to be integrated into society instead of pushed away.”

    Cashion says he’s encouraged to see more peer groups, like the the crowdfunded film “Project 22,” helping veterans talk through their experiences and find ways to cope.

    He attended a USO program at the Fayetteville botanical gardens, where he learned coping strategies for struggling veterans, like walking through the gardens and getting out into nature. “That opened my eyes to a lot of different avenues I wouldn’t have thought of,” Cashion says. “Most of the time when I intervene with people, I just try to talk to them. The USO puts on amazing programs I wish everyone could attend, to hear the speakers and watch the videos.”

    He encourages everyone to find ways to get involved with veterans’ groups. “The USO has a lot of great programs to help people see what’s really going on. If people want to go out and help, there are plenty of resources out there,” he says.

    We are proud to support Cashion’s work, as well as that of his colleagues at the USO of North Carolina.

  • National Tea Day

    by John Knotz | Jun 10, 2016

    If there's one thing the South is known for, it's our love of sweet tea. While we drink our fair share, tea is actually the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households. It is the only beverage commonly served hot or iced, anytime, anywhere, for any occasion. On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea. We at Community Coffee Company join tea lovers across the U.S. celebrating National Iced Tea Day held annually on June 10.

    Steeped in History

    It’s said that tea is nearly 5,000 years old and was discovered in 2737 BC by Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung, when as legend goes, some tea leaves accidentally blew into his pot of boiling water. In the 1600’s, tea became highly popular throughout Europe and the American colonies and if you recall The Boston Tea Party, you’ll remember how the product played a dramatic part in the establishment of the United States of America. The U.S. spurred usage of tea after inventing the tea bag and iced tea, both in 1904. By the First World War, Americans were buying tall glasses, which became commonly known as iced-tea glasses and long spoons suitable for stirring sugar into taller glasses.

    Cheers to Good Health

    Today, tea comes in different varieties and formats: black, green, herbal, hot, cold, etc. In addition, research shows the drink has numerous health benefits, especially green tea, which is loaded with antioxidants and may lower your risk of certain types of cancers. Tea has no sodium, fat, carbonation, or sugar and is virtually calorie-free. Human population studies have found that people who regularly consume three or more cups of black tea per day have a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Drinking tea has also been linked to higher bone mineral density (BMD) and has been shown to boost bone-building markers and improve muscle mass, both of which may reduce the risk for osteoporosis and fracture. In addition, several studies suggest drinking calorie-free tea may help with weight management.


    As tea’s popularity has grown, innovative tea lovers have expanded how this delicious beverage may be enjoyed. Whether you like it hot or cold, tea is the perfect vehicle for a range of ingredients. Lemon has been a long-time favorite, but almost any other fruit can be added such as strawberries, oranges, or kiwi. Some people intensify tea’s flavor by adding lemon or orange zest, or even mixing it with lemonade. Unique sweeteners like honey, stevia, or agave nectar all add distinct flavors. Spices and herbs such as cinnamon, clove, mint, ginger, allspice or star anise can liven up any brew. The English are known for adding milk to their tea, but coconut milk and almond milk are being used by the more adventurous. As you can see, the ways in which you can enjoy your tea are as varied as your imagination.

    A New Look for Community® Tea

    Just in time for the warm months ahead, Community® tea will soon hit the shelves with a new look. Still the same delicious, high-quality products you know and love, our Family-size and Individual Tea Bags have a fresh, new package design that embodies our Southern heritage and passion for high-quality ingredients. Whether you like it iced, hot, sweet, or with a hint of fruit added, tea makes a refreshing, delicious, healthy drink that’s more popular today than ever.


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  • Father's Day Gift Ideas

    by John Knotz | Jun 09, 2016

    Most dads love coffee. For years, fathers have set out early in the morning to meet the workday, head to T-ball practice or tackle DIY projects around the house beginning with a fresh cup of Joe. You probably have fond memories of your dad and his coffee. Perhaps it’s being awakened before dawn by the delicious aroma and gurgling sound of the coffee pot dad put on before your hunting or fishing trip. Maybe it’s pops—hidden behind the Sunday paper at the kitchen table—his hand deftly reaching for his mug without ever taking his eyes off the sports section. Perhaps it’s your father’s ritual of a black coffee with one sugar after a good meal at a nice restaurant. If you can remember, it was most likely your old man who introduced you to your first coffee milk laced with more sugar than you’d dare use today. And it’s a safe bet that your father still has that “World’s Greatest Dad” mug you proudly presented to him in third grade—the one he dutifully used for years.

