Bikes + Coffee with Red Hook Crit’s David Trimble

 

Bikes + Coffee at 88 Orchard

Photos by David Trimble

 

We’re kicking off this season with a race!

Spring may be struggling to find its footing in New York, but we have friends—and some friendly cut-throat competition—to keep us warm. This Saturday, March 29, 2014, we’ll be at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal with coffee and snacks to fuel racers and spectators at the seventh iteration of the Red Hook Criterium. This year is the first time there will be a separate women’s race, and there will also be men’s and women’s 5k foot races. Lots of action all around!

Earlier this week, we met at 88 Orchard with race organizer David Trimble and one of this year’s first-time RHC participants, Michael Biastoch of Germany. Although there’s still much to do as the race nears, David had a moment to share with us his thoughts on how RHC got started and on the beautiful relationship between coffee and bikes. Check out the conversation, below.

Red Hook Crit's David Trimble with competitor Michael Biastoch at 88 Orchard

RHC’s David Trimble with competitor Michael Biastoch at 88 Orchard

Bikes + Coffee at 88 Orchard with Red Hook Crit competitor Michael Biastoch

Competitor Michael Biastoch with IFCR’s Ugo Aniukwu at 88 Orchard

 


Bikes + Coffee: Our conversation with David Trimble

Tell us about Trimble Racing + the Red Hook Criterium?

Trimble Racing encompasses all of my family’s activity in cycling. My father and (many) siblings all ride and race bikes. We have competed all over the world on many different formats of racing (alleycats, downhill, cross country, road, track, etc). Under the Trimble Racing name I have organized races in Alaska and The Catskills in addition to the RHC. The Red Hook Criterium is a race I first organized in 2008 as part of my birthday party. Since then it has grown into what it is today.

How did you get started in the cycling industry?

My father and uncle were frame builders who invented the modern carbon monocoque frame. Their bikes have won world championships and Olympic Gold medals. I have been around cycling my entire life.

What got you interested in great coffee? And what made you want to have great coffee at your events?

The Red Hook Crit is held at the end of March when it is cold and windy. Qualifying starts in the afternoon with the main races at night. It is a long, long day. We start setting up at 6am. Spectators, volunteers, and athletes need a good warm cup of coffee to keep themselves moving.

What connection do you see between coffee and cycling?

Riding bikes makes you tired. Drinking coffee makes you feel better. The correlation is very strong. Almost every cyclist I know is obsessed with coffee.

Do you have any funny coffee-related stories?

It is always funny speaking to Europeans who are convinced good coffee doesn’t exist in America. Coffee may be consistently better in Italy but the absolute best cup can be found in New York.

 


We wish Michael and all of the competitors the best of luck this weekend. And we hope to see you at the crit. Admission is free for spectators, so check the rest of the details at redhookcrit.com to make sure you don’t miss all the fun!

Remember to come see us at the sidelines near the start and finish line for hot cups of our Monte Cristo, BrazilLa Bendicion, Nicaragua, and of course espressos and macchiatos made with our signature Blackstrap Espresso. Go bikes and coffee!

Meet the Farmers: Mario

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Though we’re spread out across two cities, five cafes, one farmhouse roastery and one office, all of us at Irving Farm consider ourselves one big, pretty darn happy Farmily. In this new series, we’re going to introduce you to the people behind your daily cup. This week? Mario, who works at Irving Farm headquarters in Manhattan.

Who are you?

I’m Batman. I’m the controller, I’m the money guy.

How long have you been at Irving Farm?

Since the beginning of time, essentially. Back when time started in ’97.

What position did you start in?

I started as a dishwasher at 52 Irving place.

What’s your role now?

After being dishwasher I started working the counter, I did shift leading, I did assistant manager, once we went into [the space at 71 Irving Place] I did the whole barista thing before there was a “barista thing” I did the register, I did the sandwiches. Dave was doing the finances by himself back when it was only 71, and the wholesale was starting to get started, and I started part-time working at the office to help him with 71. As it went on, I just started working more, fuller time, and now we’re five cafes deep and growing.

What was your first coffee job?

This one. Before, odd jobs, mostly. I washed cars, I waited tables, I did construction.

What’s your favorite coffee?

Whatever Tam’s making!

