Ariana’s Coffee Blend, Screamin’ Beans not only grabs your ears’ attention with its perfect name, but your tastebuds’ attention as well with the blend of espresso, Red Sea and Celebes coffee beans. Enjoy at home by purchasing a big in store at either our Napa or Saint Helena location, or online: https://napavalleycoffee.com/fresh-roasted-coffee/screamin-beans-blend-net-wt-12oz
Witches Brew is a magical concoction of two coffee beans, Sumatra and Guatemala, that bring a smooth and nutty flavor to wake your senses and warm your soul. You can purchase it in person at either the Saint Helena or the Napa shop locations, or you can purchase online here: https://napavalleycoffee.com/fresh-roasted-coffee/witches-brew-net-wt-12oz-3401g
Collin threw together a magnificent blend of beans worth to receive the name, Odin's Blend. A strong yet smooth blend, it is tasty hot, and it's smoothness makes it an excellent blend for a cold brew. Buy in-person at either the Saint Helena or Napa stores, or online at: https://napavalleycoffee.com/fresh-roasted-coffee/odin-blend-net-wt-12oz-3401g
I am the person who will stop the flow of foot, bicycle, and vehicular traffic on a dime just to stoop down to pick up a penny off the ground. Why? Because of this guy...
Pennies add up, and they will hopefully pay for at least one of his textbooks in college…I hope.
As much as we dream that his smarts and hard work will earn him scholarships to college, and eventually land him a great job he’ll love, we know that we’ll still be needing a lot of money to cover the cost of his college education. Let’s face it. If the price of coffee continues to rise, you can bet the price of education will continue to rise as well.
Besides picking coins up off the street, I set the rule in our family (WHEN WE STARTED THE PROCESS OF GETTING PREGNANT) that any coins and $1 bills that land in our possession get thrown in a jar. When the money reaches the top, we roll the coins, stack the bills, and make a deposit into his savings account. Any checks he is given for the holidays and his birthdays are also deposited into his savings account, and when that amount reaches $1,000, I withdraw a few hundred dollars and make a deposit into his custodial account to invest in stocks.
I actually have a plan.
Another step I know we need to take is to open a 529 Plan to save money for his college education. The beauty of the 529 Plan is that the growth and withdrawn funds are not taxed by the federal government as long as they are used to pay for qualifying college expenses. Brilliant!
I started researching 529 plans online and immediately grew frustrated. Luckily, the daunting task of finding the best plan for our family was quickly minimized when I found that Reviews.com (https://www.reviews.com) had already done the research not just for me, but for you as well. They provide a beautiful and easy-to-grasp Cliffs Notes version of the various 529 Plans, they do all of the leg-work metrics for determining which are the top plans to invest in, and THEY ALSO EXPLAIN WHY. It was a godsend.
Probably the best advice I received while reading through their info (https://www.reviews.com/529-plans/) is that it is absolutely important to save money for our son’s college education early, but it’s imperative that we are able to contribute monthly to our retirement, and have paid off our own debt, before doing so. The simple explanation for this is that, “while students can borrow to pay for college, you can’t borrow to pay for retirement (https://www.nysaves.org/home/college-savings-articles/content-secondary-co10/caution-parents.html).”
That stuck with me. I needed to read that. The info they provided, when printed, is 38-pages. I read that great advice on page 15…which is when I stopped reading and checked on my credit card balances. Damn. I have some work to do. It’s also helpful that reviews.com updates their info (https://www.reviews.com/about/), so I confidently know that when we have paid off our credit card debt, I can return to their website and find out what the best researched 529 Plan is and why.
For now, the coins and $1 bills will have to do for his college savings fund. Even a small amount of money saved will help in the long-run.
Derek’s coffee bean blend, Power Play, is a nod to the game of hockey, and the perfect cup of coffee to keep you from nodding off. Swing by either the Saint Helena or the Napa location to pick up a bag today, or order it online now at: https://napavalleycoffee.com/fresh-roasted-coffee/power-play-blend-net-wt-12oz-3401g
Check out the video below!