    This Father’s Day, celebrate dad’s love of java with a unique coffee gift he’ll appreciate. Need some ideas? We’ve got you covered. If dad’s a reader, introduce him to www.goodreads.com to help assemble a reading list of great books based on his taste. Yes, there are plenty of coffee table books, too, none better than the coffee table book that is actually about coffeeThe World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing—Coffees Explored, Explained and Enjoyed.

    If there’s anything dads like more than coffee, it’s meat. How about combining the two by serving him a rib recipe that features a Community® coffee rub? Dad will love the subtle coffee flavor and not having to do all the work. If you’re looking to satisfy dad’s sweet tooth, Fusion Gourmet offers its Bali’s Best coffee candy made with real Sumatran coffee originating from the islands of Java. Fusion also offers a range of other cookies, wafers and candies in a variety of flavors. For the no-fuss father who likes simple things that work, the Chemex® Pour-Over Glass Coffee Maker with Wood Collar is a one-piece vessel that provides a reliable method of making delicious, high-quality coffee. Looking for even more ideas? Community® offers an array of coffee-related items that dad can enjoy, from Mugs and Tumblers to Coffee Gift Baskets and Coffee Makers. Finally, if you want go with that third-grade throwback gift, we found the coffee-centric present that lets dad know exactly what you think of him. No matter what, tell dad that you love him this Father’s Day and that will be the best gift of all.

  • Homemade Balsamic Coffee Vinaigrette

    by John Knotz | May 19, 2016

    The secret’s out! Not only is coffee a worldwide favorite beverage, but it’s a handy flavor-enhancing tool for cooks and bakers, too. Really?

    DressedSaladAbsolutely! And this vinaigrette is proof. Most people will not pick out bold coffee flavor in this dressing but instead taste a lovely bright, sweet-savory flavor combination, which is heightened thanks to brewed coffee. And a splash of real maple syrup is perfect for adding a taste of springtime sweetness.

    Now, why doesn’t this dressing separate like most homemade versions? Well, there are several factors helping to keep the ingredients that don’t enjoy each others’ company – think vinegar and oil – emulsified or evenly combined. Both mustard and ground nuts work as emulsifiers in this recipe. And using a powerful food processor helps make the emulsion tight, lasting about a week in the refrigerator. I especially love the fact that the good-for-you olive oil does not solidify in this dressing after being refrigerated!

    But the true beauty of vinaigrette that stays well-mixed is in each bite. All the flavors remain in perfect combination, clinging to the greens. (No more searching for the vinegar, which slid into a pool beneath the greens.) So, you taste the dressed salad at its very best.     

    Think of this recipe as a template for making more dressings, too. Change the acid (balsamic vinegar in this case) to lemon juice or different vinegar, use honey instead of maple syrup, and change the walnuts to another favorite nut. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Just beware … once you start making your own vinaigrette's at home, it’ll be hard to go back to bottled!


    CoffeeVinaigretteBalsamic Coffee Vinaigrette

    2 cloves garlic, halved
    2 tablespoons brewed Community® coffee, cooled
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
    2 tablespoons roughly chopped and toasted walnuts
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon ground white or black pepper
    ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


    Place multipurpose blade in food processor. With processor running, add garlic through the feed tube to mince. Add coffee, vinegar, syrup, walnuts, mustard, salt and white pepper. Process a few seconds until mixed; scrape down sides of bowl. With processor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through the feed tube; process until completely combined.

    Makes about 7 (2-tablespoon) servings


    • To toast nuts, place in heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2-4 minutes. Cool.
    • Toast more nuts than the recipe calls for and sprinkle on top of the salad.
    • If you don’t have a food processor, try a blender. Or, place all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and vigorously shake. Just be sure to very finely mince the garlic and nuts before adding.
    • Variations: Substitute different vinegars or lemon juice for balsamic; try honey instead of maple syrup; use another favorite nut instead of walnuts. For a more mellow (less “vinegary”) dressing, increase the amount of olive oil to suit your preference (one tablespoon at a time, tasting after each addition).
    • Allergic to nuts? Leave them out. The vinaigrette may separate more quickly than if using them, but it still will have great flavor.
    • The vinaigrette should keep about 1 week in the refrigerator.
    • Salad serving suggestion: favorite greens, thin strips of prosciutto, blue or other favorite cheese, toasted walnuts and chopped dried figs or dates.


