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Client Shout Out: Hi Point Coffee and Cafe

Hi Point Coffee has been a client of Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company for about 8 years. With two locations, one in the main entry of the VA Hospital in Reno, NV and the other, the Cafe, at
3687 Kings Row
Reno, NV 89523

At the Cafe Sarah Toney the owner and operator of this local, independent coffee house featuring, you guessed it, Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee. Hi Point has a full breakfast and lunch menu and an on-site baker for pastries and other baked goods. They also feature a Sunday Brunch.
Hi Point’s hours are 6 am ’til 2 pm everyday.

Sarah also schedules in, on occation, musical entertainment and has a calendar of events such as book clubs listed on her web-site.

If you are looking for great coffee and food in a friendly and homey environment stop by Hi Point for a visit.


What is Specialty Coffee?

There has been a serties going on this week on NPR’s Morning Edition
The term “Specialty Coffee” refers to the grade of the green coffee beans. “Specialty coffee” was first used in 1974 by Erna Knutsen in an issue of Tea & Coffee Trade Journal. Knutsen used this term to describe beans of the best flavor which are produced in special microclimates.
Specialty coffee is the term commonly used to refer to “gourmet” or “premium” coffee. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), coffee which scores 80 points or above on a 100-point scale is graded “specialty.” Specialty coffees are grown in special and ideal climates, and are distinctive because of their full cup taste and little to no defects. The unique flavors and tastes are a result of the special characteristics and composition of the soils in which they are produced.
The specialty segment is the most rapidly growing portion of the coffee industry. In the U.S., specialty coffee has increased its market share from 1% to 20% in the last 25 years.[1]
To promote and self-regulate the industry, growers, exporters, roasters, retailers and equipment suppliers have established trade associations. These associations exist in both coffee-consuming and producing countries.
Specialty Coffee is, therefore, very specific in its nature and only about 10% of coffees harvested around the world achieve this grading. (For a post another day I will discuss “Cup of Excellence” coffees.) For Specialty Coffee Specifications visit CoffeeResearch.org
Since our inception in 2001 we have roasted 100% Specialty Grade Arabica Coffees. We hold to the philosophy that everyone has different tastes and preferences, so we offer a wide variety of Single Origin coffees, Blends and roast styles. We also offer various sample packs so provide to opportunity to taste several different coffees to help you fine just the right coffee.


About Tasting Coffee: 6 Steps to Tasting Coffee

There are six steps we use in the shop when tasting coffee, they are:

Dry Grounds Aroma, what does the freshly ground coffee smell like before water is introduced. Practicing with this and comparing the aromas to other familiar smells can be a lot of fun. Does the fresh ground coffee remind you of something such as Chocolate? Caramel? Does it smell sweet or harsh? Is the smell earthy, floral or fruity? Narrowing down the smells first into general categories like chocolate, then further is it dark chocolate or milk chocolate. Another prevalent aroma is spice, is it cinnamon or clove. Do you see how it works?

The Break, we do this when cupping (a very specific method of brewing and tasting coffee for flavor and aroma analysis.) About half-way through the steeping process the cap of grounds floating on the surface of the cup are broken apart and the first aroma of the brewing coffee is experienced. This aroma is only available for a few seconds when the cap is first broken. Once again, note the initial aromas in general categories then get more specific.

Aroma (in the cup), whenever tasting a new coffee or just for the fun of it, before you adjust your cup (add cream or sweetener) take a quick deep sniff of the aroma and using the same method note the aroma characteristics.

Flavor, isn’t this what is all about after all? Again, before adjusting the cup take a sip. Slurp it in hard so that the brew coats the entire inside of your mouth. This does a couple of things at once: draws aroma into the olfactory and gets the beverage onto all parts of your tongue’s flavor sensors at the same time. Note the tastes are they what you expect from the aroma test you have already done? Many times the dominant aromas do not come across as prevalent in the brewed cup, some times they do. Follow the same noting procedure for tasting as you did for smelling (general category then fine tune to more specific flavors.) You can then see what the flavor profile is of the coffee. Is it chocolaty, fruity, tart, nutty or spicy. Don’t limit yourself there is no right or wrong answer.

MouthFeel, what does the coffee feel like, is viscous (creamy or buttery) or crisp (like citrus.) Some other things to think about in this category is body, is it heavy or light.

Aftertaste, how is the coffee after you are done drinking it? Does it linger pleasantly? How long does it linger?

These are the basic criteria we use in the shop for analyzing coffee flavor and aroma. Through using these techniques we are able to determine what the best roast style of any individual coffee for optimum flavor.

Have Fun!


