Featured November Snapshooter

Photographer Dennis Merth

Check out our latest featured photographer. Dennis won our November cover for “Talent”. This new-to-retirement photographer is embracing his newly found “free time” in style.

Name: Dennis Merth
Home Town: Placerville, California

What’s your story? Are you a pro-photographer, or a weekend snapshooter, or something in between? I’m a newly retired physicist/software engineer who loves taking photographs.

What’s your favorite thing to photograph?
I like the unusual shots, mostly outdoors.

Dennis’ winning “Talent” snapshot. Rocking it old school is very cool.

What would you say to someone else about the Lizzy’s Fresh Label contest?
I would encourage them to send in their snaps, it’s great fun.

Oh yes, what’s your favorite way to drink your coffee?
Black, nothing added, completely natural.

Where can our readers see more of your photography?

Do you have the perfect shot for one of the Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee labels? Submit it for a chance to win the cover of one of our coffees a free month of coffee! Go to www.lizzysfreshcoffee.com to submit online now.

To order Dennis’ winning coffee label, or to browse them all, shop now at www.lizzysfreshcoffee.com

Post to Twitter

Snapshooter Profile June

Photographer Kristina Hernandez

Check out our latest featured photographer. Kristina won our June cover of “Swinger”, and uses her athleticism to keep up with her photo subjects. We like your style Kristina!

Name: Kristina Hernandez
Home Town: Alexandria, Virginia

What’s your story? I do photography whenever I’m able apart from my full-time job. I love being able to create a tangible memory – hopefully a good one – in a photograph for a client. For me, I always try to get a photo that elicits emotion.

What’s your favorite thing to photograph?
Kids, sports and couples. Kids grow up so fast and you never want to forget those little moments before they are on their own and out of your arms. I’m an athlete, so capturing a great sports moment is awesome. Photographing couples – usually during an engagement shoot – is great because they have a love between them that I’m able to get on film.

Kristina's Winning "Swinger" snapshot

What would you say to someone else about the Lizzy’s Fresh Label contest?
It’s a great way to get your picture onto an excellent bag of coffee!

Oh yes, what’s your favorite way to drink your coffee?
In the morning after a run.

Where can our readers see more of your photography?
photographyforvalerie.com or www.flickr.com/photos/kjgrabosky/

Do you have the perfect shot for one of the Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee labels? Submit it for a chance to win the cover of one of our coffees a free month of coffee! Go to www.lizzysfreshcoffee.com to submit online now.

Post to Twitter

Sharing the Love – 2012 Specialty Coffee Expo

Portland's sunshine on a morning jog

I’ve enjoyed more than a few trips to Portland, Oregon over the years, but this trip might have been my favorite. I’ll secretly admit it’s likely because the smell of coffee may have actually drowned out the smell of other familiar Portland odors, including patchouli, rain, & sweaters that haven’t been washed in days.

Ok, ok, Portland, I’m sorry. You really are hip, fun, and, quite honestly, accepting of everything and anyone, including the random collection of thousands that landed on your doorstep for the Specialty Coffee Expo last week.

Sparkly shiny coffee things - Espresso machine from Nuova Simonelli

Between sips of coffee and beer (my goal being to enjoy over the day in that order), it’s an event every year that I love attending. The sparkly, shiny coffee gear displayed and touchable on the show floor alone is enough to make a coffee lover explode with over-caffeinated joy. But the experience is much more than gear.

Hario syphon brewer. Shiny, sparkly, and flaming!

The specialty coffee world is really cool in a way that’s not common of other industries. There’s a genuine motivation to share knowledge and experience to make everyone better. Even though coffee is a huge industry, the specialty world seems to play like a tight family, motivating everyone from the coffee grower to the roaster to the barista to be the best they can be at their craft. Cue the group hug here.

The whole event is about producing an amazing experience in that final cup that we all love to sip. Classes, lectures, events, and products, plus people in the supply chain from growers, to importers, to roasters, to café owners mingle together to learn and share.

