Cafe de Colombia

Coffee was first introduced to Colombia in 1723, presumably by Jesuit priests that brought the seeds from Venezuela. The country produces about 12% of the coffee in the world, second only to Brazil. Colombian coffee is often regarded as some of the highest quality coffee in the world. Colombia has traditionally grown arabica beans although today Bourbon, Typica, Caturra, and Maragogype coffee varietals are cultivated. Its unique geography makes Colombia perfectly suited for producing a delicious, high quality brew.  Arabica beans come from  a species of coffee originally indigenous to the mountains of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, hence its name. It is also known as the “coffee shrub of Arabia”, “mountain coffee” or “arabica coffea”. Coffea arabica is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated, being grown in southwest Arabia for well over 1,000 years. Gourmet coffees, such as Colombian coffee, are almost exclusively high-quality mild varieties of arabica coffee. The climate in Colombia has traditionally been hot and dry enough to grow this variety very successfully, although climate change in the last twenty years has caused coffee production to drop off some in the region. These beans are so popular, the next time you’re in a restaurant and order a cup of Joe, chances are you’ll be drinking Colombian. Freshly roasted Colombian coffee beans are rich in flavor, heavy bodied, have a bright acidity, and are intensely aromatic. So drink up – and enjoy!

African Coffee

Coffee from different regions of the globe have distinct flavors. This is because the plant and its fruit are affected by the soil and surrounding environment. Traditionally, it is thought that coffee originated in Africa. From there it spread into Arabia and eventually Italy.  Coffee beans are still grown in African and beans from this region are very distinctly flavored. Coffee beans that are grown in Kenya have a bold flavor that has an overtone of black currant. This berry flavor is very unique and gains fans from across the globe.

East African coffee beans, in particular, are loved for the intense body they yield, as well as their spicy acidity. These include beans from Ethiopia and Tanzania. If all you drink is Columbian coffee, you can change your game by sampling the unique flavor of African coffee.

Gold Miner’s Blend & Molasses-Spice Cookies

Java Mountain Roasters’ Gold Miner’s Blend is a full-bodied coffee, inspired by the spirit and hardiness of the mining era. Strike it rich by pairing this bold blend with Molasses-Spice cookies ~ the perfect pick-me-up for a fall afternoon.

Molasses-Spice Cookies (recipe from America’s Test Kitchen)

2 1/4     cups all-purpose flour

2           teaspoons baking soda

1/2        teaspoon salt

1 1/2     teaspoons ground cinnamon

1           teaspoon ground ginger

3/4        teaspoon ground cloves

1/4        teaspoon ground allspice

12         tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/2        cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2        cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling cookies

1           large egg

1           teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3        cup unsulphured molasses

 

1.   Adjust racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together in medium bowl; set aside.

2.   Cream butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed. Scrape sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Add egg, vanilla extract, and molasses. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl.

3.   Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

4.   Place remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar in shallow bowl. Working with 2 tablespoons of dough each time, roll into balls. Roll balls in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.

5.   Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets (from top to bottom and front to back) halfway through baking, until outer edges begin to set and centers are soft and puffy, 11 to 13 minutes. (Cookies will seem underbaked). Cool cookies on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring to cooling racks with wide spatula.

Peruvian Organic & Apple Brown Betty

Java Mountain Roasters’ Peruvian Organic coffee is clean and crisp, hitting the entire palate with its sweet, good body, and moderate acidity. This is an exquisite organic coffee, with passion fruit in the aroma and a roasted raisin-toned dark chocolate in the cup. For a perfect fall treat, pair this roast with Apple Brown Betty. 

Apple Brown Betty

4       cups peeled, sliced, pared tart apples

1/4    cup orange juice

1       cup sugar

3/4    cup flour, sifted

1/2    teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4    teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2    cup butter

 

Mound apples in 9-inch buttered pie plate. Sprinkle with orange juice. Combine flour, sugar, spices and dash salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 375˚ for 45 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is crisp. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

Gingerbread with Black & Tan

Fall is such a perfect time for baking – the wonderful smells fill the house and the oven actually adds warmth to the fall chill in the air. It’s also the perfect time to try Java Mountain Roasters Black & Tan coffee – a blend of light and dark roasted Indonesian and African beans, that create a unique speckled appearance and a mellow, full-bodied taste. How about trying Black & Tan with a warm gingerbread topped with a dollop of whipped cream. It’s so good, it will be like a celebration welcoming autumn.

Gingerbread

  • 1 1/2     cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4        cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4        teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4        teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2        teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2        teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2        cup shortening
  • 1/2        molasses
  • 1           egg

Oven 350˚

In a bowl combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and baking soda. Add shortening, molasses, egg, and 1/2 cup of water. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed till combined. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350˚ oven for 35 to 40 minutes or till a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan; serve warm. Serves 9. *

Whipped Cream

  • 1        cup whipping cream
  • 2        tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2     teaspoon vanilla

In a chilled bowl combine shipping cream, sugar, and vanilla. Beat with chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium speed till soft peaks form. Makes 2 cups (8 servings). *

* From Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

The Art of Tamping

Creating an espresso is a work of art. A certain weighed amount of coffee is necessary to create a ‘dose’ or ‘shot’ of espresso. The frreshly ground coffee is placed in a small basket where it is leveled to an even depth with no gaps or breaks in the coffee. It is then tamped down with a tool to make a sound ‘puck.’ A sound puck is crucial for a good cup of espresso, and creating one takes skill and practice.  Since the water from the espresso machine is under pressure, the espresso puck must be hard and evenly tamped.

Many coffee stores have their pucks pre-made. All a barista needs to do is allow the hot water to pour through to make the espresso. The result is consistent, but with no real quality control at the shop. At Java Mountain Roasters, all the espresso baskets are hand-filled and hand-tamped. What you get is a hand-crafted espresso made freshly and right before your eyes. It’s one of the benefits of an authentic coffee shop.

The Perfect Bean

What, exactly, makes a good coffee bean? Are some beans just born better than others? Maybe – it helps to grow beans at higher altitudes (above 3,500 to 5,500 feet) so that the bean doesn’t get too hot or grow too fast and take on more water. Because of slower growth, the beans become denser and are better able to handle the intense heat in a roaster.

It helps to be picked when the beans are super ripe – big, red, and meaty – mature and fully developed. It is best if the beans are processed immediately, so the bean can stand on its own and not have negative interaction with warm air, microbe, etc. This involves drying the bean and milling, which is removing the last layers of dry skin and remaining fruit residue from the now dry coffee, and cleaning and sorting it. 

Good beans will come from diligent and careful handling in the mill in order to not have the good beans compromised by the bad beans. In other words, the beans are sorted and good coffee beans are set aside.

Basically, a good bean is born that way. There is very little one can do to improve the quality of a harvested bean, but careful handling is essential to maintain these good qualities. The final step before brewing that is critical in producing a good cup of coffee from a good bean is a roaster that is willing to pay attention to the potential a coffee has and roast the beans with care and attention. This is why at Java Mountain Roasters we carefully choose our beans and roast them ourselves in-house. We love coffee, and our goal is to make the perfect cup every time.