Burka Estate is one of Tanzania’s oldest specialty coffee producers, located in the slopes on Mt. Meru in the shadows of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Northern Tanzania. Owner Alex Rechsteiner practices an eco-friendly and responsible approach to the environment and neighboring communities. Burka has its own nursery schools, for 100 pre-schoolers, and constructed two primary schools just outside Arusha.
Burka Peaberry is a washed, shade-grown Arabica coffee featuring a distinctive jasmine floral note and a blackcurrant, wine-like flavor. We are lighter roasting this coffee to accentuate the profile. A peaberry is when the two beans inside a coffee cherry, grow together as one.
This coffee will be available at selected locally-owned grocery stores soon. You can also purchase the Burka Estate on our online store.
“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.
Last year’s trip to Guatemala included visiting two farms from which we directly source our origin coffees – Finca Vista Hermosa in HueHuetenango and La Laguna in Fraijanes. After spending time at both farms I was fortunate to be involved in researching farms for sale in other growing regions and a Cup of Excellence project selecting the country’s best coffees for export.
Following on, ‘we’ ventured back to Guatemala this past month to visit with the Zelaya Family in Antigua, along with a freelance foray into Atitlan to look at organic farms.
“Who is ‘we’,” you ask? While many families join in on business trips, they may not include packing hiking boots and pepto bismol. With the amenities being a bit challenging, Becky and our sons Ben and Adam hit the road with me to participate in this coffee sourcing trip to Guatemala.
We visited Finca La Follie, Hacienda Carmona and Finca Bella Vista. The Thompson boys especially liked our time at the end of the day as the ripe, red cherries were being received at the wet mill. A uniquely energetic and colorful scene as Mayan families converge into the receiving area.
We finished our trip with a cupping on the finca, from which we have selected a classic Antigua profile coffee with a tangy, milk chocolaty, full bodied flavor you are sure to enjoy. This coffee should arrive from Guatemala in May. We will keep you posted.
We will continue to search out great coffee for you. In the meantime, visit our home page as you may enjoy the slideshow featuring Guatemala.
Breast Cancer awareness month! An opportunity to recognize the impact of breast cancer on our lives and the challenge to find a cure. We, at Cravens Coffee, thank you for joining us in honoring the survivors in the war against breast cancer with a special blend created by the beautiful women of our local chapter.
Survivor Blend is an organic-fair-traded coffee with a buttery upfront flavor and bold, rich finish. This unique blend combines rich full-flavored Sumatran and fruity Ethiopian varietals, featuring a special Nicaraguan from a women-operated co-op in Segovia. We honor these women from war-torn Segovia as fellow survivors. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Survivor Blend benefit the Eastern Washington Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. Find Survivor Blend in your local grocery store the entire month of April. Visit http://race.komenspokane.org to learn more about being part of the cure!
New crop Central American coffees have hit the cupping table and they are outstanding.
Our Central American coffee selections are Costa Rica Monte Crisol, Guatemala Finca Vista Hermosa, Nicaragua Dipilto, Organic Nicaragua Segovia, Organic Guatemala La Laguna and Organic Mexico Pluma CEPCO. So far the Costa Rica has been incredibly bright and sweet, while the Nicaragua Dipilto is buttery and chocolate-y, the latter at the darker roast profile (see Northwest Dark Roast).
The Finca Vista Hermosa crop is the best ever. A late season rainfall allowed the cherries to finish ripening with a flourish, which increased the tanginess and spiciness of this Direct from the Farm coffee.
More news as it comes in….
Thank you for enjoying two of the better things in life: The joy of helping your community and a bold cup of coffee. Not only does a portion of coffee sales go to Coaches vs. Cancer Spokane, but it’s a special custom blend you are sure to enjoy. Specifically, with your purchase of this coffee you are helping a child attend Camp Goodtimes, a local camp geared for children battling cancer.
Grown in the Guatemalan highlands at the family owned Finca Vista Hermosa farm and craft roasted, this blend has smoky, spicy, hearty flavor. Great for full-body brewing, french press and espresso. So here’s to the fight against cancer. And a great cup of coffee.
Look for Coaches vs Cancer Blend at locally owned grocery stores throughout the Inland Northwest during the month of February.