Update: Congratulations to Debbie H. who has been named the winner of this contest!  She likes her coffee “strong, with a hint of sweet.”

In the past few months Kirsty Hughan has become a great friend and colleague to Three Many Cooks.  As we relaunch you’ll be seeing more of her work.  Coming soon you can also visit her at her very own website/blog, The Good Taste Guide.  Since Kirsty knows so much about coffee, we immediately turned to her when our nephew/cousin, Andrew Grassmick, sent us some of his Mad Cap Coffee. Here’s what she says…

This past weekend I woke up early to shoot USA Weekend videos with Pam and her daughters, Maggy and Sharon. Pulling into the driveway at eight o’clock, without yet having my daily coffee, I was glad to walk through the door to the smell of a freshly brewed pot. When I heard that the coffee was sent fresh from Maggy and Sharon’s cousin who works for a coffee roaster, I had to get my hands on it!

You see, I spent the year after college working on and off for a high-end coffee shop. The first thing you learn is how to make a perfect extraction from a bean. For us this meant brewing each cup to order in a wonderful little contraption called a Clever. On slow days, we did cuppings, essentially a wine tasting for coffee. This is where I picked up tasting terminology. Is the coffee floral? Or more citrus? Or is it chocolatey?

Mad Cap Coffee is refreshing, light, medium-roasted coffee. Its roast brings out the natural flavors in the bean very nicely. I love that when you pour yourself a cup, the coffee comes out a wonderful bright caramel color, something you like to see in a medium roast. When you take a sip, the coffee is light and complex, a difficult partnership. The taste is nuanced, able to balance chocolate and berry, or floral and citrus. If you don’t yet consider yourself a “drink my coffee black” kind of person, these coffees are a good way to give it a try. With a little simple syrup and a piece of a toast with almond butter, you have a wonderful afternoon pick me up.

The trend in the coffee community is to know your coffee farmers well. A good roaster will know how a farmer works the land, how he relates to light, and what the fruit he picks looks like. Mad Cap coffee is one of these good roasters. As they proclaim on their website, “We develop relationships with farmers. We purchase as much of our coffee directly from the farmer as possible.” Plus, Mad Cap has super baristas. Three have placed in various regional and national competitions, including one who snagged third place and another who grabbed fourth at the United States Barista Competition.

Looking to snag yourself a bag of Mad Cap Coffee? I’d recommend popping over to the Mad Cap Store and peeking at the tasting notes. If you know you prefer a deep, chocolatey coffee to a floral, fruity one, this is your chance to make sure you get the perfect bag for you. While you’re there, check out their blog, it’s a wonderful place to catch up on their exciting start.

For a chance to win two bags of their award-winning roasts, tell us how you take your coffee. Giveaway ends at 6 PM Eastern time on Sunday. We’ll announce the winner first thing on  Monday morning on the newly designed Three Many Cooks. So head back to see who won… and check out our new look.

BTW, I like medium-strong coffee with a big splash of whole milk!