As we all experienced here in Minnesota, these past few weeks haven’t exactly been typical for our Februarys. We’re used to snowstorms and bone-chilling cold, but a few weekends ago, we were graced with the presence of warm sunshine, 60+ degree temperatures, and lots of chances for outdoor activities. Though this heat wave was a bit of a welcomed surprise, and we understand that not every weather event is directly tied to the changing climate, it may point to a more difficult and dangerous future due to climate change.

 

Part of that uncertain future, is the future of coffee and climate change’s impact on coffee production. The risk for coffee comes from a variety of factors, including the changing climate’s potential increasing effect on detrimental pests and disease, in addition to the precarious nature of coffee’s limited genetic diversity.

 

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Already, climate shifts have affected crop yields in various countries of origin. For example, a severe drought in Brazil destroyed a third of their crop and the rainfall in Mexico and Central America has declined by 15 percent.

 

Though the coffee the world drinks comes from either Arabica or Robusta tree species, the genetic diversity among these two is slim. While little diversity may not seem innately dangerous, it will be harder for the plant to adapt to new threats. And with environmental shifts, the original forests where the coffee plant originated have decreased over time. Currently, these forests are one tenth as large as they once were, meaning that at this pace all naturally occurring coffee would be extinct by 2100.

 

Hotter and wetter conditions due to climate change also make for a thriving environment for pests like the Coffee Berry Borer. This beetle bores through the coffee cherry, causing damage to the seed itself, and in turn, damaging entire crops. In the past, the borer could only survive at lower altitudes, but with temperatures rising, it’s able to move away from the equator and up to new, previously unaffected land.

 

Another risk for coffee plants is the plant disease known as Coffee Leaf Rust. Infected leaves on the coffee tree will drop prematurely, leaving a barren branch, resulting in a lower yield of coffee cherries for the next season. If the infection is severe enough, it can kill the tree altogether.

 

In 2012 and 2013, Mexico and Central America suffered a massive outbreak in Coffee Leaf Rust, causing an estimated $500 million in damages, and affecting more than 350,000 jobs. This wave in plant disease is thought to be a result of unusually high temperatures and high-altitude rains, allowing the disease to spread quickly through the crop.

 

leaf rust climate

Here at Tiny, we frequently work with smallholder farmers and cooperatives (they also make up 80 to 90 percent of the coffee farming community). Many of these farmers may have little capacity to fight these complications or simply adapt to the changes that the environment will face. The changes in climate can affect not only their crops, but also workers’ health, resources, and careers. It’s estimated that some 120 million people rely on coffee for their livelihood, a number that would dramatically decrease if crops aren’t able to produce due to climate change.

 

By ignoring action against this issue, the area suitable for coffee production could be cut in half by the year 2050. So what are we doing about it? On the production end of things, more cooperatives are focusing on diversifying their crops, developing better production systems, and moving their farms upslope. In conjunction with diversifying crops, many farms are emphasizing agroforestry, and integrating their agricultural crops with a natural landscape.

 

There is also a big push within some producing countries, most notably Colombia and Mexico, to plant more Arabica x Robusta hybrids, hoping to gain the disease and pest resistance of robusta, while expressing the cup quality of Arabica varieties. From a specialty perspective, the jury is still out on whether this trade-off is ultimately possible and is compounded by the worry that continued loss of heirloom Arabica varieties and their strains will lead to a further loss of both genetic and flavor diversity. But coffee farming is not a favor done for coffee consumers, it is a business that must make a return or provide subsistence relative to the effort in the smallest scale family farms. If farmers become convinced that the hybrids provide enough added assurance that a sapling planted today will produce an exportable crop 3-10 years in the future, they will plant more hybrids. Castillo a relatively new hybrid variety bred by the Colombian Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros and an even newer hybrid, what our friends at Cloud Forest Coffee Farms like to call Afro-Azteca, have made headway towards fulfilling this promise.

 

On the business end of things, more companies and communities are vowing to make an effort toward carbon neutrality. Recently, the City of Saint Paul launched a Climate Action plan as part of an ongoing attempt to become carbon neutral by 2050– starting right now, with a crowd-sourcing effort for sustainable ideas.

 

Soon then, the questions become what can we do on a personal level? For starters, being aware of the issue and taking it seriously is an essential first step. Taking note of the ways you can reduce your personal carbon footprint and following through on those habit shifts is a great way to change while encouraging others to do the same. Continue to pay attention to the sustainability efforts of the companies you work with or buy from, and continue to do the same.

 

It is with this awareness and these initiatives that we will work to secure a healthy future for our morning cup of coffee, the livelihoods of many people, and most importantly, our existence on this planet.

 

For an even more nuanced perspective, check out the report, “A Brewing Storm” from The Climate Institute.

 

 

 

 

 

When you think about coffee farming, what comes to mind? Uniform rows of trees? Lush forests brimming with bright red coffee cherries? What about natural landscapes scattered with healthy, flourishing coffee trees? This is agroforestry.

 

Agroforestry is a pretty simple concept. The idea is to integrate old and new growth trees, along with shrubbery, into agriculture. It’s an ancient idea, in fact the first sparks of agriculture were integrated lots of several different types of plants, both edible and not. The is because plants and gardens are synergistic. By clear-cutting large areas of land in order to cultivate rows of the same crop, farmers remove the necessary elements to create a healthy harvest. Though mono-cropping (planting large amounts of one crop in a single area) produces high yields, it only lasts a few growing seasons. One crop with no integration of trees or other plants leads to stripped soil, making crops more susceptible to disease.

yearling tree agroforestry

So how does this relate to coffee? Agroforestry is becoming more of a go-to growing option in the coffee industry for a few reasons. Natural integration of coffee into the local environment provides much of the shade needed to grow exemplary coffee without a lot of farming upkeep. By surrounding coffee trees with local shrubbery and old growth trees the nutrients that are being stripped and added to the soil are much more varied than if coffee was planted by itself. Since different plants need and produce different nutrients and minerals, the fertility of the soil is preserved when varied species are planted.

 

Another significant benefit of agroforestry is the reforestation that it naturally fosters. Farmers in coffee growing countries are becoming increasingly aware and proactive about the harms of clear cutting forest land and mono-cropping. In many of the mountainous coffee growing regions the negligence of these two factors have led to increased erosion in the growing areas. With the advent of (or really, reversion to) agroforestry, new root systems are helping cement the soil in a way that allows coffee trees to be planted at their ideal level. This helps maintain and even create new forests in deforested areas. Of course, preserving more forests also means that more carbon is being removed from the atmosphere, which is always a benefit.

seedling planting agroforestry

Change can be difficult to implement in agriculture. Fortunately for both the farmer and the environment, agroforestry is actually less work. By having a natural landscape that cultivates the nutrients and shade coffee needs, the crop is able to thrive without intense attention from the farmers.

 

Lucky for coffee and avid coffee consumers there are people who value and strive to make coffee a more sustainable crop through agroforestry. One such organization is our friends in Ecuador, Cloud Forest Coffee Farms. They are an alliance of coffee farmers who are actively working to reforest clear cut land and integrate coffee crop. As more farms implement agroforestry practices it will hopefully spill into other areas of agriculture. As the climate changes, it is inevitable that farmers won’t be able to strictly rely on the methods used for the past several decades. Further incorporating agroforestry practices into agriculture as a whole is surely of the most beneficial steps that we can take to ensure a future of exemplary coffee.

