Hi readers, today I am totally over-the-moon about bringing you, New Harvest! They are a local coffee company here in Rhode Island and a Providence & New England staple!
I interviewed the Owner: Rik and Ana: the Director of Wholesale & Education and also had the pleasure of getting a tour of their headquarters in a beautiful mill complex, The Hope Artiste Village, in Pawtucket Rhode Island.
When and How did New Harvest get started?
Rik: “I started New Harvest in 2000. I had already worked in coffee for 9 years, mostly as general manager and roaster for Coffee Exchange. After nearly a decade at the Exchange, it was time to do something else. Either start my own coffee business or go to law school. Starting my own business sounded more interesting.”
Is there a story behind the name, New Harvest?
Ana: “The idea behind the name New Harvest is that we would roast ‘new harvests‘. Our coffee changes all of the time because we always get coffee from different farms and origins. This is sort of the idea behind our micro-lot program.”
Describe a typical day at New Harvest for us?
Ana: “We arrive to work at 8am.
- One person works our espresso and coffee bar located in the roastery
- 2 people start roasting the coffee that will be shipped out later in the day.
- The production team gets busy right away, make boxes and label bags for orders to go out. We deliver to accounts in the Providence area, and ship to everyone outside Providence.
New Harvest is bustling from around 9am- 2pm, since the roasters need to roast what production needs to bag, it sometimes becomes a race against time! But we always manage! Outside of the production staff, we have a tech who is fixing machines, our Marketing Director, myself, and the Wholesale Director who are clicking away on computers in our office, dubbed ‘The Lady Cave.‘
Things start to settle down around 4pm, where we get ready for the next day!”
Where are you currently located and what was the reasoning for being there?
Ana: “Currently, we are located at Hope Artiste Village. We were originally located in a big mill complex in Rumford, Massachussetts where we were surrounded by big warehouses. HAV is a better fit for us as it is an eclectic & diverse collection of small businesses & artists in one place.”
What is the best business advice you would give to our readers wanting to start something?
Rik: “At some point in the early years of owning a business, you will get discouraged. You will feel tired and you will not be sure what to do next. My advice when this happens: work harder. Think you are already working really hard? No, you’re not. There is a saying that kept me going in the early days: Expect nothing. Blame no one. Do something.”
I am obsessed with coffee but know very little about the whole process of how the coffee goes from a plant all the way to my cup. Would you explain it a little bit for us how New Harvest does that?
Ana: “The journey of coffee is incredible! Here is a short version, however, it is a very complex and amazing story the further you look into it! There are lots of resources online, but here’s an overview:
A coffee bean is actually the seed of a cherry. Most specialty (high quality) coffee is hand picked and each coffee tree produces about a pound of roast coffee (so it is A LOT of work!)
When the cherry is picked, the seed needs to come out as efficiently as possible. There are a few different ways to do this, depending on the location and traditions of the country, but the two most common are wet process which uses a lot of water to wash away the sticky pulp of the fruit that is stuck to the coffee bean, or the dry process, which is when farmers dry the whole cherry in the sun like a raisin, and then mill off the cherry.
Many things happen in between: like sorting the coffee, grading it for quality, negotiating price. Then the coffee is loaded on huge ships and shipped around the world to various ports. Once at a port, the coffee is then shipped to its final destination. We get pallets of burlap bags of coffee, each bag containing approx. 142 pounds of green coffee.
The green coffee then has to be roasted properly and then after that brewed, properly!
In every part of the process of drinking your cup of coffee, so many things can go wrong! That’s why people in the specialty coffee chain work so hard to ensure coffee is being processed, roasted, and brewed correctly; we want customers to taste the best potential of that coffee!“
This is controversial among coffee connoisseurs, but which is the best way to get a great cup of coffee? Drip, Chemex, French Press, Espresso Machine, Keurig?!
Ana: “I get this question a lot, and what is really comes down to is what you want your coffee to taste like. If you like bold, in-your-face, strong coffee a French Press is right for you. If you prefer light, almost tea-like, light roast coffee, a Chemex works great! If you have a really great drip coffee machine (we use a BonaVita home coffee machine for the staff at New Harvest) you can get consistent cups no matter what coffee you are using. If you are curious about what brew method would work for you, ask your local barista!”
Tell us about some of your favorite coffee drinks?
Ana: “For us coffee folk, it depends on what mood we are in! We always have a pot of coffee going for the staff but everyone has different coffee preferences.
For me, it really depends on what I am in the mood for! I usually start my day off with drip coffee, but later in the day will have a cappuccino or a cortado (which is like a smaller cappuccino: equal parts espresso and steamed milk, and the milk is heated slightly less, so it retains it’s sweetness). If I really need a boost, I’ll down a shot of espresso!”
What inspires you ladies and gents at New Harvest?
Ana: “I think that as a whole, we are inspired about how the specialty coffee world is growing around us and we are excited to bring those ideas to our community.”
Do you live in Providence and what made you decide to stay here?
Ana: “I do live in Providence. I have lived here my whole life and was very close to moving 2 years ago for a change of scenery, but I ended up getting this job at New Harvest! I decided to stay, and since then have a new appreciation for the city. I think it’s a great sized city. It is small but the different parts of the city have their own feel. For instance, if I want to walk my beagle somewhere other than Dexter Park where I live, I can take a 5 minute car ride and be at India Point Park or a walk down Benefit Street and it feels new!”
How would you describe Providence for someone who has never been here before.
Ana: “I always describe Providence to people as ‘small enough that if you have an idea, be it art, music, business, etc. you can get it off the ground in Providence’. It’s been true for myself and many of my friends, and it’s awesome!”
What’s the furthest place from Providence that you ship or sell New Harvest?
Ana: “Technically, we can ship anywhere. The furthest I’ve seen was someone in France!”
What kinds of social media do you use? Winter Moon loves instagram!
Ana: “We are also huge fans of social media! Our primary social media use is Facebook, where we post daily of what’s going on both in the roastery and our retail location in downtown Providence, New Harvest Coffee and Spirits. You can also find us on twitter @nharvestcoffee .”
Thank you, New Harvest for your incredible hospitality and amazing education! We won’t look at coffee the same way!
**ALL PHOTOS & EDITING BY OLIVIA**