Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ageing gracefully is possible with fine cuts of beef, but not with coffee

We will not sell coffee that is more than 2.5 weeks old in the cafe, and we remove coffee from the shelves of major specialty markets when the coffee is over 3 weeks old. The plain truth is that coffee that is over 3 weeks old should never be sold- it's stale. Try this at home. When you buy coffee beans from Chazzano Coffee, (ground or whole beans-see my previous blog post), drink the coffee every day for 2 weeks. Force yourself to notice whether the coffee changes at all. Take notes on what you taste on the first day and every day until you finish the bag. Do you still taste the same notes on the seventh day with the same intensity as the first day? When does the fresh roasted, awesome coffee begin to smell like "normal" coffee? 

Next time you go to a supermarket, check out the roast date on the bag. What...there's no roast date? I knew that- there's often a GOOD BY DATE on the bag. How many months will the coffee still be "fresh?" If there is no "date roasted" printed on the bag, you're soon going to buy a very stale and flavorless bag of coffee with very cool and beautiful packaging.
Green Coffee Beans

Chazzano Coffee Roasters ships coffee throughout the USA and even to Guam. We'll deliver to your doorstep whether you live one block away from the cafe Guam.

What happens to the unsold coffee that is over 3 weeks old? We donate the coffee to homeless shelters and low income housing groups because even if our coffee is old, it's still younger than most of the coffee that you  can pick up at the local supermarket.
Fresh Roasted Chazzano Coffee

Green unroasted coffee beans can last for years under the ideal conditions. Roasted coffee really lasts only 3 weeks until it becomes stale. The good news is that old coffee can't hurt you physically- only a piece of your soul dies. Life can be short. Why would you want to drink old coffee?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What's with the yarmulke, dude?

Chazzano Coffee Roasters is a boutique roasterie that observes the Jewish dietary laws (Kosher) and Jewish Holy Days. We close from Friday evening to Saturday evening in observance of the Jewish day of rest (Shabbat). In addition, the owner (me) wears a kippah, yarmulke, or some kind of hat throughout the day. What's up with that? Since we have begun to sell Chazzano Kipot, I  need to explain why I wear a kippah (or kipa). You should also know that there are no subjects that are private to me. Feel free at any time to ask not only about coffee but also about Judaism and my observance of the Jewish laws. 

There are two main words for the kind of hat that I choose to wear: Kipa (kee-pah), the Hebrew word, and yarmulke (ya-muh-kuh), the Yiddish word. Another English word, skullcap, is not really used at all. Simply, I wear a kipa because it shows respect for G-d. Some scholars have stated that it covers our head to remind us that our intellect is not even close to G-d's wisdom. It is also a sign that you are an observant Jew who keeps Kosher, the Jewish Sabbath, and that you live an ethical life as defined by G-d and the Torah (The Jewish Bible). There is also an element of humility- wearing the hat is a sign of humility towards G-d and love for living a Jewish life.

So, why don't all Jews wear a kipa? For one, it would negatively effect their career growth and therefore hurt their family. I own my own business. If you don't want to do business with me because I am an observant Jew, the feeling is mutual. Wearing a kipa is a source of pride because there was a time when even  non-observant Jews who didn't have any outward signs of their Judaism were not treated equally to non-Jews. Some Jews don't want to seem different from anyone else. There are many reasons why some Jews don't wear a kipa today and all of those reasons are valid. That is why I love being an American-harmony of different beliefs is respected and nourished, mostly.

Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews all have different traditions and beliefs about the wearing of kippot. 

Finally, I wear my new Chazzano kipa because I am proud to be a Jew, I want to show reverence towards G-d in my own way, and I want to show my pride in owning Chazzano Coffee Roasters.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Purchasing a French Press

The best way to brew coffee (not espresso) is with a French Press. With a French Press, you can control the extraction of all of the coffee flavor and you can control the temperature of the water. Here's a video of how to use a French Press.

There are so many places, online and brick and mortar stores, that sell French Presses. However, the advantage of using Chazzano French Presses is that if you break the glass, we can replace it.

2-cup, 4-cup, and 8-cup Chazzano French Presses

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

To Grind or not to Grind, that is the question...

One common question at Chazzano Coffee Roasters is, "Should I grind the beans at home, or should we have you grind them?" I then ask, "How are you brewing the coffee?" And then, "What kind of grinder do you have, a burr or whirly blade?" Who should grind your fresh roasted coffee? The answers are found below.

Grind them at home if:

  • You brew espresso. It is difficult to get an awesome shot if the espresso is not absolutely freshly ground immediately before extraction. Before you buy an expensive espresso machine, make sure you have a quality burr grinder.
  • You enjoy the aroma of freshly ground coffee filling your home with the sweet smell of freshly roasted coffee and....
  • You have a burr grinder that can grind the beans perfectly to the proper consistency for your particular brewing method.

Burr blades grind the coffee bean consistently and do not heat up the grounds. They are more expensive than the whirly blade grinders, but a great grinder is a must for a coffee fanatic.

Whirly blade grinders are cheaply priced, but you get what you pay for. The ground coffee is course on the top, fine on the bottom, and the grounds are warm to the touch. The warmth of the beans is a sign that they are cooking a bit, and therefore there is a chance for a change of flavor profile. Not good for espresso or French Press- not fine or coarse enough!

Let us grind your coffee if:
  • You brew your coffee using either French Press, Pourover, or Drip and your pound of freshly roasted Chazzano Coffee is consumed within 1.5 weeks.
  • You have a whirly blade grinder and the flavor of your coffee will be compromised if you grind it.
  • You're unsure about how to properly grind your coffee at home and fear making a less than perfect cup of coffee.
  • You live with a light sleeper and you don't want to wake them up.

"Is the coffee fresher if I grind it at home or if you grind it for me?" This question also gets asked with this one, "Do the beans need to degas for 1,2,3 days...or can you use them immediately?"

The interesting aspect about freshly roasted coffee is that the flavor profile changes constantly, not wildly, from the time that it is roasted until it's staling after 2 1/2  to 3 weeks. So, bring home a pound of freshly roasted Chazzano Coffee, brew it one way (French Press, Pourover, Espresso) for 7-10 days afterwards and you may enjoy a slightly different cup of coffee each day. The natural flavor components of the coffee continue to break down and morph into different combinations throughout its short, fresh life. Some coffee lovers experience a complete break down of flavor after just one week, others prefer their beans three days after roasting. Do the beans need to degas (expel carbon dioxide) for a few days after roasting? It depends on your palate. In my opinion, not with medium roasted coffee. There are some extremely light roasts that I've felt needed to "breathe" a bit before brewing, but that is rare. My advice is to use the coffee immediately unless you believe that the flavor is preferred after a certain number of days. If you have strong opinions either way, please comment below. Let's discuss it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Tea at Chazzano Coffee Roasters

When you look at the new item that came in the mail from Zen Tea Traders, you may be confused about what Chazzano Coffee is selling these days?!?!

Are you finished guessing? It's a Pu-er cake aged since 2004 from the Yunnan Province, in the town of Xishuangbanna (pronounced sig-song-banna). Xishuangbanna means "twelve thousand rice fields." (You'll rock the crossword puzzle in the Shanghai version of the New York Times.) This tea is grown on one of the six famous tea mountains in Xishuangbanna. These mountains provide excellent growing conditions for Pu-er and the soil quality helps with the unique taste profiles. Like the movie, "There's Something about Mary," the same could be said about the soil for various tea, coffee, and wine growing regions, "There's something about the soil." The reason that some Ethiopian coffees have notes of blueberries is that the same chemical that makes blueberries taste like blueberries is found in the soil in that region and when the coffee is roasted a certain way, those chemicals can be part of the aromatic signature of the coffee. The age of the tea, the terroir (region), the altitude grown, and brewing duration dictate the flavor profile.

Tea is crazy complicated and complex- the brewing times, the amount of steeps, and the temperature depend on the type of tea. For Pu-er, we brew it at boiling, eight different brewing  times.

Here is the schedule of steepings:

1st- 20 secs
2nd-30 seconds
3rd-60 seconds
4th-1 min 20 seconds
5th 2-minutes
6th-3 minutes
7th-4 minutes
8th-6 minutes

The tea is removed from the wrapping and we use the Pu-er knife to extract a small amount from the cake.

We brew our coffee and tea in French Presses because it looks great and it is easy to get the full extraction of the coffee/ tea flavor.

Here is the first steeping of the Pu-er tea.

Here are my cupping notes for this awesome tea, aged since 2004.

1st steep: sweet, with a melon ball finish
2nd steep: bold in back of palate, tremendous richness
3rd steep: sweeter, more mouthfeel in front
4th steep: creamy, no bite- very minty
5th steep: sweeter than the 4th, mint note remains
6th steep: light, light colored cup, sweet honeydew notes linger
7th steep: even more honeydew notes, very light body
8th steep: It reminds me of the 4th steep- creamy with no bite, but a bit of roughness in the middle of your palate.

Here is a map of the region where this tea was grown...

View Larger Map

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cupping of the new Rwanda, Columbia, and Costa Rica Coffees

Coffee professionals cup (taste) coffee in order to find out whether the new or old coffee is worth buying again or at all. We're looking for the good, the bad, and the ugly. When you cup coffee in the traditional way,   you taste the coffee in its completely naked state. Here's a video of what happens during a Chazzano Coffee Cupping Party.

We have three new coffees: Columbia Medellin Excelso, Rwanda FTO, and Costa Rica SHB
Here are my notes for each of the new coffees:

Columbia Medellin Excelso

I rarely buy Columbian coffees because although the name is synonymous with coffee growing, It's difficult to find quality coffees from Columbia. However, one of my coffee importers has high quality coffee and I decided to take a chance on the coffee. First, let's discuss the name. Medellin is the second largest city in Columbia with a great climate for coffee. Excelso is merely a designation for the screen size of the beans. I chuckle when I see Columbia Supremo that is old, stale, and badly roasted. I'm sure that many people read "Supremo" as the supreme and expect it to be supreme coffee. Supremo just means that the coffee beans are larger than most.

Here are the cupping notes:

This coffee is milky, smooth, with fruity papaya-like notes. The fragrance is sweet and flowery, but the aroma in winey and complex. Their is a buttery mouthfeel that arrives when the coffee has cooled down.
Fragrance (unbrewed coffee): 4
Aroma (brewed coffee): 3
Body/Mouthfeel: 5
Acidity (brightness-how it dances on your tongue): 4
Complexity: 3
Depth: 2
Sweetness: 5
Balance: 5

Total Score: 91

The smooth, milky, and buttery notes create a normal coffee tasting experience.
When the coffee cools down you'll experience scotch-like notes with a gritty mouthfeel.

Drinking for the Cycle notes: #FIVEPT
Great as a French Press and Iced.
A private cupping session

Rwanda FTO

We just finished 2 lots of the 2011 Rwanda Cup of Excellence coffees. This coffee is not a COE coffee, but it will make you smile. When you first sip the coffee, the flavor bypasses the front of your palate and it hits you on the back of your throat with luscious high quality cocoa notes. The fragrance is filled with fruit juice and vanilla and the aroma is winey and complex. There is tremendous brightness that mellow when it cools. There is a complexity to this coffee that I will not understand during the first cupping. This coffee will remind you of those high cacoa content bars of chocolate that force you to snap it next your ears and rub it with your thumb.

Fragrance: 5
Aroma: 4
Body/Mouthfeel: 4
Acidity: 5
Depth: 5
Balance: 4

Total Score: 97

Drinking for the Cycle notes: #FIVEPT
French Press: intense dark chocolate notes
Vaccum Syphon: milder notes of chocolate and cinnamon

Crazy amount of violent sniffing and slurping just happened here.

Costa Rica SHB (Semi-hard bean)

I haven't had a Costa Rican coffee that I didn't far. This one is milky with hot chocolate and cinnamon notes. The fragrance has interesting beef stock or beef stroganoff notes and the aroma morphs into straw, hay, and turmeric. It's possible that  the light roast needed for the cupping, brought out its vegetable like notes in the cupping. Cupping coffee is crucial for the coffee roaster or coffee buyer because it unveils all of the coffee's potential notes. In real life situations, the flavor profile will change profoundly depending on the grind used, brewing temperature, duration the coffee and water intermingle, and brew method. I probably should roast this coffee darker to a Vienna Roast, but that will mask many of the notes that I tasted during the cupping.

