Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Handsome X 3Sixteen Coffee Travel Kit


LA’s Handsome Coffee Roasters are known for many handsome things—their coffee bar, their packaging and their owners to name a few. Now you can add this lust-worthy travel coffee kit to the list—a collaboration with LA outfitter 3Sixteen.

The gorgeous leather satchels are handcrafted by Teppei Teranishi in Vashon, Washington. There are three colors of supple Chromexcel leather to choose from—oxblood, natural and Havana brown—which will wear beautifully as Chromexel leather is known to do. Solid brass fittings add classy details to match the debossed seal on the top flap. What more could you want to protect your coffee in transit?


For $325, it’s not cheap, but the coffee gear alone makes up more than a third of the cost. It’s definitely wish list worthy and for the traveler, it would pair well with any of the bags from Tanner Goods (who also use Chromexel leather).

The kit comes neatly packed with an Aeropress, a 12oz bag of fresh roasted Handsome coffee, a Porlex mini grinder, an AWS scale and extra paper filters. The only thing missing for delicious coffee is hot water, your favorite mug and some place to go. Where will you take it?

Handsome Roasters X 3Sixteen Travel Coffee Kit


Continue reading

Is This The Most Expensive Coffee Ever?


A seller on eBay is auctioning a “VINTAGE STUMPTOWN COFFEE PANAMA ESMERALDA GEISHA IN COLLECTOR JAR” and its starting bid is set at $3,000. Buyers have the option of purchasing the item outright for $6,000. Shipping is free.

The coffee in question hails from the 2011 harvest of the famed Panama Esmeralda estate, and was roasted on January 23, 2012. This makes the coffee nearly two years past its roast date and probably as delicious as the 1992 bottle of Crystal Pepsi, also available on eBay.

The seller, “morningoaks”, is based out of San Francisco and has a reasonable seller/buyer rating with 104 reviews, so it’s probably all legitimate. But who is going to pay $3000 for a past-crop two year off roast jar of Geisha coffee?

We’ll keep you posted.

FYI, here’s the full text of the listing. We’ve kept it in ALL CAPS LOCK with respect to the seller’s original intent.


Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 8.15.31 AM

$3000 Stumptown Jar on Ebay.

The post Is This The Most Expensive Coffee Ever? appeared first on

Continue reading

The Best Reads While Drinking Coffee

Drinking coffee alone allows coffee drinkers the luxury of doing some worthwhile read. Having no pressure at all to make small talk or engage in lengthy conversation with anyone over a cup of coffee, we can consider a lot of reading options for some relaxing time. So what can offer the best reads during this time?

Your Favorite Newspaper

Image Source

When was the last time you had the time to read your newspaper without rushing to go to work? Coffee and newspaper are perfect partners for a relaxing breakfast. Most of the time though, people simply don’t have the time to linger longer that time it takes to drink the coffee.

More often than not, the time allotted is just enough to read the headlines. You may have neglected reading the articles posted by your favorite columnist. It is not likely that the other parts of the newspaper are ever noticed until a leisurely time is made available.

Good Novel

Image Source

You have been meaning to start reading that novel and haven’t found the time to do so until today when you found yourself drinking coffee all alone. This is an opportune time to do just that and by any luck, you might just be able to finish the book in one sitting. Certainly “me-time” for a change.

An Interesting Magazine

It doesn’t have to be a serious read like a long novel. It can simply be a magazine of the reader’s preferred topic. The short articles are just right for finishing a cup or two of coffee.

Work Books

Really? Work books over a cup of coffee? Why not – as drinking coffee alone is probably the best time to stop procrastinating and face those books waiting to be read for you to accomplish your required work. It isn’t going to get done anyway unless you start.

Old Letters

What better time to open those old letters you’ve kept for so long than over a cup of good coffee when you’re alone to reminisce good and not so good memories. Who knows it may make you remember the important things you may be forgetting in life. Coffee and reading old letters sounds just fine.

Continue reading

The 2013 USBC Finals In Words & Pictures


Originally published on April 22nd, 2013.

Your 2013 United States Barista Championship finalists, featuring original photography by Charlie Burt for For a complete look back at the 2013 United States Barista Championship cycle, including photos of every regional competitor, join us on The Road to Melbourne.’s coverage of the 2013 United States Barista Championship was made possible by direct support from Counter Culture Coffee and Nuova Simonelli.

Charles Babinski, G&B Coffee, Los Angeles – 2nd Place Overall.

With his second consecutive second place finish on the national stage, it’s tempting to trot out one of those old cliches about bridesmaids and brides, but that sorely misses the point of what Charles Babinski continues to accomplish with his competition routines. If you follow barista competitions, you know – and have known for some time – that Charles Babinski is one of the very best and most respected competitors in the world. It’s the sincere hope of this publication that Mr. Babinski will some day earn the chance to prove this fact on the world stage. It just won’t be this year.

