We Put Your Coffee in Sweet New Packages!

We wish we could just come over to your house with our pockets full of coffee, give it to you in handfuls, and maybe take a few minutes to talk about what’s good with you these days (How is Kelly anyway? Did her dog win that cool prize?), but until then we still need to sell it in bags.

So we decided to start using the very best bags we could find. There are two things we should let you know about this new packaging: First, the amount of coffee will increase to 12 ounces from 8 ounces. Second, these bags are super focused on environmental sustainability. So, in short, more coffee, better bags. Win, win.

Some of you out there are saying “Wait, you just changed your packaging a year and a half ago.” You are correct. We did. We loved the look of those boxes, and we loved the 8 ounce size. But after using them for a while, we realized that most people prefer to buy 12 ounces of coffee at a time; it’s the right amount to last two coffee drinkers about a week. We also realized that there was a lot of extra packaging involved. Live and learn.

Our new bags are way better for Mother Earth, and we’re actually the very first company in the world to use this material commercially. It’s called Biotre 2.0, and it’s composed of 99.6% renewable plant-based resources, like wood pulp and sugar cane. Still not 100 percent perfect, but in terms of sealed packaging with an oxygen barrier and a one-way valve that keeps your coffee as fresh as possible, it’s the most progressive thing we could get our hands on.

We should also mention that the price of the coffee itself won’t be changing; it’s the same cost per ounce. The 12 ounce package will cost more than the 8 ounce package, but just because there’s more coffee. No funny business.

Feel free to email us at hello@sightglasscoffee.com if we can answer any questions. We can do our best to talk more about the science involved (the supplier gave us some very intense-looking PowerPoint slides) or walk through anything else you’re curious about.

We’re very serious when we say that our first priority is always to bring you the best expression of coffees that we love, and this new packaging helps us to do just that. Thank you for your support, and for helping us continue to do what we love: sourcing, brewing and enjoying beautiful coffees with you.

About the Jams: Noel Ellis

Our excitement is off the charts for this one! While you may not immediately recognize the name Noel Ellis, listen to this seminal record just once and you’ll never forget it!

Son of reggae superstar Alton Ellis, Noel Ellis is a remarkable talent with a musical style that pays tribute to his famous father and the island beats he grew up with, while bringing a distinctive ethereal quality all his own. Produced by famed Summer Records in 1983, Ellis’ self titled debut showcases his flair for ingenuity, effortlessly combining groovy rocksteady rhythms with playful stylings and ‘a less is more’ production approach. The 6-track record also features contributions from reggae greats Jackie Mittoo, Willi Williams, and Johnny Osbourne.

Over thirty years since its initial release, Noel Ellis is back thanks to the fine folks at Light in the Attic, who’ve remastered and released the reggae jammer once again for your listening pleasure. For a limited time, pick one up for your private collection in-store at both 7th and 20th Street.

Put it on, turn it up, and you’ll have it on heavy rotation for days! We promise.

First Look: Sightglass at SFMOMA

We’ve spent the better part of the last two and a half years dreaming up and actualizing our third brick and mortar coffee bar in San Francisco, this time, partnering with a world-renowned cultural institution we’ve long cherished.

We sought to create an elevated & highly immersive coffee bar experience within SFMOMA, one that would appeal to the varying tastes of a diverse audience. We collaborated with SFMOMA to conceive a space that not only champions efficiency and flow, but also highlights our meticulous dedication to craft and service. Each element is designed with this emphasis in mind, inclusive of our dynamic espresso and drip bars, oriented to showcase quality-focused drink preparation. Every coffee is prepared right before your eyes for your enjoyment and sensory delight.

Coffee Bar Rendering (Boor Bridges Architecture)

Coffee Bar Rendering (Boor Bridges Architecture)

The coffee bar is located on the third floor of the museum, adjacent to both the transcendent grand atrium boasting a 26-foot-wide Calder sculpture and the awe-inspiring John and Lisa Pritzker Center for Photography. Enjoy your coffee in the Photography Interpretive Gallery, a highly interactive and playful new space that invites you to curate your own experience while gaining insight into the museum’s preeminent photography collection.