Alyssa has pulled from her heritage and love for dark roasts to create this tasty bean blend, Kaiju. It contains French, Italian, Sumatra and Papua New Guinea beans, and she would have loved it if Herb Brooks could have enjoyed a cup while coaching the US Men's Hockey team in the 1980 Olympics. Purchase a bag in-store, or online: https://napavalleycoffee.com/fresh-roasted-coffee/kaiju-blend-net-wt-12oz-3401g
Amber's blend is called The Jungle Bean Blend. Her oldest child inspired the name, leading us to believe that her son loves to play at the jungle gyms. Please support her and put money towards her kids' college educations by purchasing a bag (or 10) in-store, or online: https://napavalleycoffee.com/fresh-roasted-coffee/jungle-bean-blend-net-wt-12oz-3401g
Val’s coffee blend, Liquid Gold, is a nice mixture of Mexican, Sumatra and Washed Ethiopian beans. As a medium roast, it’s a great intro to coffee, and available online (https://napavalleycoffee.com/fresh-roasted-coffee/?category=Blends) or in the stores. Shout-out invite to #Ellen: Val would love for you to try her Liquid Gold Coffee Blend!
I had the opportunity to interview Doug Dunlap about his coffee blend, Fog Buster, at NVCRC today. Check out the video below!
Doug mentioned using Pappy’s rub for the tri-tip with his Fog Buster Blend. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.pappyschoice.com/
Swing by one of NVCRC’s stores to pick up a bag of Fog Buster, or order it online: https://napavalleycoffee.com/fresh-roasted-coffee/fogbuster-blend-net-wt-12oz-3401g
There’s a Napa Team RoCo Staff. Did you know that? RoCo is short for Roasting Company, and let’s face it…it just rolls off the tongue so easily. Team RoCo strives to include all employees in every step the beans go through once they have been roasted in the Saint Helena shop. Besides selling beans, brewing coffee, and making the drinks, employees are also encouraged to partake in the employee contribution blend program, which is available to all staff members upon finishing their 90-day training period upon hiring.
The Team RoCo blend program is an opportunity for each employee to create their own blend of coffee beans that will then be sold online and in the stores. Employees aren’t just given the bean varietals and allowed to go hog wild. Over time the employee brews and tastes each varietal to learn the various sense profiles, then starts to mix varietals in different percentages, eventually creating a blend of coffee that they enjoy, and believe customers would enjoy as well. Each single varietal coffee offers a unique flavor, and mixing the varietals – blending - offers our senses a new experience each time we brew a cup at home, work, when we travel, camp,…I could go on, but I won’t. This is a great way to help the employee’s knowledge of the varietals, and therefore their overall knowledge of the coffee world.
When the employee is happy with the blend, they come up with three name choices, and present their project to management for tasting. Approval of one of their blend’s names (after Doug has completed a grueling background check and investigation using the skills he learned from the military), and confirmation that they have successfully produced a tasty coffee blend that others will enjoy is a nice accomplishment, and one to be proud of. Their hard work is furthering the success of Team RoCo.
Teamwork is nice, but the other perk to creating your own coffee blend is cold hard cash. For each bag of their blend sold to customers, the employee can earn up to 10% of the sales. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!...or tofu! You can always have tofu. To help the employees increase their income, and to offer them another outlet for sharing their creative blend, I will be conducting interviews with the employees who have their own blends. We hope you enjoy the interviews over the next few months, and don’t hesitate to ask any employee for more information on any of the blends that NVCRC offers! Check out their blends for sale online: https://napavalleycoffee.com/fresh-roasted-coffee
I don’t know about you, but the past two weeks dealing with the evacuation due to the wild fires, the constricting future-diagnosis-lung-cancer-causing air quality aftermath, and entertaining a toddler indoors for that length of time, pushed us to our limits. Yes, it was an unexpected blessing spending extra time together as a family. There were a lot of laughs, a shit-ton of caloric expenditure activities (chasing our son through every nook and cranny of the house, setting up an indoor tumble, tackle, and tickle area (I’m going to trademark that now that I just re-read that last sentence), playing ball, loading the dishwasher...unloading the dishwasher...loading the dishwasher...unloading the dishwasher...you get the picture), and creating additional, albeit inappropriate, verses to “The Wheels on the Bus” song...the drug dealers on the bus go $5 dime bags, $5 dime bags, $5 dime bags...
Extremely memorable for us, and hopefully he’ll have no recollection of the chaos surrounding our lives outside of the walls we were safely in.
