News

  • New Arrivals featuring Gesha, Bombe and more!

    Posted on by David Tatum

    This is the one you've been waiting for folks. Heck, this is the one we've been waiting for! A huge shipment just walked in the door full of premium, super premium and Crown Jewel premium coffees! We've got two different Geshas, we've got Ethiopia Bombe, we've got Guatemala Huehuetenango, we've got Honey processed Sumatra and more!

    Panama Finca Lerida Gesha: Here she is, the Belle of the ball. Gesha, sometimes spelled geisha and always pronounced "geh-sha" (not "gey-sha"), has a bit of a Cinderella story. The cultivar was originally discovered in Ethiopia's Gori Gesha forest in the 1930s. In the 1960s the Panamanian government went looking for new coffee varieties to help its farmers stand out in the International market and after purchasing some gesha plants along with a few other varieties, they distributed them to farmers in the Boquete region of Panama. But it wasn't until 2004 that a gesha coffee caught the attention of a international jury of expert judges at the Best of Panama competition. You see, they thought they were mistakenly given an Ethiopian coffee! After Hacienda la Esmeralda confirmed they had indeed grown the coffee at their estate in Boquete, Panama, they were awarded 1st place and gesha quickly went from a relatively unknown cultivar to the jewel of the specialty coffee world.

    As Panamanian geshas go, you'd be hard pressed to find a better example of the best the cultivar has to offer than this offering from Finca Lerida. If you've never had a gesha before, think of the best washed Ethiopian coffee you've ever had. Now think of how it could be even better! Slightly crisp with juicy sweetness, this coffee has a refreshing floral finish and a full body with velvety texture. Look for balanced notes of peach, cherry, lime and hibiscus.

    Guatemala Finca Linda Vista Gesha: Did I mention we got in not one, but TWO GESHAS?! While Panama gets a lot of the attention, this Royal Crown Jewel from the Rodríguez family of Finca Linda Vista proves that world class gesha has a home in Guatemala as well. It's full bodied, velvety and slightly complex with notes of pineapple, jasmine, mandarin orange and apricot.

    Ethiopia Sidama Bombe Abdosh Natural Organic: It's finally here, the berry bomb from Bombe that you've been waiting for! This single estate coffee comes from a newcomer who's looking to make waves in Sidama: Faysel Abdosh. He's produced an absolutely stellar cup chock full of berry flavors with a dash of anise and a lingering cereal finish.

    Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gedeb Halo Hartume Washed: This coffee is a standout in a sea of amazing Yirgacheffe coffees. The Halo Hartume washing station is an independent, family owned operation that raises the bar in one of the most competitive coffee markets in the world. It's surprisingly big and bold for a washed coffee with notes of bergamot, lavender, caramel and grapefruit.

    Guatemala Huehuetenango Finca la Severa: This offering from Finca la Severa is a prime example of why folks love Huehuetenango coffee. It's got a big, rich body with a buttery texture and pleasant lingering nutty finish. It's bright without being intense and sweet without being fruity. The flavors of raspberry, clove and fudge create a complexity in the cup that's warm and inviting while also fun and exciting.

    Sumatra Kerinci Honey: Forget everything you know about Sumatran coffee. The producers of this offering have combined two different types of semi-washed processing, honey processing and wet-hulling, to create something completely new. It's kept the syrupy texture and moderate acidity we know and love from Indonesian coffee and combined it with the fruity, juicy flavors commonly found in honey and natural processed coffee. Look for big notes of watermelon, tropical fruit and limeade.

    Costa Rica Tarrazu la Pastora: A coffee that needs no introduction! Equally at home as a delightful single origin brew or as a blender that brings gentle brightness and juicy sweetness to the table, it's sure to leave you wanting more. Look for notes of fig, peach, white grape and milk chocolate.

    Peru Cafe de Mujer Organic: Gentle, subtle, understated but far from boring. This delightful cup from Peru has gentle acidity and slight sweetness with a smooth, creamy texture and a clean finish that'll have you looking at the bottom of the cup before you know it. Expect notes of caramel, milk chocolate and almond. 

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  • Our Warehouse is moving!

    Posted on by David Tatum

    Warehouse moving

    Hey friends, exciting news! We're moving to a new warehouse! First things first: there's no need to panic. This isn't a huge move and you won't see any changes to shipping times once we settle in. We will only need to close down shipping operations for a week (9/16 through 9/22) just to be sure the move goes smoothly and we've got everything sorted out. You're welcome to place orders during that week if you like and we'll ship everything out on Thursday, 9/23 at the latest!