 

 

 

 

“I like my coffee the way I like it.” Coffee is a personal experience. Whether it’s your favorite brand of coffee, your preferred roast level, or even the special way you make it every morning, it’s not unlikely to have a specific routine.

 

So the questions is, how do we take all of those variables and discuss coffee in a meaningful and understandable way? Sure, there’s a “way you like it,” but certainly there’s a better way to express it.  In the coffee industry, we like to use two specifics tools– the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel and the World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon.

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The Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel, shown above, is a flavor map, including the different tastes one can find in coffee. Using both broad and specific wording, the wheel helps tasters identify the specific flavor notes in different coffees, helping us better diversify our offerings.

 

Since its creation in 1995, the flavor wheel marks the industry standard for many coffee professionals. But recently, in 2016, the wheel was revamped in conjunction with World Coffee Research, to construct a more accurate and updated vocabulary. The new wheel is a combination of its predecessor and the World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon– the other guide of information in our coffee toolkit.

 

In the creation of the lexicon’s first edition, sensory scientists spent over 100 hours with 105 coffee samples from all over the world. These days, you can find it written in 6 languages.

 

(If you want to get really nerdy about coffee and the lexicon’s creation, check out this article about the conception and categorization of the information).

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Now the question becomes, how do we use these tools, both as coffee professionals and at home?

 

The first step is to take the time to make a cup of coffee, paying attention to the details, measuring carefully and using the freshest coffee. Tasting the coffee’s intricacies isn’t nearly as fun when you’re gulping before work or downing it in your car.

 

When looking at the wheel, the Specialty Coffee Association encourages you to work from the inside out. Is the coffee fruity? If so, work your way out to find a more specific fruit flavor. Is it more of a berry fruit flavor or a citrus fruit flavor? Continuing to move outward, the wheel becomes more and more specific, whether it’s grapefruit or blackberry.

 

If you look closely, you’ll see the gaps between different flavors differ. For example, the gap between the berry and floral notes is much wider than the gap between berry and dried fruit, indicating the differences in these flavors and the categories we generally put them into.

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But the wheel isn’t all floral notes and bursts of citrus. Directly opposite of fruity– and taste closely– there are pockets of less desirable flavors like “rubber,” “woody,” even “skunky.”

 

Additionally, the lexicon and the wheel both complement the other. For the words that are unfamiliar on the wheel, an entry in the lexicon exists to explain it. For example, the word “Phenolic” falls on the bottom left of the wheel, among “Bitter” and “Meaty Brothy.” In the lexicon, “Phenolic” is described as “the aromatic described as damp, musty, and like animal hide. Reminiscent of a tack room.” Though we hope you aren’t drinking any coffees that you might describe as “phenolic,” it’s always good to have the words.

 

The more you taste, the more you begin to realize which flavors tend to cling to various coffees and their countries of origin. Rather than preferring a roast level, you begin to prefer a flavor profile from a specific country.  Some people like a heavier, nuttier coffee in the morning (maybe some coffee from Brazil) but they like a brighter, fruitier coffee (perhaps from Ethiopia) in the afternoon.

 

And now, with the lexicon and flavor wheel at your side, you’ll have the words to describe your coffee– exactly the way you like it.

 

Five years into the Syrian conflict, there are over 4 million refugees– an estimated 2.5 million of which are children. Many of these children have been forced to flee their home countries, leaving behind family, friends, belongings, and a place to sleep.

 

So when our partners at the American Swedish Institute came to us with a proposal to join their campaign for refugee relief, we immediately said “Count us in.”

 

This year, ASI is focusing on a theme of Migration, Identity and Belonging. One of the first installments is the exhibition “Where the Children Sleep,” a series of photographs by Swedish photojournalist Magnus Wennman.

 

Throughout the scheduled exhibitions, ASI will partner with various organizations to raise awareness and make donations. That’s where Tiny comes in— we source and roast the coffee in their FIKA Blend, served at FIKA (ASI’s award wining restaurant and Swedish for coffee brake, traditionally with a pastry and conversation), and sold in retail bags in their museum store. During the exhibition’s run, we’ll join FIKA and the museum store to support these relief efforts by donating a portion of all coffee sales to USA for UNHCR. 50 cents of each cup sold, along with 20 percent of all retail bag sales will go to relief efforts. This way, the exhibition goes beyond awareness, and visitors can begin to contribute directly.

 

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Photograph by Magnus Wennman

 

Wennman, who is a two time World Press Photo Award winner and was named Swedish photographer of the year 4 times, photographed refugee children across Europe, gaining an understanding of the hardship these families face when forced to flee.

 

According to an article posted on the UNHCR website, Wennman had been in Beirut for just a short while when he met a refugee family, a father and his two daughters, who were living on the side of the road. In these moments, he was inspired to share their stories.

 

“I came up with this idea that I wanted to document where the refugee children sleep,” the article quoted Wennman saying. “No matter how hard this conflict may be to understand, it’s not hard to understand that children need a safe place to sleep.”

 

As Wennman’s introduction to the conflict seemed to be happenstance, ASI’s introduction to his work was similarly fated.

 

“Quite literally, we walked through the galleries at Fotografiska (Stockholm, Sweden), serendipitously encountered this exhibition, and wept,” said Scott Pollock, Director of Exhibitions at ASI. “The project offered so much emotional engagement, featured one of Sweden’s most brilliant artists, and tackled a subject we were ruminating on. We knew we had to share this experience with our audiences in Minneapolis.”

 

Pollock said the topic of migration had been on ASI’s list since 2015, as they knew it was important to explore immigration in a safe, open and inclusive way.

 

“ASI has been and continues to be an organization that invites all people to gather to connect their pasts to their shared futures,” Pollock said. “But our main goal is to get all these people in the room to better understand what is similar, and what is different, and create empathy and understanding.”

 

In the world of coffee, we also want to create a shared experience; whether that means making cross-continental connections between coffee farmers and coffee drinkers, or if it means taking the time out of your day for a “fika” coffee hour to reflect and converse.

 

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Photograph by Magnus Wennman

 

Other “Migration, Identity and Belonging” exhibits include: Green Card Voices: Nordic Voices, a documentary look at local immigrants; The Stories They Told  a series of folk art carvings first popularized in the Nordic regions and then spread internationally; finally, Swede Hollow explores the fictitious characters and historical research referenced in the novel Swede Hollow by Ola Larsmo.

 

The FIKA Footprints campaign and the exhibit, Where The Children Sleep, will run January 21 through March 5.

 

With a portion of our proceeds funding reforestation it’s usually Tiny Footprint heading to Ecuador. But early this fall, the Mindo Cloudforest came to us. Brian Krohnke, one of the founders of the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, stopped by Minnesota to visit his brother Alan—one of the founders of Tiny Footprint Coffee. We had the chance to learn a little bit more about the foundation and its beginnings in our conversation with Brian. Here’s a glimpse of what we talked about.

 

TINY: So going back to the beginning…tell us about the first time you were in Ecuador. Is it a clear moment in your mind?


