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Diverged Ride 2015

April 17th, 2015

Special Ride: Diverged

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rouleuring-in-ice-and-sand-image-Rob-Vandermark-480x263Update: Routes are Posted

Diverged 2015

Details: 

The Ride Studio Cafe is hosting and Honey Bikes is sponsoring this very special early spring ride!

This is just a high-level view of what’s happening on April 25. For all of the details and to RSVP, go to the Ride Page on the Overland Base Camp website.

Ride:  Diverged Ride.  All surface types will be represented: pavement, gravel, dirt, and rocks.  There are two ride distances: either 17 miles or 38 miles and fun, medium, and fast paces, too. Each group will have a ride leader so you’re not on your own.

When:  Saturday, April 25 – Various starting times for the different groups

Where:  Departing from Ride Studio Cafe.

Why:  Honey Ride!  All bikes welcome – with some required modifications – see below.

How:  On randonee bikes – or modified cyclocross bikes – see details below.

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Honey Bikes Winterando - Ready to Ride

The ride’s name – Diverged – comes from Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken.  Because on this ride, we’re taking all the roads and trails.  We’re fortunate to have bikes, rather than being on foot, so divergence is a good word.  Because this ride is a bit unusual we have a few special bike requirements.

Bike Requirements

  • 28c tires, minimum size.  If you don’t have 28c or wider, you’ll be riding alone after you get a flat. If it looks like mud, we’ll suggest knobby tires like the Schwalbe Racing Ralphs (33mm) or Clement MXP (also 33mm). If it’s dry, then any 28c slick tire such as a Ruffy Tuffy 28c, Continental Grand Prix 4-Season, or wider like the Jack Brown 33c will work and knobby tires will just make it easier from there. Watch Twitter for up-to-the moment recommendations as we near the weekend.
  • Spare tube or two – with all the tools required to fix a flat – or two.
  • Fenders – only if it looks like it’ll be so messy that your riding companions will thank you. Otherwise, leave them at home.
  • Basic tool kit:  Self sufficiency is the phrase of the day.  The group will wait for you if you have a mechanical – in fact we’ll even help – but you don’t want people waiting trail-side too long on a chilly morning.

If you don’t have one or more of these items, you’ll want to get them at the Ride Studio Cafe before that Saturday morning.

Breakfast

  • Honey-Centric Pre-Ride Breakfast – on the house at the Studio starting at 8am. Come hungry.

Honey Bikes Winterando - Wet Lion

The Ride

This ride offers an extremely diverse set of terrain.  On the one hand, Honey has ridden the entire route on a 23c road bike and had a blast.  On the other hand, a few have ridden the route on a fully decked out cyclocross bike – knobbies and all – and felt that a mountain bike might have been nice.  So, this ride has it all, a bit of technical handling all the way to multiple kilometer stretches of paved road.  Bring your 28c+ tired bike and you will have a blast.

Rain or shine, we’ll be smiling through the entire ride.

If you’d like to join the ride, please RSVP in advance – we’ll save a biscuit for you!

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A slideshow of photos we took (or were emailed from participants) from the Diverged 2014 weekend is up! Thanks to all who came and rode Diverged with us and Honey Bikes!

 


Created with flickr slideshow.

 

 

This Week in Coffee: Introducing Mountain Air Roasting

April 17th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Introducing Mountain Air Roasting!

 

This week we are thrilled to announce the arrival of our newest guest roaster, Mountain Air Roasting of Asheville, North Carolina! Mountain Air applies a gentle roast process to fresh, high quality coffees with the goal of  maximizing and highlighting the natural fruit flavors of the coffee bean. With  a focus on freshness and quality, Mountain Air maintains their mission “to serve you the best cup of coffee you have ever had, every morning.” We are very excited to have them here at the Studio and can’t wait to try out everything that they have to offer!

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This week’s poverover coffees from Mountain Air include and Ethiopian Aricha and Colombian Luis Tovar. Aricha comes from the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia and is rich with flavors of tamarind, lavender, and white grape. Luis Tovar is from the Huila region of Colombia and presents with flavors of plum, cranberry, and lime.

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Also available in the cafe is espresso from George Howell Roasters. Currently in the hopper is Borboya from Ethiopia. This amazing espresso presents with flavors of candied lemon, lavender, and semi-sweet chocolate. Also available is a Colombian decaf espresso with flavors of cherry, chocolate, raisin, and maple.

Come on by, try one of these new exciting options, and chat with us about the ins and outs of coffee!

Latest eNews in Your Email

April 1st, 2015

Latest eNews in Your Email

Our latest eNewsletter that is delivered to your email inbox is out. If you didn’t receive it, search for “Ride Studio Cafe” and see if it arrived in another place in your email. If you haven’t subscribed, be sure to do so, there is a lot of news we have to share with you! We don’t share your email address with anyone and we publish a newsletter every 2-4 weeks. Subscribe here. Click below to read the one we just published yesterday evening. We hope you can join us tomorrow evening and for the special rides coming up soon!
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Riding Essentials for Your Bike

March 24th, 2015

Riding Essentials for Your Bike

Having a bike properly equipped with the basics should a flat or unforeseen situation occur means many fewer things to think about each time you grab your bike to go on any kind of ride. We’d like to share our list of the best items to include on your bike and where they go for maximum convenience.

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Pro Tip: In one of your handlebar ends, store emergency cash and a photocopy of the following: drivers license or ID, race license if you race, a credit card, and a list of important phone numbers. Pop out the end cap, roll up the paper and put it in the end of your handlebar, then re-insert the end cap. No one will know those things are there, but you will have them no matter what the circumstances.

Saddle Bag

Having a saddle bag helps keep all of the little things together.

There are a variety of sizes of saddle bags. Here are a few images of our favorites, we carry these year-round:

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A very little saddle bag holds a lot of stuff. Everything in the photo below fits in the smallest saddle bag with the exception of the pumps.

What are the little things?

  • Tube
  • Tire levers
  • Folding Multi-Tool – With at least hex sizes 4, 5, 6 and a philips head screw driver. Chain tool is a good addition.
  • Patch kit
  • CO2 Cartridge and inflator – for a quick fill
  • Cats Tongue Towel – Clean your hands perfectly after having to change a flat or touch a greasy chain2015-03-24 14.30.15

Pumps

A single CO2 cartridge makes a changed flat tire quick to fill and saves time and some hassle. However, once it’s gone, it’s gone. We highly recommend riding with a pump either instead of the CO2 cartridge or in addition to it. The pumps in the above photo are very high quality and fill a tire to the proper pressure. Many hand pumps are unreliable, have a hard time getting to the proper pressure, or have a high rate of breaking the valve stem. Lezyne pumps are very well built and we have had excellent luck with using them. They utilize a flexible hose that’s easy to attach to the valve stem securely.

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Lezyne pumps can be easily mounted on the same bolts as the water bottle cage are mounted on so the pump is always there and out of the way, too. The photo of this setup is from one of our customer’s bikes that’s stayed on the bike for many, many miles. Lezyne pumps come in a variety of colors, sizes, and work for either presta or schraeder valves.

That’s all it takes to be able to fix a flat or most any mechanical that will happen on the road.

Check Everything

If you have a saddle bag that you haven’t aired out in many months, now is the time to open it up, make sure nothing rubbed a hole in your spare tube, and be sure everything that you think is in there is still there. You may be surprised at what you find or don’t find in there!

This Week in Coffee: Farming-Harvest

March 20th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Farming-Harvest

Happy first day of spring! It feels like winter, but still, the long thaw has begun! If you have been cooped up this blizzard season, come on out and join us for some delicious coffee from Gracenote Coffee, espresso from George Howell Coffee, tea from Rishi and Mem, or even a cup of cold brew!

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Continuing from last couple of weeks, we are serving the George Howell’s La Soledad Espresso from Guatemala. This roast is sweet and bright, with flavors of apple, pear, and brown sugar. Currently remaining on the pourover menu is Gracenote’s Konga from Ethiopia and Bellavista Cortes from Colombia. Konga is light and floral with flavors of guava, jasmine, and marshmallow. Bellavista Cortes is  sweet and smooth with flavors of cherry cola, lemon, and cocoa.

Focus on Farming: Harvest Season

In our recent Focus on Farming Series, we have brought you basic information about the many factors that affect coffee farming and create differences in the taste of different coffees. After a quick overview, we have highlighted details about soil characteristics, climate, altitude, and varietals. Today, we move past the growing season to focus on the harvest.

Harvest occurs at different times in different coffee growing regions. The exact time of ripening of coffee cherries (and thus the time for harvesting) is dependent on climate, topography, and varietal. After a wide-spread harvest in January and February, currently many coffee producers are busy processing and exporting their coffee to roasters around the world. First up, roasters can expect samples and imports from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Colombia. For a general month-to-month understanding of when harvesting happens in different countries, check out this interactive map from Counter Culture Coffee.

