Cold Grinds, Cool Beans...Mas Mocha

New crop India Kattehollay Estate Peaberry is in

by badbeard 28. March 2010 12:53

The first KPCI container landed last week here in Oregon and I retrieved our treasured Kattehollay Estate Peaberry yesterday and it is even more beautiful than last year's stellar crop.  The tiny Chikmagalur estate continues to produce some of the best coffee ever to come out of India and we secured as much as we could for this year!  Every bit as interesting as the vaunted peaberry from Tanzania without the extreme swings in flavor profile, and a vibrant coffee in any preparation, including Single Estate espresso.


Organic coffee in the news..

by badbeard 8. March 2010 19:18

This "flash" came in thru Coffee's Daily Dose, an online rag I receive which has industry details.  Unfortunately this emag tends to focus on the big players in the commercial market, so there's sadly much press about the boring stuff relating to Starbu&*#, McD's, BK wars, etc., with the occasional interesting tidbit about something I actually care about. As reported originally in the Christian Science Monitor...

"Certification Process, Price Lead Farmers to Abandon Organic Coffee

8 Mar 2010 12:29 GMT - Certification Process, Price Lead Farmers to Abandon Organic Coffee 
March 8, 2010 /EIN PRESSWIRE/ Almost 75% of the world's organic coffee comes from Latin America, but farmers there are beginning to abandon the organic coffee trade, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Organic coffee farming is much more environmentally friendly (and human-friendly) because of the lack of pesticides used in production, but both the price and the certification process of organic coffee has turned buyers off of the product.
Beans of organically grown coffee are 25% more expensive than traditionally grown coffee, and it currently takes up to three years for beans to be certified as organic. This means a farmer needs to absorb the production cost while waiting to be able to sell the product as "organic" in a market where buyers are abandoning organic coffee.
    Read more at Organic Food News Today
    Latin America Organic Food news - 

 Truth be told there'smuch validity to this information. We here at Badbeard's go to considerable length and great expense to source fine green coffee to roast for you, and rely heavily on partners such as Elan Organic ( and others who emphasize sustainably-grown and equitably-traded coffee.  Our preferences are personal and subjective, of course, but the uptick in "digestive-consciousness awareness" is a good thing.  Does "certified organic" mean necessarily that you cup will taste better?  NO.  In fact there are many sources of DE FACTO organic coffee--in a nutshell, produced by farmers who literally can't afford to pay the certifications premiums OR non-organic materials which lead to better crop yields, etc.  Coffee farming is still a bare-bones business in most producing countries, and the quality and equitable-trade practices MUST be consumer-driven.  Quality keeps improving all over the world, but the vast bulk of commercially-traded java is only fair-to-middling in quality owing to the mass production necessities of the market, from source to roast.

Taste is personal first and foremost.  If you can't tell, or it doesn't matter specifically where your coffee comes from, you'll be reinforcing the NECESSITY of inferior coffee in the marketplace.  Those of you who care and are willing to pay those few extra dollars for your cuppa pleasure ormerely caffeine fix can only be encouraged to come to our side to experience the TASTE difference.  Have at it world!==BADBEARD



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The Grind

What the winemakers also do...

by badbeard 6. March 2010 10:46

Nice front page article in today's Oregonian about the story reported here about the vicissitudes of an organ transplant.  In this case congrats to Lupe, Julio y familia y muchissima suerte! Jason Lett and the whole Eyrie family stepped up when it counted, and while the recovery process is ongoing, folks can still contribute.  La Luz is a WONDERFUL wine, filled with the hallmark boldness AND nuance which has made Eyrie one of our prized gems on the Oregon wine map for many years.  This is what community is all about, IMHO. Love the Letts!

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Food and Drink

Daterra Sweet Blue microlot is in...

by badbeard 23. February 2010 21:26

...finally!  Started its long journey back in late December and hit the roastery today.   Vacuum seals all intact,  green as fragrant and beautiful as usual. First roast. spot on....a few days rest will tell, but as always with Daterra coffees, the cupping samples tell the complete story; that's why we covet them!   Now onto the fun part...consuming!

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The Grind

Beer Wars, the Movie

by badbeard 11. February 2010 08:19

No good quaff should go unnoticed in Portland, self-proclaimed "Beervana, USA", and hence no documentary taking an insider's look at the complex world of "Big Beer" should go unseen!  Writer/director Anat Baron's 2009 "Beer Wars" presents a sobering picture of the suds corporatocracy quite brilliantly, IMHO. The struggles and successes of the two featured indie enterprises, Dogfish Head Brewery (Milton, Delaware) and Boston Beer Co. co-founder Rhonda Kallman's New Century Brewing Company are so America...beyond the David and Goliath-like picture is the subtext of what it takes to be seen in the business world these days, nay be seen period.  If you love an underdog, this is the film for you.  If you want to understand the reach of a megalithic presence like the "big beer" juggernaut and what one faces as an entrepreneur and innovator, then see this movie. And then imagine what it would mean to actually undo the evils of the health insurance industry.

