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Coffee Credits

February 07, 2018


Some equipment purchases come with coffee credits, which allow you to sample free coffees from our selection of 100+ varieties. If you have credits you'd like to use, here's a reminder of how they work.

Coffee credits can only be used to purchase coffee (roasted or unroasted) in ½ lb and 1 lb sizes.

Coffee credits cannot be applied to shipping costs or other promotional offers. Coffee credits are also non-transferable and cannot be used as gifts.

Coffee credits can be claimed at the time of your equipment purchase or later.

Coffee credits are linked to your customer account, so make sure your email address and contact details are up to date, especially for in-store purchases.

Coffee credits never expire.

Coffee World

February 01, 2018

Here at Green Beanery, we carry the world's largest selection of roasted and unroasted coffee. But it's not just our beans that come from all parts of the planet, the Green Beanery team is a reflection of that geographical reach, too. Most of us are from elsewhere, in some cases, the same countries we source our beans from.

Although coffee is a currency we have in common, it certainly isn't a standardized experience -  a coffee is a coffee is sometimes a Türk kahvesi or a café cubano or an Americano but with ice cubes. And just as coffee culture differs from one place to the next, our coffee worldview likewise varies across location.

 

This inspired us to introduce our very own Coffee World, a new feature that aims to explore the global phenomenon of coffee in snapshot, and, today, we're training our lens on our very own beans inventory manager, Maria Hinojosa Leyva [pictured on the right alongside Priscila Fonseca - the creator of two of our new in-house blends].

Maria comes to us from Mexico with beans in her blood. In 1880, her great-grandfather bought a coffee farm in Pluma Hidalgo, a small, mountainous village in the south of Oaxaca, known for its organic coffee. Passed from great-grandfather to grandfather, the farm is now run by Maria's uncle, Carlos Leyva - and the coffee sure must be good there. Swimming in beans though she may be at Green Beanery, Maria favours her coffee homegrown prepared in the traditional Mexican way as café de olla, a "delicious pot coffee" infused with cinnamon.

 

 

 

It has become a tradition in Maria's family to visit her uncle's farm every December, which coincides with the month of harvest.

Q: Maria, can you tell us more about your family farm?

A: My grandfather took over the farm from his father when he was 40 years old. Production from 1940 to 1980 was very good and profitable, with export markets in Japan and Switzerland. My mother grew up on the farm and we return there at least once a year. As kids, we would swim in the fermentation tanks [used to loosen up the mucilage that remains on coffee beans after the cherry pulp is removed]. I should add, there was no coffee in them at the time! I remember playing on top of bagged coffee stored in tall stacks in the barn. Nowadays, production isn't what it used to be due to an ongoing issue with coffee rust and other reasons, more to do with economics. My uncle and cousin have had some success with their own artisanal blend, Nube Pluma, which they sell to coffee shops and small businesses in the city. [The farm's drying patio appears below. Visit the farm website here: https://www.nubeplumacafe.com/.]

Q: Do people drink more domestic coffee than imported?

A: Before I came to Canada, I thought all the good coffee that existed in the world was Mexican! Most people do drink Mexican coffee from the various major growing regions like Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas. But one Colombian brand does come to mind: Juan Valdez, but it's still relatively new to us. Coffee from Costa Rica also has a presence in Mexico. Something I've discovered is that there is little economic support available to small farmers from the government. The lack of investment means these farmers don't realize their production potential and a lot of very good coffee never leaves the farm or winds up in blends with low quality beans.

Q: Has Starbucks infiltrated the market?

A: Oh yes. Mexicans adore Starbucks! But people aren't looking for a "good coffee" per se; they're more interested in brands. Most of the coffee sold by Starbucks is a dark roast, which is too bitter for me.

Q: You're not a fan of dark roast which is a roast profile you've had to endure too much of in Canada by the sounds of it ...

A: Dark roast! I still can't get used to it. That's the main difference between how we drink coffee in Mexico and here. When I first saw dark roasted beans at Green Beanery, I thought: Oh my, God! These will be burnt! They'll taste terrible. My mom thought the same thing when she visited me here at the store.

Q: You like café de olla. What's that like?