Enjoy inspiring views of the grand Atrium as you enjoy your coffee.

Enjoy inspiring views of the grand atrium as you drink your coffee.

You’ll find quite a few sumptuous new offerings in our newest home. Our menu features seasonally rotating single origin favorites in addition to nitro & vanilla cold brew on tap, a delectable selection of sweet and savory treats, and even a few elegant loose leaf teas! We’ve also developed a beautiful blend exclusively for SFMOMA, resplendent prepared as as an espresso or drip coffee! Comprised of seasonally rotating beans from Central & South America and East Africa, this versatile stunner boasts vibrant flavors of citrus fruit balanced by sweet, deep caramel and milk chocolate undertones.

After nearly three years of closure and ideation, SFMOMA reopens to the public this Saturday, May 14th. We packed a whole lot of heart and creative collaboration into this small, yet mighty 300 square foot coffee bar. Sharing it with you will be our greatest joy yet!

With Love,

Sightglass

SFMOMA
151 3rd Street, SF, CA 94103
Open Daily: 10a – 4:30p Mondays-Wednesdays, Fridays-Sundays; 10a8:30p Thursdays. 

Dispatches: Central America

We’ve just returned from our first sourcing trip of 2016 and have some tremendous updates to share with you all. Central America is a wildly exciting place to source quality coffees, made even more special by the remarkable people, places and experiences. This time around, we traversed Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras – three countries close together geographically, but so very different…

Costa Rica

We landed in San José in the evening, weary-eyed from a long day of travel, but eager to begin exploring. While we enjoy spending time in Costa Rica’s lively capitol, it’s the picturesque countryside that captivates us every time we’re here. There’s nothing quite like breathing in fresh mountain air when the plants are flowering; the aromas so fragrant, they waft into the car through the air vent. Once through customs, we loaded into a school van and began the winding ascent from the humid city into the mountains towards our first destination – Rio Jorco.

Rio Jorco is the immaculate farm and dry mill we work with in Costa Rica. Our partners here buy coffee cherry, process it on site with an aqua pulper, conduct the quality control and also mill and export the coffees. Once the quality of a lot has been determined, they pay the producer a quality premium. Since we last checked in, they’ve diversified their processing methods to include more natural and honey processed coffees than ever before!

We visited Finca Las Pavas and a few other farms in the suburb of El Cedral, Rio Jorco, cupped some coffees and chatted about production methods and some of the biggest challenges facing specialty coffee producers today. With the onset of El Niño, severe weather conditions are a big one on everyone’s mind. Hot and dry days with little rain and forceful winds have plagued producers and may impact production volumes for next year’s harvest.

Finca Las Pavas in the suburbs of El Cedral, Rio Jorco

Finca Las Pavas in the suburbs of El Cedral, Rio Jorco

Trees-lacking-water

Lack of rainfall may impact next year’s production volumes

As our time in Costa Rica was coming to a close, we were fortunate enough to celebrate a birthday party with the Navarro family. Such a heartwarming experience
– we were welcomed into their home and treated like family. Although they have some smaller stunning three manzana farms where they produce coffee for us, in total, they have nearly 70 hectares of coffee plants. Jose Luis Navarro consistently delivers exceptional micro lots, and judging by the progress of this harvest, we’ll have some stunning new coffees to share later this year!

quality time with Jose Luis Navarro

Quality time with Jose Luis Navarro & family

Nicaragua

We flew into Managua and drove four hours through desert and tobacco plantations up to Ocotal, the capital of the Nueva Segovia Department of Nicaragua. Aside from the pine forests that blanket the hills above the town, Ocotal is very dry and arid. The soil is sandy and the landscape has a perpetual sun-drenched sheen. Not a place you might expect to find quality coffee, but looks can be deceiving…

