Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some Health Facts on Coffee from CNN has a comprehensive article asking the question "Coffee: Is it healthier than you think?".

Some tidbits from the article
  • More than 54% of US adults are habitual coffee drinkers
  • Coffee drinkers may be at lower risk of liver and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson's disease
  • Coffee-drinking men seemed to have a lower risk of advanced or lethal prostate cancer than other men
  • Middle-aged people who drank moderate amounts of coffee -- three to five cups a day -- had the lowest risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease later in life compared to less (or more) frequent drinkers
Check out the article for more on your health and where coffee fits in.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our Last Farmers Market Contest Giveaway-O-rama

Not the last forever just the last before the South of the James Farmers Market opens up this Saturday. The prize this time is a pound of coffee and a Blanchard's tee shirt. Just tell us your favorite place to drink coffee in RVA in the comments and we will pick one on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coffee & Acidity

A couple weeks ago, a customer asked me to recommend a coffee that wouldn’t upset her stomach. She also mentioned that she had been drinking Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, our most popular single-origin coffee, perhaps on the basis that it was a “mild,” “light” coffee, that is, not “strong” or “bold.” This was all the info I needed to aptly diagnose this coffee-related disorder: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is one of the most highly acidic coffees we currently roast, and is generally grouped together with other coffees from the region, such as Tanzanian Teaberry and Kenyan AA, with this specific attribute in mind. That said, our stomachs probably have all the acid they need without a potent 20 oz. dose before breakfast.

Overall, lower acidity will come from either the natural properties of the raw green bean or by lengthening the roasting process itself. Green beans from Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia, have a lower acid content. In roasting, darker roasts will have lower acid levels.

For the benefit of all those with sensitive stomachs, Blanchard’s roasts several coffees that are relatively low-acid. In our retail space, try Dark as Dark, the House Blend or April’s Coffee of the Month, Indian Monsoon Malabar. If you are at Ellwood Thompson’s Coffee, pick up a 12 oz. bag of the Fair Trade Organic Sumatran. Get your fix, not an upset stomach!

This Post was written by Jonathan Lesko.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Faison School Shows us some Love

Blanchard's is proud to support the Faison school with free c... on Twitpic
and we are proud to provide them with a bit of free coffee.

Grammy O's Sticky Buns 5 Farmers Market Shoutouts

Local Farmers Market vendor and purveyor of great sticky buns Grammy O has a blog post up highlighting 5 South of the James Farmers Market vendors and one of their products. They include; Simply Southern Pies – Cherry Pie, Wild Heaven Farm – Morningstar Soap, Blanchard’s Coffee – Ethiopian Yergacheffe (yeah us), Bonnyclabber Cheese Company – Chesapeake Blue Cheese and Cavanna Pasta- Eggplant Pamesan. Check out the post here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

RTD Article on Local Farmers Markets

The South of the James Farmers Market kicks off on May 1st. We are very proud of being a part of the market since the very beginning and are looking forward to seeing all the local vendors and Richmonders that come out in support. Yesterday's RTD has an article that takes a look at a couple of the vendors and the growth of Community Supported Agriculture.

The number of farmers markets in Virginia has doubled in the past six years to about 170, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

About five have cropped up in and around Richmond in the past couple of years.

"They have mushroomed, mainly due to the whole buy-local movement that started after Sept. 11," said Elaine Lidholm, spokeswoman for VDACS.

"People became concerned about their food securities. They were worried that terrorists could hit the food supply. . . . Some people turned their backyards into edible landscapes."

Remember to mark May 1st on your calendar and head on down the South of the James Farmers Market in Forest Hill Park to buy some fresh fruits & veggies and a cup or pound of locally brewed coffee at our own stand.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to Cold Brew Coffee

As we hit the summer months and Richmond slowly melts into a pile of goo, you run into the problem of wanting sweet, sweet, coffee but not a fan of more heat. We have the solution for you and it is Cold Brewed Coffee (cue triumphal horn music).

Behold the top secret Blanchard's Cold Brewed Coffee Recipe;

1.5 Lbs of coffee into 1 gallon of water [obviously, you'll need bigger-than-a-gallon container for the first part].
Mix for a few minutesu ntil it looks like brownie mix, and none of the coffee is dry.
Put in the fridge for 20-24 hours.
Pour through a sieve (or colander) to get out most of the grinds.
This is what it looks like unfiltered & filtered.
Pour through coffee filter to get out most of the silt and extra oils. You may have to squeeze the filter(s) at the end.

Cut in half with water (which should give you a gallon of liquid when all is said and done. Alternatively, you can cut in half on a cup-by-cup basis, and it will take up less storage space). Add ice when serving.

Theory behind it:
a cup of coffee requires water, coffee, and heat. But hot coffee, when cooled down, tastes "old", as i'm sure you know. So, we take away the heat. To make up for it, we have to add more coffee, and also time. The first mix creates a coffee concentrate, which is three times stronger than regular coffee. However, you also get all kinds of high-choleterol oils, and other suspended particulates (silt) along with, obviuosly, coffee grinds. The first filter is to get out of the large particles [grinds].The second filter is to remove the silt, which gives the coffee a strange texture, and can be bitter.

