Picking Great Milk for Coffee Drinks

The milk you pick should compliment your coffee, not take it hostage.

Many don’t think twice about the milk that goes into the cappuccino or latte at home or in a café. We just pick a fat level that we think is right, and maybe take a moment to consider if we’d like organic or not.

Choosing milk like this is like picking Miss USA before hearing the answer to her pageant question. We all know that she’s pretty – she looks good in a bikini, and can walk in impossibly high heels (most days).

But the reality is that when she opens her mouth we’ll either be impressed by her sharp knowledge of the effects of global warming on the polar bear population, or we’ll go down in a swirl of pain while she explains in spits and spurts that getting “education better” will help the “problem” at hand. Sigh, we still love ya girl.

The milk you pick should compliment your coffee, not take it hostage

So what’s the deal with milk, and what can I tell you about picking the right jug to “getting your coffee drinks better”?

1. Love the fat! That’s right – choose whole milk. Miss USA might be on a crazy diet to squeeze into a sub-zero, but last I checked, regular humans require a health mix of protein, carbohydrates and fat in their diets. The fat in the milk is what makes it creamy and silky. Latte art is easy and slippery to create, and the taste and texture of the milk can’t compare. An 8 oz latte with whole milk at 3.5% has just 2 more grams of fat and 18 more calories that its 2% counterpart. Make a small cup and enjoy it fully.

2. Watch out for too much moo. When milk is heated up it changes in flavor dramatically. Lots of milks out there, especially in the organic category, can taste a little to “farmy”. Of course we’re drinking the feed of calves, and that might be a nice taste to them. For a coffee drink, extra farmy milk can come off pungeant and sour, and totally make your coffee stink like sweaty toes. Don’t blame the coffee – steam your milk and taste it first. You should have a sweet flavor, which will marry with your coffee discreetly instead of taking it hostage.

3. Get pasteurized and homogenized. Sounds like a new proposition on the ballet, but it’s simply describes changes that have been applied to the raw product. Pasteurizing comes in many combinations of heat and time affecting how the milk performs and tastes. Over years of steaming and pouring, I’ve found that pasteurized is my choice over ultra-pasteurized for texture and taste in the cup. Homogenization disperses the fat evenly through the liquid. Don’t have that, and you’re buying ‘cream on top’ product and you will get varying fat content in your steaming pitcher depending on how well or not-well you shook your jug. In a café environment this can lead to inconsistency as the barista gets busy or lazy.

DSC_0284The bottom line, of course, is to follow YOUR taste, diet, budget, & personal sustainability policy. At the end of the day, you’re the one sipping the cup, and since you’re not aiming for the Miss Milk Tiara, we won’t judge.

Post to Twitter

Latte Art: How to Make a Festive Pointsettia

It’s fun to make festive latte art! This is one of the EASIEST designs that will bring big WOWs (believe it – we often teach this to our beginning barista students). Take a peek at the step by step and make your holidays sparkle! Try it yourself….Here’s how:

Learn more great stuff about coffee on our website any time: Grab more coffee tips

Pour a simple monk's head into the center of your espresso shots (you can even get away with pouring a blob).

Pour a simple monk’s head into the center of your espresso shots (you can even get away with pouring a blob).

With the last bit of foam in the pitcher, draw a circle around the circle you poured. This doesn't have to be perfect!

With the last bit of foam in the pitcher, draw a circle around the circle you poured. This doesn’t have to be perfect!

With chocolate syrup, draw a circle on the outer edge of the outer milk circle. (We make our chocolate syrup with about 3 T of hot water and about 10 T of our hot cocoa mix.)

With chocolate syrup, draw a circle on the outer edge of the outer milk circle. (We make our chocolate syrup with about 3 T of hot water and about 10 T of our hot cocoa mix.)

Make another chocolate circle around your poured circle.

Make another chocolate circle around your poured circle.

With a toothpick, start at the outer edge of the cup, dragging it trough the sauce and milk circles to the center. Stop there, and do this 8 times, spacing evenly. Wipe toothpick between each stripe.

With a toothpick, start at the outer edge of the cup, dragging it trough the sauce and milk circles to the center. Stop there, and do this 8 times, spacing evenly. Wipe toothpick between each stripe.

Now draw from the CENTER to the edge of the cup 8 more times, splitting the difference between your first lines..

Now draw from the CENTER to the edge of the cup 8 more times, splitting the difference between your first lines..

Place a little chocolate dot in the middle and you've done it!

Place a little chocolate dot in the middle and you’ve done it!


Share with someone special (we won’t judge if you’re just gonna start sipping it yourself…)

Post to Twitter

She Did it!

