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Mayorga 100% Organic Cubano Coffee

By Jesse Kornbluth
Published: Mar 09, 2016
Category: Food and Wine

For years I bought coffee roasted weekly and locally at a shop that sold nothing but gourmet beans. Colombian cost $16 a pound. The shop had rewards cards — buy 10 pounds, get one free — that brought the price down to $14.30. Compared to Starbucks ridiculous prices for over-roasted beans, this seemed like a bargain.

Now I live a hundred yards from Costco, where I discovered Mayorga Dark Roast Cubano coffee. It’s good enough for espresso, more than good enough for that all-important first cup of the day, as well as all the mugs required to fuel my daily quota of words. Balzac had it right: “Were it not for coffee one could not write, which is to say one could not live.”

The good news for you is that Amazon stocks Mayorga. And while it charges more than Costco, it’s still a relative bargain. [To buy a 2-pound bag of Mayorga Organic Dark Roast Cubano beans from Amazon for $17, click here.]

What’s the story with this coffee? Mayorga Organics was launched in 1997 by Kerry and Martin Mayorga. They still own it. Because they have no investors, they say, they can maintain a commitment to more than profit; they want to “eliminate systemic poverty in rural Latin America through responsible trade of artisanal organic foods.” That means Fair Trade. Organic. Eliminating as many players in the supply chain as possible so their growers can make more money. The Mayorgas roast and package — in foil bags with one-way degassing valves — in Maryland, where their plant could not be more environmentally correct. On Friday afternoons, they give away burlap bags and chaff that’s useful for compost. For all that, they’re old school — as Martin says, “It’s revolutionary to go back to basics.” To read more about Mayorga, click here. Or watch this:

Mayorga coffee only comes in beans. You’ll need a grinder. I’d suggest the KRUPS 3-ounce, which is reliable and, as these things go, cheap. [To buy the Krups grinder from Amazon, click here.] Or you could cast your lot with coffee snobs and get a more expensive Capresso Burr Grinder. [To buy the burr grinder, click here.]

I like Mayorga because the company only sells whole beans. After opening, they should be stored in airtight bags, should never refrigerated or frozen. I wait to grind the beans until the water approaches the boiling point. I use a 10-cup Melitta drip pot, taking care to start the brewing by wetting the coffee with a little boiling water so it expands, or, as they say in the trade, “blooms.” Then, after pouring the day’s first cup, I deposit the rest into a stainless steel carafe. Going out? Nothing beats a Zojirushi Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug. (Coffee is not a liquid, it’s a colloid; keeping it hot on a burner changes the flavor. And not in a good way. That is why the real accomplishment of a Mr. Coffee machine or its equivalent is to transform even the best beans into a bitter sludge by 10 AM.)

Costco for great coffee? Who’d have thunk it? But then their pesto is damn good too.