Archive for January 2013

Central America does battle with coffee fungus

Thursday, January 24th, 2013No Comments


Costa Rica Coffee Harvest Down 10%

Mother Nature has dealt Central America a lousy hand. Earthquakes, floods and hurricanes of biblical proportions have battered the isthmus over the years, but the latest natural disaster is a botanical one.

A plague known as “coffee rust” has hit the region’s top-quality arabica crop. Central America is scrambling to contain the coffee-eating fungus that has invaded a third of the impoverished region’s crops, threatening to cost the vital industry hundreds of millions of dollars.The Costa Rica national coffee harvest amount for the 2012-2013 period will fall by at least 9.8%, primarily due to the impact of the rust fungus.

“The entire coffee region is affected, some more than others,” Marcelino Samayo, director general of El Salvador’s coffee exporters’ association.
Panama, Honduras Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica are reporting up to 30% of crops are affected in their respective countries.

Governments and producers will try to contain the invasion by pruning infected leaves, putting up effective shading systems and planting fungus-resistant seeds to replace dead coffee plants, said Nicaraguan Agriculture Minister Ariel Bucardo.

Ron Buchanan has written a short and sweet blog post at the Financial Times that explains the situation.

Flight School

Friday, January 18th, 2013No Comments


For our first public event of 2013 we are switching it up a little. Rather than our traditional pour-over home brewing demo, we’re going to focus on a coffee tasting event. There is so much good coffee happening out there we want to pay tribute to the other roasters and offer a small sampling of their unique coffee offerings. Join us as we sample a flight of coffees from across North America including Klatch, Verve, Counter Culture, Olympia, Handsome, Bow Truss and Cherry Hill Coffee. We hope you can make it out and have the opportunity to try some coffee you may not experience otherwise.

$5 | February 1, 2013 | Register at
Location: 3pm in the lab at Cherry Hill Coffee
1-1404 Hunter Court, Kelowna BC

Tim Garn: Roastmaster

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013No Comments

Tim Garn

If you’ve ever been to the Cherry Hill Coffee roastery in Kelowna, British Columbia you may have seen a blur of energy by the roaster. If he was belting out rock anthems it was probably our roastmaster Tim Garn. We sat down with our roastmaster over a cup of coffee (what else) to find out exactly what he’s doing all day.

Tim Garn
Roastmaster, Cherry Hill Coffee
Age: 45
Roasting since: 1999

Q: How did you get into the coffee business?
A: I was a welder previously and kind of married into it. Papa Don Biglow was running things at the time and he was my (new) father-in-law, and they needed some help packaging coffee and doing deliveries and from there I just got more involved in the production and roasting side of the business.

Q: So where did you get your training then.
A: I learned the trade from some pretty old school guys, and they taught me everything I know. I learned the old fashioned way, roasting by sight, sound and smell. I work a lot with wood at home building furniture, and roasting coffee is like that, there’s a lot of craftsmanship involved.

Q: What’s involved with being roastmaster?
A: We do up to 25 roasts a day so I’m constantly loading beans into the hopper, checking beans in the roasting drum, mixing blends in the cooling drum or weighing out the next roast. I’m going a mile a minute and love it!. Specifically I’m responsible for inspecting the green beans before they make it into production, and I’m making sure the coffee meets the specific roast profile for each origin or blend, and I’m always adjusting to make sure things are just right (They are vintage roasters! And air humidity, bean moisture content and ambient temperature affects the roast). I’m in constant communication with QA to make sure the coffee is up to our quality standards. And with the added standard of being certified organic, there’s some additional protocols and paperwork to complete.

Q: Sounds busy! How much coffee can you roast at a time. What temperature do you roast up to?
A: Our big roaster can roast up to 30 kg at a time, or 64 lb. The smaller one we do anywhere from 15-24 lb based on the coffee. First crack is usually around the 400˚ mark for the lighter roasts like Ethiopia which is a pretty light, small bean, and something dark like the Peru we dump at 440˚ because the bean is a bit bigger and has a higher moisture content. There’s so many factors that go into the roast profile because every bean has different characteristics.

