Coffee Journal

Colombia Bolivar Source Trip April 10 2014, 0 Comments

Three weeks ago, Darrel was able to visit one of our Farmers in Colombia.  While trips to "source" are always educationally priceless, the information he brought back from one of the largest coffee-producing countries in the world gave him a whole new insight into the Coffee Industry.

Take a look at some of the pictures he snapped while he was down South, and be sure to pick his brain next time you see him!

Coffee Seedlings at Finca

Seedlings

 

Panorama from  Hacienda Balandu in Jardín, Antioquia, Colombia

Panorama from  Hacienda Balandu in Jardín, Antioquia, Colombia

 

Coffee Lot Quality Cupping

Coffee Lot Quality Cupping

 

Darrel with our Importer & Charlie Requadt  and Coffee Farmers

Darrel with Exporter Aaron Beydoun, Farmer Juan

Arboleda, & Importer Charlie Requadt.


Beyond Irish Coffee January 18 2014, 0 Comments

(Original posted on Taysted.com)

Aussie and the Fox Frank Fontaine Lancaster PA

Our North Eastern Winter has been an especially brutal one so far. Wet, sub-zero winds drive through our wool pea coats and scarves, and no number of layers seems to help. When late January is so unforgiving, coffee might not quite do the trick.

It’s safe to say that Aussie and The Fox – fruit of Lancaster’s recent crop of Buy Fresh eateries – has found the cure. Home to a full-fledged espresso bar, carefully trained baristas, and award winning bartender Frank Fontaine, they’ve stepped well beyond the common Irish Coffee.

Properly blending specialty coffee and fine liquor isn’t as easy as it might sound. The bright citrus-fruit and chocolate flavors of a quality, fresh-roasted coffee can be hard to pair with a great whisky or gin.

Mr. Fontaine’s thoughtfully crafted Coffee-Centric drinks introduce herb and fruit flavors, among others, bringing each distinct flavor together in unexpected and wonderfully comforting combinations.

Do yourself a favor: don’t risk ruining a great bag of coffee or expensive bottle of spirits. In the deep cold of this late Winter, stop in to warm up with the blokes at Aussie and The Fox.

 

Aussie & The Fox
38 West King Street, Lancaster PA


Brewing A Proper Coffee December 06 2013, 0 Comments

During the Holidays, everyone enjoys WOWing their guests with delicious dinners, desserts AND COFFEE!

To be a coffee-brewing-genius, you should learn a little bit about the "science" involved. In the end, knowing will help you make a really nice brew without much difficulty.

Ratio:

Start at 1oz Coffee PER 16oz Water. If you're brewing on an automatic brewer at home, the lower temperature (anything under 200F) isn't going to extract as easily, so add about 10% more Coffee. If you're using a French Press and can control the temperature, feel free to lessen your coffee measure by 10% or so, due to the full immersion of the coffee grounds.

Roast:

Darker coffee looses some of its density during roast (along with caffeine, sugars, etc...). Because of the lost density, you should expose less of the bean's surface area to the water: ie, use a coarser grind and a little more coffee.

If you prefer a lighter roast, the coffee you're drinking is still more dense, and so exposing more surface area will allow more flavor to come out: ie, use a finer grind and a little less coffee.

Grind:

Fresh grinding is SUPER important; but so is proper grinding. If at all possible, grind within minutes of brewing. As soon as the coffee is ground, you're letting aromas into the air, with means those flavors won't be in your cup. However, it is VERY important to use a good BURR Grinder (see here for a great low-cost option). BLADE Grinders chop beans in a very inconsistent way, which means the water will over-extract some of the grounds and under-extract others.

Water:

Cool, clean water makes all the difference. It makes up 98% of the final brew, so use GREAT water!

Time:

If you're using an automatic brewer at home, the coffee should be finished within 4:30 minutes. Otherwise the coffee and water have been in contact for too long, and you will end up with sour flavors on the back of your tongue- that's over-extracted coffee!

A French Press should steep for about 4 minutes. An 8 oz Manual Pour should finish dripping by about 3 minutes. An espresso should extract in about 25 seconds. If you're brewing too fast, use a finer grind and a little less coffee. Too slow, use a coarser grind and a bit more coffee.

Note: if you are using an automatic brewer, a slow brew cycle could be due to mineral build-up in the machine. If you can clean the brewer it will help, but you might need a new machine!

We hope this helps. We LOVE sharing our coffee with you, and we're confident that these basic guides will help you make the most of your Gerhart Flavorful Coffee!


