What we do

How we brew

posted on Friday, July 12, 2013 - 11:30am by Michael

As greens and grays run together on my first drive to Ceremony Coffee Roasters, so my mind blurs memories of where I’ve been with anticipatory feelings of where I’m going. After four years in North Carolina learning everything I could about coffee, the timing felt right for a new beginning. Knowing Ceremony’s positive reputation in the Specialty Coffee industry, I jumped at the chance to be their new Training and Quality Manager. Going in, I knew the coffees to be delicious, but after spending some time with the crew, I was also taken with their sense of community and progressive approach to coffee. After three full weeks of working, I have found Ceremony to be exactly that and more: a place for exploration, for community, and for really, really tasty coffee.

Snapshot of Ceremony

Full of training, experimentation, and meeting new people, my time so far has passed in a blur. Working closely with Jonathan, our super-helpful out-going trainer, we made some exciting and useful updates to the class offerings. By introducing new exercises, sensory experiences, and refining the guidelines, we hope to make these classes even more engaging and educational. I hope to see you at our upcoming events!

One of the most inspiring parts of working at Ceremony is their drive to experiment and improve at what we do. In my very first week, I was able to collaborate with Rob, our brilliant technician, to explore what happens when you add turbulence to cold-brewing coffee. We set up a number of tests and catalogued the results, garnering some valuable insights. We’re still in the process of testing and tasting, but we can’t wait to share some of our results, i.e. serving you tastier cold brew! We’ve already dialed a new recipe in, so let us know what you think!

As fate would have it, another member of the Ceremony family started the same day I did. Our new head roaster, Caleb, is Aussie born and bred, and he brings a ton of roasting experience and new perspective. The past few weeks have been a terrific learning experience, both learning from him directly and through watching him making roasting adjustments. We’ve spent a great deal of time tasting and talking about his coffees, and it has been very exciting to taste that his coffees are more and more delicious with every batch.

Although these first few weeks have passed so quickly, so much has been accomplished. On my drive home at the end of last week, as those greens and grays infused with warmer colors from the setting sun, that blur seemed to slow down and I realized a big reason why is that I feel like a part of the Ceremony family.

posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 9:30am by Jonathan

Today, team Ceremony will make its way up to Boston for the 25th Annual SCAA Exposition. We are excited to visit the exhibitor booths, work with some amazing people and watch some intense competition. Even though we will not be exhibiting this year we made a point to schedule time with some of our friends, at their booths, to collaborate, throw a spot light on what they do and pull some killer shots. If you are gonna be at SCAA and want to say hi, or just taste some killer coffee, come by any of these amazing spots.

From 1-3PM we will be at two different booths doing something special at each.
We will be at the Slayer Espresso booth (#845) pulling our new Single Origin Rwanda espresso. This will be a reunion of the Slayer+Ceremony combination that won America's Best Espresso New York (with a different espresso though).
During that time you can also check us out at the La Marzocco booth (#518-519) on the Strada EP doing some pressure profiling with the Single Origin Rwanda as well.

Come by the Daterra Estates booth (#623) any time throughout the day to taste some Cerrado Gold and catch up with us and the Daterra team.

From 8-12PM we will be at the La Marzocco & Kalita Lobby Cafe (near the signup area) pulling shots of Destroyer espresso and making some tasty beverages to help your Sunday morning be that much better.

If you are looking to taste some amazing espresso, talk to some cool people or just watch some baristas play with amazing equipment come see the Ceremony team in action.

posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 10:15am by Jonathan

Encore Ceremony Sensory Experience: Gesha Varietal Pairing
6-7 PM on December 14th
12 Spaces / $25 each

Due to popular demand we will be hosting another Gesha Sensory Experience in just a couple weeks.

Come spend the first part of a phenomenal Friday evening at Ceremony, where we will explore two versions of one rare coffee side-by-side with complimentary drinks, cheeses, and chocolates. To highlight the complex character of our microlot Panama Geshas, we’ll pair together these coffees with equally complex, culinary delights. To close out our evening together, we’ve handpicked or collaborated with targeted destinations in Annapolis to which you can make your way.

Punk’s Backyard Grill: Cocktails, Craft Beer and Dinner
Tastings Gourmet Market
Bin201 Wine Sellers
Level: Cocktails & Small Plates

Please call us to reserve your space (410.626.0011). Please provide, non-refundable credit card payment at time of reservation. Visa, Mastercard & American Express accepted. 21 years of age required.

posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 9:45am by Jonathan

Last week we began production roasting a new coffee from Colombia. This coffee is produced by our friends at Café Granja La Esperanza, the same people who brought you Cerro Azul. Our roaster Andy won the 2012 US Brewers cup with Cerro Azul (and nearly the World Brewer’s cup). This coffee comes from the Las Margaritas farm in Valle del Cauca. Perhaps one of the more interesting things about this coffee, and there are many given the producer, is that it is 100% Red Bourbon varietal.