    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.


    by John Knotz | May 12, 2016

    MM_WebAd_300x250 (1)
    We have been thanking U.S. military personnel by doubling customer coffee orders for free through our Military Match program for almost a decade. Over 4.2 million cups of Community® coffee have given our heroes a taste of home and one customer recently reached back out to use to share his appreciation.

    At a Community Coffee Company employee event this fall, our team members had the
    opportunity to personally show their support of our military heroes by writing “Thank You” notes to military personnel, which were then placed in our Military Match boxes and shipped to servicemen and servicewomen across the globe.

    Recently, we received a thank you letter from Chris Chaisson, a U.S. Department of State diplomat, who has been serving overseas in various U.S. embassies for the last 11 years. He has been our customer since 2006 and is now posted in Pakistan during a hardship tour. He wrote to Our Company in response to the handwritten note that was delivered to him. 

    “Someone took time out of their day to write a handwritten note to me, which I sincerely appreciate.  It was not necessary and I truly believe that their sentiments are completely genuine. This simple and kind act only reinforced to me that your company deserves my total loyalty. While you had a loyal customer before, this simple card only ensured that I will only buy your coffee in the future and if I run out, I will just wait until your coffee arrives to drink more. Please accept my sincere appreciation for your generosity, kindness, and simple humanity that you have shown to me and all the millions of military members over the long years.”

    - Chris Chaisson, U.S. State Department and loyal Community® coffee consumer

    IMG_3971 (1)

    Community’s Military Match program is clearly making an impact of utmost importance on our loyal fans and customers overseas. We are proud to provide our coffee to those who truly deserve and appreciate it the most.
  • Coastal Restoration Concerns Everyone

    by Jordan Feeney | May 03, 2016

    Louisiana is challenged with the largest land loss crisis in North America: the loss of a football field of land every hour. When asked, citizens say that restoration of the state’s coastline is the most pressing environmental challenge of our lifetime. Coastal erosion will result in a loss of ecosystem services that protect communities, wildlife habitat and economic infrastructure essential to our economy and a stable environment.

    rsz_americaswetland_shoreline_1America's WETLAND, the seventh largest delta on earth and the largest port system in the U.S., is of world ecological significance. The potential collapse of this intricate ecosystem will have negative environmental consequences for wildlife habitat and marine life. This working coast is an economic engine for the entire nation, producing much of America’s seafood, moving commodities and goods in and out of the country and housing a vast energy network on and offshore that serves the entire nation and keeps America secure.

    In 2002, the America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) was launched with the goal of raising public awareness of the impact wetland loss has on the state, nation and world and gaining support for saving our coastline. This ongoing public education effort has helped elevate coastal land loss from a local or state issue to a national and international one.

    In early 2016, Community Coffee Company joined AWF and Gulf Coast industry and civic leaders in developing and implementing the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) Shoreline Stabilization and Restoration project in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. For decades, navigable waterways designed to support commerce, such as the GIWW, have been lost to tidal surge. The resulting shoreline creep has led to widening canals, threatening freshwater marshes with saltwater intrusion and eroding private lands bordering the canals.

    The restoration project restored a one-mile stretch of embankment on the Gulf-facing/south side of the GIWW and featured the use of a vegetated, recycled plastic matrix foundation, Vegetated EcoShield™, an emerging “green infrastructure” solution. Creating this “living shoreline” will protect and fortify the embankment by promoting vegetative growth and building a habitat for wildlife, waterfowl and aquatic life.

    The project serves as a model of cooperation among private landowners, NGOs, state and federal agencies and private investment, dramatically reducing the time and costs of shoreline stabilization. AWF is confident this type of shoreline restoration can be a game changer all along the GIWW in Louisiana and Texas and can serve as a best practice for similar projects nationally, in which traditional technology such as rock dikes continue to be ineffective, unfeasible and expensive.

    Through public opinion polling by AWF over the years, citizens see teamwork between government and the private sector as critical when it comes to saving both environmental and economic resources along Louisiana’s coast.

  • Capturing the Distinct Flavor of Louisiana

    by John Knotz | Apr 29, 2016

    What makes Louisiana unique? As people who come here from elsewhere can attest, there’s an unmistakable feeling that sets the state apart — something in the air. People born and raised here feel it too when they return home from traveling. There’s something familiar about the way we do things in Louisiana, something comfortable.

    They say “time changes all things,” but when it comes to the heart and soul of our home state, three constants remain.

