Variety Coffee

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

Well, we certainly haven’t forgotten our friends and community we’ve been busy building over the last few months, but we’re overly joyed to have made some new friends at the start of this year!

We were fortunate enough to get in contact with Variety Coffee Roasters at the beginning of January, and they completely overwhelmed us with gifts and coffee treats! At first, I thought it was a bit pretentious to send so many goodies, but then I started sampling and looking closely at their products.. I wouldn’t be ashamed to show off either!

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The packaging on these products is what first caught my eye. Rather than your standard bag the coffee is sold in a cardboard box that stacks neatly on your shelves, and honestly, looks pretty rad to display. The box art gives off a vintage, yet edgy look, sort of like the coffee that’s inside.

Variety Coffee started out as a small cafe in Brooklyn, NY in 2008 and has since added four more store fronts, and begun expanding their wholesale operation. Quite frankly, i’m glad they have. The world needs to try these beans! If you’re interested in some Variety swag or coffee to try for yourself, check out their site here.

We sampled four different single origin varieties, one from Peru, and three from different regions of Colombia. A couple of friends came over and we cupped each variety, trying to pinpoint the different characteristics of each. The key takeaway for me with this coffee was just like the packaging: vintage, but edgy. There was a dark smoky profile to each of the roasts, which usually turns me off, but Variety has pulled it off just right. The aromas were strong and reminiscent of days gone by, almost like having a cup of coffee at a 50’s style diner, or at your grandma’s house after dinner, BUT in a good way. As soon as you take a sip you’ll find the edge. Fruity notes start singing, and the flavors are all smooth and buttery, not dark and bitter like that cup at the diner. It’s completely apparent that these aren’t some commercial beans thrown in a hopper and charred to even out the flavor, they were roasted deliberately and intentionally, and I loved it.

These guys have a purpose and a focus that they don’t just speak, they live. They want the people to have a good cup of coffee whenever and wherever. A lot of folks sell great coffee, but not many sell it like they do. While there is definitely a wealth of knowledge on Google and Youtube for the home barista, there is a certain segment of the market that want’s good coffee, but they don’t want to have to look up grind size and ratios all the time and try to keep all that in their brain. They’re busy raising kids and living life, SO Variety decided they’d be so kind to put this handy little chart on the back of each box with four of the main at home brew methods, pour over, Chemex, French Press, and Cold Brew. The chart tells you exactly how much coffee to use, and how to grind it, as well as how much water to add, and how long the brew should last.

After thoroughly sampling each of the varieties, we couldn’t stop. We made a few pour overs with each and stayed up for hours playing dice and chatting about the future, past, and as much as we could, the present. There just aren’t enough days like that in our lives, and I’m so grateful for each one of them I get. To us, and to Variety, that’s what coffee is about. Friendships, and community, and I’m thankful Variety was able to send us a piece of their community.

The roast houSe - Spokane

We’ve been taking our time off from the truck these last couple of weeks, but we definitely haven’t stopped drinking delicious coffee. Just before Christmas we received some coffee from The Roast House out of Spokane, WA. Needless to say we were highly caffeinated (what’s new?) for the holidays.

The Roast House sources coffee that only benefits everyone from the farmer to you and me. They understand that knowing the farmers and the farms that the product is coming from plays a huge part in n the overall experience.

We got to try three different roasts: Working Elf’s Blend, Guatemala Santa Clara #30, and a Costa Rica Finca la Mirella.

When we first opened the package we couldn’t wait to get our hands (and taste buds) on the Finca la Mirella. 12 oz. of a beautiful Costa Rican roast shipped in a glass bottle that Almost makes you think you were prescribed the caffeine. “Yes, Dr. 26g twice daily. Understood!”

For a Costa Rican coffee the Finca la Mirella was light bodied and citrusy, it lacked some of the chocolate and nutty notes you expect from Central America, but delicious in its own right.

The second coffee of the three we opened was The Working Elf’s Blend, perfect for a couple of parents playing Santa! While this is a limited release for the Holidays, we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for it next season, and you might still be able to order some off the website. It’s a blend of South American and African coffees and according to the package “a little something mysterious to keep you in the spirit”. I really couldn’t put my finger on it exactly (maybeeee nutmeg?) but it wasn’t some over-the-top holiday spice, or anything along those lines. This coffee was full of caramel and chocolate notes, but roasted lightly to bring more sweet notes forward. The taste lingered long after the cup was gone, but in a beautiful way. It also may have lingered because of the multiple cups I drank to get us through Christmas Eve with the extended family, but that’s irrelevant.

Finally, we cracked into the Guatemalan Santa Clara #30. I actually just had some more this morning, and thoroughly enjoyed every sip. A blend of Bourbon and Typica varietals, and fully washed, this coffee was fruit forward and full bodied.

For coffees in the limited release program, like the Finca la Mirella, the folks at The Roast House are sourcing coffee constantly. Trying to ensure 100% of their coffee is being obtained in an ethical and sustainable way. For their regular offerings they have partnerships in each specific region that helps keep consistent quality throughout the year.