Fragrance: 3
Aroma: 3
Body/Mouthfeel: 4
Acidity: 4
Depth: 3
Balance: 5

Total Score: 91

Drinking for the Cycle notes: #FIVEPT
French Press: Sweet papaya fruitiness.
Iced: Sweet fruit notes. Tastes like we've sweetened it. (You know that we wouldn't/ couldn't)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Drinking for the Cycle

I'm not a big baseball fan. Truly, I am only interested in the hometown team because it's good for the local economy and for the self esteem of the particular town. If the hometown team is considered the underdog, even better. In addition, everything that I've learned about sports was learned from video games. Really. One of the most impressive feats in baseball is hitting for the cycle. It's when a hitter hits a single, double, triple, and home run in the same game. If they hit them in order, it's called a natural cycle. Regardless, it's an amazing achievement. While I was drinking a 4-cup French Press of Ethiopia Sidamo over a 3 hour period, I began to daydream about drinking for the cycle. 

You may know that we roast and sell 40 different single origin coffees. But did you know that we taste every coffee as a French press,  Iced, Vacuum syphon, Espresso, Pour-over. and Turkish? We also let it cool, sometimes accidentally, to see how it fares as cold coffee. During wintertime, how many cups of coffee were undrinkable after a few hours? The mark of a great coffee is when it improves after a few hours or morphs into a completely different flavor profile. I decided to coin drinking for the cycle or as I'm calling it-FIVEPT i.e. French Press, Iced, Vacuum Syphon, Espresso, Pour-over, and Turkish). 

For example, Sumatra Mandheling as a French Press is earthy, bold, chocolaty, with a syrupy mouthfeel, and floral notes of lavender and jasmine.
As an Iced Coffee, I have nothing nice to say about it.
The Vacuum Syphon of the Sumatra is fantastic. Syrupy and smooth notes of flowers and chocolate with no gritty mouthfeel.
Again, as an Espresso, I have nothing nice to say about it.
It is a tremendous pour-over with a boldness that grabs your palate; the chocolate reverberates across your tongue.

My next blog posts will include coffee tasting of different coffees Drinking for the Cycle. If you have some extra time this week, come by and say, "Hey, Frank, I'd like to drink for the cycle." That's 5 plus Turkish (FIVEPT) for $22/person. Plan on staying for 45 minutes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Small Business, Big Life

One of my favorite books is titled, "Small Business, Big Life: Five Steps to Creating a Good Life with your Small Business." The basic teaching is that no one should ever start a small business in order to grow it into a big business. If you do, you're missing the point of starting your own business. You definitely don't want to buy yourself a job with longer hours and less pay. You should grow your business in a way that creates a huge life of leisure for you and your family. I have a dream of vacationing in Jerusalem every summer for four weeks. In fact, if I'm roasting coffee for 10 hours each day for 5 years, I'm a dope and a terrible businessman. In addition, I will also be a terrible father and husband. I am writing this post at 1:00a.m. on a Tuesday morning as I roast coffee. I speak from the experience of having a wonderful growing business about which I am passionate. However, I dream of a bigger life with the growth of Chazzano Coffee.

We didn't go strawberry picking, but this weekend was better.

I remembered this great book during one of the most wonderful weekends of recent memory. Many of you already know that I am an observant Jew. From Friday evening to Saturday evening, Chazzano Coffee Roasters shuts down.  There is no commerce, no use of money, no deliveries, no coffee roasting. My employees, according to Jewish Law (which I follow), may not do something for Chazzano Coffee that I am not allowed to do. If I'm not allowed to drive on the Sabbath, neither are my employees allowed to drive on the Sabbath for the company. An unique opportunity came about this Memorial Day Weekend 2012. The Sabbath was followed by two days of one of the biggest Jewish Holidays, Shavuot. Therefore, there were three straight days of spending time with my family. I was forced to spend time with my family for three full days.

As observant Jews who do not drive on the Sabbath or holidays, we are isolated synagogue-wise, because the nearest synagogue is 2.5 miles away. However, our favorite synagogue, Congregation Beth Shalom, is over 5 miles away. Do we drive and break Jewish law (for us) but join with our favorite Jewish community? On Friday evening, we had a candid discussion as a family: Should we drive to synagogue because of the distance? In the end, we decided yes and we went to sleep. It would have been the first time, ever, that we drove to synagogue.  But what is worse, staying home and not praying with your community or driving and being part of the community?