    More exciting news: we've got a BIG coffee shipment on the way that's set to arrive by the end of September with a bunch of coffees we're super excited about! We're expecting 2 Geshas, one from Panama and another from Guatemala, as well as 2 incredible Ethiopian coffees, a honey processed Sumatra and much more! We'll also be receiving a ton of roasters and roaster accessories from Fresh Roast as well as a restock from Gene Cafe. And if you're following us on YouTube, we've got videos planned on the Gene Cafe as well as some DIY modifications to Fresh Roast setups.

    "So where are ya moving to?" I'm so glad you asked because we are incredibly excited to be moving to one of the most beautiful areas in the country: The Columbia River Gorge. Located about an hour east of Portland and 3.5 hours south of Seattle, the Gorge is where the picturesque Columbia river flows between the towering mountains of Mount Hood and Mount Adams. It's a dream come true to be calling this place home and we plan on sticking around here for many years! "But didn't you just move last year?!" Yes, and the last thing we want to do is jerk everyone (including ourselves) around all the time! We've always been in love with the Gorge area and when an unexpected opportunity presented itself for us to move there, we just couldn't turn it down. That being said, we're sad to say goodbye to Eugene and the wonderful local coffee friends we met there. You folks are wonderful! Take a weekend and come visit us at our new home, you won't regret it!

    One final announcement: we have decided to suspend roasted coffee sales for the time being. This decision isn't related to the move, it's one we've been mulling over for a while now and it feels like a good time to make it. This was a hard decision, but at the end of the day we decided we want to really focus on home roasting and green coffee. There are TONS of amazing coffee roasting companies out there (some of which we supply green beans to!) and we feel it's in TCC's best interest to focus our time and energy on setting ourselves apart by doing what we do best: supplying and training folks to roast coffee at home. Now this isn't necessarily a permanent change, we'd like to offer roasted coffee again in the future, but it may be a way down the road and we aren't in the business of making promises we can't keep. We want to sincerely thank our loyal roasted coffee customers! Please feel free to reach out, we'll be more than happy to give you personalized recommendations for other coffee roasting companies OR do everything we can to teach and equip you for home roasting!

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  • Happy Labor Day Sale!

    Posted on by David Tatum

    Hey friends! In celebration of Labor Day we're having a sale! We've got up to 15% off select offerings and free shipping on all orders over $50 now through Labor Day 9/6. No need for a coupon code!

    Keep in mind that orders won't ship out till Tuesday 9/7 since no carriers will be running and we'll be taking the day off too! So nab yourself some coffee while it's on sale and the shipping's free, then do what we'll be doing: sitting on the porch with your feet up and a tasty cup o' joe. Go on, you've earned it.

    To see the coffees that are on sale, click here: https://thecaptainscoffee.com/collections/green-coffee?constraint=on-sale

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  • Yemen, Grade Zero Ethiopia & 5 More New Arrivals!

    Posted on by David Tatum

    Hey Friends! A whole buncha coffee just walked in the door! With 7 brand spankin' new arrivals just waiting to be roasted, where do we start? Usually I pick the coffee I'm most excited about, but this was a hard choice. If I have to pick one though...

    Yemen Mocca Kholani Natural: Kholani coffee is in a class of it's own, even within the unique origin of Yemen. It's a term of terroir distinction, similar to “Kona”, that refers to high-quality heirloom coffee varieties produced in the unique climate and soil of Yemen’s northern ranges. Kholani coffee is widely regarded in Yemen as one of its best and most historic. Often compared to natural Ethiopian coffee, it's in a class all it's own. It's got A syrupy body, moderate acidity and a very heavy, almost 1/2 and 1/2 like mouthfeel. The flavors have an herbaceous depth with prominent notes of dark chocolate, rhubarb and raspberry.

     

    Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gedeb Wuri Grade Zero: Grade zero?! You read that right, not grade one, but grade zero. This Royal Crown Jewel is an experimental microlot that's the result of a collaborative effort between producers, exporters and importers to make an entirely defect free coffee. That classification doesn't even exist! It's a higher grade than one and has zero defects, thus, grade zero. The result is a remarkably clean cup that roasts like a dream. Notes of sparkling lemon, juicy nectarine, blueberry and honey suckle.

     

    Guatemala Atitlan Finca San Jose del Lago Bourbon: This single estate coffee is a rare bourbon only lot! Bourbon is perhaps the most famous coffee cultivar, having been imported from Yemen to the Americas hundreds of years ago and it's revered for it's consistent quality. Grown on the beautiful shores of Lake Atitlán, this offering is truly exceptional and quintessentially Guatemalan. Slightly complex with gentle acidity and a rich, buttery body. Look for notes of pear, concord grape, caramel and milk chocolate.

     

    Kenya Muranga New Kiriti Gondo AB: The last Kenya AA we received from the Gondo washing station was phenomenal, so we thought we'd pick up the AB version as well! The cups are very similar since this is the same crop, just a slightly smaller bean. Maybe just a bit less "intense" than the AA version! Great balance, slightly tangy with a dry finish. Notes of ripe red grapefruit, milk chocolate and malt with a herbaceous undertone.