Opening night included a speech by the president of Honduras (wait, what?) gushing about the pride his country has in sharing its coffees with the world, to a latte art “throw down” of baristas going head-to-head with stage-poured drinks. None of it stopped there, of course. This caffeine fueled weekend included numerous events featuring liquids by Portland’s best breweries and distilleries, blow-up-suit sumo wrestling, Portland’s famous food trucks, and very little sleep.

Green Coffee Grading - learning what we don't want in Specialty Coffee

Attention to the daytime classes was thankfully fueled by the Barista Guild coffee bar – a free to sip-as-much-as-you-wish coffee stand in the middle of the show that featured different coffees brewed by some of the best baristas in the country. Anyone could sit to watch the U.S. Barista, Taster, or Brewer competitions, or taste the Coffees of the Year, just to name a few side-shows happening that this 3 ring circus of coffee.

Cupping Course - you haven't lived until you hear a room of 40 slurp and spit

Only one painful memory lingers between the fun and learning, which I soon hope to erase: I found myself trapped in a 3 hour course on coffee decaffeination, with nothing in the room but decaf. Not that decaf isn’t lovely, mind you, but the timing was terrible for me and my partially hung-over, sleep-deprived self. I got through the class, test and all, but I’m going to hold that grudge for a while.

Post to Twitter

Holiday Socks and Mountain Tops

There I sat, coffee in hand, my not-to-be-worn-in public 80s fleece socks on my feet, and fantastic morning hair. My headache was thanks to last night’s disproportionate mix of hot cocoa and rum, and too many dips into the bowl of gingerbread house “decorations”.

Rounding out the morning scene was my husband, enjoying his coffee next to me, while we taunted our tweenage son who was trying to pinpoint the much anticipated electronic device that he was really praying the man in a red suit had delivered. In about 30 minutes we’d all be heading off for our Christmas morning ski runs– a tradition in our family.

Gliding up the chairlift for our first run of the day, this hit me in oddly cool way –I realized at that exact moment that all across the country, people were enjoying their morning cup of Lizzy’s.

I’m pretty sure at least one other person was sipping their latte wearing some freaky 80s socks or PJ bottoms that are never allowed to be seen in public. I pictured a family that was up WAY too early, thanks only to their extra spunky 5 year old twin girls, and the grandpa who lingered in the kitchen, strategizing how to sneak another piece of bacon that his wife now forbids him to eat.

Of course I also pictured all the custom coffee labels that were being opened as gifts, and imagined all the people who would be sipping our coffees for the first time.

Yes, I had you all sipping your coffees in your frosted holiday postcard scenes….

A few days later, this picture landed in my email in box.

Rob Landis, enjoying his morning cup of Lizzy's while climbing Aconcagua "Some things are just too important to compromise on."

Not only did it make me feel like a big sandbagger for using my home espresso machine to make my coffee, but it also drew my attention to the fact that on Christmas morning I was actually getting a motor driven ride UP the mountain, which made me a double sandbagger.

Why? Well, this picture was taken on the route up Acongogua. For those of us needing a nudge on our 5th grade geography, that is the highest peak in the Americas. Yes, sissy friends, that’s 22,841 feet of mountain in Argentina, all of which Rob Landis and his friends climbed over the holidays.

December 26th at an elevation of 19,100 feet, Rob enjoyed his morning cup of Lizzy’s, as he’d been doing every morning of his climb.

His friends on the trip looked at him oddly when he first unveiled his 12 oz bag of coffee, as they were a little stumped. What kind of mountain dude ever packs an ounce more than necessary! Maybe all those years of mountain adventure had finally pushed him to the side of crazy. Or, maybe just the opposite happened.

When his climbing mates asked him in disbelief, “You brought coffee?”
Rob’s reply to them simply says it all. “You didn’t?”

Rob, you definitely took the prize for best holiday sipping moment.

Post to Twitter

Snapshooter Profile October

Check out our latest featured photographer! Greg Ha won our October “Sunriser” label spot, and it looks like all those hours in the photo lab as a kid have paid off…at least this month!

Name: Greg Ha, MD
Home Town: Bend, OR

What’s your story? When I was in high school my siblings and I built a black and white photo lab inside our house. I spent many hours there thinking that maybe someday I would be a professional photographer for a magazine like National Geographic. I never got that good at photography, but I do still love taking pictures.

What’s your favorite thing to photograph?
My favorite thing to photograph by far is my daughter Samantha. She has taught me that you have to take a lot of photographs to get one good photograph.

Greg's winning Sunriser picture

What would you say to someone else about the Lizzy’s Fresh Label contest?
I would encourage anyone to enter the Fresh Label Contest. Fun for the coffee lover and photographer in all of us.

Oh yes, what’s your favorite way to drink your coffee?
My favorite way to drink my coffee is not necessarily the way I make my coffee. Although I love my french press and newly acquired vacuum pot, it’s having the time for each step when making my coffee. Weighing the beans, grinding the beans, pressing the pot, and drinking it without having to rush out the door.

Where can our readers see more of your photography? No blog, website, or Flickr page, but maybe I’ll just have to enter the contest again!
Do you have the perfect shot for one of the Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee labels? Submit it for a chance to win the cover of one of our coffees a free month of coffee! Go to www.lizzysfreshcoffee.com to submit online now.

Post to Twitter

Brewing with the Hario Pour Over

Life has gotta be simple, and the coffee has gotta be yummy. If you follow that way of thinking, then the pour over method of brewing is for you. With an investment as little as about 25 bucks, you’ll be on your way to brewing a smooth and velvety morning cup that beats most electric drip machines by a mile.

Here’s how to get it done:

Tools for the job (*required)
Hario V60 Glass Dripper *
Measuring scoop or scale *
Hot water kettle
#2 Hario paper filters (with pointed tip, not flat tip) *
Coffee grinder (not pictured)
8, 12, or 16 oz Mug (or server)

Heat water on stovetop or electric kettle to boil

At sea level, water boils at 212 F – Let cool to about 203 degrees if you live at low elevation
At high elevation (about 5000 ft) boiling point is about 203
Optimal brewing temp is about 198-203

Place paper filter in dripper, and set dripper atop mug (8 or 12 oz)

Measure coffee (adjust as needed to your taste)

By weight
16 g for 8 oz mug or
24 g for 12 oz mug
32 g for 16 oz mug
By volume
2 T for 8 oz mug
3 T for 12 oz mug
4 T for 16 oz mug

Grind Coffee

Use fine drip setting (about texture of refined sugar)
Place ground coffee into paper filter in dripper

Brew (about 3 minutes)

Pour about 1/3 of the necessary water on all grinds to wet
Coffee will “bloom” or poof up
Let sit and drip into mug about 60 seconds
Pour another 1/3 of water, and let brew through
Pour final 1/3 of water and let brew through
(remember you only need the volume of water your cup can hold)

Sip & Enjoy!

Visit www.lizzysfreshcoffee.com to purchase any of the pour over brewing tools.

Post to Twitter

Learning to Fly….Coffee Style

Wing flaps up, throttle full open, hit full speed, lift nose, climb climb climb. The plane is up 50 ft, then 500, then…oh geez…oh no..what’s happening!!? The engine quit. The plane is sputtering. The pilot jumps on the radio “MAYDAY!” The plane begins to dive faster….heart is beating…total fear….

Wake up! It’s time to make a coffee, and thank sweet haysus that this just isn’t nearly as hard as flying a plane.

Coffee anyone?

As John, a recently graduated Lizzy’s home barista puts it, “Learning to fly a plane was scary. If I screwed up I was going to die. If I screw up my coffee, I can just stop right in the middle, dump it out, and start over”.

John found his way to our coffee roasterie one day in search of some great coffee. Like so many people, John was in search of that coffee for a killer cup – you know….the one that’s as great as the one you had once, at that one place – or the one you’re sure exists, but haven’t found yet. Sound familiar?

For John, coffee sipping started back in college as an architecture student at Berkley. “I needed a legal stimulant,” he admits, “and found a great local café where I regularly drank cappuccinos.”

After college though, he quit drinking coffee for a lack of good options and desire, and for years, opted for tea.