A: Café de olla can be found in the little towns around Mexico City. It's made in a pot, which is what olla means. You pour ground coffee into water before it boils and then add sugar and cinnamon. It's usually served at breakfast. The taste is sweet and delicate and really smooth. It doesn't require good coffee to make it either; people living in the countryside use just any beans and it's still good. My grandmother used to roast coffee beans in a comal, which is a flat griddle made of clay, and my family outside of the city still make their coffee that way. This is a photograph of café de olla I took in summer at my aunt's house made with comal-roasted beans. Weirdly, it tastes delicious! I realized last year that people living in the countryside don't know any other type of coffee! I think families that live close to the coffee plantations still use the comal to roast their beans.

 

 

 

 

Q: Is there a city mouse, country mouse divide when it comes to coffee?

A: A lot of people living in the city have never been to the countryside. The way people prepare their food, including their coffee, in the countryside is very different. In Mexico City, like any big city, people follow trends.  

Q: Describe the quality of coffee in Mexico?

A: We're experimenting with washing and drying coffee in different ways; for instance, honey-processed beans are more common now. More and more baristas are learning new techniques for serving coffee. Even so, specialty coffee lovers face a hard time trying to find good coffee.

Q: Why is that?

A: Restaurants and coffee shops don't really care about the quality of their coffee. Ordering a coffee at a restaurant in Mexico is too risky if you care about good coffee. Coffee tastes burnt because it sits in thermal carafes for several hours (and the beans are usually months old). But here's a tip: If you do dare to order a coffee at a restaurant, check to see if they have an espresso machine; if they have one, order "an americano from the espresso machine, please." That might sound redundant, but, in Mexico, we don't necessarily know the difference between americano and drip. If there is no espresso machine, you will probably be given a cup of overheated, drip coffee.

Q: What do you think of the way we consume coffee in Canada compared to Mexico?

A: I don't think we drink as much coffee on average. We worry about the effects of caffeine on sleep - a widespread concern in Mexico. Work commutes usually take longer than an hour and workers leave their homes very early in the morning so they prefer a corn drink [aka atole - a thick, hearty, maize-based beverage] with their breakfast to go from a street vendor. Also, coffee is expensive compared to the minimum wage in Mexico City. 

Have a coffee experience to tell? We want to share your Coffee World snapshot. Contact us at sales@greenbeanery.ca for more information.

Fonseca Fine

January 25, 2018

Our new featured coffee for the last week of January is a very special one for us. Fonseca Fine is a blend especially created for the plunger and drip brew method by our in-house coffee master, Priscila Fonseca [pictured alongside her favourite companion, the French press]. This is the second blend Priscila has made for us; the first, Le Réveillon, debuted during Christmas week.

Priscila's coffee pedigree is an impressive one. Originally from Brazil, Priscila grew up on a coffee farm and began drinking the family brew at the age of 10 and "never stopped". Last year, Priscila also certified as a Q grader - a professional cupper accredited by the international non-profit, Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), to score and grade coffee through sensory analysis; launched in 2004 with the aim of improving the quality of coffee produced globally. Priscila is now one of more than 4,000 Q graders worldwide, and one of 38 in Canada.

Watching Priscila sample coffee is something of an education in itself. At many a taste testing, the rest of us will try a new offering, and, after much swilling and swirling, we might manage the following: "Yup. This is definitely a coffee." The same cup, however, can transport Priscila into realms of sensation and illumination only another schooled and nuanced palate could appreciate. She is able to identify taste notes we would rarely associate with a cup of joe, like mango, and can pick out similarities between beans from across the coffee growing world. Quite a remarkable thing when your own palate is telling you so very little.

We sat down for a Q&A with Priscila to explore some of the quirks we've noticed about her at our in-house taste testings, such as Priscila's penchant for American (lighter) roasts.

Q: Priscila, what is it with you and American roasts? 

A: Well, despite the fact Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world, we keep mostly the "bad" and sell the good. Sadly, Brazilians are used to drinking sub-par coffee. It's common for the bigger brands to roast beans mixed with chaff [the thin skin beans throw off during the roasting process] and other things to save money and increase volume. I came to associate dark roasts with bad coffee because that's how they hide serious defects, by roasting very dark and grinding the coffee thin. The flaws can't be seen but they're felt. The coffee tastes awful!

Q: How does that experience compare to coffee in North America?

