Coffee and Tea Newsletter: October 2009
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Omoma Coffee
It's All About the Beans

El Salvador offers the three key ingredients necessary for making, what many would call, the best cup of coffee in the world: high altitude, rich volcanic soil, and a climate that is the perfect combination of rain and sun. For more than 50 years, Omoma Coffee, a company rich in family tradition and excellence in coffee production, has enjoyed well-deserved recognition for their superior coffee.

Based in El Salvador, Omoma Coffee achieved much international success while supplying its green beans to some of the largest coffee companies in the world, including Illy and Nestle Europe. In early 2006, with the palate of the US market primed with sophistication, a sales and distribution division was launched in the United States. With family members at the helm, Omoma Coffee’s US presence was now under the direction of the newly formed Araten-Castillo Distribution, LLC.

“People in the US were ready,” said Jennifer Araten-Castillo, Co-Owner of Omoma Coffee’s US distributor. “They were educated about coffee, they had refined tastes, and they were excited to try different coffees from different regions of the world. Coffee lovers were treating coffee like wine. The time was right,” she added.

The right combination of climate and volcanic earth will undoubtedly breed a high quality coffee, but what makes Omoma Coffee so superior? Clearly, it is the special, indigenous hybrid beans called Pacamara that makes Omoma Coffee so outstanding.

Derived from a hybrid Arábica coffee tree developed by the Salvadorean Coffee Research Institute (ISIC) in the late 1950s, Pacamara beans produce a superior coffee. This special and rare coffee bean is a unique marriage of the famous "Maragogype" Arábica and "Pacas", a Salvadorean high yielding mutation of the Arábica hybrid "San Ramón Bourbon". Discovered in 1956 by two of the most prominent coffee producers of El Salvador, Don Alberto Pacas and Don Francisco De Sola with the help of Dr. William Cogwill of the University of Florida, the world famous Pacamara (strictly high grown) bean is the staple of Omoma Coffee's blend. Known for its bold yet well-balanced flavor, Omoma proudly offered the US market the first roasted version of the Pacamara beans and received immediate attention from coffee lovers around the country.

The meaning of the word omoma can be traced back to a time in El Salvador’s history that pre-dates the Spanish conquest. Omoma is a native word derived from the Lenca Tribe, one of the native Indian cultures that lived in Central America. History reports that the name Omoma was given to the Lenca settlement, a settlement situated on the Cacahuatique Mountain and governed by a tribal leader named Omomatzitl. When the Spanish arrived they renamed the Empire of Omoma to Ciudad Barrios honoring the Spanish General Gerardo Barrios who brought coffee plants to the land in 1835 and built the first coffee mill in El Salvador. More than 50 years ago, the Portillo family named their fincas (coffee plantations) Omoma, a name which honors the cultural significance of the land and the history of its people.

Today, the family business has grown and expanded but not at the expense of quality. Omoma Coffee proudly offers the US market their outstanding coffee in three varieties:

American (Medium) – robust and well-balanced roast, the perfect blend to please even the most discerning taste buds.
European (Dark) – a rich full-bodied yet smooth coffee – the company’s bestseller.
Espresso – the ultimate in decadence, rich taste with a depth of flavors.

Modestly priced at $12.99 for a one-pound bag ($7.49 for a half-pound bag), the 100% Arabica coffee is offered whole bean or ground. Omoma Coffee is grown, picked, roasted and packaged in El Salvador adhering to the same high production standards that resulted in international acclaim. Omoma Coffee is distributed in the US by Araten-Castillo Distribution, LLC.



Portland Roasting Aims to Reduce Illiteracy in Papua New Guinea Through Ready to Read

In support of its Farm Friendly Direct™ relationship with the Madan Estate in Papua New Guinea, Portland Roasting Coffee Company has launched Ready to Read, a book drive aimed at increasing literacy in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.

From now through Friday, November 20, 2009, Portland Roasting invites its wholesale customers – and their coffee-drinking customers – to donate new or gently used children’s books, or unused encyclopedia sets, to Ready to Read. The books will stock the shelves of a future community center and adjoining preschool on the grounds of the Madan Estate, which is located about 12 miles outside of Mount Hagen (pop. 40,000), the capital and largest city of the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.

