Ari's Top 5

It is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. —Helen Keller

In an amazing achievement, the Independent Restaurant Coalition’s advocacy, combined with all of YOUR support over the last few months, has paid off—last week the RESTAURANTS Act was included in the newly-introduced package presented in the House and passed, intact! It’s great progress. But we’re not done yet! Next up? We work to get the Senate to approve the bill as well. The folks in D.C. have told us that every email you all send to support the bill really does make a difference. is set up to make it super easy to do that! If you’re inspired, click over, send an email or two, and let your Senators and Representatives know that the RESTAURANTS Act—and independent restaurants—matter. On behalf of the over half million independent restaurants in the U.S. who would be helped by the passage of this bill, THANK YOU! 


The New Pamphlet—“Humility: A Humble, Anarchistic Inquiry”—Has Arrived!

While the world gets louder, humility can quietly help

Back when I began the work on this project a couple years ago, I can honestly say that I knew next to nothing about humility. Beyond a general understanding of what the word meant, and that it was probably a good thing to have, I wouldn’t have had much to say about why it would matter. In the intervening months of inquiry, I’ve learned a lot. I can see now, very clearly, how humility can help us in so many ways—at work, in society, at home—to make our lives more rewarding and our work more effective. I realize, too, how a lack of humility is behind so many of the problems with which we struggle. Humility, I’ve come to see, is a critical characteristic for any of us who want to lead a healthy organization, or live a grounded, meaningful life. As businessman and writer Dov Seidman said: “What people actually want in a leader, even a charismatic one, is humility.”

Humility, I’ve learned, works quietly backstage. But please, don’t confuse humility’s calm discretion with passive ineffectiveness. Humility, I now strongly believe, has power; the power to heal, the power to help. The power to restore health. The thing is that to access what humility has to offer we need lower our voices and calm the cacophony. While the news seems to get louder and ever more frenetic, humility is waiting for us to let it contribute to the conversation. When we’re ready to listen, I’m confident it has a lot to offer to all of us.

Here’s what I wrote in the opening piece of the pamphlet:

Humility, by definition, won’t win big headlines.

It waits quietly in the wings.

If we listen closely, humility has a lot to teach us.

Mozart once said, “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” Humility fits that frame. It’s the space between the sounds. The whisper between the words. The energy between the egos. Humility is both ethereal and essential. Like great music, it’s hard to measure—and often goes past unnoticed by casual listeners. But if we pay close attention, we can begin to benefit from the beauty and grace that humility brings to the world.

The subtle silence of humility is blended into everything we say—and how we say it. Marcel Marceau, who silently mimed his way through an amazing and creative career, said, “Music and silence combine strongly because music is done with silence, and silence is full of music.” My hope is that the humble, anarchistic inquiry into humility that follows will offer you insights on how to bring the “music” and the “silence” of life together, in the interest of helping us all be ever more effective leaders and live more meaningful, rewarding lives.
If humility was a guest professor, the assignment it might give us would be to turn off the news, take a couple of deep breaths, cock our ears, look inward, and pay close attention to what comes up in the quiet. What at first, to the casual observer, could sound like nothing at all, just might turn out to be a wonderful whispering source of strength and wisdom. In the inflammatory state of current national discourse, humility is a soft but still effective voice leading us away from ego, and in the direction of much needed doses of dignity, compassion, kindness, inclusion, reflection, and respect. (To paraphrase anarchist folk singer and spoken word performer, Utah Phillips, we might want to consider adding “rant control” to our list of programs going forward.) Humility is equally important in our homes and at work. When it's absent, ego dominates the conversation; antagonism rises, voices get louder—in essence, we might say, it’s all over because of the shouting. No exaggeration—our future, on many levels, may depend on having humility. As Wendell Berry writes: “It is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.”