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Hand-picked Cherries Ready for Sorting at the Start of Harvest Season at Mamuto Farm in Kenya, Photo Courtesey of George Howell Coffee

There are a couple of different methods for harvesting coffee. The first, and most common in specialty coffee is hand picking. Hand picking allows farmers to harvest only the cherries that are perfectly ripe. Often this means that the same coffee plant will need to be harvested multiple times, as cherries on a single plant will not all ripen at the same moment. For more information on hand picking, see this page by Stumptown Roasters.

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Mechanical Harvester at Daterra Farm in Brazil, Photo Courtesey of George Howell Coffee

Used on larger farms with flat landscape is another harvest option: mechanical harvesting. Harvesters like the one pictured above at Daterra Farm in Brazil, drive down rows of coffee plants, striping the cherries off the branches. Cherries are moved into two side storage containers while twigs and leaves are shot back out of the machine and periodically pulled out of the powered down machine when it gets clogged. After the harvester, a recollector comes through to vacuum up loose cherries and debris from the ground. For more photos, videos, and explanation of this mechanical process, see George Howell’s photo collection from his 2010 trip to Daterra Farm.

Has this “Focus on Farming” series brought up any coffee related questions for you? We would love to hear them! Email any questions to coffee@ridestudiocafe.com and we will be sure to address the answers in upcoming blog posts.

 

 

SRAM Tech Night with Matt Roy and Mo Bruno Roy

March 19th, 2015

SRAM Tech Night with Matt Roy and Mo Bruno Roy

Join us Thursday, April 2 at 7pm for an informative evening with Matt Roy and Mo Bruno Roy, to hear of their experiences riding and racing SRAM components achieving great success along the way. Free food will be served along with RSC Cafe drinks. Bikes sporting the SRAM components being discussed will be on display, too.

 

Matt and Mo

Matt and Mo together found outside of RSC by Veloria of Lovely Bicycle.

Mo Bruno Roy has raced at the professional/elite level of cyclocross for 12 years and has raced SRAM components on her bikes for the duration of her very competitive life. Mo has extensive experience with SRAM’s CX1 group and will speak to the gearing, simplicity, low weight, and how it equates to cyclocross race success. Mo will also specifically address commonly asked questions by women bike riders and racers as it relates to having the right components for a variety of riding styles.

Mo Bruno Roy

Mo stands as a winner of countless cross races. Photo by Seven Cycles.

Mo’s race resume is long and impressive. In short, she has achieved 41 wins including 9 at UCI races, 3 Masters National Championships, 2 Single-Speed National Championships, and 1 Single-Speed World Championship.

Matt specializes in ultra-distance events. Matt holds the Maine North to South and West to East ultra-cycling records and has traveled great road and off-road distances solo: just him, his bike and gear. Matt will speak about his travels and how riding in the toughest conditions has translated to a very high standard for the components he rides.

Charging up a mountain at the Green Mountain Double Century. Photo from Matt's photo collection.

Charging up a mountain at the Green Mountain Double Century. Photo from Matt’s photo collection.

Matt demands that his components live up to harsh conditions, and are highly serviceable on the fly. Matt is a top mechanic, as well, so he has spent countless hours on the tiniest details making his and Mo’s bikes ride perfectly. Matt knows SRAM components inside and out.

Matt is a professional mechanic working for pro teams in the past and has maintained Mo's bikes throughout her demanding cyclocross career.

Matt is a professional mechanic; he’s worked for pro teams in the past and has maintained Mo’s bikes throughout her demanding cyclocross career. Photo by bikeradar.com.

Ride Studio Cafe’s head mechanic, Mike Berlinger, has worked the SRAM pits at national cyclocross races and has many years of supporting professional racers overseas. He will be here as well, to speak from his experience. He is responsible for each of the pro bike builds that come out of Ride Studio Cafe and he sees what happens to components with normal use in New England and when the components are subjected to racing and other harsh conditions.

Focus on SRAM: SRAM's light-weight components have been with Matt and Mo since the beginning. Photo by Rob Vandermark.

Focus on SRAM: SRAM’s light-weight components have been with Matt and Mo since the beginning. Photo by Rob Vandermark.

Among the cool bikes on display here during SRAM’s Tech Night that show off SRAM components at their best are Mo’s Mudhoney SLX and Mudhoney PRO Seven Cycles race bikes, Matt Roy’s Seven Evergreen PRO, a new Honey cyclocross race bike with Force CX1 hydraulic brakes, and a new Honey Allroads outfitted with Rival 22 shifting and hydraulic disc brakes.

SRAM

We hope you join us for this very informative evening! It will be a great time to learn a lot about what SRAM’s doing technologically, and to hear interesting stories from those who have pushed the limits. There will be time for Q&A after Matt and Mo are done speaking and time afterward to talk with them and us. Please RSVP, below, so we bring in enough food and chairs for everyone.

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Varietals

March 8th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Varietals

This week in the cafe we are serving up some wonderful espresso from George Howell Coffee and delicious pourover options from our current guest roaster, Gracenote Coffee of Berlin, Massachusetts.

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Continuing from last week, the espresso currently in the hopper is George Howell’s La Soledad Espresso from Guatemala. This sweet and bright option presents with flavors of apple, pear, and brown sugar.

We are also continuing to serve Gracenote’s Bellavista-Cortes from Colombia. This microlot coffee is smooth and delicious with flavors of cherry cola, lemon, and cocoa. A new pourover option this week has been Finca Kassandra from Mexico. This unique coffee presents with complex and varied flavors of grape, caramel, cinnamon, sweet basil, floral, and pomegranate.

Focus on Farming: Varietals

Over the past few weeks we have been walking you through some basic information on the complex process of farming coffee. Beginning with an overview, we have since covered topics of soil characteristics, climate, and altitude. Today we turn to the characteristics of the plant itself, focusing on the many varieties of coffee plants.

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Photo Courtesey of George Howell Coffee

Coffee plants are part of the taxanomical family Rubiacea and genus Coffea. Within the coffea genus, there are over one hundred species, only a few of which produce coffee cherries for consumption. The most common species grown in the coffee industry is the arabica species which consistitute about 70% of the world’s coffee. Other less common species include canephora and liberica. Within a species, further differences exist between different varieties or varietals. The differences can evolve naturally but can also be created through cultivation. Different varieties within the same species share most characteristics, however there are small differences that, in the case of coffee, can require differences in growing techniques and contribute to differences in the taste and body of the roasted and brewed coffees.

Two common varieties of arabica coffee are typica and bourbon. Typica, the earliest discovered variety of the arabica species was first found in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia. Typica has served as the basis for many mutations and cultivations of further varietals. Though typica is a low yielding varietal, it is known for its excellent quality in the cup with rich sweet flavors and complex body. Bourbon is also a low yielding, high quality varietal. It is named for the Island of Bourbon off the coast of Madagascar and began being actively planted by the 1870s. This particular coffee varietal is highly regarded for its balance and acidity.

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Cherries of different coffee varietals- Photo Courtesey of George Howell Coffee

 

The  coffees that we serve here at RSC often involve these two varietals, as well as many others. Take this week’s coffees for instance…

La Soledad is a combination of yellow bourbon, caturra (a higher yeilding mutation of the bourbon variety), typica, and pache. Bellavista-Cortes is 80% castillo and %20 caturra. Finca Kassandra is a bit different from the others: a pacamara varietal. Pacamara is a hyrid of the maragogype (known for have large beans with low density) and pacas (a naturally occurring bourbon mutation with smaller beans). As you can taste in the basil notes of the Finca Kassandra, pacamara is unique with its herbal and savory flavors.

Want to learn more about particular varietitals? Former RSC guest roaster, Stumptown Coffee Roasters has a great guide to varieties that has served as a source for the information in this blog post. A second source is the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the guiding information on their “A Botanist’s Guide to Specialty Coffee” page of their website.

You can also find more information on this topic and many other coffee details in the television broadcast of George Howell’s talk at the Studio from this past fall. Check out our post about the “What’s Brewing” series from Lex Media for more information.

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Altitude

March 1st, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Altitude

This week in the cafe, we are switching up our coffee options, moving our guest roaster, Gracenote Coffee, to our pourover menu and bringing George Howell Coffee back to the espresso hopper.

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For pourover options we have Gracenote’s Pulcal from Guatemala and Igna Mystique from Colombia. You may remember both of these coffees as espressos. On our pourover menu, the same beans are roasted differently to make a great cup of drip coffee. Pulcal is rich and interesting for the pallet with flavors of caramel, chocolate, raspberry, and lime. Igna Mystique is earthy and smooth with flavors of caramel, cola, plum, and orange. This week’s espresso is George Howell’s La Soledad from Guatemala. La Soledad is sweet and bright with flavors of apple, pear, and brown sugar.

