Kona Coffee and Jamaica Blue-mountain time…

Kona coffee and Jamaica Blue mountain for Christmas...I get e-mail. Lots of e-mail.

Now that it is December, almost everyone is thinking about specialty coffee as a gift item. This is the time of the year when people think that coffee would make a great gift. Unfortunately, it is also the time of year that opportunists foist some truely bad coffee on naive and enthusiastic consumers.

Everyone has seen those “mini-brick” packs of exotic coffee like Kona and Jamaica Blue Mountain. Read the fine print folks – chances are you are buying utterly stale Kona blend and Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend coffee.

Which means: Chances are there is a very little (if any) real Kona or Jamaica coffee in these sad little packets of (generally pre-ground) coffee.

Another rule-of-thumb: If it is in a brick-pack, it is Rat-ass stale. Trust me on this. Coffee is food too. You wouldn’t buy brown lettuce would you? Then why buy stale coffee?

In an e-mail today, I was asked: “Where can I buy pure Kona coffee in Victoria?”

This question gets asked in virtually every major city in North America during the festive giving season.

Currently, there are no roasters in Victoria selling
“freshly roasted” pure Kona coffee… to the best of my knowledge

Something to consider (and this is important…)
Coffee is only truely fresh for 5 to 10 days after
it leaves the roaster.
Coffee, like other fruits and vegetables, is a food
product that is subject to staling.

A good example of truly stale coffee is the product
you find in cans and bins on the grocery store shelves.

There are a handful of fresh coffee roasters in Victoria… I list them here in terms of
I “feel” about them… long story.

1.) Cafe Fantastico — Kings and Quadra and Cook & Mckensie (in the Cook Street village) Roasters of truly amazing coffee.

2.) Level Ground Trading — They roast a small selection of fairly traded and organically grown beans. No konas. What they do roast, is wonderful.

3.) Discovery Coffee — Douglas & Discovery (and its satellite outlet: 2%-JAzz at the Times Colonist building) Sam Jones roasts some of Victoria’s best coffee. No question.

4.) Mirage Coffee Roasters — Blanshard & View street and Government and Courtenay streets. The coffee is good and its fresh.

5.) Cairo Coffee Victoria — 700 block Fort street above Douglas. They sell exotic coffees from time to time. They are currently roasting Kona in store for 50$/pound which is 18$ less per pound than Murchies! Jamaica Blue-Mountain will be roasted in store and sold for 75$/pound. They take advance orders on this coffee so queue up! Bill, the store owner since the 70’s, has the most complete coffee accessory store in Victoria.

6.) Fresh Cup Roastery — Government & Pandora downtown. For me, too new to tell. Give them a whirl.

7.) Moziro Coffee Roasters — Shawnigan Lake Village – Dundas Street. Small batch roasts and great chocolate. If you are in the neighborhood, check them out.

8.) Creekmore Coffee — Coombs (available in quite a few grocery stores) – generally fresh and good value.

9.) Murchies Coffee – they almost always have Kona, but its “freshness” is almost always in question. Sorry Murchies – I have been spot buying from Murchies since 1972 and I have yet to be impressed.

If you want really fresh and spectacular Kona coffee, mail-order it from EveryDay Gourmet Coffee Roasters
in Toronto – their website is www.everydaycoffee.com

Truly spectacular Kona coffee can be mail ordered from Blue Horse Kona – their farm is near Captain Cook on the Big Island of Hawaii – I have actually visited the farm and sampled the coffee and can attest to its origin and freshness. This has been a very good year for Kona coffee (2008) and it is a good time for most people to sample it to see what I mean.

Bottom line: If you want great coffee, it has to be fresh coffee.
Freshly roasted that is.