A: After coming to, first the U.S., and then Canada, I began to notice that coffee could express itself in a rich and flavourful way at a darker roast. For example, the Starbucks experience isn't a specialty coffee experience but it's still a clean coffee without defects (and other things that are not coffee!) and it's a lot better than the coffee typically consumed on average in Brazil. I've come to appreciate the pleasant and bold mouthfeel of a darker roast, but the body gained comes at a high cost to flavour and complexity. Dark roasts tend to give the same characteristics to different coffees and I think it's important to preserve the unique characteristics that each one has.

Q: And is this the advantage of a lighter roast?

A: I think, most of the time, coffees show their attributes better at a light roast. I'm a big fan of African coffees, especially Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and Kenya. Both are very floral with a bright, fruity acidity that hides itself at a dark roast. My penchant for the American roast is due to my own preference for bright, complex and fruity coffees.

Q: What could we learn in North America from other countries and how they experience coffee?

A: Having access to so many different coffees already gives North Americans a great advantage. People pay more attention to flavour, like they do with wine, and that takes the experience to another level. As a Brazilian, if I didn't travel, I would never have been able to drink coffee from all over the world. Brazil has a law that prohibits green coffee from outside the country to enter Brazil, as a way to protect its own production. I really disagree with this. It keeps people from amazing experiences and from knowing the different varieties, climates and cultures that make up the world of coffee.

Q: What do you think Green Beanery has to offer in that regard?

A: Green Beanery offers a whole host of coffees I have never seen before. Customers can experience this through the Daily Roast with a coffee each day from a different country. This is incredible. The possibility to access so many coffees and fast. And being able to see the coffee freshly roasted is something I haven't come across in a coffee shop before. 

Q: Why do professional cuppers identify notes in coffee the average person does not?

A: Coffee tasting is training. Training your palate to distinguish and recognize the different flavour notes. Having a good palate memory is a bonus. But most of all: practice. The more coffees you sample, the more your memory develops and your ability to distinguish flavours and aromas increases. The Q grader program helps a lot, of course!

Q: What can you reveal about your own blend, and our new Coffee of the Week: Fonseca Fine?

A: In this blend, we combined a bean offering an earthy flavour with the sweetness and great body of another bean and a third bean known for its bright acidity. That brightness, we agreed, produced a "fancy coffee" taste and a pleasant mouthfeel. 

Q: Were any of those mystery beans from Brazil?

A: [Smiles].

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For more information about Q graders, what they do, and the intricacies of cupping coffee, see:

http://www.coffeeinstitute.org

http:/www.scaa.org

To join our Coffee of the Week $5-off deal on the world of coffees, sign up here.

Beyond the Bean

January 04, 2018

At the beginning of January, we introduced Beyond the Bean - a new offer exclusive to online subscribers.*

Beyond the Bean is a weekly promotion featuring deals and discounts, as well as bonuses, such as our introductory offer: a free roaster with the purchase of a coffee credit.

Every Tuesday, we send our subscribers their new offer for that week or that day. Expect savings on some of our most popular products or combination deals featuring both products and beans. Ensure you stay in the loop about new offers when you join our subscriber list here.


*Customers with an online account are automatically eligible for this service. To ensure you're on our list, email sales@greenbeanery.ca.

 

A friendly reminder

January 04, 2018


On the rare occasion, small stones and rocks may make their way into an order of beans. Why does this happen?

At Green Beanery, our coffee farmers are often based in developing countries and are not always working with mechanized sorting processes. Often coffee is spread out to dry in fields, where it would be easy for a small stone or other foreign objects to mix in with the beans, and the screens the farmers use to sort the beans might not catch these unwelcome objects either. That is why we recommend customers check their bean orders for small foreign objects before grinding.

Take 10% off when you purchase equipment from now until Friday, December 29. Enter the promo code SAVE at Checkout to redeem your 10% discount.  Read More

Coffee of the Week

December 21, 2017

Come feast and rejoice! In the spirit of the season, our featured coffee is a new blend that pairs well with excess. Read More
It's not too late for a thoughtful gift. Shop our coffeelicious Christmas list for ideas. Read More

Grounds for Thought

November 22, 2017

Join us for our final Grounds for Thought discussion night of the year on Tuesday, November 28. As always, the start time is 8PM and the venue: Green Beanery, 565 Bloor St. West.

Our last Grounds for Thought for 2017 will look at the use of deferred prosecution agreements to settle corporate crime cases.

The Trudeau administration is currently considering introducing a deferred prosecution agreement regime to address corporate wrongdoing.

