Ice Ice Baby

We’ve all had cold coffee, whether intentionally cold-brewed or accidentally left behind. But have you ever tried Japanese cold brew? Our Training and Development Manager, Josip Drazenovic, contributed his tips for this great summer method over at Find. Eat. Drink. Check it out!

Michael Anthony wins James Beard Foundation Award!

Let us be among the legions to throw our hats in the ring to congratulate esteemed NYC chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern for taking the Best Chef NYC award in this week’s 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony. We couldn’t be more honored to close your beautiful meals with our coffee, Michael!

Trying to Remember Brooklyn Uncorked

Photo by Philip Search

As we slowly begin to gather our senses after Wednesday’s Brooklyn Uncorked, hosted by great friends and epic food hosts Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn, we’d like to just linger on a few memories. Flourless Madagascar Chocolate Cake from the Chocolate Room—perfect with our Colombia Narino (or a Pinot Noir). Curry Tuna from Rosewater in Park Slope, Turkey Mortadella on Thyme Cracker from Gramercy Tavern, amazing bread from our pals at Orwashers, succulent rabbit hearts and livers from Palo Santo/Fort Reno…. and the wines, the wines, the rose wines, all of the beautiful drinks we can’t even enumerate (or quite remember). Thanks again to Sam Seier and the entire Edible crew for including us in another delicious and wonderful event!

El Salvador Diaries: Part II

Cupping El Salvador Cup of Excellence coffees at home in Ozone Park.

Our coffee director, Byron Holcomb, is frequently called upon to visit coffee-producing countries and report in from the front lines. His current trip to El Salvador, for the annual Cup of Excellence juried competition, brings us his second report.

It is 6:30 pm. The sun set about 30 minutes ago. The birds have left the hotel quiet again; it seems they are solar-powered. When the sun is out they chatter and call full time. Now there are just bats. They fly by the outdoor lights like fighter jets. 

Today is really the final exam for all these coffees and the hopes of every farmer is that they pass today. There have been almost 3 full weeks of cuppings leading up to today. Pre-selection where every sample is cupped and evaluated. The national jury then steps in and judges every coffee that passes the pre-selection. The narrowed the field down to 50 coffees. On Monday we (the international jury) calibrated and got accustomed to the new table that we use to put in our scores. Tuesday and Wednesday we cup all the coffees that cupped over 85 according to the national jury. They did a really great job. I only remember one that I wrote “rough” and “no” in the description. All those that passed the three prior cuppings were cupped today. This is D-day. 

Today was 33 coffees divided into 4 tables. There were a few that could inspire a belief in god. There were a few that could be my “if I were a stranded on a desert island” coffees. The rest were between quite nice and ok. And several didn’t pass today. 

Some jurors hand out 90’s like business cards. Clearly they like the coffees being offered. One of my favorite parts of the entire CoE process is watching who likes what coffee on the table. After each session we reveal our scores and and see if the coffee will pass through (unofficially). To me a cupper’s interpretation of a coffee is fascinating, especially when we come from 8 different countries. 

I’ve given out two 90’s so far. There are a lot of great coffees. Lots of balanced sweet, acidic well-bodied coffees. Two coffees to me have stood out as inspiringly beautiful. Fragrant, floral, acidic, balanced, stable as cooled. 

I must admit that I had fallen out of love with Pacamara over the last couple years. They can be great, but they are really difficult to roast and the spicy clove and vegetal notes detract from my experience. Maybe I just hadn’t had a really great one in a while because now I’m head over heels (again) for Pacamara. They are just intense, loud, wild and when balanced they are just beautiful. 

There are two main profiles of Pacamara here: 1) the green bell pepper, spices, huge savory body, wild. 2) The other is crazy floral and sweet really balanced and round almost no hints of the green bell pepper. I prefer the number 2.    

What do people think about Pacamara lately? 

We had one that was so incredibly sweet and floral we thought it was a natural or something different in the process. All the national jurors said that is simply a beautiful Pacamara, then they would smile with pride. 

