Friday Review: Expedition Roasters
Our first Friday review is a company that if you haven’t heard of yet, you should! Expedition Roasters is a purveyor of Disney and other pop culture inspired coffees and teas. I ordered a couple types of coffee to give them a whirl – and it was so hard to choose! Their flavors all sound pretty delicious!
I also had my husband and Dad try these, as they are serious coffee drinkers (I like a little coffee with my milk and sugar) and they also thought these were great. They enjoyed the Main Street U.S.A. coffee, while I opted for the Haunted Mansion themed coffee, called Happily Never After. Mine is a New Orleans Praline flavored coffee.
My husband really enjoyed the Main Street U.S.A. coffee, (so much that we’ve just ordered the Dark Side coffee for him to try next), as did my father. They drank theirs as they normally would, while I tried to cold brew mine.
In the end, it was good, but I decided that it would taste better as ice cream. Being that this is a food blog, it seems only appropriate, right? Next time, maybe I’ll try some of the tea. I’m a serious tea lover, so I’ve got my eye on those!
Before we get to the recipe for the ice cream, however, the lovely people at Expedition Roasters were awesome enough to let me do a small interview!
Where did the idea for Expedition Roasters come from?
I’ve always had a love of great tea and later on great coffee. While experimenting with some home coffee roasting, a family member was looking for donations for their animal rescue and the idea of combining a specialty coffee that could benefit animal rescues was born. Since then my wife and I have brought our love of Disney and pop culture into our products and created the Themed Coffee™ experience. We’ve been able to work with some amazingly talented artists, some who have worked with Disney, to create a fully immersed bag featuring art, story and a specific roast to compliment the coffee drinking experience.
On average, how many different tries/tastings does it take before a new coffee flavor gets approved?
We either start with an idea or theme we want to do and from there we try and create a roast/flavor that will work well with it. Occasionally we have a roast or flavor we love first and see what type of theme would fit. If it’s going to be a non-flavored coffee we’ll work to make a blend that will highlight the mood and theme of the project. If it’s going to be a flavored coffee we work with our flavorist to make up some samples for us and then see how it works with the roast we want to use. We usually start with about 4-5 variations on a flavor so it doesn’t get too overwhelming. We’ll invite friends and family over to do a tasting and see if anything is a hit. If it is we’ll put that into production, if not but it’s close we’ll create a few more variations to try or go in a new direction if it just doesn’t seem to be working.
We’re hoping to be able to bring our fans into the process on a future release to help suggest a flavor and then do an open tasting with them!
What is your favorite coffee/brewing method/way to drink it?
I usually French Press our coffee at home but if it’s busy at work I’ll sometimes just throw some in our reusable k-cup pod and brew it in the Keurig. I also do love doing a pour over brew on the weekends. It’s very relaxing and zen like for me.
What is the hardest part of creating a new blend?
The hardest part is getting all the elements of the project together. We work with many different people from the artist, our flavorist, our bag printer and green coffee buyer just to be able to release one of our coffees. It’s a big process and takes a couple of months typically.
How do you choose what to make next?
It’s usually pretty wide open. We have a lot of ideas already in house we want to bring on as well has hearing what our fans want us to do. There may also be a movie or attraction coming up that we want to have a release for so there’s no set format on how we choose what to do next.
What does the process look like from beginning to end?
It starts with the idea for the theme. The next step is to see which of our artists (or perhaps a new artists that wants to work with us) is available to do the art within the time frame needed. We also have our flavorist start the process of creating some samples for us. Once the roast is decided and we have the flavor samples in house we schedule a time with our friends to do the sample tasting. Once that is chosen and the artwork approved we work on the story to go along with the theme and do the finally bag layout. The final art is then sent off to our printer to get a proof made up. If it all looks good on the proof bag it goes off to print production and we wait for that shipment to come in. Once we have the bags in house is usually when we make our announcement about our latest coffee release so that way we can roast, bag and ship the orders right away for the freshest coffee delivered to our fans.
The tea process is quite similar except we’ll have our tea sommelier create some variations of the style of tea we want to use and sample those.
Can you hint at any future plans?
We have so many new coffees and teas that will be coming out and we hope to get our fans more involved in the creative process. We think that wold be really fun to do. We’re also trying to get to more events so we can meet with our fans face to face as we love interacting with everyone.
What is your favorite thing about what you do?
For me it’s the creative process. I’ve always loved drawing, building and making things, so to be able to create something and share it with other people who have the same passion and love is really amazing. When those first orders of something new you’ve created get to our fans and you start to hear back either on social media or through emails about how much they also love it, it’s pretty wild.
What is your favorite Disney movie/character? Ride in the parks?
For myself it would be Tomorrowland, a very underrated movie that I think has the essence of Walt’s ideology. Goofy is my favorite character and Jungle Cruise is my favorite attraction.
For my wife it would be Cinderella. Maleficent is her favorite character and Space Mountain in Disneyland is her favorite attraction.
What is the biggest difference in creating a tea blend vs a coffee blend? How is the process different?
It’s actually very similar. While you may be roasting and blending a couple of different coffee beans from different regions to create a particular roast and maybe adding a flavor to it, you’re almost doing the same with tea. You’re selecting a type of tea and the region and adding other elements of flowers, fruits or cocoa to flavor it further. The only real difference is you’re not “cooking” the tea leaves in the process.
What is your favorite tea?
An Oolong is usually my go to tea as I can make it either hot or iced.
For those of you who like a little coffee in your ice cream, here’s the recipe for ice cream – and I have to recommend the New Orleans Praline. It was delicious coffee! The praline in this really comes out well, and how strong the coffee flavor is really depends on how strong you brew your coffee.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3-6 T coffee grounds
- 1 cup granulated sugar
First, in a saucepan over medium heat, heat the whole milk to steaming, but not boiling.
Place coffee grounds in a tea bag or french press, then pour hot milk over the grounds. Let brew for 3-5 minutes (if you want a stronger coffee flavor, use more coffee and brew longer).
Press the grounds out, then place the milk in the saucepan again with the sugar and heat over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat, then mix in the heavy cream. Let the mixture cool to room temperature and pour into an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer's directions.