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100 Years of Coffee with Dallis Bros.

Tuesday Jan 15, 2013

You might think that the modern coffee craze began in 1971 with the opening of the first Starbucks in Seattle, Wash. Scroll back the clock a bit further and you will discover the real forerunner of our caffeine-crazed coffee culture: Dallis Bros. Coffee.

It was 1913 when brothers Abe and Morris Dallis began packing their premium beans and selling door-to-door via horse-drawn wagon. A New York story through and through, the company has grown into one of the quiet leaders of the coffee industry, setting the trend for coffee drinking throughout the century and continuing their commitment to sustainable culture.

An American Tradition

Tour Dallis’ roasting plant in Ozone Park, Queens and you’ll find that the smell of coffee emanates not only from the many high-tech gadgets and machines lining the showroom space, but also from the very walls and bricks that have seen so many millions of pounds of coffee processed in the factory.

Though the company was acquired in 2007 by Octavio Specialty Coffees, a Brazilian farm and coffee company, the vibrant Dallis Bros. history has been kept alive, preserving the heart and tenacity of this homegrown story.

What first began as deliveries on horse-drawn carriage eventually evolved to distribution by the famous Ford Model T. The company kept pace with the evolving industrial revolution and volatile world stage during two world wars. Many of the first roasters and grinders are still intact and used in operation.

Later, Dallis Bros. pioneered flavored coffees, keeping in sync with America’s slowly expanding palette. From being one of the very first to foray into the market of specialty and directly traded coffees in the late 80s to becoming the original roaster for such notable coffeehouses as Ninth Street Espresso, Dallis Bros. Coffee has continually established themselves as a leader in coffee trends, not only in New York, but also across the globe.

Roasting the Best Beans

The quest for the finest coffee starts with green beans shipped from farms around the world: Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Sumatra and Tanzania, as well as their own farm in Brazil. Careful profiling of green beans determine any inconsistencies that may occur during farming or transit, ensuring that any beans that could go into testing be the best beans from those already prestigious farms.

The best beans are analyzed for flavor notes that help determine the roasting method, which vary from long and slow to quick and high-heat, just like cooking a steak. The result accentuates the most desirable flavor profiles possible from any selection of beans-something that requires extremely careful control and advanced knowledge-and brings out twice as many aromatics as found in a quality glass of wine.

Dallis Bros. has even embarked upon cutting-edge packing to enhance and preserve their coffee’s flavors. Many companies age their beans to reduce their natural CO2 emission or pack them in simple paper bags, which doesn’t protect the coffee from getting stale fast. Dallis Bros. developed packaging with a heavy-gauge packaging film, nitrogen influxing and special one-way valves that allow flavor and aroma to stay trapped and preserved inside while CO2 slowly leaks out without causing the bags to balloon or explode.

Beyond the bean, Dallis Bros. has instituted a training center, an educational facility within their Ozone Park headquarters. There, aficionados can gather with the Dallis Bros. experts for cuppings (coffee taste tests), seminars, tours and hands-on classes.

As Dallis Bros. enters into a next 100 years, they continue to pave the road for coffee culture through their unique New York viewpoint, embarking on a new era - one worth a second cup.

Good to the Last Drop

Here are a sample of some of Dallis Bros.’ single origin and blends:

Dominican Republic Finca Rufino ($13 - 12 oz.)
A great cup of coffee is sometimes born not just out of dedication, but technology. This coffee is the result of a special technique known as Serrano Supremo, which selects the densest beans at the mill, for a superior flavor when roasted. The deep red grape and blackberry notes of this coffee are a wonderful representation of the Dominican Republic’s potential.

Ethiopia Kochere Yirgacheffe Single Origin Espresso ($16 - 12 oz.)
Ethiopia is known the world over for its beautiful coffee. Not only is it the birthplace of all Arabica coffee, it is home to some of the most diverse regions, varieties and cup profiles. There are notes of lemon, lavender and sweet honey, but the supporting body and chocolate notes make this coffee come alive as espresso.

Brazil Fazenda Nossa Senhora Aparecida ($13 - 12 oz.)
Fazenda Nossa Senhora Aperecida has a story built on a passion for coffee through generations. This lot provides a deliciously sweet, smooth cup laden with notes of honey, graham, milk chocolate and spice.

Ellis Island Blend ($12 - 12 oz.)
As part of their commitment to supporting sustainable growing practices and co-ops in coffee growing countries, Dallis Bros. offer this blend of dark- and light-roasted Fair Trade and Organic (FTO) coffees. This dark roast adds that pleasant bittersweet note and the light roast brings balance with wonderful nutty notes and some acidity.

Red Den Blend ($12 - 12 oz.)
Red Den is a combination of three top quality Arabica coffees from Central America, South America and Indonesia. Each of these three coffees brings a unique element to the blend, both in terms of the origins themselves, the processes utilized during the harvest, and of course the flavor profiles created. These coffees are also grown, processed, and harvested using 100 percent certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified practices. Bold flavors of mesquite, spice, dark chocolate and creamy body are all attributes brought to the fore by our artisanal roasting methodology.

Alphabet City Blend ($14 - 12 oz.)
Since 2001, Ninth Street has been ahead of the crowd: pushing the envelope and changing the way New York City sees an extraordinary cup of coffee. Available only in their shops and directly from Dallis Bros. comes Ninth Street’s own Alphabet City Blend, roasted by Dallis Bros. with coffee from their own fields in Brazil.

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