Meet GoCoffeeGo and Win $40 in Coffee

05.31

I’d like to introduce you to a new partner who joins Presso, in supporting all that goes on here at Dear Coffee, I Love You. Meet GoCoffeeGo, a company whose quirky Mod-themed website allows you to browse and order coffee from a growing, but carefully vetted list of great coffee roasters—all in one place. Once you’ve placed an order, it’s routed to the roaster who fulfills it with fresh roasted coffee shipped to your door.

So why not order directly from the roaster? If you already have a great relationship and unshakeable loyalty to a specific roaster, then by all means order directly from them. I definitely have my favorite roasters (a number of them sell through GoCoffeeGo), but I also love discovering new roasters and experiencing what else is out there.

GoCoffeeGo provides the opportunity to find quality roasters you may not have heard of, while also allowing you to schedule weekly shipments of coffee from the ones you already love. My favorite thing about the site is their Auto-Ship tool, which functions like a “Netflix queue” for your coffee. You can add all the coffees you’re interested in trying, from as many roasters as you like, and schedule how often you want them shipped to you. You can rearrange and edit your queue as you like, and if a roaster happens to sell out of a particular coffee, you’ll be notified and your queue adjusts itself accordingly.

I first discovered one of my favorite roasters, PTs Coffee, through GoCoffeeGo and I continue to enjoy the convenience it creates while exploring new roasters. It’s not the only place I order coffee from, but depending on your personal routine, the coffee and espresso beans from GoCoffeeGo may be all you’ll ever need—so check them out.

 


To launch this partnership right, we’re giving away a $40 Gift Card to GoCoffeeGo, along with a DCILY mug for the lucky winner to enjoy their coffee from. Here’s all you need to do to enter:

1. Visit GoCoffeeGo and browse all the great coffee they offer.
2. Come back here and leave a comment sharing the first two coffees you would order—roaster & coffee name.
3. Sunday night (June 5th) I will randomly pick one person from all the entries and announce the winner on Monday.

Easy right? Tweeting and sharing on Facebook won’t get you more entries, but it will give you good karma points. So start browsing, sharing and shopping and you may be treated to a pretty awesome reward next week.

 

 

 

posted by on 05.31.2011, under Misc., Products

Norwegian Wood & Espresso

05.27

Last summer I wrote about a prototype of a cement espresso machine, and this year I’ve come across one on the opposite end of the materials spectrum—built with Norwegian Poplar. The Linje, as it’s called, has a much softer presence and feels more refined than the cement model, but there’s probably just as little chance of it ever being produced. I really appreciate the natural finish of the wood, it appears much softer without the toxic shine of heavy varnish. The finish combined with the smooth profile of the machine make me want to reach out and touch it.

Created by Øystein Husby, Audun Grimstad, Åsne Kydland and Mariko Kurioka Rohde, their goal was to take a very Italian experience and transform it into something much more Norwegian through design. I think they’ve succeeded.

So, what distinguishes nordic design? Wood, we thought.

We have plenty of it, and the qualities of the material are many. It is esthetic and tactile and therefore a very rewarding material to work with, something we really experienced in this project.

Check out more photos from the construction at Husby’s website


While we’re on the subject, enjoy these other great examples of Norwegian wood.



Good luck Håkon!

posted by on 05.27.2011, under Design, Misc., Products, Videos

Brew Method: Iced Coffee with a Hario Fretta

05.25

With summer finally arriving in places other than Florida and Southern California, there comes a growing desire for afternoon iced coffee on a sunny back porch. So in celebration of the warm weather, I’d like to introduce you to the Hario Fretta—a V60 contraption sitting upon a long funneled diffuser filled with ice. This may be the summer’s hottest new way to make cool coffee (I really said that). The method is simple, brew a double dose of coffee as you would in a V60, which is then cooled and partially diluted as it melts the ice in the diffuser. Once the brewing is finished, you pour the concentrate over ice again to chill and dilute even more, then enjoy.

While I was at the SCAA Expo in Houston, Ian(?) from Lamill Coffee in Silverlake, CA was giving demos of the product all week. He was brewing an Ethiopian that stood out as one of my favorite coffees from the event. It maintained a much more complex flavor profile than I’m used to with iced coffee and didn’t seem flat or muted. Even though it may be less attractive and more sexually suggestive than the AeroPress, I was impressed. I could definitely put one to use this summer.

In recent years, the more popular method of brewing iced coffee has been with a Toddy cold brew system or similar. Cold-brewing creates a coffee concentrate at room temperature which can be stored in the refrigerator or poured over ice. This method can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours to brew and creates a very smooth and low acid coffee, which many people love. However, not everyone plans that far ahead and I personally really enjoy acidity and brightness in my coffee—even when iced.

The Hario Fretta solves a couple issues I have with cold brew systems. First, it only takes as long to make as a V60 pourover, and the coffee is immediately passing over ice—cooling it down in the process. So if you forgot to set up your Toddy the night before, you can still enjoy a refreshing glass of iced coffee in the middle of the day. Second, this method uses hot water to brew, which brings out the brightness I often miss in cold brew iced coffee. For less than $40, its a fair price if you drink a lot of iced coffee. Though after seeing how it works, you could probably rig up a similar device of your own with a standard V60 and a trip to the hardware store.

Shop for Hario Fretta and start enjoying the summer.

 

posted by on 05.25.2011, under Brew Methods, Design, Misc., Products

Enjoying the Variance of Craft Coffee

05.23

One of my favorite things about great coffee, is that no two are the same. For many years I thought coffee always tasted like “coffee.” Now, as my girlfriend begins to enjoy coffee with me, she describes bad coffee as tasting like “coffee.” Which usually means she isn’t tasting the coffee at all, just the roast. However, there is a growing segment of the industry who focus on roast levels that accentuate the coffees terroir—the natural environment including soil, topography and climate that affect its unique flavors—instead of trying to replicate a uniform taste with dark roasts and blends.

When you visit coffee shops who brew these coffees, they often do so one cup at a time—ensuring a fresh cup is made just for you. Baristas use a vareity of manual methods that not only bring out the best in the coffee, but also create a bit of theater allowing you an opportunity to engage them with your curiosity. This also prevents you from getting a cup of overheated swill from a giant batch pot that you have no idea how long has been sitting there.

This approach to coffee has been called many things, most commonly the “Third Wave.” But a new company called Craft Coffee, has taken a step towards defining it for consumers in a more understandable way. This start-up has developed a subscription based model that brings an evolving array of artisan coffees—that are craft roasted in small batches—right to your door each month. This allows connoisseurs a chance to indulge in a variety of great coffees, while giving beginners a fantastic way to explore and discover new coffees and roasters. It’s a win for everyone.

The Craft Coffee box comes with three 4oz bags, giving you enough for 6-8 cups of each coffee. Every bag is marked with information about the roaster, producer, origin, varietal, elevation, process and tasting notes. An extra notecard elaborates a bit more on each coffee giving you more insight into where it came from and why it was chosen.

Colombian coffee crops have been devastated by unrelenting weather and punishing floods. Which makes this coffee, a Caturra varietal, grown by Didier Reinoso on a small farm in the mountains of Las Mercedes, Herrera—where he also grows avocados, plantains, yucas and herbs—all the more exceptional.

The first box included the following coffees:

Gimme! Coffee: Caranavi Bolivia
MadCap Coffee Company: Las Mercedes, Colombia
Coava Coffee Roasters: Chalalacktu, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe

I would personally recommend any of these roasters, so it was a treat to have all three in one box. It made for a fantastic weekend of coffee tasting. This format allows a great opportunity for boxes to be specially curated, or even present the same coffee roasted by different roasters, creating new experiences and encouraging new exploration in coffee.

One thing I found curiously absent from the package where roast dates on the coffee. I know Mike & Mike, and spent time with them a week prior to their first shipment. They are both detail oriented and grasp the value of such a detail, so I can only assume they forgot or are still working out the logistics. Every bag is hand packed with love, so I can understand if certain steps may not have found their way into the system yet.

Overall, Craft Coffee is an affordable luxury that combines elements of surprise with culinary excellence and better understanding of the beverage we all love.

Get on next month’s list at CraftCoffee.com


Enjoy some photos from behind the scenes courtesy of Mike White.


