This is the highest honor for a US based micro-roaster and it is presented to the
country’s best roaster with an annual output of less than 100,000 pounds.The
competition begins with a written application/essay covering topics ranging
from company culture and mission statement, employee practices, and commitment
to sustainability and the Specialty Coffee industry. From the written applications
three finalists are chosen. The finalists are required to send 2 single origin
coffees and one blend to two separate US cupping labs for evaluation and scoring.
The cupping scores and the written scores are combined. The company with the most
points is crowned our Roaster of the Year.
Light roasted coffee
Is best for commercial drip brewers, French Press, or pour-over. They generally have more acidity up front which helps unveil the natural fruit-like flavors and sweetness. Types: Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ethiopia Washed, Peru, Uganda AA, Honduras, Ecuador
Medium roasted coffee
Is best for commercial drip brewers as well as home drip brewers, pour-over and French Press. The acidity is generally lower than light roasts and the body can often be heavier. The flavors have more caramelized sweetness surrounding the often nutty and sometimes sweet-wood nuances. Types: Mexican, Bolivia, Colombia, Uganda Peaberry, Ethiopia Unwashed, East Timor
Dark roasted coffee
Is best for those who add sugar and milk to their brew OR for those who brew auto-drip and espresso at home and look for "strong" coffee presence. Most of the acidity and fruit qualities have been roasted out of the coffee and perceived body (weight) is increased: Commonly called "strong". Types: Sumatra, French Roast, Uganda SOS (espresso), Tuku and Mantecca Espresso
Colombia- Fondo Paez Cooperative
This fine coffee is grown amidst food crops by the indigenous Nasa people in the mountains of central Colombia. Exceptional in quality, it is sweet up front with mild, round acidity and rich throughout with a lovely hint of maple syrup. The finish is clean and chocolatey. We roast these beans to a solid medium roast profile, which mellows the acidity, maintains the stone-fruit nuances, and increases the body and finish. This is one of our most popular selections for the home auto-drip brewer as well as French Press, which allows the subtle acidity to come out front.
Ethiopia Sidamo (Washed)- Primary: Kilenso Mokenesa Cooperative, Secondary:
OCFCU (Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union)
This high elevation coffee is refreshing with a semi-bright acidity, which carries a trailing flavor of freshly squeezed lemonade. As it cools, peach and lemon myrtle notes hover in the nose of the cup. The acidity is just a bit lighter than the washed Yirgacheffe and the body is a bit deeper. Compared to the unwashed Sidamo, this cup is cleaner and more pointed from the start with less body. We love to French Press this coffee. However, using the "24 hour cold steeping" brewing process produces an exotic elixir of unfathomable goodness.
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe (Washed)- Primary: Negeli Gorbitu Cooperative, Secondary:
Unlike the natural processed Harar and Sidamo varieties, beans are washed, meaning they are hand picked, pulped, promptly fermented, rinsed, and then sun-dried. The cup starts with a bright, ripe lemon-like acidity and moves into a mild, sweet ginger/bergamot flavor. With a light to medium body and very clean, fresh presence, all the flavors come together into a balanced finish which maintains dried citrus notes. French press and manual pour-over are our preferred methods for capturing the brighter front of this coffee. At the same time, it is one of our favorites to enjoy at the coffee shops using the commercial auto-drip brewers.
Ethiopia Sidamo (Unwashed)- Primary: Abelagaluco Cooperative, Secondary: Siadama
Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union
Naturally processed in the old world, unwashed, sun-dried tradition, this coffee is jam packed with character. Unwashed coffees of this caliber require extensive additional focus and labor when harvesting, sorting, and drying. The fragrance and aroma have distinct strawberry and maple notes. Look for a low, light acidity and a sweet medium body from the start that is complemented with dried berry fruit flavors. Semi-sweet cocoa undertones carry the finish to great lengths. We roast this bean bit lighter to highlight the pure fruit and berry tones. Because the body is increased from its unwashed processing, this coffee lends itself to all types of brewing, especially drip brew. Single origin espresso brewing produces intense flavors but slightly lighter body, making it a beautiful single cup ristretto.
French Roasted Ethiopia Sidamo (Washed)- Primary: Kilenso Mokenesa Cooperative,
We've taken our traditionally light roasted Sidamo and found the ultimate dark roast profile. The brew is strong with medium body, very low acidity, a caramelized lemon peel flavor, and a finish reminiscent of bittersweet cacao nib. It brews a complex Southern Italian-style espresso which is best in cappuccino. Also brews well through stove-top Moka pots and paper filter drip brewers.