Le Petit Elephant (LPE) re-opening it’s doors yesterday once there was a green flag air quality day, thus giving the school district the green light for the schools to open their doors to safely accept children, was a godsend. I don’t use godsend lightly as an agnostic. In my opinion, childcare is as much an aid to our family life as the emergency responders, volunteers, kind-hearted strangers, and neighbors were to everyone while we were all responding to the wild fires. We all witnessed a lot of godsends these past two weeks, just as we will witness more in the coming year as thousands rebuild and find a new normal, and those of us lucky enough to be spared the tragedy of losing our homes and/or jobs return to life.
LPE opened at 7:30AM yesterday, and I expected to see at least six families trying to cram through the entranceway at 7:30AM on the dot. I’m guessing that still happened, but we didn’t arrive until 7:42AM. When my wife pulled into the parking lot our son had already unbuckled his car seat. He then proceeded to climb out of the window and leap from the car, heading to the front door before she had even parked the car. He entered his classroom AT A RUN, his friends and him greeting each other with excited babbling, hugs, and the occasional word we parents understood. The smile on his face being reunited with his friends was a great way to start the week as we all return to our lives.
It is my understanding that everyone in the LPE family is safe, and this is a huge relief. If anyone needs anything, please let us know, and we’ll do our best to help you in anyway that we can.
Harvest week might be over for the kids, but they are still hard at work in the LPE garden. Sara, LPE’s Garden Educator, provides them with excellent lessons in the garden, offering our kids another opportunity for viewing the world. Their time in the garden helps them to recognize the origins of their food. Hopefully this means that they are less likely to forget the source of their veggies and fruit, offering them an appreciation and understanding that, sadly, many children miss out on.
Every classroom at LPE enjoys the garden by exploring it using all five senses. Learning to pause and notice things with your senses is an excellent foundation for approaching life in general. Even the babies that haven’t rolled over yet on their own spend time in the garden. Each baby is laid into a veggie box to enjoy his/her plant and dirt surroundings, along with a perfect view of the sky. Surprisingly, they often look like cabbages that are ready to be harvested. Hmmm…
The older kids are planting the winter crops: broccolini, kale, snap peas, carrots, lettuces, squash, fennel, and some cover crops to help restore nutrients into the soil. Those winter veggies will be enjoyed during snack time just like the summer veggies were. I think we should all show up one day during snack time and have our kids serve us their garden veggie snacks. Yep. Someone send out a calendar invite.
The kids will be releasing ladybugs after the winter garden is in. Hopefully they won’t eat too many of them. I’m sure the ladybugs experience something along the lines of what the people experienced in the King Kong movies. The ladybugs are just trying to enjoy their new home, and then these large little sticky hands are reaching after them. It’s just pure Armageddon for those poor ladybugs. No wonder they fly away to find another garden home.
The cooler weather that SHOULD be around the corner ANY DAY NOW, means that another batch of worms will be donated to LPE for the worm compost condo. Hopefully this batch will thrive and give the kids some good compost for them to learn how to implement into their garden’s soil. Now this is where we could use your help. Worms like to eat certain foods that they then digest and poop out, making worm compost, a nutritious dirt for the plants. I’m sure you know this already, and you’re tired of dealing with poopy diapers from your own kid, so I won’t go into crazy detail regarding worm poop. I’ll just give you an idea of the foods they enjoy that you might be packing in your kid’s lunchbox:
The worms need 50% green matter and 50% brown matter. LPE will worry about the brown matter, and not serving the foods that the worms will turn their noses up at, but with your permission, if the teachers in your kid’s classroom could collect any left-overs from your kid’s lunches for the worms, we’d appreciate it. Just send a message via Brightwheel.
Milli and Kerry mentioned to me how they are looking for half wine barrels that the kids can plant fruit trees in. If anyone has any, please contact them to let them know. They will gladly accept whole wine barrels that are full of wine as well. (To be honest, they didn’t say that. I threw that in there. I’m just guessing that they would accept those full wine barrels. I would accept a full wine barrel, and I don’t even work with kids all day long.)
Dana and I have extra agave plants at home, so we’ll be donating those to LPE. Hopefully the kids will learn how to make tequila in 8 years when they are ready to be harvested. I think we should all brainstorm now on the label for LPE’s tequila. Perhaps the sales from the tequila will offset our daycare costs for one year? Quick! Someone do the math!
