A Bit More About Us

We wanted to share an interview with our President and CEO Josh Dick, who talked a bit about Urnex at the World of Coffee SCAE event in Rimini, Italy in June.

This interview was filmed by Coffee T&I Magazine:

“At Urnex, we think about ourselves as not just making cleaning products or chemicals, but as helping our customers make better tasting coffee.”

–Josh Dick


Full transcript:

Hello my name is Joshua Dick, and I am the President and CEO of Urnex Brands.

Urnex was founded by my great grandfather in 1936. Today, we are sold in over 70 countries around the world. We’re specialists in making cleaning products for coffee machines. The range of our products is seen over here and we have everything from very traditional powders for cleaning espresso machines to tablets for fully automatic coffee machines. We make a line of milk system cleaners both in liquid and, now a very new product for us, a tablet based milk system cleaner.

One of the other products you may have heard of is our Grindz, which is our patented grinder cleaner. It is the only product in the world that is a coffee-bean shaped tablet that all you do is grind to clean away the coffee (oils).

Everything else in our line includes products for filter coffee, home coffee machines, and descalers. In general, anything you can imagine needing in a coffee retail environment.

At Urnex, we think about ourselves as not just making cleaning products or chemicals, but as helping our customers make better tasting coffee, and that’s really our focus. We want everything we do to be of value: cleaning away old coffee oil so that the coffee can taste its best.

Pretty good?

 

Reflections on SCAA and Boston

Ten days ago we arrived in Boston for the 25th annual Specialty Coffee Association of America. It was a time to see old friends, meet new ones, and learn about everything going on in the fast changing world of coffee. We had the thrill of seeing Pete Licata win the right to represent the U.S. at the World Barista Championship to be held in Melbourne, Australia. We also had the chance to see Erin McCarthy of Counter Culture win the US. Brewers Cup Title and the chance to compete at the SCAE World of Coffee held in Nice, France. It was an amazing event filled with enthusiasm and passion for coffee. We packed our things and left town on Sunday and then Monday happened….

This unnecessary Boston Marathon bombing took three lives and painfully altered many, many others. While I’m angered and frightened by this event, I’m also reminded of the power of coffee and some relevant insight shared with me by an Urnex distributor in a war torn part of the world.coffee farm photo

I remember the day our distributor told me that he wished all his country’s enemies would develop a love of coffee – it is a pleasure shared with friends and loved ones and a focal point for conversations about life and an opportunity for self-reflection. He believed that those that learn to embrace and enjoy coffee don’t have the time or interest in terror or fear. If more people learn to love coffee, we have one special thing we can count on each day.

Maybe the mission of the SCAA and all our friends in the coffee community will not only be one of teaching the world about coffee. Maybe it will also help us find a happier and more peaceful world community. For now, we send our thoughts and sympathies to the people of Boston.

Josh

A Guest Blogger from Dublin Reflects: Coffee or Guinness?

Dublin city on a typical Irish summer day and I decide to get out of the rain for a while. I bolt into my favourite place and plonk myself onto a high stool. “Your usual?” I am greeted by a friendly face.
guinness-irish-coffee
And so begins my time of waiting for this most precious of liquids. In contemplation, I can never understand what made me convert to this liquid nectar. Prior to this I found the taste offensive and probably disgusting. But now without it coating my mouth on a daily basis I feel like something is missing.

‘So what is it then?’ I ask myself. Is it the care and skill required in the amalgamated processes that produces the finest qualities? Hmmm. Maybe then it is the surge and settle of it as it mixes in the glass and then relaxes into two very distinct and separate liquids: the dark mysterious body sealed with a dense creamy head.

What about its elusive, difficult to achieve perfection that everyone tries to strive towards – the perfect pour? No, that’s not it. Surely it’s the taste then: the way your brain jumps up and down for joy at each sip and your palate cries out for more!

Hang on—it’s the interaction you have with other people, the sharing of good and bad experiences this drink has given you! Finally I realise what it is now; it is all of the above—the combination of the whole process that makes me come back time and time again for more. My resistance for it is futile…

So some join me for a glass of this elixir of life – Espresso or Guinness you decide what I am talking about?
-Damian

Damian Marshall is the Technical Service Manager and an Innovation Expert for Bewley’s Coffee in Dublin. Bewley’s is the largest coffee roaster in Ireland and has been in business since 1840. Aside from his involvement with the Irish Barista Championship and his passion for coffee, Damian has been known to enjoy a cold Guiness or six…

City Coffee Crawl

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Last week we took the opportunity to go into Manhattan and explore the vibrant coffee scene of the city. On a rainy New York day we coffee-crawled around NYC’s Lower East Side and reminded ourselves of the delightful world of coffee we are a part of.076

There were six stops on our coffee tour, and each provided us with something different to marvel at: from that delicious shot of espresso the barista wanted to get just right to the filter coffee dripped to perfection; from the presentation of the coffee beans waiting to be sold to the presentation of the latte with a rosetta in the center of the cup; from standing room only to a bevy of seats in a coffee shop that doubles as a theater lobby, we experienced coffee.

It was awakening, like that kick of caffeine always is, and a great reminder of why we do what we do: we love that there are so many passionate people out there working tirelessly to make the best cup of coffee they can.

Because that’s what we do, too: we want to be a part of the process that takes you to the best cup of coffee.

Next time, we’re going to Brooklyn!

Our stops:

Bluebird Coffee Shop (72 East 1st St NY, NY 10003)
Caffe Vita (124 Ludlow St NY, NY 10002)
The Roasting Plant (81 Orchard St NY, NY 10002)
Everyman Espresso (116 East 13th St NY, NY 10003)
Porto Rico Importing Co. (40 1/2 St. Marks Pl, NY NY 10003)
Abraco (86 East 7th St NY, NY 10003)

Charlie

Keep It Fresh: 5 Tips for Coffee Storage

It is easy to identify mold growing on bread or when fruit is rotten. Dairy products have expiration dates printed on the packaging to let us know when they are no longer safe to eat. But how do you know when your beloved coffee — arguably the most integral part of your morning routine — isn’t worth using?

While stale coffee isn’t a likely danger to your health, it is a shame of a missed pleasure. So, spit out that old cup of D’oh and take these steps towards fresher, better coffee.

homer-simpson-coffee-googled-image

Here are some tips:
1. Protect coffee from light, heat, and moisture – store your coffee in an air tight container.

2. Don’t freeze your coffee. Removing and replacing coffee into the freezer will cause it to freeze and thaw. If coffee tasted better from the freezer, then you would buy it in the frozen food section!

3. We don’t believe you should store coffee in your refrigerator either—again too much moisture in there!

4. Check the roast date. We like to enjoy micro-roasted coffee within two weeks of roasting. Obviously, that doesn’t work with pods, capsules, and grocery store brands produced in large facilities and transported to you. Try to mark the date when you bought the cups or beans on the packaging so you know how old it is. Even the best packaging can’t keep coffee forever. Try to use it all within 6 months.

5. Don’t let old coffee contaminate the good stuff! Remember, old coffee grinds in your grinder or coffee residue in your machine can linger and contaminate your new, fresh coffee. Give your machine a quick rinse or clean—even machines deserve a fresh start, too!

Do yourself a favor and freshen it up; don’t drink stale coffee!

Josh

Should you be cleaning your coffee machine with vinegar?

Vinegar is an incredibly versatile product and has become a household staple as it is cheap, widely available, and can be used for just about anything. One misconception about vinegar is that it is a good way to clean and descale coffee machines. While it may sound self-serving, here’s why it is a bad idea to use vinegar:

1. The vinegar leaves a strong odor (as everyone knows) that can co-mingle with coffee oil, turning your fresh brew into a “fresh ew.”
2. It does not clean! While vinegar might be able to gently break down some hard water deposits, it does not effectively clean your coffee machine or remove oils.
3. It takes forever to rinse: our tests show that vinegar takes 3.5 times longer to rinse out of a drip brewer or capsule machine than does Dezcal, Full Circle Descaler, or other Urnex Brands, Inc. products.

There you have it: vinegar is great for almost anything. Rather than waste water trying to rinse out your semi-cleaned and now-smelly coffee machine, use a professionally formulated coffee machine cleaner or descaler.

