Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ride In Style with Blanchard's Cycling Kits!

Are you fueled by Blanchard's? Tell the world!

Three Sports is now carrying Blanchard's Coffee Co. cycling kits!



Stop by Three Sports to get a sweet looking kit along with a bag of coffee to keep you going (the bags support the SproFit program and its athletes!).  Need more incentive? You don't have to just bike in your kit. You can even roast coffee in it.


(No, okay, that was a lie. Tom didn't really roast in his kit.)

The bibs set you back $80 and the jerseys $65, right in range with the rest of them out there. Send us a photo of you in your kit and we'll send you a coupon for a bag of coffee from our online store! Just so long as you don't mind that you might wind up on our blog.

Three Sports is located at 6241 River Rd. RVA 23226 and is open from 10am-5pm on Saturdays, and 10am-7pm Monday-Friday.

If you're interested in a kit, but don't live in the area, let Tom know, and he'll either try to get one from Three Sports for you, or add you to a list for the next time we order!

Keep brewing, and ride safe!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The 2010 Holiday Season

Hello, Blanchophiles!

Truly, every year we can't believe it's Holiday season again. Sure enough, though, that time has come again!

Firstly, Page Hayes has done us a great new label this year, which we're proud to reveal:



But that's not all! Tom's also got the SproFit version (Silver & Gold Blend) ready to go: 

Both of these are now available in our online store, as well as the Blanchard's Gift Box for $25, (which includes the Holiday Blend, Dark as Dark, and Decaf) and the SproFit Box, for $30 (which includes Silver & Gold, Iron, and Aluminum Blends, and benefits the SproFit program and its sponsored athletes)!

We can even ship this out in time for Christmas, so you can start checking off names as early as...well, now!

In addition to these four options, we're also giving you the opportunity to add gift cards to our online store. 

If that weren't enough, we're giving away Twelve bags of Silver & Gold Blend during the holiday season for the 12 best stories of how fitness inspires you (or how you have used your own fitness to inspire others). These stories will be published on both this and the SproFit blog. Click here for more info. on that

So that's the long and short of it. Five ways for you to give coffee, and 12 folks with a good story to tell can receive some as well.

Happy Holidays, and keep brewing!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

November Coffee of the Month: Celebes Mamasa

[sell'-uh-bees muh-mAh'-suh]

Oh, great, Blanchard's is throwing another Indonesian coffee your way.

You've had the Bali, the Sulawesi, and the Mandheling. What more could another Indonesian possibly offer?

Try rhubarb. Try sweet tobacco. Try fresh cherry and water chestnut with the texture of marshmallow fluff.

The Celebes Mamasa just beat out the Sulawesi (and runs a close second to the Bali). It's got a creamy, buttery texture you'll want to roll around in your mouth, trying to grab every note before it disappears.

Truly a French pastry masking as coffee, this one's the perfect complement to your Thanksgiving dessert.

If you're a Coffee of the Month subscriber, know that we'll be shipping this out on Thursday. Dena will be doing her deliveries on Monday for you special folk still on The List. If you're not one, you really ought to sign up.

We'll also have this one available in our online retail store starting Monday, November 1, where you can have it shipped or biked out to you, or you can pick it up from us at no charge in our Roastery Mon.-Fri., or at the South of the James Farmer's Market on Saturdays.

Plenty of options here, and all of them worth a try in order to get your hands on this spectacular coffee.

Holiday Blend may not roll out until next month, but this is a great primer.

-tom

sic luceat lux

Close match, but...Coffee>Wi-fi.

The New York Times has reported here on a survey seeking to determine the most cherished indulgence of American "millennials." When asked whether Coffee, TV or Wi-Fi would be the most difficult to forgo for a week, 75% of Americans (aged 17-29, mind you) chose Wi-Fi.

For me, TV was rendered inessential with the coming of Hulu. Furthermore, since forgoing Wi-Fi doesn't seem to mean forgoing The Internet altogether, I could make due without the 24/7 search for wireless connectivity in my car, at work or on a plane, etc.

Coffee, on the other hand, is simply irreplaceable. I am the kind of coffee-drinker that cannot replace coffee with other caffeinated beverages, and will suffer unrelenting headaches no matter the interventions of tea, soda or No-Doz. I'm convinced of coffee's unique psycho-activity above and beyond caffeine, for one, and its incomparable taste, for two.

Then again, I haven't had Mountain Dew for breakfast since my Sega Genesis days. Shout out: Kid Chameleon, Shinobi 3 &, of course, Sonic the Hedgehog.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Caramelized OpiNIONS Checks Out RVA Coffee Scene

Sorry I've been MIA with some travel and other items on my plate but that doesn't mean stuff isn't going on. Check out this great post from Carmelized Opinion that ran last week on the local coffee scene. I'm going to quote the part about us but you need to go over and read the article and the comments.
Of course, this whole personal coffee epiphany has occurred before a backdrop of a larger scene. In the past couple years, Blanchards has risen to prevalence and become Richmond’s home team brew, rivaling if not surpassing Rostov’s. Whatever restaurant your in, if you see a sign that they brew with Blanchard’s, you can bet a cup will be worthwhile. No wonder their name seems to go hand in hand with enthusiasm and local pride. And, no wonder I was so easily swayed to drink high-test coffee again with all that Blanchards around town.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Remodeled TaZa Formerly Blanchard's Coffee Shop Open for Biz

TaZa has pretty much wrapped up the remodel and is now open for business from 6 to 6. Check it out.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Best Coffee in DC

The Washington City Paper discusses the best spots to get your coffee on in the District. Unfortunately Blanchard's hasn't made it that far north yet.
Besides, if I want a good cup of coffee, I know where to go. I head straight to Qualia Coffee in Petworth. Listen, I know the District’s coffee culture has made tremendous strides in the past few years. You can find really good hand-pours at Peregrine Espresso on Capitol Hill, at Chinatown Coffee Co. on H Street NW, at Filter Coffeehouse on 20th Street NW near Dupont Circle, and at Mid City Caffe on 14th Street NW. But if you truly love roasted beans and the sweet liquid stimulant extracted from them, Qualia’s Joel Finkelstein is your guy. Finkelstein believes in serving only the freshest beans, which are all roasted in the back room of his small shop on Georgia Avenue NW.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Make a Coffee Bag Rug


This tutorial was found at i.craft@beewise and sent to me by Leigh. Thanks to both.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

October Coffee of the Month: Yirg Two Ways

They say you can't reinvent the wheel. You can, however, try out new treads to see what works best according to the weather.

The way we roast the Yirgacheffe is, quite plainly, a warm weather coffee. It's light-bodied, floral, and full of fruit. This month we wanted to try something a little different, however, and decided to have some fun with our tried and true favorite.

We've done a darker roasted Yirgacheffe and blended it with our light-roasted classic, and the result is pleasing.

It's got all the fruit and flowers you know and love, but with the addition of some toasted coconut and toffee. It's a nice transition coffee, so far as the weather is concerned. As the tail end of summer lingers on into...well, probably January, so do the lighter notes of the Yirg Two Ways, but with a touch of winter warmth that brings you back to your flannel pajamas.

Drink up, and keep brewing!

-tom

sic luceat lux

Saturday, September 25, 2010

SproFit: Our Answer to "What Did You Do This Weekend?"

Hey folks, Tom here.