Focus on Farming: Altitude

Over the past few weeks we have been walking you through some basic information on the complex process of farming coffee. Beginning with an overview, we have since covered topics of soil characteristics, climate, and today we focus on the effects of altitude.

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Photo Courtesey of George Howell Coffee

 

Most coffee is grown between 3,500 feet (1,000 meters) and 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) above sea level. One noteable exception to this general rule is Kona coffee from Hawaii. Since Hawaii is so far north of the equator, cool temperatures at high altitudes prevent coffee from being grown higher than 2,000 feet. Altitude can have a profound impact on the flavor of coffee. At low elevations, higher temperatures that remain fairly consistant from day into night can lead to a quicker rippening of the coffee cherry. This quick ripening leads to smoother and earthy flavors in comparrison to the more complex and floral flavors found in coffees growing at higher elevations. At a higher altitude, contrasts between periods of mixed cloud cover and strong direct sunlight, and warm days followed by cool nights allow for a slower ripening and development of citrus, fruity, and floral flavors.

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Image Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

 

Also determined by altitude is the density of the coffee bean. Coffee grown at lower altitudes tend to have softer, less dense beans that can tend to lose flavor more rapidly in storage. For this reason, denser beans from higher altitudes tend to be considered higher quality coffees. With this classification, farmers can obtain a higher premium for coffees grown at high elevations, but there are risks to growing at high elevations as well. Access to high elevation land can be difficult with limited access roads and steep hillsides. There can also be problems of erosion, wind damage, and lower yields per plant in these environments.

For more detailed information on the effects of altitude, check out the George Howell Website page on the subject. Want to see George Howell himself talk about this subject and many other coffee production and brewing topics? Check out our post about the “What’s Brewing” series on Lex Media.

eNews: Conjure Series, Honey Launch Party, Cycling Tours

February 27th, 2015

eNews: Conjure Series, Honey Launch Party, Cycling Tours

Read up on the latest of what’s happening where it comes to special rides, the Honey 2015 Product Launch, and an evening of talking about bike tours with Cristiano Bonino. Click on the image below for the whole thing. If you don’t receive our eNewsletter in your inbox, be sure to sign up for it now. We hope you join us for the many things happening here and on the road!

Feb 27 eNews

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Climate Conditions

February 22nd, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming – Climate Conditions

 

This week we continue to serve some wonderful coffee options from George Howell Coffee and Gracenote Coffee. Want a breakfast snack to accompany your morning coffee? Ask for some ham and cheese with one of our Iggy’s plain croissants and perhaps a hard boiled egg for a great boost of protein that will help start your day off on the right foot.

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For drip coffee, come in and choose from our George Howell menu options: Kenyan Karinga and Guatemalan La Bendición. Karinga is smooth and fruity with tea-like flavors of blackberry and apple. La Bendición is light and bright with lime, tangerine, and the sweetness of toffee.

Today in the hopper we are serving Gracenote’s Pulcal espresso from Guatemala. This sweet and rich roast highlights dessert flavors of caramel, brownie, and key lime pie. Coming up next we will be serving a new Colombian option: Igna Mystique. We are excited to taste this medium roast and its flavor profile with caramel, cola, plum, and orange.

Focus on Farming: Climate Conditions

For the past couple of weeks we have been bringing you some basic background information on the many factors that affect coffee farming. We started with an overview, moved on to soil characteristics, and today we focus on climate in coffee growing regions.

All coffee is grown at latitudes between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Of course, the climate is not consistant (or ideal for coffee growing) across all areas of the tropics, and this variety contributes to different coffee characteristics and flavors once roasted and brewed.

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Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

 

The optimal climate for coffee farming is one that involves moderate rainfall that arrives immediately after harvest before holding back during a dry season that allows the fruit to set. This dry season is then followed by a sustained period of morning rainfall and clear nights that provide nourishment for the growing coffee cherries. These periods of wet versus dry will define the harvest season of a given area. In areas right on the equator, like Colombia and Kenya, consistant rainfall throughout the year allows for two different major harvest seasons, while other regions have one specific harvest season each year. In some arid regions, lack of rainfall is not necessarily an issue if water can be brought in from river regions. For example, in the Cerrado of Brazil, water can be brought in from the amazon watershed to feed the large flat farms that are being used for mass production.

Other climatic conditions such as cloud cover, sun position, and topography all have a hand in affecting coffee growth and flavor. Ideal temperatures for farming fall between 45 degrees and 90 degrees year round, with large differences between daytime and nightime temperature. This temperature range is commonly found at higher elevations that can produce  wonderfully complex, floral, and balanced coffees.  That being said, higher elevations come with their own challenges of accessibility on steep hillsides, erosion control, and high winds that can damage plants. Check back next week for more information on elevation in Part 4: Altitude.

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Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

For more detailed information on climate and coffee growing regions, check out the George Howell Website page on the subject. Want to see George Howell himself talk about this subject and many other coffee production and brewing topics? Check out our post about the “What’s Brewing” series on Lex Media.

 

Latest eNews is Out

February 18th, 2015

Latest eNewsletter is Out

Take a look at what’s happening. For a blizzard-y February, we can see spring around the corner. The New England Randonneurs are meeting tomorrow. All are invited to attend, most of what they’ll be discussing is their upcoming season full of looong scenic rides. We have published our Calendar of Events, and we have a very special bike promo happening now through the end of the month. Check it out by clicking on it, below!

RSC eNewsletter

This Week in Coffee: Farming – Soil Effects

February 15th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming Part 2: Soil Effects

 

For the third week in a row, the studio is serving as a warm and safe refuge from the snow storms. Inside we are brewing up some wonderful espressos from our guest roaster Gracenote Coffee of Berlin, Massachusetts and delicious pourover options from our fantastic house roaster George Howell Coffee.

IMG_0314Currently in the hopper is Gracenote’s Ethiopian Konga espresso. This bright and sweet espresso has been a popular option over the past few weeks, presenting with flavors of stone fruit, candied lemon, and hibiscus. Next up is a new and limited option, Colombia Bellavista Cortes! This microlot option is a special treat with notes of cherry cola, lemon, and cocoa. Come in later this week to try it out while it lasts!

Pourover options this week include George Howell’s Mamuto AB from Kenya and La Bendición from Guatemala. Mamuto is rich and smooth with flavors of blackberry, cherry, and plum. La Bendición is bright and fruity with flavors of lime, tangerine, and jammy fruit.

Focus on Farming: Soil Effects

In last week’s This Week in Coffee post, we outlined a few of the major factors that contribute to the growth, harvest, and quality of coffee beans. Today we focus in on one of the several factors effecting the decision of where and how to plant coffee: soil characteristics.

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Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

Soil content and consistency can have a great impact on the success of coffee growth. To grow successfully, coffee needs access to proper amounts of water and nutrients. The micro-organisms, minerals, organic matter, and acidity of soil will all adjust characteristics of the coffee plant and the resulting coffee bean. Many of these characteristics can be controlled through farming techniques, adding fertilizers and lime, but there is another soil quality that is harder to control: texture. As noted by George Howell, the ideal soil type is one that is “loamy–crumbly, permeable, having high oxygen content, and be deep, especially in drier areas.”

Why deep? And why in particular in dry areas? Coffee plants can survive through long dry seasons characteristic of many coffee growing regions, as long as the soil is able to retain a certain moisture content. Coffee roots can extend three meters into the ground to reach this moisture, making deeper soil that remains moist the longest, the most beneficial for the coffee plant. At the same time, this soil moisture level is a delicate balance, as too high a moisture content can overwhelm the plant and  be harmful to the root system. Farmers must take great care to properly water their plants, knowing the specific depth and textures of their soil and in some cases building in controlled drainage and monitoring soil erosion.

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Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

For further detail on farming and optimal growing conditions, stay tuned for next week’s post about climate and regional differences.

If you have not yet had a chance to watch Lex Media’s broadcast of “What’s Brewing” talk at RSC with George Howell, check it out HERE.

This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming

February 8th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Focus on Farming Part 1

More snow?! We can think of no better way to warm up to this winter weather than coming by for a hot cup of coffee, tea, or perhaps a delicious mocha latte. Cozy up with a croissant or sticky bun from Iggy’s Bread of Cambridge, take comfort in a bowl of hot oatmeal with brown sugar, dates, cranberries, and pecans, or get a warm boost of protein with our house made vegetarian chili. Yum!

