Ritual Coffee Roasters by Caleb Savage

Ritual Coffee Roasters was founded in San Francisco in 2005 by Eileen Hassi Rinaldi with the desire to bring the specialty coffee revolution to the Bay. Now with five cafes, Ritual continues to be a leader in the coffee community through its devotion to honest and fair sourcing, roasting, and brewing. Eileen Hassi recently sat down for an interview for Victionary’s BRANDLife: Cafes & Coffeehouses, an awesome book that is definitely worth the read. You can pick up a copy from our neighbors, Commonplace Books. All quotes below come from Eileen and the interview from that book.

Vision & Opening

For many coffee lovers, the first taste of specialty coffee is an eye-opening experience. Coffee drinkers notice a lighter cup that’s sweet, bright, and clean. Baristas have better tools and opportunities available to better extract the great flavors in coffee. More attention is given to where the coffee comes from and how the coffee is handled and cared for. While we can see a clear evolution in coffee development and quality, most already apply the same filters and care to the other areas of food and drink. “People paid attention to where their meat came from and who grew their vegetables. People cared about heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables. Coffee simply wasn’t on the same level.” Enter Ritual.

Photo Courtesy of Ritual Roasters

Photo Courtesy of Ritual Roasters

“Drinking my first coffee is the only thing I do every day that feels...sacred. It is a special moment when you put the warm cup to your lips. Every day is full of opportunity, and having coffee will just make it better. It feels like a ritual to me. It conveys that coffee is something special and sacred. Not just a habit or a necessity.” This sacred moment is prepared and cared for in Ritual’s focus on creating an environment in their shops and workplace where people can thrive and coffee is given everything it needs to shine.

The People’s Coffee Roaster

Opening back in 2005 meant bringing a new way of thinking and talking about coffee that not a whole lot of people had exposure to.

Leslie, head roaster at Ritual (Photo courtesy of Ritual Roasters)

Leslie, head roaster at Ritual (Photo courtesy of Ritual Roasters)

“The first thing we did was to get them to drink the coffee. We had to gain people’s trust, which we did by giving them something delicious, that they’d never had before. Once they tasted it and wanted to talk about how they found it different, we were excited to have those conversations. We were enthusiastic, we were earnest, and above all, we were passionate about it.”

This is why we love Ritual. Anyone who loves connecting the dots between a love for people, whether they’re the farmers and producers caring for the coffee or the new-to-coffee customer, and a love for preparing and serving the best offerings available to them, is a winner in our book. We have Ritual’s Farami de Dota from Costa Rica on bar today. If you like warm M&Ms cookies with a hint of lemon zest, you’ll want to give it a try!

Home Brew Techniques & Troubleshooting Class Recap by Caleb Savage

We had a great time talking pour overs and extraction in our first Home Brew Techniques & Troubleshooting class! We’re so glad we were able to spend time sharing insights, techniques and cups of coffee with our friends! For those that missed out, here’s a quick recap on what we covered:

The Best Cup of Coffee

A great cup of coffee is a cup you like to drink. If we want to dive a little deeper into making coffee, we’d say that a great cup is one that’s extracted evenly, pulling out all of the good qualities of the coffee while leaving all of the bad qualities behind. When brewing at home, a great cup should also be one you enjoy making. We don’t believe there’s only one right way to make coffee. If you don’t enjoy what it takes to make the “perfect” cup at home, then it’s not perfect for you and we can find a method that works best!

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Extraction and the Importance of Brew Recipes

When we talk about coffee brewing, we’re talking about extraction. We can combine and change variables like the time coffee is in contact with water, the quality of the water, how even and how fine the coffee is ground, the temperature of the water, and how much we disturb or agitate the grounds to create an even extraction that leaves the coffee balanced in sweetness, acidity, and bitterness.

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With so many variables taking place in coffee brewing, one of the ways we can control for them is by using brew recipes. We discussed how variables like grind and time work with each other and how using brew recipes that come from companies whose coffee you enjoy is a great place to start. In the class we discussed recipes from KLLR, Heart, Ritual, & Blue Bottle!

As always, we love talking about coffee. Anytime you have a question, we are more than willing to hunt down the right answer and find a solution that works for you! We loved taking these fun deep dives into various parts of the coffee experience! If you’re interested in learning more about our monthly events, you can sign up for our email list here!

