The Roastery at Innisfree: Well, hello

I haven’t updated this site in quite a while and, unfortunately, it shows. Changes are coming, but it may take me a while to get them implemented.

In the meantime, if you want to see a real-time list of what I have in stock, I sell my coffee through the Miami County Locally Grown Virtual Market, and the varieties and prices on that site are up-to-date.

So, what’s coming? Well, first off, I plan to update my varieties and prices here. I’m also in the process of moving into a new roastery that will make roasting coffee easier. Once that’s up and running, I plan to revisit my current varieties of coffee to add some and, perhaps, discontinue some others. My main focus will be on adding sustainably grown, fair trade, organic coffees from sources I can verify.

Until then, stay tuned. More is coming.

DLH

Read more at my The Roastery at Innisfree site...

Worldview: The Roastery at Innisfree: Ch…ch…ch…changes…

The good kind of changes.

This August, it will be five years since my wife, Keba, and I moved back to Innisfree on the Stillwater and I restarted my coffee roasting business. Since then, we’ve changed and grown, and now is time for the next change:

Starting today, I am changing my business name to The Roastery at Innisfree to better align what I am doing as a roaster with what I am doing as a farmer. The coffee won’t change. The small batch roasting won’t change. The personal service won’t change. But this change will help us focus even more on what we are doing at Innisfree.

Enjoy your coffee!

DLH

Read more at my The Roastery at Innisfree weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Worldview: Coffee: The thing about artisanal things

The coffee roasting I do is probably best defined as artisanal. That word tends to conjure the image in most people’s minds of a skilled craftsperson working tirelessly to produce masterpiece after masterpiece in his or her chosen form, and to a great degree, that image is correct.

Most of the time.

The fact is, however, that even for the most skilled craftsperson, things sometimes go wrong. And so it is with coffee.

This summer I’ve been having quality problems with some of my coffee, especially my Tanzanian Peaberry Mt. Meru Estate. Something has just been off with it. Between two batches roasted one right after the other to the same time and temperature, one will under roast and one will over roast. One will crack quickly and heavily where another will never crack. This problem has generated the first complaints I have ever had about the quality of my coffee, to the point that I feel I need to discuss it here.

I will be the first person to admit there is a problem. The fact is I haven’t quite solved it yet. Coffee roasting is a complex process at any level, but in my little roastery I have to deal with a variety of variables that makes the problem more complex than most. My roastery is not climate controlled, so I have little control over temperature and humidity. Both of these factors do things to the beans, and in the case of the Tanzanian, I suspect the wild swings in humidity we’ve had this summer are the culprit.

On the upside of this problem, it has forced me to revisit my roasting process in a very direct way. I’ve even added new, more precise equipment to help me sort out certain specific factors that contribute to the quality of a roast. Yet, even with those factors in place, the problem persists, and I continue to work on it.

So, with all that said, I want to pass on to you, dear coffee drinker, this reality: if it’s bad, don’t drink it, even if it’s artisanal and even if you paid a lot of money for it. If it’s bad and I roasted it, let me know. I will replace every ounce of coffee I’ve roasted for you until it meets your satisfaction.

And, that last bit is why artisanal coffee–or food or clothing or whatever–is superior. We artisans care about what we produce and want to make it right. I hope that fact alone continues to earn your business.

DLH

Read more at my Coffee weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Coffee: Exciting! New! Coffee!

It’s exciting to me anyway. I am in the process of adding five new coffees to my lineup for 2013:

  • Monsooned Indian Malabar
  • Caracolillo Coffee Mill Mocha-Java
  • a Paupa-New Guinean
  • a Fair Trade Organic High Grown Peruvian
  • Zimbabwe AA- Salimba Estate

The Malabar, P-NG and Zimbabwean coffees will be all be City Plus roasts more than likely while the Mocha-Java will be a City Plus or Vienna roast and the Peruvian will be a Vienna or an Espresso roast.

I will let you know once they are available!

DLH

Read more at my Coffee site...

Worldview: Is your coffee worth experiencing?

A guest post by Pete Hitzeman

I can’t do much else when I’m drinking good coffee.

When I was a kid, I remember that my Mom was famous for never finishing a cup of coffee. It’s actually how I got started drinking coffee in the first place. She’d make a cup of Folgers Instant, drink two or three sips, and then set it down to go about the business of taking care of a home, a husband, and four kids. Inevitably, there would end up being a half-consumed, lukewarm cup of coffee laying around that I eventually started sampling (shudder).

