Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

the Lombard log hauler

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

We at Matt’s are interested in all things wood, and this weekend I saw something that was pretty cool. There was a short segment on the local news about a rehabilitated Lombard log hauler in action. To call the Lombard a train on skis is probably as good a short description as any, but their function was actually to twitch logs. They were designed to replace oxen and horses, but their tenure in the woods was pretty brief, as they had a reputation for unruly behavior.

What’s more, these machines were manufactured in Waterville, where our own cast iron and steel beast resides. Neat.

all aboard . . . or not

Coffee Review Gives Bird Dog High Marks

Friday, February 13th, 2009

cr_2009_90Hi folks,

We’re happy to report that Kenneth Davids at recently scored Bird Dog at 90. The coffee was tested as an espresso, and was one of the highest scoring organic espresso blends in the last couple of years. From the review: “Subtle aroma: fruit, toast and nut. Full body, smooth mouthfeel and tight-knit, balanced flavors ranging from tart lemon to sweet cherry, with hints of caramel. Toasty sweetness in the finish turns toward cocoa in the long. Continued balanced complexity in milk, with distinct notes of cherry, nut and chocolate.”

Pretty cool. You can check out the review at, under the “‘What’s Brewing/Recent Reviews” heading.

And sorry about the size of the medallion. We’re excited, but not THAT excited.

Also wanted to report that our stock of Ethiopia Korate is running low. If you want to order some, sooner is better.  The good news is that we have a really good 2007-8 late arrival Ethiopia natural as a replacement. It’s one of the coffees we’ve been using in Bird Dog, actually. More on that later.

the economics of the morning mocha

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Hi folks,

Whenever I hear home budget experts on TV talking about ways to save yourself money in this crappy economy, coffee always seems to get the shaft. You know how it goes–stop purchasing that mocha latte on the way to work, and you’ll save yourself seventy dollars a month. The economics certainly make plenty of sense, but a few things about these segments bother me:

1. They’re not really talking about coffee. They’re talking about half-and-half, whipped cream, mediocre chocolate and flavored corn syrup. I’d prefer that “coffee”  be dropped from the conversation altogether. (Of course, the big chains to which these segments usually refer generally don’t serve very good coffee straight up. A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.)

2. Excellent coffee is, generally speaking, a steal. There’s a lot of work and expense that goes into growing, picking, processing, transporting, roasting, packaging, grinding and brewing the coffee that ends up in your cup. (Much, much more on this in this blog over the course of this year.) Want to talk about overvalued products and services? Start with that same morning show talking head reading the teleprompter. . . .

3. This goes doubly so for a well-made espresso drink. While folks won’t think twice about ordering an eight dollar glass of wine to accompany their dinner out–apparently, we’re cool with the ten second wielding a corkscrew magically doubling or tripling the value of the product in the bottle–the idea of a four dollar coffee drink seems absurd. But a beautifully textured cappuccino generally requires not only good coffee, but quality milk, ten grand in equipment, and some skills.

So, what to do? The bottom line is that, with a tea kettle and a Melitta filter, or an Aeropress, or a French press, you can make a cup of coffee for your commute that will beat the pants off of drive-thru swill, at a quarter of the cost. You won’t even have to add whipped cream and fake white chocolate sprinkles to make it palatable. But you should also treat yourself to a quality espresso drink at your local coffee house, when you get the urge. And don’t take it to go. Drink it there, in a real cup. If it’s especially good, drop something in the tip jar; if it’s not, let them know.  

Five bucks for a cappuccino, a Times and a table. A waste of money? Nope. That’s a bargain.

John Updike on Ted Williams

Friday, January 30th, 2009

No coffee news today–just a suggestion that folks treat themselves to John Updike’s classic, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.”

More woodpile contest results

Monday, January 19th, 2009
Another woodpile from Indiana

Another woodpile from Indiana

Hi folks,

This is a test of our new picture posting capabilities. Actually, they are not new–just new to me. I’m a dummy about this stuff.

Matt’s in the news

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Hello, all.

