Frequently asked questions
Now that I have been in business for a while I thought I would take the time to answer a number of questions that I get asked every week at the market.
1. What makes your coffee different than the stuff I can get elsewhere?
The major difference with my coffee is freshness. Coffee is at its peak of flavor and aroma for about 2 weeks after it is roasted. The vast majority of coffee available in supermarkets and coffee-shops in this area is past this 2-week mark. Stale coffee, is more bitter, less aromatic, and can develop some strange off flavors. After you have gotten used to my fresh coffee, you should be able to tell stale coffee by smelling it. By roasting coffee every week in small batches and bringing it fresh to the market, I am offering you a product that is very hard to find in our area.
2. Where do you get your green coffee beans?
First of all, we don't grow coffee in Houston. In fact they tried that in the 50s and it did terrible. Location and climate is very important for coffee. We get our coffee from two coffee importers located in Houston. I go to their warehouse and pick up the bags of coffee myself. They negotiate with the farmers and cooperatives directly and take care of shipping and storage. What I get is a wide selection of coffees from around the world, and I can sample and choose the best out what they have to offer. The truth is that most coffee companies use importers, even ones that do direct trade. They may fly out to meet the farmer and shake their hand, but the importer takes care of the price negotiation, dealing with customs, and storing the green coffee. They are a very important part of the coffee chain, and I am glad to have two great importers based here in Houston.
3. Is coffee good for you?
The truth is, based on the latest research, there is no conclusive evidence that coffee is a health beverage like tea. It has tons of antioxidants, but studies have not been done to see how these benefit the body. What has happened in the last 30 years or so is that the majority of claims that coffee is bad for you have been proven to be false. Drinking 2-3 cups a day is a safe habit for most people. Some individuals have an extreme sensitivity to caffeine, and should limit their coffee consumption. Recent studies have shown coffee drinkers are less likely to be depressed and have lower rates of cardiovascular diseases. Happy, healthy people drink coffee, and that is good enough for me. My fresh roasted coffee is smoother and should allow you to reduce the amount of cream and sugar you add. Or you can drink it black, a calorie free treat. Either way, this is far better than getting a sugary, fat-laden frappe (something that is definitely good, but not good for you).
4. Why do you sell 12 oz bags rather than a pound?
My main reason is that I want everyone who buys my coffee to enjoy it while it is at the peak of freshness. I have found 12 oz is about two weeks worth for one coffee drinker. I would rather not have you end up with a bag of stale Fort Bend Coffee sitting on your shelf. Also the smaller size allows me to price my specialty-grade coffee within a range that is reasonable for more people.
5. Which coffee is best for adding cream, sugar, flavors, and whatever else you think of to throw in your coffee?
I highly recommend our darker roasts such as our Mexican Oaxaca or Marty's Blend. These will stand up well to cream and sugar, just don't overdo it. Also I prefer a couple teaspoons of half and half to a lot of 2% milk. The fat content is pretty similar, but the coffee is much less watered down with the half and half. If you want to add stuff to a lighter roast, just try adding less than you normally do. Fresh-roasted coffee is a lot smoother than stale coffee and so you don't have to mask that bitter bite. And if you feel like being a coffee superstar, work your way up to drinking black coffee. Most of the nuanced flavors in coffee disappear when you add cream and sugar, and I find the natural sweetness in coffee to be much more interesting than table sugar or flavored creamers.
6. How should I store my coffee, is the freezer ok?
The short answer is, just buy what you need for the next week or two and you don't have to worry. The best way to store coffee is in an air-tight container away from light and temperature fluctuation. Also keep coffee dry and out of humidity. A mason jar in your cabinet is a great way to store coffee. So what about the fridge or freezer. The fridge is a really bad idea. The coffee will pick up moisture, food aromas, etc. The freezer is not much better. The rapid cooling and then warming of the beans causes moisture to get in which makes the beans go stale much faster. So, even though freezing coffee can stop the staling process, when you pull the coffee out, it goes stale at a greatly accelerated level. If you must put your coffee in the freezer, you probably need a vacuum sealer, and even then, I am not sure how good the results would be.