When you cut in half with water, (3 divided by 2 = 1.5) you are getting strong, but tolerable coffee. Adding ice, which slowly melts, gives the cup a normal cup-of-coffee strenght. It is important to note, however, that because of the brewing process, most of the caffeine remains in place (some is filterd out in the second filter)--this stuff is very high in caffeine, even after the cutting process.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Latest Winner and New Farmers Market Contest Giveaway-O-rama

Drumroll please and the winner is: #4 which is Holly. Holly please come by the shop to pick up your prize Tue-Fri from 8 to 10:30 or Sat 7:30 to 12.

The newest contest is much like the same but this time in the comments please list your favorite type of Blanchard's Coffee. The prize for the latest contest is a deluxe Blanchard's baseball cap in slimming black and a pound of your favorite coffee, unless of course you listed a coffee of the month that we currently don't have in stock.

Congrats to Holly and good luck to new contestants.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blanchard's Coffee Spotted at Martin's

Check it out. We are on the shelf in the new Martin's store in Carytown. Don't forget that if your local Ukrop's is still open we are on the shelf in our usual spot.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Great Article at RVAnews on 2nd Barista Jam

A great article at RVAnews by judge and writer Holly Gordon. Read the full article at the previous link to find out who the winner was.

I and three other judges evaluated nine competitors over the course of the evening. Representing GlobeHopper, Ellwood Thompson, Café Gutenberg, and a coffee bar at Wachovia, the competitors each presented us with a shot of espresso and a specialty beverage. They were judged on taste balance, crema, consistency of milk, visual appeal, presentation, customer service, and overall impression. Some stuck to familiar drinks, which really proved to be more challenging because there were no novelty items to consider.

GlobeHopper was pleasantly full as people cheered on competitors, enjoyed drink specials (both coffee and spirit varieties), and chatted with staff and fellow bystanders, even bidding cash to the baristas to make them their own version of their competition beverage.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Farmers Market Contest Giveaway-O-rama

We are getting pretty excited about the South of the James Farmers Market opening in just a few weeks. In order to direct our energy in a positive direction as oppossed to staring blankly at the calendar waiting for time to pass, we have decided to have a few giveaways between now May 1st which just happens to be the first day of the market.

The first contest is pretty basic. In the comments simply list your favorite Farmers Market vendor. In a few days we will pick one comment and they will win a spiffy Blanchard Coffee Mug and a pound of fresh roasted coffee. You do not increase your chances of winning by listing Blanchard's as your favorite Farmers Market vendor.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2nd RVA Barista Jam Tomorrow

Looks like some of the other folks in RVA are catching on to how cool the Barista Jam is. Check out the article on a small bit of which follows.
After the success of the first RVA Barista Jam at Ellwood’s Coffee on March 24, the GlobeHopper Coffeehouse & Lounge will host a second competition tomorrow (April 14) from 6 to 10 p.m. While formal competitions can be brutal and intense, Erin Helland of GlobeHopper says that these “jams” are fun, friendly affairs in which no one takes himself (or herself) too seriously.

Around 15 competitors (who can pre-register at will compete to have their coffee beverage named the winner. Darren MacMartin of Ellwood's Coffee grabbed first place at the last event with a coconut-curry mocha.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vacation and Coffee

From our fearless leader David Blanchard;
Two of the most complimentary things in life are coffee and vacation. Enjoying a bottomless cup of joe with an unlimited amount of time to drink it equals pure relaxation for me.

This vacation, I have decided to start running again. I really don't like exercising anymore, so I have decided to run first thing in the morning. So, here is my new coffee drinking equation:

Wake up + Run on the Beach + Fresh Brewed Coffee + 14 hours to Drink Coffee = VACATION!

After lunch, I go crazy and brew up a batch of iced coffee! Good stuff.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review of Dark as Dark

The following is from Alexei Yukna who currently resides up in Baltimore and is reprinted in it's entirety. Thanks Alexei.
Full disclosure: Richard is doing some great web/social media work with Blanchard's. Richard sent me some of their dark roast as a friend knowing I love coffee. He didn't ask for feedback, but, here it is:...It's really, really good. Actually, this roast is too good for daily morning drinking for me. It needs to be enjoyed, not slammed down on the way to work. It's a perfect Sat/Sun morning, taking it slow roast. Even in my Cuisinart drip-thing maker and being pre-ground (I'm looking for a new grinder), it's full bodied and fresh tasting. I'm not one to have the wine-like flavor compositions quite down, but, I can say that this has some earthy undertones- wood, smoky, etc. When I opened up the bag to transfer it to my trusty air-tight stainless steel coffee holder, the smell took over the entire kitchen, so, there's that too.-------------Anyway, really good stuff. try as a company might by showering me with stuff (try!!!), I don't give endorsements lightly. For me, something is either well done and has a lot of heart, or, it sucks. This is "not suck" stuff. For those of us a bit too far north, link is in Richard's post. Support local, small businesses folks!