Does the subtle, gentle presence of humility have much value when the country is in crisis? On its own, we know, humility won’t cure Coronavirus. But having learned what I’ve learned over the last few years, I’ll answer with an adamant yes. Why? Because rather than shutting out what others (with whom we may not agree) have to say, humility leads us to be more open to the input and help of those who know more than we do. It makes it easier to meaningfully say, “I don’t know.” It increases the likelihood that we will own our responsibility for our errors. It improves the odds we will take the advice of experts seriously, even while still making our own decisions (and sometimes, respectfully going against what experts advise). Humility makes it more difficult to be curt and dismissive. More difficult to be curtly dismissed. And harder to say, “I don’t care."

Humility, I’ll suggest, would also help us improve the effectiveness of our organizations. It's a prerequisite, I’ve learned, for the kind of collaborative and caring communities, organizations, and personal relationships we’re working so hard to create. Patrick Lencioni, in The Ideal Team Player, posits that humility is one of a trio of critical characteristics, along with “hungry” and “wise”—as in socially sensitive and emotionally intelligent. When I used Lencioni’s lens to look at our own work, his theory proved out. Nearly everyone I’ve loved working with over the years has exhibited all three of those characteristics. And while I’d long been actively working on hiring and training for the other two, I’d never previously listened and looked for humility in a conversation or a job interview. As you can imagine, that’s all changed. I now have humility front of mind.

Will humility have an impact on our other recovery? The rebuilding of social trust and mutual respect? I will answer, adamantly, in the affirmative. Humility, I believe, is incompatible with racism, hierarchy, and hatred. Twentieth-century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote, “To the end of history, social orders will probably destroy themselves in an effort to prove they are indestructible.” Humility, by definition, could help us steer clear of that tragic fate. If we have humility we accept that we are all imperfect, all fallible, all interdependent. If this year of 2020 is, as I wrote in the summer issue of Zingerman’s News, a “marathon through a minefield,” then I’m realizing humility is one of the keys to successfully getting through. When you don’t need to be “the best,” “the biggest,” or “first to the finish line,” the odds of successfully getting to the other side of the minefield—without losing our minds, our lives, or our livelihoods—increase significantly.

I would suggest that when we approach the world from a place of humility, it makes it much more likely that we will:

· own our own part in creating the problem with which we’re confronted

· acknowledge our shortfalls and ask for help

· understand that none of us have all the answers

· treat everyone with whom we interact with dignity

· be much more open to outside perspectives and creative insights

The cover of the new “Humility” pamphlet features a scratchboard illustration of a violet—the historical flower that represents humility—by artist Ian Nagy. In honor of the violet, the pamphlet cover is printed on recycled purple cardstock. Artist and designer Takara Gudell says, “Purple is perfect for this pamphlet. It’s the color of inspiration, of self-awareness, creativity, and empathy.” (Come by the Roadhouse to buy a couple of those beautiful, colorful VOTE pins Takara crafts.) Violet, color psychologist Judy Scott-Kemmis says, stands for, “inspiration, imagination, individuality, and spirituality.” It “assists those who seek the meaning of life and spiritual fulfillment—it expands our awareness, connecting us to a higher consciousness.” Maybe I’m making too much of it, but Scott-Kemmis’ prompt helps me understand why holding the violet pamphlet leaves me feeling good and grounded. Maybe I’m just in a mental place where I’m desperately seeking solace, serenity, and soulfulness. But there’s no cost to you to drop by and hold a copy in your hand for a bit, take a few deep breaths, and see if it helps.

Can we come back from the brink of the world situation? Can calm overcome chaos? When we’re in the midst of the madness, it sure doesn’t feel that way. But this piece from Saturday’s New York Times gave me some solace. The headline is “30 Years After Reunification, Old German-German Border Is a Green Oasis.” The article, by Christopher Schuetze, tells the tale of the once closely guarded space between East and West Germany: “Crossing the militarized border that split Germany into east and west once meant risking death,” the subhead says. “Now? It’s a literal walk in the park.” Schuetze’s piece helped me remember that humility can come back from even some of the worst the world has to offer. During the Cold War, the space was known as the “death zone.” Seventy-five years after the end of World War II, and thirty years after the end of the division of Germany into two political entities, what was once one of the scariest spots in Europe is now a peaceful, natural refuge.

