This Week in Coffee: Farming- Processing Part 2

This Week in Coffee: Farming- Processing Part 2

In these days of summer heat, we are staying cool in the studio with many wonderful iced drink offerings. Come in from the humidity and refresh with a nice cold Spindrift soda, Iced Yunnan Tea from Mem Tea Imports, or Iced herbal tea option, Ginger Lime Rooibos from Rishi Tea.


Of course, we are also offering some wonderful iced coffee options for a cool down complete with a boost of caffeine. Always popular is our cold brewed iced coffee. Enjoy a full 12 oz cup or a quick shot of energy from our small 4oz option. Also available when reserved a day in advance is a 64oz cold brew growler that you can keep in your fridge at home or work to enjoy throughout the week.

This week our espresso is brought to you by our current guest roaster, Mountain Air Roasting of Asheville, North Carolina. Currently is the hopper is Heirloom espresso. This Yirgacheffe, Ethiopian is floral, spicy, and intense. Next up this week we will be Obelisk espresso from Brazil. This option is smooth and delicious with flavors of honey, chocolate, and cherry. Looking for the full flavor of espresso in a cold drink? Any of our espresso drinks can be made iced.

Of course, even in the summer, hot coffee is a wonderful option is get your day going. Currently on our pourover menu are two wonderful offerings from George Howell Coffee. San Jose de Pedregal from Colombia is  rich with flavors of black grape, dark cherry, and orange. Reko Kochere from Ethiopia is bright and sweet with flavors of watermelon, apricot, and candy lemon.

Focus on Farming: Natural Processing

Since February we have covered many topics to introduce some of the complexities of coffee farming and production. We started with a basic overview, followed by a focus on soil effects, climate conditions, altitude, varietals, and harvest. Recently, turning to the processing of coffee, our last post focused on the traditional washed process for removing the coffee cherry fruit from the coffee bean. Today, we write about a less common processing option: natural processing.


Natural processing (or dry processing) is the oldest way to process coffee and plays a large role in effecting the taste of coffee once it is roasted and brewed. Typically naturally roasted coffees present with a fruity flavor that washed processed coffees cannot achieve. This is because in the natural process, the fruit of the coffee cherry is allowed to dry on the coffee bean before being removed from the seed. This allows the bean to assume that fruity or berry flavor. While a vast majority of the coffees we serve here at the studio are traditional washed coffees, we have had opportunities to serve natural processed coffees in the past: most recently, Misty Valley Ethiopian from Gracenote Coffee.

This Week in Coffee: Farming-Processing Part 1

This Week in Coffee: Farming-Processing Part 1

For the past few weeks we have been serving up some delicious pourover coffees from our current guest roaster, Mountain Air Roasting of Asheville, North Carolina. Today we are switching gears and serving up Mountain Air espresso with pourover options from George Howell Coffee.


Mountain Air's American Espresso is a Colombian coffee from the Huila region that tastes fruited, bright, and lively, and pairs beautifully with milk to become your favorite espresso drink. From George Howell we have an old favorite, Borboya from Ethiopia and a new option, Quispe Senk'a from Peru. Borboya is light and floral with notes of sweet lemon, lavender, and green tea. Quispe Senk'a is fruity and tropical with notes of pineapple, sangria, and passion fruit.

Also available and perfect for the summer like heat we have been experiencing, is our cold brew. Want easy access to cold brew at home or at the office? Reserve a cold brew growler today and pick it up tomorrow!

Focus on Farming: Washed Processing

After a bit of a hiatus, we are back with our Focus on Farming Coffee series! This winter's posts included details on some of the various factors that effect the growth and taste of different coffee beans including a basic overview, soil effects, climate conditions, altitude, varietals, and harvest. Now, moving past the growing process, we are turning to the next step in coffee production: processessing.  There are a few different ways to "process" coffee, or remove the fruit of the coffee cherry from the coffee seed or bean, preparing the freshly harvested coffee for roasting. Today's post is dedicated to the most common manner of processing: traditional washed processing.


Washed processing completely removes the cherry and pulp from the coffee seed through friction, fermentation, and a water wash. Fresh from the harvest, the coffee is first weighed and then fed through a depulping machine (pictured above) which uses blades and a water wash to remove the fruit, leaving a thin layer of mucilage coating of natural sugars and alcohols on the bean. This mucilage has a great impact on the flavor of the coffee and after depulping, must be fully removed from the coffee bean. This can be done through fermentation or mechanically.

