Frequently Asked Questions

Are your beans roasted light or dark?

We generally try to stay away from describing roast profile as light or dark. These terms refer only to the surface color, and do not address the most important characteristic: flavor development.

Elm's roast profile can be roughly described "we roast until the coffee tastes good, and then we stop." Our roast profile is focused on highlighting the flavors of each coffee which are cultivated by the producers. Any flavors introduced by the roasting process are then a negative to us.

On the broad spectrum, our coffees are "light," but since we prioritize development in the roasting process, our roasts are very sweet and approachable, without the grassy, cardboard, and sour flavors of underdeveloped roasts.

When do you roast?

All coffee ordered online is roasted to order Mondays and Thursdays. If your order is in by 9am those days, it will be roasted that day. Orders are then shipped the following day at the latest, excepting unforeseen circumstances. Subscriptions are the exception: all subscription orders are roasted Mondays exclusively. If you set up a subscription after 9am Monday morning, it will not be roasted and shipped till the next Monday.

How should I brew my coffee?

Our coffee can be enjoyed many ways, but for the average coffee drinker, we recommend single cup filter brewing methods, specifically the Hario v60. They’re the easiest and cheapest point of entry for brewing great coffee at home, and there is a wealth of educational resources for using them. Personally, we prefer the v60 method by Scott Rao, here on the Hario website.

As far as espresso, we use the following recipes in the cafe.

  • 9 Swans Seasonal Coffee: 19g in, 40g out, 23-32 seconds.
  • Single Origin Espresso: 20g in, 50g out, 23-32 seconds.
Are your coffees Fair Trade, Organic, etc certified?

Typically not, though we occasionally do buy a certified organic coffee, we tend to not advertise it. These certifications can be prohibitively expensive for many of the coffee growers we purchase from. That being said, we exceed the Fair Trade minimum price on all of our coffees, often by 4-5x. Many of our coffees are grown using organic, biodynamic, and sustainable farming practices, as they are almost necessary for small farmers in many coffee growing regions, both for crop quality and yield. 

How long is your coffee good for after roast?

We roast on a traditional drum roaster and our coffee is slightly more developed than the air-roasted Nordic style that has come into vogue in specialty circles, so we do not necessitate months long resting periods. In the cafe, we rest all of our coffee for a minimum 10 days before using it for espresso or filter brewing. The coffee can actually peak in flavor anywhere between 2-4 weeks after roast, and continue to taste great, but maybe lacking higher end acidity, for up to 3 months after roast.

If you need to preserve coffee for longer, freeze it in single dose quantities in an oxygen free environment (vacuum sealed bags or 50ml centrifuge tubes are what we have used before). These can be ground straight out of the freezer, it actually improves grind quality. These doses should last almost indefinitely, but will age at an accelerated rate after thawing, hence the single dose recommendation.