Natural Law #10 says that strengths lead to weaknesses; and weaknesses lead back to strengths. War, it turns out, if we wait a bit and work through the conflict, can ultimately beget beauty. For over half a century, no one entered the zone other than the occasional bold soul trying to escape, or the occasional soldier checking security. “Farmers and foresters on both sides had been forced to leave the strip alone, allowing animals and plant life to flourish,” Schuetze writes. “Today, more than 5,200 different species live there, 1,200 of them so rare that they are on a list for extinction.” A West German gentleman, about my age, who used to go to the border space to do birdwatching, shares at the end of the article: “It is hard to believe that this peaceful place was once the frontline between N.A.T.O. and the Warsaw Pact.” It was heartening for me to see that the space between the warring, nationalist “notes” could be successfully be converted into a healthy, vibrant green strip where tension and the constant threat of war have been replaced by natural beauty.

I can guarantee that the Cold War was not caused by an overabundance of humility. In fact, it’s the opposite. I think it’s safe to say that, like nearly all wars, it came out of ego and the desire for domination. But when the warring stops, the cacophony is quieted, and the soldiers put away their weapons, the sound of humility can still come gently to the fore. Now the space sounds like the calls of rare birds, the wind whistling through wildflowers, and the gentle bubbling of the brook that runs through the strip. Maybe those are the natural sounds of humility. I believe we can bring them back. And as Simon and Garfunkel once sang,
Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence

Whether it’s at work, at home, in our communities, or around the country, I hope we can, quietly and humbly, follow the German lead and let the beauty, the grace, and the natural goodness return.

You can find “Humility: A Humble, Anarchistic Inquiry” waiting for you, quietly, at the Deli, Roadhouse, Coffee Company, or Cream Top Shop. It’s also online at and


P.S. Next week I’ll be having an online conversation about the new “Humility” pamphlet. The one and only John U. Bacon will be interviewing me. Join us Tuesday, October 13 from 11 am - 12 pm EDT. 

Humility: A Humble Anarchist's Inquiry | An interview with Zingerman's Co-Founder & CEO, Ari Weinzweig and John U. Bacon

Great, Hard-to-Get, Grape Jelly at The Deli


Made by American Spoon foods from Valiant grapes grown in northern Michigan

In one of the many ways that I feel like I never fit, I will confess here, publicly, that as a child I never liked peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Even now, all these years later, when I clearly know better, I still sort of wince, unwittingly, at the thought of them. But like so many things that I once made faces at but later found out were actually fantastic, I have changed my beliefs. If you make me a PB&J with this incredible grape jelly, bread from the Bakehouse, and any of the notable nut butters we have at the Deli, I will be singing a totally different tune than I was when I was 12. What I once would have turned down even if you’d tried to pay me, I will gladly now pay good money to eat.

The Valiant grape, from which it’s made, is a variant on the much better-known Concord varietal. I have it on my mind because right now, Concord grapes are out in abundance at the Farmer’s Market. And like so many old school seed varieties, they bring a whole different world of flavor and texture than most of us modern-type eaters have become accustomed to. If you haven’t had them, I encourage you to ASAP. They’ll only be out there for another week or three. If you, like me, grew up on seedless green grapes from the grocery store, get ready for a whole new set of flavors. The deep purple-blue Concords are sweet, rich, gently sour, and with what is descriptively known in the trade as a “slip skin.” Remember when you eat them that they have seeds. They have a wonderfully, well-rounded, almost earthy, flavor that gets my attention anew every time I eat one. 