Q: With everything you’re concentrating on, how do you keep up quality control in a busy environment?
A: There’s so many checks and balances between the production staff and QA but the staff as a whole are a quality control army. We’re constantly cupping. Everyone is always involved at every part of the process so nothing is compromised. We take quality seriously here and I think it shows in the finished product.

Q:We hear you’ve got some beautiful gardens at home. What’s the secret?
A: It’s top secret! I guess I can tell you though. I’ve got a secret ingredient in my mulch.
I take home all the chaff from the roaster – the light, airy husks blown off the beans during roasting – and add it to my mulch. It adds a lot of nutrients like nitrogen, keeps away slugs and snails and does wonders with my tomato plants!

Q: If we put three different coffees in front of you and blindfolded you – could you tell them apart?
A: A lot of them taste the same to me but I can always pick out my favourite – Jivaro Dusk (Peru). And I can tell the difference between Ethioopia and a French Roast.

Q: Last question: any good fire stories?
A: No comment!

Haha – fair enough! Thanks for your time Tim!


Coffee apps for your iPhone

Monday, January 14th, 2013No Comments


There are now a number of coffee apps available for iPhone focused on brewing. Specifically brew recipes for various brew methods and corresponding brew times.
We’re often asked which apps to recommend so we thought we’d make a list based on whats on our phones here at Cherry Hill Coffee

Let’s start with Bloom – a simple iPhone app that lets coffee geeks store timers and parameters for different brew methods. Bloom comes pre-loaded with a long list of recipes for everything from Chemex and Hario pour-overs to Aeropress and Siphon brew methods. The best thing about Bloom is it’s fully customizable and you can create your own recipes. The timer function is also well thought out, letting you know when to pour and when the bloom should be finished. You can also toggle between remaining time or elapsed time. Our favourite Bloom feature is the ease of tweaking recipes when dialing in coffees, it’s a snap to edit the parameters or save recipes. And the best part is you can share your favourites with friends over Twitter, text message or email. This app will set you back $2.99 — which is less than the cost of a cappuccino.

Brew Control is like it’s name implies also a coffee brewing app similar to Bloom. Brew Control has pre-defined recipes and parameters for AeroPress, Drip, Chemex, Espresso, Pour-Over, French Press, and Siphon. You can select imperial or metric measurements. The coolest thing about Brew Control is the analogue look of the dials in the interface. It makes it simple to adjust parameters on the fly for different coffees. However – and this our biggest pet peeve with this app – you can’t add new brew methods to the list (But you can customize each recipe to your own settings). Brew Control is $1.99 in the iTunes store.

The smart guys over at Intelligentsia, created their own (free) Intelligentsia Coffee application which allows users to check out all their current coffee offerings and is accompanied with instructions and parameters for each coffee. And if you’re in the US, you can also take advantage of directions to all their locations. Nicely designed app, but not too useful if you’re into other coffee or want to create your own water to coffee ratio or change up brew times.

Last but not least is one of the OGs when it comes to brewing apps is Coffee Timer. This original sounding app is a solid reference for setting the appropriate ratios of coffee grinds to water and for timing your brew. While there are many customizable features for setting your brew parameters, it can take a bit of time to switch between screens, save recipes and start brewing. There’s almost too much customization for the home user, although we love it here in the lab. Coffee Timer is also $1.99.

Lots of options out there for coffee geeks of every level. With all the functionality and customization available, there’s bound to be one that works for you.
Now get over to the iTunes store and check these out for yourself. And if we missed any, let us know!

Fridges are for beer not coffee

Monday, January 14th, 2013No Comments


Picture a hot summer day, and the beer you just grabbed from the fridge is ice cold. Little beads of water trickle down as condensation forms on the bottle.

This is what happens when you put your coffee and espresso beans in the fridge and then take them out. When you remove the beans from the fridge the cold beans draw water vapour from the warm air, becoming damp. This moisture compromises flavor and aroma. Plus your fridge also hosts a variety of odours (left-over pizza, that half-empty Cholula hot sauce and diced onions) that your freshly roasted beans will absorb. And the more you take your coffee in and out of the fridge the more stale and smelly they will get. And think that ruins your coffee? Your freezer is twice as bad. Don’t even think about it!

