July 2006

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Local Guy Makes Major Discoveries About Business

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Kamp Kenwood: Cooperating for Change

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Deli News

Are You Ready?

by Dan Moore, Prepared Foods Manager

Last weekend my wife and I took a trip out west for a friend’s wedding. It was being held outside of Leavenworth, Washington, about two-and-a-half hours northeast of Seattle. I’d always heard that the fine people of Washington state liked their coffee, but I have to admit I have never seen as many coffee shops as on that drive from Seattle to Leavenworth—many in very strange places and combined with very strange services. My favorite two (and as Dave Barry is wont to say, I swear I’m not making these up) were the Reptile Zoo and Espresso stand and the Custom Knives & Espresso shop. In Madison, we may not be blessed with the quantity of coffee options they have out west, but we do have our share of quality shops and roasters. Nearest and dearest to our hearts in the Willy Street Juice & Coffee Bar is EVP Coffee.

Founded in 1982 by Ann O’Connor and Tracy Danner, EVP began life as Etes-Vous Prets? (French for “Are You Ready?”). Tracy and Ann use brokers from Wisconsin and California to import a variety of coffees that ensure not only the highest quality, but also that the coffee growers earn a fair price for their beans. The beans are grown in an environmentally sound manner and the farmers are guaranteed a fair price.

Unlike most store-bought coffee, they also use only Arabica beans. Typically, store bought coffee is made with Robusta beans. Grown at a lower altitude and containing more caffeine, Robusta beans are considered a lower grade. Arabica beans are grown at high altitudes, resulting in fewer beans per plant. It also means that the growing process is much slower, so the beans have a more concentrated flavor. Upon arrival, the beans are air roasted using a Sivetz Fluid Bed roaster. This means that the beans are heated more uniformly and are in constant motion during the roasting process. The resulting beans have a cleaner finish on the palate than beans roasted in the more common drum roaster, which are more easily scorched due to contact with the hot drum. It also means that the beans have a more consistent flavor from one roast to the next—drums used for roasting each build up their own flavor and seasoning from the beans and can taste different not only from one drum to the next, but even from one batch to the next in the same drum. So at EVP, you can count on your coffee tasting like you remembered every time you walk in the door.

EVP currently has two stores, the roastery and coffee shop at 1250 East Washington Avenue and the shop at 3809 Mineral Point Road, as well as being available here at the Co-op. In June, however, they began an exciting new project, and I’m extremely happy to say that the Willy Street Co-op is playing a part in it as well. EVP opened a small café in Madison’s VA hospital. For me, it’s very encouraging that a small, locally owned business was chosen for this project. It’s also great to see one chosen that has strong ties to our community, a commitment to Fair Trade practices, and a great reputation for quality. Even more gratifying was when Tracy asked our Deli to help them out by providing food for the café. Our kitchen will be making three of our popular wraps for EVP to vend out of their new site. These will include our Black Bean, Artichoke Hummus, and Classic Veggie wraps. We’ll also be sending them a selection of new dressings to compliment the wraps, including a vinaigrette, vegan basil pesto, and a southwestern-themed dressing as well. While we have been providing ingredients for the Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch project for some time, this is our first opportunity to become a partner with a local business, and one we hope to expand in the coming months with other businesses that share our commitment to quality food. Are you ready?