<![CDATA[Mystic Coffee Roaster | 30 Riverside Ave, Medford, MA (781)391-0042 - Blog]]>Tue, 24 Jan 2017 02:16:11 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Espresso Blends: Raising the Curtain of Mystery]]>Tue, 19 Apr 2016 15:27:19 GMThttp://mysticcoffeeroaster.com/blog/espresso-blends-raising-the-curtain-of-mysteryPicture
A lot of people come into the shop looking for a bag of coffee to take home, and they ask: What do you suggest? I actually dread the question because to me, it’s like asking me to order a meal for you. I don’t know what you like. If I suggest my favorite thing, you might hate it. So my first question to those who ask is, “What do YOU like?” More often than not, people will say that they like dark roasts, so I suggest our Espresso Blend because it’s one of our darkest roasts (which by the way isn’t all that dark, but that’s a whole other discussion), and I think it’s a nice blend of beans that complement each other very well. 

I’ve noticed that when the word “espresso” comes up, people tend to shy away and say that they don’t want espresso. The perception is that espresso is this mysterious bean that can’t be used for anything else but making espresso shots or lattes & cappuccinos. It must be too strong or too dark to make regular coffee. Alarms will go off and the coffee police will show up and write a citation if they try to make coffee from an espresso blend. It just won’t be good, will it?

It’s at the point where I’m thinking about changing the name of our Mystic Espresso Blend to “Really Nice Coffee”. So I want to set the record straight about espresso and espresso blends, and raise the curtain of mystery. Here are the facts:
  • Espresso is not made from a specific bean. All different kinds of coffees are used in espresso blends.
  • Espresso is not made from coffee at a specific roast. All different roast levels can be used to make an espresso blend. Some roasters make it dark; some not so much. A good roaster pays attention to the flavors that can be extracted from the particular beans in the blend to decide which roast level to use.
  • Espresso is the result of a process that involves coffee at a particular grind + hot water under pressure for a certain amount of time. Very specific equipment is required. The resulting liquid is concentrated coffee. It's not that the coffee beans used to make it are stronger than other beans. The process makes a strong coffee from regular beans. Espresso is a drink, not a bean.
  • If you put our Mystic Espresso Blend in your drip coffee maker, the result is not espresso. It’s regular drip coffee.
  • You can use any coffee to make espresso. It’s just that some coffees taste better than others as espresso. You can use any espresso blend to make coffee and it’ll probably be pretty darn good coffee.
  • We call our espresso blend “Mystic Espresso Blend” because we happen use it for our espresso. That’s the only reason. The blend has evolved and will continue to evolve over time. Many of the same components in our espresso blend are used in other blends that we make. It’s all coffee.
  • There are no rules for making a good espresso blend. It’s like making a salad. There are basic recipes but you are free to throw in as many (or as few) delicious things as you want. There is Caesar salad and tossed salad and potato salad and bean salad and there are infinite variations on each type of salad. But it’s all salad and all can be delicious in their own way. So it is with espresso blends.
  • Just like you can make a roast for dinner from a nice cut of beef AND delicious roast beef sandwiches from the same cut of beef, you can make espresso AND delicious coffee from the same blend of beans.
OK, now I’m getting hungry. But you get the idea? How you make and use coffee is limited only by your own taste. Your taste is never wrong. There are no rules. So fear not and drink up! 

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<![CDATA[Good Stories]]>Thu, 27 Feb 2014 16:14:01 GMThttp://mysticcoffeeroaster.com/blog/good-storiesPictureLiberica beans. Photo courtesy
of Len Brault, Heirloom Coffee.
So a bunch of people have been in the shop telling me that I have to watch the show Dangerous Grounds, on the Travel Channel. Unfortunately I don't have the appropriate cable package for me to watch the Travel Channel, so two years later, through the magic of the interwebs, I watched an episode last night. The show is of the "reality" genre, with the host, Todd Carmichael, being the owner of a coffee roastery in Philadelphia. He travels the world searching for rare coffees to bring back to his shop to roast & sell. The particular episode that I watched took him to Borneo, in search of the rare Liberica bean. He claimed his goal was to be the very first American to bring back Liberica and that certainly nobody in this country has ever tasted it before.