Depending on several factors, including desired flavor, amount of mucilage, and climate conditions, fermentation can take as few as six hours or as long as four days. Turbulent water and naturally present bacteria break down the mucilage and can remove 100% of the sugars and alcohols. Mechanical demucilagers can strip most of the mucilage, but not all. This new technology can be carefully calibrated to remove a controlled amount of mucilage by applying friction with bristles. This method also uses a considerably smaller amount of water and produces less waste.


After washing and fermentation, coffee is spread out to dry. At this point in processing, the coffee is still surrounded by a protective parchment skin. When drying, the coffee bean shrinks, allowing for easy removal of the parchment in a final step of preperation: hulling. Once the parchment is removed from the dry bean, the green (or unroasted) coffee is ready to be packaged and shipped to roasters around the world.

For more information on washed processing, check out this page on the Stumptown Coffee website. This photo page from George Howell's 2007 trip to Kenya also includes some great photos and descriptive captions of traditional washed processing.

This Week in Coffee: Introducing Mountain Air Roasting

This Week in Coffee: Introducing Mountain Air Roasting!


This week we are thrilled to announce the arrival of our newest guest roaster, Mountain Air Roasting of Asheville, North Carolina! Mountain Air applies a gentle roast process to fresh, high quality coffees with the goal of  maximizing and highlighting the natural fruit flavors of the coffee bean. With  a focus on freshness and quality, Mountain Air maintains their mission "to serve you the best cup of coffee you have ever had, every morning." We are very excited to have them here at the Studio and can't wait to try out everything that they have to offer!


This week's poverover coffees from Mountain Air include and Ethiopian Aricha and Colombian Luis Tovar. Aricha comes from the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia and is rich with flavors of tamarind, lavender, and white grape. Luis Tovar is from the Huila region of Colombia and presents with flavors of plum, cranberry, and lime.


Also available in the cafe is espresso from George Howell Roasters. Currently in the hopper is Borboya from Ethiopia. This amazing espresso presents with flavors of candied lemon, lavender, and semi-sweet chocolate. Also available is a Colombian decaf espresso with flavors of cherry, chocolate, raisin, and maple.

Come on by, try one of these new exciting options, and chat with us about the ins and outs of coffee!

This Week in Coffee: Farming - Varietals

This Week in Coffee: Farming - Varietals

This week in the cafe we are serving up some wonderful espresso from George Howell Coffee and delicious pourover options from our current guest roaster, Gracenote Coffee of Berlin, Massachusetts.


Continuing from last week, the espresso currently in the hopper is George Howell's La Soledad Espresso from Guatemala. This sweet and bright option presents with flavors of apple, pear, and brown sugar.

We are also continuing to serve Gracenote's Bellavista-Cortes from Colombia. This microlot coffee is smooth and delicious with flavors of cherry cola, lemon, and cocoa. A new pourover option this week has been Finca Kassandra from Mexico. This unique coffee presents with complex and varied flavors of grape, caramel, cinnamon, sweet basil, floral, and pomegranate.

Focus on Farming: Varietals

Over the past few weeks we have been walking you through some basic information on the complex process of farming coffee. Beginning with an overview, we have since covered topics of soil characteristics, climate, and altitude. Today we turn to the characteristics of the plant itself, focusing on the many varieties of coffee plants.


Coffee plants are part of the taxanomical family Rubiacea and genus Coffea. Within the coffea genus, there are over one hundred species, only a few of which produce coffee cherries for consumption. The most common species grown in the coffee industry is the arabica species which consistitute about 70% of the world's coffee. Other less common species include canephora and liberica. Within a species, further differences exist between different varieties or varietals. The differences can evolve naturally but can also be created through cultivation. Different varieties within the same species share most characteristics, however there are small differences that, in the case of coffee, can require differences in growing techniques and contribute to differences in the taste and body of the roasted and brewed coffees.

Two common varieties of arabica coffee are typica and bourbon. Typica, the earliest discovered variety of the arabica species was first found in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia. Typica has served as the basis for many mutations and cultivations of further varietals. Though typica is a low yielding varietal, it is known for its excellent quality in the cup with rich sweet flavors and complex body. Bourbon is also a low yielding, high quality varietal. It is named for the Island of Bourbon off the coast of Madagascar and began being actively planted by the 1870s. This particular coffee varietal is highly regarded for its balance and acidity.



The  coffees that we serve here at RSC often involve these two varietals, as well as many others. Take this week's coffees for instance...

La Soledad is a combination of yellow bourbon, caturra (a higher yeilding mutation of the bourbon variety), typica, and pache. Bellavista-Cortes is 80% castillo and %20 caturra. Finca Kassandra is a bit different from the others: a pacamara varietal. Pacamara is a hyrid of the maragogype (known for have large beans with low density) and pacas (a naturally occurring bourbon mutation with smaller beans). As you can taste in the basil notes of the Finca Kassandra, pacamara is unique with its herbal and savory flavors.

