Celebrating connections in specialty coffee

Celebrating connections in specialty coffee

Learning coffee origins through farmer-roaster relationships

This is an exciting time for specialty coffee roasters because of our deepening relationships with the farmers who produce our coffee. Our connection with farmers is a crucial partnership built on trust and trying new things to achieve great results, and what we do would not be possible if not for the growers.

The Triunfo Verde Co-op in Jaltenango, Mexico grows coffee that thrives in the lush climate of the Triunfo Biosphere Reserve.

The Triunfo Verde Co-op in Jaltenango, Mexico grows coffee that thrives in the lush climate of the Triunfo Biosphere Reserve.

With these stronger relationships come transparency and traceability, which allow us to to learn the story behind each coffee before we roast it. Our Mexico Jaltenango Chiapas is a microlot coffee produced by the Triunfo Verde Coop, whose farmland is situated near the largest cloud forest in mesoamerica, an ideal growing climate for coffee. In Chalatenango, El Salvador, farmer Jose Armando Portillo grows coffee that we love for its balance of bright citrus and sweet, creamy flavors. We know that he comes from a long line of coffee farmers with traditions so powerful that they have “coffee in their blood.” These are the farmers we want to support, who take care of their natural environments and fold coffee farming deep into their family histories.

This knowledge informs the decisions we make while roasting, from differences in farming and processing techniques to climate and experiences with roasting past lots from farmers. Though roasting is an incredibly important part of the process, appropriate brewing techniques ensure that we realize the true potential of every coffee. Baristas at our newest coffee bar, Uptown Tunnel Coffee, prepare all drip coffee as individually brewed pour overs to bring out the best possible flavors in each cup. With this slower, manual brew, we can more easily pick out the flavors that make each coffee special, and start dialogues with customers about the stories behind our coffee.

With coffee consumers increasingly interested in where their coffee comes from, attention shifts to coffee farmers and their individual stories, as well as the growing techniques that make their crops unique. Specialty coffee today feels like a celebration of coffee and its providers, connecting us all in a way not previously possible. We are proud of its evolution so far and excited to be part of where it is headed.

From Joshua Tree National Park to the northern Berkshires: Christie Allen of Hudson Road Photography and Robert Lafond show landscapes this winter at Tunnel City Coffee in Williamstown

From Joshua Tree National Park to the northern Berkshires: Christie Allen of Hudson Road Photography and Robert Lafond show landscapes this winter at Tunnel City Coffee in Williamstown

Bob Lafond paints natural landscapes of the Berkshires, as well as scenes from Brooklyn streets, with a clear sense of season and light.

Bob Lafond paints natural landscapes of the Berkshires, as well as scenes from Brooklyn streets, with a clear sense of season and light.

Photographer Christie Allen and painter Robert Lafond present photographic and painted landscapes this winter at Tunnel City Coffee in Williamstown, MA. Allen’s photographs of Joshua Tree National Park at night offer vivid perspectives on an iconic place, while Lafond’s paintings of the Berkshires provide a clear sense of time, place and light.

The show runs through early April 2019 and all work is available for in-store purchase.

“I paint both landscapes and cityscapes, mainly of the Berkshires and Brooklyn,” says Lafond. “A painting will start with some experience of a place. I will stop working on a painting when I think it says what I want, but the places keep offering more experiences to paint.”

Lafond attended the Boston Museum School and has an undergraduate degree in Art History from Princeton University, where he studied under painter Esteban Vicente. Lafond then worked at the Princeton University Art Museum for almost twenty years.

Christie Allen of Hudson Road Photography seeks out wild landscapes and up-close encounters with wildlife.

Christie Allen of Hudson Road Photography seeks out wild landscapes and up-close encounters with wildlife.

Christie Allen is a nature and wildlife photographer, getting up close with some of the most striking landscapes and animals. Allen took courses at the International Center for Photography in New York City and attended seminars and workshops to push herself further and find her niche as a photographer.

“Photography has been an outlet and passion for me since I was a teenager,” says Allen. “Learning from a variety of instructors has given me a unique perspective. Through photography, I have met many creative people who both teach and inspire me.”

Tunnel City Coffee’s winter show runs through early April 2019 and all work is available for purchase. For more information about the winter show or art at Tunnel City Coffee in general, please contact Sydney Lester at sydneylester@tunnelcitycoffee.com.