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Currently in the Cafe we are brewing up some recent favorites from Gracenote Coffee and George Howell Coffee. In the espresso hopper today, we have Gracenote’s Ethiopian Konga, a bright and naturally sweet espresso that presents with notes of stone fruit, candied lemon, and hibiscus. Coming up next will be Pulcal of Guatemala. This option is soothing and sweet with flavors of caramel, brownie, and key lime pie.

For pourover options this week we are serving George Howell’s Karinga from Kenya and Kochere from Ethiopia. Karinga is rich with fruit flavors of blackberry, black grape, and apple. Kochere is light and tea-like with flavors of earl grey, honeydew, and apricot.

Focus on Farming: Overview

Leaving the snowy Northeast behind, we can turn tour attention to tropical, coffee growing regions for a focus on farming! In the coming weeks, stay tuned to the “This Week in Coffee” posts for further details on the various factors that affect the growing and taste of coffee.

Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

Photo Courtesy of George Howell Coffee

Today, we will start with some basics…

There are four primary factors that influence methods for growing and eventual taste of coffee beans: where, what, how, and harvest.

First, a farmer must decide where is the best place to plant. There are several secondary factors that affect this decision, including soil characteristics, altitude, and climate.

The next question is what species to grow. Not all coffee plants are the same. Some species produce higher quality coffees than others, and certain species will grow better in certain climactic conditions or at certain elevations.

The third factor, “how,” refers to care for the coffee plant and methods to ensure that the plant is receiving proper nutrients and an appropriate amount of water.

The fourth and final decision making factor is when and how to harvest. Harvesting is a tricky and delicate process, complicated by the varied rate of ripening. Coffee beans are seeds of coffee cherries that grow in clusters on the coffee shrub. Ideally coffee is harvested when it is ripe, however, within one cluster of coffee cherries, some cherries can be more ripe than others. Farmers must take great care to hand pick the appropriately ripened cherries to produce the highest quality product possible. Once harvested, the coffee is processed to remove the fruit, dried, and then packaged and shipped to roasters around the world.

Want to learn more about the ins and out of growing coffee? George Howell Coffee is a wonderful resource, with clear and interesting descriptions of the farming and sourcing process on their website.

Another great source for more information is LexMedia’s “What’s Brewing?” broadcast of George Howell’s “Coffee Talk” at the Studio this past October. Check out Part 1: Finding the Best Coffee Around the World for more on sourcing coffee. More detail on “What’s Brewing?” and other episode links are available on an earlier post to our blog.

This Week in Coffee

February 3rd, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Come in from the Snow

Though at times this week the weather outside has certainly been frightful, the coffee inside is quite delightful!

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This week we are brewing up some wonderful espresso roasts from Gracenote Roasters and some pour over options from George Howell Coffee.

Read the rest of this entry »

Product: Stages Power Meter

January 25th, 2015

Product: Stages Power Meter

Power meters have become a much more popular option of measuring cycling performance and improving it through the direct measure of how hard a cyclist is pedaling. A big reason for the increase of power meter usage is that their accuracy, durability, and price have all improved dramatically.

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This is a Stages Power meter installed on a customer’s 622 SLX road bike.

We work with Stages Cycling and regularly equip riders’ bikes with their power meters.

A few of the many benefits of the Stages power measuring system include:

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Coffee

January 25th, 2015

This Week in Coffee

This week we are staying cozy in the Studio, safe from the snow, and drinking delicious coffee drinks from Gracenote Coffee  and George Howell Coffee!

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Our espresso offerings come from our newest guest roaster, Gracenote Coffee. Currently in the hopper is Konga from Ethiopia. This naturally sweet espresso option will help brighten your day with flavor notes of stone fruit, candied lemon, and hibiscus. Next up this week we will be serving a Kiruga Peaberry from Kenya. This is another bright option with flavors of cherry, sassafras, and elderflower.

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Brewing? George Howell Coffee Talk Televised

January 24th, 2015

“What’s Brewing?” George Howell Coffee Talk Shows are Live

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Image from True Images Photography’s “What’s Brewing?” show.

George Howell, pioneer of the third wave of coffee, and owner of RSC’s house coffee George Howell Coffee Company, spoke here for close to two hours concerning all things coffee. The large audience listened intently and asked very insightful questions at the end.

Read the rest of this entry »

Insoles: Treat Yourself and Your Feet Wednesday, January 21

January 16th, 2015

Improve the Comfort and Efficiency of Your Cycling Shoes – Wednesday January 21, 6-9 pm

Tread Labs offers comfort and support – at a discount for evening attendees

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Optimizing the interface between body and bicycle pays big dividends in comfort and performance. Tread Labs, a local insole company, has developed a new alternative for cyclists looking to improve pedaling efficiency and foot comfort. They offer a system of precisely sized insoles based on the length and height of your arch, not the overall size of your foot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Seven Cycles Tour Monday, January 19

January 14th, 2015

Tour Seven Cycles Monday, January 19

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Seven Cycles is located just down the street from us in Watertown. Seven is a company full of bike building professionals. It is the place where custom bikes come to life and many new innovations in bike building have been created.

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Coffee

January 11th, 2015

This Week in Coffee: Introducing Gracenote Coffee Roasters!

We are thrilled to announce that this past week we began serving espresso from our new guest roaster, Gracenote Coffee Roasters! This local roaster of Berlin, Massachusetts is a wonderful addition to our coffee lineup and we are excited to continue to try out the wide variety of top quality coffees offered by Gracenote.

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Currently in the hopper is an Ethiopian espresso called Misty Valley. Read the rest of this entry »

Congratulations Festive 500 RSC Riders & Instagram Contest Winners

January 9th, 2015

Congratulations Festive 500 RSC Riders & Instagram Contest Winners

Participation was absolutely tremendous for the 2014 edition of the Festive 500! The number and names of participants (many thousands worldwide) are here on Strava. 28 people who have marked RSC as their club on Strava completed the 500km challenge. Total participation equated to our giving $3,904 to the RSC Ride Conservation Fund! Riders proved that the cold (it was as cold as 20 degrees) isn’t much of a deterrent to fun times riding.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fun of the Festive 500 Translates to a Lot of Ride Conservation

January 8th, 2015

Fun of the Festive 500 Translates to a Lot of Ride Conservation

roundelBetween December 24 and December 31, Rapha challenged riders across the globe to ride 500km or more. This year, we took the challenge to a new level: for every rider and ride attended, we donated $20 to the RSC Ride Conservation fund. We also contributed 5% of all Rapha apparel revenue we received for the month of December to the fund. Throughout the Festive 500, we also held Instagram and blog contests. Now we’re ready to reveal the total amount raised and winners of our contests!

RSC Ride Conservation Huge Success!

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Coffee: The Gift of Coffee

December 18th, 2014

 This Week in Coffee: Give the Gift of Coffee!

IMG_0163Currently in the cafe we are serving smooth drip coffee pourover options from Tandem Coffee Roasters and a delicious and sweet El Salvador Espresso from George Howell Coffee. Tandem’s Guatemalan Chalabal offers juicy flavors of cherry and lemon, while the light Ayele of Ethiopia presents with floral flavors combined with notes of raspberries, cola and lemon. George Howell’s Montecarlos espresso suits the holiday season with notes of blood orange, light brown sugar, and almond. Read the rest of this entry »

Festive 500 – 2014 Edition

December 10th, 2014

Get Ready for The Festive 500

Challenge Yourself & Make a Significant Difference for Riding in Our Community

Rapha Festive 500 pre-snow ride

What the Festive 500 is All About

Between December 24 and December 31, Rapha challenges riders across the globe to ride 500km or more. Read the rest of this entry »

CCNS Testing & Seminar: January 3rd

December 4th, 2014

CCNS Testing & Seminar: January 3rd

We’re pleased to welcome back Aidan Charles and staff of CCNS. He and his staff will be performing a full day of physiological testing Saturday, January 3rd and he’ll be speaking from 5-7pm, as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Gift Guide 2014

November 26th, 2014

Gift Guide 2014 – For Everyone On Your List

Need ideas to satisfy everyone for whom you’re shopping this holiday season? We have a few here and even more if you ask us our opinion on the subject given the specific interests of the bike or coffee lover in your life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sat. Dec. 13th, Boston’s Cycling Craze – Talk and Holiday Party

November 24th, 2014

Sat. Dec. 13th, Boston’s Cycling Craze – Book Talk and Holiday Party

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Join us at 5pm on December 13th for a fascinating talk by Larry Finison, author of “Boston’s Cycling Craze, 1880-1900″ as well as holiday party afterward!

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Coffee

November 23rd, 2014

This Week in Coffee: Dialing-In

This week in the cafe, we are brewing some familiar coffees and introducing some new flavor profiles to the mix. For pour over options, we are continuing to serve Ethiopian Konga and Guatemalan Chalabal Estrella both from Tandem Coffee Roasters of Portland, Maine. The Konga is soothing with flavors of vanilla, lemon-lime, blackberry, and cocoa. Chalabal Estrella is bursting with full bodied juicy flavors of cherry and lemon.

