Coffee Tasting Party

September 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews, Coffee Shop Reviews | 5 Comments
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What do Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica, Haiti, Mexico, and Nicaragua all have in common? They are all countries where coffee beans are grown. Recently we had the privilege of sharing some coffee from each of these countries with some family and friends. We actually tried a couple more coffees too! It would be the first intentional coffee tasting party for us. Man did we have fun. We have already had another and have plans for more in the near future.

Before the party I asked the host if I could bring some different coffees and brew them a couple of different ways so we could try something new. You see I come by teaching naturally. I like to take opportunities to teach whenever I can. I am also a lifelong learner and I think that one of the best ways to continue to learn is to teach about what you are learning. My wife and I have been learning about the roasting, grinding, brewing and tasting of coffee. I wanted to share some of that knowledge and coffee with some family and friends. So I had a plan to share about grinding, brewing and tasting one specific roasters coffee.

Hemisphere Coffee Roasters ( provided us with coffee. Their motto is “coffee with a mission.” We’ve reviewed some of their other coffees before. They are involved with direct trade with the coffee farmers and this works out better than fair trade. They care about improving the lifestyles of the indigenous coffee farmers. They have also started a non-profit agency to assist the coffee growers in Latin America called Care Cup International ( I encourage you to check out both sites.

Well Kim and I stopped in Mechanicsburg at the Hemisphere Coffee Roasters shop to meet Paul and Grace who started this ministry/business. We had a good time talking with them and getting to know them. We tried some coffee and they gave us some samples to give away and to brew and little cups to use. We appreciate their helpfulness and generosity! We hope to get back up there again on one of our trips.

None of the people at the picnic own or use a grinder or French Press. They usually buy coffee that is on sale in the grocery store. That has changed now. First I showed them how easy it is to grind whole beans. Then I made the same coffee in an auto-drip and French Press. We tasted the auto-drip first and then the Press. A couple of people weren’t sure if they liked the Press, but they did like the coffee in auto-drip.

We were drinking coffee in little cups so I kept making coffee to taste. I would pass around the bag of whole beans and ask them how they liked the aroma. A few people actually ate a bean of each coffee. Then I would let them smell the aroma after the beans were ground and again after the coffee was poured into their cup. I would ask them to try to describe the aroma.

After we sipped some coffee I would ask them to try to describe what they tasted. It was a lot of fun listening to their descriptive words. Things like; I’m not sure, fruitiness, tingly, smooth, heavy, and full were used at different times. We even tried some Mexican decaf and one person who doesn’t like decaf liked it and thought it would be good in the French Press.

Overall the Papua New Guinea and Menno Blend were favorites. They are smooth, flavorful, and naturally sweet with a good earthy aroma. The Haitian coffee was liked too. Two people liked the dark roast Nicaraguan Maragojype the best. They thought it was a deeper, bolder flavor. All but one person liked the Mexican decaf.

We had a great time talking and tasting coffee. We gave away sample bags of coffee that we received from HCR. I also ground beans of each coffee we tried and put them in baggies for each taster to take home and enjoy. It was a lot of fun our pleasure to introduce people to the good coffees of Hemisphere Coffee Roasters. We truly hope it sends some business their way and helps their “coffee with a mission” grow. We received the coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversation!

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Coffee Review – Nicaraguan Maragogype

July 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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This coffee is from Hemisphere Coffee Roasters ( and is described as a dark roast with lemon and chocolate notes. It is a unique smooth coffee that grows very scarcely in Central America. Many farmers have stopped cultivating it because doesn’t produce well.

Hemisphere Coffee Roasters (HCR) was started out of work with Rosedale Mennonite Missions with a vision to assist coffee farmers and their communities. Many of the farmers live in areas of extreme poverty and the relationships between the farmers and HCR is a practical way to help the farmers and their communities profit from the sale of the beans. In 2008 HCR worked to start a non-profit, Care Cup International ( to further assist the farmers through grants and agricultural consulting. In future blog posts I’ll share more about HCR and CCI, but I do want to encourage you to check them out.

Our first brew was with the French Press and there is a nice aroma that comes from these dark roasted beans. They have a deep roasted smell in the bag and after being ground. There is a distinct lemon flavor that spreads all over the tongue with a mild acidity. The body of the coffee is smooth and light. You really notice this coffee when you taste it. Two thumbs up.

We went with the auto-drip next and Kim remarked how good the aroma was when she came down stairs. Overall the flavor is well balanced and deep. There is a smooth feel and good aftertaste. This is a memorable cup of coffee. We would give it two thumbs up again.

Finally we used the Chemex coffee maker and there was a clean deep roasted flavor to enjoy. The taste of lemon was there along with a bittersweet or dark chocolate. It has a nice aftertaste and this is kind of where the dark chocolate comes out. As we sat down and talked about this coffee both of us simply liked the flavor we tasted. Two thumbs up again.

Kim liked drinking this coffee as she was eating some Asian food. It also tastes good with a chocolate oat bar. I made a cup in the single cup brewer and it tasted really good there as well. Both of us could say that we liked this coffee very much. If you have never tried a Nicaraguan coffee we highly recommend this Maragogype from Hemisphere Coffee Roasters. We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time, stop and enjoy the coffee and conversation.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

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