What do you love about Irving Farm/your role/coffee?

That’s a heavy question, but, what’s not to like? I feel like I know the company inside and out, it’s awesome, I have fun at what I do. And what’s not to like about the coffee, especially when Tam’s making her competition drinks and you’ve got grade-A cappuccinos coming. WHAT! I’m heavy into the quality control and barista judging. That’s part of what the controller does.

Had you ever heard of Millerton?

Nope. I’d never heard of gourmet coffee before I worked at 52 Irving. I thought that whole gourmet coffee and “high-end” coffee was whaaaaat? Starbucks wasn’t even big back then, that was as bougie as my coffee experience got.

When you were 5 what did you want to be when you grew up?

Batman. Actually I wanted to be Bruce Wayne.

What do you do outside of work/coffee?

This is going on the internet? No comment.
I hang out with my son little Mario! That’s definitely my top thing when I’m not here. I like to have fun.

Who controls the office radio?
For the most part, me. I tend to get here first and crank it on, I try to keep it on shuffle so a little bit of everything comes up. Maybe not shuffled enough. We’ll have to talk to Pandora about that.

What’s your favorite embarrassing story about David or Steve, the owners of Irving Farm?

I can’t put that on the interwebs either. I’m not answering that.

If one of our coffees was your spirit animal which one would it be? Why? How is it prepared?

The Colombian SUPREMO!!!!!!

We were hoping you’d say zebra. Do you have a dream coffee job, at Irving Farm or in any other part of the coffee world?

I like to think I’d be running my own place, making my own moves. A topless cafe? By which I mean no lids. It’s more environmental. I’m all about the green.

Thanks, Mario! Stay tuned for more Meet the Farmers coming soon to an Irving Farm blog space near you!

Coffee Travel Diaries: Winter 2014

We would never let Irving Farm’s Coffee Director, Dan Streetman, visit so many of the beautiful farms with whom we have relationships without promising to write home about it. Here is his first of two coffee travel diaries from his recent winter harvest trip to Central America.

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El Salvador. Photo by Dan Streetman.

 

Day 1: Arrive Santa Isabel
I arrived in Guatemala today, and had lunch with Alex Keller, owner of the Santa Isabel farm, and his brother. I have been learning a lot about their family history. We also made a brief stop at ANACAFE, which is the national association of coffee growers. They have a lot of tools for coffee growers, and was very cool to see.

We arrived at the Santa Isabel farm around 5pm tonight, and took a quick tour of the nursery and the mill before it got dark. They are mostly done with harvest but still processing a little bit of cherry.

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Coffee being dried at Santa Isabel. Photo by Dan Streetman.

Alex and I spent the whole day walking the farm, and he was showing me the effects of Roya. They have been really struggling to keep it under control. He is trying many different things with the soil to try and fight it. I saw all of their composting processes, and some other things they are working on. However they, also believe that they need to move towards rust-resistant varieties to fight the infection.

We did a cupping in the afternoon, and 2 of the rust-resistant varieties cupped out ok, but still about .5 to 1 point lower than the coffee that is being shipped to us this year. I am hoping that we can work with Alex to find a solution, so that we can preserve the quality of this coffee in years to come. However, they are already replanting large portions of the farm with rust-resistant varieties.

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Alex Keller on the farm. Photo by Dan Streetman.

After the cupping Alex and his brother Martin showed me their roasting facility, where they produce coffee for the Guatemalan market. They have 3 custom-built roasters, and I spent some time roasting with them. It was pretty. Their roasters are crazy, and require two people to operate, calling out commands to each other, and running around.

 

Day 3: Arrive Guadalupe and El Molino
Today I arrived in El Salvador, this morning we toured Guadalupe and El Molino. It looks much better here…but I am off to cup right now…so we’ll see how it goes…

I have very good email access here.

 

Day 4: Touring the Guatemalan farms
Brief update from El Salvador. Yesterday I arrived across the border at 8am, to meet Jose Antonio Jr, and Andres. We went from there to Guadalupe and El Molino to visit the farms. Here, they are doing a great job fighting the Roya, and have only suffered about 5% crop loss from last year. You can see that the fungus is present and trying to attack the trees, but they are doing a fantastic job of controlling it. I was probing to find out the biggest difference between here and in Guatemala, and through that, it came out that our long-term commitment, and premium outright prices have enabled them to invest in the farm, without fear of not getting a return. The business proposition of investing lots of money in the farm to fight Roya, with no guaranteed return, seemed to be Alex’s biggest concern.

