Song From the Heart

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Not sure who said that, but it’s apropos at Bica at the moment. Our commitment to provide the highest quality coffee within a homey environment has never wavered. It’s this focused commitment that guides us through tricky times and has us prepared to pounce when opportunities arise. The most visible change in the store, besides the newly discovered flooring, has been to the BicaTeam itself. The new line-up is in place and firing on all cylinders. Please introduce yourself to Ryan, Emily, Andrew, and Morgan, who now augment Cameron, Justine, Jonah, and Harper on the line. I thank Bryn, Taylor, and Claire for their dedication to Bica, and while I’m sad to see them leave, I know that they moved on for personal growth and goals. While they can’t be replaced identically, the new collection of individuals is building on the work that they did while at Bica while bringing new talents.

I first tasted Heart’s coffee on a visit to Verve about six months ago. We constantly get samples in the store, but to see Verve with Heart in their back-of-house was instant validation. We immediately developed the relationship with Heart and I’m extremely pleased to announce that Bica is now one of only two places you can find Heart in the Bay Area, and indeed the only place in the East Bay. We’re leading off with Heart’s Ethiopia “Chire” coffee, a lovely balanced brew redolent of tart currant and lime rounded out with the sweetness of honey. Of the four coffees the team has been sampling the consistent quality and balance has been noteworthy: The two Colombians and two Ethiopians have had common light-roast trademarks of wonderfully balanced acids and sweetnesses, yet each coffee has had an individual flair. Heart, out of Portland, produces only a few coffees at a time, focusing on bringing the most out of the highest quality green beans through their roasting. It’s a treat waiting for the next beans from Heart and Bica’s five other roasting partner (Verve, Ritual, Four Barrel, Intelligentsia, Coava) that will arrive in the coming days!

With the coffee program so well developed at the moment, I have decided it’s time to bring the rigor we attribute to coffee quality to our tea program. The coincides nicely with Peter Luong’s recent launch of Song Tea and Ceramics in SF. Peter was my initial tea partner when I opened Bica, but he has since left Red Blossom to pursue his own tea purveyor retail operation. Peter sources the absolutely finest Chinese teas that can be found, building on years of trading and sourcing. Just entering Peter’s shop (more like a living room), in SF is a step into a foreign land. I am honored that Peter has agreed to partner with Bica again; I know how selective he is. Bica has begun serving his tea in locally crafted bowls revealing the beauty of the tea leaves as they steep. We will encourage our customers to have multiple infusions as the character of the teas change. We will start off with a selection of green, red (black), and oolong teas, as well as a calendula botanical tea.

The evolutions that we’ve made at Bica build on a strong foundation based on an intense focus to bringing the best quality of whatever it is we choose to brew, be it coffee or tea. We have a couple of other things simmering on the back burner, more on that in the near future. Until then, I hope you can find your way in to Bica and enjoy the coffee…and the tea!

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