2010 Collectors Issue

Bean Scene

Coffee roasting around the park

A morning without a mug of mocha motivation is a drag; a frigid Adirondack dawn without the rich brew is un­imaginable. Around here coffee doesn’t fit easily into a 100-mile diet—the plants that produce the world’s most robust beverage are too lily-livered to brave the North Country—but luckily a growing number of locals are importing bags of choice organic fair-trade beans and roasting them to (high) peak perfection.

Three years ago Cindy Bates, of Morrisonville, saw the rows of Green Mountain carafes lining counters at area stores and thought, If those hills across the lake have a brand, surely the Adirondacks de­serve one too. So she and her husband, Steven, created A Taste of the Adi­ron­dacks coffee (518-561-6706) and now sell freshly roasted ground and whole beans around the region and throughout the state. They turn out seven park-themed blends—their best seller is bold Whiteface Double Diamond—plus familiar flavors like blueberry and maple-nut crunch.

Peru-based Adirondack Coffee Roasters (518-643-2162), run by Dwane and Kristen Bast, microroasts select beans for the Bateses and produces blends for area restaurants, including the Turtle Island Café, in Willsboro, and the Bluesberry Bakery, in Lake Placid. The company also works with churches, schools and other groups to organize caffeine-driven fund-raisers and sells Turkish-made roasters across the country.

At Saranac Lake’s Adirondack Bean-To Coffee (12 Shepard Avenue,, Dan and Debbie Stoorza’s Hammer blend packs a double-roasted punch. The couple focuses on quality over quantity, firing in small batches and tracking down flavorful varieties from around the world. “We’re fussy about our beans,” says Dan. One-pound bags are available at the shop or at Nori’s Village Market, in Sar­anac Lake. The hearty roast graces breakfast nooks at local hotels as well, and flavors Lake Placid Pub & Brewery’s Sunrise Stout and Great Adirondack Brewing Company’s Coffee-and-Cream Stout.

Courtney and Keri Fair, of Dogwood Bread Company (518-962-2280), in Wadhams, have been browning Mexican Chiapas beans on baking sheets in their wood-fired brick oven since 2007. “I don’t use a timer,” says Courtney. “We go by color and sound.… Armloads of wood determine temperature … the chaff is not separated.” Their old-time method produces a rustic blend that ranges from dark to French roast. Whole-bean bags can also be found at the Keene farmers’ market and Nori’s Village Market.

John Collins takes do-it-yourself one step further. For the last seven years the 72-year-old from Bakers Mills has spent a month each winter at a coffee plantation in Honduras. Collins—a retired ma­gician who once made the rounds at Storytown and local dude ranches—ships beans to Miami, meets the load at the docks and carts it to the Adirondacks in a pickup truck. He spends the rest of the year roasting his Adirondack Country Gourmet Coffee (518-251-3466,, offering 12-ounce bags at the Keene and Glens Falls farmers’ markets and shipping bulk na­tionally.

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