How to Garden with Burlap

How to Garden with Burlap

We go through a lot of burlap bags here at Winans! Every week we roast approximately 2,000 pounds of coffee! The green coffee is delivered to our roastery in downtown Piqua in large burlap bags. These burlap bags weigh roughly 150 pounds and are full of our specialty green coffee beans.
You can buy our empty burlap bags in our stores.
Burlap is a wonderful item to use in your garden! It is inexpensive, biodegradable and has a myriad of uses:

Burlap Uses in the Garden
🌷Loosely cover plants with burlap to provide a little frost protection, or wrap evergreens that are prone to damage from the weight of heavy snow.
🌷Create a burlap barricade to stop deer and rabbits from nibbling on your fruit trees and bushes in the winter.
🌷Hang a length of burlap over a veggie bed to create shade when the summer sun is just too hot for crops like salad greens.
🌷If you’ve prepared a new garden bed but you’re not ready to plant it, you can use pieces of burlap cloth over top (weighed down with rocks) to prevent weed growth.

🌷Use burlap instead of pre-formed coir liners in your pots and planters and save some money. Hold it in place with binder clips.
🌷Disguise ugly pots and containers by wrapping them in burlap.
🌷Block drainage holes with scraps of burlap. This will allow excess water out, without leaking soil.
🌷Old pieces of burlap work great for dragging mounds of yard waste, like piles of fall leaves.
🌷Burlap can also be used instead of fabric for many garden decorations.

Our Favorite Burlap Garden Projects
A Garden in a Sack
Frugal Gardening: Growing Food in Burlap Sacks
How to Grow Potatoes in Coffee Sacks
How To Make Coffee Bag Planter Pots
How to Plant Edibles in Burlap Sacks
Laundry Basket Turned Strawberry Planter
Wrapping Plants In Burlap: How To Use Burlap For Protecting Plants 

Need more inspiration? Check out our board, DIY: Burlap Coffee Bags, on Pinterest! Be sure to also read our blog post, How to Craft with Burlap!
Have you used our burlap bags in your garden? Share your project with us on social media! Be sure to use the hashtag #WinansBurlap with your post!

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How to Craft with Burlap

How to Craft with Burlap

Here at Winans, we have a plethora of burlap coffee bags! Every week we roast approximately 2,000 pounds of coffee! Green coffee is delivered to our roastery in downtown Piqua in large burlap bags. These burlap bags weigh roughly 150 pounds and are full of our specialty green coffee beans. Burlap is a great item for craft and sewing projects! It has a unique texture and many bags have interesting farm and co-op logos printed on them.
You can buy our empty burlap bags in our stores.
These are some of our top tips and tricks for working with burlap:

Tips + Tricks
✂ Burlap is messy! If you can, cut your burlap outside, as the fabric sheds everywhere. Be sure to clean the dust from your scissors and sewing machine regularly too.
✂ Use a rotary cutter or very sharp fabric scissors to cut thick burlap.
✂ Follow the thread grain to cut straight lines and add a little extra space for your seam allowance as burlap tends to fray.

✂ Use a heavy-weight thread, the thicker your thread, the easier it will be for your stitches to grab onto the burlap weave.
✂ Line your burlap with interfacing or a heavy, stabilizing fabric to give your project structure.
✂ Finish raw edges with a zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying, you can also use a liquid sealant like Fray Check to stop tears or holes from spreading.
✂ Use a high setting to iron burlap, it helps get rid of wrinkles.

Our Favorite Burlap Crafts: 
DIY: Burlap Coffee Bag Art
Burlap Coasters and Placemats
Burlap Coffee Bag Pillow
Burlap Covered Storage Box
Burlap Flower Bouquet
Burlap Office Chair Makeover
Burlap Peg Bag
Burlap Tote with Shabby Rose
DIY Burlap Coffee Bag Ottoman
Using Burlap in Unexpected Ways – a Rug and a Cat Bed
Acorn Autumn Burlap Banner
Christmas Gifts with Burlap Name Tags

Need more inspiration? Check out our board, DIY: Burlap Coffee Bags, on Pinterest! Be sure to also read our blog post, How to Garden with Burlap!
Have you made something out of one of our burlap bags? Share your project with us on social media! Be sure to use the hashtag #WinansBurlap with your post!