     

    Nicaragua Finca el Pastoral Honey Process Organic: You may recall Finca el Pastoral since we got their washed and natural offerings last season. We were so pleased with them that we snatched up their honey process this season! This delightful single estate honey processed coffee is a real treat. Slightly complex with a blend of tart acidity, juicy sweetness and a lingering savory finish, it's full bodied and creamy to boot. Look for notes of cherry, lemon, graham cracker and honey.

     

    Sumatra Mandheling Sara Ate Organic: This fair trade and organic offering from the Sara Ate Coop is the classic wet-hulled Indonesian cup. It's got low acidity, a syrupy body and smokey/spicy notes such as dark chocolate, pipe tobacco, licorice and black pepper. Bold, delicious and rumored to cause spontaneous chest hair growth.

     

    Colombia Cesár el Rubi Estate: Last but certainly not least, this single estate coffee is our first from the Cesár region and now that we've tried it, it won't be our last! Surprisingly soft and sweet for a Colombian, it's easy drinking and sure to be a crowd pleaser. Balanced and creamy with notes of caramel, pomegranate, green apple and biscuit.

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  • Frost in Brazil - Are Coffee Prices Going Up?

    Posted on by David Tatum

    Everyone in the Specialty Coffee Industry is talking about the recent frosts in Brazil and what it means for the market. From commodity traders and import brokers all the way to coffee drinkers at home, we've all got the same question: are coffee prices going to increase?

    Short answer? Yes. Long answer? Yes, but as a home coffee roaster, you really don't need to panic. Longer answer? Well first, we need to talk about Brazil and why it matters so much what happens there. Strap in and buckle up, we're learning about futures, commodities and the wide world of international finance!

     

     stonks meme

    It's an older meme sir, but it checks out.

    What is the "C Market?"

    I'll be honest, I'm not a financial expert, I'm a coffee expert (that's being generous). I mean, people get Master's degrees in finance, it's seriously complicated stuff. That being said, I do know a little bit about the C Market purely because it effects nearly all aspects of coffee buying and selling. So let's keep this as simple as possible! According to Sustainable Harvest, a coffee importer based out of Portland, OR, "The C Market is the global exchange in which the world’s Arabica coffee is bought and sold—i.e traded—every day." Basically, it's a stock ticker for Arabica coffee (there's a separate one for Robusta). Coffee, like Oil, is a commodity, and is traded a bit differently than stocks since it's an actual product and not a share of company ownership, but the idea is basically the same. People who know way more about finance and have a lot more money than me buy and sell C Market futures on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), much like traders buy and sell stocks in various stock exchanges around the world. Also, just like stocks, the C Market price is changing constantly as you'll notice in the graph below.

     

    c market graph

    So why do we care? We're not day traders and investment firm mangers! Well, the C Market price is a an indicator or reference point for current coffee prices. If you've bought a home or even a car, you can think of it like prime interest rate. Prime interest rate doesn't determine what your home or can loan interest rate will be, but it serves as a starting point. Your loan might be "2 points above prime" meaning if prime is currently 2%, your loan would be 4%. The C Market price effects all coffee prices in the same way.

    Let's provide an example! When I call my broker at Royal Coffee, a coffee importer out of Oakland, CA, he quotes prices on each coffee I want to buy that are valid for today only. If I decide to pull the trigger on my order tomorrow, those prices could be higher or lower than they are today. That's because his prices are tied directly to the C Market which is a constantly moving target. In the same way, I price our coffees based off what we paid for them. I might buy the exact same coffee twice from Royal and besides updating the flavor description since every lot is a little different, I also update the price to reflect what we paid for it at that time. Thankfully, we don't change our prices daily, only once for each coffee each time it arrives in our warehouse. Roasters also do this, although to a less frequent degree. Our coffee prices are fairly fluid, but very large roasters like Starbucks have to price differently because they sell to a different type of consumer who expects less change or volatility. Nonetheless, Starbucks will slowly but surely increase their prices if the C Market goes up, just as they have several times already this year. That means everyone involved in the coffee industry from the farmer to the average Starbucks customer is impacted by this system. So for better or worse, this is what we've got and having at least a functional knowledge of the C Market and what factors can impact it are important.

