Pretty much all of us drink coffee every day. It's been one of the most popular drinks in America for decades. It wasn't until recently though that we started thinking about coffee a little bit differently. To most of us, coffee has just been a drink we have in the morning to energize and wake us up for the day. Things like the taste, flavor profiles, or the source never really used to be that important to us. Companies like Lanna Coffee Co. are changing that all around though, giving us not only better coffee, but peace of mind knowing that our morning habit is also doing something good in the world.
Based in downtown Fresno, Lanna Coffee has been around since 2015, although the idea got its inception much earlier. During a missions trip to Thailand, the now owners met a group of villagers growing coffee who were trying to branch out and find more ways to sell their product. They saw an opportunity to help these villagers out while also providing an amazing product.
Now, many of us are more familiar with coffee being grown in places like Colombia, Africa, or maybe Indonesia or Sri Lanka, but not necessarily Thailand. It actually grows quite well there given the climate and elevation, but the coffee you'll find from that region is quite different than what we're used to- in a good way.
The villagers that Lanna Coffee works with primarily grow a variety called the Catimor bean, which is known for its herbal, nutty, and even fruity flavors. This makes for a much more unique, and delicious coffee drinking experience.
Aside from the great coffee, what makes Lanna Coffee such a great company to buy from is that they still support these local villagers. In fact, they have an entire non-profit wing of their business that focuses solely on projects in Thailand such as education, clean water, health, and of course, agriculture and coffee cultivation. So every bag of coffee, jug of cold brew, or mug that you buy has an immediate impact in another part of the world. You can find out more about the foundation here, where you can read all about what they're doing to help the Thai region, donate, and even volunteer!
If you'd like to buy some Lanna Coffee, you can do so on their website here, or check them out on social media. You can buy single origin and coffee blends by the bag, cold brew, brewing equipment, mugs, and even green coffee beans to roast yourself. For customers in the Fresno area they have FREE delivery and curbside pick up. They also ship all over the US, so you don't need to be in the Valley in order to buy this delicious coffee.
We all are becoming more aware of the impacts our purchases have, both to us and to others. It's great to see companies like Lanna Coffee that put a focus on providing products we can enjoy, but that are also committing time, energy, and funding to projects around the world.
So go buy some Lanna Coffee today!
Many of the things we use every day are how we reflect or present ourselves to the people we come into contact with. This includes the obvious things such as clothes, but also some less obvious ones- like our tumbler. Whether you use a HydroFlask, a Starbucks tumbler, or a generic one you bought at Costco, it can be an opportunity to communicate something about yourself. Kate Allen of 1824 Designs in Fresno helps make that possible with her custom made tumblers.
Kate started her business just a few years ago after getting a Cricut machine for the first time and exploring the fun of creating new things. Initially she was making all sorts of items from t-shirts to signs, but just in the last few months her custom made tumblers became the focal point.
Custom tumblers are widely popular because of the unlimited options you can design them with. In her workshop, Kate makes everything from sports teams, fashion brands, bible verses, and popular trends like Baby Yoda into tumblers of all sizes that people can show off.
They make great gifts for every occasion: Christmas, birthdays, graduation, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and more!
Here's a few examples of her work:
You can see much more on her Instagram page here.
If you'd like to order a tumbler from Kate you can do so by visiting this link and filling out an order form to tell her the design and size you're looking for.
What makes 1824 Designs so unique is the customization. They may sell tumblers at Target, Walmart, and Starbucks, but you have to choose from their selection. With Kate, you can make your very own design, one that reflects you!
Her favorite thing about her business is that she gets to have fun and create great things for people to enjoy. That's what you get with local artisans and creators that's so important. They put immense effort and pride into their work that you know produces some real quality results.
That's why it's worth it to #shop559!
Go check it out!
One of the best things about The 559 Review is coming across new artisans, creators, and businesses I hadn't known about before. I came across another one of those this week when I talked to In Distill of the Night Spirits. Fresno has quite a few craft breweries and wineries, but did you know we also have a brandy distillery?
That's right! In addition to the fantastic play on words in their name, In Distill of Night produces some incredible small batch artisan brandy right here in the Valley.
