New Training Lab: And We’re Live!

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After a few months of transition, we’re more than excited to announce the opening of our new training lab and NYC headquarters in Long Island City, Queens.

We took the lab around the block for its first spin this past weekend, when our friends at the American Barista and Coffee School (ABCS) in Portland, Oregon, held another of their esteemed training classes at our space.

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We’ve worked with the ABCS for more than two years now, so it was only fitting we let them call our new New York City home their new New York City home first. From our loft in NYC’s tech-and-entertainment-booming LIC, these future master baristas took in some serious coffee knowledge–alongside big views of the city and the Queensboro Bridge.

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We’re only just getting started, of course. Right now, our lab’s “soft opening” includes a state-of-the-art La Marzocco espresso machine, Fetco and Bunn brewers and a sample roaster. We’ll be rotating in other new coffee tech just like we always have, from espresso machines to small batch brewers to pourover gear–anything you’d have in a high end coffee shop. Naturally, we’re set up for cuppings as well as classes. And, if you’re patient enough–one heck of a party.

We’re almost ready!

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We’re packed for North Carolina and can’t wait to get to the Cotton Room and see everyone’s smiling faces.

We’re excited to be working the Brew Bar and Cafe throughout the event, so catch us serving delicious coffees from 11-12:30 and 2-3:30pm Friday, 9:30-11 Saturday, and 9:30-11 and 12:30-2pm Sunday!

We’re bringing a great lineup of coffees, from our classic New York Espresso to the fruity, delightful Ethiopia ARDI from the Sidamo region, to a great coffee from the Dominican Republic, El Lagulito.

Looking forward to seeing you there, come say hello and introduce yourselves!

Big Eastern 2014

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There’s no more thrilling time in our corner of the coffee community than competition season, and for the fourth year running, Dallis Bros. is honored to support our region—this year, bigger than ever!—by sponsoring the first competition of the year, and bringing out the best of the best at the Big Eastern 2014!

In conjunction with the U.S. Coffee Championships, Specialty Coffee Association of America, and co-sponsor Counter Culture Coffee, we’re proud to look forward to the Big Eastern 2014, taking place next weekend in Durham, North Carolina in the Cotton Room at Golden Belt. All competition events are absolutely free and open to the public!

Join us for three fun and inspiring days of competition, either in person or streaming live online, and if you’ll be in Durham—don’t forget Saturday night’s dance party.

We look forward to a little time away from winter, closer to the pulse of the most exciting baristas, brewers and innovators in coffee today.

Stay tuned here for more info on the Big Eastern as it develops!

Dallis Bros. Joins Forces With Lacas Coffee

100-year-old New York City coffee roaster Dallis Bros. Coffee is pleased to announce it has joined forces with 92-year-old Lacas Coffee Company. Lacas Coffee’s nanogenarian history encompasses sustainable sourcing, roasting and distribution of coffee to more than 1,200 restaurants and cafes throughout the region.

In partnership with Lacas, we at Dallis Bros. look forward to building on our history with the expanded resources and expertise of Lacas, continuing to offer the same high-quality, hand-roasted, sustainability focused small batch coffees to the New York City market.

Throughout our history, change has been a constant–after all, we don’t deliver by horse and buggy anymore. We at Dallis Bros. couldn’t be more thrilled at the opportunities this brings for our next century of delivering superior coffee to New York City and beyond.

In the meantime, look forward to our 100th anniversary party plans to be announced very soon, and don’t worry–Morris Dallis will stay buried in the wall.

Questions? Contact marceloc@dallisbroscoffee.com.

Factory Tour This Saturday, July 13!

Ever wonder how coffee gets made into something delicious you can drink?

Join us on Saturday, July 13, for a wonderful day of tasting, touring, and talking coffee at our 100-year-old coffee company’s headquarters!

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We’ll lead you on a romp through local history and the story of our 100 years in the New York City coffee industry. You’ll see coffee roasting firsthand, partcipate in a coffee tasting (cupping), and of course take a full tour of our roasting plant.