BRIAN: Of course. It’s funny because it was in September, and I [recently] found my old passport from when I came to Ecuador. September 20th was the first stamp on my going to Ecuador. It’ll be 21 years ago. I went with the idea to study Spanish. I went to Evergreen State College, [here in the US], an alternative, progressive school and when I went, there were no grades, no majors. Basically you made your own way and took what you wanted to take. And I studied American Literature and then political philosophy. With the Spanish language, I thought I’d have a better chance of finding a job. But I didn’t want to find a job right then and there.

Brian, left. Alan, right.

So I worked as an intern at a small magazine for a year… and later, I followed a girl out to Chapel Hill in North Carolina and lived there for more than a year. When it didn’t work out, I moved back to Seattle, and I was a bike messenger for a year. And then I thought I’ve got to get out of here. So I sold my car, and I sold everything and I went to Ecuador. I was supposed to stay there for a year, and as it got close to that last final day to fly back, then nope. I stayed. The first time I came back to the states, it was two and a half years after I left.

 

TINY: Going from learning Spanish to nature conservation…how did the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation come to be?

 

BRIAN: I got involved with this group. I had about $5,000 and I invested it in this group. We all invested 5,000 bucks and we bought a piece of forest, near Mindo, near where we still work. We were going to start a little eco tourism project– this was in late ‘96 when we started that. Then there was a big economic crisis in Ecuador– almost hyper inflation. So I had this cloud forest, but no more money to invest, and there were no loans. So I started guiding tourism, I had a little Jeep I’d drive people around in, to make ends meet. Then they started to build a heavy crude pipeline that ran right through the back corner of this property we had– they didn’t advise landowners, they just did it– over the top of the Mindo watershed and with a lot of sensitive areas, it was a really bad place to build a pipeline. We gave them information about how many birds and how much biodiversity, and why they shouldn’t build it. Of course, we lost. They built the thing wherever they wanted to. But out of that, this group, we decided to create a conservation foundation, so if we were organized in the future when something else like that happened, we would be more in a position to stop it. By December 2001, the foundation had legal standing and we’ve been working ever since.

White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora) feeding at a flower while flying at Bueneventura Lodge in southwest Ecuador.

TINY: Who makes up the foundation?

 

BRIAN: We were six at the beginning, then we were down to five. But more people have joined, there’s 13 of us now. People from the US like me, from Ecuador, from Germany, someone from Australia, someone from Ireland who now lives in Northern Colombia. It’s an interesting group. All birders, all conservationists.

Ecuador is a small country, it’s about the size of Colorado, or the U.K., but it has more than 1600 bird species. In the whole North America, there’s about 700. The only countries that have more bird species than Ecuador are Colombia, Brazil, and Peru– in that order– and those three surround Ecuador. In a sense, it’s the densest place for bird species.

So everyone in the group is– we have two PhD Ornithologists– and the author of the book Birds of Ecuador, we have a guy who studied tourism, another guy who is a businessman. He was one of the first guys in Ecuador to take birders out. Now there’s someone who is more of a forestry specialist, too.

 

TINY: What has the evolution of the foundation been like?

 

BRIAN: The first two years we didn’t do anything– we found our first money to build the first reserve– Milpe– and right at that point, they made me president. And I was president for 8 years, and then another guy, and every two years we change roles. Of the founders, I’m the only one who has really had this as my job.

 

TINY: Tell us about the area that you’re working in now, about these reserves.

 

BRIAN: Well, in a temperate forest there are many individual trees of just a few species. You go here [in Minnesota], you’ll find a hundred in an acre—a hundred of the same pine tree, and hundred of another pine tree. There are probably five species in an acre in a natural forest. Where we are, you can probably find five hundred species of trees in an acre, and you might only find one of each individual.

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TINY: To wrap up, can you tell us a little more about a specific project the foundation has worked on?

 

BRIAN: The big reforestation project we did with the funding from telenet and Tiny Footprint has been validated to two standards. One is the verified carbon standard (VCS), and the climate community biodiversity alliance standard (CCBA). The verified carbon standard is rigorous, it’s important. It shows we’ve designed the project well so our carbon estimates should be reasonably conservative and well done. The CCBA shows we’ve done our research and planted native species in ways that aren’t harmful to the environment or harmful to the community interests and in ways where we protect species of particular conservation importance. So we’ve demonstrated all of that and it’s being monitored. They’re monitoring right now— by going to the areas and measuring the trees.

 

To learn more about the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, take a trip to their website and see for yourself.

17 pounds of coffee brewed, 10 gallons of cold press served, and almost 50 pounds of beans given away. We’d say that’s a pretty good recipe for a fun and successful weekend.

 

This Labor Day, Tiny Footprint ventured to Chef Camp Minnesota and swapped out barbecue and hot dogs on the grill for a different kind of meal– say, coffee rubbed lamb over a wood fire or perhaps Fulton beer can chicken. Bringing local foodies together with a handful of Minnesota’s finest chefs, Chef Camp helped make YMCA Camp Miller one of the best places for food– if only just for the weekend.

 

Launched this year, Chef Camp Minnesota, the brainchild of Minneapolis creatives Dave Friedman, James Norton, Tim Lovett, and Rose Daniels, invited a smattering of culinary campers along with a handful of sponsors to enjoy a weekend of food and community. Over the course of the weekend, chefs and food experts led a series of classes– from mushroom foraging to proper care for cast iron pans to making and baking sourdough bread.

 

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Of course, with a weekend packed full of so many activities– it’s important to stay happy and caffeinated. That’s why we at Tiny Footprint served coffee all weekend. We began our days serving pour overs (on our handmade from reclaimed pallet wood pour over bar) at 6:30 in the morning on the docks of Sturgeon Lake. Chilly? Early? Sure. But with a beautiful sunrise and a hot cup of coffee added into the mix, it was downright dreamy.

 

In between chef classes, there was a smorgasbord lunch from Northern Waters Smokehaus and paired with Tiny Footprint Coffee cold press. As a subtle addition, we decided to mix our own cold press cocktail of sorts, adding a splash of homemade lavender simple syrup and a dash of salt to add a refreshing twist on a summertime coffee classic.

chefcamp2016_140Each evening, the kitchen staff prepared a multi-course meal featuring some local additions, such as beer-can chicken made with Fulton beer or a leg of lamb with a coffee rub made from our Dark Roast Nicaraguan coffee. Alongside supper, Bittercube bartenders served several cocktails, a few twists on the classics and a few new creations. And because it wouldn’t be fall without an apple dessert, we all enjoyed a cast iron apple crisp paired with the Fulton Maitrise Imperial Farmhouse Ale.

 

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By the end of the weekend, campers went home with a goodie bag full of all things Tiny, Heavy Table, Fulton Beer and The Wedge Coop. Of course, campers also went home with Bittercube’s suggestions for artful cocktails, Chef Ryan Stechschulte’s instructions for sourdough bread, Chef Sarah Master’s best practices to stay injury-free while shucking oysters, Jamie Carlson’s life-or-death tips on foraging for edible mushrooms, and a few tricks for making damn good fish tacos up north thanks to Chef J.D. Fratzke.

