contributed by Melissa Roberts
Do you ever really think about your coffee? I never did.
Though my morning cup is a daily ritual, I neither cared nor thought about where the coffee came from as long as the brew was hot and strong. But coffee is big business and a controversial topic environmentally and politically–points that came to my attention recently with the discovery of Dean’s Beans.
Dean’s serves up coffee with a conscience.
The company is committed to fair trade and is certified organic. Its beans are purchased only from small farmers and cooperatives, largely made up of indigenous peoples working to maintain the integrity of their culture.
Organic ensures that harmful pesticides commonly used in coffee production aren’t used. And Dean’s supports shade grown, another term commonly thrown around when it comes to buying “good” coffee from the rain forest regions. It means that a healthier environment for the people and wildlife who inhabit the rain forest are protected.
Just when you’re starting to warm up to the idea of trying this coffee, the cherry on the cake (or in this case, cup) is that Dean’s is also certified kosher (SVK).
As founder and CEO Dean Cycon passionately expressed it, “Kosher is as much about getting the approval of my spiritual authority for the way we do business as it is about the formalities of certification. Dean’s Beans was created specifically as a vehicle for my Jewish values of tikkun olam and the path of mitzvot, using business as a vehicle for bringing light into the world.”
Roasted in small batches at their beanery in Orange, MA there are a number of roasts and blends to choose from with names as intriguing and exotic as their origins.
Appropriately enough, my favorite roast is named after one of my all time favorite songs, Ring of Fire, and like its singer, Johnny Cash, was bold yet smooth.
Runners up are the Moka Sumatra and Rattlesnake Gutter Brew both medium-dark roasts, the former silky and rich without a hint of acidity, and the Rattlesnake, smoky and faintly sweet with a subtle bite.
Though I harbor a dark roast bias, I did try the Birdwatcher’s Blend, a nutty medium roast of Guatemalan and Mexican beans. The playfully titled Uprising Breakfast Blend from South America was more assertive for a medium roast and nicely balanced.
After all that tasting, now I’m literally buzzing about my coffee. And more importantly, Dean’s has me thinking more seriously about what I’m drinking, something I rarely wanted to do, before, in the early morning hours.
All images courtesy of Dean’s Beans.
Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee
50 R.W. Moore Ave.
Orange, MA 01354
Recipe by Melissa Roberts
Coffee is a terrific complement alongside many tasty treats, but it can also be used as an ingredient (to satisfying effect) in the treat itself. This granita, a shaved ice, is simply made with coffee and sweetened evaporated milk. Reminiscent of Vietnamese coffee, It's milky and sweet, but very refreshing enjoyed as dessert or a mid afternoon pick me up. Because flavors fade once frozen, brew the coffee twice as strong as you would normally drink it.
- 3 cups cold very strong brewed coffee
- 1 (14 oz) can sweetened evaporated milk
- Whisk together coffee with evaporated milk until combined. Pour into a 9x9x2 inch baking pan. Freeze for 1 1/2 hours. Stir, mashing any frozen parts with the back of a fork. Cover; freeze until firm, about 2 hours more. Using a fork, scrape granita vigorously to form icy flakes.
Note: Granita can be made 3 days ahead. Cover tightly with foil; keep frozen. Give it a quick scrape before serving.