Tomorrow is much lighter. We cup the one table of the top ten (which should be utter cupping bliss). Then we meet the farmers. Then the award ceremony and the winner is announced. 

Yesterday we went to Finca Manzano and had a chance to see Emilio describe how he experiments on and processes his coffee. There was about a 20 minute break in the tour because the rain clouds moved in and dumped buckets and buckets of water on us next to his mechanical dryer. The sideways rain pushed rain onto all of our shoes and pants. The operation is inspiring. Beautiful farm. Inspired farmer. 

This place is special. I can’t play like I’ve seen it all before, and I’ve seen quite a bit in coffee. El Salvador is special. 

El Salvador Diaries: Part 1

J. Hill Mill in El Salvador

Our coffee director, Byron Holcomb, is frequently called upon to visit coffee-producing countries and report in from the front lines. His current trip to El Salvador, for the annual Cup of Excellence juried competition, brings us this first report.

After leaving New York where the heat isn’t on in my building and the fake spring weather, stepping off the plane in San Salvador was nice. Kind of like a sauna after being in the cold for a very long time. The humidity in the air seemed to displace the oxygen. Everyone in the airport was sweating. Not just the gringos. There were a few of us CoE people on the same flight. I waited out front for them and could see the sweat stains on everyone’s back. There were birds, in the airport calling and screaming. There were kids crying. And everyone was either trying to ignore the heat or complain about it.

Then they took us to this place called “Could be anywhere really nice hotel”. The cuppings, hotel and awards ceremony are all being held here. Right here. I can see the cupping area from my room. This is like one of those mega nice and big hotels. It is actually really nice. Of course today we left as soon as we were free and went into the old local market in San Salvador to see how people buy their wares locally. There was a sweet woman who told us how this kind of flower is used as a meat replacement. Other people drank smoothies out of plastic bags with straws. I ate plums and this kind of banana plantain hybrid that I call Rulo.

The calibration was great. As usual a couple nice coffees, a couple ok and a rough one to spoil the party. We did the same coffees 3 times. The first table was really hard for me. Our table was sitting in the straight line of sight of the Air Conditioning. Actually only about half of the table was. So I got almost no Fragrance, zero Aroma and the break was like chasing a fart. Cupping them nearly gave me a headache because the two sides of the table were totally different. It was only on my 3rd pass I noticed one side that was much warmer than the other. So some coffees improved, some tanked. I struggled to know why they put all such meh coffees on the calibration round. I couldn’t score anything well, nor could I find major flaws. , So we moved the table and on the second and 3rd tables of the same coffees I saw why some people were giving marks above 82. Nothing brilliant but a couple that were very nice.

New this year is the 85 point cutoff for CoE. The coffees must cup over 85 to make it through. This should help decrease the number of coffees in the auction and increase the quality. In prior years it was 84 points. This is the 10th year of the CoE in El Salvador. They have used this program as well as any country (if not better) to promote speciality coffees. The competition is usually held up in a lodge in the mountains. This year in honor to all the jurors they are really stressing that they want the 10th year to be special. Hence the nice hotel.

Did you know in 1972 El Salvador was the 3rd largest exporter of coffee in the world? The jury is a righteous group of fun people. It should be a great time.

Last night we had an opening Welcoming Reception. El Salvador being so small there were a lot of growers there. One young guy really inspired me. He is super excited about coffee and his Pacamara lot made it into the first round. He was giddy excited. Another woman told she has about 8 farms and exports 5,000 containers a year, and she too glowed that her lot made it into the first round. The excitement was palpable. There was another character who showed up and would speak in Spanish to jury members. He understood a lot of english but chose to speak almost none. Only a couple of the jury members speak Spanish. I was an interpreter for most of the night. Some of his stories about values and morals I can tell. Other stories I won’t tell you all here. He was hilarious. His coffee is also in the first round.

Later, there are some farm visits planned and I have some of my own farm visits planned while I’m here.

April Showers Bring May Factory Tours!

Join us for a lovely spring tour of our coffee roasting factory and tasting room in Ozone Park, Queens!