Now that we think about it, coffee beans are a lot like gremlins – they don’t like  to get wet, keep them out of light and and, most importantly: never, ever feed them after midnight. Well almost like gremlins. Keep your beans safe by storing them in an airtight container, in a cool dark cupboard, and taking them out just before brewing

Let’s take it from the top; first, coffee and fridges don’t mix – keep your fridge for beer. Two, grind them when you need them. Three; don’t feed them after midnight. Remember these rules things and you’ll have great coffee all the time.

PS – If you have a chance to try Russel Brewery’s Hop Therapy Double IPA, do it! It’s full of hoppy goodness and brewed right here in BC.

Drip into 2013 with a Hario Brewer

Thursday, January 10th, 2013No Comments


If you’re obsessed with coffee like we are and on a quest for the perfect cup of coffee, look no further. We at Cherry Hill Coffee are huge fans of the Hario v60 pour-over coffee brewer.

As Kevin Sinott notes at Coffee Review: “The Hario V60 is definitely what the doctor ordered for the new slow coffee movement, that is brewed coffee done by hand, one cup at a time.”  While there are plenty of similar pour-over brewers like the Clever and Kalita, we prefer the classic original.

Oliver Strand, the curator of the Times Topics coffee page has written the best description of pour-over coffee I’ve come across, specifically in regards to the Hario v60: “As coffee-brewing techniques go, pour over is slow and mannered. It’s low tech. It has a funny name. And yet, pour over is an ongoing obsession within the coffee world. It could be because the coffee it makes is so clean, so round and fruity, that you can fully taste all those complex layers of flavor that are supposed to be lurking in the best single-origin and micro-lot beans.”

The key to the Hario method, and what makes it a slightly more challenging and methodical process, is the water delivery. Having a gooseneck spout kettle like the Fino kettle we carry allows for precision pouring. Strand continues: ” When you control the flow of the water, you control the extraction.” In addition to pouring technique we also have to factor in the dripper’s unique cone design. “The inside of the V60 cone is a vortex of deep ridges that end in a nickel-size opening. The pour-over coffee that comes out of a V60 is, according to coffee geeks, far superior to anything else out there.”

Join the pour-over revolution and pick up a Hario v60 Dripper and Server. And don’t forget your filters!

Chemex Coffee Brewers are in stock

Thursday, January 10th, 2013No Comments


If you’re looking to up your coffee game, throw out your old coffee pot and get serious about pour-over brewing the folks over at Dear Coffee I Love You have a great resource for coffeephiles looking for more information on Chemex coffee brewers:

“The Chemex is possibly the most elegant looking of all brewing devices and one of my favorite ways to make coffee. It was designed in 1941 by a German chemist, Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, who immigrated to the United States in 1935. The modern hourglass shape of the Chemex, hugged in the middle by a wooden collar and leather tie, became a part of MoMA’s permanent collection in 1944—just a few years after its invention.

Apart from its sophisticated design, it makes an equally great cup of coffee when it’s not looking beautiful on your counter or the walls of a modern art museum.”

Jessica Hundley describes the features best: “The Chemex combines a pour over filter cone with a beautiful glass decanter. The defining feature of this method is an ultra thick paper filter set flush against the walls. Because the thick paper filter sits flush against the walls of the server, water flows through the grounds more slowly and the dwell time is longer than other pour over methods. This is helpful, as brewing a tasty cup is less dependent on the skill of the user and more on precise and well-chosen parameters. The Chemex highlights the brighter notes in coffee and yields a clean, sweet cup.

There is an alternate, glass-handled design that is easier to clean and allows a better view of the coffee brewing process. Aesthetics and quality aside, we like the Chemex for its ease of use. In regards to pour over devices, we find the Chemex to be one of the easiest for beginners to take up. The thickness of the filter and slower brew time allows for a greater margin of error, while the one-piece design reduces spills and can be less intimidating to handle.”

Sold yet? Choose from the 8 Cup Woodneck or 8 Cup Handle brewer from Cherry Hill Coffee’s online shop or pop into our Kelowna, BC roastery and espresso bar to see them in action.

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