A few years back he won a coffee card at a coffee chain for a year’s worth of coffee, and started going every day. “I’d meet up with my friends to chat, and loved the social aspect even if the coffee wasn’t that good.” Back into coffee sipping again, his travels found him in great cafes in San Francisco and Seattle, but he always got bummed at the lack of great consistent coffee choices while traveling or at home.

“I was in Italy in June, and it hit me”, explained John. “I realized that I could probably create a perfect cup of coffee myself, and all I needed was a machine and training to do it.”

So that’s the morning that John stumbled into our store looking for answers.

I’ve seen this one before…. His words clearly said “I want to buy an espresso machine and learn how to make coffee at home”, but the voice in his head was saying, “Are you out of your friggin’ mind? You’ll spend a bunch of money, and then suck at it, and that machine will be a big waste of space, time and energy, and then your wife will just make you get rid of it, and you’ll just have to go back to drinking those sub-sucky $4 drinks wherever you can find them.”

Luckily for our barista wanna-be, he just bought it, and took me up on the offer for free barista lessons once the machine delivered.

Nuova Simonelli Musica Espresso Machine

The machine arrived – a beautiful Musica from Nuova Simonelli with all the features to extract and steam like the pros. Problem was… John was only a pro at drinking coffee, not making it. “No problem”, I assured him. “We’ll just take this one step at a time, and before you know it you’ll be making cappuccinos as well as any of those little sideburn-Jimmys at the local cup-a-whatevers”.

Yummy extraction...

We jumped in, starting with how to pull a proper shot of espresso by pour speed, by color, and by total volume, then moved in to milk steaming and texturing from there. Literally in the first 20 minutes, he’d already made a cappuccino that would warrant putting an “espresso served here” sign above his garage. (I’d like to be at that Home Owners’ Association meeting.)

John left his machine at our store, and popped in to learn a couple more tips with each visit, and before I knew it I was waving goodbye to the machine, and felt like I was letting a sanctuary-raised bird out into the wild to fend for himself. Mean.

I had a chance to check in with my student last week, and was so impressed! He was rocking the coffees like a pro.

Perfecting the pour...

When asked, what’s the hardest thing about making coffees? He answered, “Steaming the milk. The coffee is simple. If you have good coffee and a good machine, anyone can do this. I just need to get better at the milk part.”

He says that making his morning cappuccino takes about 4 minutes from start to finish. “It’s therapeutic. The process of making a coffee is enjoyable, and the taste of my coffee is making me really happy.”

John says he’d recommend his machine and learning to make your own coffee to anyone, because at the end of the day, he swears its much much easier and much less scary than learning to fly a plane.

Although our student (who I now refer to as Johnny Barista) still wants to improve, the fact that he’s making delicious coffees with wonderfully extracted espresso, and beautifully textured milk, is reason enough for anyone with the desire to have great coffee every morning to just jump in and do it. I promise that you can learn it, and I promise there’s only a slim chance that you’ll wake up in the middle of the night from a coffee-themed nightmare. You can leave those to be enjoyed by coffee business owners instead :).

Did you enjoy reading? Please pass it on, or post a comment below!

Some helpful links if you’re ready to be your own barista:
See “How To” Videos at Right
See Musica at lizzysfreshcoffee.com

Post to Twitter

How to Store Coffee – 3 Tips

Ok, so you’ve purchased some amazing freshly roasted coffee. How do you take care of it from here? What? Rules, you’re thinking? Yep…but if you know these 3 secrets, your coffee will be tasty for up to 2 weeks.

Coffee’s Life is Very Short: Unfortunately, coffee will only stay fresh and flavorful for up to 2 weeks from its roasting day. So ideally you purchase only what you can consume in that time. During the staling process, the oils oxidize, becoming rancid, and the aromas disappear…yep….poof. Sorry, there’s no botox on the planet that can delay it. The good news is that you can be sure that it’s as slow as possible so you can enjoy every sip during the short time you have together.