OK, so right there, I'm raising an eyebrow because I know darn well I tasted Liberica for the first time in our friend Len Brault's tasting room at Heirloom Coffee in West Medford in 2011 and I'm pretty sure he'd been getting it for some time at that point. Len gets it from the Philippines, and I roast it for him almost every week. Yes it is a rare bean so quantities are limited, but hey, you too can get this bean right here in Medford! Liberica has a somewhat floral aroma and an earthy, slightly smokey finish. If you like interesting coffees you'll want to try it. Just let me know ahead of time and I can usually get small quantities of it. Or you can certainly order it from Len too
At first I was put off by Mr. Carmichael's inaccurate claims, however, as I watched the show I was amused. He was clearly having a good time in Borneo and having a real adventure despite the fact that I don't believe for one minute he & his producers didn't know where to find the Liberica even before he stepped onto the plane in the States. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if the Liberica coffee farm that he eventually "found" in Borneo has its own web site! But it was a good story and a nice travel adventure for sure. And it brought some exposure to the often overlooked Liberica bean, which is a completely different strain of coffee from the more commonly cultivated Arabica and Robusta strains. 
As I was watching the show, the travel bug in me certainly came out of hiding and smacked me in the face! Before I got into the coffee business, my husband & I traveled a fair amount, often shooting comical videos of our adventures. I want to do that again! So I've resolved to take a trip this Spring in search of "rare" or at the very least, delicious coffee beans, someplace in Central or South America. I'll keep you posted about our destination and eventually, our travels & experiences delving into coffee origins! Think Spring!
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<![CDATA[What's Old Is New Again: PNG]]>Sat, 15 Feb 2014 20:46:27 GMThttp://mysticcoffeeroaster.com/blog/whats-old-is-new-again-pngPictureA new bag of coffee from PNG!
It has been almost a year since we offered coffee from Papua New Guinea! Now we finally have a new lot, which we've been enjoying very much. And this bean is Fair Trade Certified(TM), produced by the Keto Tapasi Association, a group of 3,000 small-holder producers. Interestingly, most coffee produced in PNG is grown by subsistance farmers who devote only about a hectare of land to coffee. People grow food for their families on most of the rest of their land and coffee provides families with some cash. By necessity, small farmers need to pool their resources to process and export coffee, overcoming historical tribal and clan differences to work together. We are happy to enjoy the results of their cooperation! 

We roast our PNG coffee on the dark side of medium. It has tons of body and a syrupy texture. Spicy and cedar with a chocolate and slightly smokey finish. It's very interesting and we hope you like it! 

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<![CDATA[We are Fair Trade(TM) Certified!]]>Wed, 13 Nov 2013 00:19:12 GMThttp://mysticcoffeeroaster.com/blog/we-are-fair-tradetm-certifiedPicture
Yeah, more big news! We recently received our Fair Trade(TM) certification! What does that mean? Well, we've been purchasing Fair Trade certified beans all along. In general about 20-30% of our beans have always been Fair Trade. But now that we're "legal" we can actually put the logo on our packaging so that you can be assured that the beans you're buying are certifed Fair Trade. If you're not sure what Fair Trade does, you can read more about it here. But for those of you who know and who go out of your way to buy Fair Trade products, check us out! We currently have 3 single-origin beans that are certified: Guatemala Huehuetenango, Costa Rica Cielo, and Mexican Chiapas

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So if Fair Trade is so great why isn't all of our coffee certified? Well, mostly it comes down to three major factors: quality, availability and price. Due to financial constraints, we buy coffee on "Spot," which means we buy what our suppliers have on hand right now, and our suppliers don't always have a particular coffee that we're looking for as a Fair Trade bean. For example, we might be looking for a Colombian coffee today, but today our supplier doesn't have a Colombian Fair Trade bean and they say they may not have one for another month or two. More than likely we will need to deliver some Colombian coffee within the next month, so we have to buy the best Colombian our supplier has today. 

