As many of you are aware, we are sending our Michael Butterworth back into the trenches. After placing fifth in the Southeast region of the Barista Competition, Michael qualified for the U.S. National Coffee Championship in Seattle April 24 - 27. Michael has chosen to compete with the Colombian La Palma and below he tells us exactly why...
They say that the best things come in small packages. And we say what could be better than multiple small packages grouped together into one big awesome package?!!
In this land where coffee flows like wild horses (sound familiar)? It's flowing proudly now as we gear up for the Kentucky Derby - the first and the favorite of the annual Triple Crown of horse racing.
In celebration we are now offering our own grand Triple Crown. And ours consists of some of the finest tasting coffees the world has to offer - roasted with the utmost care, attention, love and goodwill by yours truly.
The Colombian Triple Crown
La Palma Pradera Nariño
Each bag will contain 4 oz. of each roast - packaged together - all three for $21
We've been raving about this one for the short time we've had it - specifically that it's a part of Cafe Import's Aces Program which rewards farmers for extra exceptional coffees. This one scored super high on the cupping table (more on that very soon when Michael Butterworth tells us why it's the coffee he'll be competing with in the US Barista Competition in Seattle). It's thick and juicy with plum, tangerine and strawberry rhubarb. We've served up a lot of it lately through the V60 and Chemex - with ecstatic reviews.
This coffee is one of the 20 finalists from a regional competition in Huila -which you can read about HERE It's a full-bodied coffee that exemplifies a mellow, luxurious Colombian profile. Soft and creamy with white grape, chocolate and caramel.
And our newest addition...
This coffee comes to us from an exciting new program for our importer called “Regional Selects”. Highlighting four distinct growing regions- or departments- within Colombia, this program blends coffees from each area to showcase the unique flavor profiles inherent to each.
More from our importer, Cafe Imports, on this program: “We think that the terroir…sun, weather and placement on the planet contribute largely to the flavor of these coffees when picked ripe and handled properly. These coffees are selected by cup and then blended together like a Rhone wine or a local honey that comes (from) many fields in a four mile radius.”
This regional select -from the Nariño department- shows its regional characteristics well. Nariño generally tends to produce coffees that are floral and perfumed, with bright and intense citric acidity. This coffee in particular is tangy, bright and juicy with a velvety body and chocolate-orange overtones. It’s been a dynamic contributor to our Inkwell house blend for a few months now, and we’re excited to bring it to the forefront as a single origin offering in conjunction with the other stellar Colombian coffees in our lineup right now.
Quills Coffee is elated to once again be partnering with a proudly local maker of top-class, quality goods. And this time it's one that's earned the respect and prestige of nearly 200 years of fine crafting.
Louisville's well-known Stoneware Art Factory is one of the oldest stoneware manufacturers in the United States! It was established in 1815 and only grows in its commitment to and expertise in the transformation of clay into functional art for the home, kitchen and garden.
Located at 731 Brent Street, the factory celebrated its largest renovation in over 20 years this past Thursday unveiling new collections and products.
So what does Quills have to do with this besides being huge fans?
Well all you lucky folks embarking on tours of the new operations will be served cups of yours truly as you peruse. Our coffee will also be available for retail sale there and we are working to develop a line of Stoneware's specialty cups for Quills cafes to sell.
It's all very exciting. and we had a blast at the opening so we thought we'd share a few pictures from the day...
Quills would like to introduce you to our latest superstar: Wholesale Accounts Representative Josh McGee
It's super exciting to be growing so much, so far, so wide, we have need of cool titles like this. It's also super exciting to invite yet more passionate and fun people on board our ship coffee.
So we'll just let the boy introduce himself to ya and you just try, (we dare you) just try not to like him.
The beloved Charles Schulz once said: "All you need is love but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt"
And Plato said that "love is a serious mental disease."
We do agree that chocolate goes right along with love - the friendly kinds, the familial kinds, the romantic kinds, the self kinds... So we're giving you 25% off our incredible hand-crafted chocolate bars when you buy a bag of coffee. That's any of our selection of New York's Mast Brothers and Nashville's Olive & Sinclair (including their Bourbon Nib Brittle).
