Peace Spokes - Peace Coffee

  1| Welcome Dominican!

  2| IATP Report: Feeding China's Pigs

  3| Meet the Barista

  4| North Coast Nosh

  5| Quote of the Month

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It's almost Memorial Day and we're finally getting some warm (although often rainy) days, so the Peace Crew has been able to get out and about on hikes and bikes... a long-awaited pleasure! The event schedule is also gearing up, and that, plus our usual roastery duties, has been keeping us busy as well. In this issue of Peace Spokes, Anna introduces our new Dominican Republic coffee (available for a limited time only so get a bag today!). Andrew looks at how what China feeds its pigs affects the rest of the world. We also say howdy to barista Evan Keane and invite you to North Coast Nosh, an upcoming event at the Peace Coffee Shop in collaboration with our friends at X Y and Z Gallery. Pour yourself a mug of Peace Coffee goodness, sit back and read on...

by Anna Canning, Peace Coffee Project Manager

Sometimes a cup of coffee is just a cup of coffee -- or so I've heard. Most days around here it isn't. It's brightness or earthy notes, hints of citrus or sweet cedar; it's Fondo Paez or Chajul, Yirgacheffe or Sidama; new harvest or last year's crop, but never just a cup of joe.

Because of our commitment to having our staff travel to origin, most tend to be partial to the beans grown by the groups that they've visited. When Derek's not waxing ecstatic about the latest harvest that's arrived in the roastery, he'll likely return to recommending that you try the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, fruit of his friends at the YCFCU co-op  that he visited a few years back. I, meanwhile, am a stalwart defender of the Sumatran Full City. Suggest that it's too earthy for your taste and I'll probably let you know that those aren't just any earthy notes; they are the rich, cinnamon spicy aromas of the coarse orange-y dirt of the slopes of Aceh where the coffee grew.

In short, we get attached to our beans. Instead of scouring importer's cupping tables each season for the flashiest, most noteworthy beans, we choose our producer partners deliberately, not just for that single exceptional cup, but for their potential to continue to grow together, develop, and continue to deliver outstanding coffee year after year. Over the years, we've taken chances on new producer groups from time to time, co-operatives who may have more promise than renown, and we think that those risks have paid off. In 2002, as members of Cooperative Coffees we were the first to import directly from the co-op OCFCU, now known as a source of exceptional coffee and an established player in the Ethiopian coffee world. Similarly when we met representatives of Fondo Paez, we had an inkling that, despite their lack of a track record exporting coffee, their organization and their beans were worth the risk. Seven years later, we continue to be impressed each fall when the rich cherry and cocoa notes of their coffee arrive in the roastery.

And so several years ago, when Ryan (who at that time was a roaster and can now be found manning the espresso bar at the coffee shop traveled to the Dominican Republic, we were impressed with the determination and vision of the co-op FEDECARES, as well as the mild loveliness of their coffee. Several years later, despite a few ups and downs in the interim, we're pleased to welcome the coffee back to our mugs. Our optimism has paid off: the first few lots of Dominican coffee were exemplary of island coffees -- smooth and mild, with hints of orange (at the time, I think I compared it to a fluffy orange kitten: soft, sweet and cuddly, or, the coffee equivalent, sippable) -- the sort of cup one can enjoy all day long. This spring's lot takes all the attributes that so pleased us and kept us coming back for more and adds to them: hints of ginger and chocolate complement a pleasing nuttiness, creating a well-balanced, sweet cup that's delightful in its complexity.

We've pulled a few bags aside for a limited run as a single origin and we hope you'll join us in celebrating an investment that continues to pay off. Drink a mug and plan what you're going to take a chance on!

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by Andrew Ranallo, Communications Associate, IATP

The interconnected nature, as coffee drinkers know well, of international markets for things we eat and drink means when China -- the largest pork producer in the world -- adopts a more industrialized production model (similar to the U.S.), the world over will feel the effect.

In IATP's latest report, author Mindi Schneider looks at how China's pork industry -- as meat becomes more central to the Chinese diet -- chooses to feed their pigs, and the huge domestic and international implications for farmers, the environment and global agriculture markets. Currently, corn and soy compete for the leading feed -- and with about 650 million pigs to be fed (in 2010), China (once a leading soy exporter) has moved to importing much of their soy and corn from the U.S. and South America to meet demand.

