AVID Coffee (formerly ACRE), Selected Varieties. 12 oz. Bag, $9.99
“The doors of our location in historic Petaluma, California were opened in 2011. From there the momentum and enthusiasm carried us! Avid Coffee works exclusively with coffee growers who support sustainable farming and business practices, and our expertly roasted coffee has been awarded ‘Best in Sonoma County’ for three years in a row.”
Petaluma Coffee & Tea, Selected Varieties. 12 oz. Bag, $9.99
“Independently owned and operated since 1989, Petaluma Coffee & Tea Co. opened as a small retail coffee roaster, dedicated to raising the spirits of all who enter. From the beginning we have insisted on using high quality, carefully selected Arabica beans imported from the source, and custom roasted in our local shop. Today our company maintains the same dedication to quality and the business of roasting coffee and brewing great conversation.”
Land & Water Coffee, Selected Varieties. 12 oz. Bag, $9.99
“Proudly roasting in Santa Rosa, Land and Water Coffee is dedicated to unearthing exceptional coffees to share with you. All of our coffees are ethically and sustainably sourced, and meticulously roasted for balance. Enjoy a bag of our coffee at home or come have a cup with us at our new cafe in Downtown Santa Rosa!”
Sunshine Coffee Roasters, Selected Varieties. 12 oz. Bag, $9.99
“Sunshine Coffee Roasters is a small-batch, organic coffee company that was founded in 2004. We source and select the finest organic green coffee beans from the world’s most prestigious growing regions for our many custom blends. We roast each bean to perfection using a traditional, slow- roasting, “Old World” method that requires close attention to detail, discipline, and patience, then blend them together.”
Wolf Coffee, Selected Varieties. 12 oz. Bag, $9.99
“Bringing high quality and approachable coffee to the fine people of Sonoma County for over 3 decades! Nick and Natasha are pouring their passion into every aspect of the business as the second generation continues the legacy of this local company. Your hunt for great, local, organic coffee is over!”
Taylor Lane Coffee, Selected Varieties. 12 oz. Bag, $9.99
“Taylor Lane is a roaster that believes in community, sustainability, and experimentation. Every small batch is roasted in our Loring Smart Roast, a locally made (Santa Rosa, CA) and energy efficient roaster that greatly reduces our carbon footprint without sacrificing quality. We aim to bring together the artistry and science of roasting in our offerings, which range from light and fruity to dark and bold.”
Bella Rosa Coffee, Selected Varieties. 12 oz. Bag, $9.99
“Bella Rosa Coffee Company quietly opened their doors in 2011 and have been winning over fans with their low acid coffees ever since. 100% Organic with a focus on working with progressive farms and coffee co-ops with an emphasis on quality of life for their grower members. Bella Rosa Coffee Company is the Bohemian’s 2021 Best Local Coffee Roaster for Sonoma County.”
This is How We Brew It: Expert Tips for a Great Cup of Joe
When it comes to coffee, there are many opinions on how to keep it fresh and prepare it ‘properly’. We decided to go straight to the experts at the National Coffee Association to see what they had to say on the subject.
Of course, we got off to a great start with their opening sentence: Coffee is personal – the right way to make it is how you like it best.
Onward! They did note that “mastering a few fundamentals will help you perfect your technique. From here, we encourage you to experiment with different roasts, origins, or preparation methods.”
Here are their tips to brew a classic cup of coffee.
- The Equipment
Make sure that your tools — from bean grinders and filters to coffee makers— are thoroughly cleaned after each use. Rinse with clear, hot water (or wipe down thoroughly), and dry with an absorbent towel. It’s important to check that no grounds have been left to collect and that there’s no build-up of coffee oil (caffeol), which can make future cups of coffee taste bitter and rancid.
- The Beans
Great coffee starts with great beans. The quality and flavor of your coffee is not only determined by your favorite brewing process, but also by the type of coffee you select. There can be a world of difference between roasts, so pay attention to the countries of origin, bean variety, and level of roast that you tend to enjoy most. Grind level will also affect the coffee, so make sure your grind is appropriate for your brewing method. Remember that there is no right or wrong – whatever suits your taste is what matters.