 

If this Labor Day was any indication of future Chef Camps, then we’re just fine giving up brats on the grill next to overserved relatives, for a weekend spent drinking pour overs on the dock with the company of fellow epicureans.

 

All photos courtesy of Becca Dilley Photography.

 

 

 

 

 

We’re all familiar with the half hour lunch break. We’re also familiar with how frantic it can be to search the maze of downtown Minneapolis skyways for a meal that’s healthy, tasty, and local for lunch. Luckily, there are a few gems hidden among the skyways– the latest being SIMPLS, a grab-and-go restaurant catering to all you skyway localvores.

 

Nestled on S. Marquette Ave and S. 6th St. across from the Wells Fargo Tower, SIMPLS embodies everything we at Tiny love about small, local businesses– a friendly staff, a fun atmosphere, and organic Minnesota-grown foods. That’s why we’re delighted to partner with SIMPLS and serve our organic coffee at their busy downtown location.

 

SIMPLS came to be thanks to friends Ryan Rosenthal and Michael von Fange, after they realized the options for quick and healthy lunches downtown were sparse. Taking matters into their own hands, the two co-founded SIMPLS in September 2014.

 

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“We knew people had a short amount of time for a healthy meal,” Ryan said. “Most people don’t want to spend their whole break looking for lunch, especially a healthy one. We wanted to have a simple experience with simple ingredients here.”

 

The concept for SIMPLS is, as Ryan said, simple. The easy-going restaurant offers a variety of healthy foods in a convenience-store format. SIMPLS isn’t a place to sit down, but rather a place to pick up a tasty salad or healthy snack to enjoy outside, or perhaps back at the office with colleagues. Offering plenty of breakfast options such as granola bars and fruit, SIMPLS also offers more substantial options for lunch, such as housemade soups, salads and sandwiches.

 

simpls_04Among SIMPLS’ local offerings, you can find Sweet Science Ice Cream and St. Pops Popsicles from St. Paul, along with Minneapolis favorites Thumbs Cookies and popcorn from Maddy & Maize. With so many options, SIMPLS always lets you know if the product is local, organic, grass-fed or free-range.

 

To find such fresh and local products, Ryan said he frequently visits the farmers markets and keeps an ear open to what people are talking about most. When SIMPLS hears about a company or product they want to offer to customers, they’ll seek them out, just as they did with us at Tiny Footprint Coffee.

 

“We were looking for an organic, fair trade, local coffee company,” Ryan said. “An employee mentioned Tiny Footprint Coffee to us, and once Michael and I tried it we instantly fell in love. We support the same mission to be organic, locally owned, and sustainable,” he added.

 

This summer SIMPLS has been serving up Tiny Footprint Cold Press Coffee with the option to add homemade vanilla syrup– along with other hot coffee options, of course. On average, SIMPLS sells about 50 cups of coffee a day, but it’s a number that’s always growing.simpls_03

 

While SIMPLS offers many of Tiny’s roasts, our Ethiopian and Nicaraguan coffees have been especially popular. Ryan said that his team is constantly receiving positive feedback about Tiny Footprint Coffee, so he feels confident in the decision to serve our coffees.

 

“It means a lot to have a healthy relationship with Tiny Footprint,” Ryan said. “The customer service is great, and Alan is extremely genuine and cares about his product and clients.”

 

Just like Ryan and Michael, we at Tiny like to keep things simple too. Good coffee, good earth; You drink coffee, we plant trees. 

 

 

We love Ethiopian coffees. About this time each year, we gather around our cupping table to taste and evaluate—and it seems like there’s always at least one impressive coffee from this East African country. With unique flavors paired with the intriguing stories from coffee’s birthplace, we return to these same coffees time after time.

 

Throughout the years, we’ve carried some of the best coffees that Ethiopia has to offer. Specifically, we’ve carried beans from the Worka Cooperative and the Suke Quto farm for several years. These two are a hard pair to measure up to, but we’ve found a noble contender: The Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Dama cooperative double-washed.

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This coffee comes from the Yirgacheffe Region, which is one of the three primary coffee growing regions in Ethiopia. It’s known for producing dense coffees with distinctive floral aromas and deep chocolate and cocoa tones in the flavor profile.  Jammy and floral, this coffee also has clean notes of peach, pear and jasmine which contrast against a cocoa laced body. In this case the washing (or wet-processing) was carried out in two 12-24 fermentation stages (this is when the fruit covered parchment is soaked after the skin is pulped) with a fresh spring water wash in between: double washed.  The result is great flavor with impeccable clarity.

 

The flavor profile is important when choosing coffee, but the story behind the beans is equally considered. Grown at an altitude of between 1750 and 2300 meters (5700- 7500 ft.), these beans are sourced from family-owned member farms of the Dama Cooperative, which is composed of close to 2000 members.

The Dama Cooperative operates under the umbrella of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU), which was founded in 2002.

The YCFCU was created to ensure fair pay for beans and to maximize financial returns to coffee farmers, and it has since grown to represent 300,000 families from 23 different cooperatives. In conjunction with monitoring the fair trade of coffee beans, YCFCU also monitors the quality of coffee. To put it simply, our newest Dama coffee is regulated to be ethical, sustainable and—true to Tiny Footprint standards—certified organic.

We’re thrilled to be offering a coffee that so aptly reflects our commitments to these communities and the environment. Here at Tiny Footprint we strive to provide the best coffees through the best practices–and the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Dama cooperative double-washed is a great example. It’s the perfect cup of coffee to sip as we roll into fall. Keep an eye out for this coffee coming soon!

Who doesn’t love donuts? They’re fluffy, they’re sugary, and they pair perfectly with a cup of coffee. At Tiny Footprint Coffee we understand the allure of donuts (in fact, we wrote an entire article about them) and we’re always excited to meet people who are as passionate about donuts as we are about coffee. New, local, and passionate about their craft, Rebel Donut Bar certainly fits the bill.

Behind Rebel Donut Bar is the proclaimed “donut dream team,” partners Vince and Kiah. In true rebellious fashion, Vince explained his introduction to donuts over the phone, as he trekked up a mountain in Montana.

“I didn’t really seek out or crave donuts before this,” Vince admitted. Rather, he began eating donuts “out of Minnesota politeness” while on breaks working as a mechanic. But it was learning about the history of the donut that drew him to begin making them himself. Though it started as a hobby, Rebel has taken off in Minneapolis over the past year.

A selection of Rebel Donut Bars bite sized donuts

A selection of Rebel Donut Bars bite sized donuts

Rebel’s success started online, specifically on a vent forum for residents of NE Minneapolis. “People were complaining about not being able to find donuts on a Sunday, and I thought, we can fix that!” Vince laughed. This niche recognition is coupled with Rebel’s mouthwatering Instagram page. Photo credits go to Kiah, who works in marketing when she’s not creating Rebel’s creative donut recipes. The two create their recipes by reimaging desserts and spend time daydreaming about concocting the next unique flavor combinations.

“Unique” is almost a gentle way to describe some of Rebels offerings. With names like “Mother of Dragon Fruit” Rebel offers a full spectrum of flavors. It’s no surprise that our favorite happens to the “Coffee Three Way,” a limited release donut created with none other than Tiny Footprint Coffee. With classic flavors like Maple Pecan and Strawberry Sprinkle, to more adventurous options like Cajun Apricot Habanero, you’ll want to mix and match. Lucky for you, you can.