Domestically, small farmers who once made their living producing corn and soy have been put out of business. The same is true for soy crushers, once domestically owned and now dominated by international agribusiness -- the same corporations that control much of the incoming soy and corn. Manure in China has turned from a valuable and sustainable fertilizer into an ecological concern, emitting greenhouse gasses and polluting waterways.

Often, this increased liberalization is tied to food security. How else can China feed itself? The unfortunate truth, however, is that even with these new policies and increased production of "cheap" pork, many—especially in rural China—are still left out. As author Mindi Schneider writes, "[…] while these costs may be harder to quantify than rising production figures, decision-makers would be wise to take them into account and consider whether, in the long term, another path may better serve the nation's food security, environment and development needs."

Learn more about Feeding China's Pigs: Implications for the Environment, China's Smallholder Farmers and Food Security.

Andrew Ranallo is the Communications Associate at IATP. He hopes to see you at The North Coast Nosh.

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An interview with Evan Keane of the Peace Coffee Shop at Wonderland Park

What do you do when you're not at WP?
I play drums in two bands: The Great Confinement and The Trends. That occupies a lot of time with practice and shows and then I try to find time to play my other instruments.  Otherwise I'm biking around town or gardening in my backyard. I also enjoy photography and going off by myself to wander and shoot photos. Also I'm a compulsive gambler... just kiddin'.

What is your favorite Peace Coffee brew & why?
Right now it would probably be the Colombian Heavy Pedal. It's so nutty and smooth and is especially good in a press pot (which is what I mainly use at home), though if we still had the Natural Ethiopia Sidama I would definitely go with that. Soooo Fruity!

What’s your favorite drink to make at Wonderland Park & why?
I love making pour overs for people because I like to see peoples reactions to one of the best ways to make coffee. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you want to go and why?
I think I'd go to the island of Socotra off the coast of Yemen. If you look up pictures of this place you will hopefully understand my reasons. Plus Yemen is the birthplace of the coffee trade it would be cool to stop at the ruins of Mocha and see where it all began.

What is the best bike ride you’ve ever taken & why?
Surprisingly my best bike ride would probably be in Illinois along the Des Plaines River Trail. Even though I ride everyday up here, I really haven't ventured too far out of the cities. The Des Plaines trail runs along the river of the same name, north of Chicago, and travels though beautifully preserved forest, flood plain, and savannah. Prime.

What’s your favorite fact about coffee?
I guess this is a fact but it's not one of the more thought about ones. The reason I really got into coffee in the first place is that you never have the same cup of coffee twice. There are so many variables that go into it, that it's going to be different every time. 

How do we know when you have control of the music in the shop?
It might be hard, because I like most anything that's good. However if there's country or Pink Floyd it's probably my choice.

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It's been a half a year since we opened the doors to our neighborhood at our inaugural coffee shop in the Longfellow neighborhood of South Minneapolis. We've survived a remarkably snowy winter and now we’re ready to partake in that most Minnesotan of rituals -- the giddy celebration of Spring when it finally arrives… in June. How better to celebrate than by bringing together purveyors of various local delicacies to rejoice in all the good things that our region has to offer?

We're joining forces with the Heavy Table, chroniclers of all things local and edible, to host the First Annual North Coast Nosh, June 10th at our Wonderland Park location in collaboration with our neighbors at the XY and Z Gallery. Come nibble local cheese and baked goods, sip on local beers, and see how the season has inspired our baristas!

A limited number of tickets are available at the Heavy Table’s site:

Proceeds from the evening will be split between The Heavy Table and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, earmarked for work on food justice.

The Fine Print:
Attendees must be 21 or older
TICKETS: $12 in advance / $15 at the door
WHEN: Friday, June 10, 6:30-9pm
WHERE: Peace Coffee and XYand Z Gallery, 3262 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis

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"In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours." 

~ Mark Twain

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Peace Spokes is a monthly publication from the crew at Peace Coffee.
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