Coffee Masterpieces September 19 2015
Metropolis Coffee Celebrates 10th Anniversary June 11 2014
Metropolis turns ten! They are celebrating by showcasing new packaging. We are celebrating by giving you 10% off your entire order of Metropolis Coffee. The Chicago roaster makes a great cup of joe and was even voted Best Cup of Coffee in Chicago! Read the entire bio here and pick up a bag today.
Emery Coffee and Coffee Kids May 23 2014
Emery Coffee is proud to be a supporter of Coffee Kids. By working with organizations already within coffee-farming communites, they are able to give stability and improve the quality of life of those dependent on the volatile coffee market so they are able to focus on their communities' most pressing needs. Here is a video overview of their work and an excerpt from the website below. Join us in improving their lives and providing a better future.
From www.coffeekids.org -
"The projects we support can be categorized into five program areas:
Through effective community organizing, women in rural coffee-growing communities are learning to identify and treat common illnesses with natural medicines. In turn, these women train others about preventive health care, including traditional herbal remedies, and pre- and post-natal care.
Thousands of children have continued their schooling thanks to sustainable education projects. Scholarships for high school, technical and university students help families cover the costs of school supplies, textbooks, tuition and transportation. Education projects also include workshops on youth leadership and environmental and business literacy.
Women in coffee-growing communities throughout Latin America are now running their own small businesses thanks to microcredit projects. By building their personal savings and taking out small, low-interest loans ($50 – 500), these women are able to start or expand their own small businesses, ranging from selling vegetables or tortillas to running a midwifery clinic or a general store.
Through projects such as backyard gardens, worm composting, grocery stores and nutritional education, hundreds of families are able to ensure adequate supplies of fresh, local food. This minimizes the impact of a global rise in food prices and allows families to put food on the table after income from the coffee harvest had dried up.
Coffee Kids projects include a hands-on component that brings technical, monitoring-and-evaluation and administrative training to coffee-growing communities. We support organizational strengthening and community development to ensure the long-term success of our projects. We also help provide skill-building opportunities and the resources to increase yields, improve soils and increase farming expertise." - www.coffeekids.org
DONATE to Coffee Kids today.
Emery Coffee Goes Whole Bean May 13 2014
In keeping with our commitment to provide you with the best coffee experience possible, we will no longer be offering grind options on most of our coffees. Why, you might ask? According to the National Coffee Association, "Storage is integral to maintaining your coffee's freshness and flavor. It is important to keep it away from excessive air, moisture, heat, and light -- in that order -- in order to preserve its fresh-roast flavor as long as possible."
Air is coffee's number one enemy and when coffee is ground much more surface area is exposed and thus goes stale much faster. You will not get sick from drinking old or stale coffee so the question then becomes how long is my coffee "fresh?" We will define fresh as the point at which a decided difference in flavor is apparent.
Consider this, people go to the bakery every day and not just once a week because there is a difference in bread baked 15 minutes ago and 15 hours ago. A big difference. Sure the older bread is still good and quite tasty but only a shadow of the fresh bread.
The problem is, most people have never had fresh coffee outside of a cafe. If you buy your coffee at the supermarket it is already stale before you even buy it. It was roasted, ground, allowed to "rest" and release all of the CO2 before it was vacuum sealed for freshness. The resulting paradox is fresh/stale coffee.
Our roasters use a one-way degassing valve which allows the CO2 to escape while it is on the way to you. That takes care of the issue, right? Although a big help, if the coffee was ground it was still exposed to air before it could be sealed. The flavor starts to significantly change within 24 hours. Within three days it is not the same coffee and after 7 days is hardly drinkable.
The best solution is to buy whole bean coffee and only as much as you will drink in the next two weeks. There is no noticeable change in flavor in the first 7 days. During the second week the flavor starts to break down. Again, you can drink coffee that was roasted one month or even four months ago without problems but the majority of the flavor would be gone as it becomes less and less drinkable over time.
This seems a good time to introduce "Babbie's Rule of Fifteens." This comes from a discussion on Barista Exchange about this very issue. There are no real rules but these make for some good guidelines.
"Babbie's Rule of Fifteens:*
Green Beans should be used in fifteen months.
Roasted beans should bused in fifteen days.
Ground beans should be used in fifteen minutes.
Extracted beans should be served in fifteen seconds.
*These are generalities, and depend on the bean, the environment, and your tastes. While there are occasional outliers, anyone that suggests that these are way off would arouse my suspicions. Especially about his tastes... "
- Buy fresh roasted whole bean coffee.