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Jose Antonio & Andres. Photo by Dan Streetman.

Afterwards we came to the wet mill at Las Cruces, and cupped through coffees. I cupped Guadalupe with two different washing processes. Unfortunately I think the roast was a little off, and they were not cupping the way I expected. We are going to re-cup them tomorrow morning. I also cupped the El Molino, and it was tasting fantastic as usual.

Last night another group came in from Royal in California, they have been traveling for 2 weeks, and we swapped “war” stories.

This morning we went to visit San Francisco farm, which we don’t buy any coffee from, but I got to watch the pickers, and shoot some video/photos. I haven’t really watched pickers in action before and it was pretty cool to watch.

After we dropped the other group off, we went to visit an organic farm that they own, as I wanted to see if they were having similar success there. I have considered asking if they could move Guadalupe to organic in the future, if we wanted, and they have always said yes. However I wanted to see the differences in the farm. They are managing the organic farm using a lot of different methods, including planting many different varieties there. Icatu, Pacamara, Bourbon, Catimor, Yellow Icatu, and Sarchimor just to name a few, along with experimenting with the Agobio method on Bourbons.

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A coffee tree grown in the agobio method. Photo by Dan Streetman.

Agobio is when they allow a tree to grow for 3-5 years, and then they bend the tallest part of the tree to run horizontally. This encourages the tree to grow more verticals. Each 5-10 years, they will bend a new vertical to make a new horizontal, and you can have 1 tree that will produce as much as 5 trees. The advantages of this system are that the trees have a much deeper and broader root system, and can pull up more nutrients from the soil. You can also manage the vertical growth, with pruning, and maintain the amount of production coming from each tree. Also, it is easier to apply spray to the leaves which help leaf rust and other diseases. I have seen these trees that are 80-100 years old, and still healthy and producing good harvests. The downside is that it takes a long time to get the system set up. Also you can plant less trees per hectare, so if one of your Agobio trees dies you can potentially lose a lot of production.

Now we are back at Las Cruces, and I’m sure the mill will start whirring any minute now. Tomorrow, I am cupping here and then meeting Mayita to cup this year’s coffee from Natamaya.

Saturday morning we will head to Honduras!

Stay tuned for the second installment of Dan’s winter harvest time diaries!

Meet the Farmers: Kathy

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Though we’re spread out across two cities, five cafes, one farmhouse roastery and one office, all of us at Irving Farm consider ourselves one big, pretty darn happy Farmily. In this new series, we’re going to introduce you to the people behind your daily cup. First up? Kathy Shapiro, who runs our Irving Farm Coffee House in Millerton, New York. Next time you’re in beautiful Dutchess County, pop in and say hello to Kathy!

Who are you?
Kathy.

How long have you been at Irving Farm?
Almost four years.

What position did you start in?
I was working at the roaster. Processing orders, packing, tasting, playing, swimming—don’t put that.

What’s your role now?
I’m the manager of the Millerton store.

What was your first coffee job?
Working at the roaster.

What’s your favorite coffee?
Of all time? The Idido Misty Valley. We used to have a Kenya that was really great with chocolate!

What do you love about Irving Farm/your role/coffee?
What I love about my role at Irving Farm is moving people to their next coffee level, as in customers. It happens a couple of times a week, someone comes in every day and gets the same thing and eventually…

How long have you been in Millerton?
20 years.

How did you get here?
I grew up in Southern Connecticut, but I was living in New York City, trying to leave the city, and slowly moved north.

When you were 5 what did you want to be when you grew up?
It was my understanding that no one had ridden a zebra and I wanted to train zebras to be ridden.

Did you ever meet a zebra?
I’ve never touched one. So meeting, no.

What do you do outside of work/coffee?
I tend my child and family and garden and knit. I have a side job where I make knitting needle cases, last fall I had a booth at the Sheep and Wool Festival.

