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.



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

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

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!


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!


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.