“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.
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.
One of the many wonders of espresso extraction is its ability to magnify the attributes of coffee.
The fineness of the grind, combined with high, stable water temperature and 9 bars of pressure allows for the complete extraction of the most flavorful, dissolvable compounds the coffee has to offer.
Which is why…
…espresso is either really, really good…or really, really bad (neutral and inoffensive coffee counts as bad, as it has nothing to offer in the extraction process, which means it is not true espresso).
The best espressos, which are usually blends, but can be single origins, range from being crisp, clean, bright, wine-y, citrus-y, snappy and vibrant to heavy, thick, rich, fruity, musty (in a good way!), bittersweet chocolate-y and complex. Plus many other descriptive terms – smoky, spicy, apple-buttery etc.
Whatever the combination of flavor sensations, the espresso should be able to make a statement and exhibit a “punch”. If the extraction is dull, flat, lifeless, woody, vegetal, medicinal, harsh and astringent there is trouble in paradise.
My objective with each of our espresso blends – and we have a broad range from light to dark roasted, and crisp and clean to fruity and chewy – is to magnify the two central tenets of ALL Cravens coffee, which is sweetness and body. From there the additional complex elements of sweetness, and myriad variations of body, are amplified.
As usual I have a “why?”. In this case…why do espresso-based businesses choose to serve low quality, low cost espresso in their businesses, knowing the end product is not a magnification of the magnificent?
In coffee, maybe more so than any other sector of the beverage business, you (at best) get what you pay for. Buying cheap coffee from a discount warehouse or wholesale roaster who sells on nothing but price (because that is all they have to sell on) guarantees an insipid, watery extraction of bean juice.
Espresso at its best is magnificent…and challenging to achieve on a consistent basis.
But it is enormously enjoyable and satisfying when it all comes together in a nectar of the gods.
Which espresso blend is my favorite? Email me.
In 2008 the Susan G Komen For The Cure Eastern Washington Affiliate and Cravens Coffee came together to create the Survivor Blend. A tasting panel sampled blends based upon various single origins and roast levels, deciding upon an Organic Nicaragua Segovia based blend of half dark and half lighter roasted coffee.
The components of the blend are the afore-mentioned Organic Nicaragua, from the Nueva Segovia region and Prodecoop, the original Transfair USA certified Fair Trade Co-operative, along with Indonesian and African origins to dark and light roasts respectively.
The result is a chocolate-y, lemon-y and buttery profile, with Cravens’ signature sweetness and body, in all forms of brewing – drip and French Press – and extraction – as espresso. Suvrivor Blend is Organic and Fair Trade Certified.
For all Survivor Blend sold wholesale, 8% is forwarded to the Komen organization. In 2008 Cravens committed (bravely or foolishly – you choose) to serve coffee to every participant in the Race for the Cure. By brewing on large scale brewers starting at 4am in the morning, a sizeable Cravens crew was ready by race time. This culminated in over 4,200 cups of coffee served over the course of the event.
In 2009 we are game to ambitiously serve coffee to the anticipated 9,000+ participants, race workers and attendees.
Cravens is honored to be involved with Susan G Komen and the Race for the Cure.
Survivor Blend is currently available for the month of October in area Yokes, Rosauers, Super One, Huckleberry’s and Trading Company Stores.