Caffeine Tidbits Part 2

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Roses and sharks have something in common.  They both come in many colors, shapes and sizes.  Coffee does too.  In fact, there are over 100 species of coffee. Several customers and friends expressed concerned because they heard in the news the several coffee species were going extinct.  I was happy to put them at ease letting them know that those varieties were going extinct because the coffee they produced tastes horrible.

There are two species that are cultivated for our coffee cups, namely robusta and arabica. Arabica coffee can only be grown in the mountains and robusta coffee is grown in the low lands. Robusta is the commodity coffee. When one hears of the price of coffee going up or down on the news they are referring to robusta. Vietnam is the number 1 producer of robusta followed by Brazil. Robusta contains twice the caffeine of arabica coffee. Because of its high caffeine content, it is bug and disease resistant but it also tastes pretty horrible. While there are some folks trying to get robusta into the specialty grade class of coffee, I am of the school that it will never be accepted.

We only buy and roast arabica beans. Arabica beans come in several varieties. Of the plethora of varieties, we concentrate on 5. Another criteria we stress, is that the coffee is grown over 5,000 feet above sea level. At that level, the bean grows slower and becomes denser.  As not to get too technical, it literally means there is more flavor packed into the coffee bean. Then it is my job as the roast master to bring out those different flavors and textures for you to enjoy at home.  Our line-up of 7 to 8 coffees take over 140 tastings to choose.  It’s not about the caffeine….it’s about the taste.

Caffeine Tidbits Part 1

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Here are a couple of interesting tidbits about caffeine so if the subject comes up in a conversation, you can feel like you have something to add to the conversation. Okay, maybe the subject does not come up as often with you as it does with me but here’s some great info.
Caffeine is a natural insect repellent/insecticide. Just like caffeine stimulates us humans, it also stimulates an insect’s nervous system. So much so that insects will die if coffee plants or beans are over consumed. What this means to us is that chemical insecticides are not needed to control insect infestations.
The natural question would then be, “why isn’t caffeine used as an insecticide for every crop around the world?” The answer is pretty simple. It is very water soluble and washes away when it rains so it would have to be reapplied after every rain shower or storm.
Doesn’t a lighter roast have more caffeine? [On a side note, I hate this question! Those who just drink coffee solely for the caffeine effect should just go to a gas station and buy the $1.50 per gallon coffee to get their “fix”.] I do understand the confusion. There is marketing misinformation out there and it is our job to set the record straight.
The definitive answer to which has more caffeine a light roast or a dark roast is that caffeine is not roasted out of coffee. In other words, it has the same amount of caffeine in an unroasted green bean as in an over-roasted dark oily bean. However, the bean losses moisture as it is roasted and a dark roasted bean can weight 20% less than a light roasted bean. Therefore if you weigh your coffee before brewing, it will take more of the dark roast coffee beans to reach the desired brewing weight which means a dark roast coffee will have more caffeine than a light roast. Wait! What?
Stay tuned and next week we might talk about more nerdy facts about coffee and caffeine.

Everything You Need to Know About Brazilian Coffee

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If you drink coffee, we’re confident you’ve had Brazilian Coffee whether you know it or not.

Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer.

In fact, Brazil is responsible for almost one-third of all coffee. The vast country is covered by over 10,000 square miles of coffee plantations. The majority of these are located in the southeastern states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Paraná where the environment is ideal for consistent conditions for coffee production.

In addition to being the top producer, Brazil is also the largest coffee consumer. Brazil took the title from the United States in the mid-2010’s.

Fun Fact: Along with Ethiopia, Brazil is the only other coffee producing country with a large domestic consumption.

Because of the sheer amount of coffee Brazil produces, there is not one specific kind of coffee that the country is known for. The country produces everything from mass produced cheap coffees (usually lower grade arabica), to complex and elegant coffees.

 

History of Brazilian Coffee

Coffee crops first came to Brazil in the 18th Century. Brazil has been the dominant producer since the 1840s.

Production as a share of world coffee output peaked in the 1920’s, with the country supplying 100% of the world’s coffee, but has declined since the 1950s due to increased global production.

