Monthly Archives: April 2011

For Wholesale Customers: Introducing Steven Smith Teamaker

| April 19, 2011

Last week at Caffe Vita headquarters, we were visited by Steven Smith of Steven Smith Teamaker, who carried his teacups up from Portland, Oregon. Smith Teamaker teas in the Tip-Top Cartons are now available to Caffe Vita wholesale customers.

Master teamaker Steven prepared twelve teas spanning the families of green/white, black, and herbal infusions. It was a beautiful progression of color and character, as we tasted our way around the table. A staff favorite was Peppermint Leaves, made from Oregon peppermint. It was not the mint we were expecting; it surprised everyone by being familiar, flavorful and intensely refreshing. Other favorites were the White Petal (taster’s quote, “I could drink this all day long. Really.”), Lord Bergamot (Smith’s take on Earl Grey), and Big Hibiscus (so much going on besides the magenta).
Here’s a closer look at the green leaves and the fine mesh of the Peppermint Leaves sachet. The tea sachets — bags, strings, and tags — are fully compostable.

The floral and spicy Big Hibiscus was complex and luscious. It brewed into a deep cabernet that brought new boldness of color to the teacup, with flavor to match.

Learn more about Steven Smith Teamaker at the Smith Blog.

Introducing Eco-friendly Zoo Special Reserve coffee

| April 15, 2011

We are honored to partner with our good friends at the Woodland Park Zoo to release a special product that supports the Zoo and their conservation programs. Our newest coffee, Zoo Special Reserve, is organic and shade-grown using sustainable farming practices. The beans are from a farm in the Santa Rosa district of Guatemala and were certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The farmers who grow this coffee promote biodiversity by setting aside over forty percent of their land as a nature reserve, which protects the habitats of native tropical animals and birds such as gray foxes, armadillos, anteaters, parrots and butterflies.
Caffe Vita will donate $1 to the Woodland Park Zoo for every bag of Zoo Special Reserve sold in our cafes.

The Woodland Park Zoo is raising funds for their Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, which works with indigenous landowners in Papua New Guinea to improve community livelihoods while protecting biodiversity and the habitat of the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo.
The 12-ounce bags of whole beans are available now at our six Seattle locations.

New Crop Farm-Direct Guatemala Arrives

| April 12, 2011

Ah, springtime is here, which means the arrival of new crop coffees from Central America and Africa. Last week, we unloaded a container from Ethiopia, including some lovely Yirgacheffe from the Kochere district, and today saw the arrival of our very own farm-direct Guatemalan coffee beans from Finca Nuevo Vinas. (Take a look at the source report and photos from our trip to Guatemala back in February.) The ripe cherries were harvested less than two months ago; this farm-direct coffee is extra fresh.

We are in the process of cupping and developing roast profiles for these coffees, and we’ll let you know when they are ready to brew and pour. Stay tuned!

New Arrival : Carmo Nero de Minas

| April 6, 2011

Situated in the valley of the Rio Verde, and flanked by the Serra da Mantiqeira mountain range, Carmo de Minas is a unique region within the massive coffee producing nation of Brazil. Whereas much of the production in Brazil is geared towards high yield, mechanized monoculture, coffee from Carmo is grown and processed with great attentiveness and pride, with a focus on quality and harmonious stewardship of the land.  Ibraim Chaib de Souza and his son Pedro produce our Carmo coffee, on the Condado and Pico Agudo estates, and they represent the third and fourth generation of this coffee farming family. 

The coffee is harvested and sorted by density in channels of water to isolate the ripe cherries, which are then pulped (the skin and flesh removed).  The resulting sticky parchment-covered beans are laid out in a thin layer and raked regularly to ensure even drying. This process is known as pulped natural, and results in a cup with some of the body and sweetness of a natural, but with more clarity of flavor and complexity.

The aroma is an intriguing mix of herbal and dried fruit notes: eucalyptus, fig, and cherry come to mind. The body is full and honeyed, with flavors of roasted almond, sugar cane, and orange zest leading to an amaretto and dark chocolate finish.

This coffee is a part of our Farm Direct program, and is available at our retail locations and online.