Phone: (805) 927-0670

Tom’s Blog

tom walsh of cambria coffee roasting company

MAY 2014


Wow, it’s been waaay too long since I’ve posted last.  But the bright side of that is I have lots of good news, so here goes;  To put it mildly, things have been busy here at the shop.  Some new faces have joined us … (say Hi to Chelsea and Sharelle when you get a chance), we’ve added some comfortable chairs for sunning and people watching on the deck upstairs, we’ve added some new coffees and blends to our menu and lots of training and cupping going on.  And … the 2nd part of my infamous “Making a great cup of coffee at home” series is going to post this weekend!  Stay tuned.

The big news this week however is this: Kenneth Davids,, May 2014, rated our Ethiopian Danch Meng at 94!  This ranking puts CCRC’s Danch Meng in the top tier of quality coffees from around the world!  Here’s the link and click on “read the complete review” to see the full article:


This is truly an awesome accolade and it’s been a total team effort here.  All of the employees provided me feedback as we refined the roast profile and the end result is truly an amazing coffee.  I want to THANK all of the people that work at the shop for an excellent job well done!



tom walsh of cambria coffee roasting company

We have a really exquisite new coffee here for the Holidays!  It originates from one of the Peterson’s  family farms, Hacienda La Esmeralda, and grows from a unique varietal of the coffee plant named “Geisha” or “Gesha”.

For those of you that have not had the opportunity to try a Geisha, it is a real treat.  Believed to have its roots in Ethiopia, it has similar aroma and flavor characteristics of those much sought after coffees.

What does it taste like?  Well let me quote Thompson Owen of Sweetmaria’s fame:

” Sweet dark berry aromatics with a floral accent, almost like fresh hopped beer. The wet aroma has jasmine and ripe cherry notes, honey, brown bread, and soft milk chocolate at slightly darker roast levels. The cup has a light-yet-juicy body. Interestingly, after these knock-out aromatics, the first sip of the hot brew can be a little bit underwhelming. Wait for the temperature to drop a few degrees and it really “opens up.” The sweetness and fruit juice aspects of this years Esmeralda are astounding.”

As an aside, for those of you interested in all things coffee (especially home roasting) check out his web site at

For most of you, this coffee is something that you’ve probably not experienced before.  It is not your typical big, bold, roasty brew.  It is a very refined, almost delicate coffee that has a ton of complexity.  It is medium to light bodied, reminiscent of an Earl Grey tea actually.

My interest in making this specific coffee available is to show the wide range of complexity and unique flavors the coffee world has to offer.

I once heard it described in this fashion…”I can’t afford the worlds highest priced wine, or drive the most expensive car, or visit the most exclusive spa, but I can afford the most exquisite coffee the world has to offer”.

I hope you take the opportunity to expand your coffee horizons!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Joyous New Year to All!


tom walsh of cambria coffee roasting company

Welcome back!  I thought I’d start a series of posts that describe how to make good coffee at home.  I’ve had a lot of questions from customers recently about why their coffee doesn’t taste the way it does here at the shop.  And it gradually dawned on me that the very basics of making coffee are sometimes mis-understood or are mis-applied at home.

So here we go with the first of what I think will be 4 posts on making coffee.

Making a great cup of coffee at home

As most of you that know me can verify; I love my coffee.  I make coffee at home just about every day of the year, and I’ve come to notice how hard it can be to consistently make a great cup.  Which got me to wonder how many of you face the same problem. And although brewing an excellent cup can be quite simple, there are some very important pieces of the puzzle that need to be in place before one can aspire to coffee excellence.  With these initial blogs, I am going to explain the issues around brewing great coffee, and the steps you need to take to be able to consistently create that perfect cup.

I will break down the process of brewing great coffee into 4 individual segments:

  • Water
  • Coffee and Coffee to Water Ratio
  • Coffee Grind and Grinders


  • Brew Methods


Wow, as I prepared for writing these essays I did quite a bit of research on water and what constitutes good water for coffee.  I think I could have saved myself some pain and just hit myself on the head with a hammer for a couple of hours instead.  To say that good water is critical for a great cup of coffee is an understatement.  To begin to describe what good water is and how you get it is almost impossible to do and still have you read this blog.  However, I will make this issue simple for you.  Just bear with me a moment.

Before I tell you how to obtain good water, let me first explain a few things about coffee and water.

Coffee is approximately 98.75% water.  Just water.  Yes, that 12 oz. cup of coffee you drink is 11.85 ounces of water.  Only about 1.25% is actual coffee.  So you can see why having fresh, good tasting water is so important in making a good cup.

How can you tell what good water is?  This is where things get to be a bit tricky.

Good water needs to have some mineral content to help extract the appropriate contents from the coffee.  Too much mineral content will begin to flavor the water, will do harm to heating components in your brewing equipment and not allow the water to extract all it needs from the coffee.  Too little mineral content in the water (as in distilled water) and it will begin to taste flat and actually over extract the coffee.  Measuring the waters Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is one way to begin to understand how much “stuff” is in your water.  And, yes, you can do this at home with a relatively cheap piece of equipment (~$25) called a TDS meter available at and other places, but probably necessary for only the geeks out there.

Quality water for coffee should have a TDS reading of 75-150 parts per million (ppm) or mg/L (essentially ppm and mg/L are equivalent).

Usually, the water that the city or county provides to our homes isn’t water that will help our coffee.  It is either too hard or too soft (meaning too much mineral content) or treated with chemicals that can affect flavor (chlorine is really noticeable).

