Lionheart Coffee Company

Lionheart Coffee Company

“Courage, bravery, and above all else, compassion.” That is the tag line of Lionheart Coffee Company that will be opening up in a few months in Beaverton, Oregon. Lionheart is spearheaded by Kaisa Kincaid BuLionhearttcher and Ben Reese (as well as their fantastic spouses Ryan Butcher and Lauren Reese). Lionheart’s aim is to cultivate intentional relationships in everything they do and provide an atmosphere where every aspect of coffee can be experienced.

Caravan is pleased to partner with Lionheart Coffee Company! Lionheart’s goal is to build community and live the ideal that we are all stronger together.  Kaisa and Ben (as well as Lionheart) live the quote of Mother Teresa that says, “Not all of us can do great things.  But we can do small things with great love.”  They want to make the world a better place through giving back their time and finances.  Ben and Kaisa stress that Lionheart is the avenue to accomplish this aim.

Lionheart has almost all of their funds for opening and they are running a kickstarter for the remainder funds.  We cannot highly recommend this company enough.  Here is the link to their kickstarter and don’t be afraid to give generously! Check out their video below:

 

For more about Lionheart see their incredible Oregonian interview!

Home Roasting 101

Home Roasting 101

Welcome to the wonderful world of home roasting!  I like to tell people that if you can make fried eggs, you can roast your own coffee. It is a great way to enjoy incredible fresh roasted beans, control the roast color and method, and gain a sense of pride knowing that you are drinking your own handiwork. Roasting your own coffee is easy to get into. Please do not be intimated by all the information out there. Relax, enjoy your time, and most importantly, drink that coffee! I’ll provide some basic steps below:

Step One: Buy Awesome Unroasted Coffee (Green Beans)

The first and arguably the most important step is finding the right green beans. Look for responsibly-sourced coffee. If you have any questions about what that means check out our blog on it. Here is a link to the green beans that we sell. Just remember, your coffee will lose weight during the roasting process, sometimes as much as 15 percent.

Step Two: Get Familiar with Roasting Coffee

Coffee is roasted to temperatures of anywhere from 350-450 degrees Farenheit, or more! It can take from 10-30+ minutes per batch. Below are the different stages in the roasting process.  This information can be found in Home Coffee Roasting by Kenneth Davids. I highly recommend this book!

Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival

These roasting stages are:

  • Unroasted (Green Coffee): Hasn’t even touched the roaster. Very hard and dense. Chewing could lead to chipped teeth and grinding will ruin grinder. Be patient Jedi, you’re almost there!
  • Light Roasted (yellowish in color): Hard, crunchy, just beginning to roast.
  • First Crack (light brown in color): Toasted Grain flavors, high acidity, tea-like in character. Builds complexity as it roasts.  This first crack sounds like popcorn popping. 375+ degrees.
  • Beginning of Caramelization: Oils begin to move from inside to outside the bean, bean expands dramatically in size. 400+ degrees.
  • Just Before Second Crack: The brightness, nut and fruit notes of coffee are found here. 400-420+ degrees.
  • Second Crack: The second crack sounds much more tinny than the first, yet it can still be heard. Pay close attention here.  Chocolate notes and smokey aspects begin to develop. 425+ degrees–think Full City roasts.
  • Dark Roast: High tobacco notes, high smoke flavor and smoke can be seen. Roasting much more will result in a fire. 440+ degrees–think French Roast.
  • Fire! Fire! Burnt and crispy. Not recommended. 460+ degrees. Fire extinguishers may be required.

Notes:

  • As soon as you are finishing roasting, COOL the coffee as fast as you can! Not cooling will bake the coffee. Baked coffee, unlike Baked Alaska, is not pleasant!
  • Smoke, smoke, smoke. There is lots of smoke when roasting. Unfortunately, the smoke does not smell like delicious coffee. For the sake of your friends and family, find a way to manage the smoke such as roasting outside. My first roasting experience resulted in my wife banning me from roasting in the kitchen!

Some other places to find good information on roasting coffee is Sweet Maria’s and Instructables. Paul Allen’s blog on roast color is found HERE (entitled “Into the Light”), and my blog on the different styles and waves of coffee is found HERE (entitled “Who’s on First”).

Step Three: Get The Gear

There are many different kinds of roasting equipment, everything from the simple cast-iron skillet to expensive professional home roasting equipment. Here, I will list a few of those along with a link to a place to buy them. Just remember, there are many more out there then what you see here. Feel free to do some further research.

Whirley Pop

Whirley Pop


West Bend Air

West Bend Air Crazy

Fresh Roast

Fresh Roast SR500


Behmor 1600

Behmor 1600

Behmor 1600


Hot Top Roaster

Hot Top Coffee Roaster


Cast Iron Skillet

Cast Iron Skillet



Step Four: Wait, Enjoy, Repeat!

