MadCap’s Method: Espresso

02.27

 

I don’t brew espresso at home, and I’m not in the market to begin doing so anytime soon. However, once the ZP Machines start shipping, there will probably be a lot of people making espresso for their first time—or in need of a refresher course.

For anyone looking to improve their espresso technique, the guys at MadCap Coffee and Hybrid Media Co. have teamed up again to produce a follow up to their popular V60 tutorial. So grab your favorite tamper and take some notes from Sensei Knapp.

posted by on 02.27.2012, under Brew Methods, Brewtorial, Coffee 101, Videos

“Coffee Roasting Phases”

02.23

William LeGoullon is an Arizona-based artist and photographer who also happens to be inspired by the bean. A recent project called “Coffee Roasting Phases” was prompted by his experience working as a barista at Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe, AZ. It’s a strikingly simple composition revealing the physical changes coffee beans go through in the roasting process and it’s currently on exhibit at the Eye Lounge Gallery in Phoenix.

It’s fascinating to look at the fine details of something we handle each day, but rarely stop to inspect the subtleties. These photos really capture a unique perspective of coffee at a scale uncommon in our daily coffee routine. I would love to see a large print of this on a light box in a café somewhere. It serves as a good reminder of the craft behind each bean. Hopefully your coffee doesn’t resemble anything close to that last one.

More work from William in his portfolio and on his blog Dry Heat.

 

posted by on 02.23.2012, under Misc.

Help Send DCILY to Vienna

02.21

In the last week or so, you may have seen me posting a link and asking for your vote to help send me to Vienna—some of you have enthusiastically obliged. Thank you all!

For those who haven’t yet voted, I want to explain the contest and how you can help. Natvia, an all-natural sweetener company, and their partners, are giving away 8 trips to the World Barista Championship this summer in Vienna. In the past, I’ve covered several coffee events on DCILY and there will be many more to come—all of which are paid for out-of-pocket. It would be great to have my travel and lodging covered for one of these coffee escapades while sharing more great content with DCILY readers. Help me represent coffee lovers everywhere at this year’s WBC.

To help out, just register and vote once (it will only take a minute of your time).

Step 1: Visit SendMeToVienna.com and register to Vote.

Step 2: Validate your email address by clicking on the link emailed to you.
Step 3: Visit my profile and click the heart to show DCILY some love.

Bonus: Everyone who registers to vote also has a chance to win $1000.

I’m already in the lead thanks to everyone’s support—let’s keep it going!

There will also be challenges throughout the contest where I’ll be humbly sharing my (lack of) latte art skills and more. Once you’re registered you’ll be able to vote for these too if you’d like to show extra support. So if you’ve ever spent time enjoying the content here on DCILY help send me to Vienna where I can continue to bring you even more.

Send DCILY To Vienna

posted by on 02.21.2012, under Misc.

Scandinavian Coffee House

02.18

A website launched on Friday announcing a new company that plans to export Scandinavian coffee culture to a city near you. Simply named “Scandinavian Coffee House” the company is opening its flagship store and head office in Ålesund, Norway—the town where I attended a coffee and chocolate pairing last fall. There are already plans to open stores in New York and Tokyo this year, while also searching for franchise partners in the Middle East, China and India.

The SCH brand has built itself upon the great pillars of Scandinavian life, which include design, nature, heritage and coffee. With the coffee aspect focusing on the very small percentage of very well regarded coffee that you can find here. They have partnered with Robert Thoresen—the owner of Kaffa roastery in Oslo and the very first World Barista Champion—to select and roast coffee under the SCH label.

The  SCH website, which is quite beautiful, talks about seasonal coffee, the importance of their roast style and their commitment to brewing each drink individually. In many ways, this seems like the first attempt to launch a coffee chain built on progressive coffee ideals (as opposed to a progressive shop becoming a chain).

If they can stay true to their core principles and maintain quality control, this seems like a great way to reach a broader market of the coffee drinking public. My biggest concern would be how they maintain quality control and freshness of the roasted coffee that’s being shipped to places far from Norway—like Tokyo and India. Will there be a roasting facility and trained roaster included with each new franchise?

The website is currently just a teaser, with no real photos of their cafés (since they’ve yet to open), but it has definitely grabbed my attention. The website itself is one of the nicer ones you’ll come across in the coffee world, the samples of their custom furniture look fantastic, and the photos of nature remind me why I moved to Sweden.

