Dispatches: Colombia

Cultivating strong and mutually beneficial relationships with the producers we work with is an integral element of our craft. On our most recent trip to Colombia, we had the unparalleled opportunity to check in with one such producer—Wilfredo Ule Vargas at Finca Alcatraz. Unrivaled not only for the quality of coffees he provides us with year after year, Wilfredo is also our first direct farm relationship, the first coffee producer to instill his trust and offer his friendship in our earliest days of sourcing green coffee. The past five years working alongside him have flown and we’ve witnessed our partnership grow and flourish.

Picturesque views of Finca AlcatrazOn our most recent trip, we had the opportunity to check in on the maturation of his recently planted Bourbon trees, now dense with cherry. Bourbon, arguably one of the finest varieties of coffee in existence, dates back to the early 1700’s on Réunion Island (then Île Bourbon) off the coast of Madagascar. The seeds traveled there from their origin of Yemen, and have since served as the genetic foundation for many varieties prevalent today. Upon our visit, Wilfredo had just finished drying a small quantity of the first semester of harvest, a few cups of which we roasted, tasted and savored. This coffee will be an absolute gem when it lands stateside, one that we cannot wait to get into our roaster and subsequently, to you.

From Huila, we traveled to Quindio, Colombia to visit some other coffee producers who have been working tirelessly to increase their level of quality, with remarkable success over the last few harvests. Many of these farms are threatened by leaf rust, a fungus that thrives under a specific set of climatic and environmental conditions and has the capacity to destroy entire farms. To counteract this international epidemic on a local, regional and national scale, many Colombian farmers are now planting disease-resistant coffee varieties. In Colombia, the most common disease-resistant variety is called Castillo, which has been bred to possess great cup character, productivity, ease of cultivation, and disease resistance.

Perhaps the biggest difference in harvesting a variety like Bourbon vs. Castillo is discernible in the ripening process. While Bourbons ripen to a deep red in color, Castillos are best when left on the tree for slightly longer, eventually ripening to a deep purple. This seemingly minute factor can determine the difference between a good and a great coffee. A longer ripening time for Castillo can result in more robust sugar development within the cherry, and thus, a greater coffee. Each step along the coffee supply chain requires meticulous care, dedication and hard work. We truly never cease learning and growing alongside our wonderful producers.

At Sightglass, we take the utmost care in delivering you a cup of coffee that is always exceptional. It’s our daily work. Ultimately, we are at the end of the chain that starts the moment a cherry is picked off the tree. Trips like these aid in making that chain seem shorter and our connections with our producers ever-stronger. It is in nurturing this bond and strengthening our understanding and connection with our farmers, their unique challenges, and their coffees that ultimately allow us to practice and share what we love each and every day.

 

Dispatches: Tanzania, Uganda & Rwanda

East Africa is one of those places we can never wait to visit, and always feel quite sad to leave. Like the coffees themselves, this part of the world is incredibly unique, with innumerable opportunities for exciting growth. We have recently returned from a sourcing trip through Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda and have much to share!

On this trip, we spent the majority of our time visiting with some of our favorite Rwandan producers and washing stations. To our amazement, Rwanda has experienced a harvest two to three times larger than last year’s! From some preliminary cuppings, we’re anticipating that the Rwanda Kageyo—hitting coffee bars this holiday season—will be a real standout. We have purchased exceptional coffees from Kageyo in the Ngorororero District of western Rwanda in the past and continue to be blown away by the remarkable quality and characteristics of their coffees.

Rwanda1

In addition to a week in Rwanda, we explored some major coffee-producing regions in Uganda and Tanzania. These countries have been harvesting and exporting coffee for decades, and have optimal climates and topographies for producing specialty coffee. While it still may be some time before we see world-class single producer micro-lots out of these regions, many producers are well on the path as perceptions begin to shift towards prioritizing quality over quantity. Imagine yourself a farmer with coffee trees. For decades you and your family have harvested coffee cherry and have subsequently taken it to a buying station in your town. You receive a payment for each delivery, determined by the weight of the coffee cherry and subject to the ever-changing coffee commodity market price. Without a tangible incentive or premium provided for quality coffee, you will most likely continue to prioritize volume.