    Food is a Way of Life

    Bold, rich flavors and recipes steeped in Cajun and Creole culture are a staple here; seafood gumbo, red beans and rice, cochon de lait, boudin sausage and beignets are just a few of our favorites. Hours of work go into creating the complex flavors that Louisiana families enjoy together. We captured the distinctive flavors of our region in the Louisiana Blend® of our Private Reserve® coffees. The coffee’s dark, rich profile develops a bold flavor with a mild, fruity aroma.

    Local Community is Important

    We don’t mean only the Community® coffee you drink out of a mug. People here are friendly, and they treat strangers like family. When our founder, Cap Saurage, opened his first country store in Baton Rouge, he named his secret blend of rich, bold and smooth coffee “Community Coffee” to honor the friends, family members and neighbors who supported his business. There’s an entrepreneurial spirit here and a strong sense of duty to help others and make our neighborhoods, towns and cities better. That love and commitment is why we created the Louisiana Blend®, as a way to thank the region for its support and to honor its heritage.

    Traditions Run Deep

    Louisiana’s history is steeped in traditions, some as old as the Mississippi River is long. Jazz music was born here; masked krewe members have been throwing trinkets from fanciful Mardi Gras floats for nearly 150 years; many football fans have been tailgating in the same spot on LSU’s campus for as long as they can remember. Four generations of the Saurage family have overseen the expansion of the Community® brand since the company began nearly 100 years ago. And while we continue to grow, our heart remains in Louisiana. So sit down with a cup of our Louisiana Blend® and drink up the distinctive flavor of the place we call home.


  • Healthy Perks: Coffee Fixes Everything

    by Jordan Feeney | Apr 28, 2016

    Can food change the way you feel–for the better?  Some experts say yes. Even those most-craved items like a delicious cup of great tasting coffee have a place on the mood-boosting eating and drinking plan.

    So if you're feeling guilty for downing your morning cup of joe, maybe this will perk you up. In the National Institutes of Health Study of more than 400,000 people, researchers found that the more coffee people drank, the longer they lived. Most studies suggest drinking a moderate amount (3 to 5 cups) of black or almost black coffee per day to capitalize on all of its healthful benefits. Those who drink a moderate amount have been linked to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, heart and lung disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, and even melanoma. Of course, these benefits are primarily limited to plain coffee, not the grandé-sized, sugar-loaded specialty drinks from some coffeehouses.

    Obviously genetics and lifestyle choices including healthy eating and good nutrition are long-established links to good health but it’s good to see our personal favorite—coffee—working its way up the list.

    And the health benefits don’t stop there. Drew Ramsey, MD, co-author of The Happiness Diet states that the foundation of good mental health is good wholesome food and lists coffee as one of these power food/drinks. Researchers have speculated that drinking coffee can increase the production of “feel good” hormones such as dopamine. If you feel that your morning coffee soothes your soul, it’s not your imagination, especially for ladies. A 2011 Harvard School of Public Health study found that women who drank at least two cups of coffee regularly had a 15 percent lower risk of depression than those who didn’t drink any coffee and their risk decreased by 20 percent when they downed four or more cups of coffee a day.

    As an added bonus drinking as little as two 8-ounce cups of coffee with breakfast may help you eat less the rest of the day. In one study published in Diabetes Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity, overweight study participants given this amount of coffee consumed 550 fewer calories per day. The study credits caffeine, as well as a compound called chlorogenic acid, both of which may suppress appetite.

    After nearly 20,000 different studies on the subject, the results are still a bit mixed. “Overall, the research shows that coffee is far more healthful than it is harmful,” says Tomas DePaulis, PhD, research scientist at Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Coffee Studies. It is about time that we start recognizing coffee as a beneficial and perfectly reasonable addition to our healthy and balanced diets.

    Good mood, health benefits and potential weight loss – all good reasons to head to the coffee pot for another round…in moderation, of course.

  • Community Cash for Schools® Program

    by Jordan Feeney | Apr 20, 2016

    Throughout the history of Community Coffee Company, education, self-betterment and entrepreneurship have proven to be profound parts of our business. We've always had a sense of community which is the very basis of our name. That architectural fabric that consistently produces a delicious cup of coffee also created an educational program. Now in its 27th year, this program is woven into the landscape of the communities we serve.