Owner and Head Roaster, Liz Roquet at the controls

Owner and Head Roaster, Liz Roquet at the controls

Liz Roquet, Owner and Head Roaster at Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee has achieved the Roaster’s Guild Level 1 Roaster Certification.

According to the Roaster’s Guild program outline, the Roasters Guild’s Roaster Certificate Program recognizes specialty roasters who achieve a high degree of skill and excellence in roasting. Roasters Guild educational courses focus on a variety of topics and issues relevant to today’s marketplace and business demands. Course subjects range from the practical (identifying defects, plant safety, green coffee processing) to the scientific (sensory science, heat transfer & thermodynamics, particle size analysis).

“It’s been a wonderful 4 years of coarse work, tests, and even a trip to origin in Colombia to achieve this certification, and is a reflection of my deep commitment to becoming and staying educated in the world of coffee,” says Roquet. She goes on to add, “I’m constantly working to become better and learn more about my craft so that our customers can enjoy the best possible product we can produce. It’s all about making our customer smile when they’re enjoying a cup of our coffee.”

Roquet continues to build her expertise in coffee, and plans to continue to pursue more coarse work at the 2014 Special Coffee Association event to be held in Seattle, WA. As of this press release, she is one of only 36 roasters achieving certification in this program thus far.

Post to Twitter

Lizzy’s Snickerdoodle Coffee Cookies

Lizzy's Coffee Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

Lizzy’s Coffee Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

What a perfect thing to do on a fall day – bake! These kicked up snickerdoodles were inspired by one of our customers, Katrina Harmon. The addition of coffee to the sugar and cinnamon coating is a perfect update to this cookie you probably loved as a kid. The recipe is quick and easy to make, and they disappear quickly!

Makes 24-30 cookies:

For Cookies:
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
For Coating:
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons fresh, finely ground coffee (we picked our “Sunriser” blend)

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in large bowl, mix to combine, then set aside. In electric mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar and eggs, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Once mixed, add mixed dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3rds, mixing each time on low speed to incorporate.

Mix coating sugar, cinnamon, and finely ground coffee (espresso grind) in medium bowl.

Using a small 1-1.5” ice cream scoop, scoop one cookie at a time, dropping into the sugar, cinnamon, coffee coating mixture. Gently roll each cookie to coat all sides, then place on ungreased, lined cookie sheet. Be sure to space in between cookies to allow room for expansion while baking, about 8 per tray. (You will need about 3 trays total for full recipe.)

Bake approximately 12 mins until light golden brown.

We hope you enjoy!

Post to Twitter

Coffee Roaster in Heart of Idaho Fires

Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee Redefining a “Smoky Roast”

Current fires raging in Idaho around the small resort towns of Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley have residents and businesses on high alert.

The “Beaver Creek” Fire has now burned over 100,000 acres, and is only 8% contained. Today, 1150 firefighters continue battling the very erratic blazes with 10 helicopters, 8 bulldozers, and hand crews working 24 hours.

Attack helicopters raining on the fire's parade.  Photo:  John Koth

Attack helicopters raining on the fire’s parade. Photo: John Koth

Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee, a specialty coffee roaster located in Ketchum has been under pre-evacuation status since Friday, but has been able run roasting production today, Monday.

“When we first received pre-evacuation orders on Friday it was a bit of a shock,” says Liz Roquet, owner of Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee. “Anticipating that mandatory evacuation may follow shortly, we quickly shut down operations, including all of our roasting and coffee equipment, packing up important computers, and leaving the roastery behind.”

Lizzy's in Ketchum, ID

Lizzy’s in Ketchum, ID

Although 2200 homes have been evacuated, the city of Ketchum has remained in pre-evacuation status, meaning that people are able to stay in their homes and businesses, but should be prepared to leave immediately should evacuation be required.

Roquet explains, “We’re making sure to take care of our customers, including consumers and cafés locally and across the country, and staying safe and aware should we need to shut down and leave again. The good news is that we had great practice in evacuation on Friday, and feel confident in our ability to move quickly and depart in an urgent and safe manner should we need to”.

Fire blazing west of Hailey, ID.  Photo:  John Koth

Fire blazing west of Hailey, ID. Photo: John Koth

Lizzy’s uses a Diedrich IR-12 roaster and catalytic oxidizer, so they aren’t adding additional concern to air quality problems already existing from the smoke of the fire.

Roquet and her family spent the weekend keeping their eyes on the fire at their home in nearby Hailey. “We have many friends who were evacuated from their homes”, says Roquet, “so we had our home espresso machine going full tilt on Saturday and Sunday for anyone who stopped by in need of some caffeinated comfort and a good fire viewing perch.”

Post to Twitter

Camping Coffee with the Aeropress

Aeropress Brewing

Ahh, the chirping birds, the clear blue skies, the mountain lake water…..and the FREEZING morning! Welcome to camping in the mountains!

My family and I went camping this weekend and I will tell you this: The only thing that could caox me out of my cozy sleeping bag at 8 a.m. was the promise of a hot and flavorful cup of coffee.

Normally we’re pretty much in love with our Hario pour over system when brewing camp-side, but this time we decided to take the Aeropress.

I wasn’t getting much excitement from the crowd on this one, since out in the woods, hours away from an alternate brew method, I was making a commitment to this coffee – whatever the outcome. It could be a deal making or breaking kind of morning that would set the mood for the rest of the day’s adventures.

Pour water...

Pour water…

I’m happy to report that the crowd gave it rave reviews. I’d definitely recommend the contraption for anyone’s camping outing, and here’s why:

1. The cool thing about this weird little pressurized coffee maker is that it brews a concentrated extraction. It’s easy to add hot milk for a wanna-be latte, or add hot water for the americano version of the same. If you just want to sip it straight up, there’s that option too. It’s nice that one device can please lots of different tastes.

Press to brew...
2. Each serving has to be brewed separately, but the cool thing is that set up and brew time is just 1 minute from start to finish. Pop out the used coffee “puck” and wipe down the press and you’re ready for the next brew.

Give it a stir...
3. Water needed is just 2 oz per serving, so there’s no waiting for 6 years for a quart of water to boil like is usual on a rinky-dink camping stove. Just be sure to keep the water HOT for each brew. Aeropress for some reason recommends really low brew temps, but I’d stick to the recommend a 195-205f standard brew temp for optimum extraction.

Helpful to know: Say you’re camping at elevation of 5000-7000 feet – your water will be hitting a boil at around 198-203. If you’re at sea level, let it boil at the usual 212 f and allow it to cool one minute before using to brew.

Bottom line: Aeropress wins the camping award for “most versatile” system and will definitely have the power to coax me out of my warm sleeping bag cocoon again on the next trip.That's a cup of coffee!

Post to Twitter

Comfort and Love From Burundi

Angele Ciza shares what she's working to do for women in coffee in Burundi

Angele Ciza shares what she’s working to do for women in coffee in Burundi

There are over seven billion people in this world at the last count. We cross paths with people every day who never even register on our radar, we’ll never see again, and honestly will never think twice about.

Then, there are those who somehow show up with no effort on our part, we take notice, and they become part of our lives and experiences in a purposeful way. These people seem to present themselves with ease and simplicity – almost like a scheduled event that you knew was on your calendar. That oh-so-weird “Groundhog Day” familiarity sets in.

I love it when this happens.

In our coffee business, we taste new coffees on a regular basis to feature in our line. On the last go-around, I made a request for samples to my coffee importer, based on a few tasting notes of coffees that looked to be intriguing from a taste perspective.

I selected a few coffees from farms in Honduras, Guatemala, and Burundi. Each had its own delicious qualities, but one stood out as different than what I’d tasted before. The coffee from Burundi had a beautiful comfort for some reason. It was pleasing without being overly anything. It had a silky, sweet brown sugar, and a subtle spice.

What I actually noticed about the coffee, and wrote on my tasting notes to myself where the words “comfort” and “love”. Not words you see on the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel at all, but ones I have on my personal flavor wheel. I guess I call it my “feel wheel”. It helps me remember more than just a coffee’s stats, and helps me identify how a coffee actually “feels” to me – beyond what my nose and tongue can figure out.

I chose the coffee, and then followed up with my supplier to find more details of the farm, the grower, or something special about the region that I would share with my customers. Often I know much of these details before I even taste a coffee, but in this case I didn’t.

I became enamored with the story of this coffee from Burundi as I learned about it.
NPR’s Article shares: Meet 4 African Women Who Are Changing The Face Of Coffee
Angele Ciza of Burundi is ahead of her time; she owns the land she farms on. Her 10-hectare (24.7 acre) coffee plantation in the northern part of the country has some 26,000 trees producing Arabica coffee, and she’s also purchased seven washing stations (part of the coffee processing procedure). She’s employing about 100 women, and she also helps pay school fees for the children of her employees.

“We work very, very hard,” says Ciza. Her vision for lifting more people out of poverty in her region is clear. “If you want to develop Burundi, you develop the women,” she says.

According to analysis by the International Trade Centre, on family-owned coffee farms in Africa, about 70% of the maintenance and harvesting work is done by women, but only rarely do women own the land or have financial control. Organizations like the International Women’s Coffee Alliance are trying to change this by, as they put it, “empowering women in the international coffee community to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives; and to encourage and recognize the participation of women in all aspects of the coffee industry.”

Triangulation Cupping Table

Triangulation Cupping Table

I felt like a proud sister in coffee, and of course the coffee became offered in our Limited Edition lineup.
Last week at this year’s Specialty Coffee Expo, I was taking a class on something no one else except coffee nerds would find interesting – called “Triangulation Cupping” (think of this as a one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other challenge. Lots of sniffing, slurping and spitting of coffee. So sexy.)

Anyway, I started chatting with one of the instructors in the class over our cupping table, and found out that she was part of the Women’s Coffee Alliance. I told her that I was so thrilled that I had just purchased a wonderful coffee from the Kalico cooperative. She immediately said, “From Angele?” I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that she knew her by name.

“Yes” I said, and carried on telling her how I so loved learning about her story and her work in coffee. Mad respect to the lady.

“Well, do you know that she’s here?” my instructor said.

I got chills – and yes, the kind that are more than due to an over caffeinated system.
My instructor called me later in the day to let me know that Angele was at the Burundi booth all day, and she had told her about me.

I was so excited to meet her! We looked up the “Coffees of Burundi” booth number and zigged and zagged through the expo floor like a couple of morning commuters racing to get to work on time. I pealed around the corner, and spotted Angele first thing. A tall, beautifully curvy African woman with short black hair and the brightest smile I’ve ever seen. I walk right up to her and graciously introduced myself as Liz from Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee.

Without so much of pause or thought, she smiled from ear to ear as if she’d been waiting for me all day, and gave me a huge big-sisterly hug. It’s that kind of hug that only certain people can give. The kinds of people who hide nothing, give everything, and are truly joyful in every living cell of their body. She oozed an instant welcoming comfort and unlimited amount of love.

She immediately told me about her coffee farm and new goals she’s set for herself, and how she wants to keep making it better. (Pause for another hug). She asked about my coffee, and I showed her the picture of the Kalico coffee packaged in our Lizzy’s bag (pause for another hug). She told me about her hopes to keep making women’s lives better, and keep growing her impact on the business of coffee. (Pause for picture and another hug). I told her I was the actual coffee roaster of her coffee, another not-so-common thing in the more man-dominated sport of coffee roasting. (Big eyes, big smile, and… another hug).

We exchanged more smiles, laughs, and stories, and at least 6 more hugs before I just decided I was being obnoxious hogging all her time.

I left the Burundi booth with a wonderful feeling in my heart. Queue the Oprah moment here….

It was cool to meet her, and to know that she’s doing what she’s doing when it is no way the easiest choice for her in her country. She’s doing it with style, hard work, and a loving energy. Honestly, just a cool lady.

Pause for photo

Pause for photo

I don’t know what it is that’s meant for us together, but I know for a fact she’s now part of my life. In 10 years, something more purposeful will have become of our business relationship, and hopefully our friendship. I’ll look forward to sharing that story with you…..

For now, anyone can enjoy this coffee from Burundi. It boasts sweet brown sugar, spice, butter, and silky body…..oh, and did I mention it feels just like comfort and love?

Purchase: Burundi Kalico Limited Edition Coffee

Post to Twitter

Best of the Year 2012 Photo Label Contest Winners

Babies, puppies, swings – oh my!

What’s this all about? Every month our coffee labels change – all with customer submitted photography. We pick our favorites each month to feature on the coffees, but at year’s end, we leave it up to all our customers and photographers, and their friends and family to vote for the favorite cover shots from the year’s featured pictures.

This year the competition was fierce! Votes were coming in right up to midnight with some pretty excellent battles going down.

We have to give a big shout-out to all the cool photographers who have shared their pictures to be featured on our coffee labels. Nothing makes us more happy than hearing our coffee made someone’s day great – yummy beans inside of the bag, and a little smile on the outside.

So, without further ado, here are the winners you’ve voted Best of the Year for 2012. Congratulations!

Bowls are so 2002.
Photo: Kelly Morgan

That’s right, get ready outfielders. Some heat’s coming your way!
Photo: Joy Elizabeth Effie

Rain, rain, who cares?! I’m a human rainbow!
Photo: Julie Bennett

Are you judging me? Didn’t think so.
Photo: Michael Roedel

Let’s just get right to it, shall we?
Photo: Michelle Cordes

Just one little lick….puuulllleeezzz?
Photo: Tara Reifenheiser

Want to get in on the fun? Submit your picture to our contest for a chance to be featured. Enter a Picture

Post to Twitter