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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Winans to Winans Half Marathon 2016

Winans to Winans Half Marathon 2016

This year will mark the 3rd year for the Winans to Winans Half Marathon. The half marathon starts in Troy, near Winans’ downtown Troy location. The 13.1-mile course winds through parks in Troy, connecting with the bike path and running past the historic Eldean Covered Bridge, following the bike path to finish in Piqua. The race ends at Winans’ Hometown Store + Tasting Room in downtown Piqua.
Race participants receive a t-shirt and their choice between a race medal or a travel coffee mug. At the finish runners and walkers are rewarded with beer and sweet treats from Winans Chocolates + Coffees. Xcel Sports Medicine will be on site to answer injury questions and give short post race massages. Winners in each group are awarded beer growlers with the Winans to Winans Half Marathon logo emblazoned on them. The top three finishers overall will have their growlers filled with beer.
Winans to Winans Half Marathon Prizes
Those ambitious runners and walkers who have signed up for all three years of the race will be given a pint glass with the race logo and the words “completed 39.3 miles.” Next year those who compete for their fourth race will be given a memento that says “completed 52.4 miles.”
The concept for the half-marathon was brought to life by Joe Reiser, co-owner of Winans Chocolates + Coffees. Joe says that running is “just one of those things that are part of my life that I’ve shared with the business and now the business has taken it into other people’s lives.” Joe brought his passion for coffee to Winans in 1994, coffee now makes up 50% of our business. In the past several years he has brought another passion, running, to the Winans family.

Winans Running Club 3
Joe started running when he was 18 and a freshman at The Ohio State University. He saw people running around on OSU’s beautiful campus and thought it looked cool. Running quickly became a part of his life. He didn’t run races, he just ran for his psychological well-being. Running became Joe’s way to keep his mind clear for studying for exams and a way to destress, which he continued to do after graduating college.
The idea to host a half-marathon started about seven years ago. Joe wanted to host a marathon from one Winans store to another. He mentioned his idea to Levi Fox. Levi had an office over the downtown Troy Winans location and was a former cross country star at Troy High School and state champion runner.
Winans Running Club 5
Levi, familiar with the intense amount of work involved in setting up and running a marathon (both the logistics and the actual running) instead suggested they start a running group. The Winans running club started in February 2011 and has been going strong ever since. The group philosophy is that there are no dues, no membership and you don’t have to attend every week. The one and only rule is that they meet every Saturday morning at downtown Troy Winans; if you run or a walk a mile you get free coffee.

It’s become this cultural thing in downtown Troy. There’s this group of people out running and you’ll see us hanging out drinking coffee. In warmer weather the group will hang out outside, in the cooler weather they sit in the back area of the store. They run no matter what. They have run when it’s -30°F below or 105°F. It’s just what we do. – Joe Reiser

The running group has become an extension of the Winans family. Some of the runners were not coffee drinkers before joining the group, and they are now die-hard Winans coffee drinkers. They support each other in races and they get together to celebrate birthdays and other holidays, usually in the back of the Winans store in downtown Troy.
Winans Running Club 1
In April 2013, Joe and his wife, Laurie, were in Boston for the Specialty Coffee Association of America Annual Exposition & Symposium. The Monday after the SCAA event ended was the Boston Marathon. Joe had a friend running the marathon, so he and Laurie went to the finish line to watch him finish. As Joe says, “they went there for coffee, stayed for running.” They ended up watching race finishers for three hours. Joe was impressed with the runners and the marathon itself, “it’s an amazing event if you’ve never done any, no matter what sporting event you’ve ever done this will be the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen.”
The two met up with friends to go eat lunch, while runners were still finishing the race. While sitting in the restaurant, they heard a loud boom. Joe thought it was a dumpster being emptied or construction. Laurie was concerned. After another loud boom, they saw people running in the streets. The Boston Marathon bombers had detonated two bombs near the finish line and race finishers were being rerouted down the street that the Reisers were eating lunch at. Joe and Laurie tried to help the rerouted runners, who were confused and upset as they tried to finish the final portion of the marathon. They also tried to help runners and spectators find their hotels – even though they aren’t from Boston and weren’t familiar with the area.
Winans Running Club 2
When Joe and Laurie returned home, the local press found out that they were at the bombing. They interviewed Joe and he told them that “we’re dedicating our running group this Saturday to Boston.” He had no idea how far that simple statement would reach. The next Saturday morning, almost 200 people showed up in downtown Troy for the running group. They wore blue and yellow and brought balloons and signs that read “Backing Boston from Ohio.” Some runners starting throwing money on the counter in the store, Joe quickly asked a fellow runner to collect the donations. They raised $2,000 and an anonymous donor matched it. They sent $4,000 to two young men who were spectators who lost their legs in the bombings because Joe and Laurie were spectators.
Winans Running Club 4
The next year Winans’ first half marathon was held on the second Sunday in September. Winans hosts the marathon but does not make any money off of it. Levi Fox’s company organizes the race and takes on all of the work organizing and planning the race. Every year the half marathon has grown. In 2014 about 300 people participated. The next year 400 people ran. This year we’re expecting over 650 people!
If you would like to join us for the 3rd Winans to Winans Half Marathon on Sunday, September 11th, check out all of the details to register here.