    C4SRefresh_400x413_DLocal public and private schools have earned well over $6 million by saving UPCs through our Community Cash for Schools® program. The program supports and cultivates future generations by allowing educators to direct funds to programs and projects that best serve our youth. Schools are free to allocate funds in the best way they see fit, which has opened many doors for hundreds of schools. Most schools participate in pursuit of funds to support technology improvements, upgrades in textbooks and playground equipment as well as other activities that support children’s exploration of learning. However, we have seen some other outside-the-norm, yet innovative, ways to spend the money, including building a chicken coop.

    This program thrives when communities of businesses, parents, students and educators work together to collect UPCs. Each Proof of Purchase is worth 10 cents, which adds up fast when you have a large number of coffee-drinkers on your side. Our roots are firmly planted in future generations and we encourage coffee lovers to soulfully sip their delicious cup of coffee and civically cut the label for their local school in need.

    For more information on our Community Cash for Schools® program, or to register your school as the school’s representative, please visit CommunityCoffee.com/CashforSchools.

  • Spotlight: Chef Mark Quitney

    by John Knotz | Apr 14, 2016

    WYES New Orleans and Community Coffee Company are pleased to announce Chef Mark Quitney of Pelican Lobby Bar in the Sheraton New Orleans as the 2015 Cooking with Community® Coffee Contest winner!

    Chef Mark

    Chef Mark Quitney won for his Black & Gold to 
    the Super Bowl Doberge which featured layers of lemon curd & chocolate mousse, buttercream icing covered in a chocolate and lemon glaze burnt cream featuring Community® coffee. 

    Check out the winning recipe below:

    Lemon Curd:
    • 3 lemons
    • 3 large eggs
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 4 ounces (1 stick unsalted butter), quartered

    • 8 ounces (2 sticks) + 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
    • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 6 large eggs
    • 1 3/4 cups sugar
    • 3/4 cup milk

    • 4 ounces (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
    • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 2 drops yellow food coloring


    1. For the lemon curd: Grate the zest from 1 lemon and place in a medium heatproof bowl. Juice enough lemons to yield 1/2 cup lemon juice and add to zest with eggs and sugar. Place bowl with eggs over (not in) a pan of simmering water and whisk every 5 minutes until thick, about 20 minutes.

    2. Transfer curd to a food processor. With machine running, add butter, one piece at a time, processing for 15 seconds between additions and making sure the butter is incorporated before adding the next portion. Process until curd is completely smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl and blend another 15 seconds.

    3. Transfer hot curd to a glass or plastic container. Lay plastic wrap directly on top of the curd's surface and cover with a lid. Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

    4. For the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch spring form pan. Wrap the bottom in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.

    5. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Stir vanilla into 8 ounces plus 2 tablespoons melted butter and set aside.

    6. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Place over (not in) a pot of barely simmering water. Whisking constantly, heat the mixture until it is warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whip on high until cool and tripled in volume, about 3 minutes.

    7. Reduce mixer speed to medium low and drizzle in the melted butter-vanilla mixture. By hand, fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/2 of the milk. Repeat, ending with flour. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until a toothpick tests clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Unclasp the spring form pan sides and carefully remove the ring, and allow the cake to cool completely with the pan bottom still in place.

    8. Remove the pan bottom from the cake and divide it into 4 equal layers. Wash and dry the spring form pan and use it to assemble the cake. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray. Place two (20-inch-long) pieces plastic wrap in pan so entire bottom and sides are covered, allowing ends of plastic to hang over sides of pan.

    9. Place 1 cake layer in spring form pan and top with 1/3 lemon curd, leaving a 1/2-inch border of bare cake around the edge. Repeat with the remaining cake layers and lemon curd. Cover the top of the cake with the plastic wrap overhang (or another piece if there isn't enough), and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

    10. For the icing: In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix butter and sugar on low speed until combined. Add lemon juice and food coloring and mix on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat until creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add 1 tablespoon warm water, and beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute more.

    11. Place four (6-inch-wide) strips of parchment paper hanging off the end of the platter. (This will keep the tray clean while frosting. Remove after you've iced.) Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the cake and invert cake onto the serving platter. Unhinge the sides of the spring form pan and remove. Peel off plastic wrap. Ice top and sides of cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cake can be served cold or at room temperature (even better).


