Tag Archives: Coffee Beans

Picture of the Week: Bean Traders in Durham

Bean Traders opened in the Homestead Market on Highway 54 in Durham back in 2000 and it continues to be mainstay of the local coffee scene. It is one of those coffee shops that I just don’t get to as often as I would like, but fall in love with it every time I visit. They roast their own coffee beans, have a creative drink menu, and offer an  impressive assortment of food items like waffles, homemade pies, and my personal favorite …. dark chocolate sea salt cookies.

A little over a year ago the shop expanded into the space next door and revamped its layout adding a lot of additional seating and a bigger coffee bar island to serve its droves of faithful customers. I usually go on the weekends when it can be quite busy, but the line always moves quickly and the space has a relaxing vibe making it a great spot to spend a Saturday morning nursing a warm mug of fresh coffee and people watching.

When you visit there is a pretty good chance you will run into the owners Christy and David both baking things for the shop and working the espresso machine. To learn more about their story and how they first met check out this great article in Durham Magazine. In the meantime add Bean Traders to your list of places to check out the next time you are in the Southpoint Mall area of Durham. Be sure to try their cold brew, it is some of the best around!

Bean Traders
105 W NC Highway 54
Durham, NC

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Filed under Coffee, Events

Coffee & Community – A Visit to Raleigh Coffee Company

Raleigh Coffee Company

Raleigh Coffee Company Roasting Facility

Did you know there is a great local coffee roaster located right here in North Raleigh? It’s called Raleigh Coffee Company and they are creating some excellent coffee roasts and making a big impact on the local coffee community here in the Triangle. I first tried their coffee this past winter through the Raleigh Coffee Club and have since become a big fan of their roasts. Overtime I started following them on their social media feeds through twitter and facebook and grew to appreciate how they both support the local community and strive to educate the consumer about coffee in a friendly and approachable way.

Raleigh Coffee Company

The Coffee Roaster

Raleigh Coffee Company’s roasting facility is tucked away in very cool nook behind the retail space of North Raleigh Meat House in the Quail Corners shopping center along Falls of Neuse Road. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to stop by their headquarters and talk to Raleigh Coffee Company founder and owner Joe Bland. I went there hoping to learn more about the coffee he is roasting and his mission to bring great coffee to the community and foster the local coffee culture in the Triangle. I left there with my head filled with new coffee knowledge and feeling inspired by what this company represents.


Raleigh Coffee Company Owner Joe Bland Roasting Coffee Beans

Joe started Raleigh Coffee Company back in 2012 after spending years home roasting and tweaking coffee profiles in his spare time. He initially sold his coffee through an online store, but as his customer base grew he obtained the space at the Meat House to roast out of to increase production to meet the increased demand. Since then he has already started selling his coffee at various retail locations and restaurants & cafes throughout the Triangle.

Raleigh Coffee Company Equipment

Raleigh Coffee Company Equipment

It was great to hang out in this space surrounded by all the coffee equipment and get a better understanding of how a small local roaster operates. Joe was great and took time to explain to me the process he goes through to obtain quality beans and the nuances of working with the coffee roaster to get the timing and temperature just right to develop the desired flavor profile. But making great coffee is just part of the mission.

Pulling a Shot of Espresso

Pulling a Shot of Espresso

On the morning I stopped by Joe was roasting up some Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. This coffee can be described as complex with fruity notes. It is naturally processed coffee. Naturally processed coffees typically have heavier mouthfeel, lower acidity levels and intense, exotic flavor profiles. He also had some Tanzania coffee he had roasted the day before. The Tanzania is a bolder earthy coffee that makes a great espresso with bright notes of lemon and dark chocolate making for what Joe described as a multi-layered orange, lemon, and chocolate espresso shot.

Espresso & Pour Over Coffee

Espresso & Pour Over Coffee

Joe used some of these beans to create a pour over coffee as well as shots of espresso to demonstrate how the different methods highlighted the coffee differently. He also gave me a sample of the beans to experiment with at home and I made some incredible iced coffee with the Yirgacheffe using my AeroPress. In addition to the Tanzania and Yirgacheffee, Raleigh Coffee Company also roast coffee from Costa Rica, Guatemala, and even offers a Honduras decaf.

Pouring out some delicious Ethiopia Yergicheffe

Pouring out some delicious Ethiopia Yergicheffe

Raleigh Coffee Company is also very active in the community and spearhead different “Bean Projects” throughout the year. These projects are initiative designed to generate support for charitable causes through funding for inspiring ideas and needs locally, nationally, and globally.