What’s your favorite embarrassing story about David or Steve, the owners of Irving Farm?
Well I knew them personally before I worked here. I guess it’s not embarrassing, but I feel like I endlessly have to explain that they’re not a couple. That’s not embarrassing, but I don’t really have an embarrassing story. Nothing embarrasses them.

If one of our coffees was your spirit animal which one would it be? Why? How is it prepared?
When I used to come here before I worked here, I would always get the feature roast because it was different every day, and I like to mix it up. So a chameleon!

We were hoping you’d say zebra. Do you have a dream coffee job, at Irving Farm or in any other part of the coffee world?
What I do really like, and  what I like about operating a bakery here, is that we bake different things and taste them with the coffees, to see how best they pair.

The first time I drank coffee I was 25, I was living in France, working as an au pair on a brood farm [breeding horse farm]. The husband and wife both worked at home, and the children were all in school, and every day we would all have lunch together and we’d drink two bottles of wine. So I’d have to start drinking espresso so we could go tend the horses. That’s the start of a dream job!

 

Thanks, Kathy! Stay tuned for more Meet the Farmers coming soon to an Irving Farm blog space near you!

Cursive Coffee Keeps Vermont Poppin’ (Up)

In this fourth in a series of interviews by Irving Farm to the talented food and drink professionals we work in partnership with, we take a minute with the Sam and Jim at Cursive Coffee in Burlington, Vermont, to talk about their grassroots effort to bring the coffee to the people.

 

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Tell us about Cursive Coffee? Where’d the name come from?
Cursive is primarily a mobile company, an itinerant pop-up, if you will, but we’re becoming a bit more sedentary as we move toward roasting. We do events, farmers markets, and are regularly accessible at an antique shop called Barge Canal Market, in Burlington, Vermont. With regards to the name, there really is no way to know—we blacked out and ordered a thousand business cards, and here we are. We thought about changing it for awhile, but then we started stamping cups, so I guess we’re in. The rest is history.

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How’s moving all the equipment around going?
It’s fun, in a very frustrating and expletive-filled way. Both of us have been musicians for a long time, so we approached the notion of moving expensive equipment around very similarly to the way a band gears up for tour. We use a Gator subwoofer bag for our machine and grinder, and a Peavey microphone bag for most of our glassware. Since it’s Vermont, we were required to also use an array of wooden crates for our other belongings—our insurance requires a certain percentage of rustic impracticality. The biggest and most hilarious obstacle tends to be the plumbing—we use Flojets for our machine and pitcher rinser, and sometimes amidst set-up/break down we leave more residual dampness than we’d like to. Also we lose things often, which is a drag. Have you guys seen any cupping spoons that, ya know, probably aren’t yours?

When did you first get interested in coffee? What made you start to take it seriously?
Sam: My first job was in a coffee shop, I’ve been working in coffee for years and years. I’d always been more interested than most of my coworkers, least in the bad coffee shops I used to work at, but I started taking it seriously when I had my first noticeably good cup of coffee, which was during my training at Uncommon Grounds in Burlington, where Jim and I met and worked together for awhile. Compared to the dreck I’d been drinking before, it was definitely a STEP UP.
Jim: I haven’t been working in coffee for as long as Sam, but I do like to think I may have been responsible for the cup that changed his life. That’s how I tell it, anyway. For me, before working as a barista, I drank such an excessive amount of coffee and spent enough time obsessing about it that I figured, what the hell, I should do this for money. Uncommon was an awesome place to learn an array of things about preparation and roasting, and I think shit got next level for me when I went to MANE in 2012, and realized there was a whole culture out there, beyond the lakes and mountains of our dystopian New England enclave.

Where did you get the idea to pop up in an antique shop?
Well, we were really smitten with a lot of the odd pop-up situations going on in NY, foremost Parlor Coffee in [barbershop] Persons Of Interest, Verve at Poler, Brooklyn Jane, Sweetleaf inside a real estate agency—all those wacky pairings. At that point, we were only doing events and farmers markets, but getting a lot of great feedback, and wanted a spot where people could actually seek us out, at least for the winter. Honestly, I think that Barge Canal Market was the first idea we had – it’s a great big space, with tons of quirky antiques and interesting set pieces, as well as a built-in array of unique and endearing drinkware. The owners, Adelle and Jeremy, are swell as could be, and they loved the idea. It all worked out, and people seem to really enjoy being able to hang out and sip their drink in a midcentury living room. Admittedly our bar stools aren’t always the most comfortable.