Lancaster PA's Grocers Love Gerhart Flavorful Coffee November 21 2013, 0 Comments

Grocery Coffee BinThe Gerhart Coffee Co actually had its start in Central PA's General Stores. In 1880, Paul Gerhart brought the concept of fresh, locally roasted coffee into Lancaster. Back then, a lot of coffee was brought in from New York and Philadelphia. But Mr. Gerhart knew that something as important as coffee- the First Flavor of the Day, the Stimulant of Politicians and Philosophers- could NOT be shipped in from some "BIG CITY". So he began roasting and supplying the local merchants with fresh, Flavorful Coffee.

The most important quality in your coffee is the roast date. When your coffee is roasted in Vermont, Seattle, or Ohio; Warehoused; Shipped; Warehoused; and finally stored on the grocery shelf with a year-long expiration period... you WILL taste it in the cup!

 

 

Do yourself a f(L)avor. BUY ONLY LOCAL, FRESH-ROASTED COFFEE!

Here are a few places you can find ours!

Huber's West End Market

Oregon Dairy

Flinchbaugh's Orchard & Farm Market

Cherry Hill Orchards

Hummer's Meats

Zweier's Food Kart

Conestoga Wagon

Ferguson & Hassler

Forry's Country Store

Martin's Country Market 

Roaring Brook Market

 


Private Label & Fundraiser Coffee Programs November 11 2013, 0 Comments

A LOT of the coffee we roast goes to restaurants, businesses and non-profit organizations around Central PA (and beyond...). In fact we are actually the largest Wholesale Coffee Roaster in the area, and have been for a long time! We love the variety that Wholesale Roasting brings us.  It is extremely rewarding to to see our partners' dreams come to full realization, and humbling to be a part of the journey!

One form that Wholesale Roasting takes is in our Private Label/Fundraiser Program. While some of our partners prefer that we stay behind the scenes, some of the brands and blends that we've helped to create are a fully visible collaboration.

Take a look at a few of the companies we've worked with recently!

 

Private Label Coffee

American Music Theatre: Rockin' Roast -- http://www.amtshows.com/

Amelia's Grocery Outlet: Running Pump Roasting (rolling out through 2014) -- http://www.ameliasgroceryoutlet.com/

Hope for the Children: 'HOPE BLEND' Fair Trade Organic -- http://hfclove.org/

Issac's Famous Grilled Sandwiches: 'For the Birds' Rainforest Alliance Certified -- http://www.isaacsdeli.com/

JDRF Central PA: 'Speed Walk Blend' -- http://centralpa.jdrf.org/

My Heart to Fear - Band, Solid State Records -- http://www.myhearttofear.net/

September Farm Cheese: 'Farm House Blend' -- http://www.septemberfarmcheese.com/

The Strasburg Creamery: 'Our House Blend' -- http://www.strasburg.com/Strasburg-Creamery/

ABC27 - WHTM: 'Daybreak Blend' -- http://www.abc27.com/

 

Fill out our Wholesale Inquiry Form or call us if you're interested in working with us. We'll talk over coffee, our treat!

 


Guatemala Source Trip October 24 2013, 0 Comments

In February Darrel visited two of our Guatemala source farms, in an effort to learn more about our partners' farming techniques and on going improvements to their land. He was bale to see first hand that these farms are committed to quality in their beans and fair labor practices for their employees.

We're excited to share a few photos from his trip.These were primarily taken around the Piña Blanca Farm near Santa Rosa Guatemala.

Scroll the to the bottom of this post for exciting news!

 

 

Bourbon Cultivar Seedlings in Santa Rosa Guatemala

Guatemala Antigua Bourbon Coffee Seedlings

Ripening Coffee Cherries

Ripe Coffee Cherries Guatemala Bourbon

Harvested Cherries, Bourbon Cultivar

Harvest Bourbon Coffee Cherries, Santa Rosa Guatemalala

Overlooking Lake Amatitlan near Santa Rosa Guatemala

Lake Amatitlan near Santa Rosa Guatemala

Inspecting Root & Trunk Health - Bourbon Coffee Bush

Pablo Escobar Darrel Burns Inspecting ROot Health Bourbon Coffee Guatemala

Our prized find from Darrel's trip arrives next week:

Guatemala, Chimaltenango, Acatenango, El Carmen : Guatemala Cup of Excellence Winner for 2013.

In short, this is one of the best coffees to come out of Guatemala this year! Stay tuned!


Italian Roast Now Available! October 18 2013, 0 Comments

We're fessing up. This was a bit of an accident.

We were roasting one of our favorite African beans (we're going to keep the bean a secret...), and a few moments' distraction created the Gerhart Coffee Company's first ever Italian Roast.

Now, we're not much for especially dark-roasted coffee. Our "Dark Roast" is relatively lightly roasted in the scheme of things...

But this Italian Roast came out QUITE nicely. The bean lends some incredible sweetness and the flavors overall really held up to the higher heat.

