roasters

  • Roast of the Month: Tony's Ethiopia Deri Kochoha

     

    It's time once again for Roast of the Month! This month we're featuring an incredibly delicious Ethiopia from Tony's Coffee. Tony's offers consistently good coffee, so we've been excited to see how they handle this roast!

    This natural Ethiopia comes from the Deri Kochoha processing station. Roasts from this station were really exciting last year, so we're happy to see Tony's deliver a delicious finish to these beans!

    The Deri Kochoha processing station processes coffee from approximately 600 farmers. This diversity in producers really affects the beans that leave the station. It means that from year to year, this processor develops wildly different exports. The coffee is dried on raised tables in a natural process, leading to the intense berry notes in this roast.

    Rich, Sweet, Smooth

    And intense they are! The flavors on display here are strawberry, cocoa, and peach. We think Tony's nailed these notes, with the strawberry really taking the lead. If you're familiar with naturals, you'll be familiar with the strongest flavors here. Like the all of the best naturals, this Tony's opens up into rich chocolatey notes that fold into the strawberry flavors wonderfully. What really sets this coffee apart is how it finished. A soft stonefruit note finishes the flavor palate, leaving you with a pleasant, fruity, but mild aftertaste. It's a great invitation to take another sip!

    This is a delicious roast for pourover brew methods, which bring out the brighter, berry notes deliciously. After you get the full range of flavors out of the pourover, this is a roast that some will love as an espresso. It's tricky to dial in single origins, even more so when you're working with a natural that has stronger flavors. That said, the results can be phenomenal!

    However you decide to brew Ethiopia Deri Kochoha, we're sure you'll love this excellent roast from Tony's. Grab a bag right here today!

  • Introducing Quills Coffee Roasting

    Here at Seattle Coffee Gear we offer a wide range of roasters. From established, recognizable standbys to up and coming outfits, we love to support our roasting partners. It's not every day that we add a new roaster to our lineup, so we always like a take a moment to recognize when we do! With that, we're excited to offer Quills Coffee!

    Community, Family, Quality

    Quills Coffee was started in 2007 by Nathan Quillo. Quillo's passion for coffee led him along the tried and tested path of enthusiast, to barista, to roaster. With his brother's help, they built and opened their first shop, in the Germantown neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky. Since then Quills has worked to build a strong, passionate community around their coffee. It's clear in their messaging that fostering the larger coffee community is a key component of their past, present, and future.

    But what about the coffee? We're happy to say, it's great. Quills' signature blend, Southern Gothic, acts as a great introduction to their catalogue. Featuring classic coffee flavors with impeccable balance, this is a great introduction to Quills and craft coffee in general. If you're more of an espresso drinker, Blacksmith's got you covered. This syrupy, sweet, and rich blend is the perfect pair with a new espresso machine, or if you're just looking for that classic espresso taste.

    Beyond the blends, Quills' single origin offering shows that they're not happy with just being "classic." Their tangy, dynamic Colombian shows off their adventurous side. Meanwhile, their Peru is a delicious, sweeter single origin that performs admirably via a number of brew methods.

    The main through-lines in all of these roasts are quality and balance. Quills pride themselves on offering a delicious, well balanced cup of coffee, and we think they nail it. Check out everything Quills at SCG here, and pick up a bag today!

  • Roast of the Month: SCG Rainier Morning Blend!

    Hey Coffee fans!

    It's time for another Roast of the Month! This month we're featuring a roast so good we put our name on the bag! SCG Rainier Morning Blend is our roasting collaboration with our friends at Brandywine. After such a wonderful experience working with the roaster for our Holiday Blend last year, we set out to collaborate again on a year round offering!

    Cozy Mountain Flavors

    Rainier Morning Blend features a tasty mixture of Colombian and Ethiopian beans. This mix creates a combination of two of our favorite flavors: Cherry and chocolate! Colombians feature strong, rich chocolate notes. It's part of why this origin is such a standby in coffee culture. Colombians offer that classic "coffee" taste of rich chocolate notes tempered by a hint of bitterness and acidity. In Rainier Morning Blend these chocolate notes are pronounced, and get at how important they are in coffee in general! On the flip-side, the Ethiopian beans bring you the sweetness of one of our Cascadian favorites: Rainier cherries!