Virtually unheard of in business settings prior to 2004, they're now the latest Big Thing to counter corporate crime, and, at first blush, they make a lot of sense. Rather than completely shut down a company, squander its expertise and take down its employees, DPAs allow companies to pay a penalty and promise not to transgress again. What's not to like? Well, lots.

For one thing, when corporations commit serious crimes, they should be punished by the criminal justice system and not through a closed-door deal with the government and Justice Department. DPAs don't even prevent further transgressions.

We get to the root of the problem on Tuesday, November 28 @8PM. Join us for a discussion and Q&A with presenter Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International.

Read Patricia Adams' new article on DPAs published today (Nov. 28): Canada could be about to make corporate 'crime' less criminal — and more lucrative.

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Hosted by David Cayley, author and broadcaster.

Venue: Green Beanery, 565 Bloor Street West (at Bathurst).

Time: 8 PM

Enjoy $5 beer and wine servings prior to the event kick-off between 5:30 and 7:30 PM. Admission is free. Complimentary coffee served to event guests.

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Background Reading

No winners in corporate shakedown

Deterrence lost in plea deals

 

Coffee magick

November 01, 2017

With all of the good news about the health benefits of our favourite beverage in the past few years, it almost seems as if coffee really is a potent source of well-being and life force: a wonder elixir. In the wake of Halloween, it got us to wondering: is coffee more than just magically delicious and good for us, is it actually - doo do, doo do, doo do, doo do - magick?

When it first appeared in written history, coffee was recognized immediately for its obvious energizing properties, as well as its observed good effects in aiding digestion, relieving headaches, enlivening the organs, and - given how things were back in the day - improving one's personal scent. Coffee has even been considered heaven-sent at times thanks to the Archangel Gabriel who is said to have promoted the cause of coffee as a cure for plague and narcolepsy in certain instances.

But is the bean itself magic?

Certainly, coffee has a ceremonial presence. Coffee is utilized in the Afro-Cuban Lukumí faith (known as Santería) and the various branches of voodoo throughout the African diaspora as an offering to ancestors and deities, as well as for the creation of sacred symbols in rituals. Coffee, like tea, has a rich tradition as a method of divination or "tasseography" - particularly in Turkey and Greece. And, in the same way herbs have been used for eons, both medicinally and ritually, coffee is another item to be found in most pantries that can be drawn on for expressly magical applications, or rather, applications that require magical thinking.

In the lingering spirit of Halloween, let's take a wee look at some of those coffee "craft" applications.

A frequent magical recommendation involving coffee calls for a bath. Coffee is not only effective at warding off depression and disease and lengthening our lifespans, it can apparently take care of other business: the business of bad vibes (a suspected curse and what have you). Adding coffee to a bath is thought to reverse negative energy (and boost recovery from illness); strong and fresh coffee is key to sending the nasty packing. Here's one suggestion: run a slightly warmer than usual bath, add a generous pinch of sea salt and 1-2 cups of (strong) coffee and half a squeezed lemon. Have a good soak as you normally would but stay put while the bath drains (to allow the mixture to remove the bad juju), then rinse off. Repeat this for the next seven days for a complete "cleansing" (no one said this would be easy).

Meanwhile, burning coffee is said to ward off nightmares, bad spirits - and for sure mosquitoes. Place dry grounds (unused) in a flame-friendly bowl and then burn as you would incense. Monitor closely lest you summon forth a very real nightmare in the form of an actual fire.

Coffee can also be mixed into a paste using a drop of cooking oil for use in spell work. Don't know any spells? Make 'em up! Spells are activated by the intention and force of feeling behind them, although it helps to keep track of moon cycles and to incorporate natural elements (earth, air, fire and water) into your rituals. Coffee paste or coffee grounds can be used, once again, to block negativity, remove blocks, improve clarity, accelerate a desired outcome and add oomph to spells and rituals in general.

For an easier, more coffee-focused practice that doesn't involve esoteric knowledge, try these simple steps for a better day each morning.

To draw good things to you, stir your coffee clockwise before drinking and imagine something nice occurring before the day's end. To ward off something not nice occurring, stir your coffee counter-clockwise. And if you're really worried about a particular outcome, try eliminating the unwanted altogether with your coffee grinder! Hold the beans you are about to grind and concentrate on what it is you wish to prevent that is holding you back and then pulverize those beans in your machine! If nothing else, it will be satisfying. For more tips on coffee craft magick, see GrannyMoon's Morning Feast.
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