The Caravela Nicaragua operation, Beneficio La Estrella, is nestled in Ocotal and is where we set our sights. Here, we spent some time with quality control expert William Ortiz who hails from Oporapa, the same Colombian town as the one-and-only Wilfredo Ule Vargas of Finca Alcatraz. We visited the lab, cupped some fresh coffees and toured the soon-to-be-completed dry mill. Caravela has done a lot of coffee drying R&D over the past few years, cupping coffees from the same producer that have been dried in three different ways: patio dried with full sunlight, dried on plastic in full sunlight and dried on the beds under shade. The three profiles yield very different results. When coffee is dried slower, it is dried more evenly, doesn’t age as quickly and tastes more complex.

My time was up in Nicaragua so I pushed onto Honduras, the land of the mighty (and ever so delicious) baleada!

Honduras

We drove up to the border of Nicaragua and Honduras and got a taste of border crossing in the good old days – excruciatingly slow and painful. Lines, checkpoints, more lines, frisking and searching, etc. 8 hours of travel later, we found ourselves in Peña Blanca, Santa Barbara – a picturesque town that sits above Lake Yojoa, the largest natural land mass in Honduras. The unique micro-climate here contributes to the expressively transparent cup profiles of coffees from this region.

Norma Azucena & Ben Paz

Norma Azucena Erazo & Ben Paz

For the next week, we visited cherished producers and cupped some incredibly promising lots alongside our great bud and supply partner, Benjamin Paz. We were fortunate enough to spend time (and share a delicious meal or two) with some of our favorite longstanding Honduran producers: Norma Azucena Erazo (Finca Zulema), Salomé and Virgilio Reyes (Finca Salomé), Ramon Jeovany Baide (Finca Baide) and newer partner, David Muñoz.

Salomé Reyes (Finca Salomé)

Salomé Reyes (Finca Salomé)

David Muñoz

David Muñoz

While we cup countless coffees at origin to determine quality and map out our coffee bar menus, the majority of our time is dedicated to finding out how we can best support our partners. We’re really excited about a collaborative project with Norma aimed at improving her wet mill and drying infrastructure.

Stay tuned for more on that and some phenomenal fresh crop from Central America later this year! Until then, we leave you with some trip highlights…

Saludos!

About the Jams: Willie Nelson

Singer, songwriter & luminary, Willie Nelson, known the world over for his genre-bending country and inimitable style, released an understated, highly experimental record in 1998. The record was called Teatro, aptly named for the vacant movie theater in Oxnard, California where it was recorded with a few famous friends, including the ever-lovely Emmylou Harris and jazz guitarist Brad Mehldau. The 14 track record is genre-defying – a ‘south of the border’ tinged departure from the famed ‘outlaw country’ sub-genre he helped pioneer in the late 60s.

Never one to conform, Willie Nelson has innovated with Teatro. Part nostalgia, part reinvention, the eclectic record strikes a harmonious balance between old and new – Willie’s iconic vocals and lyrical artistry accompanied by soothing Latin guitar and soulful percussive grooves. Some old jams reimagined and some completely new tracks are produced by renowned album producer & collaborator, Daniel Lanois. The resulting work is a cinematic, sonic journey that is a pleasure to take again and again.

The fine folks at Light in the Attic Records have issued Teatro on vinyl (for the first time ever!) and it’s been on heavy rotation since. For a limited time, you can pick up your very own, pressed on gold vinyl with a deluxe, gatefold, ‘tip-on’ uncoated jacket, at 7th and 20th Street.

Put it on, pour yourself a few fingers of whiskey, and prepare to experience Willie as you never have before!

Welcome to the New Digs!

Hi Friends,

If you’re reading this post, you’ve most likely noticed some changes. For the better part of last year and the beginning of this one, we’ve been hard at work dreaming up and developing a new website. Our objective; to deliver a distinct and immersive coffee experience, a reflection of what we offer in our coffee bars, but on the web.

