Favorite Thanksgiving Coffee + Dessert Pairings
We love the warming foods and food traditions of the holidays, and we thought we'd recommend a few of the coffees we'll be enjoying at the Thanksgiving table next week, along with favorite holiday dessert pairings. Happy Thanksgiving!
Baroida, which just arrived from the Easter Highlands of Papua New Guinea, is a spectacular coffee with notes of spice, dried fruit, and molasses above a deeply satisfying, creamy body. There is simply no better coffee to pair with pumpkin pie.
Aida Batlle's Finca Kilimanjaro is unmistakable, offering a distinctly complex flavor combination of blackcurrant, vanilla, and caramel otherwise found only in Kenya. With its deep body and silky, plush richness, this coffee pairs beautifully with apple pie a la mode.
Our 2011 Holiday Blend, crafted with coffee from our direct relationship with the farmers of Konga, Ethiopia, is carefully roasted to bring out notes of chocolate and caramel to complement the coffee's sweet, floral aroma. The result is deliciously deep and resonant, perfect to accompany rich holiday desserts and brisk winter mornings. One dollar per pound sold of this coffee will build and fund schools in Ethiopian farming communities. An ideal accompaniment to anything chocolate, such as buckeyes, truffles, and chocolate-covered nuts.
Note: Neither UPS nor the USPS will be delivering packages Thursday, November 24, so, orders in transit at that time may experience a slight delay.
Buna Ababa - Haru a Good Food Awards Finalist
The Good Food Awards aim to honor and celebrate "tasty, authentic and responsibly produced" foods. So do we, and, although we're primarily focused on coffee, we believe that all foods should be not only delicious, but also responsibly crafted in a sustainable manner. In its second year, Good Food Awards will be given to winners in eight categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, preserves, and spirits. Awards will be given to producers and their food communities from each of five regions of the US. The Good Food Awards seal, found on winning products, is intended to assure consumers they have found something exceptionally delicious that also supports sustainability and social good.
We were especially thrilled to get the news that our Buna Ababa - Haru coffee (a seasonal, washed lot from Ethiopia) was selected as one of only 11 finalists in the coffee category. Hundreds of coffees were submitted for a blind tasting, and, to be eligible, each coffee must be certified organic, have price transparency throughout the supply chain, and comply with the United Nations' principles of labor rights.
Winners will be announced in January 2012 during an Awards Ceremony and Marketplace. Until then, congrats to all the other finalists, and hooray for everyone involved in producing Buna Ababa - Haru!
Start Here: Beginner Espresso Lab
"Wow," you might overhear someone say in a session of Counter Culture's illuminating Beginner Espresso Lab. "I never realized how much went into making a good cup of coffee!"
And it's true: From absolute novices to seasoned baristas, from coffee-shop owners to home espresso enthusiasts, everyone seems to walk out of the all-day class with a new crema consciousness and an excited sparkle in their eyes (though that might just be the caffeine).
As an instructor, I know that even I've learned a thing or two from walking a new batch of students through the espresso-making process: Sometimes all it takes is one newbie asking a stumper of a question, and, before you know it, we're all puzzling out some macchiatto mystery together. Who knew there was so much to discover about a beverage (that is, coffee) that only has two ingredients (grounds + water)??
Tradition, Perfected in El Salvador
Never one to shy away from an experiment or challenge, El Salvador's Aida Batlle has perfected the traditional natural sundried method used in Ethiopia for centuries. Applying this method to the 100% Bourbon coffee from her Finca Mauritania in Santa Ana has resulted in a rare, wondrous coffee with traditional Ethiopian flavors of ripe berries, wine, and chocolate combined with a distinctive Salvadoran sweetness.
We've worked personally with Aida for years, and this coffee is close to our heart. We are so proud to roast Finca Mauritania Natural Sundried and bring it to you.
Our Chicago Team Sends in the Worms
The crew at Counter Culture Coffee Chicago recently welcomed 5,000 or so wiggly new co-workers to their location in the form of worms to compost coffee grounds. "Counter Culture Coffee Chicago's venture into vermiculture represents not only a tangible way to achieve real sustainability in the life cycle of our coffee," says Counter Culture Chicago's Josh Dugue, "but also a way for us to connect with and support the gardeners and farmers of greater Chicago, as well as provide an introduction to organic soil building in our training center."
Having teamed with Amber from The Urban Worm Girl for on-site logistics, Josh and colleague Rich Futrell are working to finding a local, urban agriculture project to use the nutrient-rich compost generated by the worms.
"In the end, it's very simple," adds Josh, "Coffee is an agricultural jewel that flies under most people's radar. Many consume it and never really consider the amount of care and toil the farmers put into providing us with an excellent product. Vermiculture gives us an easy way to take the coffee conversation back to the farm and the importance of organic agriculture."
Read the full story in the Our Footprint portion of our Sustainability coverage and view our Vermiculture at Counter Culture Coffee Chicago slideshow on flickr.
Thanks to Tyler Kaschke for the photos.