COFFEE ROASTED FRESH DAILY
Green Beanery has a mission, one that extends beyond the commercial (not that we aren’t proud to have become Canada's largest online retailer of coffee and coffee equipment, offering more varieties of coffee beans than any other retailer in the world and selling more coffee paraphernalia than any other Canadian retailer).
Green Beanery aims to reinvent the coffee shop of old. Until the 1920s, when big business began to take over the coffee industry, all coffee shops roasted their own. Green Beanery is helping to spur a renaissance in local roasting by supplying hundreds of micro-roasters and restaurants, and leading by example by roasting all of our own coffee, too, at our café-roastery at 565 Bloor St West in Toronto’s Annex district.
The renaissance includes returning coffee shops to the service of the community, providing a place to sip small luxuries in an atmosphere large with comforts for both mind and palate. You won’t find Wi-Fi in our café ̶ our patrons place a premium on conversations and conviviality.
The renaissance also includes reviving the coffee shop as change agent. Coffee shops of old were known for great innovations and passionate discourse ̶ this is where Lloyd’s of London launched the insurance industry, and where social revolutions were born. In that spirit, Green Beanery hosts Grounds for Thought, a discussion series held the last Tuesday of every month, for those who relish having their intellect provoked and entertained. Details of our next presentation can be found below. Fittingly, Green Beanery is owned by Probe International, a Canadian charity known for out-of-the-box thinking, whose directors have included many of Canada’s most celebrated minds, among them Jane Jacobs, David Suzuki, Margaret Laurence and Thomas Berger.
About the bean
Do you like a medium to dark roast? Do you like espresso? Do you like a brew rich in flavour and bold in body? Yes? Then our new batch of Colombian Supremo SC 17/18 is for you! These beans are sourced from the central northwest of Colombia in the Antioquia region, the country's largest coffee producing region. Coffee here is mountain-grown by small farmers and large estates. The high altitude slows the pace of ripening and the result is a classic Colombian - rich, full bodied, and a toasted chocolate taste that cools to a cold brew perfection.
No surprises and that's OK because this coffee is super good. And the crema! Go espresso, go cold brew and get happy.
City roast, medium-fine grind, brewed in a Hario V60 pour over (30g of coffee to 500ml of water)
This combination produced a silky body and a sweet taste with a light acidity. Pleasant indeed with a smoky finish.
Vienna roast, medium grind, brewed in a French press (40g of coffee to 500ml of water)
Oh, yeah! We upped the ratio of coffee to enhance the body, which at this level was syrupy strong with a potent chocolate, almost brownie flavour. When the cup cooled, the flavour balance evened out, making this one a great pick for cold brew.
Our only regret? We didn't pull an espresso shot. And that's where this bean shines.
Roast recommendation: Medium to dark. Oh, Vienna! You were nice. For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.
About the bean
We've become awfully fond of honey-processed coffee. A process championed by Costa Rica after an earthquake in the seismically active region caused a severe water shortage. The honey method of processing coffee beans uses less water than that of washed coffees - some of the sticky (honey-like) mucilage beneath the peel of the coffee cherry remains during the drying process instead of being washed off. This effects the level of sweetness in the cup. Exposure to light during the drying period also impacts the end result, with some honeyed coffees exposed to more and some less, which led Costa Rican farmers to create a spectrum of colour to indicate the level of exposure: yellow honey beans enjoy their time in the sun the most, red honey somewhat less and black honey beans the least (the latter requires more labour to tend to during its drying period of typically 1-2 weeks).
Of these types of honeys, we have yet to try the black honey variety (considered the most rich and complex). What we have tried (yellow and red), we have loved. The cup is sweet but typically well-balanced and clean with lovely flavour notes. It's a different coffee experience and one we look forward to with every new batch of honey coffee we receive.
The best of Costa Rica with a golden twist.
These honey-processed beans are the yellow honey variety (the most exposed to light).
American roast profile / Cupping
We cupped our Costa Rican FTO honey-processed beans to explore the depth of the coffee. We noted a sweet, slightly floral fragrance. The cup was lightly bright, infused with notes of honey cane sugar and a pronounced nut taste (hazelnut and creamy cashew). Overall, a soft-bodied, smooth cup, very well-balanced with a lingering aftertaste of nut and dark chocolate.
