FREE SHIPPING EXPERIMENT

UPDATE: As of January 27, 2021, we are making shipping FREE for all orders in the Continental USA of up to 5 lbs to the same address. Yay. However, the USPS just instituted a fairly large price increase in shipping, so I’m re-balancing in order to keep you supplied with the really primo stuff while not going broke. Life is full of trade-offs, so we are increasing the minimum quantity you have to buy, but I’m giving you FREE SHIPPING. 16 oz will be in one bag (unless you arrange otherwise), 24 oz and 32 oz will be in two bags. They will stay fresh a couple of months if left unopened in a cool, dark place. You should store opened bags in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in the pantry, not the freezer. I appreciate each and every customer, and I hope you will roll with this with me. However, if you have feedback, I’m listening. Please email me:  nano.roast@gmail.com.

ORIGINAL POST:

As of January 21, 2021, we are turning the page. Among the changes coming about, we are experimenting with FREE SHIPPING. Depending on postal rates, volume, etc., we hope to just make this aspect of purchasing great custom coffee easier–one less thing to worry about. We will still ship USPS 3-day (at most), or local customers can arrange pickup, contact-free if you like, masked and distanced otherwise.

You’re probably thinking, “she’s going to raise prices to cover shipping.” There is a point where the economics don’t work if I don’t, but I’m going to try very hard to hold the line. That said, I’ve been looking at purchasing patterns, and I may tinker with quantities, such as phasing out the 12 oz option, to keep it all in balance. Please let me know if there is an option I DON’T offer that you would like to see. If it makes sense, we’ll try it. Your feedback is welcome. We live to make you happy with your coffee.

Watch this space for upcoming developments, and thank you again for supporting this tiny, tiny business. Please take care of yourself, and

Enjoy your coffee!

s

Will 2021 be better?

I know we all hope 2021 will erase the craziness, pandemic and economic problems of 2020, but I’m not holding my breath for a quick fix. Around here, we are doing what we can to keep our loved ones and the general public safe and hoping to see better days by the time the weather finally turns nice (that’s around April or July.)

Just so you know, we have had few issues getting supplies of very high-quality coffee to roast for you since last March, but the disruption of lockdowns, reduced staffing at ports and handlers stateside is finally catching up with us. I have never seen my importers’ stocks so low nor delays in scheduled shipments so widespread. It’s COVD around the world, and it might impact even us.

Here’s what we expect in general:

Offerings: The offerings list may temporarily get thinner as we wait for delayed crops to arrive. For example, I’ve been waiting for a shipment from Burundi that’s now 3 months late. Hope it shows up soon, because it is going to be tasty.

Prices: I’m trying not to raise prices. Increases to me aren’t hitting uniformly, and I’ve even had a couple of pleasant surprises, so I’m hoping it all evens out.

Ethical sourcing: While I’m trying not to raise prices, I’m doubling down on sourcing that pays farmers fairly. I was outraged by some news about large buyers trying to squeeze farmers due to market dislocation (see my blog post on how COVD is impacting the harvest in Colombia, for example) this year. I feel there is a place in hell for those greedy people who oppress the poor, doubly during this tough year.

Shipping, part 1: Who knows what is going to happen with the US Post Office after last year? As long as your coffee gets to you in a reasonable, reliable length of time, we probably won’t change…but we are watching.

Shipping, part 2: Everyone hates paying for shipping, and shipping isn’t cheap. Nevertheless, we will be trying out free shipping for everyone and will see what happens. If I can still stay solvent, we will keep shipping free. You’re welcome.

Website: We will be redesigning the website to streamline it and make it a better resource, especially for sorting through all the origins to find what you want.

Thank you for staying with us in 2021. Without “U” there’s no “us.”

Enjoy your coffee!

s

Impact of COVD on Coffee Farmers in Colombia

Warning! This is not a happy story. In fact, I hope it motivates you to action. If we all do something positive, we might have a better world, and better coffee, too.

I was reading on the BBC site today and came across this report of the coffee harvest in Antioquia, Colombia.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-55172034 

As you might imagine, the COVD-19 pandemic is adversely affecting farmers in Colombia as workers become scarce or sick. We find out from the article that several things are troubling:

– Starbucks and Nestle buy up the majority of coffee and use their clout to get the cheapest commodity prices, regardless of the long-term impact on the market. The average price per kilogram is about $2.40, or $.90/lb., less than what it was in the 1980s. It would have to be nearer to $12/kg to “significantly improve wages.” If we did that, the experts say, it would cost us about $.10 (ten cents) per cup. Currently, that “worker premium” is going to corporate profits.

– While many Latin American countries could restructure their industries and trade with consumer nations and see a big benefit, a certain North American country known for throwing its weight around continues to press for things to stay the same. Who says trade policy is morally neutral?