As with all good things, there is a small waiting period. After the roasting process, your fine coffee is releasing crazy amounts of CO2. This impedes your ability to really taste your new delicious creation. By waiting 24 hours you will begin to fully smell and taste the glorious riches of fresh-roasted coffee. And if you are anything like us over here at Caravan, once you taste fresh roasted coffee you’ll never go back!

Final Note

Messed up? Didn’t get to first crack? Baked your coffee? Burnt your coffee to a crisp? Caught it on fire? Blew a fuse? Smoked up your house? Caught your roaster on fire?

It’s OK! If you’ve done it, chances are I’ve done it… at least twice! Keep trying. The first time I roasted coffee I ended up baking it the first three times. Making mistakes is totally natural and happens to all of us. However, give it a few more chances and you could be in for a real treat!

If you have any questions feel free to contact us HERE at Caravan Coffee. Happy Home roasting!

-Marcus

The Price of Cheap

child labor, coffee, caravan coffee, oregon

Coffee prices just keep rising, don’t they? As my mother used to say, “there ain’t no ifs, ands, or buts about it.” Since we all know by now that coffee is expensive, I want to tell you why it is expensive.

On a warm June Saturday in 1938, in the midst of America’s largest economic turmoil, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.  This act made child labor illegal, set a cap on hours worked, and created a national minimum wage. 76 years later it would be an abomination to us to see an 8 year old working 60-80 hours a week at an American factory making substantially less than minimum wage, as once was common.

For the most part, we don’t mind paying a few dollars more for our Made in America products. We puff up with pride when we see a Made in America sticker.  We argue that these products give men and women honest work that helps grow our US economy. If we don’t mind paying a few dollars more for a product made in America, why are we Americans often afraid to pay a few dollars more for a pound of coffee knowing that its laborers elsewhere in the world are getting a fair wage? picking coffee, child labor, caravan coffee, coffee in oregon

We humans like to compartmentalize.  When it comes to coffee, many of us still view it as a commodity, a mindset that has propagated cheap coffee. Cheap means something that is inferior quality and low-priced.  With the amount of time, energy, and materials it takes to produce a pound of coffee, most farmers are getting rock-bottom wages–much less than any American farmer. Yet, the coffee industry is evolving.

We have Fair-Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Socially Conscious, and even some Direct Traded coffees that are changing the industry from cheap to superb. Yes, coffee is more expensive than it used to be. However, this price increase is not only related to the increased cost of doing business–in many ways, it is allowing farmers to be paid more for their labor, edging them and their field workers closer to sustainable lifestyles. The price increase is helping our environment and bettering our global economy.

I want to leave with you some principles I have learned since entering the coffee industry:

– Coffee isn’t cheap.

– Good coffee should not be cheap.

– Coffee is more than a commodity.

– Coffee farmers are more than a means to an end.

– Quality coffee comes at a price–expect nothing less.

— Marcus

All About World Renown Guatemala Antigua La Flor

Guatemala Antigua La Flor is a world renown coffee. At Caravan, we’re privileged to have our industry famous owner/operator Pete Miller here at Caravan Coffee share his experience and love of this famous coffee! After visiting Antigua in Guatemala, Pete Miller became hooked. Here, Pete Miller explains his love and the history behind Guatemala Antigua La Flor.  We hope you fall in love with this coffee as all of us here at Caravan have fallen in love with it. Enjoy!

Check out more podcasts from Above the Press

How to Reuse Coffee

  • Body scrub (recipe: 1cup finely ground coffee, 1cup coconut oil, 1/3cup brown sugar. Benefits: caffeine in coffee stimulates blood flow, grounds and sugar help exfoliate, coconut helps moisturize. Get creative and add things like coco powder, sea salt, ground oats, honey, etc.).
  • In the Garden (It works as a natural slug repellent and the coffee grounds actually have tons of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, copper, and release nitrogen into the soil as they degrade.
  • Use to clean fireplace (before cleaning out your fireplace throw some dampened grounds on the ashes which will weigh them down and make for a less cloudy and dusty clean up.
  • To clean greasy pans (used coffee grounds are great for getting out hard, cooked on foods. With a scouring pad rub the grounds onto the pans and the abrasiveness of the grounds will clean it right up without needing harsh chemicals).
  • Repel cats from using the garden or houseplants as litter boxes. Mix grounds and orange peels together and sprinkle around garden or plants.
  • Deodorize your fridge (coffee is a natural deodorizer, just put some grounds in an open container and set in the fridge. They can also be used to help de-smell really smelly shoes. Put some dry grounds crumpled up in some newspaper and then set the newspaper in the shoes overnight. They’ll smell fresh again in no time!).For more tips and tricks check out Earth911.com or www.mnn.com