We're also offering 10% off all brewing equipment and Quills merchandise.
These deals are active now and will continue through Saturday, February 15th.
But there's more!
On the actual calendar, officially celebrated day - that's Friday, February 14th - we encourage you to "Share the Love" with your significant other, your coworker, your best friend, your mom... (you get the point). All day long we invite you to come into any location, buy a drink and get 50% off a second. And it's all because... well shucks, We love ya!
...looking back at some good stories over the past few months...
*Our partnership with Thrive Farmers and the cool ways they're working to make sure quality coffee and quality pay are provided on all ends.
*In regards to our manually brewed options- we replaced the French Press with another immersion technique - The Clever. This is our ode to it's lovely efficiency.
*We've been so unbelievably honored and excited to now have gone out in a Craft Coffee subscription box three times. This is how it happened the first time and it's a pretty amazing story.
*And while we certainly recommend Craft's quality choices (especially if you'd like to taste coffees from all over), you can also receive Quill's coffee in the same fashion by signing up for our subscription services. Also available are wholesale accounts. Learn about them both here.
*Hard to believe while we're stuck in the middle of this polar vortex but someday it will be warm again. And Cold Brew will be back. Here's something to help you envision it, start looking forward, or just start making it yourself ahead of time.
*People still get super excited about latte art and why wouldn't they? It's like you get to sip on a creamy espresso-infused rosetta or tulip or heart. Sounds like heaven. It also sounds like a great excuse for a competition. Many Quillsians have taken part but here's an interview with just a couple of them back when they headed to New York for one of the biggest battles.
*Awwww... back when our red-bearded friend Lee Sill was with us and on bar educating the world - or at least downtown New Albany - on brewing really really good coffee (now he does it for Barista Parlour in Nashville along with his wife- and former Quills manager - Emily). Thank goodness we got some COFFEE 101 tips from him recorded before he left.
Our operations team took some time out to visit a few of Kentucky's treasured breweries and distilleries recently. The goal was to simply enjoy some good old-fashioned team building while further supporting and appreciating one of our great state's finest legacies. Of course- there was also discussion of the craft itself and how closely the creation of the two potent potables -coffee and bourbon- might be related (as opposite as their generally happy effects on our body might be). However it was just that latter consideration that had a bit of a surprising resolution- at least according to what many of us might have guessed. Our roaster -Jesse Myers- and New Albany manager- Justin Taylor- gave us their thoughts on the trip and what they learned.
There is much discussion and even controversy in the ideas of coffee fairness - specifically the oft-misunderstood label of Fair Trade and how much money actually makes it to the farmers. We will not be taking the time to hash all of that out at the moment but we do encourage educating yourself. There is a lot of easily searchable info out there explaining the pros and cons, ins and outs and various positions
Our recent engagement with the THRIVE Farmers business model is not a statement against other methods of fair business practices, however we are excited about these new endeavors and appreciate how they are bringing us such interesting coffees and seeking to improve the way in which farmers are compensated and able to continue growing their farms.
The San Cristobal "honey-process" has its own interesting story we've told you about recently. It also was used by Michael in his recent success at the USCC Barista Competition. This coffee was the first we worked with THRIVE in obtaining. You can read more about the specific unique process of that coffee (and order it) here.
THRIVE's basic approach is to allow for direct relationships from the farmer to the roaster without a lot of the costs and logistical challenges that make that impractical for many.
From their website:
This "farm-to-table" approach looks something like this...
- Consign a portion of the farmer's crop
- Defer immediate payment in order to obtain a much higher price when the roasted coffee is sold at retail
- Deliver a higher percentage of the net profit from the retail sale to the farmer
Several weeks ago we were fortunate enough to be able to talk to the farmer -in addition to the guys at THRIVE- through Skype and learned a little more about both the process and THRIVE's practices and hopes.
Our Director of Operations Luke Daugherty sums it up:
But we certainly can't tell the story as well and personally as THRIVE farmer Alejandro Garcia. We encourage you to watch.