Brandy may not be as popular of a liquor as tequila, vodka, or whiskey, but it certainly should be. If you're unfamiliar with Brandy, it's made from distilling wine grapes. Unlike wine though, it's got an alcohol content slightly higher than some of your more common liquors, typically 45-50%. So shots of brandy are not a good idea, and even more so because Brandy is meant to be a sipping liquor similar to Scotch. It's smooth and has unique flavor profiles. You'll definitely want to take your time and enjoy it- preferably as an after dinner drink.
In Distill of Night is a true mom and pop, family operation, too. The bottles are filled, labeled, and packaged by members of their family each time a new batch is rolled out.
They started making their batches 10 years ago at their distillery up in Atwater. Operating on a batch system means each one comes out just a little different from the last with unique flavor profiles. That means this is truly an artisanal product, not some commercialized spirit like the ones you normally see. It's been a hit too. On their website you can see the numerous awards their batches have earned them.
It's no wonder. I'd never tried Brandy before, so I decided to try it for myself and it is as incredible as the awards say! Normally a scotch drinker, I was surprised at how smooth and rich it was.
If you're looking for something new and amazing to try, you're not going to want to pass up the opportunity to drink Velvet Night Brandy.
Right now, you can purchase it via their website. If you're feeling creative, or want to hone your bartending skills a bit, go to their recipes page for some great cocktails you can make with it.
On July 2nd, they will be having a virtual tasting with Crafty Cask Sommelier and will be discounting their bottle $10 shortly after. Details will be on their social media pages in the coming days, so follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@indistillofnightspirits).
It's a pleasure to meet people so creative and passionate about their niche. When you try local products like this instead of our usual commercial ones, you get to take part in something truly incredible. This is a unique creation, and we have the pleasure of it being right here in our backyard.
So go give Velvet Night Brandy a try and #drink559!
Ever heard someone say there's nothing to do in Fresno? Then you should tell them to check out the Forestiere Underground Gardens! Whether there's triple digit weather, or a nice cool Spring day, the gardens are a great place to be a tourist in your own city.
Located on Shaw between 99 and Golden State, the Forestiere Underground Gardens incorporate the best features of any local adventure: exploration, history, and beauty!
The history of the gardens is fascinating. They were created over the course of 40 years by an Italian-American immigrant named Baldassare Forestiere who settled in the Central Valley with the hopes of building his own citrus empire. The land upon which the gardens sit is just a portion of his original 80 acre property that he bought back in 1905 for just $80. After finding out that the soil on his land was nothing but hardpan, his plans were put on hold.
How did the gardens come about? Baldassare found the insane summer heat of the Valley unbearable, and wanted to find a way to escape it. After years of digging subway tunnels on the east cost, he remembered that it always felt much cooler underground. He found a way through the hardpan, and ended up digging out space for his entire living space underground.
The digging didn't stop there though. He heard from his visitors that they liked the cooler feeling of being underground, and so he decided to create some courtyards for them to hang out in. Then the idea dawned on him: maybe he could create a community spot for people in Fresno to come and gather to escape the heat.
Over the course of 40 years he dug passageways, courtyards, and more into about 20 acres of his property.
More than 100 years later, we have an amazing historical spot that still serves Baldassare's purpose for it.
When visiting the gardens, you can get a full tour and all the stories about the creation of the gardens while you explore the passageways, courtyards, cellars, rooms, and even ballroom spaces that Baldassare dug out. Or, if you're feeling independent you can do a self-guided tour and explore the place on your own.
Either way, it's an amazing creation right here in the town we all live in!
It may be considered a historical landmark, but it's also a beautiful integration of nature and art. Beyond creating a place for people to gather and explore, Baldassare's legacy lives on in the uniqueness of his creation. Painting is art on canvas, sculpture is art in material, and the Forestiere Gardens are art carved into the earth itself.
Right now, the gardens are closed, but they are opening again on June 15th. You'll be able to make reservations for guided tours, and self-guided tours will be first come first served. They will only take up to 50% normal capacity due to precautions against Coronavirus.
At some point in the near future they are also planning to open back up the ballroom area for various local functions like wine tastings and live music.
You can make reservations or find out more on their website, or visit them on social media.
The Forestiere Underground Gardens prove there's hidden gems in the Valley. Sometimes you just have to look underground.
So get out there and #explore559!