Remy Sol Coffee Is On Sabbatical!
Our single source coffee adventure started five years ago when we discovered this exquisite Dota-Tarrazu coffee while on sabbatical in Costa Rica. Now, we have embarked on another adventure, this time to Mexico!
Unfortunately, unanticipated cost increases and logistical challenges while we are abroad mean that we will be unable to provide the same level of service during our travels, and so, for the time being, we have decided to put our coffee adventure on sabbatical as well. We have left this FAQ page up and available for those interested in any of the information here - however, for the time being, we cannot bring you the coffee, so please forgive us!
We have greatly appreciated everyone's support over the past five years, and apologize for the inconvenience (and especially the coffee withdrawals). We look forward to keeping in touch with all of you, and we hope you will join us in resuming single source coffee on our return!
We discovered single source coffee while on sabbatical in Costa Rica, as we travelled this quintessential coffee country and were able to taste coffees at coffee farms, beneficios and small roasters who sourced from local growers. We quickly learned that there is much more to coffee than the artistry of roast and preparation of a cup. We were delighted to discover the variations in taste, aroma and quality not only from region to region but from farm to farm. We compared our delight to experiences we have had in the wine world, where the importance of terroir, microclimate and technique have long been recognized.
The movement toward "single source" coffee is based on recognition that coffees grown in certain distinct microclimates yield unique beans that can produce a unique and delicious cup, reflective of terroir, fruit, varietal, microclimate, and growing and milling techniques. Two farms right next to each other can produce distinct coffees; coffees grown on opposite sides of the same mountain can have very different qualities, capable of producing flavors in the cup far more remarkable and satisfying than those available from the usual roaster/blender working with commodity coffees at home. With Remy Sol Coffee, we have gone to the source in Costa Rica, tasted coffee at farms, mills and roasters, and discovered a coffee that we believe epitomizes what is great about the best Costa Rican coffee. That is the coffee we bring you, artisan roasted to order by the farmers who grew, picked and milled the beans.
When you order Remy Sol Coffee, we hope you will experience the same sense of discovery we did when we first travelled around Costa Rica tasting coffees from various farmers, mills and roasters; namely, that coffees are incredibly diverse and subtle in their variations of flavor, aroma, body and acidity. Single source coffee is about enjoying the unique and satisfying flavors that epitomize a particular microclimate, before they are forever lost to the blend.
Sustainable farming methods go hand in hand with quality coffee. By offering a direct retail channel for farmers, Remy Sol Coffee helps create a way for consumers here in the U.S. to directly support and encourage sustainable farming methods among farmers, at the same time preserving a unique quality of coffee from gradual loss to the pressures of race-to-the-bottom commodity agriculture.
Remy Sol Coffee comes from a single cooperative in the heart of Dota-Tarrazu, consisting of about 700 small family farmers, many third and fourth generation, each with typically 3-7 acres in coffee. The cooperative is very proud of the dedication of its members to sustainable growing practices, and it spends significant time and effort constantly looking for ways to recycle, reduce energy use, improve balance of quality and yield, and reduce environmental impact.
Among specific practices employed by the farmers, coffee is almost all shade grown. During our visits, we saw the coffee fields dotted with banana, avocado and other trees for shade. (Without shade, coffee can ripen too fast, and while yield can shoot up, the quality in terms of density of bean is less and the following year the farmer ends up with very little as the plant recovers.) Coffee cherries are harvested by hand rather than by machines that roll over the whole field (so-called strip harvesting). Cooperative farmers tend each coffee tree individually and by hand, practicing small-scale, hand-tended agriculture.
On the beneficio (mill) end, the cooperative mulches all of their pulp after milling and distributes it back out to cooperative farmers for use as fertilizer. (This is important for the additional reason that you will see in Costa Rica and elsewhere, much river pollution can come from discarded coffee pulp.) The cooperative plays its role by encouraging constant improvement in sustainability and quality of farming techniques, for even, quality yield and benign environmental impact, bringing in technical experts to assist farmers. Much of the coffee is sun dried, and for air-dried coffee, the dryers are powered from the discarded green coffee husks. Milling is water process and does not involve chemical inputs.
In our visits to the region, we were impressed by how lush, green, beautiful and diverse the area is, and the careful, individualized way we saw the farmers go about tending their small hillside acreages. It is vastly different from the comparatively ravaged look of the land seen in many agricultural areas in the United States, and very different than the acre after acre of sun coffee plantantions we have seen growing in other parts of Costa Rica (or in pictures of the vast strip-harvested plantations in other countries).
What is "fair trade"?
