In Part II of this series we talk about what must happen to achieve coffee excellence during cultivation. In this last segment, Jeff Ericson, Boss at the Camano Islands Coffee Roasters in Washington State tells us what we need to know to buy and prepare great tasting coffee.
Tips For Buying Quality Coffee
You Get What You Pay For
It seems we’ve all learned to put up with less than great quality coffee. Through our buying habits, we perpetuate the notion that we’ll support cheaper prices and sacrifice quality. Buying quality coffee is much akin to buying anything else of quality and the old rule applies: you get what you pay for.
For example, do you get the jitters when you drink coffee? If this happens, chances are you’re drinking burned coffee. It’s the ash that’s causing the jitters — not the caffeine.
When you order coffee at a coffee shop do you watch the espresso shots as they pour out of the machine? If you don’t see any foam, reject the coffee. It’s dead. The beans were subjected to one or both deadly enemies of fresh coffee: air or light. Yes, either of these conditions can destroy the freshness of roasted, ready-to-grind beans. That’s why we need to keep coffee in the shade and out of the air — even after it’s been roasted and delivered for use.
When we visit a coffee house we get what we get. It’s their coffee bought at the lowest possible price from mass production sources. As consumers, we can’t control the quality of coffee storefront coffee. The mass producers the coffee houses buy from pay farmers .40 cents a day Jeff tells us.
Buy The Best Coffee To Drink At Home
We can control the quality of the coffee we drink at home. Jeff asserts his coffee is an at home drinking coffee because it ranks as the one half of one percent quality of all coffee harvested in the world. You can drink his coffee all-day long with no side effects. How can he make that assertion?
First, all his coffee passes the conditions for growth we cite in Part II of this series. How does that happen?
Jeff will tell you he is in the farming business— not the coffee distribution business. He travels to the equatorial regions of the world and teaches the farmers how to buy land, run their businesses to produce the best quality coffee, and how to set prices for sustainable farming.
Stated differently, Jeff’s approach is to teach equatorial farmers to farm for a living and not work just for daily wages. This allows them to think about coffee excellence and focus on producing a superior product. Jeff’s approach is called fair-traded farming. A reasonable price paid for a high-quality product results in sustainable farming sources for that product.
Jeff’s approach is a spin-off of the alleged Chinese proverb: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
Jeff’s work is paying off. His investment means alliances between his business and coffee farmers who produce high-quality coffee only. As Jeff puts it, he pays more so his farmers can make a living. The higher price he charges for his products support coffee farming excellence and yield us coffee drinkers a matchless coffee drinking experience.
You can drink Jeff’s medium roast Papua New Guinea all-day long right up to midnight before you go to bed. I do it. He’s right. And there’s no acidity or hyperactivity driven by my consumption.
Jeff’s Tips for A Great Coffee Drinking Experience
- Drink coffee naked. Black. Don’t kill it.
- Select coffee by asking yourself the question: “What speaks to me?” If you like a nutty flavor, check out the Brazilian coffees. If you like a Cacao-Chocolate taste, check out the Papua New Guinea coffees. If you want that sharp, Earthy, pay attention and wake-you-up in the morning type coffee, check out the Ethiopian coffees.
- Pick the roast that suits your tastes.
- Light roast = the most caffeine. Ages the slowest.
- Medium roast = moderate caffeination, a bit of oil on the outside, little smoky.
- Dark roast = The least powerful of coffees with caffeine content. Look for the oily exterior that evaporates and can turn rancid quickly. Yes, that's right, you now know by implication that Espresso, a dark roast, is the least powerful of coffees because of the dark roast.
What’s the best way to brew your coffee? Jeff says his crew tried everything from $15,000 coffee making machines to simple drip brewers. Here’s what they found out.
A simple, white, German porcelain brewing cone produced the tastiest cup of coffee. If you try this approach, he cautions us to use brown paper filters only. White paper filters contain bleach.
Pour fresh ground coffee into the filter. Begin by pouring hot (not boiling) water around the edges. The coffee grounds should blossom and rise. If they do not blossom, throw them out. As Jeff says, “it’s dead”.
Where To Buy Jeff’s Great Coffee
For the first time in 30-years, I’m happily riding the coffee wagon train onto the road that will end only when my time on Earth is at an end.
Am I the victim of a great sales job by Jeff, or is his coffee and rationale for pricing that persuasive? All I know is I can drink of his coffees black all-day long and enjoy every cup. There’s no half-and-half in my house. No cancerous sweetener or destructive sugar hits my bloodstream with coffee. I enjoy the coffee — I don’t kill it.
The link below will take you to Jeff’s Camano Island Coffee Roaster company where you can order online. The first pound bag is on him. Prices start at $18 for his Papua New Guinea if you go on his 2 lb per shipment program. For larger shipments, prices per pound can be lower depending on the blend.
Every purchase you make supports sustainable farming. I don’t know about you, but I want to keep drinking high quality coffee black. It’s worth the extra few dollars per pound to get that quality.
Tell us, RoverTrekkers, what’s your favorite source of coffee? Does your coffee pass Jeff’s five-prong test we cite in Part II?
Editors Note: We've never endorsed any product on this blog heretofore. Travel writers do that kind of stuff all of the time. We don't. But we're making an exception in this case because the Camano Island Coffee Roasters product speaks for itself.
Camano Island Coffee Roasters: http://camanoislandcoffee.com/
The National Coffee Association of the USA: http://www.ncausa.org/
The Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism bureau in the State of Washington: http://www.whidbeycamanoislands.com/
All photos and videos by RoverTreks. Branded photos are via the permission of Jeff Ericson of the Camano Island Coffee Roasters.
Thanks to Sherrye Wyatt of the Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism bureau in the State of Washington for her thoughtful and insightful support of our inquiries via the International Food · Wine · Travel Writers Association 2018.