Or perhaps our supplier has a Colombian Fair Trade bean, but it's twice the price of a Mexican Fair Trade bean. If we can get 2 bags of a really nice Mexican Fair Trade bean for the same price as one bag of Colombian, and we only have budget for one or the other, well, you can guess what the decision is going to be. 

Also, our coffee has to be great! A lot of you know that one of our favorite coffees around here is a nice, fruity & floral Ethiopian. We have tasted a lot of Ethiopian coffee but have yet to taste a Fair Trade Ethiopian that is up to our standards. We know there has to be one out there and as soon as we find it, we'll be all over it. But so far it has eluded us. So for now, we buy the best Ethiopian we can at a fair price, from sources like Cafe Imports, which is also a certified Fair Trade coffee importer, and which has a stellar reputation in the industry for quality and social responsibility. 

There are other reasons to purchase non-certified coffee. For example, our Nicaraguan coffee is from the folks at El Recreo Estate. We deal face-to-face with our friends, Mirriam & Hector Morales here in Massachusetts to purchase their coffee. Mirriam's parents own the coffee farm in Nicaragua so we know the farm is getting a fair price for their coffee. El Recreo Estate can never be a certified Fair Trade coffee due to the rules of Fair Trade (individual farms cannot be certified unless they are part of a cooperative, and plantations and estates are not allowed to join cooperatives). And we know that El Recreo Estate is committed to social and environmental responsibility due to their Rainforest Alliance certification. Their coffee is great, so really, we don't see a reason not to buy their coffee. 

I can go on and on. But suffice it to say, here at Mystic Coffee Roaster, we are committed to the ideals of Fair Trade, though we do not offer 100% Fair Trade coffee. We are very excited about our new certification and we promise to expand our Fair Trade offerings as much as we can and to always offer coffee that is ethically sourced. 

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<![CDATA[Umpqua Oats are here!]]>Sat, 09 Nov 2013 16:00:39 GMThttp://mysticcoffeeroaster.com/blog/umpqua-oats-are-herePicture
Yes we are expanding our food choices here for you! Another of our new additions to the lineup is Umpqua Oats. This is clearly the best nearly instant oatmeal that I've ever had. I'm not a fan of mushy, flavorless oatmeal. This stuff includes the whole oat grain, which makes it "al dente" - not mushy. And the flavors are great - and not too sweet. Currently we have: Salted Caramel, Not Guilty (Blueberries, apples, flax, chia and no added salt or sugar), R U Nuts (Walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds and flax), Mostly Sunny (Apples, cranberries and raisins - This one is nut free), and Kickstart (Blueberries, cranberries, sunflower seeds and more). They're all great for breakfast but I've been getting into the habit of eating one in the afternoon for a guilt-free, tasty snack to tide me over until dinnertime. You can get them with or without hot water, if you want to take one to make yourself later. "Umpqua" is a Native American word originally meaning "satisfied stomach," and yes, these oats do live up to their name!

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<![CDATA[Have you noticed? We haveTaza!]]>Fri, 08 Nov 2013 19:49:32 GMThttp://mysticcoffeeroaster.com/blog/have-you-noticed-we-havetazaPicture
There's so much news here, I don't want to dump it all at once, lest something get lost in the torrent! I'll post a few more blurbs over the weekend so you can get your Mystic News in nice bite sized chunks! Speaking of bite sized chunks, have you noticed one of our latest new editions??? We now have Taza Chocolates here at the cafe, for your chocolate snacking pleasure! If you don't know Taza, they are another great local company, with their factory right aroung the corner in Somerville! They make real stone ground Mexican style chocolate "from bean to bar". It's an experience not to be missed, especially when paired with our coffee! We now carry Taza discs in Vanilla, Cinnamon, Salt & Pepper, Salted Almond, Guajillo Chili and Coffee (off course!). Enjoy!

