City Girl Coffee Co Breakfast Blend

The Makers: City Girl Coffee Co.

Seattle may be America’s coffeehouse, but the Twin Cities is definitely holding its own. Home to two national brands – Caribou and Dunn Bros – as well as several smaller roasters, dozens of top-notch coffee shops, and a pretty passionate coffee culture.

Somewhere along my caffeinated journey I came across City Girl Coffee Co. The packaging caught my attention with its bright colors and female logo (two rarities) and when I found out it was based out of Duluth and the Twin Cities I was hooked. Besides having great beans this small company also has a great story and a group of passionate people behind it.

Coffee cup

This female owned company sources their beans from women-owned and women-managed farms and a portion of every sale goes back to organizations that support this growing community.

Recently I was honored to correspond with owner Alyza Bohbot about her company, life, and pursuing your passions.

The company, Alakef Coffee Roasters, was originally owned by your parents. Did you always plan on taking over the family business? If not, what were your other aspirations and what made you go into this profession instead? No, actually for a long time I was adamant that I was NOT going to come back into the business. When I was younger, I had dreams of becoming a singer/songwriter, but my junior year in High school; I developed vocal nodules, so none of my auditions to music programs went well. I ended up getting my undergrad in Retail management from Syracuse University, thinking that I maybe wanted to be a department store buyer. After graduation, though, I ended up doing sales for the Boston Beer Company, and after a few years with them, realized that I had a passion for education and helping others, so ended up getting my masters in School Counseling, with the intention of being a High School Guidance Counselor. It wasn’t until my parents called to tell me they had plans to sell the business if I wasn’t interested, that I suddenly felt so strong, internally, that I didn’t want to see the business leave our family. In a moment, I knew I had to come back and try my hand at the family business. I never wanted to look back on my life and wonder, what if?

I love that you are focused on women owned or women managed farms for your sourcing and that you give back to organizations that focus on supporting the success of these women. Have you had the opportunity to see changes or progress from your work? I definitely still think we have a long ways to go in terms of women equality in coffee, but one thing I have noticed is, it is easier for me to find women owned or managed farms to source from now, than it was 2 years ago, so I feel hopeful that we are heading in the right direction! Also, through my participation with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, I have had the great fortune of more direct access to these women, and have been able to hear from them about how being involved with an organization like the IWCA has helped to gain them access to education, resources, and financing. This has helped them improve their farming techniques, bring their coffee to market, and create sustainability for their surrounding communities.

Do you think women in coffee face gender inequalities in the US or are they in a position to help the women growers in other countries? I think a little bit of both. While we are certainly “in a position to help” women growers in other countries, the coffee industry in general is still fairly male dominated. Especially when it concerns coffee roasters. One of the first things I did when I took ownership of the business was get our WBENC certification, which certifies that we are a woman-owned business. This not only gives us a competitive advantage in our market, but we have had so many people reach out to us and tell us how excited they are to support a woman-owned coffee company. Recently, we brought a new female production team member on in Duluth, and she will start her roaster training soon, so we are really excited to continue to expand the roles of females in our industry, both here and abroad.

Finding people who are passionate about what they are pursuing in life is something I truly enjoy. I count you among those people I’ve come across that have found a pursuit that feeds their passions. What do you love about what you do? What keeps you going day after day? I love that I get to be the best part of someone’s day. So many times, you ask someone, “what is the favorite part of your day?” and they will tell you, “that first cup of coffee.” When someone purchases City Girl Coffee or Alakef, they are, in a sense, inviting us into their homes, and we get the chance to make them happy day after day. I just love that!

Coffee is your life so of course we must know – what is your favorite way to make a cup of coffee? I love cold brewed coffee. It tends to be less acidic and our specific cold press blend is so sweet and smooth, you don’t need sugar or cream or anything! Plus, once you brew the concentrate, it is good in your fridge for 2-3 weeks. In the morning, all you have to do is pour it over ice, or dilute it with hot water, and you’re off!