In the end, we walked. We walked 5 miles each way...for three days. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning, the three kids, Lisa, and I walked a total of at least 30 miles. It will be one of our best memories. We were living the Big Life. We walked, complained, we talked, we complained. We told jokes, dreamed about building Chazzano Tower in that empty lot on Woodward Avenue. Every couple of miles, someone began to complain, and then cry. But we continued on each day because we did something that we didn't know that we could. Each morning, we woke up, ate a hearty breakfast, got dressed, and walked 5 miles to synagogue. We discussed our dreams, both awake and asleep. We ran, we ran after each other, we splashed water over our heads. We passed many Chazzano customers in the streets. We walked 1.5 miles up 9 mile rd., at least two miles up Woodward Avenue, and the remainder down Lincoln to the synagogue. We're healthier, happier, and a healthier family because of our 30 miles of walking. Small business, big life? Check. The Lanzkron-Tamarazo family enjoyed the Big Life, at least for the weekend. How do we keep the party going?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chazzano Kickstarter Project

Chazzano Coffee was born in Cranford, New Jersey in 2002.  My love for coffee, however, was born well before. There was something about coffee that captured my senses…and my imagination. Yet, most of the coffee I could find left me…without the proper melody. So, while my kids played in the yard and my wife rolled her eyes, I began my journey to create the perfect cup of coffee.
Soon, I began to fill my neighborhood with the sweet aroma of fresh, home-roasted coffee. I was happy…and so were the neighbors. Our friends and neighbors enjoyed my coffee as we gathered, talked and played games. They came in as acquaintances, neighbors, even strangers…but they always left as friends. 

In 2007, we moved to Michigan. In October 2009, Chazzano Coffee Roasters and Cafe opened in Ferndale. Michigan. From the beginning, we knew that Chazzano was about more than just great coffee.  Chazzano has become a meeting place...not just a place to meet your friends, but a place to meet new friends.  The beauty of an incredible cup of coffee is shared by people from all walks of life and, through the coffee, connections are made. 
What makes our coffee so spectacular is the freshness.  Two and a half weeks after the date it is roasted, we donate our coffee to homeless shelters and community organizations.  Our coffee grounds go to local community gardens that help the residents of Detroit.

Over the last two and a half years, Chazzano has grown rapidly.  In addition to our retail customers, we have gone from just 3 wholesale accounts in 2009 to over 110 today.  Restaurants, specialty stores and offices are now serving our coffee. Their customers and clients appreciate that the coffee that they drink is as special as the food that they have enjoyed.  We ship our coffee to customers all over the United States.
With your help, Chazzano can continue to grow.  We plan to use this money to buy green, unroasted coffee beans from around the world. We buy our coffee in 132-150 pound bags from farms in countries like Ethiopia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Sumatra.  All of our beans are fair trade and organic.  Often, our beans come from small farms that, through our purchases, are able to keep their businesses growing.  One of the lots we bought last year was from a cooperative run solely by women-Nicaragua Las Nubes.  Being able to help small farmers is one of the great joys of being a specialty coffee roaster.  

Thank you,

Chazzano Coffee Kickstarter Project

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To Blend, or Not to Blend, That is the Question

If Chazzano Coffee roasts over 30 different single origin coffees every day, why create blends? 

We're running out of coffee, let's try to look like geniuses: The main reason for creating blends is that we are always selling out of our most popular coffees while we wait for the next 2000lb. shipment of beans. We then scramble to find a suitable blend that is well balanced and similar to the missing single origin coffee. There are many wonderful examples of blends developed under duress: Tres Arias Blend, Domani Blend, Frank's Blend #2, Frank's Blend #3, Frank's Blend #4, (we don't talk about Frank's Blend #1...), Lecca Lecca Limone, Lisa Lisa, Mighty Mint Blend.

Crazy Curiosity: The biggest reason is we are insatiably curious. We love coming up with new blends that have a completely different flavor profile. Our newest blend, the Domani Blend, was invented because we had a few minutes in between busy times to treat the cafe like a Coffee Lab. Some wonderful examples of keeping ourselves out of trouble: Jen's Blend, Winter Blend, Klaire Bear's Tropical Summer Blend, Rob's Espresso Blend, Theresa's Blend, Rachel's Wedding Blend, The Lunch Cafe Blend, the original Chazzano Espresso Blend.

My Wife has a Bad Husband: Another reason for creating a new blend is that my wife and I (and our children) used to live in Farmington Hills.  I spent all day at the cafe drinking coffee and would always forget to bring home fresh roasted coffee. Therefore, my wife would suffer with 3-4 week old coffee. In order to make it a bit palatable, she would blend different coffees and thankfully, remember what she blended. In this way, Creamy Dreamy and P-Jam were created.