At work, restaurants and elsewhere, abandoned cups of half-consumed coffee are a regular sight. People start them and get bored, or distracted, or otherwise just don’t want the rest. (The same thing is common with beer, come to think of it, and I suspect it’s for many of the same reasons.)

But I’ve noticed that I just can’t seem to replicate that scenario. When I drink coffee, that’s pretty much all I’m doing.

Seems counter-intuitive, right? Coffee is the perfect social beverage. It naturally lends itself to conversation, concentration, creativity and, generally, action. But so often, when I pour myself a cup of freshly roasted, just-ground, French-pressed Sumatra from my brother’s roastery, I can’t do much else but sit down and thoughtfully drink it.

Sure, I can write something, or have a quiet conversation with a friend, but those things become merely accessories to the experience of the coffee, rather than the other way around. Good coffee is dimensional. It tells a story with every sip, and the ending, at the bottom of your mug, is every bit as good as the first sip. It’s not just worth your attention, it grabs it with intense opening paragraphs, stirring plot lines, and compelling characters. Conversing over a cup of coffee becomes (at least until it’s gone) a lot like reading a book with the radio on.

We’ve all been at a good restaurant with good friends. The conversations and laughter are almost deafening, and the group is as boisterous as the proverbial three ring circus. But when the main course comes, there’s a sudden hush. The first bite of the carefully prepared, expertly cooked entrees seems to take each patron by surprise, and suddenly their focus is on nothing but the artistry laid out before them, until it’s done. Conversations and debates, however passionate, are abruptly abandoned.
If the coffee is good enough, such is the experience of drinking it.

If your coffee doesn’t compel you to stop, sit down, and experience it, maybe it’s time to ask why. And maybe it’s time to buy a pound from your local nano-roaster, and find out what I’m talking about.

Read more at my Worldview site...

Worldview: Is your coffee worth experiencing?

A guest post by Pete Hitzeman

I can’t do much else when I’m drinking good coffee.

When I was a kid, I remember that my Mom was famous for never finishing a cup of coffee. It’s actually how I got started drinking coffee in the first place. She’d make a cup of Folgers Instant, drink two or three sips, and then set it down to go about the business of taking care of a home, a husband, and four kids. Inevitably, there would end up being a half-consumed, lukewarm cup of coffee laying around that I eventually started sampling (shudder).

At work, restaurants and elsewhere, abandoned cups of half-consumed coffee are a regular sight. People start them and get bored, or distracted, or otherwise just don’t want the rest. (The same thing is common with beer, come to think of it, and I suspect it’s for many of the same reasons.)

But I’ve noticed that I just can’t seem to replicate that scenario. When I drink coffee, that’s pretty much all I’m doing.

Seems counter-intuitive, right? Coffee is the perfect social beverage. It naturally lends itself to conversation, concentration, creativity and, generally, action. But so often, when I pour myself a cup of freshly roasted, just-ground, French-pressed Sumatra from my brother’s roastery, I can’t do much else but sit down and thoughtfully drink it.

Sure, I can write something, or have a quiet conversation with a friend, but those things become merely accessories to the experience of the coffee, rather than the other way around. Good coffee is dimensional. It tells a story with every sip, and the ending, at the bottom of your mug, is every bit as good as the first sip. It’s not just worth your attention, it grabs it with intense opening paragraphs, stirring plot lines, and compelling characters. Conversing over a cup of coffee becomes (at least until it’s gone) a lot like reading a book with the radio on.

We’ve all been at a good restaurant with good friends. The conversations and laughter are almost deafening, and the group is as boisterous as the proverbial three ring circus. But when the main course comes, there’s a sudden hush. The first bite of the carefully prepared, expertly cooked entrees seems to take each patron by surprise, and suddenly their focus is on nothing but the artistry laid out before them, until it’s done. Conversations and debates, however passionate, are abruptly abandoned.
If the coffee is good enough, such is the experience of drinking it.

If your coffee doesn’t compel you to stop, sit down, and experience it, maybe it’s time to ask why. And maybe it’s time to buy a pound from your local nano-roaster, and find out what I’m talking about.

Read more at my Worldview site...

Coffee: Introducing Classic Italian Espresso Blend

Based on the recipe from Sweet Maria’s, Classic Italian Espresso Blend is a full bodied, full flavored coffee with just a hint of acidity and bitterness that one would expect from an espresso blend. It is great as a drip brewed or pressed coffee, but it’s even better made in a moka pot or espresso machine. This blend will be available starting 7 July at the Piqua Farmer’s Market, and you can also pick some up at the Covington Farmer’s Market (Facebook) or the Downtown Troy Farmer’s Market.

DLH

Read more at my Coffee site...