I am super picky about my coffee cups and know some people can’t drink their morning brew without their trusty vessel. Do you have a favorite mug? Is there a story behind it? I don’t have a favorite mug, but there are a few coffee mugs floating around our offices in Duluth, that my dad used for years and years, so I drink out of those whenever I can. It makes me feel like he’s still sitting in the office with me!

Are you a morning only, two time a day, or all day sipper when it comes to your coffee? Sort of depends on what we have going on that day… but usually I drink some in the morning, maybe a cup in the afternoon, but at some point, I usually switch to tea 🙂

As part of this Makers Series I’m chatting with businesses mostly in Minnesota. What do you love about being a small business in Minnesota?  Minnesota has an amazing small business community. I love getting to meet other small business owners and entrepreneurs to share experiences, and learn from one another. Sometimes, as an owner of a company, it can get a little lonely, but by being a part of this community in Minnesota, I never feel like I’m really ever alone! There is always someone willing to lend an ear.

City Girl Coffee Co Breakfast Blend

I just want to thank Alyza for letting me get a little glimpse into her life at City Girl Coffee and encourage everyone to check out these amazing beans.

Share This:

Coffee: A beautiful relationship

Like any good relationship, my courtship with coffee has evolved and deepened. My first taste of coffee came as a kid when my grandma use to give us milk and coffee. Mostly milk with a little splash of coffee . . . so really light brown milk.

When we met again I was far from home living the craziness that is the first year of college. We often met at The Union in the center of campus, coffee wearing the trendy green straw dressed as a frappuccino. Possibly a step closer to the real thing, but still in that sweet early phase when you can’t get enough. Of course, college ended and jobs and the responsibilities of real life hit me hard. Our relationship had evolved to quick and naked jolts of energy before leaving the house. You know, the time in a relationship where you are past trying to impress and you’re just comfortable and don’t always recognize what they do for you.

As always, life continued to evolve and my first baby came into my life. And my reliance on and appreciation for that glorious taste of sanity grew each day. Of course, then coffee went and surprised me and evolved to a smooth delight with the strength to support me all day. When your love for something you thought you knew forwards and backwards is renewed and strengthened – that was cold-press and me. Now we’ve settled into that phase where we just are what we are. We don’t care who judges us for spending to much time together or thinks we should get out with others . . . we are two cubes in a cup and happy as can be.

The Best At Home Cold Press Coffee

1 lb beans, coarsely ground

1 gallon water

Equipment: large bowl or container with a lid; wire mesh strainer; paper filter

Cold press grounds with water

Add the coarsely ground beans to the large container and cover with the gallon of cold water. Stir slightly so all of the grounds are wet. Cover the container and place in the fridge for 18-24 hours.

After 18-24 hours, place a paper filter in the wire mesh strainer over another large bowl or carafe. Pour the coffee/water mixture through the filter to strain out the grounds.

Finished cold press coffee

Enjoy the cold press over ice with your favorite add-ins and watered down to your desired strength. I prefer to use filtered water and add a splash of almond milk, but you do you.

Cold press can be stored in the fridge for up to 14 days (if it lasts that long 🙂 )

 

 

Share This:

November Round-up: Jerky, coffee, and lights

November is over?! It definitely doesn’t feel like this time of year around here. We are just getting snow and temps have been at a comfortable 35-50 degrees.

Well, I guess it is time to admit that another month is gone. So, here are a few things we’ve been enjoying, coveting, and anticipating over the last month.

November

Krave Jerky

As the second year of grad school has worn on, I’ve grown tired of the normal pack-n-go meals. I have plenty of ideas for tasty meals, but lack the time in the kitchen to prepare them. I still like to eat healhty, good tasting food though so I’ve gotten a little creative with options. New favorite is Krave Basil Citrus Jerky. Pair it with some fresh veggies and a pretzels and you’ve got a great meal on-the-go.