Our coffee pros will lead the group through a few hours of local history, coffee roasting, coffee tasting (cupping), and a tour of our roasting plant.

Our next tour is Saturday, May 12th, beginning at 1:00 and wrapping up at about 4:00. Space on the tour is limited so book now at orders@dallisbroscoffee.com.

Tours are $10, and due to the tasting component we ask that all participants show up perfume and cologne free. If you have any questions feel free to call our office during business hours, (718) 845-3010.

There’s something about COE…

Our roaster, Anne Cooper, recently traveled to Brazil for the first ever Brazil Late Harvest Cup of Excellence competition. Not only did Anne get to taste some of the country’s most incredible coffees, she had the chance to meet the producers behind coffees she found truly amazing.

Curiously enough, Anne tasted one particular coffee that blew her away—and she also met one exceptional producer who humbled her completely. Keeping in mind that the CoE tastings are blind, Anne had no idea which producer had produced which coffee…but lo and behold when the awards were announced, the woman by whom Anne had been starstruck was the same woman behind the coffee that had her awestruck. Back home in Ozone Park, the rest of us at Dallis Bros. had the opportunity to cup a sample of that very same coffee—Winner No. 5&mdasha stunningly elegant cup with rose-petal-floral tones, a clean acidity and a beautiful structure. Continuing our lucky streak, we then had the opportunity to win this coffee at auction—which we did!—and it is now making its way from Brazil to Queens. By the time it gets here it will have cost us more than $1000/bag unroasted…but you know what? We couldn’t be more excited unless we were Anne. Her diary from Brazil follows.

Well ……I never would have thought that I would have ever gotten the opportunity to go to a Cup of Excellence event—ever!! But there I was at the 2012 Brazil Late Harvest Cup of Excellence event this January.

It was a long way away from the cupping sessions I once held all the way back in Brisbane, Australia where —based only on what I could gather from the CoE website, reading from other resources as well as working to bring in small amounts to Australia via the team from Cafe Imports—I valiantly spread the word about this wonderful program to Australian coffee lovers who had never been exposed to Specialty coffee (only knew their coffee as ‘instant’ or as a ‘brand’) and knew nothing of the crop to cup journey. I once actually cried during a cupping session I was doing for the Australian Slow Food Group, when I was recounting how wonderful this competition is for the producers and what winning can mean for their quality of life etc. etc.!!

So, a very big thanks to Dallis Bros. Coffee and the wonderful John Moore for not being able to attend! I was thrilled at the opportunity to finally attend a Cup of Excellence event, the first ever Brazil Late Harvest competition, where I met one special producer—Hislena Pereira Nogueira. Hislena is a wonderful lady, 2nd generation farmer of her father’s farm which she now runs with her son. She is a true superstar in my eyes—a lady I will never, ever forget (although I think she thought I was stalking her a bit as I was completely starstruck by her). Meeting her was so very humbling for me.

Even though I was only an observer, and not a judge, at all times I was made to feel included, my opinion was asked for and respected and no-one ever acted like they were more important than the coffee they were cupping and judging (and believe me, there were certainly some legendary, superstar cuppers there too!!!)….we all took it very seriously, in a unified way, that we were there to taste and judge some of the finest Natural coffees of Brazil.


Another aspect of attending Cup of Excellence that you can’t read about, but need to experience for yourself, is the ‘spirit’ of being part of an international jury and what this means to the overall competition…. the spirit of the participants was fuelled by the spirit of the organisers who—through their meticulous structure—made sure the whole experience was positive and everyone had the opportunity to network and get to know each other (by the second day, we all got along so well, it felt like we had all been cupping together for years!!) as well as experience and enjoy some great aspects of Brazilian culture.

