Viewing posts from: April 2014

Coffee. What’s in Your Cup?

by Kaffeeman

04 18, 2014 | Posted in Dining | 0 comments

We love coffee! Many of us cannot start a great day without our morning ritual of imbibing a cup of the revered bean.

Christian with Alpen Sierra's espresso roast

Christian with Alpen Sierra's espresso roast

No matter how excellent, sustainable, micro-lot, direct-trade sourced the coffee in the bag is, the ultimate determining factor of its enjoyment in your cup is defined by the roast. Here’s a quick guide to roast degrees and their attributes: First Crack - Light (Third Wave / Artisan): Dry bean surface, cinnamon to light brown in color. Minimal point of development for enjoyable consumption. Best representation of country of origin’s terroir. Accents coffee’s varietal qualities and subtleties of flavor, but often lacks good body and richness. This roast can be over-acidic, disrupting the balance of flavor. Highest degree of caffeine and potentially gastric disturbing acidic compounds. City (medium): Dry bean surface. Light to medium brown in color. Full and balanced representation of the coffee’s true flavor characteristics in all their glory. Good body, true acidity and outstanding flavors. High degree of caffeine, with reduced gastric disturbing acidic compounds. Full-City: Slight spotting of oils on surface, darker brown. Believed by many, including this author, to be the best all around roast degree for full spectrum coffee enjoyment. All of the attributes of medium roast plus enhanced richness from a slight carmelization of sugars, which adds intensity and richness to the cup, especially aftertaste, which is critical and indicative to quality coffee and expert roasting. Dark: Dark brown to black with shiny, oily beans. This is a broad, high temperature range of development, which starts with Vienna on the lightest side (medium dark) and ranges up to French and beyond for Full Dark. Italian Roast is regarded as the darkest degree for the east coast, USA, and French Roast as the darkest on the west coast. Full carmelization of sugars creates the greatest intensity in the cup, and all but mutes truer terroir attributes. The darker the roast is, the greater its intensity becomes, with much less actual flavor in the cup, due to more carbon (flavorless) conversion of the bean’s cellulose. All degrees of roast, single origin and blended coffees, can be brewed by any manner suiting the coffee drinker. Espresso does not have to be extracted with a Dark Italian Roast, nor does a pour-over cone drip brew need to be prepared using a First Crack roasted single origin bean. Although, there are brewing applications which tend to best accentuate specific types of roast, and those we all are witnessing in today’s dynamic specialty coffee scene. The veteran's of the industry are well known and have been roasting mostly dark for decades. The roster includes the ever-populars: Peet's, Starbucks, Cafe Roma, Tully's, et al. The newcomers, which are quantified as the Third-Wave roasters, who proselytize the one and only roast for coffee is the First Crack (light) roast, are taking the specialty industry by storm and upping the information game and artisanal, culinary level of experience. These attention-to-detail organizations include Blue Bottle, Verve, Four Barrel, and a whole and ever-increasing host of new players. The aforementioned companies comprise each end of the roast spectrum, offering something for very distinct target markets, but provide little in the way of roast degree variety. To be recognized and celebrated, are the "classic" roasters, who offer a variety of roast degrees, based upon what best represents the particular coffee's origin and varietal cultivar. These roasters, definitely artisans in their own right, include experts, such as Intelligenstia, Stumptown and Weaver's Coffee and Tea, to name a few. Alpen Sierra, Lake Tahoe's local classic specialty coffee roaster, is a proud purveyor of small batch roasted coffee for Stanford Sierra Camp. For the guest's enjoyment, the team at the Fountain and in the dining room, serve many coffees, which include the Full Dark traditional French Roast, Medium Dark Italian Roast for the espresso, a Full-City Certified Organic Mexico, a Viennese Brazil Yellow Bourbon, and a Medium Decaffeinated Colombia. Over the season take a gander and enjoy the variety of Alpen Sierra Mountain Roasted coffees!
Christian giving an espresso 'how to' to our staff members

Christian giving an espresso 'how to' to our staff members

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One week to the start of spring conference season!

by stanfordsierra

04 11, 2014 | Posted in Location, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Next Friday, April 18, we open for the 2014 spring conference season and welcome a group of Stanford faculty and staff and their families. The signs of spring are all around as we get the main lodge and cabins ready for our first guests of the year!