Mr. Babinksi’s began his routine by reciting for the judges a wrote, clinical definition of espresso, and then upending that definition by declaring that “to me, espresso is any wondrous thing that comes out of that machine over there.” He competed using 49th Parallel’s Colombia El Descanso, a coffee that yielded espressos with notes of “blackberry acidity & sweetness, cane sugar, and honey.” In a unique twist, Charles pre-dosed and pre-ground his espresso during his 15 minutes of prep time, storing the grounds in little silver canisters on stage; this is similar to the style of espresso prep that folks can expect at the new incarnation of G&B Coffee. He made two distinct signature drinks: the first with an uber-luongo 70 grams out shot, paired with orange blossom honey and meant to express “espresso as a canvas” for a beverage’s deliciousness; and the second, a more standard 30 grams out shot mixed with pomegranate juice and sparkling water.

Charles Babinski (LF) year-end stats for the 2013 season: 489 ABs, 119 runs (NL-1st), 159 hits, 33 2B, 4 3B, 21 HR, 65 SB, 97 BB (good eye), .439 OBP (NL-1st), .577 SLG, 1.016 OPS, 189 OPS+, 1st in National League MVP voting.


Trevor Corlett, MadCap Coffee Company, Washington DC – 3rd place overall

Since packing up their lives & families and shipping out for Washington DC in late 2011, the folks at MadCap Coffee DC – Trevor Corlett and Colin Whitcomb – have enjoyed pronounced competition success both regionally and nationally. Let’s review, shall we? In 2012 Mr. Corlett made USBC Semi-Finals; in 2013, Mr. Whitcomb was edged out from winning the SERBC outright by just a half point (by Lem Butler), and both Corlett & Whitcomb made appearances at the Semi-Finals round in Boston. Mr. Corlett advanced on to finals, and wound up placing third nationally in an historically competitive field. Oh, and Trevor was featured by Good Morning America and the New Yorker.

What we’re saying is, success at USBC is measured by a number of metrics, only one of which is points. We were captivated all three times by Mr. Corlett’s finals routine for a variety of reasons, including its exploration of “past crop” and “fresh crop” terminology, his stunningly sparse and mannered stage setting (our Twitter feed called it “Midwestern minimalist”), and Trevor’s ability to compete with a resting heart beat that never rises above a leisurely chat. His routine featured two distinct harvests of MadCap’s Didier Reinoso Colombia, one from July 2012 and another from December of that year. Mr. Corlett’s signature drink layered shots from both harvests with grapefruit, maple syrup & egg whites.


Sam Lewontin, Everyman Espresso, NYC – 4th Place Overall

Now in his third of competition, Sam Lewontin has emerged as one of the major talents on the US Barista Championship circuit. Winning the NERBC will do that for you, especially in this day and age, as New York City continues to establish itself as one of the world’s specialty coffee capitals. But this reality has a quirk; as New York has became a major destination for coffee talent and high-level work, it has remained a real bastion of barista community and closeness within the ebb tide of that massive, anonymous city. Specialty coffee can make strange bedfellows – that’s part of why we love it so much! – but it can also make dear friends, and watching Sam Lewontin carry the cheers and adulation of his peers on stage at USBC was living proof.

Sam Lewontin competed at USBC using Counter Culture Coffee’s Burundi Mpemba – click that link for featured tasting notes written by Mr. Lewontin himself. Sam’s routine included the second appearance of his “choose your own adventure” signature drink, in which his sensory judges were asked to choose flavor notes they might expect from a washed Burundi. These notes were used to tailor a sig drink with more than a dozen possible variations – you can read more about this aspect of Mr. Lewontin’s routine here.

At times a stream of consciousness mumble, or baseball statistics in-joke, or mad reporter dash, every once in a while we get something right in our live barista competition Twitter feed. Of Sam’s finals routine, we wrote, “You are watching just one shining moment in a coffee career so bright, it requires shades.” If you don’t mind us saying so, that’s about exactly right.


Charlie Habegger, Intelligentsia Coffee, Chicago – 6th Place Overall

There’s something in the water at Intelligentsia – perhaps added in directly via their filtration systems, who knows – that creates top-flight barista competitors year after year, in regions all across the country. This year was no different, as Chicago’s Charlie Habegger took his automatic Semi-Finals bid from North Centrals all the way to his first-ever appearance on Finals Sunday.