    Other tasting notes on this roast include hazelnut and plum, both rounding out a satisfying, easy drinking flavor profile. To get to these notes we worked with Brandywine by suggesting potential notes. We offered suggestions like chocolate, apples, berries, and of course, those Rainier Cherries. From there, Brandywine did the heavy lifting. After sending us a few samples we settled on this delicious recipe! This roast is an excellent "every day" blend for drip brewers and your home espresso machine. It also comes recommended as a great pick for your favorite superauto!

    Another thing we were thrilled to work with the folks at Brandywine on was the art! If you've seen Brandywine's beautiful collection of roasts before, you know the artwork is always unique and always fabulous! For Rainier Morning Blend we wanted to feature 3 PNW musts: Rainier, pine trees, and one of our favorite local sea creatures, the orca whale! The result was a fun piece that's just as flavorful as the beans inside the bag!

    We can't wait for you to try Rainier Morning Blend, so grab a bag today!

  • Roast of the Month: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Yirgz from Victrola

    Hey coffee fans!

    It’s that time again for Roast of the Month! This month we’re featuring a delicious single origin from Victrola: Yirgacheffe Yirgz!

     

    What’s with that name?

     

    The Z in YIRGZ denotes that the coffee has zero defects. That designation comes from the extremely rigorous sorting and processing that the beans undergo after harvesting. Victrola notes that each 14kg batch is hand sorted for 12 minutes, which is 300% longer than is typical for the region. This coffee is sourced through Keffa, a coffee broker that puts as much dedication behind supporting quality of life for their producers as they do the quality of coffee. This results in excellent coffee made even more excellent by an inspired roaster!

     

    This roast offers a range of complex tasting notes. We got a strong citrus flavor at the front of the palate with a satisfying spice around the edges. Also notable is the floral aroma that will greet you as you prepare for your first sip. It’s a really nice, delicate scent that improves the experience of this coffee. As far as brew methods are concerned, we recommend trying this one out as a pourover first to get the complexities and more delicate flavors in this roast.

     

    We love this roast and can’t wait for you to give it a try! Check it out here.
  • Guide to Holiday Roasts: Part 3

    Welcome to the final part in our holiday roasts series! Check our Part 1 and Part 2, and enjoy your holidays!

    Bluebeard Coffee Roasters - Snowbeard

    Bluebeard's Snowbeard features sweet, fruity and berry notes thanks to the natural-processed beans in the roast. Washed beans bring more traditional holiday notes of gingerbread and light spices as well. This is a warming, delicious roast that we love in a variety of brew methods. Try it today to wow the coffee lovers in your home!

    Anchorhead Coffee - Winter Warmer

    Winter Warmer is a wild roast from Anchorhead. Notes like "Sugarplum Fairy dreams" and "reindeer musk" are hilarious and silly, but this roast delivers on taste too. Featuring beans from Ethiopia and South America, this roast really brings the sweet notes. Everyone here loved it, and we're sure you will too. To top it all off, the bag is super fun!

    Batdorf and Bronson - Holiday Blend

    Batdorf's Holiday Blend is as classic as it gets. This simple roast features notes of dark chocolate and cherry liqueur. With a full body and those warm, sweet notes, we highly recommend this as a great one to share with friends and family. You can brew this roast a variety of ways, but we LOVED it as a drip brew especially!

    Intelligentsia Coffee - Celebration Blend

    For as iconic as oranges are as a holiday treat, it's surprising that we don't see more of this note in these holiday roasts. It's not totally absent from other coffees this season, but we still love the sneaky tangerine notes in this delicious blend for Intelligentsia. Other berry and spice notes combine with that tangerine to make a fruity, full flavored coffee that is perfect for this season.