It's spring - the trees are budding!

It's spring - the trees are budding!

Late morning and the lake is still calm

Late morning and the lake is still calm

With no guests during the winter, it's project season at Stanford Sierra and the crew made some great updates this year. They removed the bar in the Old Lodge and added this new sitting area. We will add final decorative touches in the next week.
new sitting area in the Old Lodge

new sitting area in the Old Lodge

New carpet in the Stanford room and furniture is on the way!

New carpet in the Stanford room and furniture is on the way!

There was a crew of about 15 working through the winter. A few more staff members arrived this week, and the remainder of our spring staff arrive tomorrow!
Jan is part of the hard-working winter crew

Jan is part of the hard-working winter crew

I'll post more pictures next week as we get new furniture in place and clean things up. Bruce and his woodworking crew made some beautiful new tables for our board room, the Tallac room and the dining room. Stay tuned!        

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Meet Our Conference Season Yoga Instructor and Maseusse

by stanfordsierra

04 01, 2014 | Posted in Event planning, Recreation, Staff members | 0 comments

Lake Tahoe native Ryan Goralski is a Sadhana Yoga Chi instructor and Licensed Massage Therapist who provides his services for attendees of all-inclusive conferences and retreats at Stanford Sierra Conference Center.

Ryan Goralski, yoga instructor and certified massage therapist

Ryan Goralski, yoga instructor and certified massage therapist

We recently sat down and talked to Ryan: What is your current job? In my role at Stanford Sierra Conference Center, I am a yoga instructor and massage therapist for attendees of spring and fall conferences and retreats. I usually lead yoga classes in the morning, then provide massage therapy sessions in the afternoon. This will be my third season. What is the best thing about your job? It really starts on my commute to work, when I’m driving or riding my bike out to Fallen Leaf Lake. There’s no better way to start the day.
The route to Stanford Sierra

The Fallen Leaf Chapel is part of the scenic commute to Stanford Sierra

  I also love the Cathedral Room, where I hold yoga sessions.
One of Ryan's fellow instructors teaching yoga in the Cathedral room

One of Ryan's fellow instructors teaching yoga in the Cathedral room

It overlooks the lake, but more than that, it allows me to lead the class into a sunrise session and embrace the yoga tradition. As we do sun salutations, the sun comes right over Angora Ridge and reflects off the lake. I can’t think of a better indoor location to do yoga.
Sunrise over Fallen Leaf Lake

Sunrise over Fallen Leaf Lake

Seems that most folks just want to unwind or decompress from their everyday busyness... I get to guide our guests into achieving a more relaxed and fluid well-being whether it's yoga or massage therapy or a bit of both. For guests coming in the spring or fall conference season, what is a ‘can’t miss’ activity or place to see? Start off with a yoga session in the Cathedral Room, doing sun salutations as the sun rises over Angora Ridge. Certainly the views from the top of Mt. Tallac are some of the best in the universe. It’s hard to beat an early morning paddle on Fallen Leaf Lake – either in a paddle boat or on a stand up paddleboard (SUP).   It’s beautiful when it’s glassy and calm.
A morning paddle on calm Fallen Leaf Lake

A morning paddle on calm Fallen Leaf Lake

Do you have a favorite memory of your time working at Stanford Sierra? It’s hard to narrow it down to one event, because it’s always a breath of fresh air to go out to Stanford Sierra and participate in the daily activities. It’s not so much the weather, as I also love it in the rain. It’s more the experience of being in the great outdoors – you’re surrounded by incessant natural beauty and the overall experience is truly unique. Currently there is no cell service at Fallen Leaf Lake. What do you think are the benefits of disconnecting? My perspective as a health practitioner is that it’s all about creating fluidity and spaciousness in the body.  Fallen Leaf Lake helps us to unfold our bodies from the closed modern gadgetry posture and open our peripheral awareness back to the natural environment. The lack of cell service frees you up to be truly open to our surroundings, helps boost creativity, and reconnects you with your higher well-being.
Ryan hiking with his son, Tomas

Ryan hiking with his son, Tomas

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