Down in the small community of Lyme, Connecticut lies a family farm nestled half way between the banks of the Connecticut River and Rogers Lake. What once was land for dairy cattle has been replaced by free range beef steer, a state of the art coffee roasting operation and a cozy neighborhood cafe with a view. [Above: Local carpenters Jason, Adam and Dave relax after work on the deck off the Cafe]
Inside, local pastry chef and barista Carol Monnerat served us up a taste of the newest coffee called Cold Brew. This extra bold and concentrated brew is steeped for twelve hours and makes perfect iced coffee. Carol makes truffles, chocolate covered morsels and other confectionary delights which she sells at farmers markets across the state, including the state’s largest market in Coventry and their own Saturday market right on the farm in Lyme. Her sea salt sprinkled chocolate dipped pretzels were delicious! Salty, crunchy and sweet- the fresh chocolate pairs beautifully with smokey just-roasted coffees.
Just a stone’s throw from the cafe, owners Carol Adams Dahlke and husband Chip Dahlke live in the picturesque 1730 Ashlawn farm house with their three children.
She took us around to show us the farm, the roasting room, and schooled us on the coffee programs that are of major importance to her business, including: The Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade, and Cafe Femenino.
Through the barn door and down a hay covered walkway next to where the cattle rest, we crossed through the stable where Carol’s two horses greeted us with excitement. She purchased these two beauties months apart, after deciding to have a companion for her first horse. They didn’t discover until later that the horses (which came from two different states) are actually half-brothers. Do you think the horses know it? More photos here.
Inside a space originally created for stair building you’ll find roasters, baggers and grinders ready for work. Coffee is freshly roasted to order nearly everyday of the week! Lofted above the work space are pallets of exotic coffees from every coffee growing continent in the world. The raw beans take their final journey down a long metal shoot for roasting.
The beans, which are simply seeds found inside a coffee cherry, are imported only from ethical and sustainable coffee farmers. Carol has traveled the world to meet and build relationships with the farmers she purchases from, including a recent trip to Honduras.
A handful of raw beans smells earthy and are nothing like the distinct coffee flavor we know them for. Only through the expert roasting process do the beans complete their final transformation into coffee beans. The farm currently offers nearly 30 roasted varieties including: Farm Blend, Dominican Republic, Black Angus, French Roast, Ethiopia Harrar, Villa Borghesi, and Captain Bill’s Bold Blend just to name a few!
On Saturdays from 9 AM to 12:30 PM the farm hosts the Lyme Farmers Market featuring many local artisans and foods to discover.
“Grass fed beef, seafood, cheeses, organic goods, vegetables, fruits, baked goods, cut flowers and maybe the world’s best coffee are just some of the locally grown produce available from the finest vendors in the area. The pace is leisurely with time to trade recipes and watch the grazing cattle, horses and goats. Whether you stop by for a quart of berries or you are buying that special meal, Lymes Farmer’s Market is worth the trip!” – Ashlawn Farm