Frequently Asked Questions
You say 'medium roast' a lot, I have no idea what that means.
Roast level is often generalized into light, medium, and dark roast. But there are actually many roast levels running the gamut from light to dark. This page has a lot of good information about roast levels. We roast to City or City+ for most every variety, so that's what we mean by 'medium roast.' Roasting beyond Full City+ means you taste less of the bean and more of the roast.
Ok, but are all of your beans Fair Trade and Organic?
This is a great question, and one we hear often. Short answer: some of our beans are both, some are one or another, and some are neither. Fair Trade certification applies only to co-operatives and our beans are often sourced directly from a single farmer, so Fair Trade can’t apply. Fair Trade, even when an option, isn’t a cure-all. It doesn’t assure quality or that individual farmers are actually paid fairly. We strive always to purchase beans from sources that pay farmers well above Fair Trade rates because it just makes sense to us.
Organic is another well-intentioned idea that sometimes fails in practicality. Sustainable and organic farming, when done well, is clearly ideal. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that a certified organic farm or co-op is farming sustainably. Practically, farmers are often quite poor, and may farm organically simply due to the cost of chemical pesticides. Those same farmers also cannot afford the expense of organic certification. So, even organically farmed beans may not be stamped as such due to lack of certification. So 'organic' can be tricky and misleading, but is clearly beneficial when done well. We are huge supporters of sustainable farming, and try to ensure that these are the farmers we work with.
What does the 'Roasted On' date on my bag mean?
In short, it means the day we roasted your beans. For about the first 24 hours after roasting, beans give off carbon dioxide. Even then, of course, oxidation has begun. Oxygen is not a friend of roasted coffee beans. Within roughly 14-21 days (varies based on variety), the wonderful nuances of flavor found in any variety will begin to vanish. Do yourself a favor and drink fresh coffee every single day.
What should I do if I have still have beans left after that date?
Keep using them! Seriously, coffee won't go 'bad' and make you ill. The coffee is still fine and will likely taste far better than anything you get at a grocery store. Just keep in mind that as time wears on, the nuance of the fresh roasted coffee fades. The older it gets, the more the flavor begins to fall to a least common denominator: that generic, bitter commodity coffee flavor.
So should I store my coffee in the freezer to keep it fresh?
Storing beans in the freezer necessarily means a temperature change when you grind them for brewing. This means condensation forms on the beans, and that's not ideal. Our advice is to always store your beans at room temperature and in that proverbial 'cool, dark place.' On a counter top, in a cupboard, whatever. Just keep it out of direct sunlight. Knowing oxygen will shorten the life of fresh coffee, you may want to store your beans in a mason jar.
Is it ok to grind my bag of beans all at once?
Because exposure to air is harmful to fresh beans, grinding the beans all at once gives air that much more surface area to harm. So it isn't ideal. We recommend grinding as you brew, it just tastes better. Still, we aren't zealots. As with freezing, if grinding all your beans at once is what you want to do, knock yourself out.
I'm honestly not sure where to start with water and coffee ratios.
A great ratio to start with is 16oz water to 1oz beans. Everyone's tastes vary, so you may need to adjust that ratio one way or another. You can totally geek out and weigh your beans with a kitchen scale each time you brew, or weigh them once and eyeball it thereafter. Be as nerdy as you like, we won't judge you.
This was helpful, but I still have questions.
That's great, because we love questions and would love to talk to you. Visit us during retail hours or email Scott or Andy any time.