As many of you know, we recently held a pretty unique event here at the Blanchard's Coffee Co. Roast Lab. We teamed up with Grid Magazine, 804&1/2, Relay Foods and Thrive Coffee to hold a large coffee cupping for the purpose of using crowd sourcing to choose the next direct trade coffee and farm we would feature at Blanchard's. Additionally, that coffee will be featured in Grid Magazine's Makers series and we'll donate a portion of proceeds from sales to a local charity.
The event was a complete success. Nearly fifty coffee fans piled into the Blanchard's Coffee Co. Roast Lab and, after introductions, we dimmed the lights and talked, via Skype, with Raul Valdez of the San Rafael Urias Estate in the Antigua region of Guatemala. Raul's coffee was ultimately the favorite of the crowd compared to the excellent Costa Rican and Honduran coffees also on the list.
We had a blast and it was awesome to see so many folks coming together to cup coffee, especially sustainable coffee with direct ties and greater financial benefit to the farmers who grow it. We hope you'll enjoy some photos from the evening!
Malawi Washed AA Estate
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Just buy the coffee:
12oz Bag - $9.00
Malawi is a tiny, landlocked nation in southeast Africa, bordered by Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. The water you see in the picture above is Lake Malawi and, if you want to get some serious wanderlust, do a Google Image Search for Lake Malawi--you'll be checking flight prices in no time.
One of the world's least developed nations, Malawi is predominantly agricultural with tobacco as its primary crop. Other crops of note include sugarcane, sorghum cotton, and of course, coffee.
Malawi is one of the southernmost growing regions of coffee in Africa and though its production is small, the coffee--especially this crop--is exceptional.
In the cup you'll find a coffee that is most similar, in characteristics, to Kenyan coffees as opposed to the brighter coffees of Ethiopia or Tanzanian. The Malawi has a round, melon like body with floral notes of honey and honeydew melon. The finish is clean and sweet and it begs you to have another cup.
We love this coffee and will roast it as long as we can get it!
Papua New Guinea
No subscription, just this coffee.
12oz Bag - $8.75
Papua New Guinea, the eastern most nation on the Pacific island of New Guinea, is one of the the most culturally and bio-diverse countries in the world.
Largely tribal and agrarian, Papua New Guinea famously held pockets of cultures practicing ritualistic head-hunting and cannibalism all the way into the 1970s. Though these rituals have been eradicated, their effect and memory still shape many of the ritual practices of some of the nation's tribes.
Outside of coffee, Papua New Guinea's economy is largely supported by mining of copper, oil and other minerals.
The coffee of Papua New Guinea is the mother-bean of the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, and boasts a bright, delicate acidity that finishes soft and clean on the palate.
Blanchard's Coffee Co. sources high-altitude PNG that is notably higher in quality with a refined profile.
How many of the things that you eat and drink can you trace back to its very beginning? Are you a part of the "eat local" movement? Are you proud of fact that you met the guy who grows your kale, the gal who gathers your eggs, the folks who brew your beer? How about that cup of coffee (or three) that you drink every single morning?
We think it is a big deal to know where your coffee comes from and what it takes to get it to your cup in the morning; that is why we are beginning a series of coffee education events like the one we had last night in partnership with SlowFoodRVa and Alchemy Coffee.
Take a look at some of the pictures from the event!
We started the evening off with a tasting of the first recorded coffee blend, Mocha Java - a blend of Indonesian and East African beans - as Eric Spivek of Alchemy Coffee walked us through the historical origins of coffee and how it came to be a beverage enjoyed worldwide.
Stephen Robertson of Blanchard's Coffee Co. walked us through farming, harvest, processing and procurement practices and how that all relates to the Slow Food Movement and the world economy.
We then took the class down to the Roast Lab where Stephen demonstrated coffee roasting and Eric talked about brewing techniques. With Press Pots, Chemex, Clever Drippers and Melitta Drippers, we tasted Ethiopian Harrar, Papua New Guinea, Guatemalan Huehuetenango and Sumatra Mandheling.
There were tons of questions, answers, laughs and everyone went home with a bag of freshly roasted Dark Roast Ethiopian Harrar; and hopefully a better understanding of how they get that cup of coffee that starts their day.
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to get information on our next Coffee Ed. event!
There are so many coffee lovers out there who are drinking several cups of pricey specialty coffee a day and have absolutely no idea what it takes to get that coffee from where it was grown to their cup.
I'll be the first to admit, I spent the first several years of my career in coffee not knowing that information, and when I finally learned, it was an eye opening experience that totally changed my outlook on this product that is so deeply intwined in so many of our lives.
Please join us Tuesday, January 15th at 6:30pm in the Blanchard's Coffee Co. Roast Lab
as we team up with Slow Food RVA
and Alchemy Coffee
to present Coffee: Farm to Cup; an exploration of what it takes to get our morning coffee, who is affected and how to make the best of the whole process for everyone involved.
