Who knew that a hot cup of your favorite brew could make a difference a world away? That's the message being delivered by local coffee roasters: "RoastHouse". At their recent African coffees class, attendees were invited to sample some interesting types of coffees only grown in Africa. The terroir, or essence of the earth, climate and growing conditions relevant in each tasting.
The guests learned some amazing facts about coffee, both good and bad. Coffee is the second largest crop grown worldwide, but also the largest cause of global deforestation. Africa is the birthplace of coffee, and its rich soils bring fruit, flower and chai notes to the coffee beans, whereas Central American brews have rich, nutty, chocolate and caramel notes. Coffee is actually one of the most toxic crops grown on this planet.
The tasting included five different coffees from different regions in Africa, the tasting notes are as follows:
Ethiopian Harrar: Bitter, dry and grassy. Very dark roast. Roasted beyond the second crack.
Ethiopian Idido: Fruity, light and very strongly flavored with blueberries, which grow abundantly in the Idido region, therefor lending their fruity berry flavor to the lightly roasted coffee.
Congo Rivo: Earthy and floral with a slight essence of orange blossom and jasmine. Tart and acidic.
Malawi Mzuzo: Mild, smooth, and sweet. Easy to drink. Both Congo and Malawi coffees are farmed by woman, as the men are off fighting in civil wars, the woman must handle the crops and this is how the villages make money.
Ethiopian Sidamo: Sweet, peachy and easy to drink. This bean finds itself in Roasthouse's Ride the Edge blend.
Included in the coffee conversation was more about RoastHouse and the amazing things they are doing to promote the sales and distribution of organic, fair trade coffees, which support those tiny villages of woman farmers, and make such a difference in so many lives. Organic Fair trade coffee makes up less than 1% of the global coffee market, and its through small roasters, like RoastHouse that these small farms get a foothold in the global market.
Some trivia, tips and tricks for keeping, storing and buying good coffee:
1. When coffee is freshly roasted, it has no flavor at all. Its four days later that the flavor develops fully. After 15 days, the flavor starts to degrade.
2. Shiny beans=old coffee. Many see those dark shiny beans in the display at the market and think "Mmm.." but according to Deb from RoastHouse, don't be fooled. The shine on the beans is the flavor getting out. The oils can easily go rancid once they have escaped from the roasted bean, and then the coffee is spoiled.
3. Organic Coffee is not allowed to be ground in the same grinder as regular coffee, to avoid contamination of the organic coffee.
4. RoastHouse sells their coffees at many local retailers as well as from their roasting shop at 423 E Cleveland Ave, in Spokane. When they rotate their stock from the venues, they donate the overstock to local food banks.
Its businesses like RoastHouse that keep this city humming and spread the love and kindness of our city throughout the world.