What’s your favorite method? Any tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments - and remember, leave no trace!
Perfect Pour Over Method
As you may know, Dave has been drinking coffee primarily via this pour over method for years, using the “Perfect Coffee Maker." Other coffee brewing fads have come and gone, but this one has stood the test of time. In fact, here at the plant we brew quite a few pots this way every day to share with our staff and anyone who walks through the door. This method is perfect for making 6 cups of coffee, will stay hot for hours in the thermal carafe, and is easy to adjust the amount of grounds to get the perfect drinkable strength.
You will need:
It’s been ten great years here at what we still call the "new roasting plant" in Snohomish!
Although we have roasted under the name Vista Clara for 21 years, it was a dream come true to acquire this property in Snohomish and build a new roasting plant at home. We couldn’t have done it without all of our customers who have continued to grow every year!
You, our customers, are the most enjoyable part of our business!
Above: unpacking the roaster and building construction in 2008.
To celebrate this milestone, we are inviting everyone to an Open House here at the plant. On Saturday, May 19th we will be open until 3:00pm. Please stop by to join in the fun! We’ll have coffee sampling, food, giveaways and a free reusable tote bag with any coffee purchase.
We hope to see you there! Thank you for your continued support!
- Dave, Joan and the rest of the Vista Clara Team
Finca El Gato
Besides having an excellent flavor, the El Gato coffee from Jim Stewart’s small coffee farm also has an interesting backstory. Jim’s 30-acre farm on the Poas volcano in Costa Rica was the first OCIA certified organic farm in Costa Rica. These days, according to Jim, the place is “beyond organic,” what he calls “wild harvest.” With just 2 additional workers, Jim prunes from time to time, controls weeds with machetes, and selectively picks the ripe cherries. Every batch is floated twice, once before and once after pulping, to eliminate any defective beans. After being washed, sun dried and aged for 60+ days, the parchment is removed.
Here’s Jim’s description:
“The coffee, like a burgundy wine, is very elegant. The acidity starts out gently…the coffee doesn’t show well when cupped with current hybrid types of coffee as the acidity and body are delicate in comparison. This is a similar character to fancy burgundy wines when they are tasted next to California cabernets or merlots. However, like the wines, this coffee is great for drinking and cup after cup can be enjoyed. I find myself getting tired of modern coffees after a cup and a half, but I can drink the entire pot of El Gato XR VSOBT.”
We have just 120# of this coffee available. Shop here while our supply lasts.
Our Coffee Flour Experiment
We heard about coffee flour a while ago and have been curious to try it, so last week we ordered a pound. Coffee flour is made from the fruit of the coffee cherry, and is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. The taste is a little woodsy and fruity – a whiff of the stuff will remind you of cocoa, raisin and carob. In recipes, it absorbs a lot of moisture (similar to other gluten free flours) so in last night’s experiments, we only used around 15% coffee flour, which we sifted into a gluten free all-purpose flour blend. With only this much coffee flour substitution, we found that the taste was subtle. We’d probably up the percentage a little next time to around 20-25%.
The coffee cherries used to be discarded as a byproduct of coffee production. We love the idea that the coffee flour movement can make the coffee cherry into a valuable resource, create jobs and improve sustainability! It’s also great for gluten free consumers who are always looking for options. We ordered from nuts.com, but it sounds like Trader Joe's is another source.
We used the Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe from coffeeflour.com and King Arthur Flour’s GF brownie recipe.
We have some dairy free staff members, so for the cookies, we substituted coconut oil and made sure to use dark chocolate chips with no milk. The recipe calls for 1/3 cup coffee flour to 2 cups AP flour, a 1:6 ratio. For the brownies, we followed the recipe but substituted 1/8 cup coffee flour (the recipe only uses 3/4 cup of flour total, so it works out to about 15%). Both recipes turned out moist, chewy and chocolatey - we couldn't resist adding extra chocolate chips! ;)
Have you tried coffee flour? What was your experience? Let us know what you think!
the Vista Clara Team
Gone are the days of slapping a stamp right on the coffee bag and sending it in the mail (but we wish we still could). Nowadays, shipping can be tough for small businesses! We work hard to get our customers the best shipping deal possible and charge only what it costs to ship, not pad the price.
However, we can see how this might not appear very straightforward to our customers, when adding coffee to your cart. So we’ve developed this shipping guide to illustrate how we determine your shipping charge. We update the prices about once a year when USPS does, so the chart below is current for 2017.
If shipping 7# or less, USPS Priority Mail is the fastest and most affordable shipping method to get fresh coffee from our roaster to your mailbox in just a couple days!
There are a few price points which make shipping most economical - for example, 4 lbs. of coffee fits in a Medium Flat Rate Box which costs $13.60. As you can see below, it might make more sense to order 3#, 5#, or 6# (depending on how much coffee you guzzle and how fresh you need it to be).
- 1-2# ship in a padded flat rate envelope for $6.80
- 3# ship in a Regional A box for an averaged flat rate of $8.50
- 4-6# ship in a Medium Flat rate box for $13.60
For orders 7# and over, it gets a little trickier, because there aren’t any flat rate boxes large enough to accommodate big coffee orders. We typically ship these orders via UPS (sometimes a USPS Regional B) and the price depends on your location, so we’ve had to input an average price (starting at $13.65 for 7#) into our online shipping system. If you are trying to order a large amount of coffee, it may be more affordable to contact us directly. In that case, feel free to email your order to email@example.com, and we can process your order and payment over the phone and/or by email.