Before I end this blog post, I just want to wish all of you parents continued luck with harvest. I’m sure a lot of you work in the wine business, and you’re in the thick of it right now. Dana and I have nothing to do with the wine industry except for dealing with the horrible traffic, but we do enjoy drinking the results! So good luck to you, and we hope your kid(s) sleep through the night so you can get some much needed rest.
Coffee beans are actually coffee seeds from a coffee cherry. This makes them a member of the stone fruit family. The pit inside the coffee cherry of the coffee plant is one of the world’s most consumed beverages, and a major cash crop and export product, with the U.S. being the leading consumer. After learning this, I slapped myself on the forehead, said “duh,” and I have decided to purchase land in South America so I can grow ACRES of coffee plants. Maybe then we’ll be able to afford to send our son to college in 18 years.
When the coffee cherries are ripe, they are often handpicked using a selective picking method. That is, only the ripe fruit is removed. On average, one coffee tree produces one pound of green beans. In most cases, the tree must be harvested multiple times because the cherries ripen at different moments, creating an extremely labor intensive environment, and a fine game of hide-n-seek. The cherries are then processed either the “wet” method, or the “dry” method, and you end up with green coffee beans that are processed and ready for roasting. That one pound of harvested green beans loses weight when roasted. It’s as if the bean is being put through a Bikram yoga session at Napa Hot Yoga (https://napahotyoga.com). Once in the roaster/Bikram studio, the bean loses water weight, and essentially one pound of roasted coffee beans yields one 12 ounce bag of roasted coffee.
16oz of green coffee beans + coffee roaster-->12oz bag of roasted coffee
I know it’s confusing, but trust us. If you need proof, please weigh yourself, attend a Bikram Yoga session, and re-weigh yourself afterwards. You’ll go in green, and come out…nope, gonna stop there.
NVCRC currently sources beans from the following countries: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Brazil (decaf beans), Colombia, and Mexico. Actually, the coffee beans are exported from these countries to Royal Coffee, a Coffee Bean Importer (https://royalcoffee.com), and then Ben goes and picks up the green beans from the Royal warehouse in Oakland to bring back and roast at the Saint Helena location. Although I know it’s not true, in my mind, Royal Coffee is a cover for a Bean Counter (ha ha), a Russian man who resides on a boat in the harbor, secretly selling green coffee beans. In order to purchase the beans, Ben has to offer free legal advice, 44 packs of spearmint gum, and two bottles of vodka. Before Charlie disappeared, he used to go and pick up the green coffee beans. The rumor is that one day he showed up with only 43 packs of gum, and since then, Charlie has been MIA.
Back to the countries we source our green beans from. I am truly interested in the different methods of each country: whether the plans are Arabica or Robusta (we only purchase Arabica beans), if they use the “wet” or “dry” method, if Charlie is currently living on one of those coffee farms and that’s why he’s not here, etc., so I decided to schedule a trip to the different countries listed above.
I opened up Google Maps on my iPhone, and knowing that Mexico would be the first stop, I plugged in the destination. Hmmm…it’ll take me 1 day, 6 hours to drive. Thanks Google Maps!
Now, Mexico to Guatemala…Google Maps says it’s a 1-day drive. Sweet!
Guatemala to Colombia is the next leg of the trip. Google Maps says…nothing. What the hell?!?! I’m looking at the map, and it totally looks like I could even run the leg of this trip, yet Google Maps can’t fathom how I am to get there? Fine! A flight from Guatemala to Bogota, Colombia is…3 hours, 15 minutes. Piece of cake. Done.
Alrighty, now to get from Bogota to São Paulo, Brazil…Google Maps failed me again, so it looks like I’ll be flying…37 hours?!?! Screw it! We’re only sourcing decaf coffee beans from Brazil, so we’ll forgo that trip.
Bogota to Ethiopia…I know I have to fly. Holy shit…62 hours, 30 minutes. I’m starting to think this trip is going to take too long. We might not ever find Charlie. Then, Ethiopia to Indonesia…44 hours, 30 minutes; then Indonesia to Papua New Guinea…36 hours, 30 minutes; and then I need to get from Papua New Guinea all the way back to SFO…69 hours.