Happy Accidents: Finally, the last reason for creating a new blend is what I call, the happy accident. With the happy accident, I forget that there are beans already ready in the hopper and then I drop in another unrelated bean. I cuss loudly only to myself, send out a primal scream to the universe, and then I dump the beans and hope that I'm more genius than dope. 

Daddy, are they serious?

I'm just going to say it. Coffee should not be sold 3 weeks after the roast date. The complex aromatics just do not exist anymore after 3 weeks. We donate our 3 week old coffee to homeless shelters and low income housing. How old is the coffee that you drink? When you peruse the coffee aisle in the supermarket, does it have a date roasted? It probably has a date by which you should consume it. The good news is that 5 year old coffee will not poison you. The bad news is that with all of the fresh ingredients and food available to us now, why would you want to drink bitter and stale coffee? When I walk through the coffee aisle, anywhere, my son asks, "Daddy, are they serious?" He's looking at the date on the coffee bag that is often 6 months to a year from the moment we are reading the label.  And there's no way to know how long it took to get the coffee from the roaster to the store.

There is no way, yet, to stop the quick death of the coffee fragrance/aroma. Vacuum packed and nitrogen flushing are  really cool to hear, but they just don't keep the coffee fresh enough.

Recently, we swapped out brand new coffee at a few Plum Markets because they were over 3 weeks old. That evening, we had a large catering job and I was hoping that I was wrong and just crazy. I tasted 3.5 week old Nicaragua Jinotega and the same cofffee that was just 2 days old. The contest wasn't even close. The 3.5 week old Nicaragua had no taste. Sometimes, I wish that the coffee that some restaurants serve would come close to the old Nicaragua, but alas, I cannot sell old coffee. The old coffee that I took off the shelves was ground and donated to various shelters around the Metro Detroit Area.

Chazzano Coffee is sold at Plum Markets in Bloomfield, West Bloomfield, and Ann Arbor, at Whole Foods Market Troy, Western Market in Ferndale, and One Stop Kosher in Southfield. Buy it often, and buy it fresh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Earth Day, Everyday, at Chazzano Coffee

On the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, over 20 million people observed the day. Earth Day is meant to bring awareness of the great blessings of our planet and the importance of taking care of our world. As with other non-religious holidays, Earth Day should be remembered every day. If you want to maintain a happy marriage, you need to celebrate February 14th every day of the year. In addition, every day we should remember the sacrifices that our men and women of the armed forces have given for their country to ensure our freedom and liberty. So, Earth Day must be observed every day, and not just on April 22.

Unless you're a zealot, it's impossible to do every good deed every day. Therefore, just be simple in your good acts. At Chazzano Coffee Roasters, our emphasis is on recycling:

1. When you return your used Chazzano coffee bags, we'll refill your bag and discount the coffee 10%. You save money, we save money, and there is one less coffee bag that needs to be recycled.

2. Spent coffee grounds are collected and given to various Detroit community gardens for compost. 

3. SOCCRA recycling- Every Thursday, SOCCRA picks up our recyclable paper, plastic, and metal from Chazzano Coffee Roasters. We are blessed to have SOCCRA in our community.

4. We recycle the jute bags that carry our green coffee beans. The jute bags are used for community gardens or curtains at some of your favorite cafes. Some of you are making shopping bags out of the colorful jute sacks.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Frank, do you ever roast to an Italian Roast?

Last week, during a meeting at Chazzano Coffee Roasters, someone asked me, "Frank, do you ever roast to an Italian Roast?" Funny that they asked at that time, because I had forgotten that I was roasting coffee, the Nicaragua Jinotega specifically! I cooled down the beans at 473 degrees Fahrenheit, a true Italian Roast. There are some roasters that roast all of their coffees to a light, City or Cinnamon roast. The City Roast brings out everything that the bean offers, the good, the bad, and the ugly. There are other roasters who roast everything very dark to a French or Italian Roast because they either want to bring out the rich pungency of dark roasts or murder any of the taints that come from specialty or cheap commercial coffee. I tend to roast somewhere in between the two. For Kenya, a light roast brings out the apricot and apple notes. For Sumatra Mandheling, a dark Vienna/ French Roast brings out the earthy and chocolaty notes, while a medium Full City roasts brings out the floral, jasmine and lavender notes. I love roasting most of our coffees to a Full City roast where the fruit and chocolate join to produce a full bodied balanced flavor profile.