Purchase coffee as soon as possible after it’s roasted. (Buying local coffee is a great way to ensure it’s fresh!) Fresh-roasted coffee is essential to a quality cup, so buy your coffee in small amounts (ideally every one to two weeks).
Keep beans airtight and cool: Your beans’ greatest enemies are air, moisture, heat, and light. Keep them fresh at home by storing them in an opaque, air-tight container at room temperature. Avoid clear canisters which will allow light to compromise the taste of your coffee and store them away from your stove and other warmer areas of your kitchen.
- The Grind
If you buy whole bean coffee, it is idea to grind your beans as close to the brew time as possible for maximum freshness. A burr or mill grinder is best because the coffee is ground to a consistent size.
A blade grinder is less preferable because some coffee will be ground more finely than the rest. If you normally grind your coffee at home with a blade grinder, try having it ground at the store with a burr grinder – you’ll be surprised at the difference!
The size of the grind is hugely important to the taste of your coffee. If your coffee tastes bitter, it may be over-extracted, or ground too fine. On the other hand, if your coffee tastes flat, it may be under-extracted, meaning your grind is too coarse.
If you’re having the coffee ground to order, tell the professionals where you purchase your coffee exactly how you will be brewing it. Will you be using a French Press? A flat or cone drip filter? A gold mesh filter? They will grind it specifically for your preparation method.
- The Water
The water you use is very important to the quality of your coffee. Use filtered or bottled water if your tap water is not good or has a strong odor or taste, such as chlorine. If you’re using tap water, let it run a few seconds before filling your coffee pot, and be sure to use cold water. Avoid distilled or softened water.
- Coffee-to-Water Ratio
A general guideline is called the “Golden Ratio”: one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences.
- Water Temperature
Your brewer should maintain a water temperature between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction. Colder water will result in flat, under-extracted coffee, while water that is too hot will also cause a loss of quality in the taste of the coffee. (However, cold brew does not need any heat.)
If you are brewing the coffee manually, let the water come to a full boil, but do not over boil. Turn off the heat source and allow the water to rest a minute before pouring it over the grounds.
Ultimately, the temperature at which any individual coffee drinker will prefer their coffee is a personal preference, like so many other things that make coffee special. Coffee drinkers often desire to add cold milk or cream, or just allow the hot beverage to cool to reach a comfortable temperature for drinking. One study has shown that coffee drinkers typically drink their coffee at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Brewing Time
The amount of time that the water is in contact with the coffee grounds is another important flavor factor.
In a drip system, the contact time should be approximately 5 minutes. If you are making your coffee using a French Press, the contact time should be 2-4 minutes. Espresso has an especially brief brew time — the coffee is in contact with the water for only 20-30 seconds. Cold brew, on the other hand, should steep overnight. Check out our Oliver’s Cold Brew Recipe for details.
If you’re not happy with the taste of the final product, you’re likely either:
- Over-extracting – the brew time is too long
- Under-extracting – the brew time is too short
Experiment with the contact time until you get the right balance for your taste.
- Enjoy your coffee!
Prepared coffee begins to lose its optimal taste moments after brewing, so only make as much coffee as you’ll drink and remove it from its heat source. Coffee can be poured into a warmed, insulated thermos to be consumed over a longer time span.
Try to sip, savor and enjoy your coffee as thoughtfully as it was prepared: take in the aroma, and notice the flavors in each sip. Think about the many steps and people involved in bringing this global beverage to your cup.
CommentsAdd a comment
Thanks for all that good info in coffee prep. You forgot to shout out “Flying Goat Coffee” which I always do these days.
Comment by Libby Hicks on March 30, 2022 at 9:52 am
The coffee information is so special. I can now brew my coffee to be the best ever. I’m going to try each of the varieties over time and be able to analyze like I do with wine drinking. This newsletter will be kept forever so I can review what you just taught me. I’m 81 years young and finally will be knowledgeable in the coffee area. Whoopie!!!
Comment by Suzanne Dewey on March 30, 2022 at 11:43 am