The Valiant variety was developed in 1983, the year after we opened the Deli, out at South Dakota State University by Professor Ronald Peterson. It's a cross between wild grapes Peterson found growing along the Missouri River in eastern Montana and an old, resilient New York State grape named Fredonia that was itself descended from the original Concord. But the roots of the grape’s history go back 150 years or so to the town of Concord, Massachusetts, where one Ephraim Bull did the horticultural work to first develop it. Bull’s first job was as a goldbeater—the 5,000-year-old profession in which people pound gold to get it thin enough to put gold leaf onto books or paintings. While he earned his income from gold, Bull’s passion was grape growing. Over the years, he grew determined to develop a variety better suited to the cold climate of New England. In 1849, his years of patient breeding paid off, and the Concord grape was “born.” Four years later Bull brought home an award for his work, and Concord grapes became a hot commodity. Soon after, Bull began selling starts of his vines for a then impressive price of $5 each (roughly $140 in today’s value).

Of equal interest to Bull’s grape growing, is the intellectual ecosystem in which he was working. Bull lived in the town of Concord, on the same street as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the Bronson Alcott family (the parents of author Louisa May Alcott). Bull was actively engaged with them all in abolitionist work and in discussions about Emerson’s Transcendentalist philosophy—this was in the decade before the Civil War started. Emerson had befriended writer Margaret Fuller (written about beautifully in Maria Popova’s fine book Figuring) and, with her influence, had become active in the mid-19th century struggle for women’s rights. Ephraim Bull, it seems, was in the conversational mix for many of these get-togethers of the Concord group. I would imagine that they would likely have been snacking on some of Bull’s beautiful purple-blue grapes while attendees bounced various philosophical beliefs about. It was not long after one of those conversations that, in the spirit of humility, Emerson once wrote, “A great man is always willing to be little.”

The Concord grape came to fame a few decades later through the work of another thoughtful New Englander, this time a devout Methodist minister by the name of Thomas Welch. A strong advocate for temperance, Welch worked hard to create what we would now call “non-alcoholic wine.” An adamant abolitionist, Welch was active for many years in the Underground Railroad. He finally found success with his work on “wine” by using Louis Pasteur’s innovative pasteurization methods to keep the grape juice from fermenting. Living in Massachusetts as he did, Welch worked with Bull’s Concord grapes. Welch’s Grape Juice was first sold as such in 1893, so it would likely have been on the shelves at Disderide’s when Rocco opened his grocery at the corner of Kingsley and Detroit Streets a decade later in what is now the Deli building. Welch’s Concord Grape Jelly came later than the “wine,” and was introduced near the end of WWI—right about the time the Spanish flu was starting to circulate in the United States. It was marketed then with the name “Grapelade.”

All that history aside, what we happily have on hand is this amazingly tasty Grape Jelly from our friends at American Spoon Foods. My friend Justin Rashid, and now his son Noah, have been making marvelous jams, sauces, and butters since about the same time Paul and I opened the Deli in the early 80s. This Valiant Grape Jelly is a little known, very limited edition jewel in their wide-ranging repertoire. This summer, with Covid and other crises at hand, none of this great jelly was made, so our supply is strictly limited.

What do you do with it? Make a world class peanut butter and jelly sandwich with that superb peanut butter we get from Koeze over in Grand Rapids. Or take things one step beyond with the marvelously mad flavors of the Georgia Grinders’ Pecan Butter (or have at it with their Hazelnut or Almond as well. All are outstanding). You can use it with the Creamery’s handmade artisan cream cheese (made much as it would have been when Bull, Welch, Emerson, and Alcott were doing their work) for a cream cheese and jelly sandwich par excellence. Same in a jelly omelet, or spoon some onto blintzes, crepes, or gelato. Add a bit to a vinaigrette or mix it into your yogurt. Spread some on a toasted Zinglish muffin. You can also add a spoonful of it to a scallop or shrimp reduction with good sweet-savory results. Or pick up some fresh Concord Grapes and make a Jamwich (you will have to navigate around the seeds, but I feel confident you can handle it).