– Workers who do show up to pick often work in strenuous, dangerous conditions, both in an OSHA sense and also a COVD-exposure sense. Pay is about $.05 (five cents) a pound, no benefits.

I’m seeing similar stories reported from all over the coffee-producing world. I suspect that the smaller harvest this year will put upward pressure on prices to roasters and customers, but we don’t know for sure for two reasons:

1. I’ve been buying up excellent specialty lots more than usual just in case. There have been good buys on high quality coffee from ethical farm sources, so I’m investing more, both for the farmers and for the end customer (you).

2. NanoRoast doesn’t buy commodity coffee; we buy top-grade specialty coffee, usually from long-term trusted suppliers who source directly from the farmer or from importers who are buying fair trade lots (where “fair trade” means FTA or better practices. There are several certifications in this group.) In short, when you buy from us, you can be assured that your coffee was obtained in the most ethical, sustainable way possible.

A final note: If you want to help support investment in the small farmers around the world who are growing coffee, check out www.kiva.org, the micro-lending site. They have a very good record. I have once-in-awhile been able to lend to the same farmer that I buy from, and that’s so cool!

Enjoy your coffee, and make the world better!

s

What’s New in 2021

Happy Holidays, Coffee Lovers!

You all know by now that I really despise the webmaster part of my job description — I’d really rather make lovely coffee art for you to enjoy — but that’s life. To make more room for blend experimentation and tasting lots of new offerings, I’m going to be migrating my website to another web host and shuffling my offerings a little differently. Stay tuned!

One thing I have not enjoyed is that, though my SSL certificate is and remains in place, the majority of browsers insist on unhelpfully telling my customers that their shopping is “not secure.” Arrrrgh! This is due to an old version of the programming language they use on the server, blah, blah, blah. I can’t get them to upgrade, so I’m moving. I sincerely hope that you don’t notice when it happens, but in case Murphy’s law is in force when I do, you can always order via email (nano.roast@gmail.com), text, or phone. The price sheet will be updated this week, so hang onto it just in case.

One good thing you will notice is that I’m going to group my full-caf offerings into Lighter Roasts, Medium and Darker Roasts and maybe even a special section of Reserves that are special interest due to superior rating, nonstandard but cool processing or an unusual coffee varietal. Your feedback is always welcome.

Till then, Enjoy Your Coffee!

s

NanoRoast and COVD-19

So, what is NanoRoast doing to ensure your safety and health (besides sending you delicious custom-roasted coffee) in these virally-challenged times?

You have no doubt heard from every business you are in contact with, and this is laudable, but what we are doing is simply taking the CDC’s advice and using the common sense practices we use anyway when handling anything for human consumption. I am well stocked with bleach and alcohol, and I know how to use them on surfaces. I use soap and water at least twice when roasting and the same when packaging every batch. I don’t roast when I am sick, And I am STAYING AWAY FROM SICK PEOPLE.

Customers should be aware that we are well-stocked at this point and unlikely to run out of your favorite origin or blend. I hope you all are staying safe and healthy as well. Thank you for continuing to support a very tiny business. I deeply appreciate you. Hang in there—We will pull through this. Until then, check out our Current Offerings, and

Enjoy your coffee!

susan

Keepin’ It Fresh

We are always looking for new ways to maintain the high quality of NanoRoast coffees while they are being shipped to you and until you enjoy the last of the order. If you hoard your stash (and I’m certainly not judging), it might last longer than if it is viewed as fair game for the folks you live with. However, maybe the easiest and best solution is to request smaller packages.

NanoRoast offers a 12 oz package with a one-way valve that will allow the CO2 gas to escape (good) but not let air in (bad.) But once you open the package, you need another strategy. Recently, we have been taking requests from some of our long-time customers to break down that 16 oz package into smaller packages. Because we are all about customizing to what you want, we will totally do this. If this idea appeals to you, here’s how you go about getting smaller NanoRoast packages:

1) Email nano.roast@gmail.com and request whatever coffee selection(s) and custom size packaging you want.

2) I will respond with the additional cost, usually $1-3 dollars, depending on complexity.

3) You email me your approval of the order.

4) I’ll send you a PayPal invoice that you pay (don’t need a PayPal account) and get your order going.

Who else will do this for you?

Enjoy your coffee!

susasn

Enjoy Your Coffee More

A blog I follow on wine enjoyment (Winefolly.com) ran this rather interesting post (https://winefolly.com/review/what-am-i-tasting-how-finding-wine-flavors-can-change-your-life) on how to improve tasting skills. Since I am interested in the challenge of trying to accurately describe what a particular coffee tastes like, I read this post with an eye to tasting coffee rather than wine. Of course, some of it doesn’t translate well—like discussion of “oaky” flavors, but most of the principles actually apply to coffee.