In February Raleigh Coffee Company teamed up with Love Wins Ministries for a Valentines Day coffee and coffee bag special. $5 from each bag went to benefit the homelessness in Raleigh. This past June, Joe and his friends created Team RCC – a team of 20 athletes that competed in the Ironman Raleigh 70.3 triathlon. The team used the event to help raise money for the “We Build People” campaign for the Triangle YMCA to help fund scholarships, for kids of all ages, to attend a multi-sport summer camp.

Coffee Equipment

Coffee Equipment

There are also two future projects planned for later this year. This Fall Raleigh Coffee Company will serve coffee alongside some greatest local chefs in Raleigh at the American Cancer Society’s “Raleigh Roundup” event on October 19th at Marbles Museum. Then this winter they will have a Christmas Bean Project. A big initiative to help raise money for Help One Now. The funds will go towards a playground for a community in Haiti.

Raleigh Coffee Company

Raleigh Coffee Company

I truly enjoy the Triangle’s great local coffee scene and feel fortunate to have a great local roaster in our community like the one Joe has created with Raleigh Coffee Company. I highly recommend you pick up a bag of their beans or stop by one of the local cafes & restaurants serving their coffee and give it a try.

Raleigh Coffee Company

Raleigh Coffee Company

You can currently find Raleigh Coffee Company coffee being served at the Undergrounds Café in the NC Museum of History in downtown Raleigh, Grounds in downtown Cary, the Cowfish restaurant in North Hills, and the Village Deli in Wake Forest. Bags of their coffee beans can be purchased at The Meat House in Raleigh and Cary.

For more pictures from my visit my Raleigh Coffee Company check out my flickr photo album.

Raleigh Coffee Company
Website: www.raleighcoffeecompany.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/RaleighCoffeeCompany
Twitter: @RaleighCoffeeCo


Filed under Businesses, Coffee, Raleigh

Larry’s Beans of Raleigh Introduces Their Awesome Cold Brew Coffee!

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Larry’s Beans Cold Brew Concentrate – Photo Courtesy of Larry’s Beans

If you have been following my blog for a while you have probably noticed I am a huge fan of the Triangle’s local coffee culture and that in particular I really Larry’s Beans Coffee.  So it shouldn’t surprise to anyone that I was pretty excited to learn that Larry’s Beans now sells a cold brew coffee concentrate!

If you are like me and new to drinking cold brew, the first thing you need to know is cold brew is not simply regular brewed coffee that is cooled and served with ice and called an “iced coffee”.  Cold Brew is made from a  different process. It is created by steeping grounds (from a blend developed specifically for cold-steeping) in cold water for 24 hours, a process that results in an extremely smooth, full-bodied, rich flavor.


Pouring out some Larry’s Beans cold brew concentrate at home!

The Larry’s Beans cold brew blend was created by Larson and chief roaster Brad Brandhorst.  “The idea was to create a balance of smooth sweetness and rich complexity that would really sing when steeped for 24 hours.  We chose South American beans with full-bodied chocolaty notes, then added African coffees for berry-like highlights.”  said Brandhorst.

The 67% lower acid content that makes cold brewed coffee taste so smooth also makes it easier on the stomach, especially for people who are sensitive to coffee.  Like all Larry’s Beans coffee, the Cold Brew is 100% Organic, Shade Grown, Fair Trade and roasted in its “green-o-vated” roasting facility in the Five Points area of Raleigh.


My cold brew drink!

I recently had the opportunity to try some of Larry’s cold brew and enjoyed drinking it with a little bit of milk over ice. The cold brew is in concentrate form and the bottle has recommendations that you mix one part cold brew to three parts water. I like my drinks a little on the stronger side so I mixed my cold brew concentrate with just two parts water (plus some milk). The result was a rich smooth chilled coffee drink with none of the bitter aftertaste I often experience with regular iced coffee.

The concentrate can be used to make not only iced coffee, but also hot coffee and cocktails. “It’s kind of like a mega-super-amazing way to make coffee quickly,” said Larry Larson, company CEO. Here are a few fun drink recipes you can use your cold brew to create!

Cold Brew Recipe Card

Larry’s Bean’s cold brew can be purchased online in a 3-pack on their website or you can purchase individual bottles at the following local stores where it typically retails for  around $11.49 a bottle:

– Taylor’s BP & Wine Store – North Raleigh
– Harmony Farms – North Raleigh Raleigh
– The Meat House – Cary
– Tyler’s Bottle Shop – Downtown RaleighTo learn more about Larry’s Beans and their environmentally roasting facility in downtown Raleigh check out their website and facebook page.


Filed under Coffee, Raleigh

Larry’s Beans of Raleigh ~ My First Coffee Cupping!

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Preparing to educate people about coffee!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting one of my favorite places in Raleigh, the Larry’s Beans coffee roasting facility! I’ve been to Larry’s Beans to take their cool bean plant tour twice now, but this was my first trip there for an actual “coffee cupping”. In fact, this was my first coffee cupping event ever! If you are new to the world of coffee cupping (like me) I would describe it as kind of like wine tasting, but with coffee. In general “coffee cupping” is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee.