Portland Roasting is encouraging donations of easy-to-read books and primers of all sorts for Ready to Read. Several cafés that serve Portland Roasting coffee have collection bins onsite, including these area establishments:

  • Blue Moose Café, 4936 NE Fremont St., Portland
  • Blue Pepper Gallery, 241 Commercial St. NE, Salem
  • Cup and Saucer, 3566 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland
  • Cup and Saucer, 3000 NE Killingsworth St., Portland
  • Cup and Saucer, 8236 N Denver Ave., Portland
  • Elephants Delicatessen, 115 NW 22nd Ave., Portland
  • Flying Elephants (Fox Tower), 812 SW Park Ave., Portland
  • Flying Elephants (Kruse Way), 5885 SW Meadows Rd., Lake Oswego
  • Twin Paradox, 8609 SE 17th Ave., Portland

Individuals are also welcome to drop off books at Portland Roasting’s headquarters, located at 340 SE 7th Avenue, in Portland.

“Papua New Guinea has a high rate of illiteracy, and books are scarce,” said Aarlie Hull, owner of New Guinea Traders LLC, which owns the Madan Estate. “The women of our community are mostly illiterate and are very motivated to learn to read and write. It is only logical that we provide them with the tools to help them learn.”

“Our goal is to create a well-stocked library for the families and community of the Madan Estate,” said Mark Stell, founder and managing partner of Portland Roasting. “We’re looking forward to seeing how many books we can fit into a shipping container.”

Through New Guinea Traders LLC, Portland Roasting has been purchasing green (unroasted) coffee beans from the Madan Estate since 2003. In 2004, the roaster previously partnered with the Madan Estate to build a Kinjibi tribal school. For more info:


Jaya Tea
Celebrating Specialty Tea from India

Madhulika Pareek-Joshi is a medical doctor from India who emigrated to the United States in 2001 to start a new life with her American husband.  When she learned that as a foreign medical school graduate she would have to repeat her residency to practice medicine in the U.S. she decided that she didn’t want to wait another five years to start her professional life and started to explore other options.

jayaComing from a country and a family with deep roots in the tea industry, and surprised at the lack of quality tea she found here, Dr. Pareek-Joshi decided to change the focus of her career. “Given that many generations of my family members back in India are in the tea business, it seemed natural for me to start a tea company here in the U.S.,” said Dr. Pareek-Joshi.  “My husband too comes from a tea family. His great grandfather started a family tea garden, Soureni Tea Estate in Darjeeling, which was then passed down through generations. Since my husband was actually born on this tea garden he likes to say that its not blood but tea that flows through his veins,” she added.

In 2004, filled with lifelong experience and newfound ambition, Dr. Pareek-Joshi and her husband created Jaya Teas. Jaya, which means “victory” in Sanskrit (and also happens to be name of their daughter), pledges to bring to the U.S. market some of the best teas Indian gardens have to offer. Today, Jaya Teas operates a successful tea business out of their headquarters in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

jaya“With increasing popularity of single estate teas, some people tend to depend solely upon the name of the estate as a mark of quality. However, even if the tea is from the same estate, it might actually be a blend of superior high grown and inferior low growth teas,” said Dr. Pareek-Joshi.  “Our teas are hand-selected by members of our family in India who, collectively, have more than 50 years of experience in the Indian tea industry.”  Because of their unwavering dedication to quality, Jaya Teas guarantees every single purchase with a no questions asked, money-back guarantee of satisfaction.

The owners of Jaya Teas go to great lengths to ensure that the tea you receive is the freshest, highest quality tea. 

Jaya Teas offers a wide variety of teas including: Single estate Darjeeling teas such as Gopaldhara, Castleton, Avongrove, Makaibari, Single estate Assam teas such as Boisahabi, Banarhat, Majayarangi, Mokalbari estates, Kangra Valley teas like Manhjhee Valley tea, and teas from South India such as Craigmore Estate tea.

Besides marketing well-known estate teas, Jaya Teas manufactures its own teas such as the famous Mirik Leaf tea, manufactured using the age-old process of shade drying the tea. 

For Jaya Teas, it not simply about selling tea, it is about the quality of the tea.  “You will not find fancy packaging or bright colors to seduce you. But you will be wonderfully satisfied with the quality of our teas and the experience they deliver,” said Dr. Pareek-Joshi.