Want to learn more about particular varietitals? Former RSC guest roaster, Stumptown Coffee Roasters has a great guide to varieties that has served as a source for the information in this blog post. A second source is the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the guiding information on their "A Botanist's Guide to Specialty Coffee" page of their website.

You can also find more information on this topic and many other coffee details in the television broadcast of George Howell's talk at the Studio from this past fall. Check out our post about the "What's Brewing" series from Lex Media for more information.

This Week in Coffee: Farming - Soil Effects

This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming Part 2: Soil Effects


For the third week in a row, the studio is serving as a warm and safe refuge from the snow storms. Inside we are brewing up some wonderful espressos from our guest roaster Gracenote Coffee of Berlin, Massachusetts and delicious pourover options from our fantastic house roaster George Howell Coffee.

IMG_0314Currently in the hopper is Gracenote's Ethiopian Konga espresso. This bright and sweet espresso has been a popular option over the past few weeks, presenting with flavors of stone fruit, candied lemon, and hibiscus. Next up is a new and limited option, Colombia Bellavista Cortes! This microlot option is a special treat with notes of cherry cola, lemon, and cocoa. Come in later this week to try it out while it lasts!

Pourover options this week include George Howell's Mamuto AB from Kenya and La Bendición from Guatemala. Mamuto is rich and smooth with flavors of blackberry, cherry, and plum. La Bendición is bright and fruity with flavors of lime, tangerine, and jammy fruit.

Focus on Farming: Soil Effects

In last week's This Week in Coffee post, we outlined a few of the major factors that contribute to the growth, harvest, and quality of coffee beans. Today we focus in on one of the several factors effecting the decision of where and how to plant coffee: soil characteristics.

View from Alto Bonito

Soil content and consistency can have a great impact on the success of coffee growth. To grow successfully, coffee needs access to proper amounts of water and nutrients. The micro-organisms, minerals, organic matter, and acidity of soil will all adjust characteristics of the coffee plant and the resulting coffee bean. Many of these characteristics can be controlled through farming techniques, adding fertilizers and lime, but there is another soil quality that is harder to control: texture. As noted by George Howell, the ideal soil type is one that is "loamy--crumbly, permeable, having high oxygen content, and be deep, especially in drier areas."

Why deep? And why in particular in dry areas? Coffee plants can survive through long dry seasons characteristic of many coffee growing regions, as long as the soil is able to retain a certain moisture content. Coffee roots can extend three meters into the ground to reach this moisture, making deeper soil that remains moist the longest, the most beneficial for the coffee plant. At the same time, this soil moisture level is a delicate balance, as too high a moisture content can overwhelm the plant and  be harmful to the root system. Farmers must take great care to properly water their plants, knowing the specific depth and textures of their soil and in some cases building in controlled drainage and monitoring soil erosion.


For further detail on farming and optimal growing conditions, stay tuned for next week's post about climate and regional differences.

If you have not yet had a chance to watch Lex Media's broadcast of "What's Brewing" talk at RSC with George Howell, check it out HERE.

This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming

This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming Part 1

More snow?! We can think of no better way to warm up to this winter weather than coming by for a hot cup of coffee, tea, or perhaps a delicious mocha latte. Cozy up with a croissant or sticky bun from Iggy's Bread of Cambridge, take comfort in a bowl of hot oatmeal with brown sugar, dates, cranberries, and pecans, or get a warm boost of protein with our house made vegetarian chili. Yum!


Currently in the Cafe we are brewing up some recent favorites from Gracenote Coffee and George Howell Coffee. In the espresso hopper today, we have Gracenote's Ethiopian Konga, a bright and naturally sweet espresso that presents with notes of stone fruit, candied lemon, and hibiscus. Coming up next will be Pulcal of Guatemala. This option is soothing and sweet with flavors of caramel, brownie, and key lime pie.

For pourover options this week we are serving George Howell's Karinga from Kenya and Kochere from Ethiopia. Karinga is rich with fruit flavors of blackberry, black grape, and apple. Kochere is light and tea-like with flavors of earl grey, honeydew, and apricot.

Focus on Farming: Overview

Leaving the snowy Northeast behind, we can turn tour attention to tropical, coffee growing regions for a focus on farming! In the coming weeks, stay tuned to the "This Week in Coffee" posts for further details on the various factors that affect the growing and taste of coffee.

Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

Today, we will start with some basics...

