Coffee

Bring Your Own Atmos: A New Coffee Refill Program by Steve Willingham

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

One thing that we've always been interested in at Clarity is finding smart ways to minimize our environmental impact. It starts with always using reusable ceramic for drinks when you're sticking around the cafe and encouraging people to bring their own cups. Shortly after we opened, we partnered with Fertile Ground Cooperative for our recycling. And, of course, most of us bike, walk, or take public transportation to work.

Recently, we received a shipment of Huskee Cups, reusable to go cups made from coffee parchment (husks), a really cool concept! Not only can you cut down on one use paper cups by using a Huskee Cup, these cups create a use for an otherwise discarded byproduct of coffee processing, and it creates another revenue stream for coffee farmers!

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Going Bagless

Our next step, is what we're calling Bring Your Own Atmos.

We've talked on this blog about how the Atmos Vacuum Canister can make your coffee taste better and last longer, but we've never talked about using it as a means to cut one use bags. So here's what we'll do: you bring your own Atmos and we will fill it with twelve ounces of the coffee of the day (just ask your barista what's on today!) or the espresso blend from the bulk coffee we keep behind the bar, drastically reducing the amount of packaging used. Then we'll apply a $3 discount off of your whole bean coffee!

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Don't have an Atmos? We have them in stock! Or bring a different container. Just remember that it will need to be strong enough to withstand the built up pressure from when your coffee degasses over time.

Still just need to grab a bag? No worries! We'll stay stocked up on our regular retail bags too!

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We're excited about this program, and let's not forget the hidden benefit: it could make your already tasty coffee taste even better! And we're all about that! If you're looking for some other ways to make your coffee taste better, check out our Chemex Brew Guide and the Education Tab on the blog! And be on the look out for some events coming up later this month!

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Why Coffee Freshness Matters by Caleb Savage

Coffee is a fruit

Coffee beans are the seeds of a flowering fruit tree. Because coffee beans are the seed of a plant, the seeds serve as incubators for future plants filled with all the sugars, acids, and cell structures necessary to supply a new plant. When roasted, these compounds can be tasted as the sweetness, acidity, and bitterness we love in a great cup of coffee! Without these compounds, a great coffee can taste flat or dull.

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What kills freshness?

  • Sunlight

  • Heat

  • Oxygen

  • Moisture

  • Time

How long does coffee stay fresh?

Using resealable, valved bags like the ones our friends at KLLR Coffee use, coffee is best in the first two weeks after the coffee is roasted. The further you get away from the roast date after the first two weeks, the more the acids and sugars present in the coffee will degrade. What do you do with three-week-old coffee? Drink it! When we talk about freshness, we’re talking about coffee in it’s most ideal form, not that it’s bad, dangerous or should be discarded after it’s no longer fresh, just that it’s no longer the most ideal!

Meet: The Atmos

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We love Fellow. From their XF Brewers to their kettles, Fellow consistently makes quality coffee equipment that looks great too! With the Atmos, you can combat the effects of sunlight and oxygen and extend the life of your coffee without introducing changes in temperature or risking exposure to moisture.

The Atmos Vacuum Coffee Canister removes oxygen from the canister (and your coffee) by twisting the lid back & forth, meaning don’t have to worry about batteries or having to keep weird tools on hand every time you go to make a cup of coffee!

By removing oxygen from the environment, the process of sublimation or the loss of coffee flavors through oxygen, can be slowed and the coffee itself will retain its bright, sweet flavors longer!

Coffee Questions: Brewing That Works by Caleb Savage

NOT JUST HERE FOR THE CAFFEINE

“What’s the best way to make coffee at home?”

Coffee making can be pretty frustrating. We want good coffee. We want to make it in a way that’s both fun and relatively easy. We don’t want it to break the bank. Why? Because we want coffee to be both utilitarian and pleasurable. We want it’s caffeine, but we want also want it to be sweet, well-balanced, and enjoyable. We want it to help us wake up in the morning so we don’t want a setup that requires us to be alert to be able to do it well.

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So how do we balance making great coffee without having to have the best equipment or follow a complex set of rules to get your first sip of caffeine?

The best cup of coffee is a coffee you like to make and drink.

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The Balancing Act

We can divide home brewing into a couple areas to determine the best setup for anyone: Interest, Time, and Cost.

Interest

Do you enjoy learning about where coffees are from? Do you follow recipes when you make coffee? If you want good coffee, but don’t have a lot of interest in the details, there are some great automated brewers that make Specialty quality coffee at home!

Time

Are you looking for a coffee setup that allows you to start a cup and be out the door five minutes later? A stovetop kettle might not be the best choice. Also, avoid hand grinders. If you have the time and interest, you can sip slowly and think critically about the coffees you make and make slight adjustments to your recipe until you’ve found the program that works best for you.

Cost

Sometimes we have a lot of interest and time to make great coffee but are missing the budget to have the “perfect” setup. Don’t sweat. Sometimes small improvements to things like water, coffee quality, or temperature can have dramatic results on the finished product!

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THINGS WE LOVE

“What equipment should I get?

The equipment we sell comes from companies we believe in. We use and sell Acaia scales, XF brewers and kettles, Chemexes, and Baratza grinders. If you are considering a new kettle or brewer, ask us about why we love the gear we use.

We also love helping you make the best coffee you want to make. Our team loves finding the gear or solution you need the balances your interest, time, and budget. Stop by the shop and chat with your baristas about the best set up for you.

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Coffee Questions: What is Terrior by Caleb Savage

Every so often, we get a question at the bar related to coffee or our thoughts on coffee that we feel should be discussed on a larger platform. We started a series of posts called Coffee Questions where we try to answer those questions and leave as a resource to anyone looking to learn more about the industry, brewing, or anything else! Click here to check out other posts in this series!

For our October Palate Training, we tried some Dick Taylor Chocolates from Madagascar, Belize, and Brazil and discussed the role different environmental effects have on the outcome of coffee, chocolate, and most other plant products! Factors like what variety of plant is being used, where the coffee is grown, sunlight and water received, and other decisions being made by farmers can all make a significant impact on the quality of the your morning cup of coffee. We can wrap all of those ideas into a single idea: terroir.

Terroir. /terˈwär./ Tear-wah. Yes, we’re bringing French to the blog. Pardon.

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Are Red Delicious Apples even Moderately Delicious?

I don’t think so. I’m more of a Granny Smith fan. Gala is okay, but save the Red Delicious for applesauce. I don’t want it. What’s with the apple rant? Gala, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious are all varieties of apples. We can categorize them under that broad category of “apple” and you recognize them as they are, but no one would say that a Granny Smith apple tasted the same as a Red Delicious apple. Like apples, coffea arabica, the species of plant we use to make coffee has dozens of varieties grown around the world.

How does variety affect coffee?

Thanks to World Coffee Research, we can learn more about the different Arabica varieties, their susceptibility to various diseases, and other information farmers making decisions about profitability would be concerned with.

The variety of coffee plant grown can have a significant factor in the outcome and profitability of coffee, but it’s not the only factor.

Elevated Sweetness

In general, the higher elevation a coffee is grown, the better we will be able to achieve more sweetness & better developed flavors in the cup. Why?

Because temperatures are lower at higher elevations, coffee cherries mature more slowly which allows for more and more complex sugars to develop in the fruit. These sugars get stored in the seed that ends up becoming what we know as roasted coffee beans and when brewed, result in sweetness in your espresso or coffee!

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For coffees grown at lower elevations, farming decisions like shade and controlling access to water can mimic the benefits of higher elevation.

Care Creates Quality

At the end of the day, terroir is the set of environmental factors that affect the quality of our end cup of coffee, and more importantly, the sustainability of our industry, and the profitability of coffee producers.

For most coffee farmers and producers, developing coffees to their fullest potential is about increasing profitability and providing for their families and employees. This dedication to quality leads to higher premiums for their coffees and recognition from the coffee community. Therefore, a producer armed with the right tools, knowledge, and experience can temper potentially negative environmental concerns to cultivate excellent coffee.

We love getting to share great coffees with you every day. These coffees come from roasters, importers, producers, and farmworkers working hard to ensure that only the best is harvested, sorted, roasted, and brewed for you. If you’re curious about learning more about the coffees we serve, just ask a barista next time you’re in the shop!