How did you first hear about Irving Farm Coffee Roasters?
Jim: There was a drip pot of Don Pancho outside the room where I took my Barista Guild exam, at MANE 2012. I drank it, it was good, whatever. Year and a half later, when Sam and I started contacting roasters, Teresa won us over with her wit and charm, with which we strongly identified. Furthermore, as a company, we strive to emphasize the importance of transparency, and hardly anybody does a better job than Irving Farm in terms of making information accessible to the consumer.

Sam: Not to mention, the coffee is totally sick.
Jim: Yeah I guess so.

What’s your favorite Irving Farm coffee and how did you make it?
After hours of deliberation, a couple arm wrestles, and a lot of crying… we have concluded that El Molino is our all time favorite offering, and we loved it most fervently as espresso. Sticky sweet, apricot, peach syrup, honey. Adding a bit of milk made it taste like an orange creamsicle. Runners up might include the Dolok Sanggul, which we really love through the Kone, or the Idido through a good ol fashioned Chemex. But we don’t want the Rwandan Coopac that we’re drinking right now to overhear us and have its feelings hurt though…this is one of the most awesome and dynamic cups we’ve made through a Kalita in weeks.

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Who writes those awesome tasting notes? Can you share with us some of your favorite verbiage?
Jim writes the verbiage, Sam actually can’t form grammatically cohesive sentences, since he didn’t go to college. Jim workshops them aloud until hearing what only he can identify as an agreeable grunt from Sam. In terms of our favorite verbiage, we encourage folks to check out our Facebook and Instagram and decide for themselves. Some are funny, some are provocative, all of them get some warranted furrowings of brows at every Farmers Market.

What does the future hold for Cursive Coffee?
Roasting! Our ambition from the very beginning has been to evolve into a roasting and sourcing company…and as we embark upon this adventure, we’re doing it one origin at a time, with Matthew White as our roastdoctor, workshopping and sample roasting every forthcoming offering for weeks until we feel it’s really up to snuff. Serving Irving Farm coffee sets unreasonably high standards, but we’re not looking to relinquish them. Our first run is a Kenyan from the Gatomboya factory in Nyeri, purchased through Coffee Shrub. We only have fifty pounds, and we’ve been taking pre-orders to ensure that none is wasted and that every bag is received fresh off the drum!

Anything else you want to add?
Seltzer, if you’ve got any.

Visit Cursive Coffee at the Barge Canal Market in Burlington, Vermont, and various other surprise locations to try Irving Farm staples as well as a rotation of in-house roasted selections, and of course, a heaping helping of wit.

Peak Organic + Irving Farm Launch Espresso Amber Ale

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As coffee people, we’re naturally drawn to those who brew—the other stuff. Imagine our delight when our friends at Peak Organic Brewing Co. in Portland, Maine, tapped us to participate in a collaborative beer. Working together with their brewers, we helped them select from our finest organic coffee offerings to home in on the key ingredient (besides beer) in their new Espresso Amber Ale.

Jon Cadoux, founder and brewer at Peak Organic, is a longtime fan of collaborating with those who produce fine organic ingredients. When looking for a coffee component for their newest brew, “we let Irving Farm handle the coffee, while we handled the beer,” Cadoux said. “We respect their commitment to deepening relationships with the growers of their beans.”

While most coffee beers tend to focus on the darker shades of coffee, ending up in heavier beers like stouts and porters, Peak Organic wanted something a little bit on the lighter side. Malty, complex, and a little fruity. We guided them towards an organic coffee we really love from the Capucas cooperative in Honduras that would harmonize wonderfully with an amber style of beer. We roasted it to bring out precisely the notes of citrus, green apple and cinnamon Cadoux fell in love with, with a firm backbone of robust, toasty espresso.

The result? Espresso Amber Ale, an absolutely delicious crossover that we can’t wait to share with you.

The beer launches this weekend to our excitement and fanfare. But somehow that didn’t seem like enough, so on Friday, March 7…we’re throwing it a party!

