Steeb Russell: Artist of the Month for April

Steeb Russell

We are very fortunate this month to have Steeb Russell as our featured artist. Steeb’s art is deceptively whimsical with a darkly humorous thread running through it. The photographs do not do justice to the bright animated colors of the paintings themselves. We encourage everyone to come down and check them out. On display through the end of April.

Steeb Russell

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poetrynight at the Black Drop in 42 seconds

Every Monday night, the living Word is performed at the Drop. Starts at 8 p.m.. We stay open late. We serve beautiful coffee. We are looking at the stars. We are listening to poetry. Check it out. Come on down!

More info at http://www.poetrynight.org/

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Guatemala – Finca Las Nubes

The Black Drop has always prided itself with serving and selling excellent coffee. It’s right there in our logo: Excellence, Intensity, Passion. We LOVE coffee, and we love making sure you are getting the very best coffee we can possibly offer. With that, I’d like to introduce to you a very special coffee that will be our feature for the weeks to come, the Guatemala Finca Las Nubes.

Finca Las Nubes

This particular Guatemala comes to us via direct trade from Edwin Martinez, owner of Onyx Coffee Bar, who is a good friend of Alexarc at Maniac Roasting. We are really excited to be offering direct trade because that means the farmers are getting a much more fair price for their product.

A stand for Finca Las Nubes

Before we talk about the beautiful flavors found in these exquisite beans, I’d like to tell you a little bit about Finca Las Nubes. The name translates to Farm of the Clouds, and it is an apt description. At 4600ft, the farm is often hidden among the clouds. Located 236km from Guatemala City, Finca Las Nubes hugs the border of Honduras and El Salvador.

Finca Las Nubes is owned by Don Fabio Solis and his wife Doña Sonia. They have an amazing outlook on how coffee should be farmed and it definitely shows in their product. In 2001, they won the coveted Cup of Excellence award, one of the highest honors a coffee can achieve. There is a wonderful interview with these great people over at http://www.coffeehunter.com/articles/las_nubes_london that I definitely think you should read!

The patio at Finca Las Nubes

Now, on to the cup! Joel and I both had a chance to try the Guatemala prepared as a Chemex, and I have to say this is a fantastic cup of coffee. It has a very floral, nutty aroma. As we took our first sips, we were both struck by an earthy undertone to the coffee. I identified this as a malty, hoppy flavor while Joel found it to be a bit more grassy. These flavors were balanced with a wonderfully nippy citrus acidity (I found it to be a bit lemony) and a honeyed sweetness with pear and vanilla. The floral aspect of the coffee is also found early in the cup, giving way to the heavier flavors towards the finish.

Overall, I really enjoyed this coffee! It’s incredibly well balanced between acidity and body. The floral notes are nicely accentuated by the citrus acidity, and the long lasting finish will leave you coming back for more. This will make a great morning coffee and will do well using any preparation method. With its well-defined characteristics, I would recommend against adding cream and sugar.

-John Oppelaar

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The Black Drop is the New Home for poetrynight

Poetry NIght at the Black Drop

We are honored and very happy to welcome poetrynight to the Black Drop. Every Monday night our doors open and sign-up begins at 7:30 p.m. Reading begins at 8:00. This is one of the most beautiful events happening on a regular basis in Bellingham (or the Universe for that matter).

From poetrynight’s website:

Our Mission Statement

Through the recognition and promotion of poetry, creative and expository writing, poetrynight makes available the works of writers who might otherwise remain unknown and makes more accessible and applicable the culture of written and spoken language through exposure and education.

What We Do

For over fifteen years, in coffee shops and classrooms, basements and concert halls across Whatcom and Skagit counties, poetrynight has provided opportunities for new and established writers to share their work. As a program of the Whatcom Poetry Series, poetrynight is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. With the honor of having been selected for an unprecedented 2 Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Awards, poetrynight continues to shape the literary landscape of our region.

Poetrynight began in 1995 as a weekly reading series and has developed into an organization providing a variety of programs, including:

• Poetry in Public Education (PIPE): Putting awkward and shy poets in front of classrooms of awkward and shy middle and high school students to teach, perform and inspire.

• The poetrynight Reading: What we are most known for is this, our nationally renowned event occurring every Monday night for 15 years. What Jack McCarthy described as “The best open mic on the West Coast.”

• Featured Poet Series: Sponsoring Touring Artists to perform in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

• poetrynight’s Podcast: Our weekly reading, free and online, with over one hundred (sometimes embarrassing, often wonderful) episodes available.

Come on down, read, listen, witness, become vulnerable to the Word.

The Black Drop is located at 300 W. Champion, at the corner of Champion and Grand, sort of next door to the Temple Bar, not far from the Pickford Cinematographic Movie House, in the pulsing center of the Downtown Bellingham Art District.

