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coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Onyx Coffee Lab’s Decaf La Serrania

It’s always good news when a favorite roaster brings in another decaf.

Being a strict decaf coffee drinker can leave you disappointed when browsing roasters. We often get the short end of the stick when it comes to portfolio variety. A token decaf bag is the standard (and still not always guaranteed). Two bags is a nice surprise! Three bags is very rare. Anything more than three might as well be a blue moon, and you should savor it just as much.

I check back with my favorite roasters every few months to see if they have anything new. While most roasters keep a consistent rotation of their default decaf bag, some shake things up by cycling in new ones a few times per year. Onyx Coffee Lab gives me plenty to love as a decaf drinker, keeping their portfolio dynamic with new decaf and half-caf options. While I still can’t drink the latter (yes, I’m that sensitive), I’m glad it exists.

If you’re as eager to try different kinds of decaf coffee as I am, check out my Decaf, Decaf Everywhere series (which has a variety of specialty and non-specialty options). I recently took a look at a Washington coffee roaster that slipped my notice, as well as revisited another favorite roaster of mine.

Why is Colombian coffee so good and a regular favorite on my review lists? Let’s see why Onyx Coffee Lab and this origin have earned such a positive reputation:

Continue reading “Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Onyx Coffee Lab’s Decaf La Serrania”
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coffee

Roasters And Cafes Should Raise Their Coffee Prices…And Keep Them That Way

Cold snaps, endless shipping delays, and a global pandemic. Caring about anything these days feels like juggling plates. 

Why are coffee prices up? Well, the Brazilian cold snap compromised millions of tons of coffee bags earlier this year, setting a record for the coldest harvest in over two decades and cranking up prices to almost double what they usually are. With the pandemic causing shipping delays and the food and beverage industry struggling to retain workers, it’s small wonder coffee prices have skyrocketed. 

Roasters, cafes, and roaster-cafe hybrids are understandably concerned about customer retention. Raising prices on an already expensive daily commodity is a surefire way to drive the end consumer into the arms of the competition, right?

The question isn’t whether prices should stay raised: it’s whether or not the end consumer will be willing to pay them. 

As someone who has been on both sides of the fence as a coffee buyer and a coffee worker, now’s the best time to get used to what will be a new standard. Roasters and cafes should not just raise their coffee prices, but keep them that way.

Here’s why. 

Continue reading “Roasters And Cafes Should Raise Their Coffee Prices…And Keep Them That Way”
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coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Arctos Coffee’s Northwest Decaf

I am…very behind on my Washington coffee roasters. I’ll admit it!

While in the past I’ve looked at Washington’s Olympia Coffee and Boon Boona Coffee, I’ve been primarily ordering from roasters all over the country. While there’s nothing wrong with that, per se, it’s caused me to fall behind on what’s going on in my own state. Well! There’s no time like the present to brush up on the local coffee scene.

I was given a bag of Arctos Coffee & Roasting Co. for my birthday, as well as one of their cute mugs. I was charmed by both their name and logo, which is a great way to start off the drink.

What are the best coffee roasters in Washington state? Let’s find out. If you’re eager to try more delicious decaf coffee, check out my ongoing Decaf, Decaf Everywhere series. I’ve reviewed coffee from multiple origins, including Colombia, Ethiopia, and Mexico.

Let’s see what I’ve been missing lately:

Continue reading “Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Arctos Coffee’s Northwest Decaf”
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coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Ruby Coffee Roasters’ Flume Seasonal Blend

Ruby Coffee Roasters is a roaster I’m thrilled to return to. Their coffee portfolio strikes the perfect balance between a quality cup and a romantic approach.

I fell in love with their Decaf Cauca earlier this year, a fruity and honeyed delight that hit high notes in every brewing method. Now they boast two new decaf coffees that promise more delicious mugs on the horizon. While the Decaf Aguacate sounds delectable, I honed in on the Flume Seasonal Blend partially for its flavor notes and partially for the brilliant site description.

This is the kind of coffee I would instantly recommend to those thinking of expanding their knowledge. It’s one thing to understand coffee can hit a whole ‘nother level. It’s another thing to know.

If you’re a regular (or occasional!) decaf drinker that wants to broaden your tastes, check out my Decaf, Decaf Everywhere review series. I recently reviewed the fantastic Slow Jamz from Deadstock Coffee, as well as a highly anticipated Sugarcane Decaf from Merit Coffee Co.

How are coffee beans blended? Which decaf coffee is the best for you? Let’s see how Ruby Coffee Roasters continues to bring the quality:

Continue reading “Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Ruby Coffee Roasters’ Flume Seasonal Blend”
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coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Deadstock Coffee’s Slow Jamz

Sometimes you taste a coffee so good it makes you grin.

That’s the power of carefully grown, freshly roasted beans. Not that I don’t have a fondness for stale grocery coffee tins (those got me through stressful periods), but single-origin bags are an intensive experience. Each one is pure joy. I feel nothing but glee when I get my box in my mail (sometimes outfitted with a unique design) and opening it up. I love admiring the design of the bag from the comfort of my kitchen, studying it from every angle and analyzing what stands out.

Inhaling that first scent, trying out my first cup (I always start with a pourover), experimenting with recipes…it’s a journey. Every time.