Unlike other donut shops, Rebel Donut Bar offers donuts in a mini-size—just larger than a quarter—so that you can pick and choose on a “Donut Flight.” That way, Vince said, “You don’t have to dedicate three bucks to something that you might not like.” These flights offer a sampling of four of Rebel’s bite-sized donuts.

Inspired by the beer flight concept, Vince and Kiah wanted to add their own twist on the concept. “I’ve always liked the idea of lots of little samples,” Vince said. And as experience shows, so does everyone else; the flights have been wildly popular in online orders and during events where Rebel is a vendor. Though small, the donut’s impact has been mighty. Rebel has expanded from personal orders to catering weddings and events around the Twin Cities.

Our personal favorite - the "Coffee Three Way" featuring our own Tiny Footprint Coffee

Our personal favorite – the “Coffee Three Way” featuring our own Tiny Footprint Coffee

So what’s next for Rebel Donut Bar?  A retail location is on top of the list. It will likely be in NE Minneapolis, where they currently operate. Envisioned as a “community based space where people can be comfortable kicking it,” coffee is essential. That’s where Tiny Footprint comes back in—the donut bar will also serve plenty of coffee and possibly espresso drinks. Both Rebel and Tiny have strong local roots as well as a shared sense of ecological consciousness, but in the end, it’s that sense of passion that brings us together. To continue feed the passion, check out Rebel Donut Bar for yourself—and don’t forget to get a cup of coffee alongside your donuts!

 

 

Known for its locally inspired interpretation of Nordic cuisine, the modern café FIKA has quickly become a favorite of the Twin Cities restaurant scene. Since it opened, FIKA has drawn customers from all over the city and garnered plenty of critical acclaim for its chef-driven fare.

With a light and airy aesthetic, FIKA fits in well at its home in the American Swedish Institute (ASI), just south of downtown Minneapolis. Synthesizing modern Scandinavian architecture with traditional Swedish construction, the space is contemporary and inviting. Both ASI and FIKA offer a glimpse (and a taste) of tradition and innovation from Minnesota’s Nordic homeland.

Despite Minnesota’s famed Scandinavian heritage, “Fika,” is not a word you hear every day. But the concept is simple: “Fika” describes a daily break, a quiet time to catch up with friends and family, usually over coffee. The atmosphere of FIKA lends easily to its namesake. With great food and ample seating, the café has become locally iconic and nationally recognized, receiving mentions in The New York Times and Vogue.

A glimpse into The American Swedish Institutes cafe FIKA

A glimpse into The American Swedish Institutes cafe FIKA

Led by chef John Krattenmaker, the menu features both traditional and modern interpretations of Swedish cuisine: house made pastries, open-faced sandwiches, and creative salads, all influenced by Swedish recipes old and new. And with a name like FIKA, coffee is essential—the café serves espresso beverages and drip coffee all day long, featuring none other than Tiny Footprint Coffee.

Salad from the award winning FIKA cafe

Lemon Spätzle, a traditional Scandinavian dish

On a recent visit to the café, we were able to try out their latest menu, reflecting more seasonally innovative dishes for summer. Finding a balance between classic Nordic dishes and creative technique and flavor pairings, the FIKA menu reflects the ASI’s unique architectural juxtaposition of the traditional and the contemporary.

 When it comes to coffee, FIKA serves our Peru Apu Cenfrocafe. The café has been carrying this smooth single origin for years—the organic Peruvian medium roast even makes an appearance in FIKA’s famous chocolate torte.

A twist on the traditional open faced sandwich

A twist on the traditional open faced sandwich featuring Juniper Fennel Sasuage

“We love the coffee so much,” says Michael Cochran, FIKA Café’s Food and Beverage Director. “Tiny Footprint has been providing it from day one.” And we’re happy to do so, praise from our customers means a lot to us— we work hard to maintain strong relationships with our partners. For us at Tiny, great relationships start and continue with a perfect cup of coffee.

 

With FIKA, our partnership feels natural. Beyond FIKA and Tiny’s shared local roots, the environmental dedication of ASI melds perfectly with Tiny Footprint’s commitment to the Earth. The ASI’s 2012 addition of the Nelson Cultural Center to it’s orginal home in the 1908 Turnblad mansion/castle, brims with environmental consciousness; the addition, which includes FIKA, is LEED Gold Certified and integrates composting, recycling and usage of postconsumer material. Carbon negative coffee seemed an obvious next step.

A stunning tribute to Scandinavian heritage, FIKA offers a chance for everyone to embrace the definition of the word—no matter your background. So next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop by to get a cup of Tiny Footprint Coffee and a taste of Swedish Culture.

If you are like most of us here at Tiny Footprint Coffee, you grew up drinking Root Beer Floats every now and again. Our nostalgia for childhood summers got us thinking…what if we added a coffee twist to this classic recipe?

 

After a little R&D (not a bad gig if you can get it), we’ve crafted a subtly sweet, but with more kick version of the summer favorite: the cold press float. Along the way with a simple change in proportions we were able to make a more accessible version of the most iconic coffee dessert: the affogato.

 

The affogato is a traditional Italian dessert. Served in chilled glasses all day long, it is revered as a sweet way to combat the unrelenting heat of Italian summers. We have reimagined it in 2 different ways, but first, we present you with a classical affogato recipe.

 

Traditional Affogato

Consisting of two ingredients, the affogato is traditionally served with a vanilla (or plain) gelato, then drenched in espresso, (affogato means drowned in Italian). It’s quite simple, scoop one (or two) dollops of gelato (or ice cream) into a dish. Then place the dish directly under the spout of your espresso machine and watch the ice cream start to melt in the face of 200-degree espresso.

Alternatively, if you enjoy your gelato (or creamy substitute) less melty, capture the espresso in a cool demitasse before pouring,.  Try it both ways, that way you get to eat two.

 

For those of you, like most of us, without the latest dual boiler PID controlled espresso machine (or some lower tech facsimile) sitting on your counter, don’t worry, we have a solution.

 

 

Cold Press Float & Chilled Affogato, the affogato reimagined

 

These two recipes are Tiny Footprint Coffee’s modern and more accessible take on the traditional Italian dessert. The differences between the two desserts are subtle, but significant. Think cappuccino versus latte.

Tiny Footprint Coffees Twist - The Cold Press Float

Tiny Footprint Coffees Twist – The Cold Press Float

The Float is similar to the classic Root Beer float recipe you loved as a kid and hopefully still enjoy from time to time. The Cold Press Float Consists of 2-3 scoops of ice cream added to 8-12oz of cold brewed Cold Press coffee. If this seems like a lot of Cold Press, just cut it with some water or cream so you can get to sleep tonight. We’ve used Nitro Cold Press in these pictures since, lets face it, we’re addicted, but traditional Cold Press works just as well.

A Traditional Affogato

A Traditional Affogato

 

 

The Chilled Affogato

 

Simply, the Chilled Affogato is a traditional Affogato made with Cold Press instead of Espresso. The ratio is the same,  1-2oz of Cold Press followed by 1-2 scoops of your favorite ice cream (or gelato).