Tours are $10 and include a free bag of coffee at the end! Our next tour is Saturday, July 13, beginning at 1:00 and wrapping up at about 4:00. Space on the tour is limited due to all the coffee in here, so reserve your space in advance by emailing orders@dallisbroscoffee.com.

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.

Cup of Excellence Diaries: Costa Rica 2013, Part III

San Jose, Costa Rica. Photo by Matt Swenson.

San Jose, Costa Rica. Photo by Matt Swenson.

Matt Swenson, our Director of Coffee, recently headed down to Costa Rica for their annual Cup of Excellence competition. Here is his third postcard home.

DAY THREE

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Dance performance at Cafe de Altura. Photo by Matt Swenson.

The third day got underway and another day of fierce scoring was upon us. After a surprising day of scoring everything below 90 all day yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised in the early hours of the morning and scored three coffees above 90. As I walked down the 5 sets of grueling stairs back to the discussion panel room, I felt really strange, as if I had just cheated on a biology test and scored an artificially high A. After speaking to a Cup of Excellence veteran, I felt at ease and my early morning jitters were quickly put to rest. We had just cupped an insane table of coffees. So it turned out that my jitters-episode wasn’t about scoring doubts, but rather that I had broken through a personal barrier of mine. I had never before had the privilege of tasting and scoring so many amazing coffees on a single table.

As the morning pushed on and the cuppings began to blur together, we finally called it a day and loaded up on a bus to go see Cafe de Altura, which is a member-owned mill, very similar to a co-op. Upon first glance as we pulled up, the massive footprint of this facility was impossible to ignore. Just visiting a small single-family operation the day before, this was the godzilla version of a modest iguana. Everyone at Cafe de Altura was an amazing host. They even treated us to a performance of local culture. Soon, children of the community were surrounding us in a barn, in adorable white dresses and perfectly fitted white and blue suits. They began to treat us to a several song performance that stamped smiles on our faces for the rest of the evening. As if it couldn’t get any better, the daughter of one of the producers came out to discuss the meal that she had prepared for us. She had recently competed in a national cooking challenge and won, so she was weeks away from representing Costa Rica in an international cooking competition. I think I might have stopped eating when my head and palate almost exploded with all the deliciously confusing signals they were receiving. Chocolate on steak? Carmelized Banana on pork? Wait, all of that on a tortilla…WHILE IN A COFFEE MILL?! Woah. It was almost too much to handle for one night. (But I may have enjoyed three plates.)

DAY FOUR

Joe New York's Ed Kaufmann meets a secret Costa Rican Probat. Photo by Matt Swenson.

Joe New York’s Ed Kaufmann meets a secret Costa Rican Probat. Photo by Matt Swenson.

Our cupping on Thursday ended early and we were given the afternoon off to “catch up on emails”. Not content with sitting behind a computer in a foreign place, Ed Kaufmann of New York roaster Joe drew a map on the back of a napkin and headed for a local bus! Armed with the Spanish-speaking skills of a first grader, I sprinted after the first bus I saw and leapt on before realizing Ed was fiercely chasing behind. Both of us jumped on the bus as it was gaining speed to re-enter the fast paced highway. We were off to a safe start.

This was one of those bus trip you always say you want to go on. I think it went something like this: “Let’s just ride until we see something cool,” “Ok, Cool”, “Cool, man”. We ended up getting off in the heart of downtown San Jose and walked around to different shops. We found our way into the central market where we picked up a few souvenirs for our ladies and then stopped to eat like locals. On the way out, we stopped by a coffee shop and noticed an old Toper roaster. The guy behind the counter could not ignore Ed’s massive smile and natural curiosity. By the time it took me to grab my camera out of the bag, Ed was already behind the counter meeting all the employees and taking a closer look at the roaster. After getting a couple cappuccinos and slices of pie, the manager approached us and told us to follow him. Neither of us are fluent, so we both kind of had the gut feeling that we might be lead into a back alley where it could get ugly. We had big smiles and coffee blinders on though, what could go wrong? As he led us out the doors and down the street, we approached a small retail space where to our surprise he showed us an amazing little Probat Roaster. Almost identical to one of the ones we have at Dallis. Well, in spirit. This little roaster was beat up pretty bad and had a good 60 years of roasting on it. But the familiar sight was comforting and seeing the excitement in his eyes as he showed us was truly priceless. In that moment, we all had that brief sense that even though we didn’t speak the same language, we all shared the same excitement for coffee that bonded us.

