Look ma, no espresso!


Last May during my NYC coffee tour, I attempted to visit Stumptown’s roastery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Sadly they were closed for the day. But Now I’ve got even more of a reason to go back. Last Friday they opened a new coffee bar in their Red Hook location, but without the most common centerpiece of coffee shops—the espresso machine. In response to the seemingly odd decision to exclude espresso from the menu, Stumptown told the New York Times:

“We’re going all-brew because that’s how most people make coffee,” said Duane Sorenson, the owner of Stumptown. “At our coffee bar in Red Hook we’re putting the focus on the bag of coffee and showing our customers how to brew that coffee correctly,” he added. –NYTimes

Instead of focusing on pulled shots and latte art, the new brew bar will offer coffee in 6 different ways: French press, Chemex, Hario V60 pour over, Melitta fliters, AeroPress, and the Clever Coffee Dripper. By making each cup of coffee individually, and by using methods that can be a cathartic spectacle, it allows the barista time to educate the customer while selling them coffee and the means  they need to brew it right.

This is another great example of Stumptown doing what they know best and executing it really well. I find it interesting, just returning from Europe where most places don’t offer drip coffee—the closest you can get is an Americano—that Stumptown creates the complete opposite environment. It’s definitely a great strategy and shows they know their market well. I know way more people who own a French press than an espresso machine. The guys at Kickstand and Jim Seven at Penny University didn’t seem to have a problem keeping busy without espresso, so I doubt Stumptown will either.

Photos via Mike at Shot Zombies. More photos there and on the NYTimes.

posted by on 09.30.2010, under Misc., Recommended Roasters

National Coffee Day


There isn’t much more to say. Enjoy a cup or two, it’s National Coffee Day!

posted by on 09.29.2010, under Design

DCILY x PUR Clean Water Contest


Happy National Coffee Day! Yesterday I posted about the importance of clean, quality water when brewing your coffee. Today, thanks to PUR water, you have a chance to win a new PUR One-Click Faucet Mount for yourself, so that you can brew the best possible cup at home. Here’s some more info about the prize on the line:

PUR’s new line-up of one-click faucet mount filtration systems make getting clean drinking water instantly from the tap easier and more convenient than ever before. The first and only faucet mount design that not only installs in one easy click, but offers up to 100 gallons of great-tasting drinking water with just one click. It removes 99.9% of microbial cysts and reduces many other contaminants – just snap it on, and drink it up (especially the next time you brew that pot of coffee). The PUR faucet mount system also has a space-saving design that offers consumers a swiveling head and quick disconnect feature that helps move the filter out of the way when needed.

So here are the rules:

Beginning today, September 29th through Midnight (EST) on Friday you can enter for a chance to win (US residents only, sorry guys!).

• Comment on this blog post about your thoughts on clean water & better coffee (1 entry)

• Comment on this related post on our Facebook page about your thoughts on clean water & better coffee (1 entry)

• Follow @dearcoffeeiluvu on Twitter and Mention us while tweeting about the importance of clean water when brewing coffee (1 entry) x 1 per day = 3

• “Like” PUR on Facebook and let them know your thoughts about clean water & better coffee (2 entries)

Winners will be selected using random.org and announced on Monday!

*BONUS* If you hadn’t heard this week, Proctor & Gamble—PUR’s parent company—made a landmark announcement regarding their future sustainability goals. PUR has also made commitments of their own to bring clean water to those who don’t have it.

For every new PUR Facebook fan, we will donate 10 liters of clean drinking water to children in the developing world! Also, 1 System = 1 Week: For every PUR system purchase, one week of clean drinking water is provided to a child in the developing world.  To-date, PUR partnered with the Children’s Safe Drinking Water program (CSDW) to provide 2 billion liters of clean water to children and their families around the world.

So enter to win clean water for yourself and your coffee, but more importantly, help provide clean water to those who need it most. Good Luck!

posted by on 09.29.2010, under Misc., Products

Quality water equals quality coffee


Tomorrow is National Coffee Day, so what better way to celebrate than with a tip about an often overlooked way to improve the quality of your coffee and a contest to help you do just that. The coffee we all love so much is roughly 99% water, which means the quality of the water used to brew it, drastically affects the quality of the end product.