Read the rest of this entry »

Announcing: 2014-15 Winter Trainer Program

November 20th, 2014

RSC Winter Trainer Program Open for Registration

Keep training this winter by spinning indoors on your bike with us at our neighbor, the Greater Boston Running Company.

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Coffee

November 16th, 2014

This Week in Coffee: Spotlight on Espresso

Coffee, coffee, coffee! We have lots of wonderful options for you both brewing in the cafe and available on the retail shelf. Our pourover options this week come from our wonderful guest roaster, Tandem Coffee of Portland, Maine. Currently we are serving Chalabal Estrella from Guatemala and Ayele from Ethiopia. Chalabal is a deep brew with cherry, lemon, and juicy notes. Ayele is a brighter option with floral flavors and notes of raspberry, cola, and lemon. In the coming days, we will be transitioning from one Ethiopian brew to another, adding an Ethiopian Konga to our repetoire. This new option will provide a cup full of soothing flavors like vanilla, lemon-lime, blackberry, and cocoa, perfect to warm up on these chilly fall days.

Read the rest of this entry »

Latest eNews: Special Edition Bike and Fun Rides, An Amazing Travel Bike, Vortex Voucher

November 13th, 2014

Our latest eNews was just published. If you aren’t receiving our eNews in your email inbox, be sure to sign up for it now. Click on the image below to read what’s happening – there are good rides to look forward to and even a reason to anxiously anticipate the Vortex. Read on!

Nov 12, 2014 eNews

RSC Demo Bike Spotlight: Honey’s Cyclocross Race Bike

November 10th, 2014

Demo Bike Spotlight: Honey’s Cyclocross Race Bike

The Honey Cyclocross Race bike is exactly what its name implies: a fast, quick-handling, nimble bike. It is made for today’s cyclocross race courses, those that involve a lot turning and technical features.

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This bike is ready for demo rides. As with any demo bike we put on the road, we adjust it to fit the one who is riding it. We want you to feel the performance of the bike – then we help you select which one of the twelve sizes Honey offers that is right for you. No other stock bike company offers this many sizes from which to choose.

Read the rest of this entry »

Project Pioneer Bike and Ride

November 7th, 2014

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The Project Pioneer bike from Seven Cycles is back at the Studio! Every detail is dialed on this bike that pays homage to the pioneers of the sport of cycling: the racers from ~1900 to 1940.

Read the rest of this entry »

Red Kite Prayer Reviews Seven’s Newest Bike Model: Airheart

November 6th, 2014

Red Kite Prayer Reviews Seven’s Newest Bike Model: Airheart

Patrick Brady of cycling’s #1 blog, Red Kite Prayer, just published an outstanding and comprehensive review of Seven Cycle’s newest model, the Airheart. Patrick has reviewed and ridden countless bikes: both stock and custom, countless components, tires, you name it. He’s seen it all where it comes to bikes and riding.

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Patrick’s Airheart in its natural habitat. Photo courtesy of Red Kite Prayer.

There is a lot more to this review that he includes in his article, and that’s the part of how the bike was designed. Read this to appreciate the qualities of a travel bike that is as capable as an Evergreen (off-road riding, great braking, ideal handling, comfort for rough terrain, speed on pavement, and much more).

Read the rest of this entry »

Ogawa Coffee Visits Sunday 2-4pm

November 5th, 2014

Ogawa Coffee Visiting Ride Studio Cafe

Ogawa Coffee is a very popular roaster of specialty coffee based in Kyoto, Japan. Ogawa is beginning their expansion to the U.S. by way of their first cafe which is opening in downtown Boston this upcoming spring.

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Ogawa staff visited George Howell and staff at their roastery in Acton Tuesday. Here George Howell watches a world-class latte art in the making.  

We are excited to host Ogawa this upcoming Sunday, November 9th from 2-4pm. They will be offering samples of their coffee (pourover style) to all who are here who are interested in being part of the tasting session. They are looking forward to talking all about coffee with attendees.

Ogawa is home to two World Latte Art Champions: Haruna Murayama in 2010 and Hisako Yoshikawa in 2013. We are likely to be joined by one of them this Sunday.

Join us for a sneak peak/taste of Japanese specialty coffee before its officially unveiling in Boston this spring!

 

This Week in Coffee

November 2nd, 2014

This Week in Coffee:  Mocha Weather, Winter Hours, and Coffee Changes

 

Though it may not be a sticking yet, it was snowing this morning, and that means hot chocolate/mocha weather is in full swing! Enjoy your extra hour of sleep and then, if you are ready to brave the storm, come on by for a cozy caffeinated beverage.

With the change on our clocks also comes our change to winter hours. Starting today and lasting until daylight savings “spring ahead,” we are closing an hour earlier every weekend evening making our Saturday and Sunday hours 8am to 5pm.

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Not only are weather and hours changing, but our coffees are changing as well. We are midway through our guest roaster period with Tandem Coffee Roasters of Portland, Maine.  We have been loving the tandem coffees pulled through our espresso machine. Now, switching gears, we will transition later this week to having Tandem pourover options, with George Howell espresso options. Come by in the next few days to catch one last taste of Tandem’s Time and Temperature espresso blend and George Howell’s Colombian Piramide and Guatemalan Santa Clara on pourover.

Next up on the pourover lineup are Tandem’s Ayele from Ethiopia and Ixhuatlán Del Café from Mexico. Good Food Award winner for 2014, Ayele is a delicious light and flavorful cup with tasting notes of floral, raspberry, cola, and lemon. Ixhuatlán, previosly pulled as espresso at RSC, presents with sweet flavors of blue raspberry, candied lemon, Grape, roasted fruit, and dark cocoa. Next up for espresso is Borboya espresso roast from George Howell. We are excited to have this roast back in the hopper, presenting tastes of candied lemon, lavender, and semi-sweet chocolate.

 

 

Joyfully Ride this Winter

October 30th, 2014

Joyfully Ride this Winter on a Great Winter Bike

by Patria Lanfranchi

What is the first thought that pops to mind when you hear someone talk about a winter bike? For me, I imagine a beaten up old bike that is already so worn out, there won’t be any guilt in riding it through the salty slush of a New England winter.

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Coffee

October 26th, 2014

This Week in Coffee

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We were thrilled to have a full house this past Thursday for our Coffee Night with George Howell of George Howell Roasters. With his wealth of coffee knowledge, George spoke about the entire coffee production process from farming to roasting and through to brewing. He described some of the factors that contribute to the very different tastes of different coffees: elevation, weather, region, varietal, processing (natural versus washed).

 

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No need to fret if you missed the event. The entire talk was filmed and will air on Lex Media. We will be sure to update the blogosphere when the air date is set. In the meantime, feel free to direct any coffee questions our way. Next time you are here for a cup of coffee, feel free to ask any of our baristas for more coffee details. We are eager to continue the coffee conversation and education here at Ride Studio.

Now, back to our weekly topic of the coffees themselves. This week we continue to serve espresso options from our guest, Tandem Roasters of Portland, Maine. Currently in the hopper is Time and Temperature seasonal espresso blend of Ethiopian and Guatemalan. This espresso presents with sweet flavors of blondies and red berries. Later in the week we will return to serving a single origin option, La Esmerelda from Guatemala.

This week we have some new pour over options available from George Howell Roasters. First up is La Piramide from Colombia. This rich roast presents with flavors of Cherry, Dark Honey, and Wintergreen.  We are also serving Santa Clara from Guatemala, with fruity notes of mango, papaya, and cherry.

Hope to see you in the cafe soon, sipping a delicious cup of coffee and chatting with us about the wonderful complexities of our different roasts and brew methods!

 

This Week in Coffee

October 19th, 2014

This Week in Coffee: George Howell at RSC!

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We cannot wait for coffee night this Thursday eveing! George Howell, one of the pioneers of the specialty-coffee movement is coming to Ride Studio Cafe for a very rare, and very informative evening of discussing coffee. Are you interested in knowing what the difference is between coffee beans? How does the elevation where the bean was grown affect its flavor? How about the humidity and the drying techniques employed by the coffee growers? What is the difference between a Kenyan and Ethiopian, for example? What characterizes light, medium, and dark roasts? How do the various coffee making methods change the flavor of your cup of coffee? What is the life-cycle of a coffee bean from plant to your cup? George will answer these questions and many more. To learn more about this event and RSVP click HERE.

This week, as always, we are serving up some wonderful George Howell Coffee roasts. Our pour over options, Borboya from Ethiopia and Karatu from Kenya are the same favorites we had to offer last week. To read more about these coffees and their distinct flavor profiles, check out last’s week’s post.