Where we went wrong. Photo by Matt Swenson.

Where we went wrong. Photo by Matt Swenson.

We headed back to the hotel confidently, as if we had just conquered a territory and in some sense we kind of did…well until that whole “eat like a local” part caught up to us both almost simultaneously. In a matter of minutes, our stories of local adventures to fellow COEers turned into unadulterated sprints to el baño. We may have ignored the rules of Travelling 101, but it was worth it. At least for those first few hours.

Happy Independence Day!

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As a 100-year-old coffee company, we understand the importance of celebrating one’s birthday.

Kindly note that due to the Independence Day holiday, our roastery will be closed July 4th & 5th. Those customers placing orders during these days will be shipped beginning July 9th.

Thank you and have a great holiday weekend!

Factory Tour Saturday, June 15!

Ever wonder how coffee gets made into something delicious you can drink?

Join us on Saturday, June 15, for a wonderful day of tasting, touring, and talking coffee at our 100-year-old coffee company’s headquarters!

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We’ll lead you on a romp through local history and the story of our 100 years in the New York City coffee industry. You’ll see coffee roasting firsthand, partcipate in a coffee tasting (cupping), and of course take a full tour of our roasting plant.

Tours are $10 and include a free bag of coffee at the end! Our next tour is Saturday, June 15, beginning at 1:00 and wrapping up at about 4:00. Space on the tour is limited due to all the coffee in here, so reserve your space in advance by emailing orders@dallisbroscoffee.com.

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.

Cup of Excellence Diaries: Costa Rica 2013, Part II

Matt Swenson, our Director of Coffee, recently headed down to Costa Rica for their annual Cup of Excellence competition. Here is his second postcard home.

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Cupping at the Costa Rica 2013 Cup of Excellence. Photo by Matt Swenson.

As the second day of the week began, so did the official cuppings. This year, there were about 130 national submissions. Of those ~130, only about 35 passed the national jury rounds. The way the Cup of Excellence competition works is that there are two general rounds. First the National Jury, which is made up of Costa Rican citizens, cups and vets the coffees. If the coffees are graded an 85+, they submit it to the International round of competition, or the International Jury. This competition’s particular jury is made up of people from South Korea, Japan, Germany, Norway, England, and the United States, among a few others.

The National Jury selected about 31 coffees for us to cup. The first day was a nice easy day of two tables of 8 coffees each. We began evaluating the coffees based on fragrance, aroma, cleanliness of the cup, sweetness, acidity, mouthfeel, flavor, aftertaste, balance, and our overall impressions. Each of these categories are given a score from 1-8, and then added to a baseline score of +36 to provide a 100 point basis for each of the coffees.

Although the first day of actually grading the coffees was relatively easy, I was very tough on the coffees. I didn’t score anything above 90 points. A lot of this is my grading and cupping style, but I think a lot of it was also getting calibrated with Costa Rican Coffees. In the US, an interesting coffee to us usually revolves around the acidity and flavor first and sweetness or body second. Costa Rican coffees, for me at least, revolved more around sweetness first and the acidity was secondary (of sorts). The sweetness and the body of many of these coffees were elegant, rich, and creamy with chocolate, caramel, and molasses notes. They were all remarkable coffees. Okay…maybe one or two I didn’t care for, but mostly they were all remarkable coffees.

Our day’s field trip was sponsored by Nature’s Best coffee, in which they bussed us out to Finca Señora, where Alberto and Diego Guardia graciously opened their home and farm to us. As we walked down the long dirt path through the farm to their mill, we experienced firsthand the devastating effects of the roya, or leaf rust, hitting the region. Since this farm is at around 1200 meters above sea level, the roya can still grow effectively. Many of the trees have lost leaves and they looked very sickly. On the other side of the road, there were many healthy trees, that were not affected as much due to the varietal. Diego explained that although it did affect them as a farm, the net production effect was not devastating. They increased their production by 30 percent this year, but then lost about 30 percent of their crop to rust. At the end of the day, the production evened itself out to last year’s volume.