American roast profile / Hario V60 pour over brew
The fragrance was a yellow fruit (apricot, peach) and honeysuckle/jasmine delight. Other notes in the underlay rounded out the cup (milk chocolate, nut and even black tea). At this profile, we savoured a most wonderful cup that was nicely bright with a pleasant tea-like body and a hazelnut aftertaste. Could it get any better?
City roast profile / French press brew
It got better! We sat a long time here enjoying a more subdued acidity and a pronounced sweetness (succulent pear). Again, the nutty notes emerged further amplified. No bitterness, a light-medium body, well balanced. As the coffee cooled, the nut flavour claimed the cup entirely.
This is one gorgeous coffee. It should be enjoyed at a light-medium roast (City is perfect) and skip the additives which almost always bury a coffee's personality. This is a pick to sit with, discover, and sip on all day; completely in sync with the mood of summer.
For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.View full product details
About the bean
Ah! We miss the summer, already. But at least we've got this vitamin of a coffee to make us feel summery fine.
When we're asked for recommendations for a good, classic coffee or a morning brew or a coffee that will suit most tastes, Costa Rica is the first suggestion out of our mouths. Why? Just like the consistent temperature of the country's climate (which only varies about ten degrees throughout the year), coffee from Costa Rica is reliably good: grown in ideal conditions at high altitude, hand-picked and processed with care - a law passed in 1989 actually prohibits the planting of low-quality beans in Costa Rica, making it illegal to produce any other type of coffee than Arabica. Although, some growing regions around the globe have been making great strides in Robusta coffee quality (but that's another bean story).
As per the name, this Costa Rican Tarrazu is from the country's oh-so-famous Tarrazu region, considered the best of the best from this sandy, sun-soaked coffee paradise. Expect a very well-balanced cup with a smooth body and just the right amount of sweetness.
Paradise in a cup.
Category: Single Origin
Process: Washed and sun dried
Altitude: 1,400-1,700 masl.
Brand: La Pastora
Botanical variety: Caturra and Catuai
Mill: Coope Tarrazú R.L.
We went from light to dark because we're relentlessly curious. An American roast brewed in a Hario V60 pour over gave us a coffee to wake up with: great balance, nice body and notes of apricot and peanut for an aromatic, tasty cup. A Full City roast brewed using the same method produced a flavorful mix of cocoa and nut for a classic Costa Rican (aromatically intense and sweet) - another morning hit. A City roast profile brewed in a French press gave us chocolate notes, good body and sweetness. To finish, we tried the Full City roast as a latte and the result was most enjoyable - a nutty cocoa with a caramel finish. Something about the approach of fall has turned us into latte lovers lately.
Consider this bean for cold brews (while there's still time to chill). The aftertaste should rock. Experiment by adding the cold brew to Perrier (or similar) over ice with a splash of milk (a refreshing and yum combination). This bean should also delight for baking and recipes that call for a teaspoon or two of coffee. Use for caffeinated syrups drizzled over desserts.
Roast recommendation: American to Full City+. Light for a complex fruit-nut flavour. Darker for a more intense coffee hit. For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.
About the bean
We debuted this fabulous coffee at the beginning of spring and we're thrilled to celebrate the move into fall with another crop of this instant classic.
The Kochere is a perfect coffee pairing for fall with its jammy fruit flavours and pleasant, well-balanced brightness. This new batch lives up to the glory of its spring introduction: go get, coffee lovers!
A new favourite.
Category: Single Origin
Region: Kochere micro-region, Southern Ethiopia
Process: Selectively hand-picked and washed
Altitude: 1,700-2,200 masl.
Harvest: October onwards
Score: 85.5 (out of 100 points; over 85 considered excellent)
This is a light to medium-light dream. As an American roast profile brewed in a Hario V60 (pour over), we enjoyed a wonderfully bright cup buoyed with an orange marmalade tartness, offset with a honey softness. Notes of orange zest and strawberry gave this deliciously flavorful brew a lovely aftertaste. Smooth to taste with a light-medium body. A perfect coffee to start the day on - happy in, happy out.
Brewed in a French press as a City roast, the Kochere's vibrant sweetness at this profile popped. Notes of apricot and white chocolate produced a more mellow cup with a velvet finish. Going darker to Full City, the Kochere took on a smokey, molasses flavour - we preferred lighter. As a Full City roast profile made into a latte, the result was delightful: candied notes of fruit and chocolate, sweet and winning.
Roast recommendation: Stay below a Full City profile and reap the rewards. Go darker for specialty drinks like lattes. For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.
About the bean
A number of the major coffee-growing countries we source from may not know how great their product is. When the "good stuff" is exported elsewhere, local coffee can be a sub-par experience, roasted dark to hide defects and mixed with filler to increase volume. Happily, that isn't the case with Ethiopia, which consumes half of its annual coffee production and boasts a thriving domestic coffee culture (Google for examples of an Ethiopian coffee ceremony). The birthplace of coffee according to legend, Ethiopia is where Coffea arabica originated, which is said to be the first species of coffee ever cultivated; it remains the dominant species and accounts for more than 60 percent of the world's commercial coffee production. Given its genetic wealth and history, Ethiopia is a coffee region like none other and an unparalleled paradise of coffee flavour.
Sun, sun, sun, sun ... For coffee lovers, Yirgacheffe is the luminous summit of coffee gaga. Light, bright, clean and balanced, this Yirgacheffe pick is also decently priced.
American roast profile brewed in a Hario V60 pour over: Yirgacheffe is known for a sweet, tea-like taste songed with notes of fruit and berry. Our sampling produced a sweet cup with a uniquely pleasant flavour of honey and lemon rind. The aroma was potent yet even and the aftertaste lifted by a caramel softness. At an American roast profile, the acidity is high but the brightness adds a complexity and juiciness that many enjoy. A star of a bean.
Vienna roast profile brewed in a French Press: The unique characteristics dimmed at a darker roast profile (and Vienna is quite dark). The body is great here, though, and the sweet notes continued, albeit without the fruitiness of the American cup. The Vienna sample made us wish we had tested this as an espresso - the balance and flavour would translate to an excellent shot.
Roast recommendation: Typically, light to medium. For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.
About the beans
Some of the finest coffee in the world comes from Guatemala, most notably Antigua in the country's central highlands. But Antigua ain't all there is!
La Federación Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala, otherwise known as the FECCEG Cooperative, is located in the Quetzaltenango region of Guatemala's volcanic western highlands, and represents 1,943 small farmers (529 of whom are women). FECCEG focuses on organic, value-added agriculture and projects that promote gender equality and food security - 70% of FECCEG coop members depend on agricultural production for their livelihoods.
Typically, coffee from Guatemala is sweet with a medium to full body and a chocolate taste ranging from cocoa (bittersweet) to milk chocolate. But enough with the gibble-gabble already, here's what you really to know: This batch of coffee from Quetzaltenango [pronounced ketsalteˈnaŋgo] is seriously mouth-watering. Go, get!
Altitude: 1400 - 1600 masl.
SHG: Strictly High Grown
Process: Fully Washed
Drying: Patio dried
Harvest Period: December-April
American and Full City roast profiles brewed in a French Press, Hario V60 and Chemex:
That's it, 2019; we're done. This batch of Guatemalan is the best coffee we've tasted this year so far. What a flavorful cup! Deeply delicious at both roast profiles. We could have gone darker - a flexible bean indeed.
At a light American roast brewed in a V60 pour over (26g of coffee to 400ml of water), the aroma was just amazing and even more so: the fragrant flavours were all present in the cup - peach, passion fruit, lime and spice. The fruity notes were balanced by a nice, citrus brightness and a sweet, honey-chocolate underlay; the aftertaste was most pleasant.
At a Full City roast brewed in a French press (30g of coffee to 500ml of water), the Guatemalan remained very flavorful. We gained sweetness at this roast profile and more body - perfect for the morning. A real pleaser.
At an American roast profile brewed in a Chemex [pictured], the Guatemalan surpassed itself. At a ratio of 20g of coffee to 340ml of water, we relished notes of yellow fruit, oranges, mascarpone (an Italian cream cheese), sweet cookies and a touch of cinnamon. Heaven!