When David proposed back in July that I should train for a Half Ironman triathlon, pledging Blanchard's as a sponsor if I were to do so, I wasn't really sure what to do with that information except...well, start training.

I worked with David to develop the Iron Blend and the Aluminum Blend as a way to fund-raise for (and this is the part that has always bothered me) myself. I wondered what kind of spoiled brat says "Buy this coffee so I can go destroy my body in Puerto Rico," and why anyone would be motivated to do that. Except, of course, for the great coffee.

David reassured me that working to promote the coffee, and having a great product, was all anyone would really expect. I suppose he was right in that regard.

That didn't stave off the feeling that I should be doing something more however. So, once our quaint little coffee shop upstairs went into its cocoon to become a butterfly, and our life down in the roastery got a little more stable, I took on a project.

Its name is SproFit.

And it's a much bigger project than I realized when I started.

I have been really impressed with VCU's fitness incentive programs, and thought that we at Blanchard's could sponsor similar activities. Things that are free to sign up for, don't require meetings, and have prizes at the end. What the what? Yeah, for serious.

There is no membership fee to take part. The incentive programs don't have any fees, either. We encourage you to help support the program by drinking Aluminum and Iron Blends (which can be found online, at Ellwood Thompson's, and at 3 Sports). A portion of the sales of those two blends goes into my sponsorship fund, but because I want SproFit to thrive, I'm using some of that to give back to others who also think fitness is pretty neat.

So, despite the fact that SproFit has the word "profit" in it, know that this isn't about getting you to dole out more dollars to Blanchard's. It's about doing our part to keep our community living healthy.

Some fun single-day events on the calendar:

* 50 Mile Group Ride (Sunday, 10/3)
* October Run & Bunn (Sunday 10/17) [3 mile fun run with coffee social hour afterward]
* Half Marathon Time Trial (Sunday, 11/7) [Bring your own stop watch; we'll provide the coffee and water after]

We also have two ongoing incentive programs starting October 1.

*Autumn Mileage Rack-Up - Sign up and ride your bike. Whoever bikes the most gets 2 bags of coffee.

*Halloween Half Ironman Challenge - Complete the cumulative total of a Half Ironman between October 1 and October 31. If you rack up more miles in all three events than anyone else, you get $25 to 3Sports (I'll be competing in this too...I won't take the gift certificate, but I will try and stop you from getting it.)

We've had one sign-up for Half Ironman challenge already. So you're already not alone!

We're also taking pre-orders for Blanchard's Coffee Company cycling kits! One short sleeve jersey and one pair of bib shorts. We'll be ordering on October 3 and will receive them at the beginning of December (Just in time for the holidays! You can check someone off your list already!)

blanchardscoffee.com/sprofit is all you need to remember. Feel free to use all the links above also. Get out your running shoes, lube up your chain, and hit the road!

-tom

sic luceat lux

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Think Healthy Live Better


Check out SproFit a new project that Tom is heading up. SproFit is an incentive program to help anyone interested in thinking healthy and living better. Check out the link to learn more including how to get this awesome bicycling jersey. As you might have guessed by the jersey Blanchard's is happy to be helping out in this effort to get more people off the couch.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chasing the Perfect Cup

I'll be honest with you, most of this post went straight over my head but I thought some of you geek types might like it, so here it is. Gizmodo has an article on ExtractMojo and MoJoToGo, gadgets that quantify a cup of coffee's flavor.

The perfect cup of coffee has a brew strength (or TDS) of 1.15-1.50 percent and an extraction rate of 18-22 percent. It's a remarkably tiny spot to hit. But uh, how do you get there? If the brewing control chart is a map, ExtractMoJo and MoJoToGo are the GPS.

ExtractMoJo is, very simply, a refractometer paired with the universal brewing control chart, an updated version of the original chart from the 1960s. MoJoToGo repackages the ExtractMojo software into a superhandy iPhone app. The VST coffee refractometer is designed to measure coffee's concentration by measuring its refractive index. (It reads the speed of light through a liquid medium to around 5 decimal places). Not so long ago, a refractometer of the caliber would've cost around $10,000, says Vince, but thanks to the increasing power of digital camera resolutions, he was able to create a handheld model that's just a couple hundreds bucks.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blanchard's Retail Space to Be Reborn

We at Blanchard's were recently approached by a long-time supporter of our company with some fresh ideas for our retail space. Those of you who frequent this space know that our company's focus has always been on our wholesale business, but we've enjoyed our limited hours as a way to connect to the people who make what we do everyday possible.

As our wholesale business has grown over the years, we've been able to focus less and less on our retail space, and as I'm sure you remember, resorted to limiting the hours even further at the beginning of this year in order to cope with the increased demands of our wholesale clients.

When Ben Spencer came to us with an interest in revitalizing the coffee shop and turning it into something greater, along with a stronger partnership with Chocolates by Kelly, we were pleased to see that an outsider's perspective is often exactly what is necessary to get the ball rolling.

After our normal hours this Saturday, September 11th, the shop will only offer drip coffee and bulk beans for a short period of time before a grand re-opening in October.

TaZa Coffee & Crème will be proudly operating the shop under the Blanchard's umbrella, and we'll still be roasting just downstairs. In addition, TaZa will have a selection of chocolates from Chocolates by Kelly, locally-made pastries, and ice cream.

Starting October 4th, the new hours will be Monday-Saturday, 6:30am-6:00pm. Along with a new set of comfy furniture and an expanded selection of food, TaZa will also offer curbside service if you're in a rush.


We talk often at Blanchard's about how there's never a dull moment, and we're excited for this new chapter in our company history. The folks of TaZa are also excited to make Blanchard's Coffee more readily available, and we're thrilled to continue moving forward. Blanchard's Coffee Company will still offer online ordering and our Coffee of the Month program, along with the same quality product you're used to in Martin's, Ellwood's and all our other retail outlets. TaZa will also continue to offer your favorites in bulk in the redone retail space as well.

We're forever grateful for the support we've received in our neighborhood, and can't wait to work with TaZa to offer more to the folks who've given us so much over the years.

(Questions? Feel free to contact someone below!)

Blanchard's Coffee Co.

Tom Thorogood
804.687.9443

Chocolates by Kelly
Kelly Walker
804.814.5496

TaZa Coffee & Crème
Ben Spencer
804.920.2887



Thanks all!
- The Blanchard's Crew

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blanchard's and the VMFA

Did you know that soon Blanchard's coffee will be available at all of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts locations? Well Gay RVA does and Stephen Robertson wrote up a great post a part of which is below.
Blanchard’s coffee maintains a constant commitment to local businesses and organizations making the VMFA a natural fit. “We are very excited to be providing coffee to the VMFA. Clearly they are committed to excellence and creating a ‘third space’ for Richmond to enjoy not only art, but community to its fullest” commented Blanchard after our walk through the museum grounds. He went on to cite Danny Ayers’ obvious passion for both the culinary and visual arts as proof that great coffee and great art share the simple trait of fostering conversation which, in turn, builds community.
Check out the full post at the link above or more of Stephen's words of wisdom at his coffee blog, RVA Coffee.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Different Type of Coffee Shop

I don't know about you but when I head to a coffee shop I am usually in one of two modes. Mode one grab and run. This is when I have a place to be and need some fuel to get there. Mode two drink and chill. This mode is drink a brew and hang with friends, even been known to break out the chess board. There is however a trend in NY that is only giving you one option and that is Mode One.
Hers is one of a growing number of coffee bars that have opened recently around the country, particularly in New York. Instead of idling at a chair, customers at these establishments stand or perch on a stool to down a cappuccino or an iced coffee at the counter. By doing away with the comfy seats, roomy tables and working outlets that many customers now seem to believe are included in the price of a macchiato, the new coffee bars challenge the archetypal American cafe.

