Friday, April 26, 2013

Corey and Ana go North!

Corey and I (Ana) set off Wednesday morning, accompanied by the new Brown Bird album (former New Harvest employee!) to visit D Squared Java in Exeter, New Hampshire.   Owner Dan Demers is operating the kind of shop that roasters dream about: totally about the coffee, with a passionate and inquisitive outlook that informs everything that they do. A chalk board lists the origin and roaster of each coffee offered, which you can get either as a chemex, aeropress, or espresso- with flavor notes on each method. They also do clever iced coffee to order in the summer.

Serendipitously, Corey and I went up on the day that Daniel and two other local roasters started doing weekly cuppings.  We brought up some samples, including our new Guatemala Santa Isabel and Rwanda  Karongi Gitesi so it ended up being a cupping with 3 different roasters, which was great for variety and conversation.  All the coffees were beautiful, and as always, it’s good to try what other roasters are doing.  We were lucky because the roaster Red Rover brought an Ethiopian Kochere, which was a staff favorite when we carried it a few months ago at New Harvest, so we got to compare. I loved the CQ Roasters Ethiopian Saris Abaya, and Claudia from CQ Roasters really loved our Santa Isabel.  Overall, each coffee held its own and it was a great table!

We then tried Daniel’s version of New Harvest’s Colombian Hacienda El Roble:  as a shot of espresso, and then as an aeropress.  The espresso shot was really wonderful, super balanced, oaky, with a milk chocolate finish that lingered minutes after the shot was gone.  The aeropress was delicious as well, with more dark cherry notes present than in the shot of espresso. 

Heavily over caffeinated, Corey and I returned south, stopped at the beautiful and spacious Voltage Coffee and Art in Cambridge, MA, which is going to feature New Harvest Coffee as a guest coffee.  We then stopped by to visit our good friends in Jamaica Plain- ULA! I was determined to visit them as a customer instead of coming in after hours to train new staff, because they are always posting delicious things on their Facebook page that I want to try!

We got hydrating herbal iced teas (even coffee people hit their limit!) and continued home to Lil’ Rhody. It was a wonderful trip, and so great to see our beloved New Harvest Coffee being made with such care all the way up in New Hampshire.  If you know anyone in or around Exeter, N.H., recommend they stop by DSquared!

BONUS- our pictures of Exeter, N.H.

Trying to take a photo of the adorable Water St., but Ana walked into the picture.

An artist adopted this small garden and gave the trees sweaters.   

Thursday, April 18, 2013

         New Harvest has a long history with White Electric Coffee, our first wholesale customer. White Electric got its name from the weird, pie-shaped building it started in at 150 Broadway. The former lawnmower-repair shop along with the ancient house next door was purchased by Rik & Paula, the founders of New Harvest, in 1995. The space spent the late 90s going through a number of iterations, including recording studio, art happening space & the original home of the Urban Greens Food Co-Op.
White Electric Coffee opened in 2001 and a few years later moved to its current location at 711 Westminster Street. Owner Tom Toupin has developed an eclectic, industrial d├ęcor that even includes his own art work (look for the giant illuminated letters). Tom’s baristas also do their work on the only lever espresso machine in Providence, whose classic mechanical quality fits in perfectly with everything else.

     The huge windows facing Westminster shine a lot of light on the fact that White Electric is the quintessential urban community-driven shop. Tables are at a high premium, with lots of regulars who make it a point to stop by at least once a day. It is the nerve center of the city’s West Side, with community posting board that stretches the length of the back hallway.
     White Electric is also known for its friendly staff, who are as much a part of the community fabric as the flyers on the wall and WE’s famous avocado & cream cheese sandwich. In addition to coffee and tea, Tom also offers a variety of baked goods, salads and sandwiches. They keep it small & local, sourcing from Foremost Bakery, Iggy’s, Rainbow Bakery and Donut Bazaar.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Profile: Seven Stars Bakery

It's safe to assume that if you're a local and you're reading the New Harvest blog that you've heard of Seven Stars Bakery. Heck, you've probably stopped into one of their three locations a few times this week. Since 2001, Jim & Lynn William's bakeries have become staples in Providence, churning out some of the finest baked goods around as well as a few hundred thousand cups of coffee.

You read that right, they sold over three hundred thousand cups of hot and iced coffee in 2012 and that's not even counting espresso based drinks. Considering that Seven Stars is first and foremost an artisan bakery they sure go through a LOT of coffee. Over 40 thousand lbs of coffee to be exact and they hold their coffee program to the same high standards as their award winning baked goods.

All Seven Stars baristas must go through a certification program before they can make you that delicious cappuccino you love so well. 3 weeks of classes on properly extracting espresso and milk science, coupled with 10-15 hours hours of bar practice, leads into in-store training with that locations head barista (each store has one). After their training program each barista is tested on every drink that Seven Stars offers and once they can hit 5 stars on each drink they become an official Seven Stars Certified barista. So next time you're in there and you see that phrase on the back of your barista's shirt, get stoked, because you're about be served a certified top-notch drink.


These outstanding baristas fall under the watchful eye of coffee director Mark Hundley, who stresses that across the board, consistency is key for 7 Stars. "We have customers that will visit all 3 locations on a regular basis and their drink needs to be the same in Rumford as it was at Hope St." says Hundley as we chat at the Broadway location. "We're committed to serving the best whether it's coffee or food."

Seven Stars is also committed to serving the local community. Each year on their anniversary, January 2nd, they donate 100% of their sales from all three locations to the Rhode Island Food Bank. Since starting in 2006, this tradition has raised over $60,000 for the food bank. In the fall of 2012 they introduced a new program called Community Giving Days. On the first Tuesday of every month a portion of sales from all locations is donated to that months charity.

You can read more about Seven Stars on their website or better yet, stop into one of their locations and chat with the friendly staff. While you're there, grab a tasty treat and pair it with a fresh cup of coffee or a perfectly extracted shot of Whisper Espresso, you won't regret it.