 

 

posted by on 05.23.2011, under Misc., Products, Recommended Roasters

Exploring NYC’s Best Coffee with The Scoop

05.18

After leaving the SCAA Expo in Houston, I headed to NYC to spend a week with friends and explore more of NYC’s continually growing coffee scene. There have been so many new additions since living there three years ago, it can be hard to know where to begin once you’ve tried the more well-known staples like Gimme, Grumpy, and Ninth Street.

Thankfully, New York Times food and coffee writer, Oliver Strand has curated an excellent list as a part of the New York Time’s free iPhone app The Scoop. Of the 74 coffee shops and cafés listed (which are updated monthly), I’ve now been to 30 of them—21 during my most recent trip.

The app is extremely comprehensive and covers a range of shops, from tiny coffee bars to high-end restaurants with table side coffee service. The integrated map guides you to your destination and includes brief summaries written by Oliver himself. Of the places I tried, I only had bad drinks at a few of them and would recommend all but two.

When I visit a shop and want to get a solid perspective of what they offer, I usually order an espresso, a macchiato, and if they brew-by-the-cup—a drip coffee. If I’m approaching my caffeine limit or short on time, I may settle for just one drink. I also factor in the ambiance & design, cleanliness, customer service and general experience when deciding wether I really like a place or not. It’s rare to find a shop that captures everything so well that you call it perfect, but some get pretty damn close.

I discovered a lot of great new places on this trip that I most likely never would have found if it weren’t for The Scoop. Some became new additions to my, “must visit” list and others are just good relative to their neighborhood. One thing that surprised me the most during my recent trip was the influx of Counter Culture Coffee. Maybe they’ve always been there and I hadn’t noticed, but I would guess that 50% of the shops I visited were brewing CCC. Not that this is bad, they offer great coffee, it just seemed to be a very noticeable increase of market saturation.

Some of the highlights from this trip:

Best espresso: Single Origin Ecco Tanzania Edelweiss Estate at Kaffé 1668
Best macchiato: Stumptown Hair Bender at Variety
Best drip: Woodneck of Heart Roasters, Colombia Alfredo Rojas at RBCNYC
Best new café: Dora in the Lower Eastside
Best view: Joe at Columbia University
Best hidden gem: Bakeri in Williamsburg
Best ambiance: Bluebird in the East Village, Sweetleaf in Long Island City, Third Rail in Greenwich Village and Dora in the Lower East Side

None of these are conclusive and each visit to NYC would most likely lead to new results, but if you use them as a starting point, combined with Oliver’s list, you will be on your way to exploring some of the best the NYC coffee scene has to offer. Let me know of any great places I’ve missed. I’ll be sure to check them out on my next visit.

Download the free New York Time’s Scoop App

All photos taken with another great free iPhone app called Instagram.

 

posted by on 05.18.2011, under Coffee Touring

Is There Any More Coffee?

05.17

I’ve never seen the Iron Giant, it slipped past me while I was a teenage, but I’ve heard many people refer to it as one of their favorite animated movies. Yesterday, friend and former DCILY interviewee Frank Chimero, posted this and it made me laugh. I thought I’d share it for anyone else who hasn’t seen it. Enjoy!

posted by on 05.17.2011, under Misc., Videos

No X in Espresso — The Shirt

05.13

This was initially a poster, but it has gotten enough love and I’ve had enough requests to put it on a shirt—I’ve finally done so. The process of selling shirts can be a hassle in terms of ordering the right sizes and having enough in stock for everyone who may potentially order, so I’ve launched a pre-order to raise the money for shirts and allow people to specify their size before they are made.

There will be two options, black on heather gray (pictured above) and a white on black. I’m looking at two different shirts right now, and the final choice will depend on availability—either American Apparel Tri-Blend or Anvil 50/50 Eco. Both are high quality shirts that are super soft and comfortable.

Now available for order.

posted by on 05.13.2011, under Design, Products

Morning Has Broken

05.12

Simon Ålander is a Digital Media student at Hyper Island in Stockholm, Sweden. Hyper Island is basically the future of creative education and anyone who attends, will most likely have their choice of opportunities after graduation. Simon emailed me a few months ago with a typography question and recently sent me this—a coffee inspired poster he designed—leading me to believe there’s nothing new I could actually tell him about typography. Incredible work.