Dancing Goat Coffee Shop

I love my neighborhood Caribou because the people who work there and the patrons who you can always count on sitting in their specific seats make it special. But I love coffee and trying new places so occasionally we drive a little farther for our weekend cup of joe. This time we tried Dancing Goat Coffee Shop in the Dayton Bluff neighborhood of Saint Paul. The fresh beans and knowledgable baristas reminded me how much I want to take a tasting class to learn about the different beans, flavors, and aromas of quality coffee. Maybe next month!

Bentleyville

This was our second year attending America’s largets walk through free light display. The set-up was the same as last year, but it was still an amazing sight and it just puts you in the holiday mood. Just a few tips: use one of the shuttle buses rather than waiting in the line of cars trying to pay to park at the site, it is free because of donations from visitors so if you can give a little please do so, and there are lots of places to enjoy a pre or post walk meal but we highly recommend the Canal Park Brewery. 

Travelers Box

We have travelled a lot over seas and as much as we enjoy a few momentos, we hate coming home with lots of foreign currency that we might not ever use again. So I was excited to hear about these new, easy-to-use boxes in airports. You put your extra change in and get gift cards for international brands back. Brands such as Banana Republic, Barns & Noble, Groupon, PayPal and many more. Right now they are only available in Europe, but hopefully we will see them all over the world soon. 

Anything you think I should check out or try next month? Just drop me a note and maybe you will see it in the December round-up. 

 

Share This:

The coffee illusion #Mondaymotivation

The coffee illusion

I fully admit I have a problem sitting still. This weekend wasn’t any different. Date night on Friday and staying up until 11:30pm, because as my husband said “we are adults for one night”. A Saturday full of class work and then a night out with the girls at the Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean concert. Sunday was a time for the whole family to reunite, but still included some yard work and even more school work. My life is amazing and I feel totally blessed to do all of the things I do, but Monday morning always sneaks up on me and without coffee I’m not sure what I would do.

What keeps you going?

P.S. The coffee in the pic is called a Painter’s Mocha and even though I’m not usually a fan of sweet drinks this one is amazing. Black Sheep cafe in South St. Paul is one of our favorite places to get well crafted espresso drinks!

Share This:

Weekly randomness: Caribou nightmares, mother’s day countdown, and Chicago

Have you tried the new Microsoft age guessing site? I did. The results did NOT make my week. I took it as a sign that maybe I need to get more sleep and slow down a bit. If you want to give it a go and let me know how you measured up, I’d be happy to hear I’m not alone in either taking bad pictures or looking more mature than I am 🙂 coffee cup

As a possible sign that the lack of quality sleep is behind is my age discrepancy could be the fact that I had a nightmare about a trip to Caribou Coffee. That is right, I am dreaming about going to coffee shops. And the worst part is what made it a nightmare was the fact that someone threw away my perks card and I got anxious that I would lose all my rewards I’ve built up. I blame it on grad school, long work days, and a toddler that refuses to sleep in on the one day of the week I have the opportunity to. Don’t worry though, my perks card is safely in my wallet – PHEW!

Mother's loveThankfully, this week is the one time I think I will actually get to sleep in on Sunday. It is Mother’s Day after all. Hopefully you have something special planned for your mom or any other special caregiver in your life. If you still need an idea of a sweet gift to send check out this cute site, Make Mother’s Day Count, which figures how many Mother’s Days you probably have with your mother and then lets you put together a special montage of memories with your mom.

Besides the expectation surrounding a full day spent with my two favorite people I’ve been geeking out about an upcoming trip. I am two weeks away from the first of what will hopefully become an annual sisters getaway. We are headed to Chicago and I’ve finally started checking out dining and shopping options. I came across a list of bars to try and local shops to head to. I can’t wait for a little girls time, sleeping in, lots of fun and plenty of shopping.

What kept you busy (or awake) this week?

Share This: