Ian Holiday is the top roastmaster for Majestic Blends. Before helping Majestic Blends find their perfect beans to fuel life’s adventures, Ian learned the craft of coffee over the last 10 years with two other coffee companies. He has taken his expertise to help us create our flavorful roasts.
How do you source the best coffee for Majestic Blends?
We look for high-quality beans from farms that are using organic and sustainable growing practices. Some of the beans that we offer are part of the Rainforest Alliance. We love partnering with farms that also give back to their communities and protect the environment so that the wild places stay wild.
For example, the Brazilian beans in our Bigfoot Dark Roast and Ponderosa French Roast come from a family farm that uses solar energy for depulping beans, and their farms are surrounded by 750 acres of native forest that protect the coffee trees naturally from wind and erosion.
Also, our Peruvian beans are certified fair trade and organic. This particular coffee is sourced from a collective of 124 women producers. The collective gives back to its community by investing in basic infrastructure and providing training in sustainable practices. We blend these beans into our Northwest Donut Shop.
What’s the secret to perfectly roasted coffee?
Part of what got me hooked on roasting coffee was the way that you could roast the same beans and highlight different flavors.
Learning how to roast and blend three different coffees is art and science. You need to understand how to blend the fruity and citrus flavors of one bean with the chocolate and caramel flavors of another bean. That’s going to bring out a complex flavor that’s better than the sum of its parts.
What was your first experience with coffee?
My grandfather used to drink instant Folgers or Maxwell House mixed with a little hot cocoa mix. I didn’t know anything about craft coffee or flavor notes — or where coffee even came from.
How did you discover craft coffee?
When I was a college student, I used to work in coffee shops and sip craft coffee. That’s when I started noticing different flavors in the coffee. The coffee roasters explained that the same bean had been processed in two different ways — one batch with a wet process and another with a dry process. So I took the two coffees home and brewed them side by side. I couldn’t believe how many different flavor notes I tasted in each one. That got me hooked. I then went on to dedicate a lot of time to learn what really made craft coffee special, like quality, sourcing practices, roasting styles, brewing parameters, and really distinguishing how to taste different nuances in each coffee.
How is coffee best consumed?
Some people love the intense flavor of espresso. Espresso-based beverages are very popular. What’s cool about them is that, through different roasting practices, you can bring out different chocolate, caramel, and nut flavor and highlight them with milk and cream.
The traditional European style is a shot of espresso. I appreciate it for what it is, but it’s not what I typically drink.
There’s a growing trend of cold brews. A new trend is flash brewed coffee where you brew it hot but then cool it down with ice to highlight the bright flavors. Cold brew tends to highlight some of the more chocolate and savory tones.
How do you take your coffee?
Personally, I prefer hot coffee served straight-up. What I like is the different flavor notes that you can get from brewing hot. Hotter water brings out more acidity and fruitier notes that you can pick up from your coffee.
There’s nothing wrong with adding sugar or cream, but I typically don’t because I want to taste the different flavors for what they are. What I learned about great coffee is that it can taste great without additions, but the other cool thing about coffee is that it acts as a great palette to have you express your personality with how you like to enjoy it .
What are your favorite kinds of adventures? And how does Majestic fuel you?
Recently I’ve been enjoying taking a few weekends each month and doing a little day trip. It’s easy for day-to-day life and work to take over, so getting out of town helps me remember why I live where I do–the natural beauty that is just minutes away. We’ll wake up early, brew a cup of coffee, and hit the road. By the time the coffee starts to kick-in we’ve already seen the sun hit the peaks of the Cascade Mountains, crossed one of the many rivers nearby–Deschutes, Crooked River, or Metolius. We’ll get out and play in nature, then find a local restaurant to grab lunch, go play some more, then head back home while we watch for the sun to set behind the Cascades.
Majestic Blends coffee was born out of the desire to remind us of those much-needed adventures. Each blend speaks to those parts of the Northwest that speak to a part of our enjoyment of life here in Bend. So, even in the middle of the week when you’re dealing with work or life, you know that your coffee is reminding you to stop and remember those parts of life that are meant to be special.