"Not Just a Cup, But a Just Cup"
Trying to get back into being a more conscious consumer again, we've decided to change the way we buy our coffee. I usually drink a cup, occasionally two cups, a day. Hubby drinks substantially more. He can polish off a whole French press himself in the morning and another at night.
We used to buy our coffee by mail from one of what was then only a handful of small company roasters and distributors in the business. We'd discovered their coffee on our annual north coastline camping forays and fell in love with both the coffee and their ambitions to provide a more ethical purchasing choice for coffee consumers.
We fell out of ordering it somewhere along the way, or at least not ordering as frequently. We found a bulk coffee we liked at Costco and since, with all seven of us still at home, we were still living near and frequenting Costco regularly, we switched to that for awhile. We gave Peet's Coffee a try after it was recommended by good friends of ours in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Since living here in Susanville, with a smaller family and Costco or Trader Joe's or any alternative choices a hundred miles away, we've done different things over the years. For awhile there was not one but two local roasting companies and we'd buy from them. They were good but only sold in small packages. When Starbucks came to town we were grateful, grateful, grateful. Of course now Starbucks is also available in supermarkets everywhere. My mom finds different coffees, usually flavored, and sends them on to us. Sometimes they're really tasty, other times they're just... uhm.... flavored.
For awhile I was totally addicted to the pumpkin spice flavored blend sold at World Market under the name Witch's Brew. First of all, how can I not buy a flavor called Witch's Brew!? And secondly, it sounds like a strange coffee flavor but it was so yummy. Alas, it didn't come in decaf, so for several years running I'd buy up three or four bags on sale after October 31 and stretch it out over the rest of the year. This last year they didn't carry it any longer. I was sad. But I eventually forgave them because that's where I discovered the Pumpkin Spice rooibas tea from Zhena's Gypsy Teas and it started a new love affair with rooibas teas in general and that particular tea specifically. (Everyone seems to love this particular tea as it's been sold out on the website for ages. And I'm almost out of it. Oh no!)
Hubby tends to stock up in quantity on the same ol' Starbuck blends he always reaches for if I don't remember to buy coffee first. Even when I do buy it, he seems to only feel safely stocked with about a half dozen bags of coffee beans in the refrigerator. We, in fact, have an entire door shelf of the refrigerator allocated only to coffee. Yeah.
Recently he's been doing his own taste testing. He tried some different supermarket choices - all blah. He tried Dunkin Donuts brand after hearing it was "America's favorite" on the commercials. Apparently we're not your typical Americans because neither of us thought it tasted any better than your average, moderately palatable coffee shop coffee.
I'd bought some of our old favorite company coffees for him as a Yule gift and he'd been using them off and on, trying to make them last. I realized that for several months now every time he offered me coffee and, unbeknownst to me (he just hollers "want a cuppa coffee?" and I holler back "yes please" or "no thanks"), he used this stash, I noticed the difference and asked him "Yum, which coffee is this?"
So it wasn't hard to decide we should go back to buying our coffee in bulk shipments from Thanksgiving Coffee Company. Not only do we personally favor the taste, they are also a small and, in the greater scheme of things, sort of local company. The greater majority of their coffees are either or both Free Trade and Organic and they have a lot of variety to choose from. I noticed they no longer carried one of my past favorites - Breakfast Blend. Oh well, I'll just have to experiment with some new grinds.
Here are a few of the coffees we purchased on our first order. Don't they look wonderful!?
Okay, so maybe I buy my coffee as much for the pretty labels as I do my wine. But honestly, I did consider flavor and usage as well. Pinky swear.