And to prove that we at Urnex do not hate vinegar, here are a few of our favorite places to use vinegar (just some of the 1,001 ways to use vinegar):

1. Wacky cake—quick rise cake made without yeast, eggs, butter, or milk
2. Easter eggs—vinegar is an important component for coloring!
3. Window cleaner—simply combine vinegar, water, and some elbow grease!
4. Salad dressing—it’s as easy as olive oil and vinegar!
5. Pickling—come on, who doesn’t love pickles?

Josh

A Great Holiday Gift Idea – Build a Pour Over Coffee Package!

Being in the coffee industry, I often give coffee related gifts. One of my favorites is my own personally assembled kit for making fantastic coffee at home. The beauty of this gift is that you can make it more or less expensive depending on how many of the parts you’d like to include.

1. I like to build the gift around a pound of great coffee from one of my favorite micro roasters. Try a single origin from a part of the world that has meaning to you or a recommended seasonal blend. You can buy online from some of the big names in specialty coffee like Intelligentsia, Stumptown, and Counter Culture, or pick up a pound at your local roaster.
Cost: $10-$15
Total Gift: $10-$15

2. Next, I like to include a V-60 pour over and a pack of filters. This is the key to great hand poured coffee at home.
Cost: about $25
Total Gift (1+2): $35-$40

3. If you really want to impress, include a Hario VKB-120 Coffee Drip Kettle for precision pouring…
Cost: about $50.
Total Gift (1+2+3): $85-$90

4. To complete the set, include a burr grinder. There are many choices for grinders on the market so you may want to research what fits your preference (and price range!). I’d start by looking at Baratza, Capresso, or Cuisinart; Hario makes a mini mill slim, hand grinder for $33.
Cost: An electric grinder will range from $99 to $400.
Total Gift (1+2+3+4): ~$200

5. Of course, it’s always a good idea to include some equipment cleaner from Urnex… but that’s enough on the topic from me.

Happy Holidays!

Josh

Are you ready to serve great coffee to your guests?

Holidays are coming! What are you going to do to make sure you serve the best coffee to your guests?

Here are a few things to consider:

1. Put some effort into defining your recipe for coffee. How many scoops do you like to use and how much water? Have you started grinding fresh yet?
(You know that one of your guests is going to ask to help in the kitchen – do you have it all laid out well enough in your mind so you can let them make the coffee and it will still taste right?)
2. Have you decided on your favorite brand of coffee? Are you going to try something new for the entertaining season?
3. Are you going to use that percolator or will you be brewing by the cup? Do you have enough pod/capsule/cups around to let everyone choose?
4. Do you have a decaf option ready?
5. Is your machine clean and descaled?

Enjoying coffee with friends and family is that special treat that brings us together and creates a relaxing environment. Make sure you’re drinking and preparing coffee worthy of the close friends you’ll be entertaining.

Josh

Thanksgiving and Coffee

Thanksgiving and coffee. This great US holiday and a beautiful warm beverage seem to fit perfectly. Coffee is the foundation for conversation and a staple with dessert.

We want to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday. We hope you share some great coffees with those you love.

Just because I couldn’t resist, I googled Thanksgiving Coffee and found this very useful brewing guide written by Paul Katzeff. Thanksgiving Coffee is an impressive organization with high quality coffee and a great mission. Check them out: http://www.thanksgivingcoffee.com

Josh

Hurricane Sandy and Ways to Prepare to Make Coffee Without Electricity

This has been a rough past week for those of us who live in the path of Hurricane Sandy. Our hearts and sympathies go out to all those who are still struggling to rebuild.

Living without grid power got me thinking about ways to make coffee without electricity. First, I realized the need to skip the practice of fresh ground because I don’t have a hand crank grinder (but that could be an investment to consider). Second, I’m lucky to have a gas powered range so boiling water was no problem.

It was all pretty easy in my house because we use a V60/Melitta style pour over every day. If you’ve never made coffee this old fashioned way, give it a try. The taste profile is clean and the 3 to 4 minutes process of pouring the water over the grounds is somehow soothing. A V60 is a just a simple cone that holds a paper filter and controls the release of the water over the coffee. It might be worth having one around in times like these because sometimes the smallest luxuries can help ease the stress.

Here are some other options:
Moka pot
Melitta or V60 (filter required)
Chemex (filter required)
French Press

Warmest wishes for a fast recovery and rebuilding ahead.

Josh