The water you use is very important to the quality of your coffee. Use filtered or bottled water if your tap water is not good or imparts a strong odor or taste, such as chlorine. If you are using tap water let it run a few seconds before filling your coffee pot. Be sure to use cold water. Do not use distilled or softened water. –The National Coffee Association

The Specialty Coffee Association of America even has standards of acceptability for the water used to brew the highest quality coffee possible. Now the last thing I would do is advocate using bottled water for making coffee—that’s ridiculous—however, I would suggest filtering what comes out of the tap.

I use to have a filtered water pitcher, but I left it behind during my recent move. Thankfully, PUR was kind enough to send me one that clicks easily onto my faucet. This means no more pitcher refilling and easy access to quality water, making sure all the coffee I brew is equally as good.

Check back tomorrow for the launch of the contest and all the details on how you can win your own PUR One-Click Faucet filter.

posted by on 09.28.2010, under Coffee 101, Misc., Products

Gravity defying mug


Xu-54, a designer in Shanghai, spent 6 months designing and another 6 months producing this unique mug that remains standing on its edge when empty. While it seems like a little bit too much time spent on a coffee mug, it may be a great way to signal your server that you need a refill. The graphic printed on the side is a chart that represents the ideal trajectory of love, symbolizing it’s power to overcome the force of gravity. The handle also signifies an angel wing, I assume to help give it a little lift.

posted by on 09.27.2010, under Design, Products

Best coffee in Iceland


Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be posting some of the coffee highlights from my travels through Scandinavia (and Germany), including cafe suggestions for when you find yourself in any of the same places.

My first stop was Iceland, and apart from arriving in the most beautiful airport I’ve seen (it resembles a modern art museum more than a travel hub) I was most excited to see an airport cafe (a Kaffitár) at 6am with a La Marzocco espresso machine. No automatic crap here! I had a nice double shot to start my day before heading into downtown Reykjavik to visit, what I was told, is the best coffee shop in Iceland, Kaffismiðja.

Kaffismiðja is owned by Sonja Björk Einarsdóttir Grant, a international barista judge, and Ingibjörg Jóna Sigurðardóttir, an Icelandic National Barista Champ and two time participant in the World Barista Championships. Both owners talent as baristas evolved while working at Kaffitár which has a number of locations around the country, including two in the airport where I first arrived.

The atmosphere is extremely casual, like a good friends living room, but adorned with the many awards from barista competitions from around the world. The center piece of the cafe is hard to miss, once you leave the bar you’re confronted with a hot pink Geisen roaster. It doesn’t really match anything else in the environment, but somehow ties everything together. They roast just a small selection of  coffee, but what they offer is quality, including two beans from Colombia that have been in the Cup of Excellence finals multiple times. I got a bag of the Colombia Bella Vista, which is the first coffee that Kaffismiðja has begun importing themselves directly from the farm.

The shots were well pulled and the milk art was beautiful. The cafe is located in the heart of the city, just a block north Hallgrimskirkja (the highest building in the city) so if you ever visit, you shouldn’t have trouble finding it. An Architect friend of mine also just finished an installation in front of the cafe. From most angles it looks like an array of random, geometric wooden benches, but if you find the green square on the sidewalk, it spells “torg” meaning “market square” in most Scandinavian languages.

Any one of the Kaffitár locations will also provide you with good coffee. It may be a chain, but a small one run by talented baristas. So you shouldn’t have much trouble finding somewhere to get a quality cup in Iceland (unless you’re hiking on a volcanic glacier or something of that sort).

posted by on 09.23.2010, under Coffee Touring, Recommended Roasters

Wintergreen Tea & Coffee


I came across this branding for Wintergreen, a Russian coffee and tea supplier. The work, designed by the firm Plenum, is elegant and minimal, but still very warm. I’m a big fan. It makes me sad that this beautiful work was done merely for wholesale use. I’d love to see it applied to a cafe environment and retail packaging. Maybe someone within the company will be inspired to do so. Any Russian readers familiar with Wintergreen?

posted by on 09.21.2010, under Design, Recommended Roasters

Coffee by Braun


While in Frankfurt, I checked out the Dieter Rams exhibit at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst. If you aren’t a design history buff, Dieter Rams was the design director for Braun from 1961-1995, and had worked there since 1955. The work Dieter created in the early 60′s is now used as inspiration for almost every Apple product produced. He redefined what home appliances look like and created products that are still relevant 50 years later.

Here are a few coffee related products, as well as prototypes that never made it to market. Though not all of them were designed by Dieter Rams, his influence as director is still very prominent.

all photos via Nickwade’s Flickr

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posted by on 09.05.2010, under Design, Misc., Products