There are four primary factors that influence methods for growing and eventual taste of coffee beans: where, what, how, and harvest.

First, a farmer must decide where is the best place to plant. There are several secondary factors that affect this decision, including soil characteristics, altitude, and climate.

The next question is what species to grow. Not all coffee plants are the same. Some species produce higher quality coffees than others, and certain species will grow better in certain climactic conditions or at certain elevations.

The third factor, "how," refers to care for the coffee plant and methods to ensure that the plant is receiving proper nutrients and an appropriate amount of water.

The fourth and final decision making factor is when and how to harvest. Harvesting is a tricky and delicate process, complicated by the varied rate of ripening. Coffee beans are seeds of coffee cherries that grow in clusters on the coffee shrub. Ideally coffee is harvested when it is ripe, however, within one cluster of coffee cherries, some cherries can be more ripe than others. Farmers must take great care to hand pick the appropriately ripened cherries to produce the highest quality product possible. Once harvested, the coffee is processed to remove the fruit, dried, and then packaged and shipped to roasters around the world.

Want to learn more about the ins and out of growing coffee? George Howell Coffee is a wonderful resource, with clear and interesting descriptions of the farming and sourcing process on their website.

Another great source for more information is LexMedia's "What's Brewing?" broadcast of George Howell's "Coffee Talk" at the Studio this past October. Check out Part 1: Finding the Best Coffee Around the World for more on sourcing coffee. More detail on "What's Brewing?" and other episode links are available on an earlier post to our blog.

This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee: Come in from the Snow

Though at times this week the weather outside has certainly been frightful, the coffee inside is quite delightful!


This week we are brewing up some wonderful espresso roasts from Gracenote Roasters and some pour over options from George Howell Coffee.

Today in the hopper we have Gracenote's La Papaya Espresso from Ecuador, distinctive with flavors of orange, cola nut, lilac, and caramel sweetness. Next up will be a return to Konga from Ethiopia and Pulcal from Guatemala. Konga is a  bright and naturally sweet espresso that is bursting with flavor notes of stone fruit, candied lemon, and hibiscus. Pulcal presents with dessert flavors of caramel, brownie, and key lime pie.

On our pour over menu we are serving up Kalita, Chemex, and Aeropress brews of George Howell's Kenyan Karinga AB and Ethiopian Kochere. Karinga is rich with fruit flavors of blackberry, black grape, and apple. Kochere is light and tea-like with flavors of earl grey, honeydew, and apricot.

These options and others are also available on our retail shelves. Grab a bag today and brew delicious coffee in the comfort of your own home. Don't have home brewing supplies? We can help outfit you with all of the equipment you need to make the perfect cup of home brewed coffee when you need to stay in from the snow.

This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee

This week we are staying cozy in the Studio, safe from the snow, and drinking delicious coffee drinks from Gracenote Coffee  and George Howell Coffee!


Our espresso offerings come from our newest guest roaster, Gracenote Coffee. Currently in the hopper is Konga from Ethiopia. This naturally sweet espresso option will help brighten your day with flavor notes of stone fruit, candied lemon, and hibiscus. Next up this week we will be serving a Kiruga Peaberry from Kenya. This is another bright option with flavors of cherry, sassafras, and elderflower.

This week's pourover options are roasted to perfection by George Howell Coffee. Currently on the menu are Kanzu from Rwanda and La Minita from Costa Rica. The Kanzu is sweet and soothing with flavors of orange, plum, and caramel. La Minita offers up a different sweetness with flavors of maple syrup, white peach, and orange. Coming up later this week we will be serving Karinga AB from Kenya. This smooth coffee offers deep fruit flavors of blackberry, black grape, and apple.

Interested in learning more about coffee? Our coffee night talk with George Howell from last October, "What's Brewing," is now available in four episodes on LexMedia! Whether you missed the talk or were here and now want to revisit some of the coffee sourcing and brewing topics, these episodes are a wonderful outlet for better understanding the ins and outs of specialty coffee. Click HERE for more information and links to all four episodes!

This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee: Introducing Gracenote Coffee Roasters!

We are thrilled to announce that this past week we began serving espresso from our new guest roaster, Gracenote Coffee Roasters! This local roaster of Berlin, Massachusetts is a wonderful addition to our coffee lineup and we are excited to continue to try out the wide variety of top quality coffees offered by Gracenote.


Currently in the hopper is an Ethiopian espresso called Misty Valley.

