Thursday, June 9, 2011

Stumptown - The truth always comes out

Well, more information about the "sell" of Stumptown has come out.  I won't bore you with the details.  They can all be read at the links below. 

What we have discovered is that 90% of Stumptown was sold to the "friend/equity firm".  Coffee people everywhere owe Todd Carmichael an apology, and  Duane Sorenson is now no more than a figurehead of a company that has been handed over to sharks. 

I'm not sure how Sorenson believes he is still running this company when 90% of it belongs to people who only care about making money, not quality coffee.  Don't get me wrong I have no issue with money, i want to make a ton of it.  I just realize that you can't make millions and pay above market prices, give all your employees great benefits, and keep quality as your number one objective. 

I'll give it a year before we see Stumptown on the shelf next to Folgers cans in Walmart.  

I don't know why Sorenson continues to hide behind transparent lies.  Just tell us that it is really hard to make money in coffee and you want to cash in your hard work.  I'd respect that a lot more. 

Note From Duane - Here
CoffeeGeek Blog - Here
Willamette Week article - Here

Transcend Coffee kayanza bwai lot no 6 review

I was extremely happy to open my mail box this week and find a package from Transcend Coffee.  I received an email from them several weeks ago asking if we would be interested in reviewing one of their coffees.  My response... Umm  Yeah!  This is the first of what we hope will become many reviews from different coffee roasters around the world.

Before trying the coffee I went to their website to check out what type of company they are.  In retrospect I should have given it a completely unbiased opinion by trying the coffee first, but the bag alone let me know that they were a specialty coffee roaster.

On the site you see all the things you expect to see from a modern day specialty coffee roaster. Photos of naked portafilter espresso shots, black and white shots of people next to a giant roaster, manual brew equipment for sale, mentions of coffee education and public cuppings, and most importantly descriptions of the coffee including the direct relationship with the farmers, mentioning them by name when available.

The bag that the coffee comes in must cost a pretty penny.  It is more complicated than any other bag I've seen, but in a good way.  It includes a full description of the coffee and instructions on how to better enjoy your coffee.

This particular bag of coffee was roasted on May 19th, 2011.  I received it on June 4th.  Just over 2 weeks past the roast date and withing the range of time recommended on the bag.  I was happy to receive it at all considering the Canadian Post strike.

Coffee Details:
Kayanza bwai lot no 6
Grown by: 3500 small land-holders
From: Kayanza, Burundi
Grown at: 1760-1850 meters
Varietal: Bourbon, Jackson & Mibirizi
Processing: Fully Washed

I prepared the coffee using a Hario v60 and 20g of coffee.  It has a wonderful aroma of floral and honey after grinding.  The end result was a very very clean cup of coffee that sweetened as it cooled.

I compare all the coffees I drink to my past experience with counter culture.  They are the roaster we use in our cafe and i've spend a lot of time in their training center in Atlanta.  In most part asking myself the question, "would I pay for this coffee".

My answer in this instance is Yes!

Please visit their site to learn more about this company -

Thursday, June 2, 2011

UPDATE - Stumptown sells to the highest bidder

After a few days where complaining and speculating has been running wild within coffee community details regarding the "sell" of Stumptown have finally been released.

The New York Times reports  that Duane Sorenson, Stumptown’s founder has brought in TSG Consumer Partners as an investment partner.  You'll remember the name from their involvement in Vitamin Water, and selling their stake in the company for $677M back in 2006. That was a lot of money back then. 

Sorenson says nothing will change, he is still in charge, but they want to expand so this is how it's happening.  While this appears to be a good point, I wonder how much "expansion" they can undertake before certain core values and quality become disposable.  Only time will tell. 

In the mean time, they should put the bottling company here in Atlanta.  We have a small company in the city called Coca-Cola Bottling Company.  Maybe you've heard of it?  With the connection to vitamin water i'm sure they could make it happen and this would make it a lot easier for me to purchase fresh Stubbies!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A 17% price hike for Starbucks beans

MSN Money reports that Starbucks has a price hike coming our (well maybe your) way. Article source is here: READ THIS!

My good friend and world's greatest realtor Janeen posted this article up on my Facebook wall.  Since I have been slow to blog lately (spring/summer break) I was salivating to spread some more truth behind this headline.

Anyone who is somewhat connected to the specialty coffee industry would understand that coffee prices have been on the rise for over a yeah and a half.  To define the term "connected" this could be an industry person or someone who buys specialty coffee, like my mom.  So it doesn't take a special knowledge base to get this.  Starbucks' cost is now rising because they have so much supply sitting in their distribution warehouses.  While cost has been going up for 18 months Starbucks is still slinging beans for $8-$12 bucks a bag.  If you are super lucky you might get it on sale for $6 at Target.

To be more clear, by "so much supply" I mean stuff is sitting there, aging.  The rumor I have heard is a minimum of 6 months before Starbucks coffee hits your local grocery store.  This helps keep the coffee consistent or consistently old.  Either way it is Starbucks own version of quality control.  Making sure that its coffee is burnt beyond drinkability.

As always buy better quality coffee...reject that price hike from Starbucks and spend your dollars with quality roasters.  We will be adding a links page soon but for now: