Tag Archives: Online Coffee

Caffe Dalí Is More Than A Coffee Company

Caffe DaliSometimes a coffee shop is just a coffee shop; they do one thing: make coffee and sell it. This isn’t a bad venture by any means – some people see coffee as another market with a demand, and they see a coffee shop as a way to make money and provide the supply. This is business, and often it works great. But sometimes a coffee company is more than a coffee company. Sometimes these coffee shops and roasters choose to interact with their community and with the world in a meaningful way that has the potential to make a difference in the lives of people that sit down to enjoy a cup of coffee.

When I typically write about coffee, I like to stress the importance of local coffee shops that are making a tangible difference in their city and community.  The best coffee shops I’ve visited host events, sponsor local artists and musicians, and act as a destination location for those seeking a great conversation and those looking to get some work done alike. Cafes have been a part of the social bedrock from ancient times until today, and there’s nothing I appreciate more than a small business that steps up and takes this mantle on with vigor.

Caffe Dalí takes this notion of a coffee company that is more than a coffee company to the next level. And while they haven’t poured their heart into a local community in the form of a brick-and-mortar coffee shop, they are doing much, much more with the resources they have amassed.

The Snapshot

Caffe Dalí sent me a number of pamphlets with phrases like “Can a Cup of Coffee Change a Life?” and “So good…it’s surreal!” While skeptical of the actual claims and message, I was intrigued. I navigated over to their website and found a host of material and links that made everything make more sense. Let’s start with their first big promise.

Caffe Dalí will directly impact the lives of the most innocent and the most vulnerable: Kids around the world who are orphans, infected with AIDS, and those young girls who have been sold into horrific sex trafficking industry. A minimum of 20% of all Caffe Dali’s profit will go directly toward rescuing these kids.

Along with this amazing pledge, Caffe Dalí uses phrases like “innovative marketing strategy” and “innovative business plan” to describe how they are getting their message to the world at large. Unfortunately, with the exception of the above quoted promise, Caffe Dalí doesn’t offer specifics as to how they plan to bring their good cause to the public at large. It is possible, however,  to glean some specifics from a separate page on their website titled Opportunity.

Caffe Dalí has a host of opportunities for people and businesses in nearly every sector of life. Their overarching categories include restaurants, educational organizations, non-profits, and religious organizations (including churches, synagogues, and mosques). Essentially, if any of the above organizational structures want an alternative way of making money, Caffe Dalí is eager to step in and fill that gap by providing coffee, and help you set up a business plan to boot.

Their website appears a mile wide and an inch deep in some respects, but I think it’s due to their understanding that every business and every person has a unique situation. Nearly every page has a form to fill out in order to get in touch with them, and this availability makes me hopeful that they are focusing on less talk and more do.

So, what about the actual coffee? Is it any good?

The Coffee

Apocalypto BlendCaffe Dalí sent me their “Apocalypto Blend” which is a mix of beans originating from Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Brazil. It’s a dark roast.

I brewed the Apocalypto Blend in my Hario v60, using my standard coffee:water ratio of 28:415grams. While brewing I noted that it had a nice bloom – a sign of freshness. My brew time was about 3 minutes when all was said and done.

Now I must put a disclaimer here: I’m not really a fan of dark roasts. It’s not that I think there is anything intrinsically wrong with them, I just prefer the flavors that tend to shine in lighter roasts. Knowing my predisposed feelings towards dark roasts, I went into tasting this coffee with as much of a blank slate in my mind as I could muster. I’ve had some pretty nasty dark roasted coffee before – but I’ve also had some pretty great ones. Clearing my head as I poured my first cup, I was ready for whatever Caffe Dalí had for me.

Omelette with Caffe Dalí dark roastAnd you know what? Their Apocalypto Blend was pretty great. It had a somewhat nutty initial taste, with a light bitterness all the way through the taste. But this bitterness wasn’t the sharp, dirty bitterness that I find all too often in Starbucks brews. No, this was a back-of-the-tongue bitterness that had just a hint of the earthy tones that make dark roasts unique. I found this bitterness was much less noticeable when I paired the coffee with spicy or oily foods (like, say, a pepper jack cheese omelette and avocado).

The coffee is much more pleasant than a Starbucks dark roast, or really any 2nd Wave coffee. That being said, I think this coffee suffered from what so many blends do – it tries to do too much with too many types of coffee from various regions. We could debate the merits of single-origin vs. blended coffees all day, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the far side of blends – like when you mix too many paint colors and end up with a gross brown or a completely undesired gray. This coffee isn’t gross, but neither is it very different from other upper-level dark roasts. This is only a small ding, however, because these upper-level dark roasts are some of the best of that genre.

In all, I applaud Caffe Dalí for sending me a dark roast that I didn’t hate – and more than that – one that I actually found myself enjoying.

Final Thoughts

The one thing missing from Caffe Dalí big promises and hopeful verbiage is a page of success stories. They don’t list businesses or churches that have used Caffe Dalí to increase their profits, nor do they have any pictures of real people who are selling their product. Caffe Dalí has only been around since 2013, so it’s likely that they are still waiting on those success stories to roll in.

Based on what I’ve tasted, what I’ve read, and the information I’ve been given, I hope Caffe Dalí is successful. Lord knows, our world could use more coffee shops that are more than coffee shops.

The Coffee Guy

BoiseCoffee listed among “best coffee blogs of 2015”

BestCoffeeBlogsI’m very proud to announce that BoiseCoffee has been listed alongside many notable websites as being a “best coffee blog” of 2015 by Market Inspector! More specifically, we have been placed under the heading “The Blogs That Have Made the Biggest Contribution to Global Coffee Culture.” See the full list here.

I can personally recommend some of the other blogs that made the list. Check out Coffee Nate (Nate Smith), The Coffee Adventures (Jamie Ferguson), Corner of the Cafe (Drew Moody), and of course the great Dear Coffee, I Love You (Brian Jones). I’ve had very positive interactions with these folks over the years.

If you’re interested in building your own coffee-focused news feed, this list is the perfect place to start!

The Coffee Guy

Source Link: Market Inspector’s List

Queen of the Hill: Time Tested Roasting Meets Ordering Online

Queen Bean Banner

My favorite part about reviewing coffee is coming into contact with family roasting companies that have been around for generations. When I’m able to review or buy coffee from a shop that has been around for decades, passing recipes and roasting techniques down as they go, I know I’m in for a treat. Mills Coffee is one such company, having been founded by Thomas Mills in 1860. The roasting company is currently being run by fourth and fifth generation Mills who recently launched TheQueenBean.com, their online retailer that sells their signature roasts and blends.

The Snapshot

After Thomas Mills emigrated to the United States in 1860 from Scotland he opened Mills Teas and Butter. Eventually he decided to expand to include his new favorite beverage: coffee. In the late 1800s Thomas began roasting his own beans, beginning a tradition that would continue for over a century. Today, Mills Coffee is run by Susan and her brother David. David took on the role of master roaster while Susan handles financial and creative dimensions of the company. Susan’s son Dave now works in the family business, being an all around go-to man and stepping in to roast when David is away. Her daughter Nicole handles online retail through their new website. Mills Coffee is a family company through-and-throug and they carefully select their coffees from high quality, sustainable, eco-friendly, socially-conscious environments. One of the places they get their beans is La Cotorra farm, located in a remote portion of the Dominican Republic. They helped La Cotorra get out of a tight financial spot, simultaneously contributing to the local DR community.

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David Mills visiting a farm in Costa Rica

Their online store is easy to navigate, with coffees in the $20/lb range (upwards with shipping). The “coffee 101” and “about” sections of their website are fine, though they don’t give nearly as much information as the handout they included with my coffee. Their story is fascinating to read, and I think it would benefit them greatly to include it on their website. Additionally, the art on their shopping portion of the website is a bit much and doesn’t tell me a lot about the coffee, besides the name. The rest of the website has a lighthearted yet still professional feel, while the art seemed to stick out as being not entirely cohesive with the rest of the site. Perhaps determining a consistent theme and then departing from that according to the specifics of each coffee would help. Ordering coffee is a breeze, though the descriptions of their roasts and blends are hit and miss. Some are great – offering flavor profiles and specifics about where the coffee was grown. Others are more general and could use some more details about what makes that coffee unique. I’m probably a bit oversensitive here: I really like to know what coffee I’m getting and where it came from. It could be that this simply isn’t as big of a deal to the average consumer. Overall, I’m excited that they decided to open up an online store this year, and I think Mills Coffee is taking steps in the right direction.

The Coffee

Mills Coffee sent me two coffees: their Dominican and El Salvador roasts. I ended up enjoying the Dominican more, but both brought interesting flavor profiles to the table.

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The Dominican is a lighter roast with strong, earthy notes and mild acidity. Brewing it in my v60 created an expected clean cup of coffee, and I found the aftertaste to be almost sweet. The flavor is strong and present throughout each sip, never wavering. It reminded me of a macadamia nut – smooth, yet bold all at once. It kept me coming back for more, and the steadiness of each cup increased my trust in this coffee.

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The El Salvador, conversely, is more citrusy/chocolatey in flavor. It reminded me almost of a chocolate covered peanut, which is welcome to be sure. My only qualm with this coffee was that each sip finished extremely dry. While it wasn’t inherently bad, I found myself desiring no more than one cup in a sitting, followed by a glass of water.

Final Thoughts

I absolutely recommend buying Mills Coffee. Their family origins and their passion to make a great product is evident. Their coffee is delicious, and their website is a very capable medium to purchase from. My experience with them has only been positive, and it is evident that they really do care about the quality of their roasts.

The Coffee Guy

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Mills Coffee Social Media Links:

Website: thequeenbean.com
Twitter: @QueenBeanCoffee
Facebook: Like their page