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We hope you’ll join us to raise a glass of Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale at our 88 Orchard Street cafe in New York City, Friday, March 7 from 6–10pm. We’ll have food, music…and, of course, plenty of Espresso Amber Ale for you to try!

Dan Streetman on Edible Manhattan TV

We’ve always been huge fans of the Edible magazines and their coverage of our city’s constantly delicious, emerging scene, and we were honored to recently be featured in Edible Manhattan’s drinks issue, where we shared the Irving Farm story.

As a multimedia bonus, Edible Films produced this great video with our Director of Coffee, Dan Streetman, who was interviewed at our Manhattan headquarters about what his job is all about.

Go Big or Go Home at the Big Eastern

Tamara Vigil competing at the 2013 United States Barista Championship in Boston, Mass. Photo by Liz Clayton.

Tamara Vigil competing at the 2013 United States Barista Championship in Boston, Mass. Photo by Liz Clayton.

Do you ever wish coffee were more like sports? That it had the drama of reality shows? That you could root for your favorite coffees and baristas as they go neck and neck, head to head, portafilter to portafilter against one another, to the death, in a battle of skill, cleanliness, flavor and charm?

You can!

Starting today through Sunday, baristas up and down the eastern seaboard will be facing off at the Big Eastern Barista Competition and Brewer’s Cup, in Durham, NC, one of three regional run-ups to the United States Barista Championship to be held this April.

And of course, we’ve got a pony in the race: our Director of Education, Tamara Vigil, will be competing in the Barista Competition with one of her (and our) favorite coffees, the Ethiopian Amaro Gayo. This coffee, from the birthplace of coffee itself, is uniquely sweet and balanced, and we feel a deeper connection to it from Irving Farm’s own trips to visit Ethiopia.

If you don’t happen to be near enough to Durham to attend the event in person, you can cheer Tam on like most of us here will be, live, over the internet! Follow this link to watch live-streaming coverage of the entire competition. Tamara will be performing her competition routine at 1:01pm Eastern on Sunday, January 19th.

 As a bonus to help you get pumped up, we’ve gotten Tam to reveal her psyche-up soundtrack for competition. What’s in those headphones while she tamps and trains? Thin Lizzy “Bad Reputation”, “Wild One” and “Don’t Believe a Word”, Graveyard “Hisingen Blues”, Black Mountain “Evil Ways” and “Queens Will Play”, Black Sabbath “Supernaut” (of course!), Betty Davis “Steppin High in Her I. Miller Shoes”, M.I.A. “Born Free”, John Lee Hooker “Boom Boom”, and Roky Erickson’s “Bloody Hammer”. 

Go team Tam!!

Creating a Coffee Blend With a Community at Table on Ten

Table on Ten, Bloomfield, NY. Photo by Ingalls Photography.

Table on Ten, Bloomfield, NY. Photo by Ingalls Photography.

Relationships make great coffee. From the farmers, to the roasters, specialty coffee folk speak reverently of relationship coffee, emphasizing the bonds that bring us closer to the origins of coffee. But there are relationships on the other side of the coffee economy, closer to the point of consumption. But once a coffee has reached our roasting facility the number of people directly engaged in fashioning a finished product—say, a new blend or a roast profile for instance—is limited. Most of our customers, as they come to understand more of the labor that goes into roasting, profiling, and blending, are satisfied to choose from the coffees on a cupping table. We seek out—and work best—with partners who are as dedicated to their crafts as we are to our coffees. And they treat our, now their, coffee the way they treat everything else on their menus. But now and then a special customer comes along who wants to go deeper into the process with us.

Photo by Ugo Aniukwu

Photos by Ugo Aniukwu

Our friends at Table on Ten in Bloomville, NY—who seem to have direct lines of communication not just with their local producers, but with the produce itself—are one team for whom buying great coffees was not enough. They expressed to us their desire to be more involved in the production of the coffee they feature in their cafe. And not just for themselves—they wanted the opportunity to involve their local community in the process, to get the whole town together to create a blend. We were admittedly scratching our heads at the prospect of formally presenting, judging, soliciting and recording public feedback on the half-dozen coffees being considered for a Table on Ten blend. Such exercises are usually conducted at the roastery or in our training lab, so we were a bit out of our comfort zone, but excited about the adventure nonetheless.