    Brandywine Coffee Roasters - Seattle Coffee Gear Holiday Blend

    Last but not least! We couldn't not give a shout out to our collaboration with Brandywine Coffee Roasters. They helped us help them to do the roasting on a coffee that we're proud to put our name on. Rich jammy, cider notes meet the aforementioned orange flavors for a tasty, easy drinking brew. We can't help but love the wonderful artwork that Brandywine designed for the bag too!

     

  • Guide to Holiday Roasts - Part 2

    We took a look at some holiday roasts in part one of this feature, and we're back with several more! Check out these toasty brews for some tastes of the season!

    Espresso Republic - Cabin Fever Blend

    Espresso Republic offers an excellent holiday espresso roast in Cabin Fever. Listing tasting notes like root beer, molasses, and anise, this is definitely a unique roast. We love the holiday spice flavors present in this one for sure. The root beer notes listed come from a sweet nip at the front of the palate. This combined with the rich body and molasses notes, plus the aforementioned spice creates a very tasty brew! As we said, this is an espresso roast, so you'll want to enjoy it as such!

    Huckleberry Roasters - Sister Winter

    Sister Winter is a very simple roast, but perfect if you like a variety of brew methods. Press, pourover, and drip all offer a different take on these classic flavors. We even recommend this roast for superauto espresso machines! Chocolate and berry notes meet a toasty, pastry like aroma for a real crowd pleaser!

    Toby's Estate - Miracle on N. 6th St.

    Miracle on N. 6th St. is another one full of spice notes, but with a citrus twist. Celebrate the holiday citrus tradition with this roast, which features a blend of washed and natural process beans. We loved this one in a variety of brew methods too! Toby's lists notes of orange, cinnamon, and malbec, which we agree combine to create a satisfying holiday treat.

    49th Parallel Coffee - Holiday Edition

    49th lists fruity flavors like juice and apricot alongside a nutty roasted almond note. These flavors combine for a tasty mix of classic holiday flavors. We really love that this one offers that almond note, as the mild apricot flavors really combine in a mellow, but satisfying way. This one is definitely not designed for espresso, and we specifically recommend it as a filter brew. Great for a morning cup or a late night coffee beside the fire!

     

    Victrola Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Alongside cozy and cute bag art, this roast really satisfies. Victrola's tasting notes are chocolate, toasted pecan, walnut, and carrot cake. We love how varied and complex this blend is! The sweeter notes combine with the rich, nutty notes for a full bodied and delicious holiday roast. This roast uses natural process beans alongside washed process, so you'll notice hints of sweetness from the naturals and the nuttier notes coming from the washed beans. Recommended for filter brewing!

    Reverie Coffee Roasters - Christmas Cheer

    This one features delicious hot cocoa, baking spice, and roasted nut notes. These are really legendary holiday flavors and they combine for a predictable, but delicious blend here. We actually got peanut brittle notes from this one that we really loved! Definitely a richer blend, we recommend this one in a variety of different brew methods. And excellent all arounder that guests will love!

    Stay tuned, because we have ONE MORE holiday roast feature headed your way soon!

  • Roast of the Month: Ladro Roasting Myanmar Yay Chan Pyin

    It's time for another roast of the month here at SCG! This month we were excited by the unique flavors in Ladro Roasting's Myanmar Yay Chan Pyin! Read on for why:

    Unique and Delicious

    Myanmay Yay Chan Pyin comes to us from the Shan State region of Myanmar and the beans were grown at an elevation of 1,534 meters. Generally coffee from Myanmar features a big body with heavier flavor notes, and this is true here as well. What sets this coffee apart for us is just how complex it is. Sometimes we pick the smoothest or best all around cup, but in this case we definitely can't get over the range of notes going on with this roast.

    The nose on this roast is wildly complex, with earthy, sweet scents not quite overwhelming the senses. At the front of the coffee you really can taste the brown sugar notes. This sweetness reminds us of baking cookies or cake, but quickly gives way to the flavors imparted by the natural processing of these beans. That natural taste manifests as a tropical, fruity note that Ladro has identified as Guava. It's definitely different than the more berry notes that South American and African natural processing creates. We love it here. Finally, the earthier, cedar tones hit the back of the palate, rounding out this coffee nicely. You're left with a earthy, slightly tart, but overall smooth mouthfeel that is very satisfying.