A Natural Processed coffee, Misty Valley is something a bit different that what we have served in the past. Typically we served washed or water processed coffees. This means that when the coffee cherries are picked, they are washed in water in order to remove the fruit from the coffee seed (bean). In the natural process, instead of removing the fruit right away, the fruit is allowed to dry on the bean before being picked off of the seed. This allows the bean to gain a fruity flavor distinct from water processed beans. Come by in the next few days and try out Misty Valley to discover its distinct flavors of blueberry, chocolate, and lavender.

Coming up in espresso offerings from Gracenote are a washed Ethiopian Konga and La Papaya from Ecuador. The Konga has a flavor profile that is, in the words of Gracenote, "adorable:" stone fruit, candied lemon, hibiscus. La Papaya is delightfully distinctive with caramel sweetness, ripe orange acidity and a subtle floral background.

Our drip pourover options this week come from George Howell Roasters. Some former favorites are back! We have Ethiopian Borboya and La Esperanza from Guatemala. The Borboya offers light flavors of sweet lemon, lavender, green tea. La Esperanza brings out fruity flavors of apple cider, peach, and citrus.

These options and others from both roasters are also available on our retail shelf for home brewing.


This Week in Coffee: The Gift of Coffee

 This Week in Coffee: Give the Gift of Coffee!

IMG_0163Currently in the cafe we are serving smooth drip coffee pourover options from Tandem Coffee Roasters and a delicious and sweet El Salvador Espresso from George Howell Coffee. Tandem's Guatemalan Chalabal offers juicy flavors of cherry and lemon, while the light Ayele of Ethiopia presents with floral flavors combined with notes of raspberries, cola and lemon. George Howell's Montecarlos espresso suits the holiday season with notes of blood orange, light brown sugar, and almond.

Looking for Last Minute Gifts and Goodies from the Upcoming Holidays?

Our retail shelves are fully stocked with a wide variety of whole bean coffees from both George Howell Coffee and Tandem Coffee Roasters. Come grab a bag to have on hand for holiday guests and mornings spent staying in from the cold.

In need of equipment for quality home brewing? Looking for a great gift to give to a fellow coffee lover? We can help you with that as well! Our baristas will be happy to help you select the equipment that best suits your needs.


Options currently in stock include...

A. Virtuoso Coffee Grinder: This conical burr grinder does a wonderful job of offering a consistent and clean grind at a wide variety of grind settings. Use this grinder to grind fine enough for espresso or coarse enough for a French press. Small adjustments will allow you to play around a bit till you find your perfect cup of coffee.

B. Bonavita Electric Kettle: This kettle is a great option for any pourover brewing method. The goose-neck spout on this electric kettle allows for precise pour control. Heating temperature can be adjusted by 1 degree Fahrenheit to suit your preferred coffee brewing or tea steeping temperature and can hold the temperature for up to an hour.

C. Aeropress Brew System: The easily portable Aeropress system is perfect for brewing at home, stowing at the office, or traveling. Though similar to a french press, the Aeropress uses a filter to offer a clean smooth cup that is easy to brew and easy to clean up. Curious how it works? Ask one of our baristas and order an aeropress brew in the Cafe to try it out.

D. Chemex Filter-Drip Coffeemaker: One of our cafe brewing options, the Chemex is definitely a favorite brew system. The slow drip through thick paper filters used for this pourover makes for a wonderfully smooth cup with well developed flavors.

E. Porlex Hand Grinder: This conical burr hand grinder is a wonderful small grinder option. It has a wide range of grind settings from espresso fineness to French press coarseness and has a 30 gram capacity.

F, G, H. V60 Glass Dripper, Filters, and Server: The V60 is another great pourover brewing option that allows the user to control the flow, timing, and temperature of water for customized brewing.

I, J. Kalita Wave and Filters: The Kalita Wave is the pourover brewer we are currently using in the Cafe, and we love it! With a flat bottom and three drip holes, the Kalita offers a delicious and evenly extracted brew.

K. Hario Drip Kettle: This is the kettle we use in the Cafe for all of our pourovers. Another goone-neck spout kettle, the Hario kettle allows for a very controlled pour.

If you are not sure which equipment would be preferred by your friends and family, we also offer Gift Cards that can be used in both the cafe and bike shop.

Seasons Greetings and Happy Holidays!

This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee: Dialing-In

This week in the cafe, we are brewing some familiar coffees and introducing some new flavor profiles to the mix. For pour over options, we are continuing to serve Ethiopian Konga and Guatemalan Chalabal Estrella both from Tandem Coffee Roasters of Portland, Maine. The Konga is soothing with flavors of vanilla, lemon-lime, blackberry, and cocoa. Chalabal Estrella is bursting with full bodied juicy flavors of cherry and lemon.