Young Coffee TreesWhat we have seen time and time again in various countries throughout the world—and what we see taking shape now in East Africa—is a paradigm shift towards the de-commoditization of coffee on the small scale. Farmers are beginning to deliver coffee to new specialty exporters who pay premiums for high quality coffees. Many specialty exporters are introducing farmer training initiatives and providing tools, fertilizers, and other farming support. Here, we are witnessing the beginnings of a more sustainable supply chain, one that we believe will continue to grow and evolve over time. Exciting things ahead!

Market Happenings: New Location & Schedule!

Summer is just a week away and with it, the return of so many seasonal favorites at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market— nectarines, figs, blackberries, summer squash and sweet corn to name a few! In August, we celebrate our second anniversary as a Saturday vendor at the truly dynamic community and farmer focused marketplace that we’ve come to regard as a third home. With this milestone, we also introduce some exciting new market changes and growth. We have relocated our coffee stand to the front plaza of the historic Ferry Building and have added Tuesdays to our schedule! Tuesdays and Saturdays, you can peruse all the fresh, seasonal bounty of our fellow vendors and simultaneously enjoy a carefully prepared coffee, espresso or a bag of beans to brew at home.

Mark your calendars, friends. Our new market schedule:

Tuesdays 730am – 2pm
Saturdays 8am – 2pm

As always, thank you for your continued support and we hope to see you sometime soon!

Now Open: Affogato Bar

We’re in the midst of Spring, with summer fast approaching. The days are longer, the sun is ever-brighter, and the cold brews are tasting real nice this time of year. We can’t think of any better way to welcome the sun-soaked days than with a refreshing, espresso-soaked ice cream…

We’ve teamed up with Portland favorites, Salt & Straw Ice Cream, to bring you one of our most delicious collaborations yet— Affogato Bar! The ‘Affagato’ originated in Italy, where the word affagare means ‘to drown’ – which in this case means to douse a scoop of ice cream with a shot or two of espresso.  We chose to collaborate with Salt & Straw because their delectably dense, handmade ice cream pairs beautifully with the refined, balanced layers of a well-extracted espresso shot. We’ve known Kim Malek, founder of Salt & Straw, for over a decade— having served her coffee regularly in Seattle many years ago—and are delighted to finally collaborate on such a fun, playful project!

With Affogato Bar, the fun is in the bit of adventure in our concept. You get to customize your affogato by choosing between three unique Salt & Straw ice cream flavors and three single origin espresso offerings. New ice cream flavors and SOE offerings will be introduced periodically as the seasons change and new local ingredients inspire the Salt & Straw team. Nine unique flavor pairings are possible at any one time!

To start, Salt & Straw have developed three truly delicious ice cream flavors — Dick Taylor Single-Origin Chocolate, Blood Orange Olive Oil and Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons. Our initial single origin espresso offerings will be Rwanda, Mwasa, Colombia, Finca La Siberia, and our Colombia, Decaf El Meridiano. We really love the Blood Orange Olive Oil ice cream with our Mwasa espresso—resulting in a sweet, viscous, and subtly earthy flavor. Also, the Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons ice cream paired with our Colombia Finca La Siberia espresso creates a deeply sweet caramelized goodness with soft, honey and floral notes.

In celebration of our launch, we’ll be serving FREE affogatos tomorrow – Friday, May 1st from 10a – 6p at our 7th street location.  Kim and Tyler Malek of Salt & Straw will be here scooping ice cream alongside our fantastic staff to kick off the first day of our exciting new service and collaboration! Stop by, say hello and enjoy a sweetly caffeinated treat on the house!

See you soon!

Introducing: Sightglass at SFMOMA

Today, we share some truly exciting news. We have worked closely with our dedicated team to develop multiple iterations of a concept that will now come to fruition. In Spring of 2016, we will open yet another coffee bar in this ever-inspiring city that we call home. This special coffee bar will be housed within one of San Francisco’s most iconic arts institutions—none other than the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Nestled on the third floor, Sightglass at SFMOMA will stand adjacent to the John and Lisa Pritzker Center for Photography—slated to be the largest space devoted to photography at any art museum in the United States. In keeping with SFMOMA’s enduring commitment to fostering creativity and supporting new ways of seeing and experiencing our world, our coffee bar will offer visitors an immersive and distinct specialty coffee experience—one that truly embodies the Sightglass brand, feel, coffees and new environment we find ourselves in.

We feel honored to not only contribute to what has been and will continue to be an incredibly influential arts institution, but also to have the opportunity to share our journey with you.  As we prepare to embark on this new endeavor, we would be remiss not to pause and reflect. We wouldn’t be at this exciting juncture in our story—underway on both our Divisadero and SFMOMA locations—if not for all of you. Our Sightglass family, friends and customers who, at one point or another, have stopped by, said hello, shared a drink and conversation with a friend in one of our coffee bars, or simply enjoyed a quick cup on the go. Thank you for your continued support of our company, our mission and our coffees. We feel so incredibly fortunate to wake up and do what we love, each and every day.

We look forward to welcoming you into our newest home. We’ll meet you on the third floor when the museum reopens, May 14, 2016!

Dispatches: Guatemala, Nicaragua & Honduras

The last month has been filled with a lot of travel throughout coffee-producing regions of Central America. With each new year, we pack our bags and embark on a multi-country trip to visit the producers that fill our mugs each year come late spring into the summer. It’s a lovely time of year spent visiting old friends and making new ones along the way.

Guatemala

After returning from Costa Rica in January, our second stop of 2015 began in the gorgeous country of Guatemala. From the airport we headed to Antigua to observe the progressing harvest and taste through early pickings. Antigua is a like a little bubble of the past, preserved perfectly for visitors to bask in. The teeming nightlife and incredible architecture make it an easy place to wind down after a long day of tasting coffee.

CubitoIn addition to serving as a popular tourist destination, Antigua consistently provides some of the most fulfilling and reliable coffee-buying experiences. Surrounded by three volcanoes—De Agua, De Fuego, and Acatenango—you can quite literally find yourself in prime coffee-producing land any direction you take out of the city. Coffees from this region are cornerstones of our late spring and early summer offering lists. The perfectly balanced Cubito is one of the first to make its way into our roastery each year. Fresh crop Bourbon and Caturra variety separations of the Cubito have just arrived stateside and are now available.

Nicaragua

While harvest season was in full swing in Antigua, it was just beginning in Nicaragua. Early signs are indicating that Nicaragua will experience a large and fruitful year for coffee production. At Finca la Esperanza, the first few pickings had just arrived at the mill. In addition to owning the farm, Luis Alberto owns the mill where the coffee is processed and an ever-improving QC lab. We spent time here tasting coffees, experimenting, and exchanging roasting stories and insights.

nicaragua_Maragogype Nicaragua Sourcing
Our travels through Nicaragua also found us exploring new places and coffee sources. The mountains around Ocotal are home to many small-holder coffee farmers, many of whom possess exceptional varieties and processing practices. Nicaragua has long been a go-to place to procure the Maragogype variety and its subsequent mutations. These coffees are unique, with a much larger bean size than the more common Bourbons and Caturras, and a dense jam-like sweetness you won’t find in any other variety. Look out for some interesting varieties from Nicaragua this year.

Honduras

After Nicaragua, we headed north to Honduras. The Santa Barbara mountain near Peña Blanca is home to hundreds of small-holder farmers cultivating great varieties. This small part of the world yields a wealth of exceptional coffees, not to mention the best breakfast baleada you’ll ever have. In Honduras, we work directly with a handful of producers who bring us amazing coffees year after year. A few of our favorite visits of this trip was our time spent with Norma “Zulema” Erazo at Finca Zulema, and Virgilio and Salomé Reyes at Finca Salomé. Norma has a small farm in the El Cedral neighborhood, and a processing facility up the street on her family’s property. Norma ErazoWith the money we paid her last year Norma has done the most incredible thing—she has invested this money right back into her farm. She has constructed a new processing setup, including a shaded drying bed, a pre-drying and sorting table, and a concrete fermentation tank complete with a shiny new depulper. These are the types of improvements that warm our hearts and work to benefit both roaster and producer by ensuring better coffee each year.

The same is true at Finca Salomé, which is conveniently located right across the street from Norma’s processing facilities. Virgilio and Salomé have been cultivating coffee for decades, and are still harvesting from some of the same Bourbon and Typica trees they planted back in the 1960’s. Their coffee came to the specialty market for the first time last year, and we could not have been more enamored with it. Honduras_Finca SaloméThis year they have constructed a new pre-drying and sorting table and were hard at work separating out coffee that was anything less than perfect. Rest assured their coffee will be even better this year than last. Finca Salomé will be an exclusive offering at our 20th Street location this summer. We are so proud to work with such wonderful producers in Honduras, and cannot wait to enjoy their coffees in a few short months.

As always, these visits make us feel alive and inspire us for travel to come. We are home for a few weeks, but back on the road again soon with our sights set on east Africa. Check back for more updates!

In Store: Twenty Dinners

We spoke with Grizzly Bear bassist Chris Taylor and former chef turned fashion photographer Ithai Schori about their highly anticipated new cookbook, Twenty Dinners. Spoiler Alert: We’ve been included in a guest segment that touches on a range of coffee topics—brewing methods, flavor notes, sourcing, and recipes to name a few. Check out the Q&A below and pick up a copy of Twenty Dinners at either of our retail locations beginning Tuesday, April 7th!

Chris, Ithai,

Thank you for including us in this staggeringly beautiful cookbook. We’re so delighted to have contributed and look forward to carrying it in our coffee bars this Spring!

Twenty Dinners beautifully illuminates your respective and shared experiences of and pertaining to all things cooking, food, and entertaining—from building cooking foundations to experimenting with ingredients, flavors and techniques in the company of friends and family.

The cookbook features a mélange of delectable recipes and imagery. Can you touch on the role of presentation and plating in your process?

Ithai: Presentation and plating has always been two fold for me. Everyone always eats with their eyes and nose first, so it always needs to make a good first impression. However, the most important thing to me is that your plating help in the eating process and be functional. By that, I mean that you want to plate in such a way that it aids the person eating. So for example when you’re making a salad, you mix the vinaigrette and ingredients together so that each bite has a bit of everything. If you just threw everything on top, it wouldn’t be balanced. The top portion would be heavy and crazy, while the bottom would be dry and bland. So it’s the idea that form and function are meant to go together, not one over the other.

Chris. photo: Nicole Franzen

Chris. photo: Nicole Franzen

Chris: Plating is important when serving because all five of the senses are at play when you are eating, sight of course is included. The food should be arranged first and foremost according to how all the components should interact/be eaten. Most importantly though, is to think of how you would want to see it on the plate. And then just do that.

What kinds of cooking knowledge and skills did you inherit from your families?

Ithai: To be fearless with food. My parents used to make me try everything. There was a rule at the table, “You have to try it once, if you don’t like it, spit it out, but try it first!” It still holds true. I eat everything! They’re definitely responsible for my willingness to cook without fear of failing and trying things first in order to know how to improve upon them. While others times, knowing to maybe just not cook that again…

Chris: My mom was a great cook who learned from my grandmother. I am inspired by them as teachers. And it inspired to me to want to cook for people, learn more about it myself, and ultimately write something about it.

Do your other creative pursuits ever inspire your cooking? Or vice versa?

Ithai: For sure. My mind tends to wander when I cook. So it’s a good time to just think. It’s generally a calm time amidst the chaos that ensues for most of the day.

Chris: I find various creative pursuits related, I wouldn’t say one creative pursuit directly influences the other. It’s most fun for me to allow pursuits to operate in their own worlds. Trying to connect them too much together often feels forced for me.

Photo: Nicole Franzen

We would love to know a little bit more about your rationale behind including coffee brewing methods, techniques, and recipes in Twenty Dinners. Why Sightglass?