Today, we couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce the fruits of these labors – a multi-faceted and elevated Sightglass web experience. The upgrade was long overdue and we can proudly say that what we’ve arrived upon is a strong representation of us.

To us, the best way to explore any new place is without a road map. We prefer to make our own way, allowing for spontaneity and chance encounters as we go. We invite you to experience our website in your own way, on whatever device (be it desktop, tablet or mobile) you find yourself reading this very email on. Go wild, and if you get lost, the lightning bolt will guide you home!

As our welcome gift to you, we’re offering free shipping on all webstore orders over $25* through the end of February with code “SHIPONUS”

For any questions or comments, we’re always here, eager to hear from you. Please email info@sightglasscoffee.com and we’ll be in touch!

Yours,

Sightglass

*one usage per customer. Offer excludes subscriptions.

Winter Arrivals

Season’s Greetings, Folks!

As you’re gearing up for the festive season, we’ve rounded up a few tasty year-end releases fresh off the roaster! We’ve debuted our first-ever Java coffee, a 100% Bourbon stunner from Kageyo, and a singular Papuan microlot:

Indonesia
Java, Cempaka Mulya Village

It’s been said that Java is one of the most peaceful places on earth. Following an incredible sourcing trip to western Java in August, we’re inclined to agree. The Sunda people of Cempaka Mulya Village treat their coffees with reverence, providing exceptional care at every step of coffee production. One of our trip highlights was listening to traditional Sunda music in the processing warehouse, a practice to aid in the resting of coffee before export. This unique blend of Tim Tim and Typica varieties yields an immensely balanced cup with notes of vanilla, cocoa powder and sweet pipe tobacco in the finish.

Papua New Guinea
Lufa District

Hailing from the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, this first-time offering boasts a full and creamy body, with big flavors of caramel, browned butter and candied ginger coupled with soft aromatics of vanilla and jasmine. While any brew method will produce a beautiful cup, we’re digging this coffee brewed in a French Press for a deeply complex and expressive brew!

Rwanda
Kageyo Coop Station, Ngororero

This elegant coffee jumped off the cupping table during our most recent trip to Kageyo in May. The cup quality was remarkable and we couldn’t wait to get the fresh crop stateside and into our roaster. At long last, the highly anticipated year-end release has arrived! Expect a refreshingly sweet, structured and approachable coffee. Flavors of pink lady apple, butterscotch, and whipping cream give way to a delicate earl grey finish.

The winter offerings and many others are now available at our 7th street shop and on our webstore. Drop by 20th street for a selection of beautiful coffees that are exclusively available in store!

Ready to get brewing? Try our brewing guides.

Fall Arrivals

New offerings have landed and we’ve rounded up a few favorites. Happy Brewing!

Honduras
Finca Zulema, Norma Zulema Azucena

When we first crossed paths with Norma Zulema back in 2013, we knew her coffees were special. Norma is an absolute joy to work with and we admire her deep committment to producing exquisite coffees and maintaining an immaculate operation at Finca Zulema. As such, we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome this newest lot on menu. Expect a balanced cup with big flavors of ripe, red apple, fresh cut watermelon, juicy mango and baking spices in the finish.

Indonesia
Sulawesi, Toarco, Peaberry

This meticulous peaberry separation is back and tastier than ever! This is an exceptionally structured coffee with sugar cane sweetness, a syrupy mouthfeel, and vibrant flavors of concord grape, lemon peel and stone fruit. Peaberries are a delightful abnormality, only developing in 1 out of every 20 coffee flowers. We love them for their unparalleled intensity and complexity of flavor, which shines through in this full-bodied Sulawesi!

Kenya
Gatugi Station AA

A second year offering for us, this exemplary Kenyan boasts a big cup with aromas of blackberry and brown sugar, a molasses-like texture, and a red currant acidity. This lot comes to us from the Gatugi Factory in Central Kenya, where SL28 and SL34 coffee varieties reign supreme. Developed for the Kenyan government by Scott Labs in the 1930’s, these varieties are prized for their drought resistance, productivity, and unrivaled clarity of taste. We couldn’t agree more.

