From Seed to Brew: Humans of the Coffee World

to arrive at a profound realization: the making of coffee involves real human beings. I know. This is such an obvious fact that I was completely stupefied when I suddenly opened my eyes to it—why hadn’t I thought of it before? My oblivion to this simple fact was unforgivable on multiple levels. On one hand, one of my favorite activities at any coffee house (alongside sighing and pulling my hair out over whatever that I might be working on) is barista watching—I ought to have known that coffee was not brought forth by magic. On the other hand, as an incidental hipster, I’ve been aware of fair trade, which is all about people! But as I reflect on it, I do come to see that phrases such as “fair trade” only manage to generate an icon of a tanned farmer on a coffee plantation against the backdrop of a tropical sun. It’s almost as if concrete human beings are forgotten when images of them only serve to illustrate ideas.

New House Arrival: Kapchorwa, Uganda

Kyagalani Kapchorwa Washing Station
Kapchorwa, Uganda

Those of you who have been with us for a while know that we change up our coffees on a regular basis. While most coffee places tend to go with blends that have mass-market appeal, we love to showcase the vibrancy of the coffee and the potential that each farm can produce. Because of this, we switch throughout the year from coffee to coffee for our “House” coffee. And while we do change it around we tend not to go too extreme and stay with coffees that have classic coffee notes of nuts, chocolate and...

Introducing Xiaxun Ding!

Introducing Xiaxun Ding!

Every once in a while, one of the regular guests catches our eye. Xiaxun (Shia-shin) Ding is one of those people. Not because she was boisterous but rather because she was exactly the opposite. Ordering her cappuccino and taking it into the back room, next to the window and working towards her Masters in Literature from The Johns Hopkins University. I would go back to check on her every once in awhile.

A few months later, Xiaxun approached me to see if we would be interested in her contributing to our blog with articles about coffee. Since maintaining a blog...

MicroLot Cupping in New Jersey

MicroLot Cupping in New Jersey

Last week, I took Su and Ed with me for Royal Coffee NY's Costa Rica & Honduras MicroLot Cupping. While most of the coffees we serve are sourced personally in-country by yours truly, sometimes we do rely on importers for some of the coffees we serve. The basic reality is that as much as I'd like for us to source 100% personally, we just can't be everywhere in the world!

And importers like Royal Coffee NY are great partners because they also source high quality specialty coffees and sometimes, you find some really great stuff from them. For the past...

Holiday Happenings

It's the holiday time here in Hampden and things are starting up this weekend. 

First off, we'll be open on Thanksgiving Day from 9am to 12noon so come down and see Javiera and Sarah for all your coffee needs. We've got some great new coffees from friends in Dubai and Seoul this weekend so you don't want to miss out.

On Saturday, the Miracle on 34th Street lights up for the first time this season. The lights will stay on through New Year's. Be sure to bring your family down and grab a cup of hot chocolate at...