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<![CDATA[Yay Summer! Do not miss Auddity at MCR this week!]]>Mon, 15 Jul 2013 14:16:17 GMThttp://mysticcoffeeroaster.com/blog/yay-summer-do-not-miss-auddity-at-mcr-this-weekYeah it's hot and humid. This is New England and we'll be complaining about the cold in no time at all. Let's savor the sun and the frozen drinks while we can! 
This week will be the 2nd Circle the Square of the Summer, this Thursday, July 18 from 3:00 to 7:00. And once again, we have some great things going on here at MCR! Last month the smoothie and coffee samples were a big hit so we'll be doing that again. Free samples of all of our regular smoothie flavors from Dr. Smoothie will be available! So come in and cool off with a taste of an ice cold 100% crushed fruit smoothie! And as usual for our die-hard coffee fans, we will be sampling tastes of some of our hot brewed coffees from all around the world! 
Also for Circle the Square we are thrilled to host more live music! This month will be Auddity! Auddity improvises music by drawing upon a vast array of international, jazz and experimental influences to create a spacious and frequently ethereal soundscape. This music is created in part by drawing upon founder Michael Knoblach’s vast collection of percussion and ethnic instruments, as well as using other traditional and invented instruments. It will be amazing! Do not miss! The music will start at 5:00. 
Auddity is:
Eric Dahlman---Trumpeter
Michael Knoblach---Percussion
Erik Nugent---Inventor of The Nu (Chromatic Didgeridoo),  Erik also Overtone Sings and plays Slide Clarinet
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<![CDATA[Circle the Square Is Almost Here!]]>Wed, 19 Jun 2013 21:33:18 GMThttp://mysticcoffeeroaster.com/blog/circle-the-square-is-almost-hereIt's tomorrow, Thursday June 20th! Come on down and bask in Meffid Cultcha! There's a lot to see & do! Here's the full schedule of events: http://www.circlethesquare.org/schedule.html . Psssst! Hint for those doing the scavenger hunt: You may want to stop by....

And we've got a lot going on here at Mystic Coffee Roaster for CTS! 
  • We'll be sampling a few of our single-origin drip coffees, so don't miss out! 
  • We will be serving free samples of our new line of smoothies from Dr. Smoothie! All 100% crushed fruit, fat free, lactose free, no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and no added sugar. And they are super-yummy! 
  • We have an on-going art exhibit featuring the photographs of Wesley Miles Carr.
  • And last but not least, we will be hosting The Ways And Means Committee, an acoustic roots band with guitar, bass, mandolin, handdrum, harmonica and vocal harmonies. Come join us for some great music! The band starts at 5:30. 

See you then!]]>
<![CDATA[June 08th, 2013]]>Sat, 08 Jun 2013 15:59:12 GMThttp://mysticcoffeeroaster.com/blog/june-08th-2013This Summer's Circle The Square starts June 20th from 3 to 7pm! It's Medford Square's Arts & Entertainment event, happening every 3rd Thursday of the month from June to Sept. To kick off the season, Mystic Coffee Roaster will be hosting The Ways and Means Committee, an acoustic roots band with guitar, bass, mandolin, handdrum, harmonica and vocal harmonies. Come join us for some great music! The band starts at 5:30 but we'll also be sampling come of our coffee and smoothies starting at 3:00!
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<![CDATA[Memorial Day Weekend Special Hours]]>Tue, 21 May 2013 15:50:16 GMThttp://mysticcoffeeroaster.com/blog/memorial-day-weekend-special-hoursPlease Note! Due to observance of the Memorial Day holiday this weekend, we will have special hours:
Fri, May 24
Sat, May 25
Sun, May 26
Mon, May 27

7am to 5pm
7am to 3pm
8am to 3pm
CLOSED
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