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Coffee 101: The Discovery of Coffee

Coffee 101: The Discovery of Coffee

We’re back with our second post in our Coffee 101 Series: The Discovery of Coffee! Coffee has a long and interesting history, including dancing goats, smuggling and bouquets of flowers spiked with coffee seedlings.
Coffee is native to Ethiopia, in Africa, where it is still a popular part of local culture and traditions. Today over 12 million people in Ethiopia are involved in coffee production. A common phrase in Ethiopia is “buna dabo naw,” which translates to “coffee is our bread.”
Evidence of humans drinking coffee can be traced to the middle of the 15th century in Yemen’s Sufi monasteries. It is not known who actually discovered coffee, but there are several interesting theories and stories.  
One story credits the discovery of coffee to a Yemenite Sufi mystic who was traveling through Ethiopia. He noticed some very energetic, lively birds and decided to sample the red berries he saw them eating. He quickly felt the energizing effects of the berry.
Another tale tells of a man named Omar, who was exiled from Mocha to a desert cave. He was starving and only found red berries from a small shrub to eat. They tasted bitter so he tried roasting, and later, boiling them. The fragrant smelling liquid he created from boiling the berries kept Omar alive for many days, allowing him to eventually return to Mocha with his “miracle drug.”
In the tenth century, coffee is said to have been eaten and fermented into wine. Ethiopian tribesmen used the coffee berries as an energy ball, crushing and mixing them with animal fat to sustain them on long journeys.
The most colorful of all of the coffee origin tales is the story of Kaldi and his goats. Kaldi was an Ethiopian goat herder who was looking for a spot to allow his hungry and tired goats to graze. Instead of pasture, his goats came upon a bush with bright red berries, which they devoured. The goats began to behave strangely, some stories say they danced, others claim the goats wouldn’t sleep at night. All tales agree that the goats became very lively after eating the berries. In one version of the story, Kaldi eats the berries and then shares his discovery with the monks who use them to make a beverage so they can stay awake through their late evening prayers. In another version, Kaldi shares his discovery with less open-minded monks: they throw his berries into the fire, creating a delicious aroma. Curious, the monks take the roasted berries out of the fire and grind them before dissolving them in hot water, thus making the first cup of coffee.
coffee-goats
Regardless of which story is true (the story about Kaldi did not appear in writing prior to 1671, though the legend states the story took place anywhere from the 6th to 10th century), the image of dancing goats discovering coffee has become quite popular!
Coffee’s rise to becoming the world’s most popular drink after water began in the Islamic world. Coffee was believed to have restorative powers and was used as a religious potion to keep Muslims awake during their evening prayers. Coffee beans, exported from Ethiopia, were grown first in Yemen before spreading across the Arabian peninsula. In 1720 the port city of Mokka was the global coffee trading center. As the Ottoman Empire grew, so did coffee’s range. Soon people in Syria, Egypt, and southwest Europe were enjoying the “wine of Islam,” so named because Muslims do not drink alcohol, but were permitted to consume coffee.  
Coffee houses quickly became popular meeting places. The first European coffee house outside of the Ottoman Empire was opened in Venice in 1645.
For centuries, coffee plants were carefully guarded. Exports of live plants or viable seed were strictly prohibited; only roasted coffee was allowed to leave Middle Eastern countries where it was grown. In order to become a widely grown and consumed beverage, coffee would have to be stolen and smuggled out of the Middle East.
In the 17th century, some enterprising Dutch merchants managed to sneak some unroasted coffee beans to Europe where they grew coffee in greenhouses. In the early 1700s, coffee seedlings were grown on islands in the Caribbean, as well as Brazil, Kenya, and Tanzania.
Coffee reached Brazil in an interesting way. Portugal wanted to get in on the lucrative coffee market by growing the crop in Brazil. The King of Portugal couldn’t get coffee seeds from neighboring French Guiana due to tight border restrictions. The King sent Sergeant Major Francisco de Melo Palheta to settle the border dispute and secretly obtain coffee seeds. In order to get the coffee out of the country, Palheta had to get creative. He seduced the French Governor’s wife, Madame D’Orvilliers, who secretly gave him a bouquet laced with coffee seedlings before he left French Guiana for Brazil. Palheta is credited with planting the first coffee trees in Brazil in the state of Pará in 1727. Today, Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world, a position which the country has held since 1852.
coffee-america
Coffee became popular in America after the Boston Tea Party in 1773 when it became unpatriotic to drink tea. Today coffee is consumed daily by 54% of Americans over the age of 18 (that’s about 100 million people!). Specialty coffee in the U.S. is now billion dollar industry with Americans spending 18 billion dollars on their favorite drink a year.
Next, on our Coffee 101 series will discuss how coffee is harvested and processed. Stay tuned!
 