I also love his website name, Coffee Made Me Do It.

posted by on 05.12.2011, under Design

Interview w/ Pete Licata – 2011 US Barista Champ

05.11

After taking four regional titles and coming in second place at the USBC finals twice, Pete Licata from Honolulu Coffee Co, is a prime example of persistence who has reaped the benefits of never giving up. There was an incredibly talented group of competitors in this years US Barista Competition, so it was no easy task to take the top prize.

Pete’s presentation, which shared his journey from fruit to cup, along with the quality of  his drinks—prepared with self-picked and self-roasted Hawaiian coffee—brought home the US Championship title, making him the first to do so with Hawaiian coffee. I recently talked with Pete about his win and what he’d be doing if it weren’t for coffee.

It’s been over a week since winning the USBC. Has it sunk in? Are you ready to represent in Bogotá or have you re-immersed yourself into training?
I still don’t think it has sunk in yet. I haven’t really had time to think about being some champ, probably because there is another competition just 5 short weeks after the USBC! I have literally been running all over with my mind racing about all of the little details I need to take care of in order to be prepared for WBC. I feel I will be ready to represent in Bogotá, but my training mode this year is FAR more extensive than anything I have ever done before. As of right now I have hulled my coffee and roasted a sample batch. Next is going to be practice runs in between roast days, high altitude training (Colorado and maybe Mauna Kea), and finding the perfect touches in smallwares.

Will you be changing anything about your routine for the WBC or are you completely satisfied with it? I will never be satisfied with my routine until there is nothing negative that can possibly be said about it. I am taking in my judges’ feedback and information and going to revamp what I can. Obviously I feel good about my routine, but I am my own horrible critic.

Could you summarize your signature drink and the concept of your presentation? Let’s start with the presentation. The concept was to tell the story of the coffee, as well as my own, in the journey it took from the fruit to the judges’ cups on the table. I didn’t just want to say “look at what I did,” but rather “look at your coffee and what a fantastic journey it takes to get to you.”

Aside from telling the story, I tried to emphasize a balanced espresso by explaining each element and building the blend from the ground-up. This is where my sig drink came in. It was a highlight of the honeyed coffee I used in order to give a representation of my first tastes, as well as delving into the honeying process itself.

The drink was 3 tastes—a tea made from the cherry skins and parchment that the mucilage had dried onto (to represent tasting the cherry right off the tree), a French press of a lighter roast (to represent cupping the coffee for the first time), and a single shot of the coffee at a longer espresso roast (to represent pulling shots and understanding how the coffee would fit into the overall blend).

You harvested and roasted the coffee you competed with, which gives you a rather strong and unique connection with the entire process from fruit to cup. Was there anything during the experience that surprised you, that you weren’t aware of previously? I didn’t realize just how many spiders live in coffee trees in Hawaii.

If you could get consumers to understand just one thing about coffee, what would it be? That coffee is an agricultural product. It needs to be fresh (green and roasted). As economic and environmental factors change, prices will too. Just like the price of your milk or fresh produce.

Do you have any creative talents outside the realm of coffee? I am remarkably talented at consuming really tasty beer.

If it weren’t for your passion of coffee, what would you be doing with your life? Probably translating Japanese and raising a family…

Congratulations to Pete, Honolulu Coffee Co and everyone else who helped support you along the way. Thanks for talking with DCILY and good luck at the World Barista Championship in Bogotá.

[photo via USBC2011]

posted by on 05.11.2011, under Interviews, Misc.

Coffee Time Animation

05.09

Wan-tzu is a former commercial design major who had no interest in animation. However, after being inspired by Mike Crozier’s film SNASK, Wan-tzu decided to give stop-motion a try. Combining a love of coffee with their newly discovered passion for animation, these films were made to depict the soul found within each cup of coffee.

Every cup of coffee contains its own soul, extracted from your feeling today.every cup of coffee is like a magic show containing different journey and bringing the unending imagination and surprises.With a sip of coffee, you not only taste your own story, but also change your perspective of the world.

[via Robert-John Evans on Facebook]

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posted by on 05.09.2011, under Design, Videos