    Brew Methods and Closing Thoughts

    Ladro recommends using a drip method or pourover for this roast, and we agree. It's a light one, so pourover is really the best way to tease out the roast's more complex notes and aromas.

    Like most coffee from Myanmar, this one is a micro-lot. That means it won't last forever and we have a limited stock! Snag a bag for yourself here!

  • Guide to Holiday Roasts Part 1

    Holidays bring a whole world of delicious holiday roasts! From warm, chocolatey blends to some exciting fruitier coffees, we're excited to share our 2018 holiday roast guide! This week, we'll take a look at 6 of the roasts we're featuring this year. We'll finish up with several more next week! Without further adieu:

    Caffe Ladro - Fireside

    Caffe Ladro's Fireside returns this year for a delicious cup of coffee to enjoy with friends and family around the fireplace. Our team has used words like "cozy," "classic," and "warm" to describe this delicious holiday blend. The molasses notes offer a indulgent sweetness with earthy, nutty notes on the finish. Definitely a delicious roast in a variety of brew methods!

    Velton's Coffee - Holiday Blend

    It's typical (and delicious) to get strong chocolate notes from holiday coffee roasts. While that makes for a familiar, warm, and inviting cup of coffee, Velton's brings us something a little different this year. This roast features delicious fruity notes like pineapple and lemon with berry flavors coming from the natural beans in the blend. We love how bold this roast is, and how much it stands out! Check it out as a drip or espresso!

    Tony's Coffee - Backcountry Blend

    For anyone looking for a darker roast this holiday season, check out Tony's Backcountry Blend. This coffee offers milk chocolate notes alongside more earthy flavors of toasted almond. What we liked about this blend is that it'll satisfy those looking for a darker roast without being too much for the medium roast drinker. This is a plus when looking for a coffee to share with others over the holidays! It also works for a variety of brew methods.

     

    Counter Culture Coffee - Iridescent

    The perfect gift blend, Iridescent features brilliant, giftable packaging and a striking look! That's not all though, this is a delicious blend of Colombian, Kenyan, and Ethiopian beans that makes for an accessible roast that will still provide some complexity. Predictable chocolate notes come from the washed process beans in this blend, with the natural beans lending a berry flavor. We love this roast in a variety of brew methods. What's more, Counter Culture is donating a nickel of every pound of coffee sold to charities in the producing countries!

    Dogwood Coffee - Snow Emergency

    Continuing the trend of blending natural and washed process beans, Dogwood's snow Emergency is a brilliant holiday entry. Natural process beans bring a berry, cherry flavor to this roast that's rounded out by traditional chocolate notes. This is a full bodied roast that won't overwhelm, and makes for an excellent drip brew.

    Kickapoo Coffee Roasters - Revelry

    For a brighter set of notes, check out Kickapoo's Revelry! This delicious medium light blend will please a wide range of coffee drinkers. We love the richness of this cup of coffee, but it doesn't overwhelm if you like lighter roasts. The smooth aroma is a delightful prelude to the richer flavors inside the roast too! Try it in a press or as a drip brew!

    Check back soon for more holiday roast notes!

     

     

     

  • Roast of the Month: Toby's Costa Rica Santa Teresa 2000

    Welcome to October's Roast of the Month, featuring Toby's Estate Costa Rica Santa Teresa 2000!

     

    Sweet and Creamy

    This roast is a true winner when it comes to balancing sweetness and mouthfeel. The beans in this coffee were processed using a technique called "honey-process". This is similar to the honeyed process you may have learned about in the past, where some cherry is left on the bean while drying. The "white" part of the term refers to the amount of mucilage left on the bean, and the length of time it is given to ferment. The result of this process and the roasting technique is a flavor profile similar to that of a natural, but less intense.

    For this roast, that means delicious sweet notes of caramel apple and cherry soda, alongside creamier, chocolatey notes. What we love most about this roast is the way these flavors bend around the palate. It makes for an intensely satisfying mouthfeel and a taste you'll want to experience again and again.