Whatever you do with the American Spoon Valiant Grape Jelly, keep in mind the amazing historical context in which it came to be what it is—the humble, grounded, wise voices of Emerson, Hawthorne, Alcott, Fuller, Transcendental philosophy, abolition, and women’s rights. In the scheme of the world, grape jelly, no matter how good, is a small and seemingly insignificant, thing. But in the spirit of humility, it’s good to remember that the little things matter. As the forward-thinking Margaret Fuller once wrote poetically, “Reverence the highest, have patience with the lowest. Let this day's performance of the meanest duty be thy religion. Are the stars too distant, pick up the pebble that lies at thy feet, and from it learn the all.”

Order a Jar of Jelly From the Deli

Miss Kim’s Marvelous Bibimbob Meal Kits

Traditional Korean cooking in your home kitchen

Seven months in, it’s safe to say that the challenges of the pandemic have been many. You don’t need me to detail them all here. But in the shadows of the struggles that have gotten most of the attention, there have still been small slivers of positive progress that inspire. Here at Zingerman’s, new products like Zinglish Muffins at the Bakehouse, Goat Brie at the Creamery, the Deli’s Reuben Tour, ZingTrain’s new master class series, the Fried Chicken Sandwich at the Roadhouse, and more have all come on board during the last five or six months. At Miss Kim, Ji Hye and crew have moved quickly too—adding sauces, dressings, and meal kits to the daily mix. The latter have been particularly popular. Boxes of ingredients that you can quickly assemble at home and bring a little of the aroma and flavor of eating out at Miss Kim to your abode.

The biggest selling of the Miss Kim kits has been this awesome Bibimbob package. Here’s what Ji Hye had to say:

Before the March shut down, our stone bowl bibimbob was one of the most popular dishes at Miss Kim. We’ve had bibimbob in various iterations since we opened, but I was really liking the ones we had in early March. I’ve studied up on regional cooking in Korea, as well as Korean Buddhist cuisine. There were four different regional bibimbob on our menu, and I felt proud of them. Each offered unique flavors and stories, and they were so pretty to look at. There was a Jeonju bibimbob with beef tartare, and a North Korean-inspired one with pork belly, a mountain side bibimbob with potatoes. I found bibimbob a good microcosm of each region it represented. By serving them with local vegetables I felt like I was creating a kind of Korean food here in Michigan. I loved the drama of bringing them out all hot and crackling to the common table in the middle of our dining room, with guests oohing and aahing with their arrival. The warmth of the hot bibimbob and the aroma of sesame was intoxicating. There is nothing like a sizzling stone bowl full of deliciousness when the weather is chilly outside.

And then here we are. Seven months into the pandemic and we are still not doing in-door dining, and for now sticking to serving in compostable containers. We streamlined the menu, so while our guests still have options, the bibimbob is less of regional nature. I’ve been thinking though. There is no rule against sending a little of that warmth and conviviality home with our guests. We just need to get creative.

Enter our new bibimbob meal kit. The basic kit has our sesame rice, soft boiled eggs, banchan vegetables, gochujang sauce, and sesame seeds and scallions for garnish. Then you can add whatever that strikes your fancy! Tender roasted pork belly, garlicky grilled chicken, roasted mushrooms, soft braised tofu, potatoes for extra heartiness, even kimchi. Here’s what I do: I get the basic kit with mushrooms and a protein of my choice. I definitely make sure I add potatoes and napa cabbage kimchi. Once I’m home, I break out my favorite cast iron pan. Lightly oil the pan, place the rice in a thin layer, place my proteins next to the rice. Slowly warm it up for a little bit until the rice starts getting crispy, then I add the banchan vegetables, soft cooked eggs. Voila, present it to your family. Once appropriate numbers of pictures are taken for Instagram, then add the sauce and mix it all up for a warm hearty meal. Next day, add the leftovers and kimchi and turn it into kimchi fried rice! Two meals in one meal kit.