However, after spending time reading through all the content,  I’m left wondering why SCH isn’t focusing on spreading the joy of Scandinavian coffee within Scandinavia. While we are spoiled here with roasters like Kaffa, Tim Wendelboe, Koppi, da Matteo, Coffee Collective, among others—majority of the coffee served in a traditional Nordic coffee house is not what I would like to have representing my heritage.

It’s wonderful that they want to share the incredible aspects of Scandinavia with the rest of the world, but sometimes I think people should have to come here to experience it. After all, that’s what adventure is all about.

Scandinavian Coffee House

posted by on 02.18.2012, under Design, Misc., Recommended Roasters

London’s Independent Coffee Book

02.17

There’s a new coffee guide out—and for those who enjoy the smell of fresh ink and the feeling of paper between your fingers, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not a smart phone app. This here is a genuine book with pages that turn!

I mentioned the release party of The Independent Coffee Book (London Edition) back in December and recently got ahold of one from Vespertine Press to review. From the photos I’d previously seen I thought the book was larger, but thankfully the photos were misleading. It’s nearly pocketable, measuring just 4.75″x6″ with a pleasant satin feel.

The book’s café listings are organized into 5 sections of London: The City, West End, East, North and South. There are 36 coffee shops featured with several more listed at the end of each chapter. I’ve been to about 10 of those mentioned in the book and had more than half of them on my own list of recommended locations. It’s nice to learn of a few new spots in London and it makes me anxious to return and try some of them out.

Each featured location includes a nicely written summary of them along with the accessibility of WiFi, outdoor seating and bathrooms. There are also icons that signify whether the location is a roastery, coffee cart, or KeepCup reseller.

Underneath the general information, there are stats that indicate what machines, brew methods and coffee beans are used at each location. While I appreciate this information and the effort that went into acquiring it, there are certain benefits of a digital app that would better serve this level of detail. Cafés can change their beans and equipment fairly easily, which could make the book out of date prematurely. It may have been better to leave this type of information out or include with some kind of online integration.

What I love most about this book, and what I think adds the most value, is the “coffee compendium.” This transforms the guide from a list of coffee shops for coffee nerds, to an awesome gift for the coffee curious. It not only gives the reader a nice introduction to coffee, but shows them where they can taste and learn more about great coffee.

The compendium includes a brief history of London coffee shops, maps of coffee production and consumption, articles on roasting, sourcing ethics, brew method summaries and a small glossary of coffee drinks and terms.

The design is nicely considered and well produced, with my biggest critiques being those of a typography nerd—don’t double-space after periods! The gaping rivers in some paragraphs that are created by unmanaged justified type also served as a distraction for me (although most people will never notice these sort of things). The system throughout the book is consistent and the photographs are fantastic.

The back cover folds out to reveal maps of each section, highlighting the featured locations and the nearest Underground stations. This is infinitely helpful if you’re visiting and don’t want to pay data roaming fees to use the map on your phone and have pledged to navigate your entire trip through analog means.

I generally prefer to have things like this in a digital format, to reduce the amount of things I own and the ensuing clutter it creates. But when designed well, it becomes a useful, beautiful object that won’t run out of batteries and can easily be loaned or given to friends once you’re done using it. I’m already planning a trip to London in March and look forward to putting this book through the trials of urban exploration.

For £10, it’s priced similar to other travel guides, but with a more specific focus. However, if you’ve read my thoughts on coffee touring—this book is all you need.

Order yours from Vespertine Press

 

posted by on 02.17.2012, under Coffee Touring, Design, Misc., Products

Video: Handsome Coffee & Woodsmithe

02.15

Tonight is the Grand Opening Party for three fellows in LA who couldn’t stay out of the news if they tried. Handsome Coffee will be opening to the public very soon and they’ve released this stunning video that shows all the work that’s gone into building out their flagship coffee bar and roastery. Good luck to Handsome as they open their doors to the world and I look forward to walking through them in a couple weeks.

More photos on Cool Hunting

 

 

posted by on 02.15.2012, under Recommended Roasters, Videos

Coffee Touring: A Weekend With Koppi

02.14

On the train ride between Gothenburg and Copenhagen, there’s a small  but lovely town on the coast of Sweden called Helsingborg. Aside from being home to Ikea’s corporate headquarters and a Nicorette manufacturing plant, it’s home to Koppi Kaffe & Roasteri—one of Sweden’s finest. Last month I posted this great video of Koppi in action and knew that I could no longer put off visiting. There is very little I love more than being around great people doing what they love and doing it so well.