    As is often the case with naturals and honey processed roasts, brew method is key. We recommend trying this roast as a pourover first, to really get the most out of it. This brew method will give you a clearer understanding of the roast's notes. From there, try dialing it in to your espresso machine or press! Just avoid using these beans in a super-auto. While not very oily for a honey-process coffee, we still recommend sticking to blends in these machines to prevent clogging.

    Grab your bag of Toby's  Estate—Costa Rica Santa Teresa 2000 here!

     

  • Roaster Spotlight: Velton's Coffee Roasting Company—The Interview

    As noted last week, we had the great opportunity to sit down with Velton of Velton's Coffee Roasting Company to chat about roasting and coffee in general! Check out the full text of the interview below, or the video version above!

    Full Interview

    Seattle Coffee Gear: We’re here with Velton from Velton’s Coffee Roasting, how’s it going today sir?

    Velton: It’s good!

    SCG: Awesome, so you were kind enough to sit down with us and go through some questions about your process and about Velton’s! So my first question is what led you to get into roasting the first place

    Velton: I’d been in coffee quite a while, I’d been a barista for 10, 11 years or so, and where I was working at the time, I was managing Bauhaus Books and Coffee down on Capitol Hill in Seattle. They had opened Top Pot, and when they opened the second Top Pot they decided to get into roasting. They had enough of their own accounts at that point. I had told them a few years prior that if they did get into roasting that that was the next step that I wanted to take in coffee, and that I was very curious about it. To their credit when they opened the second Top Pot and put the roastery in they made me the head roaster. I didn’t know what I was doing for a while but we figured it out! That was around 2001.

     

    SCG: That’s a common theme I’ve heard. I know people who I work with and friends who are amateur roasters, everyone who really wants to get into roasting, but nobody really knows what they’re doing when they get started because it’s a complicated thing!

    Velton: It’s complicated and one roaster can supply a lot of coffee shops, so there just aren’t as many positions in roasteries as there are in coffee shops.

    SCG: Exactly. So in terms of how you run Velton’s, what do you look for when you’re purchasing green coffee?

    Velton: So we’ve got a few blends, we have to make sure we can maintain those. So there’s that. Then we always have about 8 different single origin offerings at a time. We try to keep a well-rounded offering of those. Some that are more approachable for folks, some that we feel will work well as espresso, some that are a little more wild that might still work for espresso but aren’t for everyone. So when we’re running low on some of those I’m trying to replace them with something similar. And always, of course, coffee is agricultural. So there’s different harvest seasons around the globe, so we’re always trying to buy what’s in season, as much as possible.

    SCG: So on that note, having some variety is maybe more important to you than specializing in a specific roast type, level, or origin?

    Velton: Definitely. I’m trying to have a little something for everyone. We always want to have a couple that are a little more wild, maybe bright. We also want something that’s very approachable, just nice filter cups of coffee. Something that, there’s a lot of coffees that taste great on a cupping table, but you might not want to drink a full pot of it. So we want one of those for someone if that’s what they’re looking for. So yea, variety is the goal.

    SCG: Do you have, regardless of whether you’re selecting coffee to roast, a process that you find, whether it’s washed, natural, or honey, that’s your favorite?

    Velton: It’s probably washed, that’s generally going to be my favorite, but there are exceptions to that. I definitely really enjoy naturals, and I think natural processing has gotten so much better. I like naturals a lot as espresso. As filter I might like four to six ounces, but it’s rare that I’m going to sit down and drink a pot of a natural. Again there have been exceptions, there have been outstanding ones that have come along.

    SCG: We kind of talk about the notion that the first time you have a natural your response is “how does anyone drink anything other than this? This is incredible!” Then you drink a hundred naturals and think “well that washed was really good though, maybe I do like the balance, and I do like that it’s a little bit easier to drink multiple cups.” Then eventually you hit a point where you think “well they’re both great, different times for different coffee.”