And one more thing: These Guatemalan SHG, FTO beans look great! Taste, gaze upon, enjoy!
Roast recommendation: To preference, although light to medium is a good pick. For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.
About the bean
This is a bean we typically bring in for summer so our associations with the Marcala tend to reflect the warmer months and, at this point, our longing for their return.
Our current batch of Marcala FTO is sourced from the Pacayal Coffee Cooperative in Chinacla La Paz where coffee is the main activity. Known for its high-quality offerings, Pacayal is comprised of more than 150 small producers (40% of whom are women).
Over the years, Coffee of the Week subscribers have given the Marcala FTO their thumbs up for a cup long on sweet, flavorful pleasantness. Like the sun, light is the best way to savour this summery reminder (as in light roast).
Region: Marcala, Honduras
Process: Washed Arabica
Certification: Fair Trade Organic
Drying Method: Sun and mechanically dried
Altitude: 1,350-1,700 masl.
EP: (European Prep) Indicates the coffee has undergone rigorous sorting - usually by hand to ensure defective beans and foreign material have been removed.
SHB: (Strictly Hard Bean) High grown, usually denser and higher quality than a Hard Bean (HB) or High Grown (HG). These beans are grown above 1,200 masl. (metres above sea level).
At a light (American) roast, the Marcala produced a bright and syrupy brew buoyed by notes of honey, berry and stone fruit. A clean and sweet cup. Lighter roast profiles are where this bean shines. A good, go-to daily coffee indeed.
At a darker City+ roast, the Marcala gave us an enjoyable intensity. A nice pick for flavour and brightness.
Roast recommendation: Embrace the light(er)! For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.
About the bean
Robusta coffee from India is notable for several reasons. The production of Robusta in India is almost double that of Arabica, and while Robusta is generally considered the poor relation of the former, in India the same care applied to the cultivation, harvest and processing of Arabica coffee is applied to Robusta. Both natural/dry-processed Robusta and Arabica coffees in India are known as Cherry (not to be confused with the cherry fruit on the coffee tree!). Cherry AA indicates the highest grade of these particular beans.
These beans are perfect for creating your own espresso blend or for coffee enthusiasts looking for a strong joe but one that is easy to digest (low in acidity). Did we say the price point is terrific? It is. Need some extra jam to get through the day (and night)? The caffeine in Robusta is double that of Arabica and that means double the antioxidant, health benefits of caffeine goodness as well. Robusta is the Hercules of coffee, and at full strength, it might even grow your hair!
Our taste test: We went for a Full City roast profile brewed in a French press and the result was kapow! This is an intense bean with a heavy body, almost zero acidity, a woodsy smoke flavour with a lingering burnt chocolate (caramel) aftertaste. It was everything we expected from a Robusta. We did try a light roast but that was a waste. Dark is where this bean shines.
Roast Recommendation: Definitely dark - medium-dark to dark to darker still. For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.
About the bean
Kenya AA has always been one of our favourite beans. Kenya is known for coffee excellence, in part due to its long-established open auction system of rewarding quality beans with higher prices (thus thwarting insider trade deals). Add to this, the variables of high-growing altitudes, technical sophistication and efficient small-farmer cooperatives and you get a sense of why coffee from Kenya has the reputation it does. The story continues with the country's growing Women in Coffee project that seeks to empower female farmers by finally paying them for their efforts and the right to their own coffee bushes: a program that improves both productivity, incentive and marital relations [read more about this here].
What to expect
Kenyan coffee is known for a sparkling acidity, and Malic acid in particular, which is the same acid that gives green apples their tartness. In coffee, it adds a juicy, smooth sharpness to the taste. The lighter the roast, the more fruity acids you'll encounter. Under-extracting your brew will lead to that undesirable sour taste. The finer the grind, the longer the brew time and the hotter the water, the more quickly extraction will occur. But you don't want to over-extract or you'll wind up bitter.