Mr. Habegger’s stage setting was perhaps the most visually striking of any competitor: each judge sat down to gracefully arranged white ceramic fruit bowls, full of vanilla, white chocolate, blackberries, basil, and other flavors found in Mr. Habegger’s coffee, a little number from Huila, Colombia marked by Intelligentsia as Tres Los Santos. His signature drink focused on the “lot building” practice common at origin, where different flavor characteristics are pulled coffees grown in a geographically contiguous set of farms. Charlie pulled different pieces of fruit from his judges’ table setting – a piece of vanilla here, some blackberries there – to visually anchor the flavors and ingredients they’d find in his signature drink, which included espresso shots pulled directly on top of blackberry and basil jam.

Educator at Intelli Broadway, green buyer in charge of Intelligentsia’s purchases in Peru, and now a USBC finalist… Charlie Habegger may well take over the world out from under us all.


Nick Purvis, The French Press, Santa Barbara – 5th Place Overall

Every Finals Sunday has its dark horse, a Cinderella story, a competitor who’s name may not have made the early predictions of competition watchers and bracketologists. This year it was Nick Purvis, representing a two-shop cafe brand in Santa Barbara called The French Press. Prior to USBC 2013, Nick had never advanced in a barista competition, having bowed out in the first round at two consecutive Southwest Regionals. His Semi-Finals appearance was a first, and there was much joy from the Verve Coffee Roasters delegation at USBC when his name was called for Finals Sunday.

Much joy, sure, but not an ounce of shock. We were lucky enough to watch all three of Mr. Purvis’s USBC runs, and he shone brightly all three times with a service that felt educational, comfortable, and tirelessly classy. Like spending a half an hour with your favorite bartender before the room opens, or enjoying a private dinner at the best table in your favorite restaurant, Nick Purvis was able to make his coffee (Verve’s Colombia Los Naranjos) come alive in a routine that focused on customer service itself, and the power baristas wield as public educators. Nick’s signature drink was drool-inducing, a combination of caramelized tangerine juice, red apple juice reduction, and a liquified coffee cheesecake made with cold brew and marscapone. On paper at least, it was probably the tastiest sounding sig drink of USBC finals, because honestly who doesn’t want liquified coffee cheesecake? Let’s be real here.

The thing about dark horses is, next year they come back as 1 seeds. Should he continue pursuing competition – and we sure hope so – Nick Purvis is one to watch in 2014, and his 2013 USBC run is one we’ll remember for a long time to come.


Pete Licata, Parisi Coffee, Kansas City, Missouri – 1st Place Overall

A huge congratulations to Pete Licata, your 2013 United States Barista Champion! A full accounting of his exploits is available in our exhaustive Pete-focused feature here. Learn more about the coffee Pete used to win it all right here!

The post The 2013 USBC Finals In Words & Pictures appeared first on

Continue reading

Santa drinking tea_thumb[2]

Tis the season! For family and fun and coffee and drinking, drinking, drinking. To help you celebrate/survive, here are some easy-to-follow recipes for sure-fire hits this holiday. These needn’t be precise, nor carefully considered and curated. These are drinks you make in the kitchen when no one’s looking. Is there coffee left in the pot from the morning? Perfect. Use that. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of whiskey, rum, and Rumple Minze on hand. You’ll be ho ho ho’ing in no time.


Mama Fajr’s Peppermint Mocha

8 ounces of your darkest brew
A few squeezes of chocolate syrup (to taste)
Very generous amounts of Peppermint Schnapps

Top with shaken fresh cream. For an extra kick, rim the glass with crushed up candy canes.



Tiny Tim’s Dickens Cider

Place all-spice, cinnamon, cloves, and dried citrus peel in a tea-bag and steep in piping hot cider.
Pull the bag out and then fill up the glass with whiskey.
Garnish with an orange if you’re feeling fancy.



Uncle Morty’s Eggnog Latte

Warm eggnog on the stove.
Mix in equal parts coffee.
Place in warm cup with ~ 1/2″ of room for Dark Rum.

If you’re Aunt Patrice, garnish with cinnamon. If you’re Morty, slug it down before anyone realizes you’re on your second helping.



Grammy’s Cold Brew

If you’re in Portland, Seattle, New York City, or Los Angeles – grab a growler of Winter Cheer, Stumptown’s spiced and milked cold brew. If you’re not in those areas, replicate it by steeping mulled spices in cold coffee and adding cream. Keep it around the fridge for this quick cocktail to make on the fly.

8 ounces of Winter Cheer (or Winter Cheer substitute)
2 ounces of Dark Rum

Pour the ingredients over ice. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon.



M & Z’s Irish Coffee

8 ounces brewed coffee
1 T brown sugar
2-3 ounces of whiskey
Whipped heavy cream

Dissolve the brown sugar with hot-hot-hot coffee, add whiskey, and top with gently whipped heavy cream. Serve. Repeat.

What’s your favorite holiday coffee cocktail? Sound off in the comments below!

Top image via Tea and Talk.

The post 5 Christmas Cocktails That Will Make Your Holidays Infinitely Better appeared first on

Continue reading