In the same way that there are different varietals of wine grapes, so there are different coffee shrub varietals. If you remember, the coffees featured in our previous ‘Coffee is the New Craft-Beer’ blog post from Ninety Plus are 100% Gesha varietal, a rare and low-producing varietal. That said, the majority of coffees that we, and most roasters, source are a mix of a couple to several varietals from a specific farm or region. Information about varietals: how they taste, the kind of roast that suits them and what varietals a given farm grows is becoming readily available to the average consumer. In an effort to add to that conversation here is a little bit on Bourbons. The Bourbon varietal is one of the base Arabica varietals that have a few spontaneous mutation varietals associated with it and is grown all over the world. Some coffees we have carried in the past and some we carry/have carried recently, like Guatemala San Jose Ocana, have some bourbon varietal in them. There are a Red, Orange and Yellow bourbon varietals on the coffee market today all known by the unique color they display when ripe.

Our Red Bourbon is a gorgeous coffee displaying an array of intense characteristics from a honeyed pastry sweetness to a soft tangerine acidity. The most striking taste characteristic of this coffee is the flavor of a fresh cola as the cup cools. Think about the best naturally brewed cola you have had and the soft flavors of caramel, anise, cinnamon and that hard to pin-point ‘herbs and spices’ mix that makes cola… well cola. This coffee displays those flavors in the simple concentrated way a great cola does. Of course this is not soda, nor does it taste artificial or cloying the way some sodas do, instead this Red Bourbon displays sweetness, intensity and that elusive ‘completeness’ that so many coffees lack.

posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 5:15pm by Jonathan

Next week we will begin roasting two new experimental heirloom Ethiopia Gesha coffees from Ninety Plus Gesha Estates. The first is a washed Gesha called Lycello and the second is a naturally processed Gesha called Perci Red. One of the amazing and exciting things about these two coffees is that they are, in a sense, the same coffee. Both come from the same estate and are produced by the same people, only Perci Red was naturally dried on African drying beds while Lycello was washed at the nearby Hartman Estate. These coffees hail from Panama, about 15 minutes from the town of Volcán in the area known as Silla Del Pando. Ninety Plus Coffee owns the estate and has gone to a lot of trouble to make it a zeitgeist of coffee growing, cultivation, and community. Not only are 35 of the total 134 hectares protected National Rainforest but 25 members of the local Ngöbe tribe have been retained to assist on the farm, thus demonstrating Ninety Plus’s focus on authenticity and community. An intricate network of trails connects the micro farms scattered throughout the estate. Each micro farm labors to understand and perfectly cultivate the heirloom Ethiopian Gesha coffee variety by drawing on past experiences in Ethiopia and Panama and by leaving many stones unturned on the farm.

Perci Red + Lycello Geshas

Why the coffee/beer parallel?

Besides our love and passion for the best coffees (and beers) out there, we partnered with Ninety Plus to roast and offer these coffees in an effort to further the case that all coffee does NOT taste alike. If you think that all coffees taste the same but beers don’t, for example, you might look to get your hands on some Perci Red and Lycello.

Perci Red has room-filling aromatics of strawberries, currants and sugar cane. Its flavor profile is an explosion of strawberry rhubarb pie, tangy strawberries and currants with a syrupy mouth feel and a nice chocolate undertone as the cup cools. As we took our first sips of Perci a member of our team quickly noted that it is remarkably similar to Russian River Brewing’s Consecration, a dark sour ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels with black currants added to the barrel. The beer is remarkable with sweet and sour currant and raspberry notes, a touch of wine and a full, sweet body. If you have not had it, get it. Sadly it is really only available on the West Coast. It should be clear where the flavors are similar and it is not that Perci is sour in the strict sense but it has a structured tang, almost effervescence, which makes it so much like Consecration.

Lycello is a structured ballet of lemon pixie stick, jasmine and soft floral aromatics. In the cup, it maintains its structured ontos with notes of stone fruit, pine & resin, dried lemon, and Chinese black tea. Lycello has an uncanny similarity to well-balanced, almost too hoppy pale ales. Not quite as big or aggressive as Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA but a little more than Dale’s Pale Ale. These beers are subtle and structured with all of the best flavors of American ales: resin & pine, citrus, a touch of stone fruit and nice sweetness.

If you get a chance to try these coffees and you feel like we do, let us know which craft beers, if any, you think they smack of. We're looking forward to hearing about other coffee and beer parallels.


Upcoming Public Events

Weekly Coffee Break: Recipe - WASHINGTON, DC

Join us every Thursday at our DC Workshop (1228 31st St NW) for a taste of what's new and exciting at Ceremony.

This week, we're taking a look at some of our favorite brew recipes and how to tailor them to each coffee and brew method.

Free for all, no registration.

Upcoming Wholesale Labs

Brew Hall: Office Hours - WASHINGTON, DC

Just like Study Hall, this is a free-form class designed to get you hands-on with any brewing method or practice on any barista-related behavior. Under the guidance of our trainers, this is the perfect time for baristas to troubleshoot!

Level 2

Complimentary for Wholesale Partners
$25 for Non-Exclusive Wholesale Partners
$100 for General Public