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Posts Tagged ‘Amaro Gayo’

Make Grounds for Health

In Coffee Education, Coffee Projects, In the news, Social Justice & Environment on May 31, 2011 at 5:21 pm

We have the best coffee…and now we’re making it even better

On the heels of our international win for best new blend at SIAL 2011, Hamilton’s Speakeasy Roasteries partners with Grounds for Health to help raise money for their award-winning Cervical Cancer prevention program.

This fundrasing event is coupled with the launch of Speakeasy Cafe this Saturday June 4th at 445 Ferguson Ave. North

For the entire month of June, Speakeasy will donate $1 from the sale of every pound of our award winning Kochere Gayo to Grounds for Health. Buy 5 lbs and we’ll douible our commitment to $10.

Despite being one of the easiest forms of cancer to screen for and treat, cervical cancer kills more women in coffee-growing countries than any other form of cancer.

Women are dying from cancer that is preventable.

“Grounds for Health develops sustainable community-focused cervical cancer prevention, screening and treatment programs in coffee growing communities so that no woman need die in her prime from this preventable and curable disease. This is not only the moral thing to do; it also makes great economic sense. Research clearly shows the premature death of a mother in the developing world sentences her children – especially girls – to lives of poorer health, and fewer economic and educational opportunities. Lost productivity to the community is almost incalculable. We applaud Speakeasy Roasteries for caring about women around the word whose labors brings delicious coffee to our daily cups.” August Burns, Executive Director, Grounds for Health

Help us combat cervical cancer in coffee producing countries. Stop by Speakeasy Cafe between 8 am and 6 pm any weekend in June, or place your orders for Kochere Gayo through our webstore.

Speakeasy Cafe

445 Ferguson Avenue North

Hamilton, ON, L8L 4Z1

Saturdays & Sundays: 8 am – 6 pm

Google Map

Fresh roasted beans on-demand

“To-the-cup” brewed coffee

Espresso / Americano / Latte

Black,  green, & herbal teas + soft drinks

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The Golden Bean

In In the news, New Products on May 13, 2011 at 10:32 am

Speakeasy Coffee is very pleased to announce that we were the Grand Prize “Golden Bean” winner for best new blend at the 2011 International SIAL “Coffee Cup.” Long live the art of the blend!

There were 30 finalists representing 7 different countries. Results are as follows:

Single origin

“Gold Bean”


“Silver Bean”


Blends Category

“Gold Bean”

Speakeasy Roasteries (Canada)

Certified Category

Universal Caffe (Italy)

Story & Photo reprint courtesy of Gary Yokoyama @ Hamilton Spectator

Move over Tim Hortons, Hamilton just might have a new iconic coffee.

It’s called Kochere Gayo, and on Wednesday it was named the best blended coffee in the world at the SIAL competition in Toronto.

Kochere Gayo is the creation of Stephen Armstrong, owner of Speakeasy, a specialty coffee roasting and wholesale company on Ferguson Avenue North. “This win is fantastic,” he said Thursday. “It demonstrates our commitment to quality and is great for the Canadian coffee industry.”

SIAL is one of the world’s biggest food industry expositions, headquartered in Paris and held every two years in a different locale, drawing thousands of exhibitors from all over the globe. Armstrong isn’t sure exactly how many competitors he faced in the Coffee Cup showdown, but estimates it was in the hundreds.

There were three categories for coffee — blended, single origin and organic — and Armstrong says the blended category he won “really is the craft of coffee.” His prize for the victory? “The accolades,” he says “but of course winning a competition of this calibre will have a great affect on business for me.”

Speakeasy is a direct-buy wholesaler, meaning Armstrong travels to coffee-producing countries to purchase raw beans directly from the growers, roasts the beans and blends them here, then sells to numerous restaurants and cafés. However, you can buy his coffees, including the Kochere Gayo, online at and arrange delivery (free in Hamilton & Wndsor-Essex) or pick it up.

Armstrong explains the Gold Bean winning coffee is a blend of Kochere Yirga Cheffe and Amaro Gayo Sidama (washed) coffee grown in two different regions of Ethiopia. He describes Kochere Gayo as a rich blend that is balanced and fruity, and has citrus, chocolate and pipe tobacco characteristics. It sells for about $19 a pound ($42 a kilo).