I didn’t understand straight away that an international jury of different people from all around the world meant there would be differences in palates/tastes—I totally failed to see this until after the first calibration cupping where the significance of different palates really expressed itself…..very quickly you saw what each culture was attracted to—and this can be exciting for a particular coffee/producer/the Cup of Excellence competition as a whole—which also means one amazing opportunity to learn even more about this complex world of coffee and what this means to other cultural palates. I was totally awestruck by the differences in perception of various tastes and flavours by each international judge and how this could affect how a coffee was judged and scored and what this meant to a coffee from the business and marketing perspective.
Back to the producers. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Hislena before the awards ceremony—at this stage no one had any idea who had won anything—but there was something about Hislena! I actually remember being very nervous and anxious about this opportunity to meet one of the producers….but when I saw Hislena going up to get her finalist certificate I said That’s my lady…I have to talk to her!!! So I grabbed the translator and the rest is history….

A a result of this wonderful experience many new professional friendships were forged and it was wonderful that we were all there for the unified goal of supporting and promoting producers like Hislena.

April Factory Tour! No Foolin’!

Join us for a lovely spring tour of our coffee roasting factory and tasting room in Ozone Park, Queens!

Our coffee pros will lead the group through a few hours of local history, coffee roasting, coffee tasting (cupping), and a tour of our roasting plant.

Our next tour is Saturday, April 7th, beginning at 1:00 and wrapping up at about 4:00. Space on the tour is limited so book now at orders@dallisbroscoffee.com.

Tours are $10, and due to the tasting component we ask that all participants show up perfume and cologne free. If you have any questions feel free to call our office during business hours, (718) 845-3010.

News from the Farm

What’s the latest news from our farm in Brasil, Nossa Senhora Aparecida? Water, water, everywhere!

We are now at 50% irrigation, with our main goal to give the trees water as they need it. The drought of two years ago caused a huge loss in both production and bean size: irrigation can help us avoid another unforeseen bad weather season. We’re also able to exercise more control over when watering occurs, to ensure flowerings take hold more effectively. With this much control over our growing cycle, both yield and quality will improve. And there’s more water to come!

Other experiments, like our newly released Fully Washed, Yellow Bourbon micro-lot, are living proof of farm manager Edgard Bressani’s commitment to continually improving our coffee. Edgard decided to produce a fully washed lot of coffee for the first time in our farm’s history, from our Yellow Bourbon trees. We are very excited to offer such a unique coffee: this process is basically unheard of in Brazil. Most Brazilian coffees today are pulped natural or natural processed. Find out more about this coffee in our webshop!

Ninth Street Espresso: Keeping it Real in NYC

Could there be a more authentic New York espresso experience than walking into Ninth Street Espresso? Since 2001, Ninth Street has been ahead of the crowd: pushing the envelope and changing the way this city sees an extraordinary cup of coffee. So it’s apropos that beginning this week, New Yorkers will enjoy the shop’s own Alphabet City Blend roasted by another local NYC coffee icon, Dallis Bros. Coffee.

“When Ninth Street first opened 10 years ago, our first coffee roaster was Dallis, and I am very excited to come full circle and get the opportunity to work with them again,” said Ken Nye, owner of Ninth Street Espresso.  

He added, “We have decided to bring our roasting back to NYC. We are really excited to work with an amazing local company that is as quality driven as we are. With all respect to our former roaster, we felt that the time was right to ‘go local’ and support a NY roaster that is doing some really amazing work right here in our own backyard.”

“We’re incredibly proud that Ken Nye chose Dallis Bros. Coffee to be the exclusive roasting partner for Ninth Street Espresso. In working with Ninth Street, we know that the coffees we take such care to source and roast will be given their best expression in the hands of quality obsessed baristas every day,” said John Moore of Dallis Bros Coffee.

“One look at the menu, the preparation, and the dedication in Ninth Street shops and you know that they stand for something special.  It isn’t about hype or marketing flash, it is about substance and quality in the cup —period. In this we are absolutely aligned.”

Look for Ninth Street’s own Alphabet City Blend, roasted by Dallis Bros. Coffee, on bar this week at each of the cafe’s three locations:

Alphabet City: 700 E 9th Street (at Avenue C)
Tompkins Square Park: 341 East 10th Street (between Ave A& Ave B)
and in the Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave (between 15th and 16th Streets)

Ninth Street, we couldn’t be more pleased to have you back!