For the second year, Cravens Coffee is honored to bring you Coaches vs Cancer Blend. A special custom blend created by Marcy Few, Robin Rice and the folks at Coaches vs Cancer. We took care to combine just the right coffees for a full-flavored, hearty cup. Perfect for brewing at home or creating your own espresso work of art.
Marcy and Robin chose a coffee grown by Cravens’ friends at family-owned Finca Vista Hermosa in Guatemala. Grown in the highlands of this beautiful country, this coffee has a spirited flavor. Just like our wonderful Zags!
Thank you for choosing Coaches vs Cancer Blend. With your purchase we’ll donate proceeds to help send a child to Camp Goodtimes this summer. This local camp brings respite and joy to children battling cancer.
Look for Coaches vs Cancer Blend at locally owned grocery stores throughout the Inland Northwest during the month of February and March. Go Zags!
With a new year comes new opportunities for taking care of you, our valued Customers. See what’s in store….
A new face. Our Facebook page has moved. Why? It’s a long story, but it has something to do with a little apostrophe. Whether you have ‘friended’ us in the past or new to facebook, please follow Cravens Coffee on our new page so we may better serve you. New upgrades provide you the latest coffee news, crop announcements, special promotions, events and the occasional element of surprise. Friend us, like us, share us and we will deliver!
New to Twitter! Yep, old dogs apparently can learn new tricks. We dared to venture into the world of tweeting and live to tell about it. We promise to share with you helpful and insightful tweets. Thank you for following us.
A new venture into videos. Given we prefer preparing your coffee each and every day to producing videos, we won’t promise genius behind the camera but we will promise good coffee fun. Find our YouTube tab on our new Facebook page for short video clips we hope are useful and entertaining. Who could resist Simon slurping and spitting at the cupping table or his latest adventures to the coffee farm? We look forward to hearing from you!
Let’s not forget new crop coffees. Our recently popular Tabu Jamu coffee will continue as we just got word the fine farmers in Sumatra have produced a second year crop, which we have secured for shipment. What was intended to be a one-off coffee treat was so well received by a select few specialty coffee roasters, including yours truly, the coffee has turned into a longer term relationship. Learn more about this unique coffee on our recent blog here. At stores now!
Here’s wishing you a prosperous and happy new year!
A word we all recognize but what does it mean? Back in 1993 while roasting our very first holiday coffee, we named it Yuletide Blend in honor of the winter festivals of centuries gone by. Why mess with a good thing? Yuletide, a time of celebration and an act of good cheer. “Good tidings we bring to you and your kin”, as the lyric sings.
There’s much to enjoy about the holiday season – crisp, snowy mornings, specially baked cookies, gatherings with family and friends. Whatever your holiday favorites we offer Cravens Yuletide Blend to help you celebrate.
Yuletide Blend is a rich combination of Sumatra Mandheling and the finest coffees of Central and South America for a full-flavored, bright cup. We combine several coffees grown in distant lands to celebrate the holidays – and honor our faraway friends for all they do so well. Costa Rica Monte Crisol’s sweet, tangy, up-front flavor lends sparkle, then perfectly matched with Mr Irham’s IKA Sumatra Mandheling providing a fruity, spicy body at the finish. We include just enough French Roast to elevate the complexity.
Cravens Yuletide Blend – our way of sharing the warmth of the season with you. Cheers!
Available at area grocery stores and coffee shops serving Cravens Coffee.
It’s just fun to say! Tabu Jamu. Pronounced “taaboo jaamoo”. Or, as conjured up by diligent Ryan, while carefully stewarding our coffees through the roasting process, “Tattered Pajamas” or “Tatooed Llamas”. Why not?
The name, Tabu Jamu, means Forbidden Healer. A name selected by the gentleman who discovered the coffee in Sumatra and brought it to our attention. After being taken through the farm, he was sitting with his hosts in a sidewalk café when a lady, dressed in blazing colors, bird plumage, beads and necklaces rode up to them on a bicycle. The attached basket overflowed with unusual looking paraphernalia. She cackled and laughed at them, then moved on slowly.
