Equator Coffees - Jack the Bear Espresso - 12 oz.
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I consider coffee to be a religious discipline of sorts: it begins my day, like prayer does for some; is a sacrament at every familial function, friendly gathering, and every celebratory or solemn occasion. If I venture out for a walk in a strange city, the quest for it directs me along my way. I offer it to every soul who enters my house, and likewise I would never refuse its offer without due cause, any more than I would refuse someone's handshake. It's not so much a substance, I mean, as a way of life...a true habit of my being.

About eight years ago I made the switch to drinking nothing but espresso products and doubt now I shall ever again do other. Each pull is like a haiku: deliberate, focused, and to the point of revealing something essential.

As such, my switch to espresso sent me on a quest for a bean, a roast, and a roaster to which I could pledge my allegiance; and my arrival destination was Equator Coffees.

I tried all of the espresso roasts that Equator had to offer, and loved several dearly...becoming a zealot on behalf of Jaguar specifically. And though I never grew to be dissatisfied with it, I found I was experimenting with adding portions of other Equator roasts to my grinder's hopper-even sea salt on occasion- in a sense working like a primitive at perfecting a new blend that would be completely singular.

I didn't have to fumble in the dark of my arcane laboratory for long: following a meeting backstage after a performance of mine at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, co-founders Brooke McDonnell and Helen Russell offered to work with me to develop my own custom espresso blend under their banner.

I began by writing a letter to both-nay, a poem in prose form-detailing my favorite coffee experiences, my disappointments; as well, what I most liked about each of their roasts as I had experienced them; but I ran off the rails at a point, and turned to music-my own true vocabulary-to finally connect my heart to my mind, and both of them to something that might offer us all some real and common illumination.

In the end, I sent Brooke and Helen a Duke Ellington collection culled from a revelatory few years in the early 1940s, when a shockingly young bassist from Chicago named Jimmy Blanton "wrote the book" on modern jazz bass playing that still stands as the Bible for practitioners of that instrument. In Jimmy's hands, the bass spoke with subtle depth, even as it sprang to the fore with muscular melodic sophistication. For the first time, the instrument was speaking in complete sentences and above the din. It was not merely pulsing, but singing. And that's what I want an espresso to do.

I pointed Helen and Brooke to a song in particular called "Jack The Bear," which Duke had written expressly to showcase Jimmy Blanton's revolutionary approach, and that seemed to close the circle on our experimenting.

Thus, Equator now offers Jack The Bear Espresso. This roast reminds me of Jimmy Blanton's bass playing: deep and round, steeped in tradition, but not trapped by it; buoyant yet structurally sound; full of life, love and light, and dedicated to carrying our shared humanity-to quote Strayhorn-"ever onward and upward."

equator-coffees

Jack the Bear Espresso

Roasts & ships Monday thru Friday.

$22.50 / 12 oz.

SELECT GRIND

Whole Bean
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Whole Bean

French Press

Drip Grind

Espresso Grind

Other Sizes

12 oz.
2 lbs.
5 lbs.

or

Characteristics

CHARACTERISTICS

ROAST

Medium Dark

BODY

Laid-back

ACIDITY

Gentle

NOTES

Teak, coconut, citrus

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Story

STORYarticle-shape

I consider coffee to be a religious discipline of sorts: it begins my day, like prayer does for some; is a sacrament at every familial function, friendly gathering, and every celebratory or solemn occasion. If I venture out for a walk in a strange city, the quest for it directs me along my way. I offer it to every soul who enters my house, and likewise I would never refuse its offer without due cause, any more than I would refuse someone's handshake. It's not so much a substance, I mean, as a way of life...a true habit of my being.

About eight years ago I made the switch to drinking nothing but espresso products and doubt now I shall ever again do other. Each pull is like a haiku: deliberate, focused, and to the point of revealing something essential.

As such, my switch to espresso sent me on a quest for a bean, a roast, and a roaster to which I could pledge my allegiance; and my arrival destination was Equator Coffees.

I tried all of the espresso roasts that Equator had to offer, and loved several dearly...becoming a zealot on behalf of Jaguar specifically. And though I never grew to be dissatisfied with it, I found I was experimenting with adding portions of other Equator roasts to my grinder's hopper-even sea salt on occasion- in a sense working like a primitive at perfecting a new blend that would be completely singular.

I didn't have to fumble in the dark of my arcane laboratory for long: following a meeting backstage after a performance of mine at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, co-founders Brooke McDonnell and Helen Russell offered to work with me to develop my own custom espresso blend under their banner.

I began by writing a letter to both-nay, a poem in prose form-detailing my favorite coffee experiences, my disappointments; as well, what I most liked about each of their roasts as I had experienced them; but I ran off the rails at a point, and turned to music-my own true vocabulary-to finally connect my heart to my mind, and both of them to something that might offer us all some real and common illumination.

In the end, I sent Brooke and Helen a Duke Ellington collection culled from a revelatory few years in the early 1940s, when a shockingly young bassist from Chicago named Jimmy Blanton "wrote the book" on modern jazz bass playing that still stands as the Bible for practitioners of that instrument. In Jimmy's hands, the bass spoke with subtle depth, even as it sprang to the fore with muscular melodic sophistication. For the first time, the instrument was speaking in complete sentences and above the din. It was not merely pulsing, but singing. And that's what I want an espresso to do.

I pointed Helen and Brooke to a song in particular called "Jack The Bear," which Duke had written expressly to showcase Jimmy Blanton's revolutionary approach, and that seemed to close the circle on our experimenting.

Thus, Equator now offers Jack The Bear Espresso. This roast reminds me of Jimmy Blanton's bass playing: deep and round, steeped in tradition, but not trapped by it; buoyant yet structurally sound; full of life, love and light, and dedicated to carrying our shared humanity-to quote Strayhorn-"ever onward and upward."

Roaster Detail

Equator Coffeesarticle-shape

Estabilished:

1995

Owners:

Helen Russell & Brooke McDonnell

Awards:

2016 National Small Business of the Year.

2010 Roaster of the Year - Roast Mag.

 2016 Good Food Awards Winner.

2013 1st Place winner Roasters Choice Awards.

MORE COFFEES FROM THIS ROASTER

Roast Magazine's 2010 Roaster of The Year Award Winner!

Equator's commitment to a sustainable, transparent approach spans more than two decades. Today, Equator operates nine cafes predominantly in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2016, the U.S. Small Business Administration honored Equator by naming Equator the "National Small Business of the Year." Since their founding, Equator has been a leader in sustainability and social responsibility. In 2011, they formalized their commitment to sustainability by becoming a certified B Corporation, making it the first California coffee roaster to do so. Equator’s philosophy on coffee is built from a question: how do they create value from their perch in the coffee supply chain, standing at the intersection between local and distant coffee communities? It is this question that continues to frame their narrative as they strive to grow a business that values the stakeholders in both communities with respect for the people, the process, and the product. Equator believes that quality underlies economic and environmental sustainability, and this is the pillar of our approach. They support environmentally sound certifications, as well as practices that produce the highest quality coffee while securing a dignified life for those who produce it.

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