The Hippo


Jul 21, 2019








Find your brew in a single-serving cup or traditional grinds at a local market. Courtesy photo.

Parker House Coffee

You can find Parker House Coffee in local markets (like Moulton’s Market in Amherst, Harvest Market of Bedford, Sully’s Superette in Goffstown) as well as the Milford Farmers Market on Saturdays, Lull Farm in Milford and the Peterborough Farmers Market on Wednesdays. If you want a hot cup of Parker House, visit Northeast Cafe in New Boston. Visit 

By the jar or by the cup
Parker House Coffee roasted fresh and local


 If you ever find yourself driving down Mill Street in New Boston on a Friday or Saturday night and see a big cloud of blue smoke over Northeast Cafe, that’s probably Parker House Coffee owner and roaster Mason Parker roasting up a dark roast of coffee.

When Parker moved from New England to West Virginia, he couldn’t find a good cup of coffee. So he started roasting his own.
“A true New Englander likes a good cup,” Parker said. “I didn’t really have a hobby, so I thought, ‘That sounds like a fun thing to do.’”
He found places that sold green coffee online and started playing around with roasting on the stovetop at home. Then for Christmas, he roasted some coffee, packaged it in Mason jars, and gave it as gifts to family. When he moved back to New Hampshire, it wasn’t long before he started roasting coffee for the Milford Winter Farmers Market. After his second farmers market, he realized he was going to need a bigger roaster.
Parker still packages the coffee in Mason jars (which helps keep the coffee fresher for a longer period of time), and customers will bring those jars back to the farmers market to be reused. Now, Parker House Coffee is also available in single-serving cups for home brewing machines like Keurig. 
“Most roasters kind of like having a cafe,” Parker said. “My business model is more getting fresh roasted coffee to people for home consumption.”
Since most of his customers use Keurig-type machines at home and many were inquiring about single-serving cups, Parker began to investigate how to package the cups. It didn’t seem likely until he met up with roaster Jim Flowers of Cindia Jackson’s Coffee in Manchester. Flowers was purchasing the equipment to make the cups, and the two roasters developed a partnership.
“They don’t look like the K-Cup ones — they have a mesh filter outside them,” he said. “It’s a far superior cup of coffee, especially if you like dark roast.”
Unlike a K-Cup, the coffee brews more like an automatic drip, which allows all the grounds to get wet when brewing, Parker said. With most K-Cup-type machines, the water doesn’t soak all the grinds.
The roasting process begins with raw beans that are heated to 350 to 450 degrees. The green seeds turn yellow, then pale, and then brown. The beans actually pop like popcorn and start to smell like burnt popcorn.
“When you first start roasting in your home unit, you want to pull it off because you think, ‘Oh, no, I burned it,’” Parker said. “But it hasn’t even started yet.”
Next is what’s called “first crack,” which is when a light roast is complete. 
“In a light roast you get flavors like fruits, a nuttiness, citrusy and those type of things, which is what the industry is going towards,” Parker said.
If the beans continue to cook on the same temperature until they reach second crack, that’s a medium roast (which, according to Parker, sounds like Rice Krispies when you pour milk over them).
“That’s where I like my coffee, where you get a little bit of both worlds,” Parker said. “Dark roast is where my coffee shines.”
A dark roast is achieved when the beans are roasted after second crack.
“The beans are basically being destroyed,” Parker said. “But what happens is you get that smokiness, that real dark roast flavor.”
Roasters can also blend their coffees. That’s how Parke makes his “Midnight Oil” coffee, by combining dark roasts of beans from all over the world. His house blend is made with different ratios of the roasts with beans from South America. And if you’re not using a Keurig type of coffee brewer, Parker said that you can use any type of brewing method, from French press to percolator.
 “I’m a coffee roaster. I’m not a barista. Whatever way you like to brew your coffee, use that,” he said. “I personally use a $25 Mr. Coffee. I say if you want good coffee, you have to start with good coffee, so that’s where I come in as a roaster.” 
As seen in the September 25, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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