Nicaragua
Finca La Esperanza Honey, Luis Alberto

If you’ve glanced at our retail shelves lately, you’ll notice a few new honey-processed coffees. In rinsing these coffees, a bit of the mucilage is left intact, giving the parchment an amber “honey” color and imparting a deep sweetness. We’ve enjoyed working with Luis Alberto in past years and are excited to offer this newest lot of Finca La Esperanza honey-washed. It’s light body and crisp, lemon-like acidity pair well with flavors of brown sugar and baking spices, giving way to a long caramel finish.

These special coffees are now available at 7th street and on our webstore.

In a brewing slump? Check out our handy brewing guides.

 

 

Dispatches: South Pacific

The South Pacific is a truly wondrous part of the world. Traveling throughout it for any reason is a treat, and that pleasure was ours on our most recent sourcing trip traversing Java, East Timor, Bali and Papua New Guinea.

Our first stop was Java, an island in Indonesia situated between Sumatra to the west and Bali to the east. People were incredibly hospitable, meals were on par with some of the best restaurants in San Francisco, and our afternoons were spent cupping coffee barefoot at the Cisondari Mill.

Signpost located in the center of the Cisondari MillOur experience at the Cisondari Mill was unrivaled and their operations, pristine. A signpost located in the center of the mill guided us to different places, each bearing a unique name. The long curved drying patio is called ‘blessed’, while the small shelter for the husky pups family is endearingly deemed ‘home’. Mill workers live on site in a large complex down the hill from the immense hub of operations. Trucks drive around throughout the mountains daily, picking up cherry and bringing it back to the mill for overnight processing and fermentation. In the morning, the parchment is rinsed and laid out to dry in one of the covered patios. In the storage warehouse, multiple large sacks of parchment are resting. The workers at Cisondari play traditional Sunda music throughout the warehouse, a practice to aid in the resting of the coffee.

From Java, we traveled to East Timor, the second youngest country on the planet. East Timor, or Timor-Leste in the country’s national language of Portuguese, received its independence from Indonesia in 2002 and has grown significantly since. We landed in Dili, a sleepy beach town home to the country’s newest shopping mall, a couple Burger Kings, a handful of lively dive bars, and the newly established Outspan Agro Timor, one of the country’s best exporters of fine specialty coffees.

The coffee here is wild as the trees have grown untamed since the 1950s, when the Portuguese colonial government began to plant coffees for export. To provide supple shade for the coffee, Madre Cacao and Kukui trees were also planted, which have since grown to become massive canopy trees. The Madre Cacao tree is also a nitrogen-fixing tree, precious for it’s ability to take nitrogen from the air and feed it back into the soil aiding in healthy soil production and ultimately, to flourishing coffee trees throughout the year.Cherry selection in East TimorThe coffees in East Timor are already beginning to display special traits that will only become more prominent and nuanced with time and small production improvements. We look forward to sourcing beautiful coffees from this country very soon. From here we headed back to Indonesia to visit Bali, and finally to Papua New Guinea. Stay tuned for that update.

Introducing: Espresso Con Panna

Fall is here. Winter is coming. And with it, cooler temps (weather permitting) and so very many occasions to consume delicious, warming beverages all season long. We’re the first to agree that there’s nothing quite like an unadulterated, perfectly balanced shot of espresso. However true, this has done little to dissuade us from partaking frequently—and sometimes daily—in our latest offering.

Every morning at both coffee bars, our stand mixers get powered on to whip up something truly delightful and best served fresh. Bourbon Madagascar pure vanilla bean and heavy whipping cream comprise what is sure to get you excited for some chill in the air, or—at the very least—out of the house and to the coffee bar stat. This classic Italian treat—panna served atop espresso (or atop any other espresso bev. of choice)—is now available at both coffee bars.

Next time you’re here, why not try a dollop? It’s new on the menu and it’s downright delicious. Enjoy!