"Fair trade" amounts to a set of principles aimed at ensuring that workers who produce the things we consume are treated fairly, receive a living wage, have environmental and health protections, and have a sustainable livelihood. With respect to coffee, the fair trade movement has gained real traction, and there now exist third party organizations that, usually for a fee, will certify coffees at origin and through the chain of commerce as having been produced by a farmers' cooperative that received a minimum price intended to be sufficient to sustain production and provide some return for farmers. Cooperatives are also certified for environmental and health practices, farming techniques, and similar matters, and certified cooperatives typically offer members access to lower interest loans and similar financial assistance. Leading third party fair trade certifying organizations include the international certifying organization Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International ("FLO") and TransfairUSA. Learn what they have to say at www.fairtrade.net and www.transfairusa.org (please note we take no responsibility for material posted on other web sites besides our own).
Remy Sol Coffee fair trade practices
Remy Sol Coffee is sourced very differently from most coffees available in the U.S., including most "fair trade certified" coffees. When you order our coffee, it is artisan roasted to your specifications and shipped directly from the farmers' cooperative in Costa Rica to your door in the United States. The farmers are paid far more than the prevailing commodity coffee price, and far more than the prevailing "fair trade certified" price. Because we help the farmers create a direct channel to the consumers who drink their coffee, by our method the farmers benefit from a retail market based on their unique quality. As a result, our method offers farmers a truly sustainable long-term business that is not at the mercy of the commodity giants or specialty roasters who are the gatekeepers to most coffee we consume in the U.S. today.
We have seen for ourselves how the cooperative works for its members. Its pretty impressive. Farmers in the cooperative that produces Remy Sol Coffee provide themselves:
This is what we think is true fair trade, and why we say Remy Sol Coffee is better for farmers. Try some!
In keeping with our mission to offer coffee that is better for the farmers, better for the community, and better in your cup, and to maintain our community focus here at home, we developed our "Coffee Alternatives" program to offer a way for our customers to not only purchase an exquisite, true single source coffee in a way that is better for farmers, but also supports those at home who are working every day doing things that improve our communities. Through these programs, we allocate a portion of coffee sales made via a dedicated web page to support the works of a featured nonprofit. These programs allow our partners to offer their supporters the opportunity to purchase delicious coffee and support the organization with each purchase, and also permit us to highlight and offer the same opportunity to our existing and new customers. For us, this is an example of the kind of small-scale, beneficial business model that we are hoping to develop, aimed at making another choice available in the marketplace for where and how to spend one's coffee dollar to reward quality, fairness and community.
Check out our current Coffee Alternatives partners!
If you know a good candidate for us to feature in a Coffee Alternatives program, please email us with your suggestions!
Fresh Roasted Coffee Is Best. Fresh roasted coffee develops flavors and aroma for up to several days after roast, after which coffee can quickly deteriorate, especially if exposed to oxygen. One challenge with all coffee that is not roasted at home before each pot is brewed is to preserve the freshness of the roasted coffee for full enjoyment once delivered. Remy Sol Coffee preserves freshness by immediately hand packing each order into one-lb. one way valve bags upon roast. Because the one-way valve lets gasses escape but does not let oxygen in, coffee basks in a seal of its own roast until you receive and open the bag. You will notice the fresh and distinctive aroma which bursts forth when you open your bag of Remy Sol Coffee.
We stamp the roast date on each bag of coffee so you know exactly when your coffee was roasted.
For maximum freshness, we recommend consuming each one-lb. bag of coffee within one to two weeks after opening the bag.
Storage and preparation is important to ensuring you get the best cup possible from your coffee. Coffee is packed and shipped the same day it is roasted, sealed whole bean in one lb. bags. Once your coffee arrives, we recommend opening each bag only as ready to begin enjoying. Once opened, ideally keep the coffee in an airtight jar or other container and store out of the light and away from heat until finished. Store unopened bags out of light and away from heat. Do not freeze or refrigerate as this can adversely affect the flavor you will extract from the beans.
Preparation: Grinding and preparation depends on your method and tastes.
For drip method we prefer medium ground, two heaping tablespoons per 6 oz. water. Use cold filtered or spring water to start the brew. If you are using a conventional glass-carafe automatic brewer, don’t leave coffee cooking on the hot plate; either consume it shortly after brewing or if you will be drinking it over several hours, pour into a thermos to maximize retention of flavor. (If you are in the market for a new coffee brewer, we recommend a good thermos pot brewer over a conventional glass pot. Or, keep it inexpensive and simple with an old-school filter cone, grinder and teapot - this is how we brew most of our cups of coffee.) Original and Peaberry Medium Roast both make especially good drip coffee.
We have also been enjoying Original Dark Roast and Peaberry Medium Roast prepared French Press method. The French Press (for those who are not familiar) is a complete infusion, in which near-boiling water soaks in fresh, coarse grounds in a carafe-style pot for 4-5 minutes before the grounds are gently pressed to the bottom with a plunging filter. It results in a rich, silky brew that feels more substantial than regular drip method. The Original darker roast respond well to this method, which brings out the sharper roast flavor. With the Peaberry, we find that the French Press cuts the brightness somewhat, but brings out significant texture and fullness in aroma and flavor that is less present in drip method.