We miss you all a lot. My hope is that we’d bring a little bit of Miss Kim to your dining table with a hot sizzling cast iron pan standing in for a Korean stone bowl for your bibimbob. And when you choose your own bibimbob adventure, you’re creating your own Korean regional food, right on your table, right here in Michigan.
Order Miss Kim Meal Kits

Gingerbread Cake from the Bakehouse

Wonderful Sweet Way to Help Work Through Winter

About ten years ago, back when we were in the middle of the last big period of national crisis, I wrote a piece about how much I liked this cake! A decade later, and 8 months into our current coronavirus crisis, I still love the Bakehouse’s gingerbread cake. Maybe it’s the comfort of it that calls out to me. There’s something warming, welcoming, and wholly wonderful about it.

As with everything here at Zingerman’s, what goes into the cake has a big impact on the finished flavor. The ingredient list is impressive: Indonesian cinnamon, cloves from the Malacca Islands, lovely long pepper from Bali, real vanilla from Mexico, crystallized and ground ginger from Asia, a bit of brewed coffee from Brazil, Muscovado brown sugar from the island of Mauritius, and a splash of fresh orange juice. Add in lots of butter, flour and fresh eggs. They all come together to make a dark, mysterious, marvelously gingery flavor that seems to appeal to almost all ages and taste preferences. 

Where did the cake come from? Amy Emberling, long time co-managing partner at the Bakehouse shared:

We started making it when I realized that it was one of the last items I regularly made at home for my family, but we didn't make it at the bakery. Warm gingerbread with homemade whipped cream was part of our winter menu, mostly on Sundays when we were all at home lazing around, doing homework, folding laundry, watching football. We'd make cozy food on those cold winter Sundays, things like roast chicken or beef stew. Warm gingerbread was a perfect accompaniment. It seemed to me that other people might also enjoy this winter ritual, so we decided to create one at the Bakehouse.

Historically, gingerbread goes way back. It was brought to Europe by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis in 992. In the 13th century, the Polish town of Torun became famous for it and from there it moved to Germany, then into Scandinavia. It came to England in the 17th century and later on to the Americas with British colonists. Most everywhere it was said to have medicinal properties and was used to treat indigestion and other maladies. In the American colonies, molasses—made in the West Indies from the work of enslaved Africans on sugar plantations—was used instead of the costlier white sugar, making the cake moister and softer. It became one of the most popular cakes in the colonies. When Amelia Simmons published the now-classic American Cookery in 1796, the book had seven different recipes for gingerbread. I can easily imagine a Gingerbread Cake like this being on the table, along with clusters of those dark purple-blue grapes and social justice, 60 years later, at one of those Transcendentalist conversations in Concord.

Be sure to let the cake breathe for about 20-30 minutes after you open its plastic package—it gets this really thin sheen of a sugar crust on the outside, sort of like that very first bit of ice crystals that start to form on the lakes early in the autumn. The Gingerbread cake ships well too—great holiday gift for a friend, relative, or business connection you’re trying to impress. The Gingerbread Cake is terrific on its own any time of the day or with vanilla gelato from the Creamery. Mix crumbs of it into the crust for an apple or pear cobbler. Spread a slice with the Creamery’s handmade Cream Cheese. I'm wondering while I write what it would be like in a stuffing or crumbled onto roasted sweet potatoes. As I have been with the other coffee cakes over the last year, I discovered that “griddling” it in a buttered frying pan is super fine. However you eat it, it might help us get through hard times. As Shakespeare once said, “Had I but a penny in the world, thou shouldst have it for gingerbread.”