Our Taste Test
Hario V60 pour over - American Roast
We anticipated a citrus tang and that's what we have here: lemon pop, tangerine, even grapefruit enhanced by a pleasant tartness. Well balanced, bright with a winey finish; a spritely cup indeed.
French press - City Roast
This is the groove: the tangy citrus is softened by a sugary sweetness, with more body and depth to round out flavour. Very nice. Strangely enough, we decided to pair citrus-themed food with this already citrus-amped coffee!
We've heard that adding lemon zest to coffee, or the zest of similar options such as tangerine and orange, provides the health benefit of vitamin C to a brew that is already doing us health good. We are still working on this: our first attempt gave us a bizarre coffee-infused lemon slice and a rind-filled cup that we further weirded with turbinado (raw) sugar.
But we did discover JOY when we paired a lemon loaf with our taste-test. Our sweet loaf recipe made with Greek yoghurt and cream complemented this lemony coffee to perfection. The loaf also transformed the experience of the cold brew we made using Kenya AA. Recommendation: opt for iced coffee over cold brew; and make lemon loaf (it's an amazing coffee companion).
As per our last taste test for Kenya AA, we found this pick a match for drip coffee, pour over and plunge-press brews. A little too acidic for espresso. Try a 30-40% ratio for blends (e.g., Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, which is less acidic and more floral).
AA is the highest grade given based on a screening process that sorts beans primarily by size (the larger the bean, the better it supposedly is). FAQ stands for Fair Average Quality and is a class system used by the Coffee Board of Kenya to rate the quality of the bean.
Region: Nyeri ("the heart of Black Gold Coffee"
so-called because the area's preferred slow maturation process results in especially dense beans packed with flavour)
Processing: Fully Washed and sun-dried on raised beds
Cupping score: 85.5 (out of 100 points; over 85 considered excellent)
Roasting recommendation: Medium - City to City+. It's easy to go too dark because Kenya AA is a dense bean (the brightness will be lost). For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.
About the bean
Our new batch of Nicaragua FTO makes us think of balmy nights and basking in the pause of the season. This is a smooth, creamy cup, pleasant and sweet (even a bit nutty), with a chocolate finish (that ranges from caramel to baker's chocolate depending on the roast). A fine summer companion, easy to sit with, and that's what these slow-down days are calling us to do.
Nicaragua coffee is known for quality and, increasingly, variety of flavour. Most of the country's offerings are shade grown and cultivated at high altitudes. The world's largest coffee beans (elephant beans) are produced here. Typically, beans from this region are similar in character to other Central Americans but Nicaraguans are the mild ones of the bunch.
Summer fine. Deep dive into this coffee pause.
Region: San Juan del Rio Coco, Madriz
Supplier: Procafe RL Cooperative (approx. 90 small-holder farmers)
Process: Sun dried, washed Arabica
Certification: Fair Trade, Organic, Smithsonian Bird Friendly (Bird friendly, organic, shade-grown coffee supports bird conservation, a healthy environment and the livelihood of small-scale farm owners).
Process: Sun and mechanically dried
Altitude: 900 - 1,900 masl.
SHG: Strictly high-grown
EP: European Process (Indicates the coffee has undergone rigorous sorting - usually by hand to ensure defective beans and foreign material have been removed).
Full City roast profile brewed in a French Press: This is the sweet spot. The bean's brightness is balanced by a pronounced sweetness and a smooth, round body; a most enjoyable brew. Opt for a pour over brew for more expression or a plunge-press for amped-up body. A lighter roast (City) gave us a muted sweetness (stone fruit, roasted chestnut) and a medium to high acidity; the nutty flavour really developed on the cool-down.
Embrace the darkness - this is a bean suited to a Vienna roast, espresso and for chillin' (cold-brew style). And that's what we did!
Cold Brew (Full City roast, coarse ground) brewed in a Bodum Bean Cold Brew Ice Coffee Maker: Using a 1 to 4 coffee-water ratio, we let this one sit overnight and supped our chill Nicaraguan for breakfast. What a delight! At this temperature, we have a more fruity cup (watermelon, a touch of cucumber) with a splash of nut. This is just the ticket for a hot summer night; maybe even add a dash of cream or milk. So nice.
Roast recommendation: The dark side. For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.