Finca Vista Hermosa Plantation Visit

Our Trip To Guatemala to visit Finca Vista Hermosa Coffee Plantation

Here are some pictures from our trip to visit Edwin Sr. and Edwin Jr. at their plantation in Huehuetenago, Guatemala: in March of ’06.

Edwin Jr. on the left, Edwin Sr. on the right.

Edwin Jr. is responsible for the growing of the coffee, the export to America (he has a place in Washington) and finally the distribution. He has also taken up consulting work for other farms. Without Edwin we would not have our wonderful Guatemalan Finca Vista Hermosa as well as other fine coffees from Guatemala.

Edwin is one of the most knowledgeable growers that we have met. He strives for excellence and is willing to donate his time to help others. He helps farms increase their profit by growing exceptional coffee. This money than goes to paying workers higher wages and providing basic necessities such as health care and education.

Here is the coffee nursery. Vista Hermosa is an ever expanding plantation that is constantly adding more plants to the mix. It will easily take 2-4 years before these plants will produce coffee cherries.

Relaxing by the Nursery

Here we are, a group of gringos (Garry and Jon on the right) mixing in with the coffee pickers. Although they live the rough life they are some of the happiest people I have seen.

A coffee plant loaded with bright red cherries. The perfect time to harvest! They don’t have much fruit on them but they sure are tasty.

After the coffee has been picked it is runs though a floater and ends up being pumped into this mill (looks like a gigantic cheese grater). This machine takes the beans out of the cherry so it can be fermented, then dried.

Here are the concrete drying patios. This is one of four that were at the farm. This process needs constant attention for the coffees need to continue drying and if moisture finds its way in, the coffee will be ruined.

One of the coolest machines we saw was an automatic sorting machine. It uses lasers to detect bean color and size and automatically removes any beans that do not fit the specific parameters.

The final step after sorting is filling the coffee bags. Did you ever know coffee goes through so much before it is even roasted?

While we were visiting the farm in Guatemala we saw them nearing completion of a new clinic where they would bring in doctors to provide free healthcare to the workers. They also helped maintain and build a school where the government could only fund half of the project. In return, Edwin has some of the most dedicated workers in the region.

Here at Burman Coffee we do all we can to help Edwin and his projects. We hope to continue helping Edwin grow, and strive to find more people and coffees throughout the world that carry similar characteristics and drive as Edwin and his coffees.

Gene Cafe Roasting Pan

behmor coffee roasting pan

A new option for Home Coffee Roasting

We are really excited to now be carrying the Gene Home Coffee Roasting Pan. We’ve been experimenting with it and have really liked the results. Hopefully we’ll get some of our own pics and videos up. For now, here’s some quick stats and info about the roasting pan.

Specifications
1. Pan Size : 8.8inch(22.5cm)
2. Length : 15.8inch(40cm)
3. Weight : 286g(0.63lb)
4. Roast Capacity : 150 ~ 200g (0.33 ~ 0.44lb)

Let’s learn Pan Roasting

  • Dry Beans – Dry water off the Coffee Beans, keeping Pan Roaster distance from the burner.
  • Shake the Pan Roaster for even roast :
    – Turn it to the left and right.
    – Shake it forward and backward.

Here is a short video from Gene Cafe on using the Roasting Pan.

Click to order or learn more about the Gene Cafe Roasting Pan

 

SCAA Coffee Expo – Atlanta Georgia

Scenes for the 2016 Specialty Coffee Association of America Expo – Atlanta, Georgia

Over the weekend of April 15-17, 2016  Burman Coffee traveled to Atlanta where were able to check out the newest and coolest in the coffee world. We tasted a lot of great coffees, tested new roasters, and met some great people. Here are some of the photo highlights from our trip.

Garry waiting for the bus outside the convention center.
Outside the convention center at night.
Visiting the Cafe Kreyol booth, a fair trade distributor of Haitian coffee.
Sampling some Haitian Coffee distributed by Cafe Kreyol
Checking out Gene Cafe’s latest models. This one is the Big Brother of the model we sell.
This baby could be a little too large for your home!
A new model from Behmor
Inside the new Behmor

Had a great time, looking forward to next year.

Jon

Some Links that may interest you:

Tips on Brewing Coffee

Making the Best Cup of Coffee

Now you’ve just roasted the perfect coffee. What do you need to know to be sure you get the best taste when you brew it? The NCA (National Coffee Association USA) has some important factors to consider before you start brewing your perfect cup of coffee.

The Equipment:

Be sure all equipment is cleaned thoroughly. After each use rinse your equipment with hot water and dry it with an absorbent towel. Check that no grounds have been left to collect on any part of the equipment and that there is no build-up of coffee oil. Such residue can impart a bitter or rancid flavor to future cups of coffee.

