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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.

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.

Tracy Baker-White opens landscape show at Tunnel City Coffee

Tracy Baker-White opens landscape show at Tunnel City Coffee

Baker-White's show features landscapes inspired by travels in Ireland and time spent at home in the northern Berkshires.  Image:  Killala Bay  by Tracy Baker-White

Baker-White's show features landscapes inspired by travels in Ireland and time spent at home in the northern Berkshires. 
Image: Killala Bay by Tracy Baker-White

Artist Tracy Baker-White shows her landscape works at Tunnel City Coffee in Williamstown, MA, through September 2018, featuring large and small scale reflections on her travels in Ireland and her home of the Berkshires. Baker-White’s paintings are windows to places we might have been, or somehow know. They are familiar and invite us into tangible landscapes with a hazy sense of somewhere beyond.    
 
She finds richness in her home of the northern Berkshires, celebrating its hills and rolling farmland with landscape paintings in oil. Her landscapes are vivid dreams with glimpses of reality. Layers of saturated greens and golds bloom over an underpainting of bright orange, giving her work depth and warmth.  

On rural landscapes, Baker-White says, “I am incredibly lucky to live where I live––I’ve lived in cities my whole life until moving to the Berkshires, but always appreciated the abundance of  riches in rural landscapes.”  

Baker-White feels her work is most successful when she can transport a viewer to another place, while reminding them through the brushstrokes, that they are still right here. "My paintings are about existing in the landscape in solitude, and a sense of humility before the natural world,” she says. “I hope they give viewers a reason to stop and appreciate the world around them."

Tracy Baker-White’s show runs at Tunnel City Coffee in downtown Williamstown until the end of September 2018, and all work is available for purchase.   

CATA Coffee limited roast to raise money for organization

CATA Coffee limited roast to raise money for organization

Tunnel City’s “CATA Coffee” blend to raise money for organization

Art exhibit sparks new limited release coffee

 WILLIAMSTOWN — June 12, 2017 — Community Access to the Arts (CATA) has a mission to allow people with disabilities  to express themselves freely and creatively through mixed medium. To support that initiative, Tunnel City Coffee created a “CATA Coffee” blend — $5 from each pound sold will be donated to CATA.

 With the integration of a temporary art exhibit, Tunnel City used three paintings to label CATA Coffee bags. The medium roast blend will be available online and in store until the exhibit at 100 Spring Street is dismantled — June 29.

 Inside the coffee shop, nearly 30 lambent paintings created with assistive technology and artist drawings are on view, created with media such as acrylic, tempera, watercolor, oil and chalk pastel, charcoal, and mixed media. All pieces are for sale, professionally matted and framed, with proceeds supporting commissions for individual artists.

 The CATA “Art on Tour” exhibit will be on view during regular Tunnel City Coffee hours, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.

 For more information, visit http://cataarts.org/events

About Community Access to the Arts:

CATA workshops take place all across the Berkshires and in Columbia County, and are led by talented faculty who are also artists themselves; Jeff Gagnon, Pat Hogan, Marlene Marshall, Janice Shields, Kara Smith, Stefanie Weber, and Michael Wolski.

Funds to support the exhibit are made possible by Irene and James Hunter Charitable Fund at Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, October Mountain Financial Advisors and other advocates.

CATA also brought art to The Good Purpose Gallery in Lee, Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, New Marlborough Meeting House in New Marlborough, and the MountainOne Gallery as part of Downstreet Art in North Adams.   

 

About Tunnel City Coffee:

Tunnel City Coffee (TCC) has been pulling espresso shots in Williamstown since 1992. Along with making top quality espresso drinks, TCC is known for roasting its own coffee in North Adams and being a purveyor of pastries made daily in its scratch bakery.

Over the past 25 years, the company has grown in sales, location and employee base. With the addition of a cafe on the MASS MoCA campus, TCC will begin serving beverages out of the new Spring Street Bookstore in the fall.

For more information and to learn more about retail and wholesale opportunities, visit TunnelCityCoffee.com or call (413) 458-5010.