Coffee as a gift

by Christopher F on July 30, 2012

Do you have a coffee lover in your life?  You know the one I am talking about.  Don't even think of taking him to Starbucks.  This is the guy who plans his vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii to visit the coffee plantations.  His counter is littered with machines, presses and coffee cups.  What do you buy him or her as a gift?

Obviously, coffee is the answer.  But many people are too afraid to buy coffee for the fanatic in their life as they are embarrassed of providing bad coffee. One thing coffee fanatics are always looking for is variety.  A sampling of gourmet coffees is a wonderful gift, especially if they are hard to find.  Your friends will thank you for introducing them to k,new coffees.  Below are some gift examples.

Single Source Samples

I always suggest buying three pounds of coffee from a few distinct regions.  For example., my favorite combinations would be a pound each of:

All three are distinct coffees, one from the Americas, one from Asia and one from Africa.  You won't find these at the grocery store and they all have distinct taste characteristics your coffee lover will love.

The American Samples

Maybe your fanatic is a huge fan of the Bold American coffees that wake you up in the morning.  If that is the case, try the following three for your fan:

Guatemala Antigua:

Costa Rica Reserve:

Panama Taylor Estate:

If they want the crisp coffee of Africa you can try coffees from that region.   Or maybe you are looking for a small estate Kona coffee.  In that case there we have a direct relationship with Haren's Old Tree Estate on the Big Island.

What ever you choose, your coffee fan will love being able to try a variety of coffees from around the world.  Fresh roasted, they are roasted after you order and shipped direct to the door.  What would you get the coffee lover in your life?

Espresso versus Coffee Versus Soda

by Christopher F on July 30, 2012

Espresso versus Coffee Versus Soda

When people talk about caffeine, coffee is the first thing that comes to mind.  In particular they talk about espresso which many call a caffeine shot.  We are going to talk about the truth about caffeine and in particular espresso shots and hot they compare with other drinks.  Is there any such thing as caffeine-free espresso, a term primarily used to describe decaf coffee?  Is espresso unhealthy for you?  All of these are great questions.  Espresso shots are definitely not as bad for you as other shots, that’s for sure.

There are always the caffeine fanatics that will tell you that espresso contains so much caffeine that it is dangerous to consume.  In fact they will tell you espresso contains more caffeine then just about any other beverage.  Even though espresso does contain quite a big of caffeine in one shot, here is hot it stacks up against other beverages.

Espresso Versus Coffee

Lets define coffee and espresso so we can measure.  When we talk about espresso we are talking about one plain shot of espresso that has no extras or frills, espresso in the raw we might say.  Coffee refers to a regular black cup of coffee you would get from the local Starbucks.  People might be surprised that the black coffee has more caffeine than the espresso shot.  While espresso contains more caffeine per ounce, espresso is served in 1 ounce shot glasses versus a full cup of coffee.  A traditional cup of coffee has 20mg of caffeine but a typical grande is multiple cups.  A shot of espresso has 50mg. 

Espresso Versus Coca-Cola

As we said above, the espresso contains 50 milligrams of caffeine per ounce.  A 12 ounce Coca-Cola on the other hand contains about 35mg, more than a cup of coffee but less than espresso.  That being said, most morning soda drinkers have more than a 12 ounce can of soda in the morning.  In addition, the sugar or artificial sweeteners has their own poor health benefits.

By itself, espresso does have a lot of caffeine, but most people aren’t buying multiple shots a day while they will have multiple cups of coffee and several cans of soda a day.  What this doesn’t take into is the roast of the bean.  The longer the roast, the less caffeine so if you get a French or dark roasted espresso bean, it will have less caffeine.

The best party of espresso is, when done right, you get the best taste of coffee you will ever have.  A fresh roasted espresso that is pulled with a beautiful crema on top will allow you to experience coffee as it should be.  You can also add hot water to make a café Americano.  Some of the best cups of coffee I have had were a good pull of espresso with spring water added.  Either way, don’t be scared of a good espresso.

If you are still worried about the caffeine, check out our decaf espresso beans.  Not only are you getting premium beans that are decaffeinated naturally, but you also get coffee that is roasted to order before its shipped.  You can see our coffees here:

Another three reasons coffee is good for you!

by Christopher F on February 17, 2012

If you are still worried about whether its ok to drink coffee, check out this video by CBS health watch on a new study that shows the health benefit of drinking two cups of coffee a day.  This includes preventing depression (especially in women), reduced risk of diabetes and preventing Parkinsons Disease.  And if you are going to drink coffee, why not treat yourself to gourmet freshly roasted coffee.  You would be surprised at how much better coffee is when roasted to order.

What I learned from my Trade Show

by Christopher F on November 30, 2011


This weekend we did our very first trade show, representing a couple of our local coffee farmers at the Islandwide Craft and Food Expo here in sunny Honolulu.  For three days we sold two different coffee brands, Sea Mountain Coffee, and Menehune Maid Brand Coffee, both from the Ka’u region of the Big Island.  The Craft and Food Expo is an opportunity for local artisans to showcase their foods and crafts to local sellers. 

