Our Roasting Philosophy
We believe in the righteousness of the medium roast. Yes, even and especially for our espresso blends ("espresso roast" - what the heck is that?!). While we develop a distinct roast profile for each bean we use and never blend before roasting, the target is always the deep matte mahogany brown of the medium roast (though our roast style would likely be considered "medium/dark" compared to some of our Bay Area contemporaries). That's because we believe this roast style goes beyond the sourness/brightness of lighter roasts to fully develop and highlight the flavors of origin, stopping just when the sugars are fully caramelized and still preserved inside the bean - before they seep to the surface to oxidize and char, leaving the coffee overly bitter. Thus, when you grind a portion of Scarlet City beans, all that sweetness, pure coffee aroma, and flavor is released from the bean into your cup, keeping the natural acidity and bitterness in perfect balance. Our beans are always roasted in small batches, which leaves us with total control over how they are roasted, every time. Speaking of time, you'll always know when the beans you buy from us were roasted - it's right there on the bag. And since we only sell freshly roasted beans, chances are you'll remember exactly what you were doing on the day they were roasted.
Signature Espresso BlendsBlending beans for espresso preparation is one of our most favorite things in all the land. Selecting delicious coffees to present as single-origins is always fun - don't get us wrong. But we love the process of identifying the flavors and textures that we want to appear in a Scarlet City shot and figuring out how to get them in there. That entails finding just the right beans to contribute the qualities we're looking for and seeing how they play with the other beans in the blend. Sometimes, we're surprised when a bean we love alone recedes or dominates when sharing a cup with other beans. Sometimes we're amazed when a bean that doesn't seem to be anything special on its own turns out to be the thing that brings out the best in its blend-mates. We craft our espresso blends not only to taste rich and complex on the palate with voluminous crema that lasts for days, but to perform well under a variety of preparation conditions, allowing baristas of any skill level and equipment to prepare great tasting espresso consistently. We think the experience, discrimination and love we give to this process sets us apart from others, but we know that you'll be the judge of that.
Women's Coffees :: Sisterhood is PowerfulAt Scarlet City, we recognize that women continue to face special challenges in participating in the formal economy. We believe we can contribute to a more equitable economy by intentionally seeking out coffees that result from women's work that is rewarded equitably, or that come from woman-owned enterprises or from projects that deliberately focus on advancing women's health, economic development and standing in their communities. With so many steps in the coffee production process, what does that really mean? It means we go out of our way to find superior coffees that come from farms that are women-owned. It means that we focus on purchasing coffees from farms that invest in the health, economic development and advancement of human rights of women in coffee farm-worker communities. It means that we favor coffees milled and imported by women-owned businesses. It means that any chance we have to support our sisters, you can count on us to do that. We bring these coffees to you in the form of our lineup of outstanding single-origin coffees for drip or other non-espresso preparation, all of which highlight the important role women play in bringing the coffee to our cups. Our commitment to supporting women also means that we use the same approach when selecting suppliers for our other needs. And finally, it means we invest in women's efforts in the social, business, herstorical, and entertainment sectors. Past projects we have funded include Women's Initiative for Self-Employment, "Wonder Women : The Untold Story of American Superheroines", Global Fund for Women, "Women on the Land", Women Drummers International, SFWAR, popuphood Oakland, Feminist Current, and Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project.