Our espresso options this week are brought to you by Tandem Coffee Roasters of Portland, Maine. Starting tomorrow, we will be serving Tandem’s seasonal espresso blend: Time and Temperature. This blend is characterized by sweet flavors of blondies and red berries. Later in the week we will be trying out a new option: La Esperanza from Guatemala. We can’t wait to try it out and see what this new roast has to offer.

Come on by for a warm and soothing cup of coffee, tea, chai latte, or perhaps a hot apple cider. Hope to see you all on Thursday!

This Week in Coffee

October 12th, 2014

This Week in the Cafe: Introducing Housemade Chili!

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With the chilly weather this weekend, we are pleased to announce that we are now serving house-made hearty vegetarian Chili! Come warm up with a scrumptious bowl of this new offering accompanied by a olive roll from Iggy’s Bread of Cambridge.

We are also currently serving up some seasonal flavors from Moochie’s Macarons. Now available are Fig, Vanilla, and Pumpkin Spice (yum!).

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For coffee offerings this week we continue to serve espresso from our guest, Tandem Roasters, of Portland, Maine, and pour over options from George Howell Roasters. Currently we are serving a familiar seasonal espresso blend, Time and Temperature. Other espressos that will be rotating in throughout the week include: Ixhuatlán Del Café from Veracruz, Mexico and Deri Kochowa from Sidamo, Ethiopia. Ixhuatlán has become a new favorite with its  bright and soothing flavors of Blue Raspberry, Candied Lemon, Grape, Roasted Fruit, Dark Cocoa. We are excited to try the Deri Kochowa in the hopper for the first time and taste its fruity flavors of mango, honey, and blackberry.

Despite both being African coffees, our two George Howell pour over options are quite different from each other. Borboya from Ethiopia is smooth and light with sweet lemon, lavender, and green tea flavors. Karatu from Kenya is bold with blackberry, floral, and citrus.

Interested in learning more about coffee? We are thrilled that on Thursday, October 23rd George Howell will be here at the studio to speak about coffee and roasting! To learn more about this exciting event and register to attend, click HERE.

Lazer Photochromatic Sunglasses: See Where You’re Going…

October 8th, 2014

Lazer Photochromatic Sunglasses 

 

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Out for a night ride, the lenses adjust to allow for maximum visibility of the roads and trails.

Usually, especially at this time of year, my rides will begin when the sun is bright and end long after the moon is illuminating my path. It’s nice to have darker lenses for the earlier part of the ride and clear lenses are essential for seeing after dark. There are so many bugs/twigs/random things out there, I worry about the safety of riding sunglass-free. And during the colder months, it’s nice to keep the cold air off of sensitive eyes.

I’ve never been one to bring a second set of lenses for the sunglasses that have interchangeable lenses. I don’t quite know how a second set of lenses can survive being switched out mid-ride or even make it that long without being scratched or broken. Besides, I do not want to have one more thing to have to think about stuffing in my pockets before jumping on my bike for a ride.

The best glasses I’ve encountered that satisfy my need to keep my eyes covered at all times during all lighting conditions while I’m riding are the Lazer sunglasses with crystal photochromatic lenses. There are a few different models to fit well for a variety of people, and they are unisex, as well.

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Photochromatic lenses darken enough when the sun is shining to provide shading and protection without altering the view of the world. This is the Solid State SS1 model.

After trying another manufacturer’s pair of clear sunglasses a few days ago that caused me struggle to see in broad daylight, though they were perfectly new and clean, I became aware of the importance of the quality of lenses. I’d been taking my Lazer sunglasses for granted. In fact, it was this recent experience that inspired this blog post. Lazer photochromatic glasses offer perfect clarity to see the road or trail, and they change darkness to adjust to light conditions.

The Magneto model has a particularly large lens and with the ability to swap the arms of the glasses with magnetic clasps to hold the glasses to helmet straps, they work really well for someone who experiences the arms of glasses typically pinching or rubbing.

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Magneto glasses offer great eye protection while not obscuring the view. These are shown with the arms attached.

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This pair of Magnetos is shown with the magnets – so they can be attached to helmet straps via magnet without the arms to pinch or be snapped. Magnetos come with magnets and arms so it’s the rider’s choice of which to use.

I really like gifting these glasses to friends and family and I’ve bought a few pairs for myself. At $90 for the SS1 model to $120 for the Magneto, it’s not terribly angering if something were to happen to cause the glasses to get lost or broken. It’s possible to buy replacement lenses, as well.

Note that whether Lazer sunglasses are shaded a little or a lot, they protect completely against both UVA and UVB rays. The lenses are made of shatterproof PC material. Both of these models of Lazer glasses can also be outfitted with prescription lenses (normal RX lenses fit in a bracket behind the sunglass lens).

Same glasses and lenses, they're just darker since I was out on a sunny ride.

Same glasses and lenses, they’re just darker since I was out on a sunny ride.

 

Travel to Mallorca

October 7th, 2014

Travel to Mallorca with RSC and Punto Tours in 2015

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Mallorca is the perfect place to shake out the winter and get some solid, glorious riding in early season. While it’s still cold in Boston, Mallorca is typically in the 70s with blue skies and the roads are ideal for cyclists with huge bike lanes and few cars. In 2014, we traveled to Mallorca with Punto Tours and our local favorite guide, Cristiano Bonino. Everyone loved the tour so much, we decided to offer it again in 2015 at the same time of year.

 

Highlights of Mallorca Include:

  • It’s an ideal place for early-season training and fitness building
  • Soak up the sun in an already-warm Mediterranean island
  • Savor Spanish cuisine with tapas, local olive oil and wines
  • Log ~320 miles and 28,000 feet of elevation gain during the trip
  • Exhilarating rides on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Serra de Tramuntana
  • Ride across Mallorca with beautiful coastal views and pristine landscape inland
  • Experience a real cyclist paradise with plenty of other groups of riders from all over the world
  • Learn about local history and traditions
  • Explore small villages inland and a coastal town with Roman remnants
  • Top guides (which include Cristiano) make the experience more fun with their sense of humor and professionalism
  • A group no larger than 17 people

Dates

  • April 12-18th, 2015

Price

  • Registrations made through November 15, 2014:
    • €1,450 (in today’s dollars, this is a very reasonable ~$1838) & includes a free RSC custom-embroidered Rapha jersey (a $250 value)
  • Registrations after November 15th:
    • €1,600 & RSC-jersey is an additional €85

Terrain and Riding Level

  • Mountainous terrain treats riders to 28,000 feet of climbing. This averages out to 4,670 feet of climbing per ride.
  • The trip is geared toward riders who are comfortable riding 50-60 mile rides during the in-season at a 13+ mph pace.
  • The trip assumes everyone is going in after a long winter! Don’t worry if you’re not as fit as you’d like to be going in.
  • Everyone rides at his/her own pace. It’s a supported trip so all are supported and are free to ride within one’s ability.

Registration

 

More details and registration is located on the Punto Tours website. Questions? Email us: mallorca@ridestudiocafe.com. We’ll answer your question and gladly connect you with professional guide and Mallorca specialist Cristiano Bonino.

Register Now

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Dramatic landscapes are easy to find and fun to ride in Mallorca.

 

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Uninterrupted training miles means starting the cycling season right! All levels of cyclists are welcome to come on tour, this is for training, but attendees are typically amateur club riders.

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RSC Mallorca trip participants in 2014 sport RSC-embroidered Rapha jerseys with sunny skies and a warm sea in the background.

More beautiful Photos of our Mallorca 2014 trip are available at our Flickr page.

 

 

This Week in Coffee: Seasonal Delights

October 5th, 2014

This Week in Coffee: Seasonal Delights

Fall is now in full swing and we have many smooth and cozy beverages to keep you warm as the chill sets in. Local Apple Cider is back for the season, mixed with spices and steamed to perfection. Savor a Chai latte or one of our other great tea options from Mem Tea and Rishi Tea.  Come by and warm up with a rich cup of hot chocolate (or perhaps a mocha) made with our house made chocolate syrup. And of course, we also have several full bodied and soothing coffee options.

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Our current guest roaster, Tandem Coffee Roasters of Portland, Maine, continues to impress with frequently rotating espresso options. Today we are pulling the Ixhuatlán Del Café from Mexico. This bright and flavorful coffee roast presents with flavors of blue raspberry, candied lemon, grape, roasted fruit, dark cocoa. Early this week we will switch back to Tandem’s seasonal espresso blend: Time and Temperature. A 50/50 blend of Ethiopian Kochere and Guatemalan La Leguna, this roast has deep rich flavors of blondies and red berry. These and other Tandem roasts and George Howell Coffees fill our retail shelf.