Know the Enemies: Coffee is kind of anti social. Air, moisture, and light are coffee’s enemies. Plain and simple…letting these be all up in your coffee’s business will make your coffee stale faster than you can say yuck. Store your coffee in an airtight, opaque container to keep it happy.

Coffee Hates to be Cold or Hot: Finicky little thing, it is. Never store your 2 week fresh coffee supply in the freezer or refrigerator. And never store in a hot place like on top of a fridge or in a cabinet over the oven. In and out of the freezer or fridge introduces moisture, and exposure to heat gives the coffee sweaty armpits. Both situations break down the amazing intense aromas and flavors. Coffee likes to be at room temperature, right on your countertop. Read our blog about freezing coffee.

Options for Storage:

The bag it came in. Here at Lizzy’s we package our coffee immediately after roasting in foil bags with one-way degassing valves (that’s the little thing that looks like a belly button on your coffee bag). This allows the CO2 to escape, but doesn’t allow any oxygen in. It also keeps away moisture and light. It’s a great way to store your coffee if you simply roll down the bag, squeezing out the excess air, and flip back the tin tie or tape to create a nice tight seal.

A Decorative Tin or Container: Need a little more style than the bag? You can store in a decorative container, IN the foil bag. Follow directions above, then place entire coffee-in-bag in your container.

In a Container Designed to Hold Coffee, like the AirScape Storage Container: A sweet stainless steel design has a double lid system. The first lid presses excess air out of the chamber and blocks light. The second see-through lid creates an additional barrier, plus lets you see the contents level inside. Super clever, clean, and easy to use. Ideal for use with whole bean storage.

Sorry, the bad news is that if your coffee is already old, there’s no storage method in the world to make it come back to life. You might have to “repurpose” your coffee, or simply suffer through drinking it until it’s gone if that’s your style.

Do you have a question or a comment about this post? Tell us what you think below. If you like it, please share it on Facebook, Like it, or re-tweet!

Post to Twitter

Featured August Snapshooter

Photographer Tara Reifenheiser always wows us with her snaps!

Photographer Name: Tara Reifenheiser
Home Town: Long Island, New York

Would you say you’re a snapshot taker, or a pro, or something in between? I am definitely not a pro, but I do take pictures everyday. I consider my love for photography a healthy obsession and a large part of my life. I either have something in mind I want to shoot, or I will just randomly snap the shutter. I do not leave the house without my camera. It trumps my purse and cell phone.

This month's winning snap from Tara...

What kinds of pictures do you enjoy taking? I consider myself an ecclectic photographer who enjoys shooting all people, all places, and all things. My passion is taking pictures that tell a story or convey a mood or emotion. I often pair my images with music lyrics or song titles on my website, since photography and music are the loves of my life.
Have you had a chance to share your fame, or your coffee with others? Absolutely! I share my fame with all friends and family who have enjoyed the coffee labels as well as Lizzy’s coffee. And I drink Lizzy’s coffee every morning. What’s interesting is that I was a tea drinker until I was introduced to Lizzy’s coffee. Lizzy’s coffee turned me into a coffee addict! My sister in law was laughing about how I didn’t know how to use our coffee maker last year, and now I am grinding our Lizzy’s coffee every morning.

And last but not least…what’s your favorite way to brew and drink your coffee? Vanilla creamer and cinnamon.

Anyone can submit a snapshot for a chance to have your pick featured and win a free month of coffee: Click Here

Post to Twitter

March Snapshooter Profile

Check out this month’s featured photographer….
Photographer Name: Minta Thomson
Home Town: Pheonix, Arizona

Minta pic

Minta's Bad Dog featured this month

Minta's Bad Dog featured this monthWould you say you’re a snapshot taker, or a pro, or something in between?
trying to make a living at it =)

What kinds of pictures do you enjoy taking?
candids… secretspy type…unposed moments that may have gone unnoticed. I like to flip the perspective of things & make my viewers think about the story behind the foto.

Have you had a chance to share your fame, or your coffee with others?
I have! I gave coupons to my neighbors…shared on facebook, flickr, twitter & when talking to friends.

And last but not least…how do you take your coffee?
With a smooth kickstart.

Post to Twitter