About patrick smith

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So far patrick smith has created 10 blog entries.

Q&A: Coffee by Volume

QUESTION: I use a burr grinder that has automatic settings (so it grinds for a predetermined amount of time, depending on the setting). I measure my beans by weight, though. I have noticed that there are, at times, significant differences (like 15%) in the volume of bean that can be ground in a set time. Clearly, different coffees have different weights by volume, why is [...]

A Glimpse Into Coffee Roasting

I take for granted that I watch coffee roast every day. I always enjoy it, but often fail to remember that it is really quite novel & interesting to many people. I was thinking about blogging this week. It occurred to me that I should compose a brief write-up of the roasting process & include some photos so that you could get a glimpse of [...]

Rustic Coffee

I took the fam up to northern Michigan this weekend to visit some of Sarah's (my wife) family. They live in a beautiful house in the middle of a mature poplar forest. They had a 2-3ft snow base, and despite the cold, the 2 older boys loved being outside. We rode around a bit on snow mobiles, built most of an 11ft wide igloo, got [...]

Hope CSA

I had the best time last evening! I have to confess that I was rather dreading it, and I am now ashamed at my pessimism. My friend Jeff Hawkins, owner of Hope CSA (community supported agriculture), asked me to donate coffee for a fund raiser. Additionally, he asked me to come out to the event & speak briefly about the coffee to those in attendance. [...]

Gratifying Coffee Chain in the Workplace

I received a phone call from my friend last week.  He is my primary contact at one of our wholesale accounts (We have a wholesale division of the company, D.b.a. Red Brick Coffee Roasters).  This particular wholesale account is unique in that they are a large corporation employing about 1,200 people & they offer Red Brick Coffee as a bona fide employee benefit. Honest!--employees can [...]

Espresso: In Pursuit of Excellence

A coffee lover and serious home aficionado came by the UTOPIAN roastery yesterday. We looked over our La Marzocco Linea, talked specialty coffee, & philosophized about espresso. As the discussion progressed, the gleam in his eye became more apparent. We swapped stories about knockout double espressos & where we’ve had them. Then, I think we came to a tacit agreement on something: Part of the [...]

Specialty Coffee & Delayed Gratification

We live in a society driven by instant gratification.  We--myself included--live beyond our means, eat less healthy than we should, & miss some beauty in life simply because we want things now.  I am guilty of this--especially when I have made an online purchase.  That's part of the reason we work so hard at UTOPIAN Coffee Co. to get your orders out the door asap.  [...]

Sustainability within Specialty Coffee

As we at UTOPIAN work to build a holistically sustainable specialty coffee company, we regularly consider a number of stewardship issues: fair wages & safe working conditions for workers at origin, sustainable agricultural practices, environmentally friendly roasting/packaging/handling, etc. To date we haven’t made much noise about these things because to date we haven’t done anything truly remarkable or unique. Such themes guide our purchasing habits, [...]

Via Starbucks Coffee: Good Enough?

There are scores of Starbucks haters among the ranks of specialty coffee. In many cases I agree with their complaints. Starbucks’ coffee quality continues to diminish. It is over-roasted, and it sits too long from roast to brew. However, sometimes I wonder if the naysayers miss a growth opportunity as they hurl stones at the green giant. After all, the specialty coffee industry in the [...]