(Check out our Coffee Makers here)

The Grind:

Next you will want to be sure you have the right grind for the brewing method. Over or under extracting can cause your coffee to taste bitter or flat. Find out what the recommended grind is and adjust your grinder accordingly. Never reuse your coffee grounds. Once brewed, the desirable coffee flavors have been extracted and only the bitter undesirable ones are left.

(Check out our Grinders Here)

The Water:

The water you use is VERY important to the quality of your coffee. Try to use filtered or bottled water if your tap water isn’t good or imparts a strong odor or taste, like chlorine. If you have to use tap water let it run a few seconds before filling your coffee pot and be sure to use cold water. Do not use distilled or softened water. Ideal water temperature is between 195 and 200 degrees F. You can always use a thermometer to check your water temperature or remember that as a general rule water reaches its boiling point at 212 degrees, so when your water begins to boil take it off the heat source and let stand to cool for a couple of seconds and it should be at the ideal temperature.

Brewing Time:

The amount of time that the water is in contact with the coffee grounds is another important factor affecting the taste of your coffee. If the taste of your coffee is not optimal, it is possible that you are either over extracting (the brew time is too long) or under extracting (the brew time is too short). Experiment with the contact time until you can make a cup of coffee that suits your tastes perfectly.

Check out the full NCA article

 

Coffee Grinding Guide

A Guide for Grinding Coffee Beans

Does the grind of your coffee really make that much of a difference? Absolutely it does! Before you conclude that your coffee is “too bitter” or “too weak” consider your grind. We’ve put together some helpful hints about what’s the best grind for your brewing method. These are just guidelines and not hard and fast rules.

See our selection of top quality coffee grinders

Grind Type: Coarse – Chunky. Similar to potting soil or bread crumbs. Recommended Brewing Methods: French Press. Cold Brew. Peculators. Cupping.

Grind Type: Medium Coarse – Less Chunky. A bit more than Kosher salt.
Recommended Brewing Methods: Chemex. Flat bottom drip machines.

Grind Type: Medium – Kosher salt or coarse sand.
Recommended Brewing Methods: Cone drip machines.

Grind Type: Medium Fine – Between Kosher salt and table salt.
Recommended Brewing Methods: Siphon Machines. Vacuum Pots. Pour Over. Aeropress.

Grind Type: Fine – Refined sugar or table salt.
Recommended Brewing Methods: Espresso. Moka Pot

Grind Type: Turkish – Very Fine. Powdered sugar. Flour.
Recommended Brewing Methods: Turkish Coffee

If you have a Baratza Virtuoso or Encore Coffee Grinder they have some great guidelines on their website for specific settings that are very helpful.

These are just general guidelines and everyone has their own personal preferences. Let us know if there’s a grind you like for a specific brewing method we missed or a grind you prefer.

How to make a London Fog

teacup

Recipe for creating a London Fog, a delicious drink made with Earl Grey Tea.

A well-loved classic, Earl Grey is arguably the most popular of all flavored teas. Bergamot oil comes from the peel of a small citrus cultivated mostly in Italy, and lends a fantastic spicy-sour flavor as well as aromas which enliven the palate and sinuses. The blue mallow flowers included in this special blend improve the color while also complimenting the bergamot with subtle lavender. Great for a morning pick-me-up, this strong tea with stimulating vapors, warm flavors, and ample caffeine will grab your attention!

Just the thing on a gloomy winter day for a yummy pick me up!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon Earl Grey Tea
  • 1/2 cup hot water (212°F)
  • 1/2 cup milk (almond milk or other milk substitute should work)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp honey or sweetener of your choice

Instructions:

  • Steep tea for 2-4 minutes (depending on strength preference)
  • Mix tea with frothed milk (if you do not have a frother or steamer, warming milk on stove top will also work)
  • Stir in sweetener
  • Enjoy!

Get some premium quality Earl Grey Tea here.

Please let us know how you enjoy your favorite teas!

Types of Teas

teapot, teacups, accessories

Tea 101: Many Different Types of Tea


Coffee is our passion. But when our taste buds are seeking a little variety, or for health and wellness, we are so happy to have our exceptional assortment of teas. More and more Americans are waking up to the world of tea – white, green, black, and more; from the artisanal processing methods of Chinese Oolongs and Pu-Erhs, to the fortifying health elixirs of Japanes Matchas, Genmaichas , and Kukichas, to the shockingly sweet & spicy shots of Indian Masala Chai, all have distinct styles and traditions; often flavored or scented to amplify and complicate existing aromas, like Jasmine, Mint, Rose, bergamot (Earl Grey), and pine smoke (Lapsang Souchong) – there are countless unique flavors!

We would like to invite our customers to explore the wonderful world of tea – also known as “cha” in China and Japan, or “chai” in India – with us, and to savor this ancient beverage enjoyed by more people than any drink besides pure water! Sometimes choosing from a list of foreign or fanciful names may feel intimidating, so we are providing a few primers to get you started.