We hope this helps! Let us know if you have any questions.
Enjoy your last few days of summer (aka Lake House Blend) - we can't wait to start drinking Harvest Blend. The first batch is fresh out of the roaster, just in time for Fall!
-The Vista Clara Team
Easy and Amazing Cold Brew Coffee
Here's our tried-and-true method for amazing cold brew coffee using the Toddy system. We have experimented with different grinds and brew lengths to get the perfect taste! We think the 18-hr brew is best, which is convenient timing as well - start a batch around 1pm-3pm to enjoy with breakfast the next morning.
Dave's Perfect Cold Brew Method:
The concentrate is very strong, similar to espresso, but less acidic and very smooth. Clean the filter by rinsing with water (run the water opposite the way it was drained). If cleaned well and dried between uses, the filter can be used at least ten times.
We sell the Toddy maker with one pound perfectly ground - shop here.
Wishing you all a great weekend (with of lots of cold brew)!
-the Vista Clara Team
Costa Rican Coffee
Our Costa Rican coffee is a reserve bean from Santa Elena Estate, a farm in the Tarrazu region owned by Luz Marina Trujillo (Dave’s sister-in-law). It’s a superb coffee and a staple in many of our blends.
Trujillo says that the complex flavors in the coffee are “characters” from Mother Nature, enhanced by Santa Elena’s ideal location. To maximize these elements and keep the coffee tradition alive for future generations, the farm uses sustainable practices for coffee growing, such as composting, weed control with machetes instead of chemicals, and making sure the river stays clean. Trujillo is very proud of the large worm beds, which help create plenty of rich compost. At 5,000 feet altitude, Santa Elena enjoys plenty of shade, volcanic limestone soil, and a good mix of light rain, sunny days and cool nights – ideal coffee growing conditions.
The farm community is a great environment as well – the workers are paid a premium and treated like family. At any time, there could be between 450-700 pickers on the 2500-acre farm, many of which have living quarters there. Dave remembers everyone being friendly, hospitable, and above all, happy while working.
The process is labor intensive; there are no shortcuts taken at Santa Elena. The workers pick only ripe cherries, rotating between the trees during the harvest season, November through February. The pulp (red outer skin) is removed, and the beans are bathed for up to two days, then washed and either patio dried outside or in wood fire dryers.
The beans are graded for size, weight and color, and we purchase the highest quality available – you can see “SHB EP” (Strictly Hard Bean, European Preparation) stenciled onto the Costa Rican burlap bags stacked here at the plant. This means that the coffee was grown at a high altitude (which produces a denser, richer bean), and the raw beans were sorted by hand.
Dave and Joan have visited Santa Elena multiple times – most recently, in 2015 when Dave broke his leg and the farm tour was cut short. On an earlier visit in 2003 however, Dave brought back a few coffee cherries to be planted back at home. One of these trees has grown surprisingly well in our front office, and we have made an annual tradition of harvesting these cherries and planting 30+ new Costa Rican coffee trees, which we send home with our awesome customers.
The full, rich flavor of our Costa Rican coffee is due to the care taken in every step of the process, from farm to cup.
You'll know the difference when you taste fresh roasted, great quality coffee. Curious to know more or try it for yourself? Stop by the plant or click here to shop online.
Wishing you a great summer weekend with lots of good coffee!
-the Vista Clara Team
Get Outside, Win Some Coffee.
We are kicking off camping season with a GIVEAWAY! There’s nothing better than a great cup of coffee in the great outdoors, and we want you to take our coffee camping with you! One happy camper will win three (3) one-pound bags of coffee.
Enter by telling us in the Comments below (and/or on FB or Instagram for extra entries) where you would take your coffee camping if you win.
Share the posts or tag your friends so they can have a chance to win also!
Earn extra entries by submitting a photo of your favorite coffee and camping moment! Upload your photos here for 5 entries. We’ll share our favorites this summer in more camping/coffee features! Limit 10 entries per person.
Open from 5/23/17-6/6/17 to U.S. residents age 18 and older. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Instagram. Winner may pick up the coffee at our facility or have it shipped to them free of charge. Winner will be notified and have 3 days to respond or it will go to the next person in line.
SCA Coffee Expo 2017
Last Saturday Dave and Craig headed down to the annual SCA Coffee Expo in Seattle.
The event was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and new trends!
We were able to check out tons of innovative coffee machines and brewing techniques, from cold brew to espresso machines and, for the factory, different systems to carry and dispense roasted coffee. There were even some Kenyan dancers to round out the experience!
Speaking of Toddy, we are planning on keeping our fridge stocked with cold brewed coffee all summer long, starting in June, so stop by to sample our favorite cold brew blends and talk Toddy.
Freshly roasted coffee isn't just a product we offer. It's an experience we want to share with you. And with every great experience, there comes a story. This is our story and we invite you to be a part of it.
Roastery & Retail Location
Vista Clara Coffee
1822 Bickford Ave, Ste A
Snohomish, WA 98290