 

 

Happy Dessert-ing!

Las Lajas Benefico Ecologico Honey Series 2016

In honor of our third year offering coffees from Las Lajas Beneficio Ecologico (and because we thought it would be fun) we are offering 3 micro-lots in succession over the summer and fall. Each coffee is a unique variant of their proprietary honey (aka miel / pulped natural) milling process. Miel processing occurs when the skin of the cherry is pulped leaving most of the fruit intact before the coffee is naturally dried on raised screens. These three micro lots, yellow, red and black, are a chance to taste the difference that seemingly small changes in processing methods have on the cup. Although the cherry from each of these micro-lots have intrinsic flavor differences in the cup, they are small. The three originate from principally the same place: small farms (owned by Las Lajas’s) planted with similar tree varieties, and harvested red cherry only with the assistance of refractometers to measure sugar content.

Examining Drying Coffee Cherries

Examining Drying Coffee Cherries

With a fair amount of the growing variables equalized, variation in processing remains as the main determinate in the differences we taste. In this case, the coffees are turned less frequently during drying as we move from yellow to red to black. The frequency of turning the beans directly correlates with the flavors: as the beans are turned less, the notes in each coffee move darker in citrus tone and deeper in body while trading off some traditional Costa Rica clarity and brightness.

First up, is a small four 70-kilo export bag micro-lot Yellow Honey process from Finca El Chilamate. In Las Lajas’s yellow honey method, the pulped coffee cherry is frequently turned during solar-drying on raised screens.

Second, is another small 4 bag micro-lot, this time Red Honey processed from Finca Guachepelin. The Red Honey coffees are turned less frequently, only about 3 times per day.

Last, but not least, is a larger 10 bag Black Honey processed micro-lot from Finca La Mirella. Black Honey coffees are only turned once per day.

If we get enough interest (let us know), we will offer a flight of all three roasted on the same day later this fall.

LAs Lajas family

Las Lajas, located in Sabanilla de Alajuela, in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica, is owned by third generation coffee farmers Dona Francisca and Don Oscar Chacon. Their story is one of success forged by entrepreneurial genius meeting necessity as the mother of invention. Faced with the existential threat of severely low coffee prices in 2000 (known in the trade as the “The Coffee Crisis”) they turned to organic production to increase the value of their crops with the goal of preserving the land for future generations. In 2006, they started milling their own cherry in micro-lots to control quality from tree to export. This step gave them a platform for deeper understanding of how their production methods affected flavor and the infrastructure to innovate their way out of losing an entire crop after a 2008 earthquake that left them without electricity and water. By adapting water sparing natural-dry methods (and in subsequent years pulped- natural techniques) from Africa and Brazil, Dona Francisca and Don Oscar not only saved the harvest and their staffs’ jobs, they built the foundation for new ecologically-friendly coffees with a growing worldwide audience.

A Brief Description of an Influential Seed

How much do you know about coffee? Sure, you pour yourself a cup every morning, maybe you can pull a decent shot of espresso. But what about the growth of coffee, before the roasting, before it makes it into your coffee cup there are hours of labor and and dollars dedicated to the production of coffee. Coffee beans are the seeds from coffee cherries, a small tart and sweet fruit. Harvesting coffee cherries at peak ripeness is a job that can only be done by hand. The sweet red and yellow cherries ripen at different times, depending on altitude, temperature, soil acidity, sun exposure, and other factors. Even on a single tree, the cherries don’t even ripen all at once, which means that farm workers will pick any given tree five or more times in a single harvest.

Coffee cherries are volatile little fruits, and even the mildest change in environment can throw off their flavor and potentially ruin an entire harvest. Considering its delicacy, coffee has an astonishingly powerful effect on the cultures and infrastructures of the countries where it’s grown. The coffee trade creates an economy almost unparalleled in agriculture; in fact, coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world. But coffee is threatened; with every pound of carbon released into the atmosphere, the delicate environment that coffee thrives in is left vulnerable.

Here at Tiny Footprint Coffee we work our hardest to stabilize coffee’s environment by removing carbon from the atmosphere with every pound of coffee we sell. Luckily there are others who think like we do. One example I’d like to introduce to you is Cloud Forest Coffee Farms.

 

The Mission Behind Cloud Forest Coffee Farms

 

Cloud Forest Coffee Farms (CFCF) is an association of coffee and cacao farmers in northern Ecuador. Tucked high up in the cloud forest, a high altitude rainforest, they have a focused mission of implementing reforestation through agriculture, hand in hand with education. You may remember Tambo Quinde, an organic coffee farm and educational trail whose Indiegogo campaign we supported this past winter. Tambo Quinde is one of the original farms in the association and an ideal ecotourism destination. Recently CFCF began working with Mashpi, an artisan and organic, cacao farm. These relationships and collaborations create a template for other farmers to follow. By creating precedents for sustainable farming and environmental restoration, CFCF opens the door for other farmers who may have been hesitant about taking the first step towards sustainable farming.

As we always say: this is a place you can visit, just ask.  Ecotourism promotes education and cultural exchange, as well as, creating jobs in the local economy that are in harmony with the forest. The beauty and diversity of Ecuador makes Cloud Forest Coffee Farms the perfect destination and interaction with the visitors allows the CFCF team to educate and spread the word about the origins of your morning cup and the environmental challenges facing coffee farmers.

The Beautiful View from Cloud Forest Coffee Farms

The Beautiful View from Cloud Forest Coffee Farms

Cloud Forest Coffee Farms is pushing boundaries with its high altitude sustainable farms. The team is experimenting with different aspects of reforestation in worn-out cattle pastures adjacent to beautiful nature preserves. The organization is hopeful that over the long term, their efforts will result in a complete restoration of the damaged ecosystem in which they are working. The team began planting hardy nitrogen-fixing species of trees to begin reconstructing the cloud forest canopy and regenerating the soil. As the forest begins to heal, more hardwood varieties will be strategically planted for optimal coffee conditions.

 

 

A Brotherly Collaboration

 

Did you know that Tiny Footprint Coffee and Cloud Forest Coffee Farms are related? Tiny Footprint Coffee was founded in 2010 by Alan Krohnke and his partners. At the same time, Alan’s brother, Brian Krohnke, was working on a reforestation project in the Mindo Cloud Forest in Northwest Ecuador. A little brainstorming and calculation led to the creation of Tiny Footprint Coffee with the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation as the enabler of its carbon-negative business plan. For every pound of Tiny Footprint Coffee bought since then, the Mindo Cloud Forest Foundation receives a portion of the profit to purchase and plant carbon-removing trees and restore damaged areas of the cloud forest.

A Peek at the Ripening Coffee Cherries growing at Cloud Forest Coffee Farms

A Peek at the Ripening Coffee Cherries growing at Cloud Forest Coffee Farms

Since Brian expanded his sustainability horizons with Cloud Forest Coffee Farms, Tiny Footprint Coffee is proud to support this beacon of sustainability. We’d like to invite you to get involved too!

