Are your farmers compensated fairly?
This is one of our founding principals. Coffee is very labor intensive and comes with a lot of risks. Coffee trees don’t really start to produce worthwhile fruit for five years after planting and, depending on its location in the world, it’s only harvested once or twice a year. The word sustainable gets thrown around a lot in coffee, but to us, sustainable coffee means a farmer is able to produce coffee year after year. Farmers and workers need to be compensated fairly. We are committed to ensuring our farmers and their farms are able to grow and that means making purchasing decisions that ensure their continual success.
How is your coffee roasted?
It’s always roasted fresh using state of the art equipment. We roast every coffee differently and do our best to find a roast that really shows off a coffee’s special attributes. However, most of our coffees tend to fall somewhere within the medium roast range.
Is your coffee Fair Trade?
Usually not. Fair Trade certification in coffee is only available to co-ops. Small farms cannot become Fair Trade certified… ever.
Fair Trade also doesn’t pay farmers as well as we do. It was created as an insurance policy ensuring that when coffee prices get too low, Fair Trade members receive a price above the commodity market price.
While the intention of Fair Trade is helpful, and we might occasionally buy Fair Trade, we are committed to paying small farms and cooperatives a price that exceeds what Fair Trade guarantees.
Is your coffee Kosher certified?
Not at this time.
Is your coffee organic?
Yes and no. Some of our coffees are Certified Organic. But even when it’s not, pesticides are rarely used by our farmers.
USDA Organic Certification is a United States practice. This isn’t to say that coffee farmers around the world can’t apply, but it’s an expensive thing to ask of a small farmer in a country with a different economy than ours. Often times, even if a farmer qualities to be certified, they cannot afford the expense.
Other places in the world like Canada, Japan, and the EU have their own organic certifications which add to the likelihood that farmers will choose no organic certification rather than one or all.
Additionally, certifications sometimes require farms to buy Certified Organic materials when they may be able to make them. Most of the farmers we work with produce their own organic fertilizer and are opposed to the use of pesticides as they can harm water and potential affect quality. That’s the most important thing to us.
We are not opposed to organic certification and still buy Certified Organic coffee from time to time but we feel the most important consideration is to have an understanding of how a farm grows their product, given the many economies that coffee exists in.
What are the flavor notes?
Coffee is a crop. A coffee’s flavor varies in the same way that wine grapes taste different depending on where and how they are grown and processed. So, when we say a coffee tastes like maple or cinnamon, we’ve not flavored it. We don’t sell flavored coffee. It just naturally has flavor notes of maple or cinnamon. That’s the magic of drinking really good coffee.
What’s the difference between rare and specialty coffee?
We’re so glad you asked. Understanding this is a big part of understanding what makes our coffee stand apart from so many other roasters. We know you can buy coffee that’s a lot cheaper than ours. Head over to your grocery store and you can buy an 11.5 ounce can of coffee for $5 or less. If you found your way to our website, you probably don’t want to though. You already understand that there’s a difference in quality between grocery store coffee and coffee you can buy from an independent roaster. What you may not know is that this difference in quality is actually something that can be measured.
All coffee that’s bought and sold is graded on a hundred point scale using standards created by the Specialty Coffee Association. By definition, all coffee with a score less than 80, is commodity coffee and coffee rated above 80 is specialty coffee. We don’t ever buy commodity coffee. It’s cheap but it’s neither good nor sustainable. Farmers selling to the commodity market are often living in poverty. Commodity coffee mostly supports large corporations. Everything we purchase is specialty coffee.
There are no standard designations for coffee outside of specialty and commodity but because we focus so heavily on quality, we take our vocabulary a step further than most. We are committed to only selling specialty coffee that scores 84 and above. We also designate rare coffee as anything over an 87. You wouldn’t think it, but there’s a big difference between an 84 and an 87 because as scores get higher, they become harder to attain. There’s no such thing as a 100 point coffee, so scores in the 90s are exceedingly rare. In fact, when something is 91 or higher, we sell it as exceedingly rare.
How much coffee should I use?
We’ve created Brewing Guides for the most popular coffee brewing methods.
For the nerds in the group, we generally like to brew a 15:1 ratio, but don’t feel tied to a recipe. Dial in for the coffee you’re drinking.
What grind size should I use?
It’s always best to grind your own beans, we recommend brewing within fifteen minutes of grinding as oxygen causes flavors within your coffee to start to break down. But, if you need to order your coffee ground, City Boy Coffee will grind your beans for you. Here are the sizes we grind in and our recommended uses:
Medium-Fine: Stovetop Espresso (Moka Pot), Pourover (sometimes)
Medium: Drip Coffee, Pourover, Reusable K-Cups
Medium-Course: Pourover (sometimes)
Course: French Press, Cold Brew
Where should I store my coffee?
A cool, dark place. When we say cool, we mean someplace that won’t get hot. Don’t put it in your refrigerator or your freezer. Storing it there will screw with the moisture levels and affect freshness. Coffee also absorbs smells and flavors so be sure to store it in something airtight, where it’s protected from things like that.
Unfortunately, we don’t take returns on coffee since it’s perishable. We’re doing everything we can to make sure that you won’t want to return it though. Every batch of coffee we roast is sampled to ensure quality. However, if you should have an issue with your order, know that your happiness is important to us. If we screwed something up, please contact us within a week of receiving your order and we’ll find a way to make things right.
We ship anywhere in the United States via USPS, Monday through Friday.
All of the coffee on our site is available for a flat rate. No matter how much you buy, the price is the same.
Shipping time varies by your location but typically takes between 1 to 3 days.
We unfortunately do not ship internationally at this time.