Visit to purchase any of their spectacular teas.  The holidays are fast approaching and tea makes a great gift.  Check out their specialty gift baskets and teaware and send the gift of tea.



Thanksgiving Coffee Company

When two hippies running from the urban fast lanes of the East Coast met in the early 1970s they came to the conclusion that “making roasting coffee was a better way to support ourselves than stringing beads, making leather items or candles.” And so begins the story of the Thanksgiving Coffee Company.

“Joan and I were not looking to save the world when we founded the company. We just wanted to supply California’s north coast with the best coffee possible,” said owner Paul Katzeff. “At the time that meant bringing a spirit of craftsmanship to a stale-coffee-in-a-can industry.”

Living in New York’s bohemian Greenwich Village in the 1960s, Paul Katzeff spent a good deal of time hanging out in coffeehouses. It was during this time that he was able to sample delicious and unique coffees that hailed from different regions of the world, not from a can on the supermarket shelf. This cultivated appreciation for superior coffee flavor led him to seek out local merchants who would offer flavorful coffee from various origins, yet found just a few. He affectionately refers to the coffee bean stores in Manhattan as “ethnic roasters” because they independently promoted their wares as better than the canned coffees of the day. “These pioneers were into flavor. They helped define the concept of Artisan Roaster and set the stage for my work to come as a coffee roaster” said Katzeff.

It was back in 1972 that Joan and Paul set up a twenty-five pound roaster at the Mendocino Hotel and began their journey. A journey that they never expected nor dreamed would take them to where they are today. The Thanksgiving Coffee Company became a public company in 1996. It now roasts over 600,000 lbs of coffee a year and employs 30 well-cared-for local residents, half of whom have worked at the Thanksgiving Coffee Company for more than 15 years.

The Thanksgiving Coffee is committed to leaving a light ecological footprint. “We continuously strive to find ways to lessen our impact on the environment, from farm to cup, said Mr. Katzeff. “We buy many organic and shade grown coffees, and also work directly with farmers to help increase access to knowledge and resources that will allow them to transition into more sustainable farming practices.” For the past 10 years, they have looked inward at their operations and worked to reduce waste through recycling, on-site worm composting, running delivery trucks on a percentage of biodiesel, and using recycled paper for printed materials. Each week they are visited by local farmers who use the company’s coffee chaff and burlap and in 2002 became the first carbon-neutral coffee company.

The Thanksgiving Coffee Company offers a variety of coffees that are certified organic, fair trade and shade grown. Visitors to their online store ( will find more than 50 coffees from which to choose, including coffee from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Hawaii, Panama, Ethiopia, Uganda, Laos, and others.

Prices vary, most falling in the $10-$12 range for a 12 oz. bag.

A final thought from The Thanksgiving Coffee Company owner, Paul Katzeff, “when thinking about a family-run business and how to define one, what comes to mind as a guiding light for all decisions is a line from Carlos Castaneda’s cult classic book written in the early 70’s, 'take the path that has a heart.' This is what we have done to the best of our awareness. Our hope is that the values imagined in that thought will permeate all the work we do, including the creation of coffee products that imply the kind of excellence that any family would be proud of.” To learn more about, or make a purchase from the Thanksgiving Coffee Company visit


Jungle Love
Fair Trade Organic Coffee from Crimson Cup

We have great jobs. Here at the Coffee And Tea Newsletter, our faces light up when the UPS truck pulls up and, like kids on Christmas, we wonder what the driver will deliver to us. Would it be tea samples or coffee samples? Who wouldn’t enjoy trying coffees and teas from around the world. We’ll pick a day and brew up a pot, sit, and discuss our most recent delivery.

Not long ago we received some Jungle Love from Crimson Cup. It is a dark roasted blend of organic beans from Central America and Indonesia. Full-bodied and smooth, this coffee was outstanding. The Certified Organic Shade Blend was an overwhelming hit in the office. Crimson Cup offers a variety of Fair Trade Organic coffees.

Since 1991, Crimson Cup® Coffee & Tea has roasted and packaged quality, great-tasting coffee in Columbus, Ohio and taught business owners how to be successful in specialty coffee. In September 2007, they opened our very first retail store, located in the north Columbus community of Clintonville. For more information or to make a purchase visit




5th Annual Coffee & Tea Festival:
Save The Date!
February 20-21, 2010

coffee and tea festival

To request exhibitor information, contact