Get Your Gingerbread at the Bakehouse
Gift A Gingerbread Cake

Tanzanian Coffee Takes the Cake

East African Peaberry from the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro

Looking for something to sip while you nibble on a bit of the Gingerbread Cake? Here’s a terrific coffee that makes a marvelous match.

In the world of coffee producing countries, Tanzania is rarely the place that pops to the tip of any coffee drinker’s tongue. And yet, it’s got a fascinating coffee history and produces some delicious high grown beans that anyone with an eye and a mind for a high quality cup would want to have.

Coffee originated in ancient Abyssinia, what we now call Ethiopia. Sometime in the 16th century, coffee made its way south to what we know today as Tanzania. By comparison to what it took to get coffee to Costa Rica or Brazil, it was a quick trip—a modest 800 or 900 miles, almost directly due south. Within a century or so, coffee was incorporated into daily life and agriculture in the area by the people of the Haya tribe. Back then the beans weren’t brewed for drinking—instead they were boiled with herbs, then chewed to catch the buzz. Coffee growing was highly controlled by the royal families of the Haya (some things don’t change—hierarchies often build power by controlling money and drugs), and the plants were so highly prized that the beans were used as currency.

Three hundred years later, when German colonists conquered the country, they looked to coffee for cash, though more in the western sense—something to sell as an export. The colonial government gradually wrested control of the once closely guarded crop from the Haya royal families and started to spread coffee growing around the country. After WWI, Britain took charge of the region and worked to increase coffee production even further, while still carefully keeping the beans out of the control of traditional tribal powers. When Tanzania (a contraction of what had been two modern colonial states—Tanganyika and Zanzibar) gained independence in 1962, the former schoolteacher, Julius Nyerere became the new country’s prime minister. He too worked to expand coffee growing to help boost the economy. (Nyerere had his issues and many of his attempts at modernization and equity went awry. He had a thing for state control that didn’t go so well and actually harmed the effectiveness of the coffee growing. But that said, the “Arusha Declaration” which he authored in 1967, has a lot of inspiring elements in it. He also humorously—and I would suggest accurately—once said, “Democracy is not a bottle of Coca-Cola which you can import. Democracy should develop according to that particular country.”)

The Tanzanian coffee we’re getting today builds on all of that history, bringing beans from the slopes of the beautiful Mount Kilimanjaro on the border with Kenya to the north, all the way here to Ann Arbor. It’s a Peaberry—the mutation that yields a singular coffee bean inside each “cherry” fruit, rather than the usual two. We buy the beans from the Mwika North cooperative, established in 1984, one of the first sets of organic certified growers in the region. Volcanic soil and abundant rainfall make for particularly fine beans. It’s a washed coffee—the freshly picked cherries are soaked in water to remove the pulp and then the peaberry inside is dried on raised beds. The brewed cup is nicely full bodied with lovely little hints of apricot, blackberries, and semi-dark chocolate. I like it best in the Clever brewing at the Coffee Company, but it’s been darned good any way I’ve had it brewed. You can get the Tanzanian Peaberry every day this month at the Coffee Company, the Roadhouse and the Deli.

Order for pick up at the Coffee Co
Ship Tanzanian Beans
Looking for a gift for your cousin who loves coffee? Check out the Coffee Club.

Other Things On My Mind

Reading: Culture Care; Reconnecting with Beauty for our Common Life by Makoto Fujimura.

Music: When a great young musician does an impassioned cover version of a classic song by a singer a generation or two before them, it can be something really special. Check out Australian Angie McMahon’s cover of Neil Young’s “Helpless.” While I’m with that subject, Caitlin Canty covers Neil Young too: “Unknown Legend.”

Film: Speaking of legends, I’ve been emailing with Ti Martin, whose mother was the amazing Ella Brennan, the woman behind the classic Commander’s Palace restaurant in New Orleans. If you want something inspiring to watch, check out this incredible film.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this enews and you know someone else who might like it, please pass it along. Have questions about Zingerman’s? Write us at
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