     

    Brazil IS the C Market

    Okay, that's all fine and dandy and complicated but what does frost in Brazil and the C Market have to do with each other? Well, the joke among coffee traders is that Brazil IS the C Market. Brazil produces one third of all the coffee consumed in the world, making it the #1 coffee exporting country. Around 90% of this coffee is Arabica, or C Market coffee. So when a frost hits three of the largest coffee producing regions in Brazil, futures traders freak out. According to Chris Kornman at Royal Coffee "The total losses are unknowable at this point, but the damage is thought to be greater than initially expected. One of our supply partners put the losses at an estimated 4.5 million bags after flying over the affected areas. This represents perhaps 8-10% of the annual estimated yield from the country (depending on who is doing the counting)."

    10% of Brazil's annual crop doesn't sound like a lot, but you have to look at the long term as well. Coffee shrubs are quite fragile and very susceptible to frost. Cold weather can even kill a coffee shrub outright and replacing a lost one puts production back an average of 3 years since coffee takes so long to mature and begin fruiting. When news broke, traders panicked and the ensuing frenzy caused the C Market to reach it's highest level in 5 years. “The estimated 4ish million bag loss may seem meager in the scope of Brazil’s usual annual production of approximately 50 million bags, but the foundation for a major move had been laid with worldwide supply chain issues, overall commodity basket volatility, drought, and social unrest in other major producing countries,” notes Alex Mason, a 28-year veteran of the specialty coffee industry and VP of Trading Activity at Royal Coffee.

     

    Is it time to panic yet?

    Short Answer? No. Long Answer? Ok, we're not doing this again. Look, I won't lie to you, coffee prices are going to increase. A little. Assuming we've hit the peak of this spike, our prices are looking at increasing an average of about 50 cents per pound, with some coffees going up as little as 20 cents and others going up as much as a dollar. If you roast a pound per week, which is enough for about 2 people, that means your monthly cost will go up by as little as $1 and as much as $4, depending on your coffee preferences. Surprisingly, high end coffees will be impacted less than budget coffees (which is most of what Brazil produces). That's because budget coffee prices are more closely tied to the C Market while high end coffees are priced by actual coffee people who understand their value and not futures traders who think Starbucks coffee is high end. And more importantly, this won't last forever.

    c market graph 10 years

    Ya'll remember how insanely expensive coffee was in 2011 and 2015 and how everybody went out of business? Yeah, I don't either.

    Here's a 10 year graph of the C Market price. See how the price always eventually came down? Sooner or later it will normalize, possibly at a slightly higher level than it was, but this isn't the coffee-pocalypse some alarmists are calling it. Let's see what the CEO of Royal Coffee has to say to coffee business owners like myself:

    “With this potentially looking like the first really damaging frost in decades, and only the third time that coffee futures have approached the $2.00 level since the late 1990’s, it is easy to panic,’ says Max Nicholas-Fulmer, CEO of Royal Coffee. “Our advice is to think in shorter time horizons than you may be used to. Many roasters have gotten in the habit of buying for an entire year. Right now, it seems prudent to think in terms of 60 days (about 2 months) at a time. Make sure you have some coffee booked, roast and sell what you need, and check back with us when you have depleted that supply by half. The reality is that a $2.00 market is not that bad." 

    And he's right! Just like we see in the graph above, the coffee industry has weathered price spikes like this many times before, at least 3 times in the last decade alone. The people who are worried are super wealthy investment managers and CEOs of mega coffee companies like Starbucks. They might miss their quarterly bonus because margins were too thin! Small business owners and home coffee roasters like you and me will weather this storm just fine. Once again, I'm gonna push my disclaimer, I'm not a financial expert and I definitely don't have a crystal ball. All I can do is talk to other people in the industry and look at past occurrences of big price spikes, frosts and other weather events and see how the industry adapted over a long enough period of time. Based on that, I don't think this is going to be all that bad.

    Our plan for the next few months is to avoid budget coffees whose prices are more closely tied to the C Market and focus more on higher end offerings since they won't be as impacted by this spike. Because if I'm paying more for coffee anyways, I might as well be drinking the good stuff. But don't worry budget conscious folks, I totally get it! Times are tough right now and we'll still do our best to offer some budget options and we have no plans to increase our margins. Just know the price increases you might see aren't because I'm getting greedy, it's because investment managers are gambling on the Intercontinental Exchange.

    The folks I feel the most for are the farmers in Brazil. They are truly the hardest hit by this frost and my heart goes out to them. Some of them will take years to rebuild if they lost whole plants and not just a percentage of this season's harvest. Hang in there farmers!

     

    Wanna learn more about the C Market? Check out the full article we quoted from Sustainable Harvest: https://www.sustainableharvest.com/blog/c-market-101-what-is-the-c-market

    Wanna learn more about the frost in Brazil? Here's the full blog from Royal we quoted several times: https://royalcoffee.com/frost-in-brazil-what-does-it-mean/

    Here's another great article about the frost in Brazil (although I thought it was just a smidge alarmist): https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/07/why-is-frost-in-brazil-causing-global-coffee-prices-to-increase/

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