Although, Cloud Forest Coffee Farms is a relatively new initiative, it is fueled with passion for the environment (and quality coffee and cocoa) and a drive lead the way in creating a sustainable, restorative agro-forestry economy in the Andes. One of its coffee farms delivered their first commercial crop this past spring. Currently they are in the middle of their second harvest and, by the looks of it, we have a lot to look forward to.

 

Keep updated on Cloud Forest Coffee Farms by liking them on Facebook or Twitter, and signing up for their email list.

 

 

Since it’s beginning in 2010 Tiny Footprint Coffee has prided itself on maintaining local roots. Over the years, we’ve found homes in several coops and marketplaces around the Twin Cities, Longfellow market is just one example of the eclectic mix of locations that dedicate their shelf space to our carbon negative coffee.  Tucked into the quaint neighborhood on East Lake Street, Longfellow’s (as it’s informally known), has become a fixture shopping stop for residents of south east Minneapolis. Priding itself on a diverse mix of staple and specialty produce, Longfellow’s strives to keep business local. Family owned and community based Longfellow’s focuses on sourcing native Minnesotan brands.

Terry Mahowald, the General Manager at Longfellow’s, sat down to talk with us about the benefits of buying local, “We enjoy having local businesses here and our customers respond positively to local products.  That is why Tiny Footprint Coffee is a perfect fit for us.” A perfect fit indeed, becoming available in 2014, Tiny Footprint Coffee has grown immensely in popularity.  “We have customers who come to our market just for Tiny Footprint Coffee,” says Mahowald. If you’re looking for the widest variety of bulk options for our organic coffee, Longfellow’s is your best bet. They carry 16 different varieties of our beans in their bulk bins.

Beyond Longfellow’s community dedication, they also maintain a substantial amount of organic and ethically sourced items. Not only do they carry organic and fair trade products, Longfellow’s also makes sure their customers understand the benefits of buying green. They provide information about organic produce and tips on how to prepare sustainable meals. The staff is full of smiling faces and they’re willing to lend a hand whether it be choosing a piece of produce or planning a menu for a dinner party.  To further encourage buying local, Longfellow’s recently launched a new website providing an archive of information, trivia and recipes.

They have flattering words for us as well, “The Tiny Footprint customer support is fantastic.  The employees of Tiny Footprint are always here, helping, or cleaning up their display. We never run out of the coffee because deliveries are every week. So you know it’s fresh” says Terry. Such a compliment means a lot to us here at Tiny Footprint Coffee. Developing lasting relationships, friendships really, with our customers is an integral part of everyday life here at our roastery.

So stop in to say “hi” and grab a bag of coffee. You’ll be supporting a locally owned business, and a delicious coffee that helps fight climate change with every cup.

 

 

June 3rd, 2016 – National Doughnut Day.

There are a lot of ways to have your morning cup of coffee. You may take it black. You may take it with cream— a little, or a lot. You might drink it from your favorite mug on the porch. Or you might drink it on the way to work, one hand clutching your travel mug, the other on the wheel.

But, undeniably, one of the best ways to have your coffee is with a doughnut. Though a doughnut may not always accompany your coffee, when it does, there’s cause for celebration. Today, June 3, is National Doughnut Day and Tiny Footprint Coffee is here to celebrate one of our favorite pairings: doughnuts and coffee.

 

Let’s start with some History shall we?

Back in 16something Dutch settlers arrived here in the new world. With them they brought many things, among them the oliebollen– doughnuts made by scraping dough off the end of a spatula into a vat of frying oil. Known these days as “donut holes,” these fried dough balls were traditionally enjoyed during the Christmas season. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking that making these sounds easy — make the perfect round donut hole with a quick flick of the wrist. But sticky dough makes for less-than-perfect balls and a pan of hot oil makes for skittish amateur fry cooks. Even though we sugar coated these doughnuts, I’ll be honest in my critique: these things look more like cheese curds than any doughnut I’ve ever seen.

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As we move away from the home frying pan and into the world of bakeries, we see the rise of something that better resembles the modern day doughnut: The classic doughnut with a hole in the middle of it. Kind of like this:  

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As a company which is built on function first, form second, we like to believe that this design resulted from “the pursuit for the best product.” Legend says that once bakers realized that adding eggs made for richer, thicker dough, they never looked back. The downside? The middle didn’t cook through and came out too doughy. Rather than trying to convince the public to eat dark (burnt) donuts, they — quite literally–  cut out the problem. If you enjoyed my first attempt with the oliebollen, then you’ll certainly love this black and white photo — my take on the “dawn of the doughnut.”

 

Ready for some Kitchen Recipes?

Here at Tiny Footprint Coffee, we took all week to scour (read: googled), scheme and devise our doughnut recipes. This was a part of a mini-project we are working on here at the roastery, in our homes and over the web. Our thought process went something like, “if it’s good in a cup, why not in a dish?” Today, we explore the Chocolate Cake Donut with Coffee Glaze.

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This doughnut was our favorite creation of the week. The greatest part? This recipe yields both whole doughnuts and doughnut holes! The chocolate cake donut stemmed from a standard cake donut recipe – filled with flour, cocoa, sugar, eggs and buttermilk among all the other little stuff. Wanting to elevate the flavor and bring out the richness of the chocolate, we decided to add just a little brewed coffee into the mix. Our Nicaragua Segovia has strong hints of cocoa, making it a natural pair for the chocolate doughnut. Yet the glaze is what really takes the cake on this recipe (extra pun anyone?). It’s a relatively simple glaze consisting of powdered sugar, vanilla extract and of course, more coffee. For flavor and texture we added both our brewed coffee as well as some of the grounds. Sure, it comes out looking like an Oreo donut but any coffee lover would rejoice with such a surprise. Something like this:

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No matter if you prefer your doughnuts infused with coffee, or just with a cup on the side, we hope you’re celebrating National Doughnut Day today. From all of us at Tiny Footprint Coffee, Cheers!

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A clean and crisp high altitude coffee, this Guatemalan bean hails from a group of farmers in the Acatenango Valley. The farm is part of the Asproguate cooperative which contains around 150 small holder producers from both Acatenango (where this coffee is from) and Coban, a region in central Guatemala. The cooperative is committed to giving its shareholders access to the larger international coffee market. This access gives smaller farms the opportunity to grow their businesses, and it gives fervent coffee drinkers the chance to sip some of Guatemala’s finest coffees.

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The unique flavors in this coffee are cultivated by two primary factors. The high altitude of growth (1900-2000 meters) lends to the creation of bright and clean flavors in the coffee. This coffee is also characterized by the marked wet and dry seasons of Acetenango that create an ideal growing condition and allow for traditional sun drying methods to be used.

The Coop, whose mission is to establish fair trade among Guatemalan coffee growers,  produces around 1000 bags of coffee a year. These high quality micro lots are grown in nutrient dense  volcanic soil at an altitude as high as 2000 meters above sea level. Volcanic soil is particularly beneficial to coffee growers because of the abundance of nutrients it provides.

A roastery favorite, the cup of this Guatemalan is a dark semisweet chocolate treat with notes of apple and strawberry. Full flavored, it dissolves into a smooth buttery finish. We have roasted the bean to a perfect dark roast to wrap its best flavors in rich, golden dark roast body and bold aroma. Easy to drink, this coffee pairs perfectly with a lazy Sunday morning, as well as it does with an after Saturday night desert. You can pick up your own bag here.