Teas are categorized into “White,” “Green,” “Oolong,” “Black,” and “Pu-Erh” types, each with distinctive characteristics and flavors. All teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant, an evergreen shrub native to China, and while regional weather conditions and soil types contribute to the flavor profile of each tea, the most notable differences are determined by the way the tea is processed.

White teas are minimally processed, with a very light, sweet flavor and high antioxidant content – like a cupful of new spring growth. Nearly all white teas hail from Fujian Province in Eastern China, and they tend to be quite rare in the West. Very young buds are picked when they are still tightly enclosed in new, pale, silky leaves. Tea bushes with large, fleshy buds are used for most white teas – these buds become Silver Needles, while buds plus the next two leaves become White Peony teas. White teas are typically steeped in 170 degree water for 3 minutes.

white tea, Plum Pai Mu Tan
Plum Pai Mu Tan

Green teas are most popular in China and Japan. Green teas are heat-processed to prevent oxidation. Premium teas are generally steamed or pan-fried, and then Sencha teas are rolled into fine strands, Gunpowder teas are rolled into pellets, and other types are painstakingly shaped and tied into elaborate “blossoms” that unfurl in the bottom of the cup. With less processing, leaves plucked in the morning are ready to be brewed that night, and green teas provide the most antioxidants and consequent health benefits. Avoiding oxidation allows green tea to retain its color, tannins, vitamin C, chlorophyll, and minerals. The taste is therefore more astringent and more subtle than Oolong or black teas, and the effect on the body is more fortifying than stimulating. Japan has created numerous interesting health elixirs, including Matcha (finely powdered tea), Genmaicha (tea with toasted rice), and Kukicha (tea twigs). Green teas are mostly steeped at 180 degrees for 2-4 minutes.

oolong tea, Ti Kuan Yin
Ti Kuan Yin Oolong

Oolong teas are half-way between Greens and Blacks, making them tasty, healthful, and stimulating – a completely satisfying tea, and a favorite of connoisseurs! These teas are partially oxidized as they go through a “withering” process, then they are rolled into balls, and eventually heated to stop oxidation at just the right moment. Depending on how long oxidation is allowed, Oolong teas can range from dark green to nearly black, and may contain a wide variety of flavors ranging from bright, astringent, and green to complex, nutty, and smoky. Oolong teas may be steeped between 180-200 degrees for 3-6 minutes.

Black teas are most popular in India and in the West. Indian teas were first cultivated by the British, who had previously traded tea with China. Brits in Northeast India discovered a wild tea variant, a sub-species called Camellia sinensis var. assamica, and put it to work in vast plantations. English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey, Darjeeling & Ceylon teas all come from this rather different tea plant. To make black teas, leaves are withered in the sun, then rolled to break open tissues, so that inner chemicals react with the air (or “oxidize”) and begin to ferment. Leaves change from green to red and then eventually to brown or black. The oxidation process brings out new flavors, often fruity, floral, or malty. Black teas are generally steeped at boiling (212) for 3-5 minutes.

black tea, Darjeeling, Margaret's Hope Estate
Darjeeling, Margaret’s Hope Estate

Pu-Erh teas mostly come from Yunnan Province in Southern China, and these rich and sophisticated products undergo an elaborate fermentation process, including aging. Freshly-picked leaves are briefly withered, then partially heat-processed to stop most oxidation. Then leaves are rolled, but *not* dried and packed like other teas – enzymes, bacteria, and fungi continue to slowly ferment the leaves and to produce rich, complex flavors. Traditional Pu-Erh teas are fermented for at least 6 months, sometimes up to 30 years! Nowadays most are made using an enhanced fermentation process that simulates long aging in less than 1 year. These teas are revered for their medicinal benefits, cutting cholesterol, aiding digestion, warming the body, dispelling the effects of alcohol, and refreshing the mind. And what a flavor profile! A good Pu-Erh is like a single-malt Scotch – unique, rich, with a powerful aroma and best savored sip by sip with friends. Pu-Erh teas may be prepared like black teas. But they are best enjoyed in the traditional style – a series of small cups, steeped in clean boiling water for 15 seconds, then 30 seconds, then 45 seconds, etc, up to 8 times. White, Green & Oolong teas may be prepared in a similar manner; see “How to Steep the Perfect Cup of Tea.

Herbal “teas” are not, in fact, tea at all – Rooibos, Chamomile, Hibiscus, etc contain no Camellia sinensis and no caffeine. They are still delicious and healthful, of course! Most herbal infusions are best when steeped in boiling water for at least 5 minutes, sometimes up to 20 minutes.

Warm Rooibos Cocktails
Warm Rooibos Cocktails

Freshness is of vital importance, as the delicate and complex flavors of teas fade over time. The freshest teas will go to market only days after they are plucked in the spring and early summer. Unfortunately we rarely see these in the United States. At Burman Coffee Traders we keep only the freshest teas, stored in airtight pouches, and we send them to you in resealable bags to ensure that you receive the very finest quality.