This week we have a new espresso in the hopper. From George Howell Roasters, we are pulling La Soledad from Guatemala. A light chocolate flavor and smooth finish of brown sugar sweetness surround a body flavor of green apple. This espresso stands nicely on its own and pairs particularly beautifully with milk.

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With Espresso, Small Adjustments Go a Long Way

Every morning, part of our opening process is to "dial-in" the espresso. Espresso flavor is affected by many factors and each day, multiple times a day, we adjust our brewing methods to ensure that we are pulling the best shot we can. Variables include the dose or amount of ground espresso used, the grind size of that espresso, and the output size of the shot itself (as discussed briefly in last week's post).

When we start pulling a new espresso roast, we typically start with a smaller dose size that over time, as we get further from the roast date, increases to a slightly higher dose. We start each new espresso and each new day, with a base brew recipe. From there, the factors of the day and environment inspire changes to the process. If a shot pulls a little faster than we want and tastes sour, we will tighten the grind, favoring a finer grind that will slow the flow of water through the tightly tamped espresso grinds. If the shot pulls slowly and tastes bitter, we adjust to a courser setting, speeding up the shot. Noteworthy is how small these adjustments can be. One tiny little shift on the grinder setting will produce a noticeable difference in the taste sampled in the cup.

Throughout the day, as temperatures adjust in the room, the espresso can start to pull differently. We are always sure to monitor any changes to the espresso, weighing out individual shots as they pull, so that we can ensure the highest quality in every drink we serve. Curious to hear more about the intricacies of dialing-in? Feel free to chat with any of our baristas about the espresso we are serving.

This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee: Spotlight on Espresso

Coffee, coffee, coffee! We have lots of wonderful options for you both brewing in the cafe and available on the retail shelf. Our pourover options this week come from our wonderful guest roaster, Tandem Coffee of Portland, Maine. Currently we are serving Chalabal Estrella from Guatemala and Ayele from Ethiopia. Chalabal is a deep brew with cherry, lemon, and juicy notes. Ayele is a brighter option with floral flavors and notes of raspberry, cola, and lemon. In the coming days, we will be transitioning from one Ethiopian brew to another, adding an Ethiopian Konga to our repetoire. This new option will provide a cup full of soothing flavors like vanilla, lemon-lime, blackberry, and cocoa, perfect to warm up on these chilly fall days.

Our retail shelf is currently stocked with all three of the above options as well as some former favorites: Tandem's Time and Temperature Espresso Blend and La Serrania Colombian Decaf, and George Howell Coffee's Ethiopian Borboya, Guatemalan Miralvalle, and Los Idolos Colombian Decaf (which is also available as espresso in the Cafe).

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New in the hopper this past week is George Howell's Pulcal Guatemalan Espresso Roast. Come on by and enjoy this sweet flavorful shot with notes of orange, lime, and smooth milk chocolate.

Espresso Shots Explained

If you are a frequent espresso consumer at RSC, you may have noticed over the past few months some new variety in the size of the espresso shots we have been serving. This fall we have been favoring larger shots. There are many different styles of espresso. All of the shots that we pull here in the cafe are double shots of espresso. In the past, many of our baristas have pulled what are called ristretto shots. A ristretto shot pulls to about 30 grams, making the final result 1.5 times the size of the espresso grounds used. Currently we are favoring a normale shot that is around 36-38 grams, or two times the weight of the espresso grounds used. In doing so we can play with new flavors and avoid some sour notes that can be difficult to avoid with the ristretto technique. Come in, try a double shot, and let us know what you think!


This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee:  Mocha Weather, Winter Hours, and Coffee Changes


Though it may not be a sticking yet, it was snowing this morning, and that means hot chocolate/mocha weather is in full swing! Enjoy your extra hour of sleep and then, if you are ready to brave the storm, come on by for a cozy caffeinated beverage.

With the change on our clocks also comes our change to winter hours. Starting today and lasting until daylight savings "spring ahead," we are closing an hour earlier every weekend evening making our Saturday and Sunday hours 8am to 5pm.

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Not only are weather and hours changing, but our coffees are changing as well. We are midway through our guest roaster period with Tandem Coffee Roasters of Portland, Maine.  We have been loving the tandem coffees pulled through our espresso machine. Now, switching gears, we will transition later this week to having Tandem pourover options, with George Howell espresso options. Come by in the next few days to catch one last taste of Tandem's Time and Temperature espresso blend and George Howell's Colombian Piramide and Guatemalan Santa Clara on pourover.