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Food and Drink

Bailouts for Arts Organizations??

by badbeard 1. February 2010 16:44

Badbeard's has seen a lot of fundraising activity of late, between the Haitian relief calls and local (Portland, OR) arts organizations.  It's refreshing to see the sacrifices being made by lots of ordinary folks who could use a nice bailout of their own.  Providing java for the Portland Youth Philharmonic gave me the opportunity to hear some of our outstanding local talent, conducted by David Hattner (who happily I knew from NYC freelance music circles of yesteryear). Bravo guys and gals!

We're currently working with some other local roasters and importers on securing some fine Haitian Highland coffees, the logistics for which has of course gotten enormously complicated with the earthquake, aftershocks and general chaos.  So much of the arable land there has been ruined it will be no mean feat for farmers to recover, a nd we will support their rebuilding efforts.  Hopefully our customers will help us with this endeavor...will continue posting on this.  Meanwhile bravos to all who have sacrificed to help the Haitians...especially our Portland-based Mercy Corps.

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Portland music scene | The Grind | The Mill

Attention Decaf fanciers

by badbeard 20. January 2010 08:18

The long-awaiting organic Nicaragua CO2-process decaf is in-store and ready for consumption either straight up or in the Ultimate Decaf, where it is happily wed to offerings from Peru and Sumatra. The decision to have three excellent decafs has been driven by customers who were tired of their relatively-tasteless coffees wherever they are!

To refresh, the supercritical CO2 processing of these organic coffees takes place in the US at the Maximus plant in Houston, TX, making it the only American coffee production facility in mainland USA.  We source organic offerings because they start out as great green coffee and seem to hold up better to all decaffing processes than non-organic, and thanks to our partner Elan Organic in San Diego for their assiduous work on behalf of consumers and coffee producers around the world!

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Black Coffee, the manifesto

by badbeard 11. January 2010 11:32

I just watched the first 2 discs of  the sobering, Canadian-produced 3-DVD documentary called Black Coffee, which is interesting historically and a grim reminder of the uphill battles faced by all who consume coffee.  The 2nd disc is quite jarring in its historical telling of the 20th century viz the green stuff, and highlights how far the industry has come and how far we have yet to go to bring some economic equality to the world.  The commoditization (coffee still #2 after oil on world markets) has insured the frankly vile and oppressive behavior of consuming nations, notably but not exclusively the US, towards the producer entities.  Clearly what we are paying for a cup of coffee doesn't come close to rectifying the disparities in general.  One can hardly imagine that the destitution of the average coffee farmer worldwide is healthy for the industry in the future; this status quo has to stop eventually.  Generic coffee is still the king, although it must be said that today we can enjoy far better-tasting brews than we could even 25 years ago.  I enjoyed Dunkin' Donuts coffee plenty in college in the mid-70s, and was able to buy acceptable whole bean java in NYC in the late 70s as well. Oh how things have changed. The numbers of conscientious roasters has also risen (we) go go go!!!

As a roaster who only purchases the highest-end of the available green market; and this takes in equitable trading practices,(transparency, quality, sustainability and such, I'm fortunate that the system allows me to source green beans of discerning quality.  You the consumer as well as the producer benefits when the applicable super-premium $$$ are paid.  As cup quality and origin uniqueness become even more prominent in "the mission" we will right many of the current wrongs.  The socio-economic fragility of "the coffee system" is on the way up, fortunately.  And we hope that you choose to say no to mass-market consumption and experience the little but obvious and intense differences that you can taste between microroasting and "the other"!

By all means watch Black Coffee.  The amazing doc "Black Gold" is another must-see, especially for a brutally honest picture of production in Ethiopia, my favorite country of coffee origin and the birthplace of the bean.  We're happy and privileged to sell the fine products originating from the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU), whose plight is highlighted in the film.

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The Grind

Local press takes notice

by badbeard 6. January 2010 23:28

Y'all know I'm not a horn-tooter but it was almost surreal to see myself in print in Tuesday's The Oregonian and awesome props to all who have supported this guy along the way.  Response has been tremendous and humbling....seems like this happens routinely here in Portland, where I heard that the trademark "Keep Portland Weird" is slowly giving way to "Make Portland Weirder".

Actually there's nothing weird at all. And a ton of coffee.

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The Grind

Badbeard's Daterra Sweet Blue featured in national mag

by badbeard 4. January 2010 08:38

The excellent mixology and all-drinkables magazine Imbibe features our Daterra Sweet Blue in the current (Jan) issue.  An interesting roundup of 5 varietals, including Mundo Novo, of which Sweet Blue is one of the best on the planet. the 2009 crop is set to land here right about now, and there'ssome of the 2008 still at the roastery in its nitrogen-flushed mylar container which has been keeping it totally fresh since it left the mill in Brazil.

an extraordinary coffee as a single origin espresso as well as a fabulous french press prepation.  I could drink this stuff all day and frequently do!

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The Grind