She was a medicine woman, faith doctor or, in Indonesian parlance, a Forbidden Healer, which in the native tongue is….Tabu Jamu.
As unique as the name, the coffee does not disappoint. A true micro-lot coffee prepared in the traditional Sumatra natural-process-style. This means the coffee has experienced an abbreviated de-pulping and washing procedure followed by a drying stage designed to maximize the development of fruitiness and cocoa-like body.
From a small town on Lake Toba in Sumatra, this coffee is truly special and delivers a syrupy, hoppy flavor with spicy undertones. We roast Tabu Jamu in both our lightest and darker profiles to feature it’s unique attributes at contrasting roast levels.
In response to my last blog entry “In Defense of Fair Trade” many of you insightfully asked, “Is all Cravens Coffee Fair Trade Certified?” Thank you for your question! Answer … it is not. While Cravens Coffee is pleased to report we pay a premium price to the farmer (above 40%) to ensure fair trade practices we have instilled a model of “Trust and Verify”.
“Trust and Verify” is the Cravens Coffee system of identifying coffees from a limited number of origins that do not have links with Fair Trade USA. We like to go a mile deep, not a mile wide, gathering as much information about a coffee source as possible. Growers, millers, exporters, communities are critical. We then verify through country visits and first hand confirmation. As the saying goes, “it is amazing how much you see by looking.” Nothing could be more true when visiting coffee farms, mills and communities. Walking through a farm, picking cherries, getting hands in the soil is invaluable. The look of the mill. Is it clean and organized? Is it big enough not to be overwhelmed at harvest? Experience the community and its services to the families. Is there a library? Where do the children learn? This is ALL verification, and part of what we do with our coffee, whenever and wherever possible.
Is “Trust and Verify” BETTER than Fair Trade? No, but like Fair Trade, it has an end in mind, which the coffee roasting community should subscribe to – quality of coffee, quality of life.
Trust and Verify.
Thank you for choosing Cravens Coffee,
Trust and Verify.
Coffee roasters vs Fair Trade? Some newer coffee roasters claim they do it “better” than Fair Trade. I’d like to weigh in.
As the first Fair Trade certified roaster in the region, we at Cravens Coffee supported programs supporting the farmer early on. Details of the fair trade model are well documented (transfairusa.org) and include: fair minimum pricing for green coffee, representation through local co-operatives and addressing humanitarian issues such as safe working conditions and child labor.
While Cravens Coffee is clearly an entrepreneurially-founded business believing in business freedom, market forces of supply and demand and the concepts of competition through quality and service, coffee has unique inherent complexities. It is a third world agricultural product traded as a first world commodity leading to severe downward pressure on coffee prices at the farm gate. In dignified working conditions, true Specialty Coffee needed a mechanism to ensure earned value was realized. Hence the international Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO) and the US branch Transfair USA, whose name recently changed to Fair Trade USA, was created to serve.
Fair Trade is not perfect. We studied the model before certifying, and continue to monitor their efforts. They are open and communicative. But for a small roaster to say THEY do it better than Fair Trade is curious. Fair Trade has an assertive third party certification mechanism to ensure the stipulations for growing, picking and milling are all adhered to. Then they audit the finances and accounting of each co-operative to ensure the farmers are being paid correctly. They attend the Co-operative leadership meetings to ensure the agreed upon principles of democracy are embraced. There may be elements of this that sound like imperialism and/or socialism. But having seen the process and the results, it is quite the opposite. This is sustainable capitalism.
Quite simply, the roasters who say they do it “better” have absolutely no methods or mechanisms to do so. They are not able to monitor, audit or verify anything. If they say they have “people” who do that, who are they? The most over-used phrases in coffee at the moment are “Direct-Trade” and “Farm Direct”. Everyone is buying direct (apparently). Some roasters are truly doing so. I have a couple of colleagues in the business who travel 9 months out of year sourcing coffee for their companies. They are truly Direct-Trade (living on planes, trains and automobiles!). But for the roasters who say all this, yet have not traveled to countries of origin (not being judgmental – real coffee travel is hard), to say they are doing something better than Fair Trade is disingenuous.