I’m pleased to report that Matt’s was chosen by Yankee Magazine for inclusion in its holiday gift basket of New England-made products. There’s no actual basket to order–it’s fake. Or, rather, it does exist–I mean, they actually took a picture of it–but there’s only one of them, and it dwells in the offices of Yankee itself. In any case, the photo can be found on page 66 of the November/December issue. Yankee thinks Matt’s would make a great gift at holiday time. We couldn’t agree more.

Folks in the Portland, ME area also might have seen an article on Matt’s entitled “No Foreign Oil in This Brew,” in The Maine Switch. Pretty cool. And while it’s true we use no petroleum in the roasting process–even the electricity we use is hydro-generated–we do, in fact, rely on oil to get the coffee from all parts of the world to our roastery. There’s no getting around that (though we’ve thought about how, theoretically, we could put some Dominican coffee on a sailboat and bring it up to Maine. We confess this plan mostly has  to do with just visiting the DR, which would be cool).

We also have some new coffees aboard. More on those later. Til then, check out the menu and our descriptions of said coffees.



New Dark Roast

Friday, August 15th, 2008

It is with some sadness that we at Matt’s announce the unveiling of our new dark roast. As you know, we do not care for charred coffee. We are aesthetically and philosophically opposed to it. You can find such stuff just about anywhere. Truly excellent coffee that exhibits its origin and cultivar characteristics is much harder to come by. So, we held out. But you persisted. And so we have given in.

Actually, it’s pretty tasty, if we do say so ourselves. We worked with a few different bean blends to give us the attributes we were looking for–namely, good dark chocolate semi-sweetness, and a little bit of spice to liven things up–and found a combo and roast profile that works well. It’s not truly a French roast–we do have a reputation to uphold, after all–but it’s dark. It’s got oil on it. (!) And it has the attributes that dark coffee fans like, without too much of the face-puckering bitterness that accompanies truly bad dark roasts. (Aside: I had what might very well have been the worst cup of coffee in my life at a roastery/cafe in an upscale seaside community north of LA this summer. I knew it was going to be dicey when I watched the roaster dump about 25 lbs of green into the machine, and then abandon it for a good 12 minutes. Two twenty five for sixteen ounces of a blend that, if I recall, made reference to an African and another [I forget] origin. Absolutely disgusting. Burnt, thin, no sweetness anywhere . . . yuck. I had to chuck it after  about an ounce and a half, and take a couple of Exedrin.)

It’s also got a pretty cool label, that comes with what is essentially a disclaimer.

 Finally: the first customer that can tell us who Sock Saunders is wins a free bag of, uh, Sock Saunders.



new coffees at Matt’s

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Hi folks,

 We’ve got a few new arrivals, and they are super. (They are also expensive.) The first is a new crop estate Costa Rica from Helsar de Zarcero. It has very high acidity and complex flavor. The farm is exemplary, owns its own mill, and has been a Cup of Excellence contender in years past.

The second is a new crop dry process coffee from the Sidamo region of Ethiopia, with the mark “Korate.” It is awesome. For a description, please check out the coffee list. But the short of it is that it is very fruity, sweet, and relatively bright–a bit of a change from the rustic Gololcha, which we are now out of.

The new crop El Salvador Peaberry is on its way, and should be here in a month.

The bad news is that our new Sumatra is almost gone. I goofed on this one, and didn’t purchase enough of it. We have a replacement for it that is interesting in its own respect, but it’s more of a typical Sumatra, with forest floor characteristics. We’ll be roasting this coffee on the darker side.

There are a couple of other surprises in the works for the next month. We’ll let you know.

Please note that we will most likely be following a Tuesday roasting schedule for the remainder of the summer.


Roasting Tuesday, July 1

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Hi folks,

We’re roasting a day early this week so that coffee shipments arrive before the holiday weekend.

We’ve also recently purchased a fantastic dry pocessed Ethiopia that will arrive in our roasting facility soon. It’s got a lot going on. Sampling proved it to be especially complex when roasted lightly–all sorts of fruit flavors and aromatics, a soft, puffy acidity, and a clean finish that lasted forever. Stay tuned . . .

New Sumatra; roasting 6/4 and 6/10

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Hi folks,

 The new crop Sumatra is in. We like it quite a bit. For a description, check out the website.

Also, our segment on 207 was repeated this past Saturday. You can check it out by going to 207′s show site at