We'll also have roasting and brewing demonstrations with some samples for you to take home as well as any of our coffees available for purchase if you're looking for something specific.
Please RSVP here
as space is limited and we need an accurate head count to make sure the event is best for everyone who attends. We hope to see you there!
Well folks, not only have we survived another holiday season, but a Mayan Apocalypse as well; we'll call that an overall success!
We truly hope you all have had a wonderful holiday full of friends, family, good food and, of course, great coffee.
We couldn't be more thankful for all of our family and friends who support Blanchard's Coffee Co. and all of the awesome businesses and coffee lovers who help people enjoy a great cup of fresh roasted coffee every day. With all of your help, we can proudly announce another record breaking year here at Blanchard's, including over 2,100 pounds roasted in a single day during the week before Christmas! Yes, if you're wondering, that is a ton of coffee--literally.
Its easy to fall into a deep winter slump after all the excitement of the holidays wears off, so we're working on a few things to keep you pumped, in the least, about coffee.
First up, this was a HUGE year for our seasonal Holiday Blend, but even good things must come to an end. Before we wrap up the Holiday Blend for this season, we wanted to offer you the chance to pick up a few more bags at a great sale price as a thank you for all your support. Starting January 1st, for a limited time, you can pick up as many bags of Holiday Blend as you like from our website for $7.00 per bag--as a loyal blog reader, you can get a head start by buying here:
Holiday Blend 12oz Bag
We're also going to start a Blanchard's Newsletter to which you can subscribe for email alerts about cool happenings at the Roast Lab and beyond. You can subscribe here
--we promise, we will not spam you.
We'll be announcing stuff like new blog posts, coffee events, featured coffees, coffee specials and awesome partnerships like the ones we have with the James River Association
or Road Holland
, so be sure to sign up!
If your home is anything like mine, a morning isn't complete without a great cup of coffee--especially during the holidays. Coffee has a social, conversational effect that brings people together in that soul and body warming kind of way, so its a great treat to share when the family is around.
Coffee also makes a great gift, not just for family and friends, but for officemates, clients, business contacts--even the mailman!
Blanchard's Coffee Co. has everything you need for holiday coffee, starting with our yearly release of our Holiday Blend. The 2012 Holiday Blend is a delicious blend of Indonesian and African coffees that is bold and spicy with a slight hint of dark fruits.
We also offer a wide range of gift options from single bags of a coffee of your choice to our Signature Gift Boxes to custom gift sets for corporate giving.
You can order Holiday Blend 2012 along with the rest of our coffees and Signature Gift Boxes here at the online store.
Contact Stephen at 804-516-5213 or firstname.lastname@example.org for custom corporate gift questions and/or orders.
There is no question, a great cold-brew coffee over ice on a hot summer day is hard to beat. It is a refreshing treat whether you take it black, or "the set-up" (you know you have a certain set-up for your cold-brew).
As the winter month's start to sink in we often forget our obsession for a tall glass caffeine punch and move on to traditional hot coffees to combat the cold, but I submit to you that cold-brew has a place in your winter-time line up--consider:
Unless you're working for a Dickens-esque miser who skimps on the climate control, or your job keeps you outside in the elements, chances are you have a healthy HVAC system keeping you toasty no matter the temperature outside. When the post-lunch doldrums hit, you need two things: some energy and some refreshment. Hot coffee is tougher on the tummy and likely doesn't help wash down that double cheeseburger, but a quick iced coffee would do the trick just nicely.
Blanchard's Coffee Co. has the solution: ColdBrew Growlers. They're attractive, refillable, but most importantly, full of awesome Blanchard's ColdBrew Coffee! We're taking special orders right now and we'll refill them at your request.
If you couldn't make it out to our open-house at the end of June, you missed a great party! We'll post some pictures soon so you can see all the folks hanging out at our new Roast Lab.
That party was an unveiling of sorts for our newest coffee--Direct Trade Dominican Republic Jarabacoa. We worked with a great importer, Josiah Hernandez, to bring this lovely island coffee to Virginia where it is featured by several small-batch roasters. Josiah has worked for some time, hands on, with a group of five farmers in the Dominican Republic to increase crop quality, consistency and overall sustainability. Additionally, he has increased the amount of money farmers are able to earn for their crops by facilitating direct trade deals with roasters like Blanchard's.
For such a special coffee, we decided we should give it a special presentation. For the Jarabacoa's release, we commissioned our Chief Roaster and Artist in Residence, Seth Bauserman, to design a special label for the bag. What he came up with was so great that we switched gears and decided to change our packaging all together. We have made a limited run of Blanchard's Coffee Co. logo glass jars and had Seth paint 48 unique art-cards for an ultra-limited edition run. We also had prints made of some of his work for the rest of the jars.
There are still few original signed and numbered cards which are painted with the coffee itself, and we'll have them and the print jars for sale until they run out.
You can order them right here from the BCC Blog so get yours today!