Patterns in black and white and color at Tunnel City Coffee in Mass MoCA

Patterns in black and white and color at Tunnel City Coffee in Mass MoCA

Tunnel City Coffee in Mass MoCA hosts artists Sarah Sutro and Dorothea Osborn for a winter show of ink drawings and large scale paintings through March 2019. Sutro’s black and white drawings express spirituality, humor, ideas and nature with ink patterns created with handmade and Japanese ink pens. Osborn’s work reflects microscopic biologic fragments in macro-scale brush strokes.

The show runs from January 8, 2019 through the end of March 2019 and all work is available for in-store purchase.

Sarah Sutro uses Japanese ink pens to create highly detailed works of ink on paper. 

Sarah Sutro uses Japanese ink pens to create highly detailed works of ink on paper. 

Sutro works in detail, giving a fluid sense of order to tiny ink points, like flocks of birds swinging in unison. “My current black and white ink drawings express patterns and energies of the human and natural worlds, a symbiotic relationship that is always in a tenuous balance,” says Sutro. She was a finalist for MA artist foundation grants and participated in a residency at the American Academy in Rome, among others.

Sutro’s show at Tunnel City Coffee in Mass MoCA aptly represents her clever, highly patterned ink style. “Layers of overlapping ink marks build; sketchy landscape emerges and disappears in a sense of order that is alluded to, then lost.”

Dorothea Osborn works across several media types–netting, tape, feathers and wood provide accent and backdrop to paintings, drawings and sculpture. Osborn’s works can be worlds apart from each other but constant in their employment of captivating color.

Dorothea Osborn works across media to produce works reflecting nature and human relationship to nature. 

Dorothea Osborn works across media to produce works reflecting nature and human relationship to nature. 

“Experiences in and with nature are at the forefront of my artistic practice,” says Osborn. “Everything from color, mark-making, layers, form, are a reflection on nature and our current relationship to it… Through the duality of abstraction and representation, the work creates moments of intimacy and distance.”

Tunnel City Coffee at Mass MoCA’s winter art show runs from January 8, 2019 through the end of March 2019, and all work is available for purchase.

Welcoming wellness with superfood lattes

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Welcoming wellness with superfood lattes

Health food should be an enjoyable everyday habit and not something you have to force yourself to like. This rules out the cardboard granola bar with tooth-cracking flecks and seeds from all walks of life. Something with antioxidant-rich organic spices would hold our attention, which is why we launched Saku wellness lattes at Uptown Tunnel Coffee in Williamstown, MA.

Saku wellness lattes are made with organic spices like turmeric, beetroot and matcha.

Saku wellness lattes are made with organic spices like turmeric, beetroot and matcha.

We chose these latte blends for taste, but all three three healthy varieties—turmeric, beetroot and matcha—are superfoods with near magic powers. They can be prepared hot or iced, and customers get the full benefit of the organic spices in either choice.

The turmeric in Saku’s Golden Orange latte contains circumin, an anti-inflammatory powerhouse used as a medicine in eastern cultures for centuries. Indonesians drink it every day with ginger, honey and lemon as the homemade health tonic jamu. In Hindu culture, turmeric is considered a sacred spice. The Ruby Ginger and Ruby Cocoa lattes contain heart-protective beetroot, which also provides a healthy dose of vitamins A, C and folic acid. Warming cocoa and sweet coconut milk make both beetroot lattes perfect for an end of day indulgence. Vanilla Maple Jade is packed with antioxidants from matcha and tastes more like a cozy hot chocolate than an immune boosting superfood.

Saku wellness lattes at Uptown Tunnel Coffee are definitely a win for those seeking a beverage with complex flavors and good for you super-spices. Maybe someday, all health food will taste this good. Until then, we’re steering clear of sawdust squares posing as granola bars.

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Artist JD Logan shows treescapes at Tunnel City Coffee in Mass MoCA

JD Logan focuses on elements of nature in his work for a calming effect.

JD Logan focuses on elements of nature in his work for a calming effect.

Local artist JD Logan returns to Tunnel City Coffee at Mass MoCA for a fall show of surreal tree and moonscape paintings through December 2018. His work evokes vivid memories of the outside world through paintings of skies and trees at different times of the day. By excluding animals or people in his paintings, he creates calming scenes that make elements of nature the focal points.

“I have been focusing on trees as my main subject matter,” says Logan in his artist statement. “They constantly change, and no two are alike, much like people.”

After working the art festival circuit for 12 years, Logan now spends more time in his studio creating work for smaller galleries and shops in Massachusetts and Vermont. He has shown at the Good Purpose Gallery, the Birdhouse Gallery, Robert Paul Galleries, and most recently, at Tunnel City Coffee in Mass MoCA.

Logan’s work is on display and available for purchase until the end of December 2018 at Tunnel City Coffee inside Mass MoCA.