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?

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 ( 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.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Market View 5/1

From our Market Queen Dena;

May 1st was the much anticipated opening of the 2010 market. David and I arrived bright and early to prep for a slammin' day. We sold the first cup at 7:45and gave away the last 1/2 cup at 11:45 when we ran out! It was fantastic to see all our favorite Blanchard 'ffeine fiends. We appreciate your support and love serving you!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sucking Beans

The following post was written by Jonathan Lesko the roaster, rebel and all around good guy;
Keeping the Lab clean is an uphill battle. We got grinds, stray beans, packaging trash and chaff (a byproduct of roasting that is great for compost, causes fires and smells rank). No matter how careful I am around the roasting room, otherwise known as the Lab, I spill beans and grinds all over the floor. Every step, I hear the cracking of roasted beans underneath my feet. Green beans litter the floor as they spill out of the large burlap sacks that store them and which frequently bust open out of sheer wear and tear. Ground coffee also happens to have been our best selling coffee at Ukrop’s, now Martin’s, so it’s always being packaged and also, spilled.

Fortunately, however, we bought a new vacuum cleaner last week and it has made every day at work delightfully cleaner. One source of endless sonic enjoyment is sucking up stray beans off the floor. Our old one (insert shameless pun here) s_ck_d. It often made more of a mess than it cleaned. So I would like to commend it here with a Google image:

Monday, May 3, 2010

We Have a Flickr Group

Hey you with the camera. Have you taken any photos that involve coffee or perhaps Blanchard's Coffee? If you have and would like to share them head over to Flickr and load them into the Blanchard's Coffee Group. It doesn't have to be directly related to Blanchard's but should at least deal with coffee or coffee culture one way or another. Perhaps you have the world's ugliest coffee mug that you need to show off.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rate Some Latte Art & Vote For Some Latte Art

This could be two post but what the heck, we like to live on the edge and combine the two. First up there is a contest going on at the James Beard Foundation website where you get to vote on the latte art that you think is best. My personal favorite is #4 which is below but go to the site to check out #2 it is very pretty.

If you like to check out latte art head over to Rate My Rosetta is an international latte art community where members post, rate and comment on latte art. It's a great place to learn and get inspired. They have even written a guide-in-progress on how to make latte art, including many advanced designs.