Sorry Charlie. I’m just going to trust that you’re in a good place, and that we might never see you again, especially if you’re stuck in Papua New Guinea.
Google Maps—you suck. To you, there are no countries besides North America. I highly recommend expanding your horizons.
Customers of NVCRC, I am terribly sorry I am unable to tell you firsthand what the coffee farms are like that we source our green beans from. We will just need to trust that Ben and Doug have a good relationship with the Russian Bean Counter at Royal Coffee. Given how tasty the coffee is after it’s been roasted and brewed, I think we have some of the best beans. You might even say, the greenest beans, given the major cash crop that it is!
The heat these past few weeks…and perhaps even a few weeks before those, has been stifling, especially for the outdoor play at LPE. We have been doing our best to keep your munchkins cool, playing, and happy. Our water play has evolved into ice baths, ice burrito wraps (dipping a bed sheet into ice water and wrapping a kid like a burrito), ice water bucket challenges poured over their heads (their suggestion—something about raising money for ALS), slip-n-slide races with ice lemonade shots at the end of each run, popsicles, and baby pool apple juice slushy wrestling matches. (Please don’t worry. We paired them up not just by gross motor skills, but also by weight, and we did not allow them to place bets.) One day the Junior Pre-Schoolers were doing the egg drop with frozen eggs; the Weeblers were rapping Ice Ice Baby, by Vanilla Ice—they took the mind-over-matter thing to heart and truly looked cooler after the rap; another day one of the pre-schooler’s older sister, who looked to be about 9 years old, drove their Mom’s truck to our parking lot. The whole class then proceeded to tarp the bed of the truck and fill it up with water and ice. That’s how they created a nice cold small pool to swim in. We have some little creative geniuses on our hands!
Milli has been working her ass off (can I say that in a daycare, preschool blog post?) to get another AC unit added to the Village. She was quite creative herself in getting someone scheduled considering every third house and business in Napa needed an AC unit installed or fixed this summer. Finally, Andre’s Air took her offer of promising to name her third child after Andre, and he is installing the AC unit today and tomorrow! No more ice baths for the kiddos!
Now that the buildings will be nice and cool, the temps will probably begin to drop, especially with Harvest starting and Autumn right around the corner. We do need to all take a moment of silence for the second batch of worms in LPE’s worm condo that bit the dust. Unfortunately, the heat was just too much for them, and they didn’t make it. Our plan is to wait until cooler weather gets its grip, and we’ll start the third batch. We will let you know when those worms wiggle in because they will need certain scraps of food from your wee one’s snacks and lunches in order to live and produce compost for our garden. I will gladly make a list for the next blog on what worms love to eat.
Until then, stay cool!
August 23, 2017
If you don’t know the difference between cold brew and iced coffee, it’s actually worth knowing purely given the time difference between the two brews. It’s like the time you put into your firstborn versus your second…third…and fourth child. The iced coffee is just like your middle child—you forget to check the notes from school on how he is doing; you fail to purchase the same amount of clothes, toys, books, and blankets for her because you reused the firstborn’s regardless of the stains and holes; you feel that perhaps those math and science flash cards you purchased for your firstborn are not necessary for your other children; you might forget to pick up your middle child from soccer practice and you feel horrible, but you didn’t schedule yourself a therapy session like you did when you forgot to pick your firstborn up from daycare one day; and my favorite yet: you might have saved money for your firstborn’s college tuition, but you saved $0 for your second and third children. And your fourth child? He will be sent to live in a Buddhist temple to become a monk. That costs nothing, right?
Now that I sound like an asshole from making my point, let me explain the different processes between the cold brew and the iced coffee.
Cold brew is your first born: 18 hours of French Roast coarse ground coffee, comfortably immersed in water in a special brewing container, with a secret amount of chicory that we would never reveal to you unless you twist Doug’s arm after a few shots of tequila (don’t be a jerk, Charlie!). After the brewing process, we filter the concentrate, add more water and pour over ice when serving. You may add cream and sugar, or enjoy it black. Because no heat is used to brew this coffee, less acid comes through, and therefore you have an increase in natural sweetness. The addition of roasted chicory root (purely by choice and no longer due to the need to stretch the coffee), does not add caffeine, but it does help to increase the sweetness, and counter the bitterness, adding a nutty, dried-fruit finish to your already excellent brew. Do we have your taste buds’ attention yet?