    Executive Chef


  • Crossing the Globe to Honor Our Founder

    by Johnny Hoell | Apr 01, 2016
    It all started with one delicious cup of coffee and one determined founder. Founded in 1919, Community Coffee Company celebrates Founder’s Day every year on April 1. This birthday of sorts is celebrated by acknowledging our company’s rich history and enjoying a cup of our Founder’s Blend coffee

    Founder’s Blend is Community Coffee Company’s fourth-generation owner Matt Saurage’s special blend that he developed in honor of our founder, his great-grandfather, Cap Saurage. Founder’s Blend was developed as a medium-dark roast with a sweet, floral aroma, a complex and winey flavor, and a nutty, bold body. With every cup you can taste the semisweet flavors of South America, the rich flavors of Africa, and the smoothness of Brazil.

    A truly complex coffee, our Founder’s Blend highlights the unique taste profile of several regions. The first part of Founder’s blend is a South American coffee grown in Colombia out of special relationships exclusive to Community Coffee Company. We then add two other carefully-selected exceptional coffees from Kenya and Ethiopia in Africa, and round it out with rare flavors from Brazil.

    South American coffee trees thrive in Colombia’s high altitude and warm weather. The mountainous terrain provides the perfect growing conditions for quality Arabica coffee beans. Colombia is the third highest total producer of coffee in the world, and we are proud to source beans from this region.

    Community Coffee Company has supported the efforts of local coffee growers in this region by funding opportunities for social, economic, environmental and educational development, including developing a school for youth named Hogar Juvenil Campesino Toledito – Henry Norman Saurage III after our founder. Coffee from Colombia has been positioned as one of the finest quality coffees in the world and is a favorite among coffee consumers. Colombia’s coffee has a heavy body, and a smooth, semisweet flavor with hints of dark chocolate and a toasted nut finish. Our relationship with Colombia over the last 13 years and counting produces a great cup of coffee, and even greater opportunities for the region.

    Known as the birthplace of coffee, Africa grows some of the most celebrated coffee beans in the world. With its complex flavors, it is easy to see why people enjoy it. Coffee from this region tends to have a medium acidity and lighter body. African coffee farmers cultivate coffee in four different systems, which include wild forest coffee, semi-forest coffee, garden coffee and plantation coffee. The vast biodiversity and economical dependency on agriculture makes Africa a premier spot for coffee growers to produce a great tasting cup of coffee.

    Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world and the second largest consumer. Brazil provides rich soil and a humid climate for its coffee plants to thrive. Unlike some places, Brazil does not have a high altitude and therefore grows coffee in low-lying fields which produce a sweet, smooth and less acidic flavor. Brazil is known for its full-bodied coffee and Arabica coffee beans, perfect for a cup of Community® coffee.

    What started as a small country store selling coffee is now a thriving company with the best coffee beans from around the world. Community Coffee Company is the largest family-owned and operated coffee brand in America and remains committed to providing a great cup of coffee for our local communities and beyond. From sourcing our beans at coffee farms around the globe, to tasting the finished product at our own kitchen table, it’s all part of our commitment to being the best coffee company in America, every day.

    For more information about our story, view our webisode at http://www.communitycoffee.com/webisodeseries/
  • Coffee, Cheesecake, Pie … One True Love

    by Johnny Hoell | Mar 31, 2016

    Pie. Cake. And coffee. They’ve always gone well together, and this make-ahead recipe beautifully highlights them all in the same dessert. It’s a perfect treat to make any time you want to excite your taste buds!

    The pie crust couldn’t be simpler. Just mix together three ingredients and press them into the pan. You can choose the chocolate or traditional graham cracker version. The creamy filling shines with subtle coffee notes – both from brewed coffee mixed in with the cheese and from coffee ‘n’ chocolate swirled on top. Also, there’s no last-minute frosting, garnishing or fussing. Make this several days before serving so dessert is completely stress-free.

    And here’s one more thing to love. The new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (released in Jan. 2016) talks about incorporating moderate daily coffee consumption – about 3-4, 8-oz. cups or up to 400 mg caffeine – into healthy eating patterns. So, go ahead and serve a hot cup along with dessert, too!

    Coffee Cheesecake Pie

    1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (from about 20 wafers) or graham cracker crumbs
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    3 tablespoons butter, melted

    ¼ cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
    2 tablespoons strongly-brewed Community® coffee

    2 (8-ounce) packages Neufchatel cheese (lower fat than cream cheese), softened
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    ⅓ cup strongly-brewed Community® coffee, cooled
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 large eggs

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

    Combine wafer crumbs and 2 tablespoons sugar. Add butter and thoroughly mix. Place in 9-inch pie pan sprayed with vegetable cooking spray; evenly press up sides and over bottom. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

    In small microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl, place chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons coffee. Heat coffee to a simmer in microwave; do not boil. Stir until completely smooth. Set aside to cool.