So after a very positive response to our first (serendipitous) Italian Roast offering, we're making this a part of our regular line-up!

A Tip for Brewing: Darker Roasts MUST be brewed using more coffee. When brewing this Italian Roast, we recommend you use about 1.15oz of coffee per 16oz of water, and a coarser grind.

Enjoy, and let us know what you think!


Keeping Flavorful Coffee Fresh - Storage October 08 2013, 0 Comments

We get this question ALL the time, and sometimes end up in long discussions about the myriad theories and methods people have come up with or learned over the years.

If you're curious, perhaps interested in coming up with your own new method, there are 3 important factors: Oxygen, Temperature, & Light.

Overall, one of the best things to remember when taking care of your coffee is this:

coffee can storageCoffee is in its healthiest form in the cherry, on the tree. Each step in processing and preparing is, in essence, destroying the bean.

1a) Drying

1b) Hulling, Wet Processing, Drying

2) Milling/Polishing

3) Storing/Shipping

4) Roasting

5) Grinding

6) Brewing

The more you can protect the bean in each of these stages, the better flavor you'll end up with.

Five Rules:

1) Protect your coffee from drastic temperature fluctuations. If you MUST buy more coffee than you plan to use within 14 days, you can freeze the coffee ONCE. Once you're ready to begin using the coffee, keep it at a consistent temperature, between 45-75 degrees (F).

2) Some people will store coffee in their refrigerator's "crisper" drawer, which is acceptable, if you plan to use the coffee within 14 days.

3) No matter where you store the coffee, keep it away from oxygen and moisture! Air-tight containers, whether in or out of refrigeration.

4) Keep coffee out of direct sunlight. An opaque, airtight container will solve both of these last points!

5) As often as possible, grind your coffee within 15 minutes of brewing. Keep those aromas in the brew! Fresh, QUALITY grinding is the biggest improvement you can make to your brewed coffee!

One last thing that many people don't consider is this:

If you are drinking a dark-roast coffee, consider that the bean has already been through a lot. The longer/hotter roast has destroyed much of the chemical make-up of the coffee compared to a light-roast coffee.

The darker the roast:

the more careful you should be with temperature and humidity during storage;

the sooner you should drink the coffee;

the more freshly ground the coffee should be;

and the more careful you need to be with extraction/brewing.... But that last point is for another post.

Simply put, we love to tell people "Just buy what you need for the next week- we love seeing you more often, anyway!"

 

Enjoy!


Cold Brewing Your Coffee July 23 2013, 0 Comments

Welcome to warmer weather! We know you’re all looking for refreshing new ways to enjoy your Gerhart Flavorful Coffee this Spring. We searched for a decent Cold-Brewing Guide to share with you, but have come up short.

Here’s our original guide for your Spring-time brewing pleasure.

First, RATIOS:

When brewing coffee traditionally, with hot water, it’s best to use between 1.75-2.25 of coffee (BY WEIGHT, not volume) for every 32 oz of water. Adjust the amount of coffee, and the grind, for your brewing method and equipment.

When you cold-brew your coffee, the cool water is going to get less flavor out of each particle, so you’ll want to use significantly more coffee. You should experiment with different coffees at different volumes, but a starting point is 3.75oz of coarsely-ground coffee at a nice Medium-Dark Roast (Full City to Full City+) for every 32oz of water.

Next, METHOD:

We’ve found that the best brew comes out of a 3-steps process: Steeping, Pressing and Filtering. You can skip ‘Pressing’ if you don’t have a French Press-type Brewer; but when straining, be sure to pour slowly, leaving as much of the ground coffee at the bottom of your steeping glass.

1) Steep your coffee in cool Filtered Spring Water in a glass container for 18-24 hours in the refrigerator. Some recipes suggest setting the coffee on your counter over night (8-10 hours) but our recommended ‘Fridge Steeping’ will produce a more consistent, sweeter brew.

2) Press the coarser particles out of your brew with a French Press.

3) Strain using an unbleached paper filter. Ideally use a rinsed, heavy filter, like those used with a Chemex Brewer; but you can start with the smaller filters that you use with your Mr Coffee Brewer.

IMPORTANT: Some recipes will suggest broadly that you can use cheese cloth or any strainer; but in order to get the best taste from your Cold Coffee, it is important to remove all of the smallest particulates and oils from the brew. This will also allow you to store your coffee in the refrigerator for up to a week without the risk of on-going extraction!

4) Enjoy!

Try your Cold Brew on the rocks, or add a little bit of Sweetened Condensed Milk for a more decadent treat!

As you get a bit more comfortable with your new found cold-brew method, try adding dried berries or vanilla bean to the grounds as your brew steeps!

Let us know what you come up with- don’t forget to share your pictures!