So, one Saturday in early October, Teresa von Fuchs and I drove out of Manhattan and north into the western Catskills, nervous, excited and uncertain about what we were getting into. Neither of us had been to Bloomville before. But what we walked into that night was one of the most immediately familiar and welcoming communities either of us have had the good fortune to be introduced to. We were greeted warmly as “the coffee people” about whom Inez and Julian had told them so much. We never expected our presence to be so celebrated as it was that weekend in Bloomville. We sat down to a dizzying array of five or six pizzas, each a different recipe, and each incredibly delicious. We shared our table with Julian’s neighbors Cay Sophie and Christian, and it wasn’t until the end of the meal that we realized Cay Sophie and Christian would also be our hosts for the night, after taking us to a bonfire, where we met more travelers who were also in the process of falling in love with this place.

Bewildered as we were by the welcome we received and by the wonderful sense of community crowded into this unassuming house on the side the road, we very quickly began to make sense of what Table on Ten was looking for when they asked if we’d help them and their town create their own coffee blend.

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In the morning we set up on a table taking up much of of the microshop/cafe and began brewing. Table on Ten’s only criteria for coffees to be considered were that they come from producers with whom we have strong relationships, and that their town tended to favor darker roasts, which reminded Inez of the coffees she grew up on. We had three coffees roasted with two different profiles and we brewed up batches of all six for any and all who ventured to taste.

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There were lots of opinions and votes and tasting notes and smells and stories of coffees shared and loved and longed for. There was a whole family who came in for breakfast after celebrating a son’s wedding the night before. There was a couple visiting from Holland. There were quite a few folks from the city who swore they’d have to move to Bloomville after spending a weekend in its thrall. After all the votes were tallied (maybe we weighted Inez and the Table’s teams input a little heavier…) we blended the remaining small bags of coffee and A3 blend was born.

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After much cleaning and shaking of hands, we set back out on the road. With tummies stuffed full of pizza, made from scratch, with ingredients grown by friends and family, baked in an oven built by hand, off tables made from the woods and falling-down barns nearby–we understood the meaning of relationships and local production to the very heart of the cafe, and were proud that our coffee had the extra touch of relationship-building tucked inside. In Bloomville we were reminded of the other beautiful of face of relationship coffee. For this and all our relationships in coffee, we are grateful to no end.

Pastry Chef Laurie Jon Moran on Coffee as a Dessert Ingredient

Pastry Chef Laurie Jon  Moran in the kitchen at Le Bernardin.

Pastry Chef Laurie Jon Moran in the kitchen at Le Bernardin.

In this third in a series of interviews by Irving Farm to the talented food and drink professionals we work in partnership with, we take a minute with Executive Pastry Chef Laurie Jon Moran of Le Bernardin.
How did you get started in the food and beverage industry? and What’s your role now?
I knew I wanted to be a chef when I was about 14 years old, so after high school I went to culinary school rather than college. Now I’m lucky enough to be the Executive Pastry Chef at Le Bernardin.

What led you to pastry in your career?
While I was in culinary school I enjoyed pastry more and was more attracted to it because of the precision and technicality.

Tell us more about how you use coffee in creating your dessert menu? How do the individual flavor profiles of each coffee affect how you approach them?
The approach is generally to get as much of the natural flavor profile of the coffee beans into the dessert as we can, especially the lighter more floral notes that often get lost in dessert preparations.

What’s the most successful dessert you’ve ever made incorporating coffee?
The coffee dessert that we have on the menu right now is quite popular. It’s a play on a tiramisu but with coffee being the main flavor, supported by mascarpone and salted caramel. We try to make the quality and flavor of the coffee beans the thing that makes the dessert special and infuse them into most of the components.

What coffee/s are you currently working with? What interests or excites you about them?
We are currently using beans from Los Lirios, Honduras in our coffee dessert. I love its balance and fruity acidity. It is also one of my favourite coffees as an espresso, although for me, nothing has beaten the Amaro Gayo beans from Ethiopia.

What’s been the most interesting thing you’ve learned about coffee?
I didn’t realize how unique different coffees can be and how big the range of flavor profiles is. Trying different coffees as the selections changed at the Irving Farm 79th street shop really opened my eyes to that, then doing a cupping at the training lab really blew me away.

 

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