    In large mixing bowl, beat Neufchatel cheese and ½ cup sugar until smooth. Add ⅓ cup coffee and vanilla; mix until combined and smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing on low speed and scraping bowl after each until blended. Pour over reserved crust.

    Drizzle reserved coffee mixture all over filling; gently swirl with a knife tip. Bake in middle of oven for 30-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

    Cut into 8 slices


    • American Neufchatel cheese has about one-third less fat than regular cream cheese. Though you can use full fat cream cheese, this version lightens the dessert up a bit without sacrificing creamy, satisfying cheesecake texture.
    • To soften Neufchatel cheese, unwrap both packages and microwave on high power 30 seconds or until slightly soft. If it’s too cold, Neufchatel cheese won’t easily blend and small lumps will remain.
    • Crust short-cut: process wafers and sugar in food processor to make fine crumbs; add butter and process until well-mixed.
    • The pie pan will be quite full before baking so carefully place in oven.
    • You certainly can omit the coffee, chocolate swirl … but it adds mocha flavor and immense eye appeal.
    • Cracks in the cheesecake may occur. So? Simply consider them homemade beauty marks!
    • Check out “Dietary Guidelines Committee Gives Coffee Thumbs Up” for more information on coffee, diet and health.

    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.

  • Born from Volcanic Ash and Devastation: Deep and Earthy Sumatra Coffee

    by Johnny Hoell | Mar 24, 2016

    Who would have thought that a collapsed volcano would provide a premium and fertile growing environment of high-quality specialty coffee? Sumatra, a large Indonesian island west of Java – where we get the slang for coffee, and south of the Malay Peninsula, is known for its rugged tropical terrain, wildlife, smoldering volcanoes and, of course, coffee.

    SumatraFamilies Rebuild
    Fifty million people populate this island and suffered through the 2004 tsunami, which cost many people their lives and many more their livelihood. Coffee farming, in many ways, provided a clear path for the local economies to rebuild upon the back of this disaster. Coffee is a very local family business in this area where small families continuously harvest. Very much in contrast to the large coffee fields and production facilities of Brazil and parts of Mexico. Conversely, Sumatra enjoys almost year round harvesting. Between 8-10 months a year, local farmers are picking coffee beans and shipping them to market, creating a steady funding stream for family growers. At any given time, you’ll see one tree with ripe cherries, green still-growing cherries, and the tree flowering.

    Distinctive Flavor
    Sumatra coffee is known for its distinctive deep and earthy taste. Grown around the edges of a collapsed volcano on Lake Toba and reflecting the traditional Mandheling profile, this distinctive single-origin coffee is grown under the unique conditions that create a deep, velvety flavor and earthy aroma.

    Moisture Levels
    Much of the unique flavor comes from the way Sumatra’s coffee beans are processed, the wet-hull method, not to be confused with wet-processed coffee. In the typical wet-processing method, a farm would slowly dry this coffee for days or weeks, usually on a patio or raised bed, or sometimes in a mechanical dryer, down to 10-11.5 % moisture. Sumatra coffee beans are nearly always processed by the wet-hull method, called Giling Basah in Bahasa language.

    In Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia, they take their clean wet parchment coffee, dry it a few hours until it has 50% moisture content, and sell it to a collector middleman, or deliver it to a mill. The mill might dry the coffee a little bit more, a day or two, but in general, they send it to a special machine (the wet-huller) when the coffee still has 25-35% moisture content. Then the coffee is laid out to dry, which provides an opportunity for the coffee bean to absorb the natural elements surrounding it. Drying without the shell is rapid, so the mill is able to sell the coffee quickly.

    What does this do to the coffee? The flavors of the land and processing can be very pronounced. The unique growing conditions coupled with the wet hulling process creates a lower-acid cup or an herbal or earthy taste, less brightness or fruitiness, and seems to enhance the body. Notes of cocoa, smoke, earth and cedar wood can show well in the cup.

    Occasionally, Sumatran coffees can show greater acidity, which balances the body. This acidity takes on tropical fruit notes and sometimes an impression of grapefruit or lime.

    Try for yourself
    The flavor of typical wet-hull Sumatra can be polarizing among buyers. Each coffee drinker has to discover if this type of flavor is right for them, or not; whether it's a go-to daily drinker or an occasional diversion. Try for yourself to see what exotic flavors appeal to your palate.

