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Venia Blog: Reviews, Musings and the Like
Posted on January 5, 2016 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith
Posted on May 9, 2015 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith
Just a heads up on a limited availability offering from Rwanda. When I first cupped this coffee, it struck me as a cross between a complex Kenyan and a refined central American coffee. I have been in love with it from sip one. It originates from the Gitesi washing station and is made up from multiple small farm harvests from the surrounding Kibuye area. I have brewed this using french presses, Chemex's and a Clover brewer, all are a treat. Pulled as an espresso, wowzers, tropical fruit candy in a cup. We broke 70 degrees today and I brewed it as a Japanese style iced coffee, added a touch of cream and sugar...heavenly. This isn't a coffee that comes along every day.
Posted on May 8, 2015 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith
Sprudge released an excellent piece today on Yemeni coffee. For those who don't know, Yemen is widely believed to be the first commercial producer of coffee, at least insofar as the modern world consumes it (Coffee history is somewhat speculative, and for the most part predates any surviving written documents). Yemen is a land that has undergone incredible turmoil over the years, and most recently political upheaval and violence has cause most countries to remove dignitaries and companies to evacuate non-Yemeni staff.
Left behind in all of this are farmers who face amazing challenges to bring their coffees to market. From talking with friends in the coffee industry, it sound like many coffee farmers have done their best to avoid the downward spiral of events and are working hard to provide for their families, despite an ever more dangerous environment.
I had the opportunity to cup through a few Yemen coffees at this year's SCAA trade show last month in Seattle. These coffees truly have a beautiful taste profile that is all their own and current events are posing a big danger to the long-term viability of this unique growing region.
Take a few moments to read Evan Gilman's well written article on Sprudge: Coffee In Yemen: Past, Present And Future
This post was posted in Uncategorized
Posted on March 11, 2015 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith
As beans age, you face a scenario similar to the law of diminishing return. Chemically, lots of stuff happens to coffee as it get older. The result in the cup is a drop in acidity, decline of clarity, decline of varietal/origin character, decline of body, thin mouth-feel, decrease of aromatics...and a host of many other negatives.
How long a roasted coffee is fresh depends on many things, like packaging, density, roast degree, process type, form (pre-ground/whole), relative humidity, exposure to light, temperature exposure...etc. As a rule of thumb, a coffee about 2 weeks off roast is at its peak in quality, give or take. Lighter roasted high elevation coffees (high density) such as our Kenya Nyeri Karatina Peaberry and Guatemala San Rafael Urias tend to age very well. Low grown coffees (low density) such a many Brazilian or Hawaian Kona coffees tend to age very quickly. [Soap Box]: Hawaiian coffees are some of the most expensive coffees to buy in the United States. A fresh Kona is a delightful experience, but most people buy a bag from a grocery store that was roasted 4-5 months before they brew it. Any goodness from these coffees are long gone. Unless you buy a bag from a roaster that is clearly marked with a roasted on date, don't waste your money on Hawaiian coffees. [Off Soap Box]
When brewing coffee that is old, perhaps a month or two past roast, you might notice that a once fruity and floral Ethiopian Yirgacheffe now tastes rather generic. This didn't just happen all at once. If you brewed this coffee exactly the same each day over the span of 2 months you would notice that it gradually declines in quality, it doesn't one day go from being really good to blah. If you brew this coffee for espresso, for example, as the coffee ages it becomes thinner and decreases in body. To compensate for the age, one can slightly increase the dose (amount of coffee used) or grind a bit finer. Changing one or both of these factors can extend the "life" of this coffee for awhile, but at some point increasing dose or grinding finer can no longer compensate in cup quality. This is what I call the "Law of Diminishing Return" when applied to coffee.
Interestingly, coffee that is newly roasted needs a couple days of "rest" before brewing before many of the flavors start to really show themselves in the cup. For espresso use, 3 days of rest is the minimum we recommend before brewing, 5-6 days of rest seems to be a sweet spot for most espresso coffees.
How a coffee ages after it reaches its peak can be a perplexing. Oxygen, light, high humidity, and high temperatures all seem to be enemies of freshness. We package our coffees in high barrier bags with tin-ties. Once open, we recommend folding the top down, expelling as much air as possible, then secure closed with the tin-tie. This will protect the coffee from excess oxygen exposure, light, and changes in humidity.
If you don't plan on using the coffee for a few days, it is okay to put it in the freezer. To do so successfully, place the tin-tie bag inside a Ziploc freezer bag, expel as much air as possible, then place in your freezer. The important part is to remove the bag several hours before use and allowing the coffee to return to room temperature before opening. If you open when frozen, moisture in the air will condense on the cold beans and get them wet (think a glass of iced tea and the water that forms on the sides of the glass).
So How long does roasted coffee stay fresh? The simple answer is: It depends. But, a good rule of thumb is a coffee retains most of its "fresh" attributes until about a month after it was roasted.
Posted on March 3, 2015 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith
We have two great new offerings available now for purchase on the website:
The first offering is from Banexport's Colombia 90 point "Million Pesos" program and is a real treat. Grown on the Bellavista estate by farmer Alexander Cortes, this offering won't last long so grab some while we have it. Super creamy mouth-feel, cane sugar sweetness, cherry, lemon, and a clean finish.
The second offering is a regional mix of fully washed coffee from West Java, or Java Sunda. Remarkably clean and refined, a product of farmer/producer education and infrastructure investment, this Java lot is an example of the amazing potential of an often passed over growing region when it comes to specialty coffee. Many of the subtitles of Indonesian coffees are completely covered over by the powerful, in your face flavors of the traditional wet-hulling process produces. The washed processing on this lot brings out flavors of baking spice, black tea, raisins, and raw sugar. Yummy!
Posted on February 18, 2015 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith
We are excited to announce the arrival of several new coffee offerings available next week. Multiple lots of coffee from Java, and Brazil, and two 90 point offerings, one from Colombia and a late comer from Ethiopia our last until next year's crop. Stay tuned!
Posted on November 28, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith
We have some great prices on lots of coffee gear, espresso machines and some of our great coffees now through December 7th. Check them out under the Sales tab above or CLICK HERE.
Posted on November 19, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith
Posted on October 20, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith
From long time coffee lovers to first time specialty coffee buyers, we are often asked if we could offer a sample pack of several of our current coffees. Well, wait no longer! Our sampler pack includes 3 different coffees, each highlighting different growing regions and unique flavors from around the world.
We look long and hard for exceptional coffees that we are proud to offer our customers, and our first sample pack is one in which we could not be prouder. Two of the coffees cup at over 90 points! (If you don't know what that means, it means they are really-really good.)
To kick off the introduction of our sampler pack, we are offering free shipping on the coffee sampler through October. Use Code SAMPLER in the discount code box at checkout. CLICK HERE TO ORDER.
This post was posted in What We are Drinking Now, News, On Sale and was tagged with Single Origin, Coffee, Free Shipping, Natural Processed Coffee, Washed Coffee, Coffee Sample Pack, Coffee Sampler, 90 point coffee
Posted on August 17, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith