Category Archives: Uncategorized

May’s Coffee Crate

Credit to Matthew Hamm for the image

Hello hello everyone, hope you’ve enjoyed this gorgeous weather we’ve been having the past month, with the exception of our first tropical storm, Ana, of the year. Here’s what you guys are seeing in May’s box:

Joe Van Gogh

The folks at Joe Van Gogh consider themselves artisans, and it certainly shows in their coffee. Roasting, brewing, and sharing coffee is their passion, and they have worked diligently at mastering their craft. Owner Robbie Roberts has been in the coffee business for 20 years now. He opened his first shop on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh and has been living a highly caffeinated life ever since.

All Nations Coffee

All Nations Coffee, from Charlotte, represents people and communities. Their main interest is to bring equilibrium in the profit and implement a sustainable business with social responsibility. We love businesses that try to find a balance of the two, as we believe there is a middle ground businesses can find. A portion of their profits are used to help support farmers and co-ops around the world.

Parliament Coffee Roasters

You are probably starting to see a similar theme with our roasters. Parliament, also from Charlotte, is no exception. Their focus is to bring in the finest coffees from around the globe, and roast them to a profile that highlights the varying and subtle nuances that make a particular bean unique. This is one of the greatest parts about drinking locally roasted coffee, you can’t get that subtlety from the big coffee roasters we all know. The standards by which they do business will always be hinged upon the concept of quality over quantity.

April’s Box

Credit to Matthew Hamm for the image

For us North Carolinians the weather is finally getting warmer! Spring is a great time of year here in the Tarheel State, there are all kinds of outdoor activities that open up around this time. We hope that even with this gorgeous weather we’re having you’re all still finding the time to cuddle up with a nice cup of Joe from the comfort of your home. Here’s who you guys will be supporting in this month’s crate:

Oak City Roasters

Owner Billy Landahl is a former engineer turned coffee fanatic who quit his job cold turkey to start roasting coffee. I’m especially excited to feature Billy because he’s made the first locally-roasted coffee I ever tried.  My wife and I were at the North Hills farmer’s market he was offering up some free coffee.  We then purchased a 12oz bag, followed by a cheap blade grinder & french press from Target, and haven’t looked back.

It’s a neat company that’s trying to change the world through coffee with a motto of “Love Locally, Love Globally.”  Since actions speak louder than words, they include special needs adults in their packaging operations, successfully funded a KickStarter to create “Care Cups,” and work directly with farmers to pay them above fair-trade wages.

Bald Bean Coffee

Bald Bean is a family-owned coffee roaster committed to high quality coffee and social awareness. Their beans are fair-trade and proceeds from every sale go to help children with cancer and their families. The idea for Bald Bean began when Harrison McKinion was diagnosed with leukemia at age 10. Chloe Mathias, a little girl Harrison’s age, gave up her birthday and asked friends and family to support Harrison’s cancer treatment fund. From there, the McKinion family and the Mathias family teamed up to start Bald Bean Coffee.

We’re so happy to support companies that are helping others, and to give our subscribers the same opportunity. As you all have seen, it seems to be a common theme with our roasters that they’re supporting a social cause while practicing their craft.

Beans Boro

What started out as a small idea to roast great coffee turned into an amazing coffee sho in Greensboro, NC. In 2009, Performance Coffee Roasters was born with the sole goal of providing great freshly roasted coffees to everyone. Fast forward 3 years later, and a name change to what is now Beans Boro. They have continued to source the highest quality of coffees we can find. You can even come in the shop and watch them roast right in front of you.

The Month of Looove – February’s Roasters

Credit to Rahim Packir Saibo for the image

Hello Hello!  We are very excited about this month, it will be the best one yet.   You’re going to learn much more about the roasters this month we hope.  Order by Feb. 15th, 2015 to receive these three roasters in your box.

Enderly Coffee

Established in 2012, Enderly Coffee is the love inspired dream of teachers and co-owners Becky and Tony Santoro.  Being central in their story, Becky and Tony fell in love over coffee and rely on it daily to keep them going through their days in the classroom.  Their last 10 years have been filled with visits to local coffee shops around the country and romantic dinners with not wine, but fresh brewed coffee and tiramisu.

Enderly Coffee is family owned and truly values bringing justice to our world and community.  That is why they have partnered directly with farmers who believe in bringing the same justice to their local communities.  A portion of every purchase goes to support community development (through www.hyaets.org) in their Charlotte neighborhood, Enderly Park.  Not only do we get to have some of their delicious coffee, but we can support a good cause.  Not bad!

Larry’s Beans

Larry’s Beans is happily committed to blending and roasting innovative uniquely delicious coffees — and making the world a better place. 100% of our coffee is Fair Trade, Shade Grown, and Organic, all slow-roasted to bring out every note of indigenous flavor.  Their  green-o-vated facilities use passive solar construction, active solar systems, radiant floors, zoned heating, composting, and rainwater harvesting to minimize our impact on this awesome planet.

Raised in the land of espresso bars and local roasters, Larry grew up with love for coffee and an appreciation for the nuance that make one cup more interesting than another. He headed to the Southeast to attend graduate school in economics, but soon got sidetracked by his obsession with coffee, working as a roaster in Raleigh’s first coffee house and then starting his own coffee house and roastery. But his love of roasting soon led him to focus full time on the roasting business. From the start, he was all about taking time with his roasts and treating blends like his own drinkable art form. He wasn’t just about good coffee. He was about unique coffee.

 

Reposo Coffee Roasters

Reposo is the Spanish word for “rest.” Think Respite.  Their slogan is pretty straightforward:

WE LOVE COFFEE
AND WE LOVE PEOPLE
SO WE MICROROAST COFFEE FOR PEOPLE
TO ENJOY LIKE WE DO

I like it.  You don’t have to have a crazy story to do something you enjoy.  They are a husband and wife team based in Fuquay-Varina who simply love roasting quality coffee for people and helping those in need.  Every bit of profit they make goes to someone who needs it more than them in their community.  We are proud to support businesses like this, and hope you guys enjoy the fact that you are enjoying great coffee AND helping others at the same time.

 

Kicking off the New Year – January’s Roasters

Happy New Year everyone!  We’re excited to share some information about the roasters we’ll be kicking off the new year with.  Order by Jan. 15th, 2015 to receive these three roasters in your box.

Red Rooster Coffee

Red Rooster began in 1994 as a wholesaler of coffee to the gourmet gift market.  Due to the wild fluctuations of coffee prices, and the rise of the national coffee giants, they shut their doors down for some time.  17 years later they opened back up, this time roasting their own fresh coffee after doing so personally during the down time.  They’re a family business focused on supporting developing countries and their efforts to build sustainable products.  We think that’s pretty neat that they get to teach their kids the value of quality through their business!  Their mission is to share their love of fresh-roasted, quality coffee while partnering with the community in mutually beneficial relationships.

They carry out their mission in a few ways, particularly by providing Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance ceritfied, oganic, or farm direct coffee whenever they can.  They also have a pretty unique fundraising program for families, individuals, non-profits, faith based orgs, businesses and schools

Carolina Coffee Roasting Company

Carolina Coffee Roasting Company was formed in 1992 to preserve the fine tradition of small batch coffee roasting. They operated two coffee shops at first, and in 2003 chose to devote themselves exclusively to roasting while working with our wholesale partners.  The Carolina Coffee team along with others on the R&D team, have perfected over 100 roast profiles and blends!  How did they do that?

Carolina Coffee even has an esteemed Roast Master that has devoted his career to the study of coffee bean cultivation, selection, roasting and blending.  They also offer Fair Trade, Organic and Rain Forest Alliance coffees to their customers. They also sell a wide range of teas, syrups, sauces, drink mixes, espresso and coffee brewing equipment, blenders and other café smallware and supplies.

Dilworth Coffee

Dilworth is likely one of the oldest and largest roasters we will have the opportunity to feature!  They’ve been bringing locally roasted coffees to the historic Dilworth neighborhood in Charlotte since 1989!  That’s a long time!

Their custom  “Dilworth Coffeehouse” style of coffee. So well received by the Charlotte community, they began selling to other shops and opening other locations. After opening their second Dilworth Coffeehouse, roasting was moved to a separate and larger location, so freshly roasted coffee could be shipped out to the stores each morning.  They now have four coffee houses around Charlotte, so we are happy to share it with the rest of the state.

2014 Year In Review

Coffee Crate’s 2014 was quick, but packed, it’s hard to believe we’ve only been around for a couple months!  The idea was hatched at the end of September, we started contacting roasters then began building our website the day before Halloween, and officially launched our website for signups just two weeks later.  Thanks to some blind luck, Cratejoy featured our box along with 5 other great subscription box brands on Fox and Friends just a month after that!  We’ve also since been highlighted on this great article about coffee roasters in the Our State magazine, as well as in this humorous video for last-minute, NC-based gift ideas from the folks at ExitEvent.

While all of that was going on, Page and Amber had their baby the day we shipped our first boxes, and the next week my wife and I closed on our first house around downtown Raleigh.  Needless to say it has been one of the busiest, yet most exciting couple months of our lives, but we’ve truly loved every minute of it.  Talking to roasters, getting plugged into the coffee community, and getting to know some of you has been an incredible experience so far.  We can only imagine what 2015 will bring for us!

For you all, we are exploring options for a nicer box design, re-design the website, start e-commerce, participate in giving coffee-education, producing beautiful content about our roasters, and even having a few surprises! Follow along on this blog or our email newsletter to get updates as we go.  We love you guys, here’s to a great 2015.

 

Our First Crate!

We are putting the final touches on our very first Coffee Crate! Wow, it’s been great to see our idea develop into a product that we’re proud of. While you are waiting on your crate, here you’ll find a preview of what’s to come. If you missed this month’s order cut off, don’t worry, every month we’re sending out quality local coffee and other local surprises. Order now, and you’ll be on board for January’s shipment! You can still purchase Coffee Crate as a gift for Christmas by selecting December 25th as the date for the gift email to be sent out to your loved one. Then, the gift recipient can redeem their gift and receive their first crate in January!

This month, we’ve found the perfect roasts to keep you warm throughout the holidays. This December you’ll be experiencing: Joe Van Gogh’s of  Hillsborough, Beans Boro of Greensboro, and Mountain Air Roasting Company of Asheville. Our two single origins were grown and harvested in: Highlands Mt, Kenya & Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. This month, also includes an Espresso Blend combining beans from Central America, Indonesia, and Africa.

Our first roast that made it into the crate is Joe Van Gogh’s French Roast from The Highlands of Mt. Kenya. For this crop, Joe Van Gogh works with Farmers First who partner with small scale farmers and cooperatives to receive more for their crop. If you’ve ever had a bad french roast: excessively oily, burnt, bad after taste…than get ready for an awakening! I keep referring to it as a “friendly french roast” so delicious, palatable, strong and smooth. I knew I had to share this one with ya’ll.

Our second roast that could not be left out is, Mountain Air’s ECX Grade 1 DP, from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. When you receive this roast open the bag and just breathe in the tropical scents. Oh my goodness, forget artificially flavored coffees. This coffee emits such strong fruit scents, others in your house may wake up thinking you’re making blueberry muffins (which isn’t a bad idea.) This coffee is one of the most unique roasts I’ve ever experienced. From the smell, I thought it would be overly sweet but this cup surprised me with so many layers of flavor making for a bright, clean, medium body cup that I can’t wait to wake up to.

Our third roast is an Espresso Blend from Beans Boro. This roast is organic, fair trade & rainforest alliance certified. I picture you sharing this one with your family this Christmas perhaps with some chocolate from your stocking. Espresso is in the name but it is wonderful when brewed as coffee. Our team loved this medium roast and we know you will too.

In addition to our local coffees, we’re including a chocolate chip cookie from Boone, NC’s Appalachia Cookie Co. Recently, they were named one of the top ten cookies in America by Paula Deen’s Magazine. Now that’s pretty sweet!

Here at Coffee Crate we drink our coffee strong and black. I recommend 2 Tablespoons ground coffee per 6 oz. of water. You may like your coffee stronger or weaker and would need to adjust the water accordingly. I highly suggest trying these coffees black to fully experience the flavor profiles. I can’t attest to the effects of sugar and cream but I can tell you that these three roasts when brewed to taste and enjoyed black are sure to “wow” you.


Merry Christmas!

 

 

How the heck do you brew a decent cup of coffee?

There are many methods to coffee brewing out there. Sure, you can weigh the coffee, preheat your chemex, use *exactly* 200 degree filtered water, and if you have a refined palate your coffee will probably taste a little better.  If that’s not your thing though, there’s nothing wrong with that, we think coffee drinkers should just do what they enjoy most.

At Coffee Crate we believe you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy great coffee. So what’s the simple way that you and I can get this local goodness into our cup without a degree in Coffee Preparation?

All you REALLY need:

Your Coffee Crate. You get to experiment and try three new local coffee varieties every month. Our coffees come from roasters all over the state, with beans from all over the world. That’s 36 different coffees a year and a cup of day of brag-worthy beans!

A coffee brewing device. Want to impress? Use anything other than a standard coffee pot. Standard coffee pots continue to heat the coffee after its been brewed. Long story short, that doesn’t make for the best coffee.. A french press is nice because it’s easy to clean and you don’t always have to stock up on filters.  A Chemex is nice because it makes for a lovely “clean” cup (the filters absorb the oils), and as a bonus, makes it look like you really know what you’re doing. There are many other ways to make coffee, but until you refine your taste, the difference in taste likely won’t be noticeable. We personally just stick with a French Press and Chemex. Sidenote: I recently shattered our Chemex.  Fortunately, my brother-in-law was using his as a flower vase and happily gave it to us.

A grinder. Our beans come whole because you get the best cup of coffee if they are roasted and ground right before you brew a cup.  Grinding the coffee makes the beans slowly lose their flavor, and we suggest grinding within ~2-3 weeks of the beans being roasted.. Grind your beans to the consistency of normal ground coffee. Look inside of a bag of ground coffee and see if you can make it look like that.

Water. I use filtered water if my Brita is already full; if not,I use tap water. Some folks have really odd tasting tap water and should use filtered water for all consumption, including coffee. It may strongly affect the taste of your coffee.

Something that can bring water to a boil. We use a small pot.

Other helpful items: a big glass measuring cup (mine is a 2 cup pyrex)  and a tablespoon

Really simple directions:

Boil water.

Grind beans.

Scoop beans into coffee brewer of your choice

Remove water from boil and pour into measuring cup

How many tablespoons did you use? Okay. Multiple that by three. That’s how many ounces of water you’ll use. I normally end up with about 8 tablespoons for 24oz of coffee. (The professionals weigh their coffee, and use a ratio of 16 to 1. 16 fl oz of water to 1 oz of coffee)

Pour a little water in. Wait five seconds for good measure and slowly pour the rest in. If you want to get fancy, time the pour for 4 minutes. Poured too much, oh well, it will still taste good.

For a Chemex: stand there and wait. Then serve while its hot. Delicious.

For a French Press: turn on a timer for 4mins and when the timer is up proceed with the pressing and IMMEDIATELY pour the coffee into cups or a carafe. I usually end up pouring the extra into the measuring cup. I don’t plan that far ahead.

Another way to simplify your coffee drinking is to forgo the cream and sugar. Now that you’ve brewed coffee in a fancy device, you’re ready to enjoy! If you find that you’ve made too much coffee you can save it in the fridge for iced coffee later.   See, there is NOTHING complicated about brewing coffee.

What I’ve learned through my coffee drinking and making is that I do want to learn all the fancy techniques and have all the devices. The reason is because I want to look cool, feel informed about my product, and experiment with the taste.

While we are all on our way to becoming coffee aficionados, we can still enjoy great coffee every morning.  Start by using high quality beans and really simple brewing techniques. You can perfect your craft over time.