Well, what about home water treatment?

Water Softening:  Some may think that since they use a water softening system at home their water is good for coffee.  Unfortunately that is not true.  Many home water systems don’t meet the criteria for making a really good cup of coffee.  Water softeners typically use ion exchange mechanisms, meaning they trade one or more minerals for others, and do not reduce the total amount of minerals in the water. Usually they remove calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate (major contributors to hard water) and replace them with sodium or potassium ions.  The sodium can be quite noticeable in taste and is definitely a problem in making quality-brewed coffee.

Reverse Osmosis: RO water is water that has been thoroughly filtered to remove most of the solid “stuff” in water.  Typically, RO systems are greater than 90% efficient in removing mineral content.  An example: water that is very hard, 350 or greater TDS could be refined to water that had at TDS of 35 or less.  Although this is probably much better in quality than softened water, it runs the risk of being too clean and tasting flat and over extracting coffee.

So now that we have established that good water quality can be described as having a TDS of approximately 75-150 ppm and no noticeable minerals, chemicals, or gasses that will contribute “off” flavors, what is one to do?  The simple answer is to purchase good bottled water.  With this one change I believe most of you will detect a noticeable and positive difference in the quality of coffee you make at home.  Try it.  Pour a glass of water that you have from home and do the same with some bottled water that you purchased.  Take a sip of each.  Try it on your family members.  Clean, pure water with the correct mineral content tastes great.  And remember…it’s 98+% of your coffee.

Not all bottled waters are equal, so which ones are worth purchasing?  Well personally, I use Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water.  It is readily available in my area and not expensive.  It usually has a TDS reading around 125, so it has just about the correct amount of mineral content and no chlorine or other chemicals that affect taste.

Here is a good link that provides an analysis of most of the globally produced bottled water along with TDS levels and other interesting facts:

Yes, water quality is really important!


Well, you’ve made it through Part 1!  My next post will talk about how to get the correct amount of coffee ready to grind for the amount of liquid coffee you want to drink.  Sounds simple, huh?  Stay tuned….


tom walsh of cambria coffee roasting company


Welcome to the new web presence for Cambria Coffee.  I hope you like it.  I will be using this space to discuss topics around coffee that I hope you all find informative and useful. A lot of the discussion initially will involve instructions and thoughts on how best to purchase, store, brew and enjoy coffee. So many of those activities are taken for granted that some of the basic concepts have been lost or misconstrued. I hope to help you understand the concepts behind those issues so that your enjoyment of this fantastic little bean is made that more satisfying.
From time to time the topics will delve into the current trends in specialty coffee, global issues in the industry, and other items of interest for us all.
Additionally, for those of you that love our coffee here at Cambria Coffee Roasting Company, you may click on the above link “Buy Coffee” to get to our on-line store.
Thank You all for visiting!

Thought’s on the brew

Welcome to the new web presence for Cambria Coffee.  I hope you like it.  I’ll use this page to keep you updated on all the new and exciting happenings in the coffee world…

We here on the California Central Coast are lucky to be in the heart of one of the state’s most vibrant areas for coffee production.  And though many people likely recognize Cambria and surrounding communities for the high-quality wine that is made here, coffee been roasting and brewing is rapidly on the rise toward becoming a trademark of local excellence.  Many similarities exist in the process of making these distinct and delicious local drinks. In the process creating a great cup of coffee or glass of wine, the person responsible for crafting them must master a delicate balance of art and science in order to create the best quality product.

And just as someone with a sophisticated and trained palate may be able to identify a wine made from grapes grown in a certain region, the same can be said for coffee. Each geographic area where coffee beans are grown has a unique flavor profile, similar to the locally grown grapes that comprise our award winning Cabernets, Chardonnays, and Viogniers.

Ultimately though coffee beans are only as good as a roast master can make them. One’s deftness in the ability to coax the finest flavors from a bean is what makes the best cup of coffee. This is much like how our favorite wines are perfected by a skilled winemaker. Because certainly if the process of making great wine or coffee didn’t demand a lot of talent, we would all do it!   It is in the roasting process that the roastmaster develops each coffee’s unique flavors through a precisely controlled roasting process. The raw beans are heated for an exact amount of time at the perfect temperature necessary to achieve the desired flavor. Over the course of a mere 15 minute process, coffee beans are roasted to the low or mid-400 degree mark, as the roastmaster controls how quickly the beans are brought to the desired temperature. And once the beans arrive at the preferred temperature they are dumped quickly into the cooling bin from the roasting chamber. Only after extensive trials and tastings is an experienced roastmaster able to craft the correct flavor of a coffee through the roasting process.

Cambria and the Central Coast is becoming a haven for those who love coffee.  Located on a stretch of beautiful coast between the hectic urban environments of San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Central Coast offers an escape opportunity to those looking to enjoy life moving at a more leisurely pace.

And the cozy confines of Cambria are some of the most inviting to come enjoy the highest quality local coffees. Our coffee houses and local roasters offer a great opportunity to spend some time enjoying the chance to relax and chat with friends, both old and new.

Those of us in the greater Cambria coffee community want to share our passion for a great cup of coffee, or fine espresso drink, with the world. Here we are different than the large corporations that mass-produce coffee. We don’t buy into the philosophy that one cup serves all. Let us show you that coffee can be more than just a drink. It can be a gateway, opening into the culture of one of our state’s most beautiful areas.

So come to Cambria. And let us show you that if you need a great cup of joe, this is the place you need to go.