Coffee-bar owners say that while space and rent can be considerations, they’re installing counters because they create a lively environment where it’s easy to have a quick, convivial exchange. “There’s clearly a philosophy behind the coffee bar,” said Christian Geckeler, who describes his ongoing odyssey to taste the country’s best coffee on Manseekingcoffee.com. “It puts the emphasis on the coffee and the barista.”
[via NY Times]
I'm not a fan. Coffee should be an experience not just pitstop. I'm not convinced that a counter will lead to more conversation. It might increase the interaction between barista and customer but won't increase the interaction between customers.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

September Coffee of the Month: The Aluminum Blend

We've experimented with some pretty fantastic single origin coffees this summer, and we hope you've enjoyed them as much as we have.

Fall is here, however. The kids are off to school (or back for school), the weather has already started to get a bit crisper (but this is Richmond, so who knows what the coming weeks will hold?), and this yanks away from our Summer Fun mentality and into a more personal space.

So it's time to get a bit personal:

A year ago I gave myself a minor, but really annoying stress fracture from a hungover run after weeks of remaining sedentary aside from work. I promised myself that when it healed, I'd not let myself ever get so out of shape again that a four mile run would incur such wrath from my own bones. So I bought a  new pair of running shoes and started going at it, tracking every run and posting it publicly in order to keep myself with it.

November came around and I bought a bike and an alumni membership to the VCU gyms so I could swim as well. Someone told me they smelled a triathlon, and...well, the rest is history. I've since become a huge advocate for fitness and healthy living, and believe, after this year-long journey that aside from my life with coffee, this was a secondary niche in which I was meant to partake.

If you're a regular in the coffee shop, you've probably seen the Iron Blend up there, the proceeds of which help sponsor my training and fees for the Half Ironman in San Juan I'm currently training for, but it's a dark roast, and not everyone loves dark roasts.

We're now proud to present the Aluminum Blend, a lighter counterpart to the Iron Blend's metal slug of a cup. The Aluminum Blend is full of lemony pop and orangey pizazz, with a smooth, malty finish. Like a chocolate malt after a creamsicle, which is exactly what I'm craving right now.

The Aluminum Blend will be available for sale in the shop and online starting on Wednesday, September 1, and those of you who are coffee of the month subscribers can expect it on your doorstep that day, either via post or via Dena.

If you live in Richmond and order either the Aluminum or Iron blends online, you can also opt for a bike delivery (look for a link to the map of my radius on the online storefront), which will be delivered by yours truly on my next mid-week bike ride (of which there are two per week), which helps me rack up the miles - something I can't really get enough of right now.

So thanks to all those who've doled out the advice over the past year. I hope you enjoy the coffee.

Truly.

-tom

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Inside the Mind of One of Richmond's Best


Heather Johnson is a barista at Ellwood's Cafe and was selected as a Staff Pick in this month’s Best & Worst Issue of Richmond Magazine. The Ellwood's blog has a great interview with pictures (including the one above) that lets you learn a little more about Heather. My favorite question and answer is below but check out the previous link for much more.

What’s the secret behind latte art? How many years in the Columbian jungle and the Italian Alps did you have to train?

It’s all about the way you steam the milk so that it’s perfectly creamy. We call it “sexy milk” thanks to Michael King, and it took about year of training for me to perfect it.


I'm also a little partial to this;
Any last words?

I want to thank Counter Culture for the training, as well as Blanchard’s local coffee for the great beans, Michael King and… Hi mom!
Congrats on the recognition, Heather and thanks to Ellwood's for the blog post.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blanchard's RideForJim Morning Ride Roast

A great thing about having our roasting operation located in the Westover Hills neighborhood is that we get to know and help our neighbors. Every year, there is the RideForJim fundraiser. A couple events are practically in our backyard and this year we produced a special blend, RideForJim Morning Ride Roast. Details on how to get some great coffee and help a great cause below.

Richmond Rider Rally Block Party - Richmond.Rider.RallyBlockParty Flyer.pdf
Saturday, August 21, 2010, 5PM to 10PM
5000 Block Caledonia Road

This party is great with bagpipes, bands, barbeque, and beer! Live music by Kevin Davis & Ban Caribe with emcee Bill Bevins from Lite 98. Crowd favorites Q Barbeque and Legend Brewing Company will once again be serving up the food and beverages for the evening. The highlight of the party is the “Welcome Back Parade” featuring the Greater Richmond Pipes and Drums, Central Virginia ’s largest bagpipe band. The party includes urban tree climbing by Riverside Outfitters, a spin bike competition with prizes by Endorphin Fitness, a wine and beer tasting by Once Upon a Vine South, and an awesome silent auction including a Cannondale road bike. They will also be selling a special RideForJim Morning Ride Roast at the event for $10 per bag with all proceeds going to the VCU Massey Cancer Center.

Tickets are $30.00 purchased on-line through August 20th, $35.00 at the gate. Children ages 7-12 are $10.00 at the gate only. Buy your tickets now at www.rideforjim.org

Yorktown Finale Ride
Sunday, August 22, 2010, 8AM Departure

This is the final leg of the ride and at last count they had over 70 participants. Rider registration also includes a ticket to the Richmond Rider Rally block party on Saturday, where individuals and teams can compete for prizes and bragging rights in the Endorphin Fitness Spin Competition. Top fund-raisers get special recognition for their efforts in supporting cancer research at the VCU Massey Cancer Center. Register now at www.RideForJim.org.

All proceeds benefit the James D. Popp Student Research Fund at VCU Massey Cancer Center.
More details at local blog Hills and Heights including a great slideshow.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Coffee Bag Chair

In my continuing effort to find new and exciting uses for coffee bags, I give you the director's style, rocking chair with coffee bag accent.



This was posted on Design*Sponge and I would like to know where she found such a cool chair and such a cool coffee bag. I might have to go searching through our bags to see if we have anything that compares. Previous coffee bag projects; mirrors, computer sleeve.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Who Needs Garden Gnomes?

My good friend Diane, over at the Blue Lollipop Road, has been traveling with the Iron Blend, and others of our coffees.

She may not be French, but she's just as bubbly as Amelie, and we think coffee makes a better companion than a garden gnome any day.

Here they are, fresh into Alaska!

Glad you made it safe, Diane!

-tom

sic luceat lux

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Elvis Coffee

It is amazing what products the Presley estate is willing to slap his image on. It is not amazing that the coffee below was found at Big Lots. Although I am curious about how bad this coffee would actually taste, I think I'll stick with the fresh roasted beans we have at the shop.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Channel 8 Goes to Ellwood's Cafe

Nice piece on Ellwood's Cafe which as you all know serves Blanchard's. Yeah Ellwood's.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Relay Foods Gets Some Press!

Just a quickie:

We're pleased to see that Relay Foods is starting to get noticed!

Check out the articles about them on RVA News and RichmondBizSense!