However, I never roast coffee to an Italian Roast on purpose. Let's review roast profiles. A City Roast is a light roast. Full City is a medium roast. Vienna is a dark roast without any oil (the flavor oils) on top of the beans. A French Roast is darker than Vienna and you'll see a lot of the flavor oils on the bean. Finally, an Italian Roast is roasted so dark that the oils have evaporated. So, how did the Italian Roast of the Nicaragua Jinotega Las Camelia taste? It depends. As a French Press, I wouldn't dare try it- it'll taste carbony, burnt, and the black licorice will kill you with its boldness. On the other hand, as a straight espresso shot or a macchiato- this roast should be on your bucket list. The black licorice melts into a caramelly sweetness- this will put hair on your chest- whether it's desirable or not. As a macchiato (stained with a dollop of cream) the licorice and caramel will just remind you of your favorite dessert. So the answer to "Do you ever roast to an Italian Roast?" is: "Why, yes I do, but only accidentally..."

Plum Market and Whole Foods Troy

Did you know that we give away our unsold coffee to homeless shelters 2.5 weeks after roasting? Truly, it is still great coffee compared to the outrageously old coffee on the shelves in many big box stores. However, the aroma begins to disappear after 3-4 weeks after roasting and life can be too short. You deserve fresh roasted coffee. That is why I was always hesitant to sell Chazzano Coffee in any market. Our first entrance in the specialty food market was Whole Foods Market in Troy. I haven't lost any sleep because it has sold quite well!  Now, our coffee is available on the shelves of Plum Market in West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills. Chazzano Coffee will be available in the Ann Arbor Plum Market very soon. If you shop in those specialty food markets, pick up a bag of fresh roasted Chazzano Coffee.

At Whole Foods Market in Troy, the following fresh roasted Chazzano Coffees are sold in 12oz. bags:
1. Ethiopia Harrar
2. Sumatra Mandheling FTO
3. Papua New Guinea FTO
4. Mexico Chiapas FTO

In Plum Market, in addition to the four listed above, the following Chazzano coffee is available in 8oz. bags:
5. Nicaragua Jinotega Las Camelia
6. Decaf Peru FTO SWP
7. Decaf Honduras FTO SWP
8. Peru FTO

All of Chazzano Coffee is Kosher and Kosher for Passover. If you or your family shops for Passover, pick up a bag after you stroll the Kosher for Passover aisle.

Almond Milk is Kosher for Passover- But I'm not impressed

Passover, the Jewish holiday that commemorates and celebrates our Exodus from Egypt, is arriving during the first week of April 2012. On Friday, April 6, Jews around the world will celebrate with the first Seder- a celebratory meal where we sing with joy and recount the story of when we escaped Egyptian slavery and became a free people. Although this is a joyous time, it complicates the coffee business. There are some foods that are not Kosher for the week of Passover, but are Kosher throughout the year. Soy beans and rice are not Kosher for Passover. For people who cannot properly digest dairy or have ethical problems with consuming dairy, what are the choices for non-dairy cappuccino/latte/macchiato drinkers during Passover? So, we are experimenting with the one and only solution- Almond Milk. Almond Milk is Kosher and Kosher for Passover, but how does it hold up? We completed several tests. 

Although it is true that if you put cream or sugar in Chazzano Coffee, G-d cries and an angel loses its wings, I know that some of our customers appreciate a bit of milk in their coffee. We tried the almond milk with fresh brewed French pressed Peru FTO. We were not impressed. It imparted a metallic taste- almondy but not a pleasant addition to the coffee.

We then steamed the milk for a latte or cappuccino with Ethiopia Sidamo. Again, it tasted sharp and the almond milk really doesn't froth well. The consistency is airy and bubbly and the mouthfeel is like washing your mouth out with soap. Throughout the next few weeks, we'll try different brands of almond milk to find out if there are suitable alternatives to soy and rice milk. 