Sources:
Coffee production in Brazil | Wikipedia
Coffee Drinking Statistics | Statistic Brain
Ethiopian Coffee Culture | About Food
History of Coffee | Wikipedia
The History of Coffee and How it Changed our World | Greener Ideal
The History of Coffee: from legend, to global commerce | Lavazza
The History of Coffee in Brazil | Casa Brasil
The New Complete Coffee Book: a gourmet guide to buying, brewing, and cooking by Sara Perry
Who Discovered Coffee? | I Love Coffee . JP
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Women in Coffee: Malawian Coffee Farmers

Women in Coffee: Malawian Coffee Farmers

Here at Winans Chocolates + Coffees, we brew three main types of coffees: blends, single origins and flavored coffees. Blends are a blend of different single origin coffees. For example, our Winans Blend features coffee beans from Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia and Kenya. Single origin coffees are from a single geographic region within a specific country, like Colombia or Costa Rica. Flavored coffees are made by adding flavor extracts to create specific aromas and tastes, like our Highlander Grogg which boasts a rich butterscotch and caramel flavor.
Malawi Mzuzu
We’d like to highlight one of our single origin coffees in this blog post, Malawi Mzuzu. This coffee comes from the northern region of Malawi, a country in southeast Africa. The flavor profile of this coffee is described as a clean, bright cup with notes of citrus and peach. 
Malawi Mzuzu 2
Malawi Mzuzu coffee beans are grown by family farmers in the Mzuzu Coffee Cooperative Union. This coffee cooperative has 3,000 members, 25% of them are women. The cooperative emphasizes gender equality and strives to empower women through coffee farming. The co-op does this through their Women in Coffee Programme and focuses on improving access to land for women, encouraging women in decision making at cooperatives and promoting the employment of women in the cooperative.

Mzuzu Women in Coffee

A coffee farmer with the motor bike she purchased with the proceeds of her coffee and women participating in co-op governance.


The cooperative supports community improvement projects such as the construction of a hospital with the help of coffee premiums. They also work to improve the quality of life of their members through sustainable farming, production and processing. They promote Fair Trade certification and are working towards organic certification. The Mzuzu cooperative also works to make sure that their members have decent housing, adequate ventilation, three decent meals a day, clothing for the family, adequate bedding for the family and that children are sent to decent schools. The co-op also encourages farmers to be organized and commercially-oriented, many have diversified their farms to include beekeeping and growing wheat to supplement their coffee income.
Winans is happy to roast coffees from the Mzuzu Coffee Cooperative Union, not only because the beans make a delicious cup of coffee, but also because the co-op works for bettering the community of farmers who raise this amazing crop.
Winans would like to honor all the hardworking mothers who help make this co-operative a success in addition to what they do in their homes and communities every day.

A coffee farmer returning from her garden

You can learn more about the Mzuzu Coffee Cooperative Union here:
Mzuzu Coffee Cooperative Union
Mzuzu Women in Coffee
Facebook
Twitter
Fair Trade USA Producer Profiles Mzuzu Coffee Planters Union

Photos of women coffee farmers are from Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union

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