- Buy only what you will use in the next two weeks.
- Store in an opaque airtight container in a cool dry place.
- Grind your coffee immediately before brewing.
- Serve and enjoy as soon as possible.
- NEVER store your coffee in the refrigerator or reheat brewed coffee.
As we continue to grow we keep looking for the best and the brightest, the top roasters of today. Metropolis has claimed awards in the past decade unlike few others. What drives them? The Metropolis Philosophy. Read on...
"We believe the essence of coffee comes from tension; tension between the hardness of the bean and the heat of the roaster, between the pressure of water in the machine and the dense pack of the fine grind. Reward is finer when earned, and coffee is sweeter when challenged. This is the core of our coffee philosophy.
A coffee house should be a neighborhood center. It should be equally a place to relax as a place to plan a revolution. The Boston Tea Party, the storming of the Bastille, and the Russian revolution were all planned at coffee houses. A coffee house should be a showcase for artists, a forum for ideas, and a catalyst for conversation. It should be a place to meet and to reflect, to pause before, in the midst, or at the end of the day. Metropolis will truly be a coffee house when you have more to say about what goes on here than we do.
The name Metropolis comes from Plato's notion of Polis, or city-state. A Polis is complete and sufficient unto itself. Community and the regard for differences among people and their ideas are central to our coffee philosophy. Each bean and tea leaf is sourced with two groups of people in mind: the people that taste them, and the farmers that grow them. Coffee, like art, has an aesthetic.
Our coffee aesthetic is rooted in the belief that great coffee comes from a line of respect beginning with the farmers and their respect for their land. We, in turn, respect the farmers by paying fair prices for their harvest, and respect our customers by taking great care in the roasting and brewing our coffees, and in blending our teas. Respect is at the core of our coffee philosophy, and taste is paramount.
It's a beautiful morning at Granville and Kenmore Avenues in Edgewater, a diverse, vibrant community tucked into Chicago's far north side. As the sun glances off the whitecaps on Lake Michigan, visible just two blocks to the east, folks find their way into Metropolis for a cup of coffee or a mug of tea. Maybe they're grabbing it to go -- the CTA's Red Line, the city's venerable north-south conduit and namesake for our signature espresso, grumbles by a few steps from the cafe's front door. Maybe they're getting a coffee to make it through class; after all, Loyola University is just a few blocks to the north. Or maybe they're staying right here in our vintage 1950s limestone building, which welcomes with tones of yellow and tons of local art, an array of seats that beckon, fresh pastries and sandwiches being prepared behind a big bay window, and an eclectic, observant, hat-savvy staff who know coffee as well as they know their customers."
Emery Coffee Welcomes Passion House Coffee Roasters March 06 2014
Passion House Coffee Roasters has joined Emery Coffee! We are pround to offer this fantastic Chicago roaster, winner of several cupping competitions. Buy the El Salvador Las Nubes while there is still time and check out their other coffees too.
The story of Las Nubes goes way back to 1920 when the land was purchased by Isidro Batlle & has continued on with his family farming the land since. This past year the family split the land into different tablones or lots & designated them by their altitude. These bourbon coffees were then processed by being fully washed & then sun dried.
An Open Approach to Coffee
We’re here to provide an open approach to the world of specialty coffee. That is why we took the time to create AME, our genre program.
Coffee Beans: Sustainable or Non-Sustainable Taste Tests December 14 2013
Most of us have seen items in the grocery store labeled "organically produced" or "eco-friendly." From everything we have read in the media, these food items should be healthier for you than those drenched in food coloring or grown with toxic fertilizers. Folks often buy these items because they feel they are helping the environment, and they are even willing to pay more for these items. These socially conscious individuals claim that the environmentally friendly foods taste better than foods processed the old way. But do they really taste better? Researchers devised an experiment using arabica coffee beans to find out.
The scientists arranged for groups of volunteers to taste whole bean coffee brewed from arabica beans. Coffee from the arabica bean is known for being high quality, and it is the main ingredient in most gourmet coffees. The volunteers were to answer a questionnaire that helped determine how much value they placed on an environmentally friendly coffee as opposed to a coffee that did not make use of high sustainability practices or were not friendly to the environment. The answers to the questions helped divide the group into two sub-groups: a high sustainability group and a low sustainability group. Even though the two cups of coffee served to the participants were identical, the information given before tasting was not. One coffee was described as being ecologically friendly while the other was not. Interestingly the responses of the group reflected this information.