All of Chazzano Coffee is Kosher and Kosher for Passover. We are certified by the Council of Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Metro Detroit. We are open during Chol HaMoed Passover, Monday, April 9- Thursday April 12. We are the only Kosher establishment open during Chol HaMoed in the Metro Detroit area, and probably in all of Michigan.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Zen of Jersey Shore

My favorite show is "Jersey Shore." Although you may believe that I should be embarrassed to admit that I watch a show that is complete nonsense, I am not embarrassed at all. It is actually a form of spiritual enrichment. I spend all day long as a business owner (which includes social media guru, sales, roasting, brewing, marketing, visionary, etc.), father, husband, and many other full-time roles. "Jersey Shore" creates a feeling of Zen in my life. Zen means "absorption" or "meditative." The "Jersey Shore" creates a complete meditative state that is similar to a sorbet between meals. This completely stupid show creates peace and allows me to be more mindful because it wipes the intellectual slate clean. Inane shows bring clarity to my life and some of the best ideas came to me while watching "Jersey Shore." In fact, I believe if this show aired throughout the Middle East, North Korea, and many other troubled areas in the world, there would be great peace. If you watch "Jersey Shore" season after season, you realize that whatever is happening in your life, it could be worse. You could be on "Jersey Shore."

For your information, I am always looking for a new show that creates this Zen in my life. The last great show that brought great peace to my life: "Flavor Flav, Flavor of Love..."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Honduras Finca Las Canas

A few years ago, Chuck Rabonowitz called me and told me that he had some Honduran beans from a friend's farm. He wanted me to roast them for him. I never say no- you never know whether that batch of beans will be the best coffee you've ever tasted. I am quite prejudiced against old coffee beans, though-that is, coffee that was picked 3 or more years ago. Most of the time, I find that older beans aren't stored properly with the proper humidity. They are either dried out or over fermented. Chuck told me that the beans were three years old. Great incredulity was kept private. I invited him to Chazzano and I roasted the beans. Shocking. The "old" beans were bursting with berry, specifically dark cherry, cinnamon and it was a lovely medium bodied coffee.

Carlos, the plantation owner, has a full-time job in the states and owns the farm in Honduras. It is extremely difficult to grow high quality coffee and to ship it to the states. There are so many crucial steps that occur months before you experience the coffee at Chazzano Coffee Roasters.
 1. Planting the coffee and ensuring that the soil quality remains high.

 2. Picking the best ripened coffee cherries.

3. Drying and processing:

4. Bagging, Shipping and delivering- If the coffee beans are not dried carefully, once they are bagged and shipped, the coffee beans will continue to ferment and the coffee will be unusable.

Chazzano Coffee Roasters has continued to roast the Honduras Finca Las Canas ever since I met Chuck, but now we have crazy fresh samples of the coffee just picked in November 2011! With my first cupping of the coffee, there are some notes of pomegranate with a leathery, smokey finish. I wonder how the coffee will change over the next 3 months, 6 months or 1 year. Coffee beans are just organic matter.  As they break down, the different natural chemicals will change and produce different flavor profiles over time. I don't have enough of this coffee to sell it by the pound, but come in for a great cup of coffee from beans that were picked in November.

Here is Chuck, (on the right), the supplier of the Honduras Finca Las Canas with one of the coffee farmers:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reflux and Decaffeinated Coffee

If you are someone who suffers from reflux and other issues when you drink coffee, there is a solution: decaffeinated coffee. Chazzano Coffee Roasters roasts only Fair Trade Organic, Swiss Water Process coffee. I've blogged elsewhere about the decaf process, but what is important to note is that you can drink with great joy a decaf soy latte, decaf double espresso, or a large cup of decaf in a French Press. Sadly, for those who are having issues with coffee, the main culprit is caffeine. According to the A.M.A. and other medical professionals, there are great medical benefits to regular coffee drinking. The caffeine is perfect for a quick intensive workout. The caffeine in coffee hits you immediately, unlike the caffeine in tea. In tea, you'll find a naturally occurring chemical that slows down the absorption of caffeine so that you stay alert for a longer time.

So, here are a few choices for those of you suffering from stomach related issues:

1. Drink awesome fresh roasted Chazzano Coffee Swiss Water Process decaf- you'll never know that it's decaf.
2. If you can tolerate some caffeine, many of my customers have told me that the Ethiopia Sidamo Cold Brew with a bit of cream is smooth on their digestive tracts.
3. Drink our fantastic fresh loose- leafed tea that has about 30mg of caffeine, compared to 130mg. of caffeine found in an equivalent cup of coffee.
4. Lastly, drink some of our naturally decaffeinated teas like Rooibos (from Zen Tea Traders) that will have you singing, as in, Good Coffee Makes You Sing.