Call 360-738-3767 for more information.

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Featured Artist: Charles “Bonesy” Jones and the Codex of Little Hope

Codex of Little Hope: The Bone Dance
Codex of Little Hope: The Bone Dance

Throughout the month of March, the Black Drop Coffee House will be
displaying the Codex of Little Hope by Charles Jones.

The Codex of Little Hope is a degraded variation of the Codex Laud
uncovered by Jones and Jose Garcia Payon at El Tajin in Mexico in
1964.

Jones developed a radical thesis that the Codex was unique among
Mesoamerican pictographic manuscripts because it was concerned not
with astronomical phenomena but the the death and “absence” of the
gods. And, also, the deification of human beings.

To illustrate his beliefs, Jones isolated and reconstructed twenty
“hieroglyphic elements” from the Codex of Little Hope. These twenty
plates, along with substantial explanatory information, will be on
display during the month of March at the Black Drop Coffee House.

Codex of Little Hope: Black Drop Coffee House

For more information, please go to: http://laughingbone.blogspot.com/2013/03/20-plates-from-codex-of-little-hope.html

Codex of Little Hope: Owlgod with Snake
Codex of Little Hope: Owlgod with Snake

Codex of Little Hope: Self Decapitation
Codex of Little Hope: Self Decapitation

Codex of Little Hope: Being Devoured By the God

Codex of Little Hope: Being Devoured By the God

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Featured Coffee: Nicaragua Finca Regalo de Dios Plantio El Aserradero

Luis Alberto Balladarez Moncada - Regalo de Dios

Regalo De Dios - source pdf

Location: the Mozonte region east of Ocotal, Central America
Predominant Varietals: Red Catuai and Caturra varieties.
Species: Arabica
Elevation: 1,675 masl
Climate: Natural cloud forest
Processing method: “Luis Alberto has been investing in improvements to the wet mill since he acquired the property. It uses very little water. A Pinhalense density sorter separates the cherry prior to depulping, and the little water used in this process is recycled. The coffee is pulped and in most cases traditionally fermented. The coffee is fermented without the addition of any water, as the cold mountain water slows down fermentation. In this way the coffee can be fully fermented in only 8 hours. Luis Alberto says that he tends to rinse the coffee with the slightest bit of mucilage left in order to add extra sweetness. He has done some experimentation with resting the coffee for a few hours in the cherry prior to pulping and has found that it increases sweetness.” – From the pdf NICARAGUA TRIP REPORT: JAN 28-FEB 2, 2011

Map-of-Mozonte

Map of Mozonte

From Atlas Coffee Importers:

The word plantio in Nicaragua refers to a specific small area of a farm, similar to tablon or partida in other parts of Central America. The name Un Regalo de Díos translates literally to “A Gift From God,” and it’s easy to see how owner Luis Alberto Balladarez came up with the name. Finca Un Regalo de Díos is situated in a lush mountain bowl near the town of Mozonte, at an elevation ranging from 1,350 to 1,800 masl. Of the approximately 450 hectares encompassed by the farm, around 90 hectares are devoted to coffee, and the various plantios are primarily comprised of Red Catuai and Caturra varieties.

This year’s lot from Aserradero was arguably the best of the three plantios we received from Finca Un Regalo de Díos. Aserradero is located at the highest elevation of the farm, averaging 1,500 masl, where the natural cloud forest above the farm begins. Fruit flavors take much more control of this cup than in the other plantios, with pear, red berry and sugar cane dominating the top end. Cola and chocolate sweetness rounds out the bottom, and a pleasant tannic snap wraps up the finish. All in all one of the most exciting, complete Nicaragua coffees we’ve experienced. It was the Aserradero coffee which took 3rd Place in the 2010 Cup of Excellence® competition, and we’re honored to include it among our offerings.

Photo by Erick Martin Ortiz

From Atlas Coffee’s NICARAGUA TRIP REPORT: JAN 28-FEB 2, 2011:

Luis Alberto’s two farms are in the Mozonte region to the east of Ocotal. This region has a much different climate than Dipilto. It is mostly dry mountain pine forests reminiscent of Southern Oregon or Northern California. Luis Alberto stated that, while this area has the potential to produce great coffee, people have been slow to purchase and cultivate land here for that purpose because the lack of paved roads make it less accessible.