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LCBO “Cooking With Coffee”

In Coffee Projects on October 24, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Press release courtesy of the LCBO

Beginning on November 5th  (7-9 pm)

Admission is $50

Prepare to taste coffee like you have never tasted it before.  This will be both a unique and rare opportunity as we welcome Chef and Co-owner Brian Vickery of Alternate Grounds along with Stephen Armstrong of Speakeasy Roasteries for an experience packed event. 

Stephen is a member of the Roasters Guild and a member of the Craft Guild of Chefs.  This evening Stephen will demonstrate how to properly French Press & Siphon brew coffee, discuss his persuit of some of the best quality coffees in the world and his belief in ethical & sustainable business through direct and fair trade. 

You will taste through a flight of coffees which are among the top rated and unique coffees on the globe.  Included in the tasting will be Ninety-Plus coffee Amaro Gayo, from Ethiopia, and Linda Vista which is one of Nicaragua’s winners of the 2010 Cup of Excellence.

The two chefs will team up to demonstrate a fabulous menu incorporating coffee for you to enjoy.  The menu will include salad with a coffee vinaigrette, beef tenderloin encrusted with coffee and cinnamon in an espresso reduction, and dessert will be chocolate coffee bread pudding. 

Our Product Consultant will also compliment the evening with samples and suggestions of the best wines along with coffee cocktails to pair with the meal.

Don’t miss out. 

For more info or to register contact LCBO Special Event Coordinator @ 519-542-6836

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Wine + Coffee Pairing Event

In Coffee Links, Coffee Projects on October 23, 2010 at 9:37 pm
On Monday October 25th from 6 to 9pm,.Kitchener / Waterloo restaurant Classicos and Matter of Taste is putting on a party at one of Ontario’s most unique venues, Hacienda Sarria (pictured above and below)
Wine estate, Hedade Paco Do Conde, will be featuring their wines; catering services provided by Classicos Restaurant.
Matter of Taste and Speakeasy Roasteries will be hosting a coffee and desserts pairing. This is the first time the Ninety-Plus award winning coffee Amaro Gayo  (a naturally dried coffee from Ethiopia) will be presented in the region. This exceptional coffee has a rich body, heavy mouthfeel, and flavour notes of chocolate, dried banana and blackberry.
Tickets to this exclusive event are $40
Hacienda Sarria
1254 Union Street
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada 
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Business Scene: Speakeasy Roasteries

In Coffee Links, Coffee Projects on July 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm

by Dave Hall for CanWest Global Media

A local micro-roaster recently became the only Canadian roaster to acquire a prestigious Cup of Excellence coffee crop from Nicaragua and is now the worldwide exclusive supplier of Linda Vista coffee.

Speakeasy Coffee, which was established in Hamilton four years ago and has operated from Kingsville for the past year, is also rated as one of the top micro-roasteries in North America.

Owner Stephen Armstrong, a Londonderry, Northern Ireland-trained chef, first opened a fair trade store in Hamilton but quickly realized there was money in coffee beans, especially fair trade, direct trade, organic and specialty coffees.

“I knew I wanted to do something ethical and sustainable and it’s become very exciting,” said Armstrong.

“For someone with a social conscience, this was a match made in heaven.”

Once a roaster becomes involved in the direct trade market, the investment skyrockets because, as Armstrong says, “you can’t buy by the bag, you have to buy the entire crop which means needing $15,000-$20,000 up front so you can buy it when it comes up for auction.”

The Cup of Excellence is a competition conducted in nine coffee-producing nations with the winners chosen by a select group of judges who assess the coffees at least five times during the competition. Only those which score consistently high are allowed to continue.

Armstrong was the winning bidder for Linda Vista, a coffee produced in the region of Nueva Segovia in Nicaragua. Judged in a similar fashion to fine wines, Linda Vista is said to have the characteristics of chocolate, honey, apricot, vanilla, butter and raisin with a creamy feel on the palate.

Armstrong said that 80-90 per cent of what he pays for unroasted beans goes directly to the grower and “I’m paying between four and seven times the fair trade floor price for beans, which is $1.25 USD.”

Speakeasy coffees include Linda Vista from Nicaragua, Amaro Gayo and Longberry Harar from Ethiopia, Espiritu Santo from Costa Rica, San Julian from Guatemala, Altamira from El Salvador, Serrano Superior from Cuba, Mandheling Gayo from Sumatra and Purosa from Papua New Guinea, as well as a selection from Bolivia, Rwanda, Mexico and Brazil.

Speakeasy’s coffees are available online at

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“How many hands does your coffee have to go through?”

In Coffee Links, Social Justice & Environment on July 6, 2010 at 12:20 am

Asnakech Thomas was born on a coffee plantation and is proud that her family comes from coffee land deep in the Southern People’s Region of Ethiopia. In February 2007, her coffee placed first in a pre-selection process for Ethiopia’s first-ever private coffee auction. The result? She sold her coffee for $2 per pound, a 50 percent increase from what she received before. Asnakech is a client of Fintrac’s USAID-funded Agribusiness and Trade Expansion Activity (ATEA), which improves specialty coffee production and quality in Ethiopia.

Fintrac helped Asnakech install a coffee processing machine and showed her how to run the eco-friendly pulper. The project also deployed agronomists and consultants to her mill to advise her on how to create specialty coffee at every step of coffee processing — from looking after trees, to picking, to drying cherries. At the same time, Fintrac was working on the other side of the coffee chain by organizing an open outcry private specialty coffee auction. The 2007 Ethiopia Limited Coffee Auction connected Ethiopian farmers with buyers from more than 40 countries. Whereas the current standard buying price for coffee is $1.30 per pound, at the auction, lots were purchased for as much as $5 per pound, an increase of over 280 percent.

While Asnakech was finishing up processing coffee for the season, samples of her coffee and samples from 20 other growers were shipped around the world for buyers to taste and grade. The Fintrac-supported auction gave producers like Asnakech an opportunity to reach new markets and showcase their specialty coffee. The lots sold at the auction were small and select, and enabled buyers and producers to connect and make long-term trade commitments. Asnakech’s lot was bought by an exporter in the US, and, because of the auction, she has made connections with other buyers and set up sales accordingly. With Fintrac’s help she went all the way from planting her trees to selling her coffee.

“Before,” Asnakech says, “I only knew coffee in the cup.” She mimics holding a delicate porcelain cup between her thumb and forefinger and drinking from it. “Now I know exactly how many hands the coffee has to go through to get there.” As for her coffee placing first, Asnakech says that it was good, but not good enough. “I received a score of 95. Next time I want 100.” USAID-ATEA is going to help make this happen by educating Asnakech about more technical selection processes to make her coffee even better. “I have two containers this year,” Asnakech says. “Next year I want four.” Asnakech knows she stands out in the coffee industry as a woman, but the fact that she is the only woman coffee producer and exporter makes her just want to try harder. “In the beginning, the farmers who bring their cherry to my mill could not believe a lady was in charge. Now they are used to it. It’s good — almost 80 percent of the people who pick my coffee are women. I want to encourage them.”

The information in the preceeding article was taken from a Fintrac presss release

Both of Asnakech Thomas’ award winning coffees,  Amaro Gayo Natural & Amaro Gayo Washed, will be available in August @

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Ethiopian “Amaro Gayo”

In New Products, Product Reviews on June 26, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Our newest coffee addition at Speakeasy Roasteries  is the Ethiopian Amaro Gayo. We will be offereing the Amaro Gayo in both Washed / Sun-dried or Natural / Sun-dried process options.


A thick bodied coffee, with predominant notes of chocolate, dried banana & blackberry. This clean and consistent cup has a sweet rich chocolate aftertaste and finish.
Asnakech Thomas is the only female coffee producer and exporter in Ethiopia. Asnakech is the head of Amaro Gayo Mill in the Amaro region in Ethiopia within the boundaries of the Nechisar National Park. She inspects her drying tables and leads with a fervor never before seen in southern Ethiopia. She pays great prices for the ripest of cherry from surrounding smallholders and employs the best techniques in selecting and drying her coffee cherry.
 Growing area: 800 Hectares
Variety: Ethiopica
Processing: Natural & Sun Dried
Drying method: Raised drying tables
Certifications: Organic natural canopy
Altitude: 1800-2000 meters
Average temperature: C: 26 (F: 75)
Annual rainfall: 2400 mm
Type of soil: volcanic rich loamy-sand

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