Monthly Archives: March 2014

16 Reasons To Be Excited By Coffee Right Now

16-Reasons

In honor of Willamette Week’s “26 Reasons To Love Portland Right Now” we present our list of 16 great trends blowing up right now in the world of delicious coffee.

1. High quality coffee is coming to cities across America in a big way.

Throwdown at Coffee & Tea Collective in San Diego (Story: 5 Underrated Coffee Cities | Photo: Steve Cachero of FortyOneTwenty Inc.)

From Waco to Amarillo, Richmond, VA to Spokane, we’re seeing a generation of young, ambitious people moving in or moving back to smaller cities across America and opening seriously exciting coffee bars. And thanks to those small town rents, the build outs are simply stunning.

2. Darker roasts are okay again, and light roast is just fine too.

Roasters around the world are embracing a full spectrum of roasts, and the light roast craze has matured into something careful, intentional, and tasty. There’s such a thing as a well-sourced, nuanced dark roast just as much as there’s a fantastical and wild light roast – and everything between. While opinionated neck-beards will argue, we think a diverse range of delicious coffees is a magical thing.

3. In cafes, soy milk is out. Artisan and/or house-made nut-milk is totally in.

Freshly squeezed almond milk, supple and sweet hazelnut milk, and even kefir-infused cashew milks are showing up at some of the finest coffee bars.

4. Milkshakes are back in style.

Choco Champ milkshake at Intelligentsia Coffee Logan Square (Story: Chicago: Intelligentsia Logan Square's Beautiful Line In The Sand

Choco Champ milkshake at Intelligentsia Coffee Logan Square (Story: Chicago: Intelligentsia Logan Square’s Beautiful Line In The Sand)

Rejoice! Coffee bars like Intelligentsia Logan, Go Get Em Tiger, G&B Coffee, and many more are serving decadent, delicious coffee milkshakes with aplomb. Our own editor Zachary Carlsen has lectured on his love for frothy, creamy coffee shakes at Barista Nation events around the country. We can’t get enough. Don’t hate, celebrate.

5. Boutique brand ready-to-drink coffee is a market on the brink of exploding.

Two young men splash around in PT's cold brew (Story: Sprudge Style, Episode One: Cold Brew Buddies | Photos: Autumn Eaken)

Two young men splash around in PT’s cold brew (Story: Sprudge Style, Episode One: Cold Brew Buddies | Photos: Autumn Eaken)

You’ll find Blue Bottle‘s New Orleans Iced Coffee next to Stumptown Coffee‘s cold brew stubby at national grocery stores like Whole Foods, along with a range of awesome, local RTD cartons and bottles of delightful coffees. More companies continue to partner with bottling companies and it’s a trend that’s really buzzing.

6. We’re riding the next wave of terroir and variety experimentation at origin.

A quality control miller grades samples of green coffee in Brazil.

A quality control miller grades samples of green coffee in Brazil.

What does that even mean? It means let go of your preconceived notions of what coffees from specific regions taste like. Progressive producers are borrowing methods and exploring growing practices from other parts of the world. Those who succeed end up with award-winning and game-changing coffees.

7. Some of the strongest boutique coffee brands are expanding is big ways.

Stumptown Coffee in Los Angeles (Photo & Story: Amparo Rios)

Stumptown Coffee in Los Angeles (Photo & Story: Amparo Rios)

Verve, Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle, La Colombe, Kaldi’s, and Counter Culture Coffee are all drafting expansion plans as we write this article, and in the next five years, expect to see even more growth for these well-regarded “big-but-still-small” coffee roasting companies with a commitment to cup quality.

8. Coffee with cream and sugar is cool again.

Who says coffee should only be enjoyed black? Go Get Em Tiger‘s new ‘coffee regular’ option got them written up by the LA Times. People love this stuff, and cafes across the world are re-embracing the practice.

10. The best coffee shops are serving the very best in ooey-gooey hash-tag deloshes pastries.

kouign-amann

Kouign Amann from Roman Candle in Portland, Oregon (Story: PDX: Duane Sorenson’s Roman Candle Baking Company Now Open)

Want to find the best pastries in town? Find the best cafes in town – the synergy between great coffee and delicious baked goods has never been stronger. Coffee bars are teaming up with award-winning artisans for exclusive collaborations. Some go even further, like San Francisco’s The Mill, who share space with an in-house baker while shops like NYC’s BoxKite has a resident pastry chef.

