We're in a seasonal transition of our coffee varieties right now, so I thought it'd be helpful to answer this question with a blog post. I wish I didn't have to respond to the question. I know as well as anyone that when you find that perfect cup of coffee, you want to keep enjoying it for mornings to come. Unfortunately, that's not how this industry works.
Let me explain: Although it may be easy to forget because of the way coffee is typically sold, coffee is a crop. It varies significantly in flavor from farm to farm and even year to year. Think about coffee like wine. Mass produced wines have less to them, but you know what you're getting, and you know you'll get that same thing year after year. However, the smaller boutique vineyards have good years and bad years. The vineyards work very hard to produce a better batch this year than the year before, but that doesn't always happen that way. It could be due to variables they control, but sometimes weather or a bug changes everything. Coffee farms are quite similar.
With the same analogy in mind, at Sagebrush Coffee, is we try to find the best coffee we can this year and roast it to perfection and then sell that. When we buy a perfect unroasted coffee, we cannot keep it on the shelf for more than about six months before it really isn't what it was when we started. This is where the wine analogy breaks down. With wine, it gets better with age. Coffee is the opposite. We have a small window of perfection. There always is a risk/reward decision to be made with every single crop.
Let me give you an example. This week (the week of July 8, 2019) we will be receiving a new shipment of Costa Rica and Nicaragua beans, each coffee better than the coffees we currently are providing. Not that the coffees we offer aren’t already top notch, it’s just that this season, some crops have proven themselves as superior, which is why we are making the decision to cut a couple of our best sellers to give you, the valued customer, an even better coffee-drinking experience. The Costa Rica Don Eli and the Nicaragua Javanica Gold are on their way out, but that only means better coffee for you guys.
Also, throughout the past 3 years, we’ve consistently bought coffee from a certain farm in Guatemala. This coffee is what many of you know as our Guatemalan La Bolsa Gold Label. Unfortunately, we are in the process of phasing out that coffee and replacing with some new Guatemalan coffees. It has consistently been a delicious cup and has always satisfied us, but the competition between farms is tight. We’re beginning to find coffees in Guatemala that are even better than the La Bolsa crop. Our Guat gold has always been a favorite, and it will be difficult to see it go, but that consistency in crop quality is quite rare and we were lucky to have such a good coffee for even this long. This is all just a part of the coffee business, that willingness to move onto the next coffee is the only way to improve.
These experiences always remind me of something: I can’t cling to a coffee I trust. I have to cup and sell the best bean. That's what you guys have come to expect, and that's what we spend a lot of time trying to do, finding and perfecting that perfect roast is the real mission here.
So, if your favorite coffee is gone, try some of the new ones. Odds are the new crop from that farm went head to head with what we ended up picking and lost. At the end of the day, I want to provide for you guys the best coffee I can find and then roast it to perfection.
If you're not sure which coffee to choose, I suggest you start here.
Whole Bean: Unground coffee for a home grinder.
Coarse: Think sugar in the raw, maybe more coarse, recommended for Chemex Brewer, French Press, Cold Brew
Medium: Slightly coarser than table salt, recommended for Metal Kone filters, Flat bottom brewers including Kalitta, Cloth filters
Fine: Slightly finer than table salt, recommended for V60 pour overs, Cone filter coffee pots, Moka Pot, Aeropress.
Extra Fine: Like powdered sugar, recommended for Espresso.
If at all possible, we recommend grinding at home. We prefer Baratza coffee grinders and offer several of their models for sale. Click here to shop for one of their brewers.