Shout Out To One Of Our Clients

Dish Cafe and Catering is Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company’s longest term client. Nancy and Joe have been serving WFR coffee in their comfort food cafe since January 2003. Dish has been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and Nancy has recently taken on a weekly food column featured in the Food and Drink section of the Reno Gazette Journal.

Dish Cafe’s menu consists of comfort food recipes featuring farm fresh local products and locally roasted coffee. The staff is always friendly and helpful.

I like to stop in for breakfast every week or so to enjoy some steam scrambled eggs with Havarti (eggs from Rise and Shine Farms), Bacon from Applegate Farms and baked fresh daily scones. A great start to my day!

Please stop in and say, “hi.”
855 Mill St.
Reno, NV


A Couple of Great Articles

For coffee roasters the #1 trade magazine (in my opinion) is “Roast Magazine.” On the cover of every issue is stated, “Dedicated to the Success of Coffee Roasters.” Well, that would be me and I do read the magazine looking for new perspectives, information, and ideas. www.roastmagazine.com

The first is from the January/February 2013 issue, “Fighting the Good Fight,” by Mike Ferguson. This article goes into the issue of ethical interactions by competitors with another roaster’s clients, as well as, the ethics of labeling. Not too much detail as the article is very well written and I would not be able to paraphrase and do the author justice. But, he does cover many issues that I have encountered and expressed to my customers about coffee quality and how the best comparison is in the cup. He also talked about the competitive nature of the coffee world and some suggestions on how to handle it. One thing he mentioned is respecting the work of other roasters who are “fighting the good fight” and working diligently to produce the best coffee product they can. (even if the interpretation is different from your own.) This is how I have always operated my business. The very first time I encountered another local roaster’s product when approaching a business I decided to never try to take over that coffee program. Immediately, I decided when the situation occurs, I would simply hand over a business card and let them know I would be there if they ever wanted to make a change. For nearly 12 years this has been my approach.

The second article comes out of the March/April 2013 issue of the same magazine. This one, “Tending The Firebox, Roasting with Wood” by Matt Bolinder. This one is very close to my heart. Why? Because I was interviewed for the article and many of my comments were prominently featured. (I am pretty stoked about this) Matt is one of the other 8 wood roasters in the United States and he interview several of us and also a roaster from Italy for digging into the mind set of roasting with wood and the people who do it. This was an extremely well written article that was both informative and entertaining.
(I never was good at the book report thing, I just read and enjoyed the book.)

I will say, the magazine has a rather narrow target market catering to coffee roasters, however, it is an international market. The magazine is available for purchase online at www.roastmagazine.com.


What is Your Favorite Brew Method?

I have found that every individual has a favorite brewing method. Some choose this based on specific criteria such as:
– Convenience
– Its the way they have always done it
– Its the way Grandma used to do it
– Because it is the way their favorite barista brews.
Frankly, the reason doesn’t really matter. What does matter do you like the cup you get with your favorite method. What works for you may not work for me. In the shop, I like to engage people in the conversation of brewing (when the roasting schedule permits.) Still the most common is the standard drip coffee brewer which is fine for the convenient cup as the day begins. I do recommend that you do your research and get a brewer that is capable of getting the water hot enough, proper extraction requires temperatures between 195 and 205 degrees F. Check the temperature rating before buying a brewer. Still, quite frequently I hear, “I use an old fashioned percolator, boy, does that make good coffee.” Ouch! I have to remind myself, “I’m not drinking it, if that’s the flavor you want? then go for it.”
I don’t recommend it. As soon as the first brewed coffee drips through the grounds the process begins scorching the volatile flavor oils that have just brewed. That’s all scorched coffee.
What do I do in the shop?
I employ three brewing methods depending on the situation.
First, the pour over Melitta cone, with the paper filter. I use this method when a customer wants to try more than one coffee. It is quick and easy. (When using a paper filter always run brew temperature water through the filter prior to adding the ground coffee.) I use 22 grams of moderately fine ground coffee for 12 ounces of water. Pour 2 ounces of off boil water over the grounds and allow to bloom for 30 seconds then steadily pour the rest of the water over the grounds and allow it to finish the brewing process.
Stir and enjoy. (Always stir the coffee when using any pour over or automatic drip brew method. Just do it, it does help.)
The next method I employ in the shop is the Chemex Pour over Brew System. Again, be sure to pour brew temperature water through the filter. This will heat the brewer while rinsing the filter. Empty the brewer of all water then add moderately fine ground coffee (50 grams for 25 ounces of water) add 3-4 ounces of off boiled water to the grounds then gently swirl the coffee to saturate the grounds evenly then allow to bloom for about 30 seconds. Then steadily add the rest of the water. When all of the water is poured in GENTLY scrap the filter with a wooden or plastic utensil (non-conductive) them allow the brew cycle to finish.
Finally, the French Press, we use this method about 80% of the time in the shop.
How to:
10 grams of moderately course ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water (54 Grams for 32 ounces of water) Preheat the brewer. Put the ground coffee in then 1/2 of the off boiled water. Set a time for 4 minutes. Wait 30 seconds to allow the coffee to bloom (you will notice I am expecting you to use freshly roasted coffee that will still bloom.) pour in the rest of the water and allow it to steep for the remainder of the 4 minutes. Do not put the filter plunger into the brewer until the coffee has finished the steeping process. When the timer goes off, put the plunger in and press the grounds, then wait about one minute. Give it a minute to settle then pour the coffee into a carafe or directly into cups and enjoy.
Two good things to remember:
1) You are the one drinking the coffee, brew it the way you like it.
2) Always take a moment to savor your cup.


Single Origin Espresso

First, it is important to know what espresso is. Dr. John of Josuma Coffee Company www.josuma.com gives an excellent description of what espresso really is http://www.josuma.com/what-is-espresso.html. Once you have established what espresso is then it is time to start considering your coffee options for an espresso shot. We have several options of coffees esprecially blended for use on the espresso machine. These blends are designed differently to accomplish a final end product based on the tastes and opinion of the roaster. But, the purpose of this post is, of course, “Single Origin Espresso.”

What does Single Origin Espresso mean? This is coffee sourced either from a specific region or from a specific grower then extracted according to the espresso method. All coffees can be extracted on an espresso machine, but not all coffees have a great taste appeal when pulled as an espresso. Most single origin coffees when extracted on the espresso machine show only the qualites that are most dominant to that region. This causes a problem with the balance of the shot when it is consumed.

On occasion, there are single origin espressos that meet enough of the positive attributes of a great blended coffee to stand up in the small cup on thier own. Currently, we have two coffees that do this (in my opinion.) First is the Organically Grown Guatemala Maya with deep, rich chocolate characters and caramel sweetness brought together with a bright orange acidity that gives the shot a peaked liveliness. The other is the Brazil, Fazenda Sertaozinho. As an espresso shot, creamy caramel, butterscotch and brown sugar dominate with a gentle citrus character that accuntuates the dominant characters of the shot.

Have fun and experiment with different coffees. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to individual taste preferences.


Holiday Blend

The Holiday Blend has proven, so far, to be a great success again. We previewed it at a Reno Market Place event in early November and started roasting on November 17th.
The blend this year is Ethiopia Yrgacheffe, Tanzania Peaberry, and Guatemala Antigua. I am roasting, as has become a tradition, over an apple wood fire. The apple wood imparts a very gentle sweet smokiness to the coffees as they roast giving the coffee a gentle round character which compliments these coffees wonderfully. The roast is city+ for a full bodied character that still shows the individual characters that each bean brings to the blend.
I will be roasting this special coffee blend until December 22nd. Then when its gone its gone. So, act now and get your orders in.


Posting Comments

This blogspot can accept comments from the readers. I do have it set up so that I can pre-screen any posts prior to them going public. I do this for a couple of reasons, first, if there is a complaint (that hasn’t happened yet) I can address the issue prior to posting. I will not hold back a post because there is something negative in it, I just want to resolve the issue if possible prior to posting. Second, there is a massive amount of spam that gets posted. I won’t help someone advertise on the blog for some lousy “enhancement” product or anything else. If someone wants to legitimately put their information into a blog post or comment, please contact me directly through he web-site contact page and we will work it out. If it looks like spam, it gets deleted right away.


I welcome comments and always read each one, even the spam, and hope that the reader will post their insights on the validity and informative aspects of the posts.


Tim Curry


Welcome Fall:

As summer ends I begin to contemplate my annual Holiday Blend. I do something different every year, and every year it has been fabulous. All of the coffees are roasted over an oak wood fire, except, the Holiday Blend. Not only is the blend unique, the availability limited to Thanksgiving to New Years Day, but also, I roast this special blend over an apple wood fire.


Blending coffee is very rarely as easy as throwing a couple of different types of beans together. Generally, I have to consider the desired outcome, then contemplate the coffees that will be required to accomplish the goal, then figure out how the roast has to happen (what is the roast degree? Do I blend before or after roasting?) After all this I have to decide if the product is what I am looking for and if it is what you are looking for.


I hope everyone is going to look forward to this year’s blend as much as I am.