Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Coffee That’s Toasted Not Roasted

I didn’t start drinking coffee until about 10 years ago. I’ve always been sensitive to bitter tastes, so I guess my taste buds needed to mellow a bit before I could truly enjoy what has now become my morning addiction.  But Al and I recently discovered, quite by accident, a new coffee that is a world away from that slightly burned and muddy drink you find in every corporate break room. A local Tomball company is combining premium coffee beans with a unique roasting method to produce a smooth and fruity coffee that you can feel good about.

When we were meeting with Tejas Chocolate and touring their facilities, I noticed that off to one side of the area where the cacao is winnowed and roasted, there were some whiskey barrels and bags of coffee beans.  Seeing our interest, our host was quick to introduce us to Billy Schiel, the owner of District Roasters.  Like many small businesses, District  Roasters is sharing a space with Tejas to reduce overhead.  What could be a better combination than chocolate and coffee!

District Roasters defines themselves as “Coffee. On Mission”.  As we stood in the chilly warehouse talking to Billy while he “toasted” his latest batch of coffee beans, Al and I had the opportunity to learn more about the mission behind this business. Going far beyond the standard of Fair Trade, District Roasters is proactively helping improve the lives of those people producing the second largest commodity in the world, while providing a superior quality product to their customers.  To ensure this small company has the biggest impact, District Roasters focuses their efforts on a narrowly defined set of coffee bean growing districts, such as Burundi or Ethi Amaro, for developing partnerships and reinvesting part of their profits to better the growing community in those districts.

The unique roasting method for this coffee, which Billy described as “toasted not roasted”, brings out the natural sweetness of the coffee beans.  We were excited to try the brew and we were truly surprised by its natural sweetness.  This is the only coffee I’ve ever tried that tastes better to me without any form of sweetener – it’s that sweet!  There is no trace of bitterness and the aromas of the fruit come shining through.  There’s also a definite caffeine kick that fully meets the needs for my morning jump start!

But what about those whiskey barrels you ask? District Roasters has started aging green coffee beans in used Jack Daniels whiskey barrels.  The aromas of the charred oak and remnants of the whiskey batch are absorbed by the porous green coffee beans. The “toasting” method further enhances the flavor for a comforting brew that is perfect to cold winter morning or anytime for that matter.  Still haven’t had enough of that great coffee flavor? Well, there’s more! In an extension of their partnership with Tejas Chocolate, District Roasters has created a Burundi coffee flavored chocolate bar they call Buck Shot. Definitely something coffee and chocolate lovers should try out.

In a quiet warehouse/office park in Tomball Texas, you can find two unique businesses, partnering together to deliver great tasting products and support local communities both here in Texas and around the world.  Just goes to show that you never know what surprises await when you venture out to see Texas Thru My Back Door!

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