Thank you for choosing Cravens Coffee,
“How does the saying go? “Better late than never”?! Maybe it’s because we were busy sourcing extraordinary specialty coffee for you. Maybe it’s because we were occupied carefully roasting your coffee to the perfect point. Maybe it’s because we like talking to you when you call. Whatever the excuse, we are thrilled to announce the launch of Cravens Coffee e-commerce site. Thank you for your patience!
Thank you for choosing Cravens Coffee. Cheers!
Consider the humble coffee bean. Grown in mountainous regions around the globe, by hundreds of thousands of farmers and their families. Millions of pounds each year.
So what differentiates coffee?
It is where and how it is grown, milled and graded. It is how it is roasted and packaged. And then how it is prepared and presented. These combined steps make a difference. When coffee is attended to with care, discipline, and creativity the final experience is distinctive and memorable. You can “taste the place”, embrace the quality and enjoy the service … all in the cup.
Experiences are a distinct economic offering, as different from “services” as services are from “products”. Experiences have always been at the heart of entertainment, exemplified by Disney theme parks. For every guest (not “customer”), Walt Disney World cast members (not “employees”) stage a complete production and create a memorable experience.
True Specialty Coffee is an experience. From coffee lands and their accompanying stories. To the roasting process and its vintage history. To the correctly and carefully built espresso beverage or brewed cup.
What distinguishes an experience from a service or product?
* products are tangible, services intangible. But experiences are memorable
* products are inventoried, services delivered on demand, while experiences unfold
* products are standardized, services customized, while experiences are inherently personal
These distinctions explain why experiences have the power to create new and greater economic value, and why some coffee businesses do much better than others.
Providing a true experience is about engaging the customer and connecting in a personal and memorable way.
Why is espresso either really, really good…
…or really, really bad?
The key components of espresso are sweetness, smoothness, consistency and balance. The intrinsic qualities are aroma, taste and aftertaste. A well-constructed espresso will “launch” itself over the taste buds, exhibiting a tanginess and creaminess with a dark chocolate-like finish.
The “theories” of espresso roasting and blending are diverse. A roaster who may blend a certain origin could be at odds with another roaster who does something completely different. Such is the nature of the Specialty Coffee business.
Since 1993, Cravens has cut across the grain, choosing to avoid the traditional espresso ingredients (they are woody and rubbery to us) instead working with exemplary stand-alone origins and blending for a balance of sweetness and body, with variations in degrees of roast.
The espresso extraction process is the best, as well as potentially the worst, in coffee brewing. Because of the intensity of the process, the oils within the coffee are emulsified. The roasting of coffee for espresso has to be gentle. The objective is to tease out the best flavor components, not blast them. Subsequently, any flaws are exposed in a dramatic fashion (the really, really bad part). While, if the details are adhered to – fresh crop green (pre-roasted) coffee, careful roasting and intelligent blending, you have, what is known as, the nectar of the gods…which is the really, really good part.
Examples of our best known espresso blends:
Spokane Express – the original Costa Rica Monte Crisol based, lighter roast degree
Big Sky – Guatemala Finca Vista Hermosa based blend, medium degree of roast
Moon Bean – darker roasted, Sumatra Mandheling IKA as one of the ingredients
This is a time of excitement (and relief!) in the Cravens cupping room. New deliveries of coffee have arrived and we are roasting and cupping to ensure quality. Once verified, we see what other delights are in the cup.
The new Costa Rica Monte Crisol is absolutely fantastic! It is as bright as we can ever recall, featuring a green apple tanginess which sparkles. Aside from being a great drip coffee, we incorporate Costa Rica Monte Crisol into espresso blends, such as Spokane Express, Caffe Portofino and Simla, which are all extracting a tremendous effervescent crema.
I could talk about them all, but the Tanzanian Burka Estate Peaberry is also off the charts….next time.