11. There are career paths for dedicated coffee professionals these days.

Austin Amento of Augie's Coffee speaks at Barista Nation, an international professional development event series (Story: Barista Nation LA Part 1: A Hot, Steamy Day In Anaheim)

Austin Amento of Augie’s Coffee and others speak at Barista Nation, an international professional development event series (Story: Barista Nation LA Part 1: A Hot, Steamy Day In Anaheim)

Don’t believe us? Check this out.

12. Good food is finally coming to North American cafes.

Exquisite dinner service at BoxKite NYC (Story: First Look: Box Kite Coffee NYC)

Exquisite dinner service at BoxKite NYC (Story: First Look: Box Kite Coffee NYC)

As much as we love the Morning Glory Bran Muffin, many cafes are exploring fine food alternatives. Some of our favorite cafes are experimenting with small plates, artisan baked goods, in-house chefs, curated cheese boards, table-service, and dynamic toast programs. Or you could head off to cities like Melbourne, Wellington, or London, where excellent food options are a mainstay at many of the best cafes.

13. Asia is in the middle of a coffee consumption renaissance.

Coffee Academics in HK. (Article: 5 Excellent Cafes In Hong Kong"

Coffee Academics in HK. (Story: 5 Excellent Cafes In Hong Kong | Photo: Albert Au)

Japan has almost as long a history of coffee consumption as America, though the high-end of that market has really been heating up recently. Elsewhere, quality coffee is exploding in places like Hong Kong, while coffee in Korea is only becoming more incredibly fascinating. Starbucks is so excited for the potential in the Chinese market that they’ve even gone as far as buying coffee farms in the country to ensure adequate supply.

14. High-end coffee equipment has gotten positively drool-worthy.

Espresso Parts customized La Marzocco GS2 (Article: Espresso Eleganza: The Hottest Machines Of SCAA 2013) Photo: James Hanna

Espresso Parts customized La Marzocco GS2 (Story: Espresso Eleganza: The Hottest Machines Of SCAA 2013 | Photo: James Hanna)

The clean lines, the pressure, the heat, the passion. From Modbar to Alphadominche to Kees van der Westen, and everywhere in between, the hardware used to make coffee has become serious art in its own right.

15. Collaboration between coffee and other food and beverage industries is finally happening.

coffeesign

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 8.44.40 AM

The coffee and alcohol sections of the bar at Dichotomy in Waco, TX. (Story: This New Coffee & Cocktail Bar In Texas Is Nothing Short Of Extraordinary | Photo Cara Michelle Smith)

More and more coffee shops are opening with serious drinks programs, from alcohol to juice to kombucha, and more and more collaboration is happening between professionals across these industries all the time. Chef Hugh Acheson actively seeks out quality coffee for his restaurants, coffee industry stalwart Chris Schooley is opening a barley maltery, the US Bartenders Guild just hosted a seminar on Irish Coffees at Four Barrel. Truly, the times they are a-changing.

16. Coffee has never been more delicious.

Espresso at Heart in Portland, Oregon.

Espresso at Heart in Portland, Oregon.

The coffee you have access to at this very moment has never been grown, packed, shipped, stored, roasted, and packaged better. And with today’s cafe thought-leaders and a whole slew of eager young service bucks, it’s never been brewed better, either. But the best part? That coffee you’re drinking will only get more delicious from here on out.

The post 16 Reasons To Be Excited By Coffee Right Now appeared first on Sprudge.com.

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coffee-and-books

The University of California, Davis is considering the potential of a degree in coffee sometime in the near future. The university recently opened the UC Davis Coffee Center as part of their Food for Health Institute, whose stated goals are to “increase value at every step of the coffee pipeline, to ensure safety and quality of the global coffee trade, and educate the next generation of coffee scientists.”

The Coffee Center just wrapped up its first coffee research conference and they are currently looking for partners in the coffee industry to help expand the program and its research. NPR spoke with the director of the Food for Health Institute who made the case for why coffee is an obvious area of study:

There aren’t a lot of things that so many people consume several times a day, every day,” says J. Bruce German, who directs of the Foods for Health Institute at Davis. But given how much coffee people all over the world chug, there’s a surprising lack of academic research on the topic, German says.

There’s a lot we still don’t fully understand about coffee, German says. What’s the best way to treat the beans while they’re still green? What’s the most environmentally friendly way to roast them? And why are we so obsessed with how it smells?

And since the university is already well known for its winemaking and beer brewing programs, German says coffee seems like a natural next step. –NPR

As someone currently working on a Master’s Thesis about coffee, I can confirm how little academic research there is on the topic and I would greatly appreciate the knowledge a program like this could produce. If you’re considering an academic degree in the future and you’re enthralled by the idea of studying the chemistry of coffee, its impact on human health, or how to improve coffee at any point of the coffee chain, keep an eye on UC Davis.