Coffee is for everyone. Not only that, everyone stands to benefit from a coffee model that’s actually fair trade and sustainable. If you want to know more about what qualifies as single-origin or specialty coffee (and those that come close), check out this post by Third Wave Coffee Roasters. If you could use some recommendations for specialty grade decaf coffee and single-origin decaf coffee, check out my directory.

Now that that’s out of the way…

…let’s take a look at Deadstock Coffee’s Slow Jamz and why it brought a smile to my face:

Continue reading “Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Deadstock Coffee’s Slow Jamz”
coffee, industry news

The Classic Coffee Cup Gets A Clever Makeover

The coffee cup is an iconic staple of day-to-day life. It’s also loaded with unsustainable bells and whistles that create a lot of waste every year.

Just how much waste? According to a study by The Guardian, the UK alone tosses over 2.5 billion paper coffee cups every year. Even worse, a mere one out of every four hundred cups is actually recycled. That means towering landfills, worsening air quality, and, of course, the omnipresent threat of irreversible climate change. Being presented with yearly figures like these makes sustainability conversations feel like a useless loop. It’s all a lot of positive fluff with little to actually show for it.

This redesign to the classic coffee cup has a few thoughts on the matter. Fast Company shared an interview with the creators of this Kickstarter-backed coffee cup, hearkening to Chinese takeout and origami in its lid-free and sleeve-free design. It’s easy to fold and unfold, without fear of spilling, and cuts into the dismal statistics left by wasteful coffee culture.

One of my favorite details are the lovely animal-focused prints by Alexis Kandra, chosen specifically to keep buyers mindful of the very environment they’re supporting. Now that’s mindful packaging design.

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Surviving Winter: US Coffee Shop Owner Survey Finds Financial Worry, Adaptability — Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

More than half (57%) of coffee shop owners and managers participating in a U.S. nationwide survey expressed worry that they will not be able to maintain enough revenue to survive…

Surviving Winter: US Coffee Shop Owner Survey Finds Financial Worry, Adaptability — Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

Cafes are much beloved for their soothing atmosphere, delicious menus, and (usually) free Wi-Fi. The behind-the-scenes, though, is often pretty hectic.

Despite coffee being one of the most economically resilient global industries, this year hasn’t been kind. Daily Coffee News has a very insightful summary of a recent survey filled out by seventy coffee shop owners and managers. They reveal their thoughts on the convenience of technology, their fears for the future, and their current handling of the pandemic, among others. Many cafes have quickly adapted to online and local delivery, though I’m not thrilled to see just 84% require customers to wear masks.

All it takes is one sick person to start an outbreak, remember? One step forward, one step backwards…

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Know A Barista Who Needs Help? Go Fund Bean Has A New Fundraiser

If you’re a barista, or know someone who is, this is a post you’ll want to share.

The role of the barista is an often romanticized, and deeply unappreciated, position. It’s an average day when I’m seeing a viral video of yet another customer harassing a part-time worker over something or another. Hope is not all lost, thankfully: there’s a new grant going around called Go Fund Bean designed to help hourly barista workers. It’s going until November 15th in batches of $500 per person. That’s enough to pay off shared rent or put a dent in food bills.

(also, I absolutely adore their name)

Originally starting out as a humble tip jar, Go Fund Bean has since set their aspirations higher. Crowdfunding has been filling in the gaps left by federal aid nicely: these grants have come to fruition through the combined efforts of several businesses you may already know about, such as Seattle Coffee Gear, Torani and JNP Coffee. Priority is going to coffee workers who are in danger of losing housing, too. Good stuff, all in all.

If you know any hourly coffee workers, or are one yourself, please share! You could be giving someone a much-needed breather.

coffee

Americans Still Love Their Coffee…Just Not In The Same Way

America is still a nation that runs on coffee. It’s just mostly at home.

This report from Daily Coffee News pretty much confirms what I’ve been seeing left and right these past several months. Homebrewing has become the cream of the crop, deemed both safer and cheaper in the long run. While cafes aren’t completely out of the picture, they estimated as much as 20% fewer Americans are visiting in-person. Larger roasters with e-commerce or wholesale grocery delivery on their side are also doing much better compared to their smaller peers.

There’s another important detail here, too, that anticipates how things may still change this year. Many Americans still crave sitting at a cafe, which could be good news…and bad news. This pandemic is still in full swing, with some states reporting record highs of hospitalized patients and schools still struggling to stay open for any period of time. How can coffee remain a source of comfort without being a hazard?

I miss cafes, too, but my homebrewing station has filled the gap quite nicely. In some ways? I like it even better. I can craft my drink to personal perfection, save money and enjoy the process at my own pace.

How about you? Have your coffee drinking habits changed in 2020?

coffee, industry news

Now Roasting, Sip & Sonder Builds Community Through Coffee in Inglewood — Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

A two-woman team of attorneys is now arguing on behalf of community, Black culture and fresh, high-quality coffee in Inglewood, California, through their coffee business, Sip & Sonder. After COVID-19…

Now Roasting, Sip & Sonder Builds Community Through Coffee in Inglewood — Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

It’s inspiring reading about small businesses still chugging forward in this economic climate. Sometimes you forget the world doesn’t actually stop turning, you know?

This is a great review from Roast Magazine on a new black woman-owned coffee shop and roastery, one I hope to buy from if they release a decaf bag in the future. They come from a legal background and have a very zesty website filled to the brim with all their goals and inspirations. Check this piece out if you want a little dash of hope to go with your daily doomscrolling. …Seriously. Take a break from social media and get some fresh air.