Seventy-four percent of the high sustainability volunteers preferred the eco-labeled coffee while twenty-six percent choose the non sustainable coffee. They were also willing to pay more for the coffee. With regards to the low sustainability group, forty-eight percent choose the eco-coffee while twenty-six preferred the not ecologically friendly coffee. They were not willing to pay more for the coffee. The ecologically-friendly volunteers showed a definite preference for the coffee labeled ecologically friendly even though there was no difference between the two cups. The low sustainability volunteers were almost tied with the cup they chose. The information of the label definitely had an effect on the high sustainability group.
The results of this series of experiments show that eco-conscious individuals were willing to pay a premium for the eco-coffee. These findings were partly based on desire to do what is right for the environment rather than which coffee tasted the best. Basically the volunteers were influenced by lying about the coffee's characteristics. Similar results have been achieved using products such as nutrition bars and wine. The volunteers would pay more for the coffee they were told was ecologically-friendly whether it really was or not. These results should prove very interesting to the advertising industry!
Caffeine Shown to Improve Memory in Bees November 21 2013
Many plants contain caffeine in their leaves naturally as a defense mechanism. The bitter taste deters hungry animals from eating plants containing it. Caffeine can also be found in the nectar of the plant. The amount of caffeine in the nectar of a coffee plant is similar to what we find in a cup of instant coffee. The bees do not taste the caffeine at these low doses but it is high enough to affect their behavior.
In a recent study from the U.K., caffeine was shown to improve memory in honeybees. The bees were trained Pavlovian style to remember the scent of certain flowers. The ones that were fed the caffeinated nectar, as opposed to just sugar nectar, were three times more likely to remember the scent of that flower 24 hours later. Also, twice as many bees still remembered after 72 hours.
Caffeine changes how Kenyon cells, neurons which are involved in memory and learning, respond to information. It leads to more sensitivity and stronger reaction to input. In other words, caffeine helps bees remember the floral scents and come back more often. This gives these plants an advantage by having a "faithful" pollinator.
While the effect on bees is obvious, researchers are hesitant to say caffeine has beneficial effects on memory in humans. More study is needed to see how caffeine affects us. But how many people drink coffee while reading or studying? Maybe our bodies are trying to tell us something. I think I'll have another cup just in case.
Coffee Dilemma in Central America November 21 2013
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Smartse.
Although rust is typically known as a reddish-brown flaky coating that forms on iron and other metals, coffee (or coffee leaves to be more accurate) can also "rust." Coffee leaf rust is so called because it leaves yellow and reddish spots on the foliage that resemble rust. It is an obligate parasitic fungus known scientifically as Hemileia vastatrix.
Hemileia vastatrix must take energy and nutrients from a live host (coffee) in order to survive and reproduce. The most susceptible variety to the fungus is Coffea arabica, from which all specialty coffee is produced.
The fungus, also called roya, has spread so widely that Guatemala declared a state of emergency earlier this year. Up to 40 percent of the Guatemalan crop may be lost this season, with Costa Rica losing between 30 to 40 percent. El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua are also in crisis. There are areas where plants have lost so much foliage the farmers will have to remove the dying coffee trees and replant. This will affect production levels for years to come.
What is it like when roya attacks a coffee tree? When you have a healthy tree the plant will focus on the beans once they start developing. But when roya attacks the plant its attention turns to creating new leaves to replace those being destroyed. As a matter of survival photosynthesis takes priority over the beans and the nutrients they need to mature. Instead of ripe red coffee cherries, you see many green beans that never ripen or, even worse, dry branches and beans because of the anthracnose that accompanies roya.
Roya is not a new problem. It was first reported in Kenya in 1861. In the mid-to-late 19th century it destroyed more than 90 percent of the coffee crops in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). The resulting collapse of the coffee industry in the area caused farmers started looking for alternate crops such as tea. This is one of the reasons for the popularity of tea in England today. According to the ICO (International Coffee Organization), the current epidemic is the worst since 1976 when it first appeared in Central America.
The good news is the fungus has not mutated, meaning it is the same fungus that was controlled in the past and that leaves hope for the farmers. Local governments are providing assistance to affected farms with financial aid and fungicides. Among those who are contributing funds and services to the fight are: Fair Trade USA, Starbucks, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, and many others.
While the coffee leaf rust fungus is not the end of the ever loving coffee world, it is causing quite a bit of concern, and with good cause. Coffee exports are a significant portion of revenue for these nations. We need continued research into ways to combat leaf rust for it is the farmers who suffer the most. The top echelon coffees are going to be impacted by roya this year more than ever before. There will continue to be excellent high-quality beans to fill your cup, only fewer of them.