Ithai: It was a totally selfish move! I needed a better way to wake up without all the scales and brewing gear, so naturally I needed the pros. When I first met the bros, it was a perfect fit. There was no fuss. It wasn’t pretentious, it was relaxing, while always showing the proper care and attention to their product. It’s the same way I try to approach cooking. I got the feeling that Jerad and Justin make the same cup of coffee at home that they offer in the shop. That’s a good look!

As a coffee company, we would be remiss not to touch on morning rituals. Care to share?

Ithai: I have this super old hand crank coffee grinder. It’s a total pain in the ass and makes a ton of noise and I love every moment of it. The beast is from the early 1900’s and still works like a champ. Can’t start a morning without it.

Any unexpected lessons or insights gleaned from the experience of co-authoring this first cookbook?

Ithai. photo: Nicole Franzen

Ithai. photo: Nicole Franzen

Ithai: Writing a recipe is a sure fire way to make you both a worse and a better cook at the same time! It’s not natural. Anytime your head is trying to measure grains of salt or leaves of lettuce, you’re doing a science experiment instead of cooking a meal. It’s why we tried to offer guidelines instead of recipes, because the ultimate goal is to get someone to relax in the kitchen and just dance with what is working. Use what they know and build on that and know that failing is totally cool and a necessity.

What’s next?

Ithai: I’ve got some photo projects in the works, but in the meantime, I’m working on getting a dog. We’ll start there.

Greatest thanks to our lovely friends and authors, Chris & Ithai! Twenty Dinners is now available for purchase at both coffee bars!

Happy cooking (and brewing)!

Beans and Brews

San Francisco Beer Fest

The long-awaited 7th annual San Francisco Beer Week has arrived! Beginning today through February 15th, breweries and bars from throughout the bay area will showcase some of the finest beers characterizing today’s vibrant American beer landscape. This year, we couldn’t be more delighted to introduce you to two seminal Bay Area breweries and flavor pioneers—The Rare Barrel and Cellarmaker Brewing Company. Comparable to our own craft practices, both breweries strive to produce small batches where quality, balance, and freshness of flavors and ingredients are paramount.

Sour aficionados, rejoice! The Rare Barrel, based out of Berkeley, is an all-sour beer company with an inimitable production facility and barrel house, producing some of the most extraordinary sours we’ve ever tasted.

Located just a ‘hop,’ skip and a jump away from our 7th Street locale, CellarMaker Brewing Company is another local gem. The talented makers at this truly inventive ten-barrel brewery and taproom surprise and delight the senses with a constantly rotating array of exceptional craft beers, often sourcing and integrating unique hop varieties from around the world.

Both breweries have worked closely with Adam, our tireless Director of Green Coffee Buying and off-duty beer enthusiast, to choose Sightglass beans to pair with a carefully crafted base beer. The outcome—not just beer, not just coffee, but sublime coffee-infused beer. Minds blown.

We spoke with the lovely folks at The Rare Barrel and CellarMaker Brewing Company who revealed some industry secrets—well, not quite—but did share some incredibly cool insights, inspirations and flavor profiles of their respective Sightglass-infused brews. Enjoy!

The Rare Barrel’s All Systems Go

Coffee & Cigarettes

Alex Wallash (Co-Founder / Director of Sales and Marketing, The Rare Barrel)

All Systems Go is our sour beer aged in oak barrels with Sightglass Coffee beans. All Systems Go originated when we were doing sensory analysis on one of our dark sours, and noticed that one particular beer displayed strong notes of coffee. We’d never made a coffee sour before, and never heard of anyone else making one, but decided to listen to the beer and enhance the coffee flavor and aromatics.

After consulting with Adam, testing multiple ways to add the beans/coffee to the beer, and testing five different roasts, we found that adding whole beans of Sightglass’ Finca Las Florestales directly to the barrel for 48 hours was the best way to extract the flavors and aromas from the beans, without extracting any of the bitterness. Each time we make this sour, we test out five different roasts from Sightglass on a small scale, so that we can pair the best roast with the base beer.

We love working with Sightglass on this beer because they geek out about coffee as much as we geek out about beer. Quality is everything, and they understand that.

CellarMaker’s Coffee & Cigarettes

AllSystemsGo

Tim Sciascia (Proprietor, Head Brewer, CellarMaker Brewing Company)

When my business partners Connor and Kelly and I started Cellarmaker Brewing Company, we never imagined that a smoked coffee porter would become our most popular beer. Coffee and Cigarettes porter is our most asked about beer even in an age when India Pale Ale is king – a style we focus on and excel in. I attribute the popularity of Coffee and Cigarettes to three reasons: first, I think the name is hilarious and catches your attention. Secondly, the quality of all our dark beers is high. Third, take those two reasons and add world class Sightglass coffee and it’s a winning combination.

When I think about designing a beer, I have to imagine the canvas of flavors working together in a succinct manner.

I believe in linear connections from flavor to flavor creating a story line for your senses; too tangential and the experience is diminished while your mind tries to put the pieces together – the brewer should have already done that for you.

Cellarmaker chose Sightglass because of the lighter roast they employ. The base beer, a lightly smoked coffee porter already contains flavors and aromas of a darker roasted coffee. The highly roasted barley malts and caramel malts impart dark and milk chocolate, smoke, dark berry, and caramel flavors. I want to support those with coffee flavors of stone fruit, earth and spice, roasted nuts, maybe a woody coconut aroma. Some crossover is fine and may reinforce the malt flavors in a positive way, but I am building linear flavor, not stacking vertically.

The current batch of Coffee and Cigarettes is actually the “imperial” version, which simply means it has more malt, hops, coffee and alcohol than the normal one (10.4% alcohol by volume versus 7.8%). We used nearly 5 pounds of coffee per 31 gallons where we would normally use only 2 pounds. I went over to Sightglass and personally selected a custom blend of three different coffees. With the help of Adam, I picked a base of Kenyan Karii, and equal supporting parts of Honduran Finca Alaska and Ethiopian Borboya. I was really impressed with the degree of variance between all the coffees I tried and decided to go with these for their combined stone fruit and spice qualities, a little hazelnut from one, and coconut and a floral black tea note from another.

These fantastic flavors coupled with hyper locality to the brewery and what we’ve come to find out is a friendly and dedicated team, makes Sightglass an easy choice for a beer we care deeply about. Imperial Coffee and Cigarettes is available for a limited time but we will be brewing the original version sporadically throughout the year.

Sipping Session

Wednesday, February 11th at 1pm, The Rare Barrel and Cellarmaker Brewing Co. will host a sipping session at neighborhood watering hole—City Beer Store. Stop by for a pint of Coffee & Cigarettes, All Systems Go, and a few other dry-hopped sour collabs or visit The Rare Barrel and Cellarmaker tasting rooms to get your coffee-infused brew fix:

City Beer: 1168 Folsom Street #101, San Francisco

The Rare Barrel: 940 Parker Street, Berkeley

CellarMaker Brewing Company: 1150 Howard Street, San Francisco

Dispatches: Costa Rica

Costa Rica is not the destination one would typically imagine for a business trip. In truth, the tropical climate and general relaxed demeanor of the Ticos made it difficult to remember we were doing serious work here for the week. Renowned for unparalleled beaches and zip line adventures, Costa Rica also possesses some of the most progressive and talented producers of specialty coffee in the world. A rich sprawling topographical landscape across a significant part of the country is home to some of Central America’s best land for coffee cultivation. For our first trip of 2015, we set our sights here:

Tarrazú

The main region we focused on during this trip was Tarrazú, a few hours south of the main city of San José. Although we have bought coffees from this region for years, this trip marked some exciting new exploration and discovery. Tarrazú is a region long celebrated for high quality coffee, with no shortage of producers who work tirelessly to deliver coffees exquisite enough to make even the most seasoned buyer weak in the knees.

