Coffee is one food item that I really love and enjoy in spite of the fact that it is not, and never will be local. I recently received a bag of coffee sent by Parachute Coffee to review and I have to say that I was pretty impressed with it. I tend to shy away from most promotions I’m contacted about, unless they are for books or cookbooks that focus on the same things I focus on here, thus this was a somewhat different reaction for me.
I was impressed with the coffee from Parachute because it is quality coffee. I use the adjective “quality” because a good friend of mine who owns a coffee farm in the Dominican Republic and manages coffee farms in Brazil uses this word, and hey, I might as well talk like he talks.
But what exactly is quality coffee? It is coffee that tends to meet a number of conditions in my eyes, but the first is taste. Quality coffee tastes excellent. Not just good, not just better than others—this coffee is so good you want to eat the beans, or at least keep your nose near the bag at all times. Quality coffee is coffee that you savor. You don’t have to add milk or cream to it, although it tastes excellent with those as well. Coffee like this has a sweetness that shines through, amidst the other flavors that fill the cup. Yes, coffee that has been grown, processed, and roasted with the attention of an expert committed to his or her craft will have a sweetness.
Yeah, that tastes good, let me have another sip….
Other conditions that define quality for me include how the coffee was grown, where and by whom. Basically it is coffee that can be traced back to an individual farm and farmer—in this case the farm was Finca Don Chepe, run by Manuel Macho Acre. It was grown by people who care not only about their current product but about the future sustainability of their farm and surrounding ecosystems. It is coffee for which the growers were paid fairly. And of course it was roasted in small batches, more on this later.
The medium-brown roast that arrived on my doorstep one day after roasting met the conditions that I seek in coffee. The roasted beans came from Pig Iron Coffee Roasters in Mississauga. I could smell the delicious beans through the box, but somehow couldn’t capture those cartoonish aromas on my camera.
I brewed it right away with our French press and my wife and I enjoyed ourselves a nice cup out on the back porch. The tasting notes from Michael and Jake that accompanied the coffee mentioned Oreos and Raspberries. I’m not the best at picking out names of smells and tastes but it definitely had a chocolatey-fruity-sweetness to its aroma and flavor.
So, all this is to say that I liked the coffee. I liked it every way I brewed it—French press (above), aeropress (below), and simple drip, although in the end French press was my preferred method for this coffee.
In fact, I took the idea of “brewing” the coffee even further and threw a couple ounces in a “breakfast stout” that my brother-in-law and I brewed last week (below)!
Parachute Coffee is like a “coffee-of-the-month” club for craft (quality) coffee. Every month Parachute delivers (more like rushes) a new coffee from a small-batch Canadian roaster to your door. The cost is $25 per month, which includes shipping and tax. Yes, this is a bit more than I am accustomed to paying for coffee, which is around $14-18 for a bag of coffee from local roasters who use organic fair trade beans. I guess you would have to decide what value and convenience you are willing to pay for.
To answer a few of my own questions (and hopefully some of yours too), the owner and founder, Michael Potters had a little email conversation with me about Parachute, craft coffee, their selection process, and what he’s excited about.
Jon: When you talk about getting coffee from “local coffee roasters” what do you mean by that?
Michael: When we say local, we mean that the coffee you receive in the mail has been hand-roasted by a Canadian craftsperson. We think “local” captures the spirit of the craft. The roasters we partner with are authentically small-batch, with a focus on quality. We’re really proud of that.
Jon: I have my own answer to these questions, but am curious to hear yours: What makes small batch coffee so special? Why is it important to know who grew the coffee and where it is from?
Michael: Small-batch anything is all about details. Whether it’s controlling temperature during every stage of coffee roasting, to understanding the unique story of each farm, small-batch roasters recognize their importance. The final product is a result of a ton of time, trial and error, and lots and lots love. You’ll notice the difference in your first cup.
Jon: How do you go about choosing each month’s coffee roaster and specific bean/roast?
Michael: Canada is home to a handful of truly exceptional coffee roasters. You know them based on their reputation in the coffee roasting community, and we work closely with them to feature their best coffee. We cup and evaluate at least four coffees at the featured roaster each month, and decide with the roaster which coffee best represents them.
Jon: What are you most excited about with regards to Parachute Coffee?
Michael: I’m trying to convince Jake to jump out of an airplane with a Parachute for a marketing stunt. It could totally happen.
Other than that, we’re having fun doing what we’re doing. We love it. I’m excited for more people to have some fun brewing better coffee.
Parachute Coffee would like to offer one reader of this blog (in Canada) a free month subscription, totally awesome!