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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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What I learned at SCAA

What I learned at SCAA

Hello! My name is Courtney, I’m the social media manager for Winans Chocolates + Coffees. I was fortunate to be able to attend the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Expo last weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. This was my first time attending the expo and I was excited to learn and so happy to be traveling with Winans co-owner, Joe Reiser, our roaster, Brenda Cook, and our barista educator, Natalie Schaurer.
SCAA2016 Me
During the expo I shared my experience on Winans Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, using the hashtags #‎SCAA2016‬ ‪#‎WinansBehindtheScenes‬ ‪‪#‎WinansatSCAA2016‬. Now I’d like to share a little recap of my favorite moments as well as what I was able to learn at the expo.
 
WEEKEND FAVORITES
SCAA2016 Drinks
Tastings: I loved tasting so many types of coffee. I quickly lost count of the tastings I actually had! A lot was prepared in a way that I do not normally drink coffee: as a pour-over. It’s a different way of brewing coffee and I really enjoyed it! I tried numerous single origin coffees, as well as some fun new edibles, like sugar coating the rim of coffee drinks, smoothies, toddy (cold brew coffee), nitro (also cold brew coffee, but on tap like beer) and lots of chai tea. I also was able to sample coffee cherry tea. This tea, called cascara, is an herbal tea made from the dried husks of coffee cherries. It’s a popular drink in coffee producing regions. It reminded me of a rich, fruity, black tea.
Meeting new people: I met so many new people at SCAA! It was fun to talk about coffee and to learn what others are doing in the industry.
SCAA2016 Winans Employees
Getting to know my co-workers: I spent a lot of time with my co-workers from Winans. We talked about coffee, of course, but we also got to know each other by spending time exploring, watching the barista championships, and enjoying meals together.
SCAA2016 Lectures
Lectures: I enjoyed attending lectures about coffee and marketing. Most of the lectures I attended were about marketing, communication or social media. My favorite lecture was led by Emily McIntyre and Jenn Chen. It was called “Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy: Audit, Plan and Execute for Your Coffee Company.” I left with a ton of great ideas which I can’t wait to put into action for Winans!
 
SOME THINGS I LEARNED
SCAA2016 IWCA
Coffee is multilingual: Because coffee is grown in the tropical regions, it makes sense to me that not everyone in the coffee industry speaks English. I just didn’t spend much time thinking about it until SCAA. The expo helped all of us with language barriers: many lectures offered Spanish translation and there were interpreters in the exhibit hall to help with conversations. I took Spanish for four years in high school, but my skills have definitely become rusty in the ten years since I graduated. Talking with Hispanic coffee growers and importers, I realized I want to brush up on my skills. And by brush up, I mean I want to be able to have meaningful conversations with the people who grow and import the raw material for my favorite beverage: coffee. 😊 There was a woman I met at the IWCA (International Women in Coffee Alliance) that makes beautiful sculptures out of spent coffee grounds (borra). The company is called Hecho En Café and their creations are amazing! We spoke through an interpreter and I bought a coaster from her made of coffee grounds.
Ohio is for lovers… of coffee: As I mentioned, I met a lot of people at the expo. What surprised me is how many fellow Ohioans I met! I attended the IWCA breakfast on Saturday morning and ended up being one of three Ohio ladies at our table of eight. I sat next to a woman from a coffee company in Perrysburg called The Flying Joe during a social media lecture. There were also Ohio coffee companies exhibiting at the expo. Go Ohio!
SCAA2016 Collage Collage
There’s no limit to a life in coffee: I saw this phrase over and over again at SCAA and it really resonated with me. It speaks not only to the multitude of jobs available, but also to the diversity of people who work in coffee. From coffee farmer to exporter to roaster to coffee shop owner to barista to coffee writer to coffee marketer to coffee equipment manufacturing… it’s a global industry. I spoke with people from all around the world at SCAA and will continue to be in touch with many of them through my work at Winans.
I want to learn more: this weekend taught me a lot of new, exciting and interesting things about coffee. It also showed me how much there is still to learn. I find this exciting, not discouraging! I love to learn and am excited to continue learning about coffee!
– Courtney

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