I like that exercising my brain while enjoying coffee (or wine) is actually good for me. Gotta go exercise some more and have another cup.

Want to review the steps in tasting your coffee? Check out our How to Taste Coffee page here

Enjoy your coffee!

susan

Honey-Processed Coffee?

In recent years, we have been watching coffee producers all over the world as they experiment with different kinds of processing. We are talking about what happens after the cherry is harvested and before the dried raw coffee beans are exported to us. How processors treat these seeds often adds a lot of difference to the coffee’s characteristics in the cup. The what and why behind this is fairly interesting.

A few decades back, coffee was either washed process (as in classic Africa, Colombia and Central America), natural/dry process (Brazil, Yemen and some Ethiopian) or Giling Basah wet-hulled (Indonesia). Recently, water shortages related to climate change have caused some of the traditionally wet/washed process producers to experiment with natural processing or a quasi-natural process called “miel” (honey) processing to conserve water and to create new taste profiles. In the future, look for more natural, dry, or miel processed coffees to be produced in all the traditional wet-processed origins. For example, the producer of our Jamaica Blue Mountain cultivar Island Blend coffee is turning out increasing amounts of miel coffee as reflects lessening availability of good quantities of clean water for processing. This is a stark contrast to decades of its signature wet processing.

In honey processing, honey isn’t used. It’s more that the time spent with the cherry in contact with the seed before hulling and drying imparts a thicker, heavier mouth feel, as honey is heavier, more syrupy consistency than water, I suppose. The taste profile, which is usually quite clean (a few flavors that are clear and distinct), is also more complex (more flavors but they tend to be less distinct). Miel processing comes in “black honey” as well as regular “red” and “summer” honey, meaning there is a continuum of the effect related to how long the coffee stays in contact with the cherry before it’s removed. The black honey variety has had the most time sitting in the heat and sunlight in the coffee cherry fruit, so it tends to be the most viscous and complex-tasting. The lightest summer honey processing is much more like the cleanliness of the washed profile.

Our Natural-process Costa Rica offering is closer to a red-honey (miel roja) profile. It’s really tasty at a lighter-medium roast, a classic Costa Rica with a little fruit note. See it here.

Enjoy your coffee!

s

An Apology

Hi NanoRoast Supporters

Recently, I’ve discovered that my roasting skills are much better than my webmaster skills. Once in awhile, the PayPal buttons stop working as they did when I coded and installed them, and I have no clue why this is. (Sigh!) PayPal blames WordPress and WordPress blames PayPal, and you have had the inconvenience. Sorry about that! (Dang! PHP update broke them AGAIN! )

So, if you EVER have any issue ordering coffee from this website, please let me know. Just email me at nano.roast@gmail.com and tell me where you had difficulty with the functionality of the site. I’ll give you a random upgrade for your trouble. I will also happily send you a PayPal invoice so you can easily get your coffee on its way. As a reminder, the invoice comes from PayPal, but you can pay any way you like, and you don’t have to have a PayPal account.

I have individually checked every button on the site as of today, and they are all working at this time. Let’s hope they stay fixed! Meanwhile, thank you so much for your loyal support of NanoRoast. I love roasting great coffee for you.

Sincerely

susan

What exactly is “Artisan Coffee Roasting?”

I was at the grocery store the other day, and in the bakery department I spied two fairly identical loaves of Italian pugilese bread with spelt flour. One was in a plastic bag with the store label, and one was in a paper sleeve in a toney wooden shelf display. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that these two loaves were made in the same fashion from the same ingredients. The only difference was one was packaged differently and labelled “artisan.” I cry “foul.” Over in the coffee aisle, “specialty coffee” means hazelnut-flavored. Again, I shake my head. Doesn’t anyone know what “artisan” means? Maybe we need to define terms.

In the interest of clarity and integrity, I define “artisan” coffee (the kind you get from NanoRoast, exclusively) as

—small batch, not commercial run quantity, usually only a couple of pounds at a time, roasted only when you arder so it is really FRESH.

—batch is composed of specially-selected specialty-quality beans, a term used in the industry for the highest quality as determined through repeated tastings, to achieve the specific end taste profile desired. For example, I may have five kinds of Colombian beans, but I choose the specific origin or lot that will best meet the taste objective.

—roast has been lovingly attended from start to finish by me, not a computer program. It’s roasted properly when my combined five senses say it is.

—each component of a blend has been separately roasted and THEN blended to achieve the desired outcome. That is why any NanoRoast blend has different color shades and/or sizes (and why you cannot judge coffee by how it looks, only how it tastes.)

So then, you can see why artisan coffee really is art like painting a landscape of our local landmark, Mt. Hood, is not like painting my house. At NanoRoast, we promise you will always get ARTISAN coffee, made by your coffee artist, me.

Enjoy your coffee art!

S