Yellow Caturra_CostaRicaTarrazú’s unique location across the continental divide brings warm sunny days and chilly nights to numerous coffee farms across the mountainside. Paired with elevations pushing 2,000 meters above sea level, many of these farms have microclimates ideal for coffee growing. So perfect, in fact, that we began to fantasize about getting away from it all and raising a few thousand Caturra trees with a couple dogs. But we digress…

Chirripó

From Tarrazú, we headed south. Costa Rican coffee lovers may take pause here, certain they haven’t tasted much quality coffee originating from the south. Historically, this is absolutely true. The valley surrounding Costa Rica’s Chirripó Mountain is generally known for coffee lacking criteria important for high quality production. Commercial production has been the main driving force for most farms here. Most, but not all…

Finca AlaskaSituated at the very tip of the valley, at the highest point before cresting the ridge, is Finca Alaska. Named for the town nearby, Finca Alaska is a meandering and relatively untouched wonderland comprised of a number of small plots managed by five families. The coffee produced in this part of the valley is indicative of the largely untapped quality coffee-growing regions and producers that exist in Costa Rica. For decades, the people here have farmed the land and have cultivated beautiful coffees, often overlooked by specialty buyers.

FincaAlaska3In 2014, Sightglass was the first specialty roaster to buy coffee from Finca Alaska. We shared some emotional moments once the bond between producer and buyer had, at long last, materialized. We are extremely proud to work with this exceptional group of producers and look forward to a fruitful and meaningful partnership for years to come.

After our visit to Finca Alaska, our short week of travel had come to an end. With just enough time to enjoy a few Imperials and a sunrise boogie-boarding session the following morning, we were on our way home. 2015 will be a year of amazing Costa Rican coffee, and we can’t wait to share them all with you. Look out for some incomparable variety separations and processing differentiations early Summer!

About the Jams: Light in the Attic Records

If you’ve visited either of our San Francisco locations, you’ll surely have noticed that our whole crew is pretty serious about their records. It’s a huge part of our day-to-day at the coffee bars and roastery, bringing in records we found, trying to blow our co-worker’s minds with an old dusty Memphis soul LP, or some weird ’70s punk rock.

So it is with great pleasure that we roll out our new partnership with Seattle greats, Light in the Attic Records. LitA have done an incredible job unearthing some truly amazing gems, that would have otherwise been lost in the ether of time.

We’ll be showcasing two new records every month, one at each of our locations.

This month we bring you two incredible records from two very, very different artists: Wendy Renee and Lee Hazelwood.

Wendy Renee’s “After Laughter Comes Tears” is the long-overdue anthology from a Southern soul legend.

A Memphis belle, born-and-raised, Renee was signed to Stax records by Otis Redding as a teenager. She played with The Drapels until their demise in the early 60’s, and despite being celebrated as a solo artist, a Billboard hit eluded her.

Marriage problems, a young family, and other pressures kept her from attaining the success she deserved. In 1967 she was scheduled to play her last show, with Otis Redding and the Bar-Kays, but cancelled at the last minute. That weekend Redding and co. died in a plane crash.

She went on to become a teacher, and to raise a family, her largely forgotten until the early ‘90s, when her son’s friend played her Wu Tang Clan’s hit “Tearz” which sampled heavily her ‘60s single, “After Laughter Comes Tears.”

Lee Hazelwood was a prominent figure of Cowboy Psychedelia—an American country, folk, and pop singer, most widely known for his work with Nancy Sinatra in the ‘60s, and with Duane Eddy in the ‘50s.

Born in Oklahoma, Hazelwood bounced around with his oil man father, between Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and as a teenager on the Gulf shores of Texas, where he was introduced to that area’s tremendous musical history. After studying medicine, and serving in the US Army in Korea, he turned to music, eventually attaining fame with Nancy Sinatra, whose hit singles “These Boots Were Made For Walking” and “Summer Wine” he wrote and produced. He would go on to work with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Gram Parsons, and a slew of others.

Light In the Attic has done a tremendous job with the re-release of Hazelwood’s 1963 debut album, Trouble is a Lonesome Town, which finds Hazelwood “sketching out a vivid picture of a backwater place named Trouble, where trouble with a small ‘t’ is never far away.”

Trouble is little and it’s lonesome, Hazelwood says on the title track. You won’t find it on any map, but you can take three steps in any direction and you’re there.