As the tour progressed, we arrived at the residence on Finca Señora which was breathtaking. There was an bright green lawn the size of a proper soccer field surrounded by tall palm trees, over looking the valley below. Towards the house, there was a sparkling swimming pool overlooking a colorful garden on the side of the hill, all of which was tied together with a well-seasoned party gazebo. The gazebo set-up was complete with an espresso machine, beer fridge, stereo system, and bathroom down below. The family were great hosts, preparing us a proper feast with several meats and side dishes. A very approachable side of Costa Rican cusine. Oh, and beer, lots of beer. We met other producers, other roasters, as well as mingled with other judges. The experience was great. One of the highlights for me was our impromtu Tuesday Night Throwdown. Manuel, the competition-level barista hired for the occasion, and Ed Kauffman of Joe (NYC) threw down with a latte art contest. Ed won hands down, however there were plenty of hugs and laughs that followed. A few of us opted out of the ride back to the bus and wound the evening down with a nice little night hike through the farm and eventually to the bus. It was nice to feel the brisk temperature at night and make that connection with the farm as those cooler temperatures are most notably attributed to creating great acidity within coffee.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of Matt’s trip to Costa Rica, coming soon.

Cup of Excellence Diaries: Costa Rica 2013, Part I

Matt Swenson, our Director of Coffee, recently headed down to Costa Rica for their annual Cup of Excellence competition. Here is his first postcard home.

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After years of tasting brilliant coffees from past competitions, hearing adventurous tales from afar and seeing pictures of humbled farmers after taking the prized achievement, I boarded an insanely early flight in hopes that my first Cup of Excellence trip would be an unforgettable learning experience.

After checking into the hotel and meeting up with Ed Kaufmann, a fellow New Yorker, more judges from the US, England, Australia, Italy, Germany, Norway, South Korea, and Japan began to arrive. This is when the great sense of reality began to set in. Not only were we in Costa Rica, we were going to be judging and tasting the most prestigious coffee competition in the country, surrounded by some of the most talented people in the industry. With all of the talent, there is an amazing sense of humbleness among all of the judges, organizers and everyone else putting the event on. This is what makes COE special.

The day started off with a nice Costa Rican breakfast. We listened to a few key speeches by the guys at Exclusive Coffees and Nature’s Best, who have been a great sponsors, as well as Susie Spindler, the Executive Director of Alliance for Coffee Excellence.

After a brief introductory slideshow, we were off doing an acid calibration. Nine cups were on the table with varying amounts of acidity, sweetness, mouthfeel, astringency…and one in which I am convinced had slime in it.

A few rounds of coffee calibrations later, we broke for lunch and then headed to our day’s field trip. First stop: Micro Plantas. Micro Plantas is a company that specializes in plant tissue cultivation. What this means is that they can take a leaf from any coffee plant in the world, and through many cellular level maneuvers, they can genetically clone the plant. Brilliant. Let’s take the world’s best Geisha variety, clone it and plant it everywhere. In three to five years, the entire world is going to have La Esmeralda Geisha fantasy-level coffee, right? Although this seems delicious in theory, my past experiences researching in a plant pathology lab make me very skeptical of the long term viability. All skepticism aside, much of this research seems cutting edge and well financed, so I’m excited to continue to follow this project over the next few years.

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After a quick tour of Exclusive Coffee, a major exporter of great micro-lots throughout Costa Rica, we went to a dinner party hosted by Exclusive. We first saw a great presentation by Wayner Jimenez of Exclusive regarding plant varietals and how their cup score correlates to varying altitudes. It was really incredible information for any coffee buyer or producer.

The first day for me was an incredible sensory overload with amazing people that could only be the start of a truly memorable experience.

Matt’s Costa Rica Cup of Excellence Diary will be continued!