Hacienda La Esmeralda by Steve Willingham

Hacienda La Esmeralda is made up of four farms in Boquete, Panama owned by the Petersons, a world famous family of coffee producers. This fame comes from the phenomenal quality of their geisha coffees with clear floral and fruit notes that make for an outstanding cup.

Photo Courtesy of Hacienda La Esmeralda

Photo Courtesy of Hacienda La Esmeralda

A Brief History of Esmeralda

In 1967, Rudolph A. Peterson decided to retire and purchase a couple of farms from a fellow named Hans Elliot in Boquete, Panama. Back then, it was mostly cattle and eventually dairy. Coffee was there too; in fact, it had been growing there since 1890. It just wasn't a focus.

In the mid-1980's, the Peterson family decided to diversify by focusing on the coffee plantation. In 1988, they took a big step by expanding their farms to include Palmira. In 1997, they expanded again by purchasing Jaramillo, where they first planted the geisha variety in an attempt to battle a fungus, Mycena citricolor, also known as Ojo de Gallo or Rooster's Eye. When the variety showed resistance, they spread the plant to the highest elevations where they noticed the extreme flavors and sweetness. They began meticulously separating the lots of coffee in an attempt to find the absolute best coffee.

Then, in 2004, they shocked the coffee world. A coffee at the Best of Panama sold for a record $21 per pound! And that's the green coffee price! By the time it's exported, imported, and roasted, you're looking at $80+ per pound. This was the beginning of a craze that hasn't stopped yet. By 2007, it was selling for around $130 per pound, and back in July of this year, a natural processed geisha lot from Cañas Verdes brought in $601 per pound, setting yet another record. 

What's next?

The Petersons are constantly testing, learning, growing, and improving. The demand doesn't seem to be waning and neither does their passion. Right now, they're testing over 400 accessions (sub varieties) of coffee on their El Velo farm. Their constant dedication means we only have better and better coffee ahead of us.

Photo Courtesy of Hacienda La Esmeralda

Photo Courtesy of Hacienda La Esmeralda

This weekend, we'll be featuring a blend of coffees from Cañas Verdes, Jaramillo, and El Velo roasted by our friends at Heart Roasters for $8 per cup. We hope you'll taste orange, vanilla, honey, and jasmine. And we hope you'll be as impressed as we are.

To read about the last time we featured a geisha coffee, check out this old blog post. And to get a cup of this, come by today or tomorrow!

Archetype Coffee by Caleb Savage

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Archetype Coffee was founded in May of 2014 by our friend Isaiah Sheese with the goal of adding to the coffee community in Omaha, Nebraska as well as being a part of and contributing to the growth of interest and knowledge of coffee nationally and globally.  We got to hear from Archetype’s roaster Jason Burkum about the company and the city of Omaha!

Blackstone & Cafe

With the mission of “Brew Better, Do Better” Archetype Coffee is a cafe and roastery located in the Blackstone District of Omaha, Nebraska. “In a world where most of us are staring at screens all the time it’s great to see so many people having face to face interaction, all while having a great coffee experience, of course.”  You can expect a friendly staff and a hive of activity in the shop with baristas working towards excellence in cup and service.

Photo Courtesy of Archetype Coffee

Photo Courtesy of Archetype Coffee

“Our neighbors in The Blackstone District have a lot to offer, with lots of great food, beer, wine and the best ice cream around. Some of our faves are Scriptown, Nite Owl, Noli’s, and Coneflower. There’s also a great guitar shop and record store here in Blackstone.

There are plenty of great other spots around town too. Have dinner at Lot 2 in Benson before seeing some live music at one of the many venues there. There are killer burgers and elevated truck stop food at Block 16 downtown. Ugly Duck Ramen in Midtown Crossing, Avoli (Italian) and Amsterdam (Kabob/Falafel) in Dundee to name a few more.”

Photo Courtesy of Archetype Coffee

Photo Courtesy of Archetype Coffee

Coffee Talk

“We typically think of coffees as either comforting or adventurous. Comforting leaning toward richer more chocolaty flavors and a heavier mouthfeel, and adventurous tipping toward bright, juicy acidity and more fruit-forward flavors.” We really like the more adventurous profile of the Panama Camiseta Estate!

We also have some of the Ethiopia Reko Koba, a coffee from a group of “three differently processed coffees all from the same group of farmers and processing station in Ethiopia. The Reko Koba mill is doing some amazing things with processing and screen size sorting experimentation.”

We’ll have the Camiseta Estate on bar for just a little longer so grab a cup and let us know what you think!