At Koppi’s helm are Anne Lunell and partner Charles Nystrand who have a taste for both great coffee and design that’s reflected in their gorgeous downtown café and roastery. Natural light floods in on two sides making the space feel warm and vibrant even in the heart of Swedish winter. There’s a La Marzocco on the bar, a daily brew in the airpot and a slow bar where you can try coffee from an AeroPress, Chemex, or V60.

I had the pleasure of first meeting Anne and Charles last summer at Coffee Common in Edinburgh and catch up with them occasionally when they pass through Gothenburg. They continue to be one of my favorite Nordic roasters and consistently offer delicious and surprising coffees. For being such a small company they work extremely hard to build direct relationships with farmers and travel to origin as often as possible.

Anne has been on the Swedish national team at the Nordic Barista Cup four times and she won the Swedish Barista Championship in 2006 —finishing 4th at the World Barista Championship that year. Charles, who was crowned Swedish Barista Champion in 2005, is in charge of Koppi’s roasting and has the best facial hair between the two.

While quite small, they’re coffee is still finding its way beyond the shores of Sweden, with wholesale accounts in Copenhagen and possibly the UK in the near future. They also recently launched a webshop that will ship internationally for free with an order of 6 bags or more. So if you don’t have the pleasure of living in or visiting Sweden anytime soon, gather some friends and order some of the finest coffee Sverige has to offer.

Coincidentally, Koppi is the cover story in this month’s Barista Magazine, where you can read much more about their journey in Sarah Allen’s great interview with Anne. Check it out to further inspire a future trip to Sweden.

Koppi Kaffe & Roasteri
Norra Storgatan 16. Helsingborg, Sweden

posted by on 02.14.2012, under Coffee Touring, Recommended Roasters

Register Now: World AeroPress Championship

02.13

For the first time on US soil, the World AeroPress Championship 2012.

Registration is now open for this year’s World AeroPress Championship. It will be taking place at this summer’s SCAA Event in Portland, Oregon between April 19 – 22. I competed in last years WAC and had a great time—this years will only be bigger and better. If you’re interested in competing, space is limited, so register early and often! Visit the official WAC website for all of the registration details.

World AeroPress Championship

posted by on 02.13.2012, under Misc.

Yoshi’s Blend Brings Hope to Japan

02.06

 

This incredible mini-documentary tells the heartwarming story of Professor Yoshi Masuda and his effort to bring coffee and community to the tsunami and earthquake stricken areas of east Japan. Yoshi wanted to help his country by offering what he knows and loves—coffee. He felt the best way he could help was to bring a sense of normalcy to those recovering from the devastation with the fragrance and aroma of coffee.

Armed with a Chemex, hand grinder, portable stove and his record player, Yoshi set out in a bright orange VW bus to open “Hope Café” wherever he found people in need of a spiritual and physical boost. Along the way, Yoshi also donates coffee starter kits to help establish community coffee shops after he’s left. Inspiring and humbling. Take eight minutes and watch this—you won’t regret it.

When you consider that human sound is also a wave and it could have impact as strong as tsunami that change a life of people. As you say something and that really changes people—the way how they live, the way how they regard their life as it is. Our human voice is, I would say, stronger than tsunami. –Yoshi Masuda

Directed, filmed and edited by Mackenzie Sheppard

posted by on 02.06.2012, under Misc., Videos

Drawing Inspiration from Draw Coffee

02.06

Ben Blake wants to learn everything he can about coffee—and he plans on doodling all the details along the way. The Ohioan started the blog, Draw Coffee, to capture his inspired coffee moments in a state that could benefit from new coffee energy.

The drawings, usually done on coffee filters, range from minimal depictions of daily brew methods to intricate homages of the coffee being brewed. Coffee Common and DCILY have both been doodle subjects, along with Intellisgentsia, Handsome, Verve, Coava and Kuma—who are even using some of Ben’s art on their new mugs.

DCILY was founded on the principle that coffee inspires creativity and Draw Coffee is one more example of that idea coming to fruition. So grab a fresh cup and start browsing through the archives, below are a few of my favorites.

Draw Coffee

 

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posted by on 02.06.2012, under Design, Misc.