Iced Coffee? AKA, the second, third and fourth children? That’s our traditional brewed hot coffee that we try to chill quickly by pouring it over ice and serving it to you. Another tasty coffee drink, but the brewing and chilling processes are as different as a first born and all the other kiddos that follow.
Both drinks can be enjoyed at NVCRC, but the cold brew is first-come, first-served due to the brewing length. Doug can only enjoy so many beers and still function while the coffee brews for 18 hours.
August 21, 2017
In tiki light of recent events, we feel this innate drive to share the following photos from Le Petit Elephant (LPE) with you:
Do you see a common theme? The hues of our staff, students, parents, dolls, and book characters run the gamut of diversity.
The date on this blog post makes a few points:
(1) It’s only Monday…damnit.
(2) We live in the 21st century, not the 20th century
(3) To date, there are possibly a lot more Nazis alive in the U.S. than there were during World War II
These realizations have prompted us to reassure you that LPE accepts all people…except Nazis. It is against our belief in equality to include those who feel that they are an elite race based on the color of their skin, their religion, the amount of money in their bank account, their gender, or their sexuality. Our children are the best examples of love and acceptance. Their equal treatment of each other is shown in their play, dancing, nap times, music, cries, laughter, and all efforts of escaping TOGETHER. (Which to be honest, is why they keep getting caught. If a few just tried escaping, they would probably make it out…but don’t tell them this.)
Thank you again for your support of LPE, and for your loving children. The impact they have on us is big, but their impact on the world will be life changing when they become adults.
Dear Ex-NVCRC Bagels,
I miss you, and crave your carbohydrate-filled squeeze on my love-handles. It has been a few months since you and I have spoken. It is my understanding that you had no choice in your banishment from the NVCRC shops. Apparently, your maker, had fallen to the wayside in the world of acceptable bagels. I know you want to still be with us, and I with you, but for now, until we are able to locate another new and local bagel maker, you are temporarily replaced by itsy-bity English muffins. They are tasty in their own right, but definitely not you. We just miss the cream cheese falling out of your sides as we take a bite…or your diverse seasoning sprinkles left behind in our wake, revealing our whereabouts. English muffins are just…well…English. They are Brexit muffins. There. I said it.
Until we meet again over NVCRC coffee (or tea) in one of the coffee shops, I wish you the best of luck. Perhaps you can refer a local baker to us so we can be reunited? Perhaps that baker also makes Bialys?--Your cousin bagel without the hole? We would love to serve you again!!
The Stomach of an NVCRC Patron
Fresh ground coffee from NVCRC, an inverted mountain of potential as it lies in the cone to be washed over with scalding water to create black magic that lures us from the supine depths of dreams towards upright serene apricity. Upon completion of its primary purpose, the dumped frowzy pile of grounds lies unknowingly by the visitor’s feet as the continued pull from the urn fills mugs. From acidity to a neutral pH, a new step in its life. Gardeners are pulled in for a warm-up, and a pail is hauled to their composts, a spent black “green” matter added to the “brown” matter for the worms to digest and cast aside to be used to aide plant life. A 360 degree return...
Ah screw it…
What we’re trying to say here is, at the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company (NVCRC), if you bring in an empty 5-gallon bucket at the start of the day to either of our locations, we will fill it with used coffee grounds that you can walk away with at the end of the night. This is a free composting material for you, which is good for our earth! It’s a way to add nutrients to your soil, your compost pile, your worm bin, etc., and it helps us decrease what goes into our garbage. It’s a win-win!!
So please! Bring in your buckets. Help us compost these used coffee grounds that will, in return, help YOUR garden grow! And, just to show how much we’re on your side with this, we offer a free small cup of coffee to anyone who brings in a 5-gallon bucket for used coffee grounds AND picks it up at the end of the day to take home. Until you bring in your bucket, check out the pic of Doug holding a bucket half-filled with used coffee grounds.
If you don’t have a worm composting bin at home, and you are interested in starting one, I highly recommend contacting Debbie at Worm Endings Unlimited in Napa for all your worm needs (http://www.wormendingsunlimited.com). Or talk to her in-person at the Napa Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings!