With Honeyed Cold Brew
It’s World Bee Day on Friday, May 20th, and we in the coffee community are making a bee-line for the honey jar. As an ode to these hard-working pollinators, we’re drizzling the golden nectar into our cups on this special day. For without bees, there would be no coffee.
Bees are essential to coffee plant health, along with migratory birds and other plants and trees. We’re celebrating with our Honeyed Cold Brew recipe below, perfect for the warmer weather. But first, let’s examine what the birds and the bees have to do with coffee.
Why are bees so important for growing coffee?
Several studies show that birds and bees contribute to better coffee tree health, better harvest yields, and thus, better incomes for coffee producers. They almost act as a team: bees pollinate coffee plants, and birds are natural pest control, eating detrimental insects. It’s these wild, biodiverse settings that allow every living organism to play their role. Take one of them out, and the whole ecosystem is in trouble.
Monocropping (growing exclusively corn, wheat, etc. on a large commercial plot of land) is not a sustainable farming practice. A less diverse environment excludes the type of birds and insects that are beneficial to the crop, including bees. Additionally, monocrops starve the soil of nutrients due to their high yield.
It’s no wonder bees are in decline worldwide. If there were no more bees, it would mean disastrous consequences for the global food supply. That’s why it’s imperative that we change our farming practices to encourage our fuzzy friends to stick around.
Beekeeping for coffee farmers
Aside from pollinating coffee trees, bees do other great things for coffee farmers. Beekeeping and honey production as a secondary income has saved many smallholder farmers from economic ruin. In the months when there is no coffee harvest, many farmers and their families run out of money, experiencing seasonal malnutrition. Food 4 Farmers is a non-profit dedicated to helping coffee farmers in Central and South America stay afloat. They offer beekeeping programs and supply coffee farmers with equipment and microloans to help them produce and sell honey.
On May 20, Food 4 Farmers is calling on coffee shops and retailers to donate $1 per honey-added drink to raise funds for their beekeeping programs. Black Creek Coffee will be donating $2 from every sale from May 19th to May 20th to Food 4 Farmers! So make sure to browse our coffee collection and add a spot of honey to your cup.
Honeyed Cold Brew
What better way to celebrate World Bee Day than with our honeyed fizzy cold brew? If you’re new to cold brew, you’re in for a silky surprise. Ground coffee is immersed in cold water and refrigerated for 18-20 hours, resulting in a smooth, yet rich and velvety flavour profile. The colder temperatures slow the extraction rate, and many of the acidic and/or bitter compounds found in hot brewed coffee are left behind with the cold brew method.
Check out our cold brew guide using the convenient Hario Mizudashi cold brewer, and make sure to use medium or dark roast beans. We recommend our Costa Rica Finca El Mango, a medium roast with notes of honey and blackberry jam. Extra-ripe cherries undergo the black honey process, wherein much of the flesh is left on before drying. The sugars from the mucilage alter the flavour of the beans, resulting in a sweet, fruity cup. You can also try it with our Guatemala Huehuetenango, a medium roast with chocolate notes that bears the Smithsonian Bird Friendly certification. This certification is perhaps the best eco-friendly certification that exists, with strict guidelines pertaining to canopy height and plant diversity.
Honeyed Cold Brew Recipe
What you’ll need:
- 2 tablespoons high-quality runny honey
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 500 ml fresh cold brew coffee
- 500 ml sparkling water
- Ice as needed
- 1 large organic lemon (for lemon rind garnish)
- Make your honey syrup. In a small bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons of high-quality runny honey with 1 tablespoon of hot water off the boil. Set aside.
- Clean and dry one organic lemon (it’s best to use an organic lemon to avoid the risk of ingesting pesticides). Using a sharp paring knife, carefully peel off 4 pieces of the rind. Try to use only the surface of the lemon to avoid the bitter pith. Set aside.
- Fill four rocks glasses or highballs halfway with ice. Pour your cold brew half-way into each glass, and top each glass with sparkling water.
- Measure out a heaped teaspoon of the honey syrup into each glass, and stir.
- Squeeze the lemon peel over the glass to infuse the drink with the lemon oil. Tuck the lemon peel into the outer edge of the glass diagonally. Repeat with each drink. Place a metal or paper straw in each glass. Make a toast to the bees and all their hard work, and enjoy.
Bee image by Meggyn Pomerleau