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This quaint little shop is, in the truest sense, a family run business. Linnea gets up before the crack of dawn each morning to begin baking that day’s treats. She has three little helpers (her daughters) in the kitchen which is attached just off the back of their home. When the baked goods leave the kitchen via Bob (husband and father), the girls take turns doing the dishes and cleaning, while Linnea gets Ruby’s Roost ready to open. Right at 7am Wednesday to Friday (8am on Sat & Sun), Bob is behind the espresso machine, ready to take Tiny Footprint espresso and turn it into any one of their deliciously crafted drinks. Linnea is stationed at the bakery case, waiting to greet you with a smile and a friendly hello. If you show up on a Saturday morning, you will catch their oldest daughter behind the register.

This shop is located just off the Dakota Rail Regional Trail, perfect for the touring cyclist to re-hydrate, or the local farmer to swing in for his morning cup of joe. Among the locals, this business is known for its superior coffee and high quality baked goods.

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In case you haven’t heard yet, now is your warning: in my opinion, there are several reasons to stop at Ruby’s Roost in Mayer, MN – but the most popular reason? the caramel cinnamon rolls. This baked good is what draws people in, from miles away. In my time there yesterday, I watched the bakery case go from 2 full pans of caramel cinnamon rolls, to a look of despair on the first customer who realized she had missed the day’s rolls. I was lucky enough to indulge in one myself and it was heavenly. Their menu includes a variety of other beverage options (including Kombucha), light sandwiches and Sebastian Joe’s ice cream.

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It would be a shame if I didn’t share the story of Ruby. If you haven’t noticed already, none of the people who run the business are named Ruby. That’s because Ruby was the name of their family chicken. Ruby has since passed on, but her legacy remains throughout the shop. She even had her own picture commissioned as a mosaic (as seen directly behind the counter), on their mugs, in their logo…

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And out front of the shop, next to their outdoor seating area and bike racks. Stop in and say hello to our friends at Ruby’s Roost in Mayer, MN, you’ll be glad you did.

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Tiny Footprint Coffee is excited to announce the return of one of our favorite coffees, Flores Bajawa Ngura. It is an organic treat from the East Nusa Tenggara Province in Indonesia. A wet hulled and sundried coffee (Ngura translates to “Wet Hulled”), Bajawa Ngura is grown in volcanic loam soil at 1,200 – 1,600 meters ( 4,000 – 5,200 ft).

Flores is a small island on the Indonesian archipelago, located between Java and Timor, due south of Sulawesi. Best known for the recent discoveries of “Flores Man” (Homo Floresiensis, aka the “hobbit” Homo Erectus) and miniaturized elephant fossils is, ironically, the home of king sized rats, Komodo dragons and giant saltwater crocodiles. The avian population, including endangered endemics like the Flores Hanging Parrot and once thought to be extinct Flores Scops Owl, is under extreme pressure from persistent deforestation. A ray of hope is the organic/shade-grown/Rainforest Alliance certified coffee project launched in 2005 by the one name visionary Sirup (head of the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute) and two farming communities.

A test separation of coffee beans

Over the past 11 years the project has vastly improved both the pay and the coffee processing options that the farmers have received. In fact, the farmers are now receiving above fair trade price for their cherry where they once faced a grim poverty-inducing 20-40% discount to the New York futures price. The help and support that Sirup’s project has lent to local farms in Flores has created opportunities for them to grow and produce exemplary coffee, all while protecting Flores unique environment.

Our Bajawa Ngura coffee is a particularly good example: the flavors are dark and rich but with low acidity and an elegant balance. Notes of semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla compliment the dark cherry and cola notes. The cup finishes with a light aroma of jasmine, perfected by our roaster in our medium roast. Head on over to our shop to pick up a bag of your own.

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It is our pleasure to announce the arrival of our newest coffee. Ayele (seen above) is a father of 12, who inherited this coffee farm from his father. The farm has seen three generations of the Dula family. This lot is part of a project that rewards individual farmers for their skill and dedication in producing great cupping coffees. This is the second lot we’ve offered from the Dula Family’s farm in Dhudhufa (translates as viper), which is located at over 6000 ft. above sea level in the Wenago Woreda of the Gedeo Zone.

Raised drying beds at Dhudhufa

Raised drying beds at Dhudhufa

 

Somewhat confusingly in the coffee trade (yes, you can say that’s redundant), most of the coffees from Ethiopia’s Gedeo Zone are called Yirgacheffe, even if they do not come from Yirga Chefe Wordea proper (woreda translates loosely as district). Yirgacheffe is adjacent to Wenago Wordea and also located in the Gedeo Zone. Compounding this quirk in taxonomy: these coffees are differentiated in specialty coffee from other coffees produced in the Sidama Zone. The Sidama zone lies directly to Gedeo’s north and are referred to as originating from Sidamo.  So, Aylele produced in Wenago under the umbrella of the Yirgacheffe Small Farmers Cooperative Union, properly carries the esteemed, if not exacting, Yirgacheffe mark.

This is one of those trifecta coffees, being organically produced, fairly trade (above Fair-trade price) and 100% Shade-grown. The coffee will be sold as a light roast here at Tiny Footprint Coffee. After several rounds of cupping, we were able to pull out Aromas of jasmine and rose that transition to full, sweet flavors of honey and cocoa as it moves through your mouth. They do it right in Yirgacheffe. This coffee is similar to another one from the same region. The Ethiopia Yirgacheffe -Worka Cooperative  is a dark roast we keep as long as we can through out the season. Its Jammy fruit flavor (think: dried strawberry and blueberry) and floral aroma make it a no brainer.

Ayele with some of his trees.

Ayele with some of his trees.

 

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The results are in: researchers from the University of Ghent, in Belgium are reporting that our reforestation partner in Ecuador, the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation (MCF), is at 107% of its reforestation based, carbon-offset project goals. We owe all of our customers and supporters a big thank you, because of you we were the initial catalyst and now continuing supporter of not only Ecuador’s only Rainforest Alliance validated standards project, but a project the regenerates critical habitat and creates sustainable jobs in one of the earth’s wettest, most bio-diverse spots right on the equator.

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“With deep gratitude Mindo Cloudforest Foundation our staff and all involved thank Tiny Footprint Coffee customers for their support of our CO2 mitigation project. It takes a team to put together a project like this, and we look forward to future collaboration in the fight against climate change.” – Brian Krohnke, President MCF.

 

Since its conception in 2009, Tiny Footprint Coffee has worked with the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation (MCF) to rehabilitate previously clear-cut portions of cloud forest in northwest Ecuador.  With a proof of concept start from us, and growing quarterly payments based on our sales, the project has grown over the past 7 years to include major funding from Telenet, a large Belgium telecom company (we’re still relatively tiny). To date, MCF has planted 533,291 trees and removed a calculated 282,799.48 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. In addition to reforesting and restoring habitat MCF has three other active programs.

 

  • Conserving bird habitat in their old growth cloud forest reserves.
  • Fostering birding and other types of ecotourism
  • Facilitating scientific research of NW Ecuador’s cloud forests

 

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Learn more about MCF here, and get updates on their Facebook page