    Velton: I feel like that’s where I’m at. I like them all, as long as they do it well and the green was great to begin with, yea.

    SCG: Do you have any tips for ways to help develop your palate? That’s a question we get a lot.

    Velton: I think being conscious while you’re tasting the coffee. Even if you like cream and sugar, get in the habit of taking a few sips while it’s black. Let it cool a little bit, you’ll start to get more flavor as it cools. I think if you’re conscious about it while you’re drinking the coffee, and what you’re tasting. And it’s fine to cheat and look at the bag and see what they’re telling you you should be tasting. Then you just slowly build a vocabulary in your head that your palate starts to tie into.

    SCG: Do you have a favorite brew method for coffee?

    Velton: I would say my very favorite is pourover. I just feel like I get the clearest description of the coffee that way. But I totally love espresso. So my go-to is pourover when I really want to learn about a coffee, but I do love to see what it’ll do as espresso as well. It’s hard for me to find an espresso I don’t like.

    SCG: That’s generally how we approach coffee in house too, and how we recommend it to people. If there’s a really complex roast we always recommend it as a pourover because it’s the only way you’re going to get everything out of it.

    Velton: Yea, and usually the flavor descriptors are designed for that.

    SCG: Do you have any tips for somebody who maybe is an amateur roaster trying to turn it into a business?

    Velton: Definitely just keep tasting your roasts all the time. Try to trust your palate. If it’s your roastery, there’s so many ways you can roast a coffee and have it turn out well, but make sure you like what you’re doing and you’re not trying to roast just for your customers.

    SCG: This is one of my favorite questions. I don’t know how valuable it is, but it’s really interesting to me so I always ask it. Do you find that your environment has shaped the way that you roast? Or do you think that as a roasting culture develops it tends to guide the culture in coffee shops in a region.

    Velton: A little bit of both. I think they feed off each other. I’m not really sure.

    SCG: It’s a tough question, we’ve talked about it with folks in the past and I notice, being from the Midwest, from Detroit, the culture in coffee shops there is vastly different than what we find in the Pacific Northwest. While I haven’t spent a lot of time in coffee shops on the East Coast I know in New York it’s a very different vibe with roasters and with shops. I wonder how much local culture is influencing that, or if when you get into the specific parts of coffee culture there’s influence from roasters touching local coffee shops.

    Velton: I think in the Seattle area and the Pacific Northwest, we’ve had a pretty ingrained coffee culture. Maybe to a degree longer or greater than most elsewhere, but it was more dark roast oriented for a long time. A lot of the roasters that popped up over time have kind of modeled themselves that way and it’s taken a little longer. But I don’t feel it’s that way anymore. We have enough of a third-wave coffee culture in Seattle that the roasters that pop up now don’t feel like they’ve got to feed into the dark roast culture if they don’t want to. So it’s changing. It took us a little longer to change here maybe than elsewhere.

    SCG: That makes a lot of sense. This is probably a question that ties in with what you were saying about offering something for everybody. Do you ever find yourself chasing something with your roasts? Or do you generally let the coffee speak for itself and let it inform the way that you’re roasting?

    Velton: Again both. It’s kind of a two-way street where I have ideas up front about what I think this coffee will taste like so I roast based on that. Then I'll taste it and maybe take it in a different direction based on what I’m tasting. I definitely influence the coffee based on my expectations but then the taste will influence how I roast it right back. So they work together.

    SCG: My last question, and this is a hard question to answer, but do you have a favorite roast that you’ve done before?

    Velton: Favorite roast? No [laughs]. Every year there’s a couple of coffees that stand out to me. Sometimes they were ones that I didn’t expect them to be. More often than not if we buy a $30/lb geisha, and they’re hard to move so we don’t often to that, but quite often it’ll be the best coffee we’ve had for the year. Then other times you’ll get a $3/lb Peru that just blew everybody’s doors off. It was just so well balanced and had a little bit of everything going on. So every year we get a couple that stand out, but I wouldn’t say there’s one over the last ten years that’s the one.

    SCG: That’s a great answer! I appreciate your time!

    Velton: Thanks!

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