 

Geography

A big factor in Brazilian coffee is the geography. Most of the Brazilian coffee is lower grown in grassland areas and in non-volcanic soil. The growing elevations in Brazil range from about 2,000 feet to 4,000 feet.

As we stated in our Speciality Coffee guide, these conditions are less than ideal for specialty coffee where 4,500 to  5,000 foot elevations are needed.

This is why most of the coffee in Brazil is grown to be “commercial” grade coffee where bulk and price are the prime considerations.

But that doesn’t mean Brazil can’t grow great coffee.

There are some areas where the better coffee is grown, these are the three main areas.

  1. Mogiana, the oldest coffee region is located along the border of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais states north of Sao Paulo.Mogiana is known for its deep, richly red soil and its sweet, full, rounded coffees.
  2. The rugged, rolling hills of Sul Minas, in the southern part of Minas Gerais state northeast of Sao Paulo, is the heart of Brazil coffee country and home of two of the largest and best-known fazendas, Ipanema and Monte Alegre.
  3. Tap Dancer’s Brazilian coffee comes from Vargem Alegre, which is a municipality in the state of Minas Gerais in the Southeast region of Brazil.

Sitio Sertaozinho Coffee

Brazilian Coffee Characteristics

The best Brazilian coffee is soft, nutty, low acidity, and offers a nice bittersweet chocolate taste.

Because of this, Brazilian coffee makes for an excellent base for making flavored coffees. A good Brazil coffee can add a lot to espresso blends too.

 

Tap Dancer’s Brazilian Coffee: Sitio Sertaozinho

 

BRAZIL SITIO SERTAOZINHO

Sitio Sertaozinho is another of the standout specialty coffee farms in the Serra da Mantiqueira region in the South of Minas Gerais.

The region is very hilly, and is the home to many microclimates within them.  These microclimates produce a really interesting range of flavour nuances.

Region: Vargem Allegre (Happy Valley)
Varietal: Yellow Bourbon
Processing: Sun Dried Natural
Altitude: 4500 feet above sea level.

Our Sitio Sertaozinho coffee has been dried inside the fruit (dry-processed) so that some of the sweetness of the fruit carries into the cup.

It also comes from trees of the traditional Latin-American variety of arabica called bourbon.

Taste Profile: This medium body coffee was originally purchased to be our iced coffee, this coffee was too good not to offer in our lineup.

The coffee offers tantalizing notes of vanilla, chocolate, tangerine and brown sugar.

The vanilla and chocolate aromatics are subtle to our nose, but oh so enticing, and the standard roasted aroma we all expect when walking into the kitchen is noticeably more pure and rich.

Use a pour over method and you’ll get addicted to the first wave of aroma that arises with the steam from the initial pour.

You should be able to detect the notes of tangerine and the brown sugar. The finish is crisp and clean.

BUY OUR BRAZILIAN SPECIALITY COFFEE HERE

 

Dry Processing / Natural Processing

Tap Dancer’s Brazilian coffee is processed using a Sun Dried Natural process.

This is where the coffee is laid out to sun dry with the cherry on. This imparts a rich dry fruit flavor onto the coffee bean, and help adds to the body of the coffee.

Dry processing is a high risk, high reward way to process coffee. A lot of things can go wrong.

The seed or bean inside the fruit just sitting there at the mercy of the fruit surrounding it. If the fruit rots, the coffee will taste rotten or fermented. If microorganisms invade the fruit during that rotting, a hard or medicinal taste will carry into the cup.

At the most extreme medicinal end of this taste spectrum are the notorious rio coffees of Brazil, which are saturated by an intense iodine-like sensation that American coffee buyers avoid, but which coffee drinkers in parts of Eastern Europe and the Near East seek out and enjoy.

In fact, in some years these intensely medicinal-tasting coffees fetch higher prices in the world market than sound, clean-tasting Brazil coffees.

The potential harshness is the risk Brazilian farmers take in their attempt to achieve the round, sweet fruitiness of the best dry-processed coffees.

 

Brazilian Coffee is common, but our speciality coffee is not. You’ll enjoy this medium body coffee. It’s perfect for iced coffee or piping hot. Enjoy.