Last time I checked all of these coffees were still available through their online store, or if your lucky enough to be in Spokane you could always stop by The Roast House.

More than a Vibrant Package

Vibrant - the name tells the story with these guys. We’ve had the absolute pleasure this week of sampling 4 of their current offerings, and honestly? I just want to go back to Monday and start all over! Luckily, I can just hop back on the site (vibrantcoffeeroasters.com) and grab a bag. Or two. Orrrr 3.

We started this week with their Kenyan Gatomboya AA - comprised of SL-34 and SL-28 varietals. This was by far one of the top Kenyan coffees we’ve had the joy of tasting. It’s a fully washed coffee, and the “vibrancy” of the coffee really shows through. Super bright - still plenty floral, like you’d expect, but much more sweet citrus than we anticipated.

We liked the Kenyan so much we drank it Tuesday as well..

Wednesday, we made a pour over in the Chemex with the Honduras. This was a Pacamara varietal grown in EL Aguacatal, San Jose. This too was a fully washed bean, and it was roasted to perfection. I It had much more sweet and full bodied floral notes than you’d expect from a Latin American coffee, but just the right amount. The main theme in this roast was dried tropical fruits.

Thursday we hopped back across the pond to try two of their heirloom varietals from Ethiopia. We wanted to sample these together as one was a washed processed coffee, and the other natural. We cupped them both, and just couldn’t stop tasting. Each sip brought more and more complexities out of each coffee. The fully washed originated in Yirgacheffe. Love at first sniff. Jasmine, pineapple, tropical citrus, just a world of flavor coming through with this one. The natural processed was out of Nenesbo. First sip was quite earthy and floral, but as we got further into the coffee, it was nothing but dark dried fruits. It left us with an excellent, lingering taste similar to a glass of red wine.

We highly recommend checking these guys out. They use a fluid bed roaster, as opposed to the more traditional drum roasters you’re probably used to seeing. While the basic principles remain unchanged (heat coffee, remove moisture, drink), it’s a process that allows them to be highly meticulous about their roasts and provide a consistently delicious product to the consumer.

They don’t just keep a close eye on the roasting process, but they monitor the coffee through its entire life cycle. They use the finest importers and work as hard as they can to trace the coffee they buy back to the farm it came from.

P.S. if you’re just getting into coffee, or want to hone on some skills, their website has a really informative brewing guide.

From Crop to Cup - Peixoto Coffee

Crop to Cup

They grow it. They roast it. They brew it. The Peixoto Family truly owns their process from “crop to cup”, and it shows with each sip of their coffee.

One thing we learned very quickly when jumping into the coffee business is that everyone, and we mean EVERYONE, is beyond friendly. We haven’t come across a single person that wasn’t willing to offer up some advice, or just chat about their experiences.

In fact, we first heard of the Peixoto family through a fellow coffee truck based out of Pheonix, AZ, The Family Grind.

We reached out to the Peixoto family with a DM, and they had coffee on our doorstep in Birmingham, AL within a week.

We’ve spent the last several days diving into the coffees they sent us, as well as looking into the Peixoto story. When you take a sip of one of their coffees you know it isn’t something you can just grab off the supermarket shelf. This stuff is the real deal.

The coffee starts off deep in the high country of Brazil in Southern Minas Gerais, Brazil where the family has been growing coffee since the late 1800’s. That means they have been perfecting their craft for over 100 years! The family owns 18 micro lots, which each grow a different variety of coffee tree, and the total farm is right at 600 acres. They primarily us a natural process to dry the coffee cherries, but just recently began using two other methods{Honey and Washed} to further diversify the coffee profiles they are able to offer.

We sampled three of their Brazilian coffees: Peixoto washed, Peixoto Honey, and Familia Peixoto. While the tastes varied, the coffee stayed true to the region with a sweet, clean, and rich profile. They also offer various single origin coffees. We had the opportunity to sample the Yirgacheffe Ethiopian (creamy-berries-milk chocolate) and the La Montanita Nicaraguan (grapefruit-white wine-brown sugar). The quality was consistent with the quality of their in-house Brazilians, and we truly enjoyed each one.

While many of the Peixoto family still live in Minas Gerais, a few have made their way to Chandler, AZ where they import their family’s coffee. They operate a roastery and cafe right in the heart of historic downtown.

Final thoughts: If I had to pick one word to describe the Peixoto family, it would be Community. From their community in Minas Gerais, to their community in Chandler, AZ, to their community around the world, they are deeply ingrained in every aspect of the process.

Peixoto Honey

Peixoto Washed

Familia Peixoto

If you want to join the Peixoto community and try a variety of coffees from around the world, visit their online shop at www.peixotocoffee.com. You’ll find a monthly coffee subscription (20% off retail value), single bags of coffee, hats, shirts, and mugs!