Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spent Some Time With Crimson Cup Coffee

When I wrote my first post about Crimson Cup almost one year ago I said "I couldn't wait to have my first cup of Crimson Cup Coffee."  Well, today I got to have my first cup of Crimson Cup Coffee, actually a cappuccino - the world's best cappuccino, and it was one of the best I've ever tasted!  Not only did I enjoy a cup, I was treated to a tour of the corporate facility by Anna, one of the "cuppers", and boy did I learn a lot!

Being a fan of both red wine and coffee I was pleasantly surprised to find the process of creating the perfect cup of coffee is quite similar to that of making the perfect bottle of wine.

Crimson Cup Coffee starts in 25 countries throughout Central America, South America and Indonesia. The beans come from the coffee cherry bean, crimson in color (hence the company's name).

The Speciality Grade Class 1 beans are then shipped to Crimson Cup's roasting facility.  They arrive green and smell like grass. If the beans smell like fresh grass, you know they are good beans. I got to smell the beans and they definitely are fresh.

Next comes the art of roasting. Crimson Cup has a handful of roasters. Godzilla roasts 300 lbs. of coffee and Little Red makes smaller roasts. During the tour I got to see a decaf roasting in
Little Red.  

A couple interesting points 
about roasting:
  1. Roasting really is science.
  2. It takes about 15 minutes to roast beans (for light slightly sooner, for dark slightly longer - but just within minutes)
  3. When you roast beans you will hear a cracking noise, when you hear two you know the bean is ready to cool.
  4. About 80% of beans come out. 20% turns to water.  
  5. Here is an important fact - one of the facts that sets Crimson Cup apart from the rest - they DO NOT put the water back into the roaster.  Most roasters do, but when water is added back in, it weakens the coffee.
Other interesting coffee facts:

1.  Flavored oils are used to make flavored coffee.  It takes about 15 minutes to mix the oils with the coffee bean.
2.  The small hole in the back of the coffee bag is to release gasses.  If there wasn't a hole the bag would grow and grow and could eventually explode.
3.  You DO NOT refrigerate coffee after it is opened.  It does not keep it fresher.  If you buy coffee in bulk you can freeze it but only once. And once you open it you can't refreeze.

As for the company,  Crimson Cup started in 1991 when Greg, the founder, decided to leave his job at a software company to follow his passion for coffee.  Now they supply coffee to over 300 coffee shops across the country, as well as train coffee houses how to do the "dance" with the
perfect layout.

As you can tell, I learned quite a bit. Something else that impressed me about Crimsons Cup was the strong brand. Take for example the various menu options they have created for the Coffee Shops.  They thoroughly thought out various designs to match different styles of coffee shops. This makes the Coffee Shops happy and just as important, it keeps Crimson Cup's brand consistent.  Very smart!  Crimson Cup also projects a good culture.  They recognize that the "cuppers" are also its brand.  They convey passion, comfort, learning and quality.

Look for newly designed Crimson Cup bag at Whole Foods throughout Ohio, Hills Market in Worthington, Kroger Stoneridge Gahanna, OSU and these locations here.  

This is definitely coffee you'll want to try and then have again and again.  Thanks to Anna for the tour and the complimentary bag of Armando's blend.  This is Crimson Cup's signature coffee with a blend of five different beans created by Greg, Chis Lamb and Armando - Chief Espresso Officer (love that title)!  

Can't wait to have my next cup!

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