Friday Morning Coffee Break: The To-Go Cup

KeepCup Cork/Glass sexiness

It is a beautiful day outside. I have decided to call in sick to work. And no…my boss doesn’t read my blog. Well hopefully she doesn’t. But if you are at work or at home, grab your favorite brew, grab your computer and take a break outside as we enjoy our Friday morning coffee break and learn about the to-go coffee cup. Continue reading

Friday Morning Coffee Break: Tools of the Trade “Hario Drip Kettle”

I love the holidays. I get presents, I give presents, and I get to drink some damn fine coffee.

Hario Buono Coffee Kettle

This year my ladyfriend was amazing. She bought me stuff to help build my coffee crap craft collection. On Christmas I was given a Hario Buono Coffee Drip Kettle. It is stylish, metallic, and looks like a beehive. It is sexy, gives me complete control over my water pour and just looks elegant on the counter. Being able to look like a piece of art is important when something takes up counter space. You don’t want your house to look like a mess. You want it to look like an architects/designers wet dream full of tres chic designs and shapes. This pot is made in Japan. Along with the pour over and coffee sock, I can say that Japan’s coffee renaissance has been improving the craft coffee scene for all.

What I like about the Hario kettle is, like I said before, control. When you are making coffee there are many variables that you are working with. Water quality, water temperature, grind of coffee, quantity of coffee, water flow, filtration, coffee age, brew time, etc. etc. The list is enormous. But what the Hario does is it allows you to control at least a few variables. Namely water heat and water flow. Now heat you are constantly losing from when you pull the water off of a heating element but the bee hive design of the Hario allows for longer heat retention in the pot maintaining a more consistent near boiling temperature.

The Hario also lets you control the amount of water that you pour onto the grounds. This controlling of water allows you to 1. Fully saturate the grounds during the blooming stage 2. Fill up your coffee to the desired level/weight 3. Control the pour so that you are not over extracting your coffee. Think of coffee beans like a peanut M&M. On the outside layer is the color which when extracted gives coffee it’s nice brown/red hue. Inside of that is the chocolate, all of the great flavors that you like. Finally there is the peanut. In an M&M it is good, but in coffee that is the bitter bland part that we don’t want to pull into the actual coffee liquid. The Hario allows to properly extract the good parts of the coffee and leave the bad parts in.

*I should not here that skill is still required to not pull in the peanut, but the Hario helps.

When we think about over extracting, a lot of manual brewers are gravity based. Meaning that when you pour the water over the coffee, the liquid is pulled down. The water will also look for the path of least resistance  and if the coffee grounds have an opening say on the edge of a pour-over, than that is where the coffee will go. Or the water will direct itself to the edge of the pour over thus over extracting the outside grounds and under extracting the inside.

The science is too difficult and too long to explain here so I will do that at a later date but needless to say. This is one of the best gifts I ever received. I really love it and love my ladyfriend for it.

You can purchase the Hario Drip Kettle here.

Turkey Day Libations

Turkey day is a great day for food.

Happy Turkey Day ladies and gentlebeans!

Today is the day to celebrate gluttony, family, and laziness. Not shopping. If you shop today you are a fool. And I hate you. In fact, I think that everyone hates you.

But I have to tell you. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I think that this is because it’s all about food. AND I LOVE FOOD. I love the preparation, the ability to come together, and especially to share. Something about the idea of sharing, of experiencing life together with people using all 6 senses just titillates me. When I get to labor over a cranberry sauce with whiskey, cinnamon, and citrus and have it shared with family and friends, it sparks something in my life and makes me feel, well, whole.

But as much as I love food. The food isn’t my favorite part. My favorite part of Turkey day is the libations. Turkey day has a lot of staples and standards. Mashed potatoes, turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, the list can go on and on. When you have Thanksgiving once a year, I always hate when I don’t feel surprised. Especially with my family who is very comfortable with bland food. Drinks are able to liven the food up. And the guests.