Next up on the pourover lineup are Tandem's Ayele from Ethiopia and Ixhuatlán Del Café from Mexico. Good Food Award winner for 2014, Ayele is a delicious light and flavorful cup with tasting notes of floral, raspberry, cola, and lemon. Ixhuatlán, previosly pulled as espresso at RSC, presents with sweet flavors of blue raspberry, candied lemon, Grape, roasted fruit, and dark cocoa. Next up for espresso is Borboya espresso roast from George Howell. We are excited to have this roast back in the hopper, presenting tastes of candied lemon, lavender, and semi-sweet chocolate.



This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee: George Howell at RSC!


We cannot wait for coffee night this Thursday eveing! George Howell, one of the pioneers of the specialty-coffee movement is coming to Ride Studio Cafe for a very rare, and very informative evening of discussing coffee. Are you interested in knowing what the difference is between coffee beans? How does the elevation where the bean was grown affect its flavor? How about the humidity and the drying techniques employed by the coffee growers? What is the difference between a Kenyan and Ethiopian, for example? What characterizes light, medium, and dark roasts? How do the various coffee making methods change the flavor of your cup of coffee? What is the life-cycle of a coffee bean from plant to your cup? George will answer these questions and many more. To learn more about this event and RSVP click HERE.

This week, as always, we are serving up some wonderful George Howell Coffee roasts. Our pour over options, Borboya from Ethiopia and Karatu from Kenya are the same favorites we had to offer last week. To read more about these coffees and their distinct flavor profiles, check out last's week's post.

Our espresso options this week are brought to you by Tandem Coffee Roasters of Portland, Maine. Starting tomorrow, we will be serving Tandem's seasonal espresso blend: Time and Temperature. This blend is characterized by sweet flavors of blondies and red berries. Later in the week we will be trying out a new option: La Esperanza from Guatemala. We can't wait to try it out and see what this new roast has to offer.

Come on by for a warm and soothing cup of coffee, tea, chai latte, or perhaps a hot apple cider. Hope to see you all on Thursday!

This Week in Coffee

This Week in the Cafe: Introducing Housemade Chili!

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With the chilly weather this weekend, we are pleased to announce that we are now serving house-made hearty vegetarian Chili! Come warm up with a scrumptious bowl of this new offering accompanied by a olive roll from Iggy's Bread of Cambridge.

We are also currently serving up some seasonal flavors from Moochie's Macarons. Now available are Fig, Vanilla, and Pumpkin Spice (yum!).


For coffee offerings this week we continue to serve espresso from our guest, Tandem Roasters, of Portland, Maine, and pour over options from George Howell Roasters. Currently we are serving a familiar seasonal espresso blend, Time and Temperature. Other espressos that will be rotating in throughout the week include: Ixhuatlán Del Café from Veracruz, Mexico and Deri Kochowa from Sidamo, Ethiopia. Ixhuatlán has become a new favorite with its  bright and soothing flavors of Blue Raspberry, Candied Lemon, Grape, Roasted Fruit, Dark Cocoa. We are excited to try the Deri Kochowa in the hopper for the first time and taste its fruity flavors of mango, honey, and blackberry.

Despite both being African coffees, our two George Howell pour over options are quite different from each other. Borboya from Ethiopia is smooth and light with sweet lemon, lavender, and green tea flavors. Karatu from Kenya is bold with blackberry, floral, and citrus.

Interested in learning more about coffee? We are thrilled that on Thursday, October 23rd George Howell will be here at the studio to speak about coffee and roasting! To learn more about this exciting event and register to attend, click HERE.

This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee

This week, Commonwealth Coffee has continued to impress with a variety of espresso and drip coffee options. This week we have returned to serving the Ontology Espresso Blend of Rwanda Kabirizi and a new crop of Guatemala Providencia. This deservedly popular roast presents with flavors of stonefruit, green tea, cherry, and marzipan. Once again, following Ontology in the hopper in the coming days will be Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kongo. We love this roast and its simultaneously sweet and savory flavors of  meyer lemon, rose, sweet herb, and cane sugar.

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For pour over options this week we continue to serve Commonwealth's Finca la Milagrosa from Panama and George Howell's Kanzu from Rwanda. For more information on these two options, see tasting notes included in last week's post, or come on by and chat with us. To look forward to in the coming weeks, we will be changing things up and serving a Burundi Kinyovu from Commonwealth Roasters as one of our pour over options. Keep a look out for this exciting new option!

This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee:

After a bit of a writing hiatus, we are back to tell you about our coffee offerings. The "Parklet" is fully assembled and we are now  equipped for outdoor seating, so come by and enjoy a cup of your favorite brew in the warm sunshine!