-tom

sic luceat lux

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

RVAnews Looks at Relay Foods

Readers will already know about our partnership with Relay Foods and now the company is getting some coverage from RVAnews.
One local participant, Blanchard’s Coffee, sells fresh-roasted coffee beans through the site. Their beans can be found in all MARTIN’S locations, as well as many local restaurants and coffee shops. Says Blanchard’s roaster, Tom Thorogood, “Since the switch to MARTIN’S, we’ve lost some of our customer base who used to shop at Ukrop’s. We have limited retail hours at our shop, so this is another way to get our product to customers.” Thorogood is a big fan of the company. “I use it personally to buy groceries.”

We aren't the only local company to be taking advantage of this new way to get top notch products.
Other local participating companies include Montana Gold, Carytown Cupcakes, Twin Oaks, J Emerson Wines, and Agriberry. Currently, each company has an average of only four items listed, so with any luck, as more companies join and more consumers participate, the selection will increase.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Congrats to Ellwood's Cafe

Every year Richmond Magazine does a Best/Worst of Richmond. Ellwood's Cafe won for best Best Coffee. Check out what they had to say about the honor.
Best Local Coffee: Ellwood’s Cafe

“Miles Quillen of Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market is quick to credit Blanchard’s Coffee Co., the source of Ellwood’s Cafe’s locally roasted Joe, and it’s owner, David Blanchard. “He’s in the cafe, if not everyday, every other day…making things go so smoothly,” Quillen says. Ellwoods baristas all go through training and know how to do latte art designs, he adds. “We used to have a girl who could do skulls.”


As if that wasn't enough Ellwood's Cafe was also selected for "Richmond Magazine Staff Picks: Ellwood’s Cafe’s Heather Johnson (barista)". So basically, Ellwood's Cafe kicked some serious butt. We are very proud to be a part of Ellwood's Cafe success and would love to talk to you about developing a special blend for your shop or restaurant.

In Honor of Shark Week

As anyone with cable, and most without cable know, this week is Shark Week on Discovery Channel. Although coffee is our love we do have some fine teas by Chad's Chai & Tea Company. Imagine how much cooler our tea would be if we used the Sharky Tea Infuser.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

August Coffee of the Month: Panamanian Boquette

Coffee from Panama isn't quite as overhyped as Jamaican Blue Mountain. However, there is a cult following behind the coffee that has always landed me in a tough position. Do I really shell out the extra dough for a coffee that I'm sure isn't worth the price?

My dad once asked me if any coffee could worth $50 per pound (roasted). A few years ago, I answered him, "Absolutely!". Now, on the producing side of things, I think not.

However, much like in wine, we try to get people to focus on the region, not the bean or the estate itself. A sommelier once told me, "There is no such thing as a good vintner. There is no such thing as a good vintage. There is only a good bottle of wine."

I started working full-time for Blanchard's in November of 2008, and tried to get some Panamanian Boquette as my first order of business. I'd heard so many podcasts and read so many articles about this coffee, and it was really the only coffee that, had you asked me, I would have said I wanted to try. (That was before I met Bali and Dominican, of course).

Our broker was out of it, at the time though. The following year, we got so bogged down in our seasonal blends for Ukrop's that we didn'ttry too many new and exciting coffees (except for beloved Bali).

This year, finally. Finally. Finally. I was able to score some of the Boquette.

I took my first sip of it on Wednesday, after we roasted our tasting batch. It was a strange moment that I don't think I'm likely to forget anytime soon. It was as if the world around me paused and muted for just a second, because the full, round richness of this coffee was the most important thing in the universe.

Once I regained footing in this dimension, I just said, "Wow."

---

It took me awhile before I was able to start pulling out strands of flavors from this coffee. It's got so many layers and textures it was a little overwhelming a task to take. Jonathan assisted me in blurting things out, and David added a few words later on. This is the list of stuff we said:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Textured
  • Orange Zest
  • Almond Butter
  • Buttery
  • Teleport
  • Lush
  • Raspberry Tart
  • Clean
  • Doesn't Linger
  • Indulgent
  • Lemon

This is a sit-and-talk coffee. An afternoon conversation coffee. A tell-me-about-your-trip coffee.

A real treat. Now, we love you guys, but we didn't get the crazy expensive stuff. And I'm glad we didn't. Because this tells me everything I need to know, and I can't imagine anything more expensive being a whole lot better. This stuff is phenom.

---

If you have it delivered to your house via Dena, it'll be there tomorrow. Jonathan took the post office orders this afternoon, so we're hoping you have it Monday or Tuesday.

Shop-goers and online-orderers: It will be available in both of these places starting on Tuesday, and we'll be brewing at it at the South of the James Market on Saturday, 8/7.

Keep brewing!

-tom

sic luceat lux

Concrete Espresso


This awesome espresso machine was made by Shumuel Linski a student of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. There are more pictures and some details on how it was made at Dezeen.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bike Delivery Radius for Iron Blend

One of the many unique/great things about our new Iron Blend is that you can have the coffee delivered by Tom on his bicycle. Check out the map below to see how far he is willing to pedal to get you fresh roasted coffee. We are only delivering the Iron Blend by bike at this time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blanchard's Joins Relay Foods - Now It's EVEN EASIER to get our coffee!

Along with offering shipping cost-free pickup at our shop or the South of the James Farmer's Market for online orders, we now have an even easier way to get our coffee out to wherever it is you are.

Relay Foods, a company that started and made a huge splash in Charlottesville, has branched out to Richmond. Their creed and concept are both laudable: Sell local products at grocery store prices, and bring them to you.


You can now grocery shop from the comfort of your own home, and then head to one of their pickup locations (whichever is most convenient for you) to grab fresh, locally produced goods (and tons of other stuff too!). You don't even have to get out of your car to get your order!

Relay Foods currently stocks the following coffees from us: Breakfast Blend (both Ground and Whole Bean), Dark as Dark (both Ground and Whole Bean), FTO Peruvian (Whole Bean only), FTO Bolivian (Whole Bean only), Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (Whole Bean only), and Swiss Water Decaf (Ground only). All of it is selling for $7.99/bag.

Head over to http://www.relayfoods.com to get started!

Not sure if there's a pickup location convenient to you? I copied the locations and schedule from their web site.



Day

Time

Location - Click for Map
Monday3:00 PM - 7:00 PM Innsbrook, Markel Lot
3:00 PM - 7:00 PMLeigh and 4th, Downtown
Tuesday3:00 PM - 7:00 PMSPI Inc., Parham
3:00 PM - 7:00 PMAshley Furniture, Midlothian
4:00 PM - 7:00 PMWilliam Fox Elementary, The Fan
Wednesday3:00 PM - 7:00 PMGrove Street Parking
3:00 PM - 7:00 PMChurchill- 24th & Broad

Thursday
3:00 PM - 7:00 PMInnsbrook, Snag-a-Job
3:00 PM - 7:00 PM8th and Cary, Downtown
Friday3:00 PM - 7:00 PMAshley Furniture, Broad St.



So get out there...or don't! You can have our coffee no matter what.

-tom

sic luceat lux

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Support Tom's Ironman Effort & Drink Good Coffee

You know Tom, that kinda surly guy who roasts coffee downstairs in his beloved cave? Well, he recently completed his first triathlon and David has challenged him to a Half Ironman, pledging the comany's sponsorship if he took the bait. So Tom has taken the bait and in order to help the company sponsor him, a new blend was born. Click on the image below to buy some of this great new blend.

If you're not sure why you should support Tom he's put together a website so that others can follow his training progress and sure he's not slacking.

www.tomthorogood.com will get you where you need to go. Conveniently, that is also on the bags.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Coffee Bag Mirrors

I was inspired by Mary at Contrary Garden's awesome computer sleeve. So I took some bags home and with a little spray mount and only a medium amount of cursing made some mirrors.Notice the artsy angled photo.No artsy angle this time. The one on the top is at the coffee shop. If you would like either one let me know, either one could be yours for the low, low price of $15.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Get Your Blanchard's On at the Library

Positive Vibe Cafe has opened a new location. The good folks of PV are adding the Positive Vibe Cafe Express to the Library of Virginia at 800 E. Broad St. You can check out the new menu here. What that menu doesn't show and why we are excited about this bit of news is that the Express will be carrying Blanchard's coffee. Positive Vibe has a wonderful mission and we are proud to be part of their new effort. Be sure to stop by and check it out.

Positive Vibe Foundation (formerly Get Lost MD Foundation) prepares people with cognitive or physical disabilities for paid employment in the food service industry. We accomplish our mission by training and employing people with disabilities at Max’s Positive Vibe Café.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Traveling Down the Blue Lollipop Road

A Blanchophile and friend left this week for a trek to Alaska, a promise which she made to herself and some friends sixteen years ago. Sadly, her friends were all unable to make the journey with her.

Diane was the opening manager for LIFT Coffee Shop down on Broad Street so long ago, and helped usher me (and my best friend) into the coffee business. When I heard she was making this trip, I promised her that she wouldn't be drinking bad coffee on the road. She helped give me coffee as a career and passion; we're returning the favor.

While I encourage her to try every coffee she can, she'll always have some Blanchard's as a backup.

See what she has to say about us here, and follow her blog; she tells great stories, and rest assured she'll have plenty of them!

Godspeed, Diane! We're happy to make the journey with you...in the form of beans, anyway!

-tom

sic luceat lux

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Online Storefront!

Hoooooooo Nelly.

If you've ever tired of the same standbys for sale on our web site, we have a treat in store for you. Or lots of them. In fact, we have 26 of them.

Twenty-six coffees and blends for you to choose from are now all available to order through our web site.

Even Better (Part I): We are now offering them in 12 oz. packages instead of full pounds. How is this better, you ask? Shipping's cheaper, which means you get our Blanchard's on for less.

Even Better (Part II): We're now using Google Checkout instead of PayPal, which lets you manage your cart right on the screen, as well as calculate more exact shipping costs

Even Better (Part III): You can order online and pick up at the shop or the Farmer's Market and pay no shipping costs whatsoever! Please pay attention to the information on the right regarding pick-up times, however!

Even Better (Part IV): Remember that old "Buy 5 lbs, get free shipping" gig? Well, that's now changed to "buy Six bags" - It sounds like you have to order more, but really it adds up to only four and a half pounds. So you get free shipping with 1/2 lb. less!

We understand that many of you may not have Google accounts with which to check out, and we hope that you'll agree to sign up for one to take advantage of these new online ordering options. If you still prefer to pay through PayPal, you can always email us to place orders and we can arrange that.


-tom

sic luceat lux

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mod Your Espresso Machine

I don't know what is up with Gizmodo but they have been focused on the coffee lately. This time they modify an espresso machine to give a better cup of espresso. Go the previous link to check out the full details.
The experimenters on alt.coffee who took temperature measurements of the Silvia discovered that when the heating-element light is off (which means it's ready to pull a shot of espresso), the temperature can vary by as much as 40 degrees. This amount of variation makes consistently good espresso a nearly impossible dream. But because the Silvia had so many other good qualities (including ease of tinkering), the alt.coffee gang decided not to abandon the machine. Instead, they compensated for the shortcoming by developing the temperature surfing technique Glanville had taught me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Starbucks Doing Something Right?

I'll never be a fan of the giant corporate entity that is Starbucks but an article on Gizmodo hints to something they might be doing right. Clover arguably one of the best espresso machines out there with the ability to tweak nearly every parameter in the process. Starbucks bought Clover and only rolled the machines out to 50 locations which is approximately 0.000000001% of their total locations. (Percentage is completely made up but I don't think by much.) Well, times maybe are a changing and there are reports of Clover popping up.
Starbucks' first Clover showed up in New York around two months ago, in a nearly 20-year-old location that's been converted into a concept store. The thaw is beginning. Starbucks plans to finally expand the Clover's footprint gradually over the next 6-8 months, as they figure out how to integrate the machine into the natural rhythm of stores—which is basically dominated by Frappuccinos these days, not coffee.

In a way, it's a hard sell. The kind of people who would be most interested in coffee made via Clover, designed to pull the most out of a coffee—so shitty coffee would taste shittier—don't go to Starbucks. Starbucks is so reviled by people who actually like coffee that they've experimented with burying the Starbucks name at two pilot stores in Seattle which are designed to look more like the kind of place that serves Intelligentsia or Stumptown coffee. So it's heartening to see them try to live up a bit more to the ideals of caring about coffee and how it's served.

Special thanks to commenter FritzLaurel for giving us a shout out.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why We Love Coffee of the Month

July's Coffee of the Month carries some personal weight with it. I have never been more excited about one of our coffees, and it's hard to fit that excitement onto a 3" x 3.75" label on the bag.

I'll admit that I'm totally spoiled when it comes to coffee. Sometimes I take it for granted that every day when I go down to the Lab I can have any of our 21 different origins for my morning cup. It's become hard to impress me.

In May, while talking to one of our brokers who knows I'm always on the lookout for "whatever's new and exciting," for coffee of the month, she told me that I might be interested in some of their Fair-Trade Organic Dominican Republic coffee.

I don't know that my eyes had glowed so much since that Christmas morning when I unwrapped my first NES (or that surprise party my friends threw a few years ago, buying me a new PS2 after mine was stolen).

"What size bag is it? How much does it cost? Can I buy one bag now and more later if we like it, or do you not have very much so I should buy it all right now?" All of this kinda fell out of my mouth, because I wanted this coffee. Having always wanted to visit Hispañola, and never had anything to do with it (except for extensive reserach on Hatian voudon practices), this was my first real-world, physical connection to it.

I called David who had about the same reaction I had, disbelief and stirring excitement. You see, neither of us ever even realized we could get coffee from the Dominican Republic. I had certainly never seen or heard about it. It's like all of a sudden there was a treasure map that fell from the sky.

And having been sipping this coffee once a week for the past month, I have to impart how much of a treasure it really is.

As with most of our coffees, we're roasting this one to right at the start of the second crack. We call this "medium," you may have some other name for it. Although it's a medium roast, you'd never guess it after sipping.

The FTO Dominican Republic packs a punch. It's big and it's full, but also incredibly smooth, like it's already got some Half n' Half in. Personally, I pulled dried plum, cracked pepper, and semi-sweet chocolate. Like a rich dessert you'd probably pay too much for in a nice restaurant.

It's a well-balanced coffee, although the acid content may spike a bit above the other characteristics as far as balance is concerned. While pleasing on the palate, weaker-stomached individuals should probably not drink more than a liter or so. I say this as someone who would happily drink an entire pot of this had I steel-lined stomach myself. As it is, I have a hard time handling mere pepperocinis.

--

Now the sales pitch: This coffee will be available in our shop through all of July (shop hours: T-F 8.00-10.30, Sat 7.30-Noon) and we will also have it available for brewing and for retail at the South of the James Market this coming Saturday (7/3). Ellwood Thompson's Coffee Shop also has some, and if you catch them on the right day, they'll even have it available on the Clover (which I haven't even had yet, so tell us how it is!).

Also feel free to email me and order some. We ship anywhere in the U.S., and shipping's free if you get 5 lbs. or more.

Over and out,


sic luceat lux

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Customer Profile Dairy Bar

The spring we were very proud to start serving our coffee at the Dairy Bar. If you haven't been to this Richmond institution you need to head over and check it out. It was written up in Southern Living Magazine as one of the 5 best breakfast spots in Virginia. Also San Francisco food blogger Urban Stomach was in town and had this to say.
I was here for a traditional country breakfast of ham, eggs, grits and a biscuit and I wasn’t disappointed. The standout was the ham, fattier and saltier than I’m used to. If this ham was served in a San Francisco brunch spot, there’d be a health police rally going on outside. In Richmond, I enjoyed every bite in peace and quiet. Calories don’t count when away from home. The bonus surprise at The Dairy Bar was the peanut butter and chocolate milkshake. Made of Garber’s ice cream from Winchester, VA, this shake blew my mind. Maybe the best thing that I ate in Richmond.


The Dairy Bar opened in 1946 as a cafeteria for the Curles Neck Dairy plant workers. It continued to operate this way until the plant closed down in the mid 1980’s. After the plant closed the cafe expanded to become a full service restaurant. It has only changed hands once and continues to be a Richmond landmark for over 60 years.[via]

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Coffee Tattoos


I have a few tattoos but no coffee tattoos yet. The tat above is my favorite from this Barista Exachage.com thread. There are some great tattoos to check out.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Free Coffee with the Secret Twitter Word

Hey you with the sweat mustache. Do you want a free iced coffee? or are you not hot enough and want some fresh hot coffee? You tired of having to pay? Well, you have come to the right blog. If you follow us on twitter @drinkblanchards we will announce the top secret SOTJFM Super Secret Twitter Word. I promise to come up with a better name soon. As a special bonus for faithful blog readers I am going to give you this week's Secret Twitter Word: solstice. Next week though you will have to get the word off Twitter.

If you are one of the first ten (10) people to say "solstice" to the folks working at the Farmers Market you get either an iced coffee or a hot coffee for free.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Avoid Magic Power Coffee

Chance are if you are reading this blog you don't buy instant coffee off the internet. Apparently there are people that do and hope that this coffee helps them in other ways. Check out this warning from the FDA via the Associated Press;
The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday urged consumers to stop using an instant coffee product that is being marketed as a sexual aphrodisiac, saying it could dangerously lower blood pressure.

In a statement, the FDA said Magic Power Coffee contains a chemical that could interact with some prescription drugs to significantly lower blood pressure. When blood pressure drops suddenly, the brain is deprived of an adequate blood supply, which can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness.

"Because this product is an instant coffee labeled as an 'all natural dietary supplement,' consumers may assume it is harmless and poses no health risk," said Deborah M. Autor, director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Compliance. "In fact, Magic Power Coffee can cause serious harm."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tasting Notes

Last weekend, I went to a wine tasting with my family at Naked Mountain Vineyard in Markham, Virginia (Visit them at: http://www.nakedmtnwinery.com). A disclosure, though: I have no developed palate for wine. I rarely drink it and know nothing about it, save it’s alcoholic and may have come in contact with some viticulturist’s feet.

Nevertheless, I was engrossed in the descriptions on the wine menu at Naked Mountain, noting the flavors within different wines, be it a Chardonnay with pineapple and lemon or a Merlot with leather and tobacco. In this way, being a dedicated coffee drinker and coffee roaster in training made me feel like I could get a grip on wine tasting. Simply, coffee and wine sales both rely heavily on marketing the differences in flavor between their respective varieties.

My impression, however, is that most people are the opposite of me, that is, the average wine drinker is more comfortable describing the taste of a glass of wine than the average coffee drinker would a cup of coffee. Bearing this in mind, I wanted to put together some thoughts about tasting notes for coffee that, while far from being universal, could help stimulate your coffee-splashed taste buds.

Here are, strangely enough, descriptions of common descriptors in coffee tasting:

“citrusy” – Tangerine, lemon and other citrus fruit flavors are easily detectable in high-acid, medium roast coffees, such as Tanzanian Peaberry or Kenyan AA
“floral” – Also common among high-acid, East African coffees, these lighter roasts flaunt their fragrance and may even have a chopped-up, flower-like residual resembling tea leaves when ground
“earthy” – Customary in describing Indonesian coffees, these low-acid, medium roasts can taste and smell like a day in the sun spent gardening amid damp soil and friendly fungus
“smoky” – Dark-roast coffees and their added carbon content should cleanse the palate with a bold, almost burnt finishing taste that defines traditional European tastes
“grassy” – Latin American coffees often carry this tasting note, evocative of something fibrous that a grazing animal would eat, like hay or roots
“nutty” – Like trail nuts, an oily or viscous feel can pervade the finishing tastes of many Asian or Latin American coffees
“spicy” – Reminiscent of baked goods or incense rather than Mexican food, medium roasts can tingle the tongue with cinnamon, clove or pepper
“sweet” – Coffees that fall between dark and medium roasts often carry a mellow, sweet taste without tartness, like chocolate or caramel

So next time you visit Blanchard’s and pick up a pound, make sure to give us some feedback on your own opinions, likes, and dislikes of the coffees you’ve tried…because no matter what the baristas say, at the end of the day, everyone gets something a little different out of their cup.

Post jotted by Java Junkie Jonathan

Thursday, June 17, 2010

So You Think You Drink a Lot of Coffee?

Spending money everyday in a shop to get your fix can add up. Check out this chart published in the WSJ (put together by Mint.com) to see which city racks up the biggest bills. Look how much more Seattle spends. As a transplant from the Pacific NW I can tell the two biggest factors in those numbers are the weather (miserable) and number of places to get coffee. You can't go more than a mile without hitting a coffee shop or drive-thru coffee stand.



The article is about saving money and one way would be to buy your beans from a local roaster and make that latte at home.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Coffee Bag Computer Sleeve

This is so freaky deaky cool I can't control myself. Mary at Contrary Garden made this awesome computer sleeve out of one of our old coffee bags. Check out the link for details on how she made it complete with pictures. Also check out her jewelry since it is equally awesome. Now if I can only get a tuxedo jacket made out of coffee bags.

P.S. - That is not a picture of Mary holding the computer sleeve.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Market View 6/12

While some us were sitting in a dark pub waiting for the US take on England in the World Cup others like Dena were working at the South of the James Farmers Market making sure that some of you could get a cup of the best coffee in the city. Below is Dena's latest Market update.
The South of the James Farmer's Market season is off to a booming start! Thanks to all of you, the Blanchard's booth is selling our fresh roasted coffee almost faster than we can brew it! It is wonderful to see your familiar faces each Saturday.

We have some new faces helping at the booth this summer, in fact we have been so busy I've gotten a little friend to help us keep up with the cream and sugar station. Her name is Emma and those of you that saw her last week know what a great helper she is!

Our cold brewed ice coffee is a favorite! Tom has doubled the amount he prepares to match the market demand for this refreshingly delicious drink.

Look forward to seeing you!

Dena

Monday, June 14, 2010

Stumptown & Duane Sorenson

The NY Magazine has a very interesting article on Stumptown’s Duane Sorenson and how he is bringing a level of coffee worship/respect to New York. Sorenson is from Seattle where he operates five cafés, two café-roasteries, and one stand-alone roastery. To say he is a bit obsessive is an understand but the results of his passion or incredible. Be warned while there is no swearing in the bit I am posting Duane does favor some adult language.
Coffee quality can be objectively measured, to a point. There are professionals who evaluate a coffee just as one would a wine. They study the flavor profile; the cleaner and sweeter it is, the higher it will rank on a 100-point scale. Top specialty roasters buy coffees rated 85 or above, but once you’re that high in the rankings, how much of what you’re tasting is real and how much perception? Sarah Allen, the editor of Barista magazine, says that a top roaster like Stumptown goes to such extraordinary lengths to find the perfect coffee that it becomes personal. “It’s like when you think to yourself that your child is special in a way no other child is,” she says. “That’s how people like Duane feel about their coffee.”

Which means, of course, that he won’t let just anybody buy his beans. Sorenson approaches potential clients like he’s on a blind date, and he’s not afraid to say “sorry.” “I don’t want to sell my coffee to everyone,” he says. “It’s not for everyone.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Shot of Coffee Macroeconomics

A large part of the coffee industry is marketing coffee on the basis of its national origin. In the Blanchard’s coffee roasting room, for example, there is coffee from Ethiopia, Perú, Mexico, Tanzania, Indonesia, India, Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras – just to name a handful. Whatever the reasons may be for such geographic diversity, a coffee’s origin has tremendous weight in determining the value of a bag of beans and how many are sold worldwide.

So in the spirit of investigation, I have selected data on coffee exports from the International Coffee Organization (ICO), an London-based organization that compiles an array of impressive statistics related to global coffee trading. Visit their website (and/or do some fact checking) at: http://www.ico.org/index.asp.

Before you scroll down, however, take a guess as to the largest exporter of coffee from the list of countries I provided above. When you’re ready, take a look at the information below. The data was compiled for exports from October 2009-March 2010 and the quantities refer to 60-kilo (approx. 132 lbs.) bags of coffee.

Drum roll…

Some stats from the countries in our roasting room.
Indonesia – 2,205,000 bags
India – 1,990,000
Honduras – 1,719,000
Perú – 1,343,000
Mexico – 1,302,000
Nicaragua – 720,000
Ethiopia – 706,000
Tanzania – 458,000
Kenya – 282,000
Dominican Republic – 18,000

A friendly reminder: If you want freshly roasted coffee from one or more of these featured countries, you can come by the shop during regular hours, order online (blanchardscoffee.com), call in (804.687.9443) or e-mail (tom@blanchardscoffee.com). Whether it’s widely traded like Indonesian coffees or comparatively rare like Dominican coffee, we’ll be roasting it fresh for you.

Written by the Czar of Coffee - Jonathan Lesko

Monday, June 7, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Top This

There is little in life cooler than a fez. Yes I said that with a straight face. I own three but might have to make it four after seeing this beaut.

Made by the folks of Fez-O-Rama and even their description is awesome.
Avast ye lubber! Get me a cup o' the steaming black before I see you to Davy Jones!

This week we bring you the coffee and crossbones, the timeless symbol of the early morning pirate. Give your co-workers ample warning not to look you in the eyes until they've placed a cup of joe in your hand. Remember, it's not an addiction, it's a career choice!

For $45 this fine fez can be yours.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

No First Morning Buzz for Regular Coffee Drinkers

From a study conducted of 379 volunteers in England.

The researchers asked the volunteers to abstain from consuming any caffeine for 16 hours and then gave them either caffeine or a placebo. Each participant then rated their levels of anxiety, alertness and whether they got a headache.

Those who consumed medium to high amounts of caffeine reported they were less alert and more likely to get a headache when they took the placebo but not when they got their caffeine fix, the researchers report in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Those who got caffeine reported levels of alertness that were no higher than those who typically don’t get much caffeine who received a placebo. That suggests that caffeine only brings coffee drinkers back up to their normal state, probably because they develop a tolerance for its effects over time.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

3rd Barista Jam is June 9th

The text below is unashamedly stolen from the RVA Barista Jam website;
Folks are already registering for RVA Barista Jam on June 9th at Cafe Gutenberg. Want to compete? Judge? Attend? let us know! Keep up with the latest on our Facebook page

What you might not know is that you can follow RVA Barista Jam on Twitter. Back to the original point of the post, you should go to this Barista Jam for the following reasons; 1) totally cool people watching, judging and competing, 2)Cafe Gutenberg is a nice place to go hang out, and 3)all the hip people are going and you want to be hip don't you? You might also be curious about the time of the event, its from 6 pm to 10 pm.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Twisted Coffee Commercials

Check out these twisted beauties. If those puppets look vaguely familar, it is because they were made and operated by Jim Henson.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Coffee Question Time - Linda Hsu of The Country Club of Virgina

It is "Coffee Question Time" were we ask a few questions of the people that work in or are a part of the coffee industry.

Today on CQT is Linda Hsu of The Country Club of Virginia. Blanchard's Coffee is now being served at Ollie's at the CCV but we hope to spread to all their facilities.

When (what age) did you start drinking coffee?
8th grade

Earliest Coffee memories?
I used to make instant coffee for my piano teacher in the 3rd grade before the lesson.

Favorite coffee drink and why?

Latte. It’s the perfect balance of coffee and milk.

Favorite origin or blend of coffee and why?
Sumatra or Ethiopian. I feel like I could taste the weather.

Have you ever worked specifically in the coffee industry...if so, what did you do?
No

Current employer and job description?

The Country Club of Virginia
Restaurant Manager

Monday, May 24, 2010

Caffeine Content and Roast Profiles

A few days ago, my sister called me out of the blue with a simple but important coffee-related question. She is a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and is in the middle of her finals week, meaning she's burning the midnight oil trying to finish up last-minute papers and projects. Faced with limited hours at local coffee shops, she needed bang for her buck and needed to know how to get the most caffeine from the bean. Her question: Is dark or medium-roast coffee STRONGER?

The tricky word here is stronger. Many people have a preference between dark roast and medium roast coffees, but many people also associate darkness with “strength” and strength with caffeine content. However, this is not the case.

The darker the bean, the lower the caffeine. So there is actually an inverse relationship between darkness and caffeine content. Dark-roast coffees may taste “strong” but they will not keep you awake for that cram session as well as a medium-roast coffee.


The reason behind this difference is dark-roast coffees are roasted longer and to a higher temperature in order to cook the beans to a bolder, darker taste. In the process, some caffeine molecules are physically burned out of the bean, becoming smoke.

If you come by Blanchard's coffee shop seeking a little (or a lot) more caffeine in your cup, follow this simple advice: Drop some espresso in it! That is, Make a Red Eye (coffee+one or more espresso shots)!

Article above written by "The Man, The Myth, The Legend - Jonathan Lesko".


Sunday, May 23, 2010

What Your Coffee Says About You

The Sydney Morning Herald has an article that makes assumptions on folks personalities by the type of coffee beverage they partake. I listed the two I see most often in the shop.

THE BLACK COFFEE DRINKER - This type is all about minimalism and takes a no-frills, direct approach to life.

The black coffee drinker can be quiet and moody but prone to brief bursts of extroversion. "A difficult but potentially rewarding friend, colleague or partner," James and Moore conclude.

THE LATTE DRINKER - Typically metrosexuals or cuddly-toy collectors, latte drinkers are pleasers with an overwhelming compulsion to be liked. A latte drinking boss will use a baby voice to tell you off.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dena's Taking a Ride

Our very own Dena is celebrated on the local blog Hills and Heights in a story submitted by David Hathcock. I have quoted part of the story below head on over to Hills and Heights for the full scoop.

Dena Fultz, a Forest Hill resident, is making her first long bicycle ride this weekend (May 22-23), and it couldn’t be for a better cause. Dena and friends are riding in the MS 150, a two day trip from Richmond’s North Side, through Old Church and down the Virginia Peninsula to Williamsburg. On Sunday, they will reverse the direction, and make a return trip, this time up hill.

The ride is designed to raise contributions for the Muscular Sclerosis Society. Several hundred riders are expected, with thousands of dollars to be raised. (Check on line at MS 150 Richmond).

GE Coffee Maker Recall

Burning down the house does not make for a good start to the day. Check the bottom of your GE coffee makers. From the RTD;
Nearly 1 million General Electric coffee makers sold at Walmart are being recalled after dozens of reports of overheating, smoking, burning and fires.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which announced the recall today, said Walmart has received 83 complaints about the GE-branded coffee maker, including three reports of minor burns to consumers' bodies.

The reports of property damage include a significant kitchen fire and damage to countertops, cabinets and a wall, said the CPSC.

The recall involves about 900,000 GE 12-cup digital coffee makers sold exclusively at Walmart stores nationwide.

The coffee makers, with the GE logo printed on the base, were sold in white or black from March 2008 through January of this year. The model numbers involved are 169164 and 169165.

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using these coffee makers and return them to any Walmart for a full refund.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What's Your Problem?

What has you bummed out? Favorite team on a losing streak, low on cash, kids a pain in the ass, “things" changed after you got married? Well, my problem is getting a good cup of coffee in the morning from my home brewer. Of course I am using the freshest Blanchard’s Coffee and of course I am grinding as I brew – but why doesn’t it taste like our shops or Ellwood Thompson’s? Why Why Why – please tell me why? Morning after morning I struggle with this and morning after morning I wake up to a disappointing cup of coffee in comparison to what I know is out there.

Ever hear the saying “there are no problems only solutions”? Yea me too and I always wanted to tell the guy saying it to take a long walk of a very short pier. This is a problem though so what is the solution? Actually, what is the problem? After complaining and wallowing in self pity, I stumbled onto the answer in the most unlikely of places – The Coffee: a 30,000 Foot View presentation by David, Tom and Stephen held at Blanchard’s Coffee shop. Who would have thought to go there for info?

Here is the bottom line - the problem stems from your home brewer not heating the water to 200 degrees BEFORE it goes over the coffee grounds. Two hundred degrees is the magical temperature that pulls the most flavors from the grounds and gives you that perfect cup of coffee. Check your home machines water temperature, mine was 170 degrees. Please also note that 200 degree water brewed over bad coffee will give you really hot bad coffee. Freshly roasted Blanchard’s Coffee is a must.

There is the problem now what is the solution. Very easy – buy a machine that heats your water to 200 degrees. You have very limited choices and here they are: a Bunn Commercial Brewer or a MochaMaster home machine (http://www.technivorm.com/). Please be warned the girl on the MochaMaster web site is so hideous to look at you may want to shield your eyes or have a tissue close by – either works. I have opted for the Bunn Commercial brewer model CW15-TC. This will fit under most cabinets, looks great, uses 110v, and does not need a water hookup. Can’t wait to get it and if this does not work out then I will be attending the next class titled – You are a Loser Get a Life.

Post by Joe O.

Monday, May 17, 2010

25 Creative and Original Mugs



Beautiful Life
has a list of 25 great coffee mugs (my favorite is above)and they all make my Seaworld mug all the more lame.


If you have any cool mugs you want to share snap a picture and post it on the Blanchard's Flickr account.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Would You Buy?

There have been a few requests for travel mugs, which we are working on. We were wondering what other items you might like see us sell so I started a poll of to the right. You will notice that giant espresso making robot is not on the list because we are still working on the prototype and it is not ready to go into production. If you have any other suggestions please post them in the comments.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Coffee, A 30,000 Foot View

Come out and get even more obsessed with coffee! We're going to roast coffee, drink coffee, smell coffee, talk about coffee, make espresso, steam milk and have a great time! We might even have a beer! Everyone is invited, bring your friends, bring your family, you'll see coffee from the farm to your cup, and meet other addicts like yourself! For questions or to RSVP head over to the Facebook Event page.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Coffee Question Time - Kendall of Whole Foods

We are starting a new series "Coffee Question Time". We hope to ask a few questions of the people that work in or are a part of the coffee industry. So if you see David walking around with a video camera at the market say "Hi" and maybe you'll end up on Coffee Question Time.

First up on CQT is Kendall Hoyt of Whole Foods Market.

Current employer and coffee job description?
I currently work for Whole Foods Market, in Short Pump, and I am the Coffee Buyer for the Specialty Department. Specialty is a department full of all the good stuff; Coffee, cheese, chocolate and beer and wine. I am just starting my career in coffee here at Whole Foods Market, and have been doing it for about a year and half. I love how there is always something new to learn every day, and every day I love it more and more.

Dream coffee job?
Well I really enjoy working for WFM, and would love to continue my career here and move up one day to be a Specialty Team Leader, or maybe even have my own coffee shop and work for myself. But right now I really enjoy what I do, and I’m very passionate about local coffee roasters, and love to introduce people to my favorite local coffees.

When (what age) did you start drinking coffee?
I started to be curious about coffee at a really young age. I’d say I was about 6 or 7 years old when my dad let me take a sip of his coffee. He drank it black, and I ended up spitting it out. But I’d say I was about 18 years old when I started drinking it every morning, and by the time I was about 21 I drank it everyday in the morning, afternoon, and evening. I love it!!

Earliest Coffee memories?
Earliest coffee memories I have are probably about when I first started drinking coffee, but I have some bad memories of TERRIBLE coffee, and I’d like to just forget those.

Favorite coffee drink and why?
My favorite coffee drink, is a nice light roasted coffee with sugar, and cream and dash of cinnamon. But as far as espresso drinks go, my favorite is a 3 shot Americano with the shots brewed on top of the hot water.

Favorite origin or blend of coffee and why?
My favorite origin of coffee is Costa Rican! I love how they are light, mild, sweet and bright, and very aromatic. And here at WFM (Whole Food Market), all of the sales we make from our light roast Costa Rican coffee go to Earth University in Costa Rica, a non-profit university dedicated to educating students in entrepreneurship and sustainable agriculture. So that’s cool.

Thanks Kendall.