Libations at Turkeyday serve dual purposes. Firstly, libations add and enhance the flavor of the food. They bring out certain flavors in your food. A really peppery wine will help enhance meatier flavors. A great whiskey cocktail can enhance your pies or citrus like dishes. Libations are the accent to a well made dish.

Here are some of my favorites:  Continue reading

Friday Morning Coffee Break: The Customer Service Topic Yet Again

Have you had enough of Friday yet? Decided to head down to your favorite coffee haunt and order a coffee and “work from home?” If you have join me again for another exciting Friday Morning Coffee Break.

(*Update: My friend TJ at John Galt’s Coffee in Greeley now has latte’s. For a small town it’s a big deal!)

A great coffee podcast and well worth the hour or two to sit down and learn about coffee from coffee peeps

A great coffee podcast and well worth the hour or two to sit down and learn about coffee from coffee peeps

Today though I will forewarn that this is a “Soapbox” post. A soapbox post is formed in the style of a disgruntled tangent. Today I would like to focus and analyze customer service in coffee. But today we will be using the example of the new podcast “Coffee Uncut” to analyze the different approaches to customer service and the lack of understanding  about the relationship between people.

Continue reading

Friday Morning Coffee Break: A History of the World in 6 Glasses

Tom Standage’s other book The Victorian Internet is next on my list of reads.

Lately here in the good ol’ state of Colorado we have been getting late in the year snow storms and now late in the afternoon Rain. Miserable because I just wan’t to ride my bicycle. Oh well, I guess that just means grabbing a Cortado and sitting down to read a book. Come along and join me as today I read a phenomenal and life changing book, A History of the World in 6 Glasses. Trust me, you will not be disappointed that without whiskey and coffee, the American and French revolutions NEVER would have happened.  Continue reading

Friday Morning Coffee Break: How Hipsters Are Ruining Coffee

I recently was checking my coffee news on Sprudge.com (The Pitchfork of the Coffee World) and came upon an article from the blog “God Shot” titled On False Equivalencies (or How Hipsters Are Ruining Coffee). An article about hipsters and their judgmental scoff about coffee? Well this should be interesting… Continue reading

Friday Morning Coffee Break: The Allure of the Competition

My Friend Josh Taves (Dogwood Coffee) competing with SCIENCE!

Coffee, like any other field, has an over explosion of devotion and fanatics that love to prove their merit in the industry. The thrill of being the center of attention and showing that they chose a career path not out of desperation, but out of a passion for the bean is something that is shared across many mediums. In coffee at least but I am sure in other fields, I think this is why there is so much focus and inherent passion to compete in regional, national, and international competitions! Aside from gaining huge recognition as the “Best Barista in the World” I think it goes back to that insecurity of choosing to make coffee for the rest of your life and needing the vindication to justify your pursuits. But something that makes the coffee industry unique (or pry not that unique if you think about it) is that when you allow yourself to be consumed by the need for attention and that viral need to compete to be the best, I sometimes feel like you lose some of the integral components of coffee. Love, community, and taste. Allow me to explain. Continue reading

Friday Morning Coffee Break: Darkroastedblend.com

Good morning today. Indeed. The sun is out, the birds are chirping and the weather is unusally warm today. Nothing better to do than wake up and enjoy the view. Today I thought we would visit my favorite website and really what started me into this coffee endeavor, darkroastedblend.com

Dark Roasted Blend is a one stop destination for what they call the “weird and wonderful” on the interwebs. Updated daily the site looks at a wide array of things. Mostly collections of pictures or links it is dedicated to educating the masses on the beauty of life and all those things around you. Imagine if you will you are at a coffeeshop. Let’s just say Seattle for kicks and giggles because that is where everyone imagines drinking coffee, and you are staring off into the abyss. Just people watching or looking at the surroundings and noticing all of the beautiful things around. Well, that is exactly what Dark Roasted Blend is sans the real world. It’s all on your computer. Every morning  in college when I would wake up I used to love making my coffee and checking this site. My favorite was always to look at the homemade robots, 1950’s style cars of the future,  or the beautiful espresso machines quite often displayed on the site.

Interesting fact, the reason why I was turned onto this website was because of a John Malkovich interview where he praised the site for it’s quirkiness and originality. I quote from their site:

“Dark Roasted Blend is a perfect morning wake-up – a site filled with images of Earth’s strange dreamers, oddballs, visionaries, travelers and destinations”
— Time Magazine, August 31, 2009, p. 55, John Malkovich’s Short List.

The most oddball actor second only to Christopher Walken adores this site for its oddball-ness. Well I couldn’t help but see it myself. A true masterpiece to enjoy with coffee and really to start any conversation. Please feel free to look at the site and find what you love.

This is the coffee roaster, grinder, brewer. A beautiful machine

 

Friday Morning Coffee Break: The Coffee Ritual

What makes the coffee moment so special, hmm? Could it be the delicious black liquid at the end or is it that you get to act all cool knowing that you have nerdy coffee equivalent to a comic book nerds vast collection? No, if you think about it, coffee comes down to the actual ritual of making a cup of coffee. From the barista side, it is that moment that they get to harmonize with their ingredients and really pay homage to all of the hands and work it takes into craft such a delicious liquid. For a customer it is that moment where they are able to let go of the whole universe and just be with their thoughts. Nothing matters but the aroma and flavors of their individual coffee.

Take a look at the above video. I recently found this on the website sprudge.com. They state that when drinking espresso, they should think about it like a “choose your own adventure.” That is in the sense that there are a multitude of different ways to enjoy your coffee based drink depending on your mood, the type of coffee you have and the quality of the taste. What really fascinated me about this video is that there is so much dedication and focus put on the actual drinking of espresso. Before, I saw espresso as a mere quick fix, but now it has become a minute to a minute and a half experience. There is so much dedicated to the enjoyment of the beverage that for that full minute, all attention is placed on that drink. You need to take the time to enjoy the espresso and all of it’s flavors that it exudes.

You cannot deny the sensuality of the moment

I think of the coffee ritual as a very spiritual moment. When you are tasting something, the complexity of the coffee should be given its due respect and your upmost attention. The hands that went into making your drink, from the farmers that grew the coffee to the barista that prepared the drink deserve your respect. They have put a lot of work into what you are drinking. Many people forget that coffee, similar to the beer industry, has varying levels of complexity and general nuances that have to be appreciated. To appreciate those you have to be fully involved in the drink and let the experience overwhelm you with flavors and emotions. You are the coffee and the coffee is you.

Now I am not trying to say “EVERYBODY MUST DRINK CRAFT COFFEE AND ENJOY THE NOTES OF PECAN AND JUNIPER” not even close. What I am saying is that having a coffee is your zen moment. Your moment to disconnect from your personal self and become one with the universe. A simple self reflection and the freedom to enjoy your little universe. You decided on having coffee, you chose the drink you are going to consume, you will admire your drink! That respect should be put upon your time with the coffee, to use it as a quick fix of caffeine I think really loses the importance of that moment for yourself. I know for me, when I am busy and the whole universe is moving a mile a minute, having that simple moment of coffee really can change your perspective on your day.

Also important to note is that the experience of coffee at home is just as important as going out for a drink. In-house (pardon the store lingo) makes you MORE master of your domain. You control all of the variables. Not only that, for the 1-20 minutes it takes for you to make your coffee that is YOUR time. The time that is dedicated to making the perfect moment for you! Please, when drinking your coffee, take some time to be in the moment. To really experience the coffee for what it is. A moment to be with you. To gather your thoughts, to admire life, to just be. Coffee has a way of teaching us lessons on a much deeper level than we ever think.

Check out one of my favorite videos on the coffee ritual done by Sandwich Video who also so happen to be on my favorite broadcast you look nice today and his coffee ritual moment. It does not dissapoint.