For pourover drip options we are currently serving up George Howell’s Borboya from Ethiopia and Santa Clara from Guatemala. Borboya is bursting with flavors of lavender, sweet lemon, rosemary, and ginger. Santa Clara is a smooth fruity alternative with tasting notes of mango, papaya, and cherry.

Come on by and relax with a cup of any of these amazing and warming drinks!

George Howell Live at Ride Studio Cafe October 23rd

September 29th, 2014

George Howell Live at Ride Studio Cafe October 23rd

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George Howell is coming to Ride Studio Cafe for a very rare, and very informative evening of discussing coffee. Are you interested in knowing what the difference is between coffee beans? How does the elevation where the bean was grown affect its flavor? How about the humidity and the drying techniques employed by the coffee growers? What is the difference between a Kenyan and Ethiopian, for example? What characterizes light, medium, and dark roasts? How do the various coffee making methods change the flavor of your cup of coffee? What is the lifecycle of a coffee bean from plant to your cup? George will answer these questions and many more.

George Howell was one of the pioneers of the specialty-coffee movement in the United States in the early 1970s. He then founded the Coffee Connection. One Coffee Connection was located in Lexington Center and is still fondly remembered today by residents.

Today, George travels the world looking for the best farms and coffee beans to supply his roastery located in Acton, Mass. He builds relationships with farmers that have committed to the highest levels of consistency and quality, and he is committed to paying for the quality and time they dedicate to cultivate their coffee beans. He holds the best farmers with the highest respect. He buys only the finest regional and single farm-sourced coffees.

Because George spends so much of his time searching for coffee and cultivating relationships with farmers, it is a rare opportunity to find him here in person!

The producers of a LexMedia show entitled “What’s Cooking” are taping George during the evening. They will be airing portions of the evening on LexMedia for a new show entitled, “What’s Brewing?”. They may also capture attendees on camera, therefore, attendees should be comfortable being on film and possibly being included in the show or in show-related materials.

We hope you join us for this very special evening. We guarantee you’ll never look at coffee quite the same way again after hearing George talk all about it.

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Holy Week Cyclocross Party: Sept 30 7:30-10pm

September 23rd, 2014

Holy Week Cyclocross Party

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Photo: KMC Cyclo-Cross Festival.

The New England Cyclocross season is beginning and everyone’s celebrating together Tuesday, September 30th at the Ride Studio Cafe! Come with your friends, family, and anyone who likes dirt. We’re serving ample food and brews; enjoy them with all of your cycling and NECX friends!

A very special bonus of the evening is that we’ll be joined by Dave Wilcox and the Rapha Mobile Cycle Club.

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Dave Wilcox serving up espresso and the Tour de France at the Colorado Rapha Gents Race this summer.

Please RSVP below so we know to expect you!

This Week in Coffee

September 21st, 2014

This Week in Coffee: Tandem Coffee Roasters Help Us Welcome Fall

Happy Autumnal Equinox! Come by the studio and welcome fall with a delicious cup of coffee and scrumptious pastry from Iggy’s Bread (it is hard to resist those sticky buns! yum).

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For the past few weeks we have had the pleasure of serving up some wonderful espresso roasts from our new guest roaster, Tandem Coffee Roasters of Portland, Maine! Not only is their name coincidentally bicycle themed, but Tandem roasts delicious coffees with complex flavors, making them a perfect match for our cafe.

Currently in the hopper is Ixhuatlán Del Café from Veracruz, Mexico. This bright option presents with flavors of blue raspberry, candied lemon, grape, roasted fruit, and dark cocoa. Next up, starting later today, will be the Time and Temp seasonal espresso blend. This espresso intrigues your taste buds with both bitter and sour flavors mixing together to perfection and highlighting flavor notes of red berry and blondies. These two options and other coffees from both Tandem Roasters and George Howell Coffee are available on our retail shelf. Pick up a bag today and savor these delicious soothing coffees in the comfort of your own home.

Our current pourover options are wonderful favorites from George Howell Coffee. First up is Karatu ABm, a lovely light Kenyan bursting with flavors of blackberry, blueberry, honeyed lime, and plum.  Our second option is La Piramide from Colombia. This smooth roast offers tasting notes of cherry, dark honey, and wintergreen.

Is it the good weather? Or something more…

September 9th, 2014

Is it the good weather? Or something more…

This summer, we have been riding bikes.

It was appropriate to have Patrick Brady of Red Kite Prayer here to do a book reading and discussion on his new book, “Why We Ride.” His talk came on the heels of our successful completion of a wonderful weekend riding out to Mt Greylock, pedaling around perfectly beautiful farmland in Massachusetts, into Vermont and New York, then returning home–a two-night, three-day adventure.

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Henry experiences the awesome vistas, one after the other. Photo by John Bayley.

Oh there was a lot of riding, but there was even more eating, group lunches and dinners, vistas and abundant natural beauty galore, and a wonderful massage therapist to make it all agreeable to our bodies and minds.

The Tully Lake food stop allowed us to meet the very friendly rangers who work there.

Everyone has their own reasons for accomplishing a ride of that length (some people rode 75 miles each way, others did 115 miles, and a group did the full ride from RSC to the top of Mt Greylock in a day – 163 miles there, 170 miles home).

Group shot.

Group photo at lunch in Erving State Park. Most people were here at the same time, but some riders and Highpoint staff are not pictured.

I was thinking about Patrick’s words (I read much of his book prior to the Mt Greylock adventure) when watching people leave here at 5:15 am for a 163 mile ride to Mt Greylock.

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5:15am rollout. Destination: Mt Greylock 163 miles away! Their spirits stayed high all day.

Why do we do this? Wouldn’t have sleeping in late have been a better option that Friday morning? Of course not, otherwise, we all would have slept in. I didn’t ride this year, but I did last year so I know what it is to ride all day long and finish at the top of a mountain where a warm dinner, fire, and friendly faces await.

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Warm fire, relaxation, and good conversation warmed riders and staff after dinner at Bascom Lodge. Photo: Leon P.

But going in, no one knows what to expect or how it’ll feel to log all of those miles, or even if it’ll be possible to climb 14 -16,000 feet in a day. Is the gearing on this bike adequate? Maybe. There’s support and a van to drag you to the top if there is some misjudgment involved. However, and this has to be one of the many reasons why we ride: bikes help us do things that don’t seem possible and they get us to where we definitely would not have traveled otherwise.

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Finishing the climb on Mt Greylock. Just a few meters left!

Some people, those in and out of the cycling world have often described what we do as an “addiction.” An addiction has a negative connotation. As Patrick explains, people who have an addiction push everything else out of their lives. Cycling, as he says, makes us more available to our families when we come back from a ride. It puts us in a better mood, it often is the time where it’s possible to sort things out, it’s quality thinking time. It’s so much more than that, too. For me, it’s quality socializing time. I  had a very good discussion with Patrick over his inaugural Seven Cycles Airheart Bike ride which was all off-road and mostly all in Lexington.

Along the river

But everyone rides differently so it’s hard to say exactly what happens on a ride, it just translates to good results more often than not for those who surround us. This summer has been full of really great times and so many “highs” on the bike and off. Now we can only hope the fall lasts as long as summer did.

I’ve been getting asked frequently for photos and stories from Highpoint and the many other rides we’ve been doing. As is typical for this time of year, the moment we returned from Highpoint, we had to quickly change gears and get ready for the next set of rides, events, and Patrick’s book talk. Hopefully some of these photos here help tell the story. Our Flickr album has more photos you’re welcome to browse. All of the photos we post on Instagram also all go into our Flickr photo stream.

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Jenny, Cathy, Patria, Michele a moment after Vermont Overland GP concluded. Julie was there, she finished a little earlier in the top ten in a really strong field.

The Expedition Team has also been busy competing in the Vermont Overland Grand Prix (VOGP) and Dirty 40, both in Vermont, and a week apart. We all had so much fun at the VOGP and in Woodstock, it made a nice transition from all of the fun dirt riding we’ve been doing to kicking it up to race pace.

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Julie Wright earned the winner jersey, Dirty 40 teddy bear, and Honey Bikes hand-made trophy.

Then, at Dirty 40, having Julie Wright stand on the top spot on the podium for the Overall Women’s win and Cathy Rowell on the 3rd step in the 40+ age group category, was a real highlight for the team. Why does this team exist? It’s about a group of women who are into riding mixed terrain, riding hard, fast, competing, going on expeditions on bike, but, at the core of the team is that each member just loves to ride. At the end of the day, if we’ve had a great ride together (like the day when we went to Pac Mondadnock for 80+ hard miles), we experienced the high of a win. We didn’t need to beat anyone, but we did need to love every minute of the shared expedition on our bikes – which we did.

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Without skipping a beat, we’re now anxiously anticipating the Honey 100 which is coming up this Saturday, September 13th. Honey embodies positive reasons to ride. They are all about taking the path less traveled, getting into the woods, experiencing the joys of being off-road and in unusual places.

Cyclocross began this past weekend and the road racing season isn’t over yet. There are many events, parties, and rides coming up, too.

We’ll blog more as the fall turns to winter and there is more time to reflect back and look forward to spring though we’ll still be riding. My tires will be swapped out with those that have studs and a few more layers will be added. The dark, cold nights of Boston’s winter are a cyclist’s playground with the right attire and equipment.

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In the meantime, get prepared. Remove the obstacles that might dissuade you from riding when the weather turns.

Pick up a copy of Patrick’s “Why We Ride” book (we have copies on our shelves and all proceeds go straight to Patrick). His book is the fuel that helps a chilly day feel warmer, keep your well of motivation full! It will possibly add another perspective with which to wrap around your next ride that may make it feel even better, taste sweeter, and be more fulfilling.

Why I Love to Ride

July 14th, 2014

Why I (Love to) Ride

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This cyclist is found on the bike path fueled by Enerchi bites in her back pocket of her Rapha Souplesse jersey. Photo by Michael Lovely.

This coming Sunday, July 20th, Rapha is encouraging women across the globe to ride 100 kilometers or more. A great chance to get together to spend a day riding on beautiful roads between here and Mt Wachusett? We wouldn’t miss the opportunity. We are very excited to be hosting very fun rides of 100 kilometers and 100 miles in length. Each ride has a group riding at a more casual pace, one moderate, and one quicker. Choose the distance and speed that’s right for you. We have many wonderful women who are leading and sweeping so no matter your pace or comfort level, you’ll have others to ride and share the day with.

More reasons to come out to ride on July 20th:

  • We have a very special and unique Rapha apparel promotion just for you on July 20th.
  • Receive a discount for a massage with Kimber Green – she is an outstanding massage therapist who practices in Lexington and Somerville who understands what active women and men need.
  • Enjoy Enerchi Bites as fuel on the ride – these are well formulated whole food and active nutrition created by local women who ride. (As seen in the Rapha souplesse jersey in above photo. Taken by Michael Lovely.)
  • Meet the RSC Expedition Team – this is a group of six ladies who love to ride and have deep experience in most kinds of riding, racing, juggling work, life and riding, and who are more than happy to answer questions, or simply give you confidence.
  • How is your bike working? Any day leading up to the ride, anyone registered may have her bike serviced by our pro mechanics. This week we’ll treat your bike to our “Rapha Women’s Ride Pro Bike Prep” service: we’ll adjust your derailleurs, lube your chain, fill your tires with air, and give the bike a safety check – so you’re ready to go on Sunday for $35. Please call ahead so we will expect you (339) 970-0187.
  • Have the chance to buy Molly Hurford’s book Saddle, Sore – a book written just for women addressing issues and questions that women have on the bike.

Register Now

Why Do You Ride?

We ask those who register, “Why do you ride?” Here are some of the responses we’ve received from the ladies who will be riding out of here on July 20th:

Allison:  It makes me feel stronger. I’m exhausted after a long ride or race, but I feel accomplished. If I can get through a grueling ride, I can do anything!

Christina:  For fun and triathalons!

Helen:  It helps clear my head after a long day and after using up all my energy from my ride I can sleep like a rock at the end of the day! This is my first big ride with so many people and it is really exciting to get out on the road and train for it!

Courtney:  I love it!

Kelley:  I ride because it feels good! I like feeling the wind in my face, my legs working below me and the general feel good vibe that comes from exercising. Also by riding I get to explore new routes and see new parts of cities and towns I would have otherwise missed. Riding in groups doubles the fun as you have other people to share the experience with!

Charlotte:  I ride because it makes me feel independent and empowered.

Melissa:  It never gets dull.

Ashley:  I ride because I love its freedom. Freedom to go wherever you please, from being stagnant, from connection to technology, from being on the grid, freedom from life’s distractions and the ability to just enjoy the ride!

Dana:  Being on a bike is joyful. it is meditative. it is simple. it allows me to do something i love with people i love and get to places i love and go swimming. it is shared with my littlest nephew, age four, and my oldest grandmother, age ninety-one. i know my strength and joy on a bike.

Jessie:  The way you experience the world on a bike is like nothing else, and it is one of the best feelings there is.

Portia:  Friendship, competition, speed; wind on my face and burn in my legs

Zabeth:  Because on a good day my legs, my heart, and my breath are in harmony and all is right with the world as I fly along just above the ground.

Laura:  Fun!

Jeanette:  Because it is liberating & a blast.

Liz:  Joy, freedom, fitness, obsession, you name it!

Emily:  Cuz it’s a gnarly fun time.

Mona:  Exercise and for fun!

Paula:  Because I feel so healthy and alive!

Agnes:  Because it is a great way to stay fit and active and have fun with friends at the same time!

Jessica:  I ride because I love seeing how far my legs can take me. And I love climbing hills!

Nancy:  It’s awesome… like flying like a bird

Laurie:  It feels like flying sometimes! A sense of freedom It’s like being a kid again, playing with friends

Sarah:  I ride to keep my mind, body, and soul at ease.

Heather:  Relaxation, fitness, sights, smells, sweat

Michele:  It helps me clear my head.

Brittany:  I love to ride for the workout and to enjoy being outside. I love the reward of a downhill after a difficult climb.

Emilia:  Riding is my freedom

Katia:  To save on hair products. Wearing a helmet does wonders to my hairdo! Also, padded spandexed shorts are the new little black dress! Don’t take my word for it, just take a look around you :)

RSC Expedition Team pedals through a peaceful apple orchard in NH.

RSC Expedition Team pedals through a peaceful apple orchard in NH.

 

This Week in Coffee

July 9th, 2014

This Week in Coffee: Delicious Decisions and New Food

 

We’re halfway through our current guest roaster cycle with Commonwealth Coffee. From here on out you’ll find them on the pourover bar. Currently we’re brewing up Commonwealth’s Finca la Providencia from Guatemala, and their Konga from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. Both coffees are absolutely great. The Finca la Providencia is really impressive. It’s fruit forward with tasting notes of strawberry, orange, and honeysuckle, all rounded out with a marzipan-like finish. The Konga is a stunning example of a Yirgacheffe with tasting notes of rose, meyer lemon, and sweet herb all held together with the clean sweetness of cane sugar. coffees George Howell Coffee is back on the espresso machine this week. We’re featuring their Pulcal espresso from Guatemala. This single origin has a great balance of citrus, grape, sweet lime, and milk chocolate to round it out. You may have noticed that our pastries have changed recently as well. We’ve switched to a selection from Iggy’s Breads out of Cambridge, MA. The croissants are light and soft, and the pecan sticky buns are an addicting treat! Iggy’s is also supplying us with the fresh bread we are now serving with all sorts of great toppings. There’s something to please every palate. Of course, we still have oatmeal and cold gazpacho all day. Come enjoy our air conditioning and treat yourself to one of these fine coffees, and some of our new food options.

This Week in Coffee

June 16th, 2014

This Week in Coffee: New and Returning Cafe Favorites

This week in coffee…we are continuing to serve a new favorite espresso, the Ontology Blend, from our current guest roaster Commonwealth Coffee of Denver, Colorado. This bright blend of Rwandan Kabirizi and Guatemalan Providencia presents with flavors of stone fruit, green tea, cherry, and marzipan.  As always, if you are craving espresso but hope to avoid  caffeine, we have George Howell’s Costa Rican decaf, smooth with flavors of chocolate, walnut, and caramel.

photo 1 (3)This week’s pour over options are brought to you by George Howell Roasters. The first option, continuing from last week, is Reko from Ethiopia. This roast presents with flavors of earl grey, clementine, and honey dew. The second option is El Vergel from Guatemala. This smooth coffee presents with strawberry, white grape, and milk chocolate flavors.

Also avaible when you need a refreshing kick on a warm summer day, we are serving up cold brew coffee, iced lattes, iced americanos, and a fequently changing variety of iced teas. This week’s iced teas include: English Breakfast (Black), Bancha (Green), Lemon Chamomile (Herbal), and Peppermint (Herbal).

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This week in the cafe…As was announced in the cafe post last week, new food items are now available! You can now order a slice of bread with side options of sliced ham, cheddar cheese, mustard, vermont creamery butter, or almond butter. Also available are hard-boiled eggs. New this week, with the warm weather we have switched gears in the soup department. Currently available is a cold Gazpacho. This vegetarian option is refreshing on a hot day with its tomato base and fresh veggies including cucumbers and peppers.

 

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