Read the full story on NPR.

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European Coffee Capitals Infographic

European Coffee Capitals infographic by HouseTrip

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Brown Gold 100% Ethiopian Real Cups Review

We continue our Brown Gold Real Cup review series today by checking out the 4th flavor in their line-up… Brown Gold 100% Ethiopian Real Cups.

Brewing these Real Cups resulted in rich earthy notes tinged with mild oily notes that revealed aromas of dark chocolate, smoke & some very faint hints of cinnamon & floral notes buried underneath. Billed as a dark roast, flavor yielded more robust notes that kicked off with some mild smoke up front followed by bursts of dark chocolate, molasses, bread notes in the background, some faint oily notes from the roasting process and a very mild (i.e. lightly sour) citrus flavor throughout. A very well-rounded performance so far which made for a pleasing experience.

Acidity was amazingly well balanced for a dark roast bold coffee as instead of an overpowering sour note, it was delicate & mild like in some lighter roasted coffees we’ve seen in the past. It created some of the citrusy sour notes in the flavors yet was pleasantly smooth & mild instead of strong & jarring.

Brown Gold Ethiopian Real Cups Brewing

Body was dark brown in color with strong shades of red when held in front of a light source. It reminded us of a fine red wine and since Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, you could almost consider this to be the coffee world’s version of a good Merlot. Mouth feel remained silky smooth thanks to the balanced acidity and did not seem the least bit watery. We were expecting a bit of an oily feel given that this is a dark roast, but were surprised to see only very mild signs of this. Finish was leaning towards the sweeter side with mostly dark chocolate notes throughout the aftertaste.

  • Aroma – 10 – Rich earthy notes up front tinged with mild oily notes that lead into aromas of dark chocolate, smoke along with some very faint hints of cinnamon & floral notes buried underneath.
  • Acidity – 10 – Amazingly well-balanced overall with mild & delicate sour notes instead of anything strong & overbearing. While not common, we’ve seen this in dark roasts before and we love it when that’s the case.
  • Body – 10 – Dark brown in color with some strong shades of red when held in front of a light source. Reminded us of a fine red wine and reinforced the idea of a similarly exceptional coffee being present in the mug.
  • Flavor – 10 – Robust notes all around with smoke & burst of dark chocolate up front followed by flavors of molasses, bread notes in the background, some faint oily notes from the dark roast and a very mild citrusy flavor throughout. Very please mix of flavors overall.
  • Mouth Feel – 10 – Silky smooth due to the balanced acidity, not watery at all and only a very mild oily feel in the end. A sweet finish topped things off with an aftertaste comprised mostly of dark chocolate.
  • Coffee Drinker – Suited best for dark roast fans that are looking for something more akin to a bold medium vs. a full-out intensity monster like a Starbucks K-Cup. The smooth & mild acidity should allow novice dark roast fans to break into the world of dark roast coffees and serves as an excellent introductory point for such individuals.

Overall Rating: 100 – Excellent!

Brown Gold Ethiopian Real Cups Cup

While this coffee is nowhere near as intense as an average Starbucks K-Cup, we find it fits the perfect balance between that end of the spectrum and a strong bold medium roast. We’ve admitted in the past that we prefer dark roast coffees, so it should come as no surprise that we thoroughly enjoyed this offering from Brown Gold’s line-up. We could easily see ourselves taking this anytime of the day from mid-morning to late afternoon and wouldn’t mind adding this flavor to our stash of weekly coffees and would not mind serving it to any guests that drop by either.

As we noted in the 100% Peruvian review, there are good ways of implementing acidity (wherein it helps the flavors, helps mouth feel, etc.) and then there are bad ways (wherein it’s so strong you lose most flavors, makes mouth feel watery, etc.). While the Peruvian failed at this task, the Ethiopian excels at it and goes to show how much more pleasing a well-balanced coffee can be. While it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, we’ve noticed an upturn in manufacturers who are taking the time to produce some truly exceptional & outstanding Ethiopian coffees as of late and we’re glad the birthplace of coffee is finally getting the recognition it deserves. This one’s definitely worth a try, to say the least.

Brown Gold 100% Ethiopian Real Cups work in all Keurig K-Cup Brewers and are available in Canada at ECSCoffee.com. These Real Cups are also available at Amazon.com in the USA. Please also note that Real Cups will NOT work with Keurig Vue brewers.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to thank ECS Coffee for supplying us with samples of these Real Cups for the purpose of this review.

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