Below are a few of the things we learned by doing this gift expo:



  • Only give samples if it showcases your products.  We gave samples of our coffee that showed the quality of the taste.  Our neighbor sold gift baskets, and giving food samples only distracted customers.  Their sales skyrocketed once they quit providing samples.
  • Don’t just leave samples out for people to take.  We pored samples for people instead of leaving them out.  This allowed us to engage customers as they taste, and not just grab and run.  The grazers will pass you bye but the people interested will wait the three seconds for you to pore.
  • Have plenty of samples.  We gave over 1,500 samples and actually ran out of cups in the middle of the second day.  Scrambling to find a place that can sell you cups on a Saturday afternoon is stressful.
  • Set your samples apart.  We made our coffee in French presses which not only (in our opinion) showcases the coffee the best, but also interested potential customers in how it worked. Good thing we had extra presses as we broker two of those as well.

Your Booth

  • Let your banner be your decorations.  We were required to have a tree and a wreath but everyone looked for the signs, not the lights.
  • Be in the middle.  We had our booth along the outer edges which seemed to get less foot traffic then the middle booths.


  • Take the opportunity to meet people.  We took the time to talk with potential wholesale customers for our products.
  • Be kind to your competitors, just distinguish yourself.  We had another local farm that was selling coffee as well.  They made great coffee, the difference between us and them was in roasts.

Know your product

  • Our dark roast was a hit.  While having the bold tastes of South American coffees, the typical lack of bitterness is what continued to impress and surprise people.
  • What makes your product special?  Just tasting our coffee answered that question, but knowing the region where it came from and where the farms were located impressed people.

Don’t forget to smile.  Take pride in your products and how good they are.  Also, don’t forget to tell them where to reorder and the sale price you have versus the stores or online.  If you want to try the coffees that impressed everyone at the show, use the code GIFT for $1 off.  Here is what impressed everyone.  Menehune Maid Coffee

Coffee - From Rot Gut to Refined

by Christopher F on October 18, 2011

Coffee has come along way since I was child.  I am old enough to remember the end of the percolator coffee maker to when my father got his first drip coffee maker.  As a child, the coffee I was introduced to was normally Folgers, and on a rare occasion, Hills Brothers Coffee.  Our neighbor was a Folgers salesmen so we always had free coffee. 

Rot Gut

For many years, Robusto beans that make up the non-premium brands was what most of us thought of as coffee.   Robusto beans yield more coffee beans then the better quality Aribica beans as well as generally more caffeine as well.  It is also, not as good a tasting coffee.  My father called it Rot Gut. It is why my mother moved from coffee to tea and still has a hard time understanding that not all coffees are that way.

Starbucks Years

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Starbucks introduced us to quality Aribica Beans, and a variety of “specialty” brews including Latte’s, cappuccinos and other drinks that never existed, or we could only get at a high end restaurant.  Howard Schultz, wanted to bring Italian coffee to the US.  Howard Schultz has frankly, done a tremendous job elevating coffee to a premium product it is today.  While Tea is predominately drank around the world, in the US, coffee is king.


While Starbucks still does tremendous business, coffee has transitioned once again, and its where Starbucks is going to have a hard time competing with their current business model.  People have discovered, that coffee shares many characteristics with fine wine.  Top quality coffees, like wine, take on the characteristics of the Terroir in which it is grown, just like wine.  Quality roasters and freshness can bring out the characteristics of the coffee unlike a generic blend.

People want to know, like wine, where their coffee is coming from.  Is there a specific region or even farm?  How can a medium roast versus dark change the characteristics?  This is what elevates coffee drinking and makes it fun.  Even home roasting is becoming popular.

Don’t settle for a generic blend, try a coffee from a specific region that allows you to taste the characteristics.  Here at Toy Dog Coffee we deal in farm specific coffees, and roast them to order.  Most of our coffees, our Roast Master has determined the optimal roast to bring out the characteristics of the coffee.  If you need help picking a coffee, please send us an email and we will help you out as best you can!


Living in Hawaii, we have some fantastic coffee, and not just from the famous Kona region.  I hear many people remark, that coffee is to much money here in Hawaii.  It is true, coffee runs $25 - $40 a pound, but I also tell people, you will spend $30 on a bottle of wine that will last you one night, why not try a pound of fresh roasted coffee that will last you several weeks.  You will be surprised at the difference it makes.  If Hawaiian coffee is not for you, we have coffees from all over the world but I would be lying if I didn't tell you our daily coffee was a local Hawaiian varietal.


Food is one of those things that sustain us and bring pleasure.  You have breakfast in the morning, and a cup of coffee.  You meet a potential client for a cup of joe.  You finish a wonderful meal with desert and a nicely pulled espresso.  A regular cup of coffee at your local chain costs you $2.  Over 10 days, that is $20.  Now imagine a better quality coffee for the same price and you have Toy Dog Coffee.  We welcome you to enjoy!


Thanks for stopping

by Christopher Flemming on September 10, 2011

Thanks for stopping by our little shop on the interwebs.  Here you are going to find premium, gourmet coffees, roasted to order and shipped out to you.  We also carry small farm Hawaiian coffees, those that are hard to find on the mainland.  If you have any questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us.