This week we are brewing up two wonderful Peaberry Kenyan roasts from our guest roaster, Four Barrel Coffee. Don't be fooled by the shared country of origin, these two coffees  provide a great variety of flavor. The first option, Ndaroini, presents with aroma of quince jam and cranberry, followed by lemon lime flavors and cane sugar sweetness. Our second option, Karatina,  presents with flavors of rose and raspberry in a syrupy cup, replete with stonefruit. Come by and try one of these rich options while they last.

Pulling on the espresso machine, we have Deri Kochoa from George Howell Coffee. This roast is a great bright spring option, bursting with flavors of jasmine, rosemary, and chocolate. Special this week, on Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon, we will be sampling the Ontoloay Espresso Blend from a new roaster, Commonwealth Coffee Roasters in Denver, Colorado. We are excited to taste this blend with notes of stone fruit, green tea, cherry, and marzipan. Come by to try this new roaster and tell us what you think!



This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee

This week we continue to connect with the west coast with our guest roaster, Four Barrel Coffee from San Francisco, California. We are serving up two of their wonderful drip coffee options: Iquisivi from Bolivia and Hunda Oli from Ethiopia. You may remember the Iquisivi from a few weeks back. We loved it and brought it back for a triumphant return to our menu.  This flavorful roast helps us welcome in spring with lemon fragrance, disappearing into fig and cherry flavors combined with a caramel sweetness. The Hunda Oli is another fantastic option. This brighter coffee begins with red plum fragrance followed by acidity of watermelon and fruity notes of lemon and rhubarb finsihed off with bergamont. Come by today to try these  roasts while they last.


After a few consecutive weeks pulling La Bendición from George Howell, we have switched over our espresso to George Howell's Borboya from Ethiopia. This amazing roast bursts with flavors of candied lemon, blueberry, and ginger. We also continue to carry George Howell’s Costa Rican decaf espresso, a roast that presents flavors of chocolate, caramel, and walnut.

Looking for a flavorful cup in the comfort of your own home? We have retail bags from George Howell, Four Barrel, and a past guest roaster, Heart Roasters from Portland, Oregon.

Come stopby  for one of these roasts while you are out and about on one of these gorgeous spring days!





This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee

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This week we are continuing to serve the same delicious roasts as last week. From Four Barrel Coffee we have two pour over options: Gaturiri from Kenya or La Montañita from El Salvador. Our Espresso, from George Howell Coffee, is La Bendición from Guatemala. For more details on these coffees, our decaf espresso, and retail options see last week's post.

Though it may be raining today, spring days are (we hope!) just around the corner. With April beginning this week, beautiful days for long rides are coming and we have many wonderful options for recovery snacks to rehydrate at the end of your ride.

Rich, creamy Highlawn Farm natural Chocolate Milk is a great recovery option, delivering the proper amount of carbohydrate and protein in a delicious form.  Important in your refueling process are complex carbohydrates and our Oatmeal is a great way to access this necessity. Add flavor to this breakfast option with brown sugar, dried fruit, pecans, and/or almond or regular milk.

Another satisfying option is a thick slice of fresh bread (either olive or sourdough) accompanied with a generous portion of almond butter or Highlawn Farm butter.

New in the cafe are EnerChi Bites. These all natural gluten-free vegan treats will help give you a boost of energy when you need it most. We have all flavors available for individual sale, so come on by to try the apple cinnamon, coconut oatmeal raisin, and cocoa date, then buy a bag of your favorite flavor to take with you on the road or trail.

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This Week in Coffee

This Week in Coffee:

New in the café this past week, our current guest roaster, Four Barrel Coffee, from San Francisco, has transitioned from being our espresso to now bringing wonderful drip coffee options your way. Come on by the café and try out Gaturiri from Kenya or La Montañita from El Salvador. Helping us welcome spring (or perhaps continue to dream of the spring weather that has yet to truly arrive) Gaturiri is a delicious floral coffee with flavors of geranium, rose, and hibiscus with hints of custard and roasted cherry sweetness. A very different option, La Montañita is an earthy roast with deep exciting flavors of molasses, cocoa, and pear.

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Our espresso today is brought to you by George Howell Coffee. La Bendición Espresso from Guatemala stands well on its own with lime-tinted chocolate combined with almond and fig and mixes fantastically with milk to become your favorite espresso beverage. Hoping for a coffee taste without the caffeine? We continue to carry George Howell's Costa Rican decaf espresso, a roast that presents flavors of chocolate, caramel, and walnut.

For home brewing, we have a  shelf full of whole bean bags from George Howell, Four Barrel, and Heart Roasters. Come by for a bag (or two, or three...) for enjoying a delicious cup in the comfort of your home.