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Coffee & mingling before the cupping event

When you visit Larry’s Beans, it is always a fun filled experience. The event started off with the group of 40 or so coffee lovers being entertained by musicians playing the accordion and guitar in the beautiful open courtyard. Larry’s also had a nice healthy snack spread that featured plenty of their great coffee and their newly released cold brew coffee for the guests to try as they mingled before the cupping started.

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Head Roaster Brad explains the origins of the beans we will be cupping

After mingling for a bit, the group moved into the roasting facility for a brief  educational presentation kicked off with Larry himself giving a little background about his passion for quality organic fair trade coffee and why he founded the company. From there Larry turned things over to Brad, the head roaster of Larry’s Beans. Brad did an excellent job of explaining the process of coffee cupping and set the stage for the three kinds of coffee we would be cupping that afternoon. The focus of this particular comparative cupping was three different coffees from Ethiopia.

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The cuppers take to their stations!

Brad described the three different farms within the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union in Ethiopia that were the source of the beans we would be cupping. The coffee we would be trying was harvested from the Schicho, Abela Gekuko, and Bona Cooperatives.  He then highlighted the specific variations in process methods the coffee beans from each farm went through and and  how different processing techniques impact flavor profiles.

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The cupping criteria

A standard coffee cupping procedure involves three steps, sniffing the dry coffee grounds, “breaking the crust” after the hot water pour-over, and finally tasting or “slurping” the coffee. At each table there were three stations with three cups of carefully ground dry coffee from one of the three farms (you use three cups for each bean for consistency). The experts at Larry’s circulated the room and poured the hot water after participants had finished smelling the dried coffee grounds.

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The pros at Larry’s Beans pouring hot water over the coffee grounds

After pouring over the nearly boiling water we allowed the grinds to infuse for around 3-4 minutes. Then came the  “breaking of the crust” which was expertly done by our hosts using spoons and we were instructed to again smell the coffee again as it has changed during the brewing process and will give hints of the kind of things to be looking out for when you do the actual tasting.

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The slurping of the coffee!

Once the crust was broken any coffee grounds left on top of the cup were scooped away. With the coffee infusion now clear of grinds, the slurping  commenced! Essentially you simply bring a spoon of the coffee up to your mouth, and slurp, drawing the coffee to the roof of the mouth allowing it to tickle the tongue and then fall into the back of the mouth. The goal is to measure aspects of the coffee’s taste, specifically the body, sweetness, acidity, flavor, and aftertaste.

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Coffee before “breaking of the crust”

Since coffee beans embody telltale flavors from the region where they were grown, by evaluating coffees in a comparative setting like this a taster can learn to identify  flavor traits of coffees from different origins.  If you do enough cuppings you can even develop a reference library of flavors and taste sensations that can become a background against which you can examine new coffees.  Over time a cupper can begin to associate particular flavors with geographical regions and different botanical varieties of coffee.

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Bloggers engaged in “Coffee Talk”

Although we were not trying to identify the origins since we already knew that information, ultimately the folks at my cupping table were able to identify the different flavor profiles and zero in on their favorite coffee of the three we tried. I can’t recall the exact name now, but my favorite was the coffee that exhibited hints of blueberry.

The folks at Larry’s Beans were great hosts and I recommend you try to attend a future event at their facility.  I had a lot of fun attending this coffee cupping, especially since a few of my fellow foodie blogger friends where there to enjoy the experience with me. Special thanks to Kim @TriLocalista, Becca @theGourmez, and Channa @RaleighWhatsUp for attending the event with me. Make sure you check out their awesome blogs too to keep up on the Triangle foodie scene!

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Musicians in the courtyard!

To view more pictures from my visit to Larry’s beans check out my flickr photo album of the coffee cupping event. To read more about Larry’s Beans you see my previous post of the facility tour or visit their website and facebook page.

About Larry’s Beans

Larry’s Beans is happily committed to blending and roasting innovative uniquely delicious coffees — and making the world a better place. 100% of their coffee is Fair Trade, Shade Grown, and Organic, all slow-roasted to bring out every note of indigenous flavor. Their green-o-vated facilities use passive solar construction, active solar systems, radiant floors, zoned heating, composting, and rainwater harvesting to minimize our impact on this awesome planet. They offer 15 Creative Blends and 15 Single-Origin Blends, along with limited-roast favorites like Rockin’ Holiday Blend and Woodstock Blend.

Larry’s Beans 
1507 Gavin Street
Raleigh, NC 27608
Website: http://www.larrysbeans.com/
Twitter: @LarrysBeans


Filed under Coffee, Events, Raleigh