Uganda Peaberry- Bakalasi Cooperative
Region- Mount Elgon
Grown in the rich, volcanic soils of Mount Elgon, this Uganda Peaberry has a very full body with soft undertone acidity. Our roast profile brings out the sweet chestnut and dark chocolate flavors in the coffee as well as the deep body and lengthy finish. Although designed for auto drip brewing, using it as single origin espresso allows the Barista to reveal the infinite potential of the coffee, especially the hidden stone fruit tones that only a calculated infusion can extract.
Guatemala - APECAFORM Cooperative
Region- San Marcos
Located on the slopes of volcano Tajumulco (the highest volcano in Central America), this 400 member coop has participants from 17 individual communities which are all located within a 3 hour walk to the central coordination center in Pueblo Nuevo. We purchase coffee each year through their umbrella marketing organization Manos Campesinas which makes it possible for such a diversified membership to collectively market and continually improve their coffee. The coffee is naturally very sweet with soft acidity, graham cracker-like flavors and a hint of fresh birch in the finish.
Guatemala - Rio Azul Cooperative
Located in the remote Western town of Jalcaltenango, this 200 member cooperative has a long history of producing some of the best coffee exported under the famed “Huehuetenango” mark. Rio Azul is a small, condensed cooperative which, due to size and proximity, maintains complete control over farming processes from harvest through drying. The cup is brilliant with pointed fruit acidity leading to flavors of grape and coriander.
Mexico - Maya Vinic Cooperative
This coffee has become one of our best selling bulk beans for many of the fine grocers who carry it. Nurtured in the highland communities of Chiapas, this coffee is simply scrumptious with delightful hints of chocolate throughout. The acidity is low, soft, and sweet and the balance is perfect. All forms of brewing, except espresso, are ideal.
Peru - CENFROCAFE Cooperative
The traditional native farmers, descendants of the Inca Indians, grow this coffee in the foothills of the Andes in Northern Peru. With superb growing conditions and meticulous processing, milling, sorting, and grading, this cooperative produces one of the best hard bean organics Peru has to offer. The cup is extremely smooth with subtle caramel-like sweetness and medium body.
Sumatra - APKO Cooperative, ASKOGO Cooperative, or Permata Gayo Cooperative Region- Aceh
This Typica coffee, one of the oldest and most traditional varieties, is processed in a method somewhere between washed and unwashed, which contributes to the coffee's unique character. Similar to the best, matured Cabernet Sauvignons, this renowned Indonesian bean has a body that floods the mouth. The cup is syrupy, earthy, and bold, with peppercorn-like flavors.
We send coffee from Mexico during the Central American season and coffee from Peru during its subsequent season directly to the Mountain Water Decaffeination plant in Vera Cruz Mexico. Here they use pure, warm water and carbon filtration to gently remove 97.5% of the bean's caffeine. Blended with a base of Sumatra coffee from the same process, the brew is rich, comforting, and very versatile. This is the blend used in all our retail partners' establishments for espresso based beverages as well as French Press and Auto drip brewing.
Complex and invigorating, this quintet of globally exclusive, socially rewarding, environmentally encompassed coffees supports the rooted meaning of espresso. Created through years of improvisation, trial, error, and sleepless nights, this espresso is textured in layers of fresh tonal woods, dark chocolates, super-ripe black berries, African rhythms, Indian smoking herbs, Pacific Island sunsets, and Latin colors. If infused via ristretto, the acidity will temporarily sparkle and the fruit identity within it will become syrupy.
Named in honor of Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukudzi, this blend of coffees, when artistically emulsified via a well calibrated espresso machine, makes us rise up and move. Mtukudzi (Tuku) music is powerful yet balanced, combining sweet melody with deep harmony and rhythm. Tuku Espresso is just that! The power of the Brazilian coffee is rounded by the Africans and further augmented by the touch of South East Asians. Sip and think of naturally sweet walnut butter with a touch of dark chocolate and a hint of fresh shaved nutmeg.
Uganda SOS (Single Origin Espresso) - Bakalasi Coopertive
We took the scrumptious light roasted Peaberry you've been enjoying in the press pots and drip brewers and formulated the ultimate medium-heavy roast profile especially for espresso brewing. Each year we buy the AA grade as well as Peaberry from the producers of the Bakalasi Cooperative (members of the larger Gumutindo Co-op) and each year the coffee improves in quality. The Peaberry grade is perfect for non-blended espresso due to its great balance and sweetness. Although this roast is an excellent option for home drip brewers, it shines as a lengthy poured, short volume ristretto shot. Sip short and savor long.