La Esperanza and Un Regalo border one another and are located on either side of the valley in which Luis Alberto’s wet mill stands. The land is strikingly beautiful and it just seems like good things would grow here. In the 2010 CoE Un Regalo took 3rd place and La Esperanza took 19th. The surprising thing is that he has only owned these farms for two years. Un Regalo bordered last year’s #1 CoE winning farm El Esfuerzo. However, Luis Alberto has since purchased the property, annexed it into Un Regalo, and he now calls the area El Ganador. Un Regalo has 40 manzanas under cultivation and La Esperanza has 22, each producing an average of 30 quintales per manzana. Both farms range from 1400-1800 masl. The farms are mostly planted with caturra and catuai, but he has smaller plots of java, geisha, maracaturra, and a sarchimor hybrid. Luis Alberto has been investing in improvements to the wet mill since he acquired the property. It uses very little water. A Pinhalense density sorter separates the cherry prior to depulping, and the little water used in this process is recycled. The coffee is pulped and in most cases traditionally fermented. The coffee is fermented without the addition of any water, as the cold mountain water slows down fermentation. In this way the coffee can be fully fermented in only 8 hours. Luis Alberto says that he tends to rinse the coffee with the slightest bit of mucilage left in order to add extra sweetness. He has done some experimentation with resting the coffee for a few hours in the cherry prior to pulping and has found that it increases sweetness.

Regalo de Dios

Regalo de Dios - source pdf

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The Western Front: Bellingham has chosen: BBJ readers’ choice awards include Black Drop

Bellingham School of Comics at the Black Drop

Bellingham School of Comics at the Black Drop

From an article in the Western Front by Kevin Kenney:

The Bellingham Business Journal released its 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards on Feb. 11. Several hundred Bellingham Business Journal readers selected 15 local businesses from a variety of categories, said Evan Marczynski, a Western Washington University graduate and reporter for the Bellingham Business Journal. They have been putting out this list for the last four or five years as a fun way to connect with readers, he said.  They do not keep detailed winners from past years, he said.

Best free Wi-Fi: The Black Drop

Nestled between the looming brick buildings of Champion Street sits The Black Drop Coffee House. The Black Drop was voted best location for free Wi-Fi by readers of the Bellingham Business Journal.

Its windows nearly covered by posters for punk bands and local events, the Black Drop seems a natural location for college students. Its regular customers range from students to local business people to city employees, said Scot Casey, who co-owns the Black Drop with Stephanie Oppelaar.

Casey has worked at the Back Drop for four years. During this time, he was given the opportunity to become an owner, he said.

“We offer incredible coffee and a really good atmosphere for people to sit and drink,” Casey said.

The Black Drop was named best coffee by Cascadia Weekly 2012, and Casey the best barista.

Casey thinks the Black Drop was voted best place for free Wi-Fi due to their friendly atmosphere and nearly unrestricted Internet access, he said.

“I think one of the core things the Black Drop stands for is an open forum, “ he said. “It’s a place for people to freely communicate ideas and participate in discussions, whether that’s in print media, in person or online.”

The Black Drop also sponsors an annual event called “Save Our City,” a zombie-themed water balloon fight, Casey said. A date has not been announced for this year’s event, but previous events have taken place in May, according to the Black Drop’s website.

In coming years, Casey plans on expanding the Black Drop by adding more seating and another bar, he said.

Despite awards, zombies and expansions, the Black Drop’s mission has not changed.

“Coffee is our passion,” Casey said. “We are very intense about our coffee and our customers’ experience.”

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Black Drop Loteria Card

Black Drop - El Cafe Loteria

Testimonial from from Neilson E.:

The Black Drop offers one of the best shots of espresso outside of Italy.  Seriously.  If you doubt me, stop reading this, go there and order a doppio macchiato.  If you’ve ever only had a macchiato in the US you probably won’t recognize what they hand you.  It will be a beautifully crafted double shot of espresso with the tiniest bit of foamy milk poured on top creating the barista’s signature mark.  It will be so perfect you might have a hard time drinking it since to do so would put an end to the beautiful creation.  If so, just hold it up to your nose and smell the aroma of their perfectly brewed espresso.

Before you know it you will have quaffed your drink and you’ll have a huge smile on your face.  You may imagine that you’re sitting in a cafe in Italy but I warn you reality is there to greet you.  You are not wearing an Italian suit, no, that is not your Vespa parked outside.  You’re still in Bellingham believe it or not.

The people serving the coffee are professionals and the care they put into something that only costs a few dollars is amazing.  Do yourself a favor and don’t get your drink “to go”.  It’ll only take you a minute to drink so stay and enjoy it out of a real cup in one of the chairs by the door.  It is well worth the experience every time.

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Black Drop Bloody Valentine Screening of The Evil Dead

Black Drop Bloody Valentine

Once again, we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day here at the Black Drop with a screening of the delightful romantic comedy, The Evil Dead. We encourage you to come on down with your love interest(s) and get all sweet and sappy with love as the characters in the film turn into flesh eating zombies. Ah… love! FREE.

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Life is Like Coffee

I Feel So Empty

We have this quote by Albert Einstein on the vent hood at the shop: “If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies… It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.” It is nice to see this applied to the world of coffee.

Thanks to Debbie for the thoughts and the link.

https://vimeo.com/38144151

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