  • Coffee Through History

    by Johnny Hoell | Mar 16, 2016

    In the Ethiopian highlands, where the legend of Kaldi, the goat herder, originated, coffee trees grow naturally today as they have for centuries. It is said that Kaldi discovered coffee after noticing that his goats, upon eating berries from a certain tree, became spirited. Kaldi dutifully reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery who made a drink with the berries and discovered that it kept him alert for hours.  Soon the abbot shared his discovery with the other monks, and ever so slowly knowledge of the energizing effects of the berries began to spread around the world. From Asia to Africa, Central to South America, to the islands of the Caribbean and Pacific, all can trace their heritage to the trees in the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau.

    The Arabian Peninsula: The Arabs were the first to cultivate coffee and begin its trade.  During the 15th century, coffee was grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the 16th century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Coffee was not only drunk in homes but also in public coffee houses, called ‘qahveh khaneh’, which began to appear in cities across the Near East. Coffee houses soon became the central location for all kinds of social activity. People came together to listen to music, watch performers, play chess and get news updates.  In fact, coffee houses quickly became such an important center for the exchange of information that they were often referred to as 'Schools of the Wise.'

    With thousands of pilgrims visiting the holy city of Mecca each year from all over the world, word of the 'wine of Araby' as the drink was often called, was beginning to spread far beyond Arabia. In an effort to maintain its complete monopoly in the early coffee trade, the Arabians continued to closely guard their coffee production.

    Introduction to Europe: By the 17th century, coffee had made its way to Europe and was becoming popular across the continent. With the coming of coffee to Venice in 1615, the local clergy condemned the beverage as the 'bitter invention of satan.' The controversy was so great that Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene. Before making a decision, however, he decided to taste the beverage for himself and found the drink so satisfying that he gave it papal approval.

    PRBlogDespite controversy, in the major cities of England, Austria, France, Germany and Holland, coffee houses were quickly becoming centers of social activity and communication. In England 'penny universities' sprang up, so called because for the price of a penny one could purchase a cup of coffee and engage in stimulating conversation.  By the mid-17th century, there were over 300 coffee houses in London, many of which attracted patrons with common interests, such as merchants, shippers, brokers and artists. Many businesses grew out of these specialized coffee houses. Lloyd's of London, for example, came into existence at the Edward Lloyd's Coffee House.

    The New World: In the mid-17th century, coffee was brought to New Amsterdam, a location later called New York by the British. Though coffee houses rapidly began to appear, tea continued to be the favored drink in the New World until 1773 when the colonists revolted against a heavy tax on tea imposed by King George.  The revolt, known as the Boston Tea Party, would forever change the American drinking preference to coffee.

    Plantations Around the World: As demand for the beverage continued to spread, there was tense competition to cultivate coffee outside of Arabia. Though the Arabs tried hard to maintain their monopoly, the Dutch finally succeeded, in the latter half of the 17th century, to obtain some seedlings. Their first attempts to plant them in India failed but they were successful with their efforts in Batavia, on the island of Java in what is now Indonesia.  The plants thrived and soon the Dutch had a productive and growing trade in coffee. They soon expanded the cultivation of coffee trees to the islands of Sumatra and Celebes.

    In 1714, the Mayor of Amsterdam presented a gift of a young coffee plant to King Louis XIV of France. The King ordered it to be planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. In 1723, a young naval officer, Gabriel de Clieu obtained a seedling from the King's plant.  Once planted, the seedling thrived and is credited with the spread of over 18 million coffee trees on the island of Martinique over the next 50 years.  It was also the stock from which coffee trees throughout the Caribbean, and South and Central America originated.

    Coffee is said to have come to Brazil in the hands of Francisco de Mello Palheta who was sent by the emperor to French Guiana for the purpose of obtaining coffee seedlings. But the French were not willing to share. However, he was said to have been so handsomely-engaging that the French Governor's wife was captivated. As a going-away gift, she presented him with a large bouquet of flowers.  Buried inside he found enough coffee seeds to begin what is today a billion-dollar industry.

    In only 100 years, coffee had established itself as a commodity crop throughout the world.  Missionaries and travelers, traders and colonists continued to carry coffee seeds to new lands and coffee trees were planted worldwide.  Plantations were established in tropical forests and on rugged mountain highlands. New nations were established on coffee economies.  And by the end of the 18th century, coffee had become one of the world's most profitable export crops.