Bodum French Presses are available for under $30. (Bodum traces its history to the original inventor of the method, or so we understand.) We are still looking for one that is a bit more elegant than our laboratory-style glass, metal and plastic contraption (they call the pot a "beaker"!), but for the moment, we can recommend the Bodum as functional, very simple to use and easy to clean.
For those of you with an espresso machine, the Peaberry Espresso Roast is a real treat. It completely lacks bitterness and is just a full-flavored shot of bright acidity with a sharp, juicy center, perfect for drinking straight without any sweeteners or cream. It really is a different espresso. (For some reason, we get a better crema with the Original Espresso roast however. But, this experience may be meaningless as we have not been using a real espresso machine - we have an old electric one-shot which practically drips the coffee.)
We are on the lookout for brewing systems, grinders, and various coffee paraphernalia to recommend. Please let us know your suggestions! Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remy Sol Coffee is artisan roasted to order by the farmers to optimize the qualities of their beans. Generally, we find a fuller expression of the bright flavors of these beans will be had with a medium/medium-dark roast (in the U.S., akin to "full city" roast). Darker roast tends to imbue the beans with a smoky roast flavor that can begin to overwhelm some of the more delicate flavors you will notice in this coffee (although for many the loss is more than made up for by the more forward tantalizing roast flavors that emerge). To optimize the flavors of these beans, the farmers tend to apply a narrower roast profile - you will find our medium roast is a little darker than the medium roast of many others, and the dark and espresso roasts are a little lighter.
Which one is for you? This depends partly on your preferred method of preparation and mostly on your taste. See our personal recommendations above in Tips On Storing and Brewing.
Remy Sol Coffee is artisan roasted in small batches to order by a cooperative of small farmers who grow, pick, mill and hand-select the beans from their farms in the valley and hills surrounding the small town of Santa Maria de Dota, Costa Rica. This is very different from the system that typically delivers coffee to you, whether in your store or by mail order, from a roaster here in the U.S. By our method, we can ensure you get true single source coffee, selected by the farmers, and small-batch roasted by them to optimum potential as only the farmers know how.
To get coffee to you economically, we bundle your orders with others ordering around the same time as you. All coffee is then roasted to order on the same day (typically twice per month, usually once in the first week and once in the third week of each month), hand-packed and addressed in individual packages, and shipped to your door via usually via regular postal service. Typically, your coffee arrives within 8-15 business days of roast, fresh and delicious.
Typically, we finalize each roast order once every two weeks as of close of business first and third Tuesday of each month, for roasting and shipping by the farmers in Costa Rica on the following Friday. (Due to all the vagaries of managing orders and working internationally in the manner we do, these order and roast dates are subject to change without notice. We always send a followup email confirming when your coffee was roasted and shipped so you know when to expect it.) If you order closer to our roast order date of typically the first or third Tuesday of the month, your coffee will arrive nearer to your order date.
Shipping and all other applicable charges are as set forth on our Order Page - you will have no surprises as you proceed to checkout at our secure site for payment. Where no separate shipping price is set forth, as on our 10 lb. orders, shipping is included in the price! This makes these orders very economical at $10.95/lb. delivered to your door. We encourage customers to get together with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to share a 10-lb. order in order to take advantage of the savings on shipping.
If you have ordered once, you need not re-enter all your information through our secure site to reorder coffee. You can simple email us with a short message telling us what you would like. We will confirm via email, and bill to your previously submitted credit or debit card information which we have securely maintained on file.
We also encourage automatic reordering as the easiest, most convenient and most economical way to keep your coffee cupboard stocked with exquisite coffee. If you choose automatic reordering, we do the work for you and repeat your order once per month (or once every two months or whatever you specify -see next FAQ below). We will send a confirmation of charge and confirmation of shipping so you know when to expect arrival.
Online orders are processed through our secure server, hosted by Paypal. Paypal is a leader in online security and is responsible for secure processing of thousands of e-commerce sites. For all online orders, once you choose your coffee specifications and click the "Order" button on our site, you will be transferred to an order page hosted on the Paypal secure servers. You will be asked to first submit credit card information and then click "continue", which will generate a complete order form for you to fill in with order specifications and billing and shipping information. You can verify authenticity at any time by checking the URL and the "Verisign Secured" logo. This method is designed to ensure all sensitive information is transferred and maintained with state of the art security. (Not comfortable? Please email us or call at (805) 878-5005 with any questions or if you prefer to order offline.)
If for any reason you are unable to complete your order on our secure site, or if you have any concerns about functioning on our secure order server, please let us know by phone at (805) 878-5005 or email at email@example.com.
We may at times be unable to fulfill some orders, in most events for reasons beyond our control. We reserve the right to reject and cancel orders for any reason and at any time. If we cancel, reject or otherwise cannot fulfill an order, we will of course promptly notify you and refund or credit any monies paid.
Questions Not Addressed Here? Please email us!