Duane Sorenson, founder of Stumptown, has finally spoken more regarding new investment into the company. While he doesn’t answer all the questions many people are asking, as I said before, I take him at his word. Keep supporting farmers and selling great coffee and nothing else matters.
At a time when it’s difficult to find the financing to grow, run and operate a quality driven and sustainable business, I am pleased to announce that Stumptown has found an investor to help us offer opportunities and take care of our employees, farmers and customers like we’ve never been able to do before. I have been lucky enough to find an investor that will let me continue to run Stumptown and focus on the coffee.
Sometimes I forget how far I’ve grown in my relationship with coffee over the years and I often catch myself speaking to someone as if it’s standard to grind and brew fresh roasted coffee at home. Well it’s far from standard, and I often come off sounding like a giant nerd or a pretentious jerk—neither of which are the intention. Those of us who love great coffee get very passionate about it and just want to save our family and friends from drinking anything less—to share with them the joys of truly great coffee.
Recently, I was sent a blog post that reminded me to appreciate the simplicity of the French press. While this is no longer my preferred way to brew coffee, it’s a gateway drug to coffee appreciation that shouldn’t be underestimated. I was given a vintage Chambord French press, as a house warming gift from a good friend, which introduced me to home brewing years ago. Prior to that, I was spoiled by my proximity to Intelligentsia’s Broadway café in Chicago—where I spent a lot of money on coffee, but it was always good. Even as a barista 8 years ago, the batch-brewed beverages I made, never compared to what was now possible at home, made simply with a French press.
So if you’re reading this and have yet to decide how to begin brewing great coffee at home, don’t overlook a French press. Even with all the recent talk of pour-overs and fancy Hario equipment, the French press requires no special technique, fancy kettles or paper filters. Just fresh coffee, a decent burr grinder, hot water and 4 minutes of patience.
This beautiful video and the photos above are from the original Sprouted Kitchen post that reminded me how intimidating the coffee world can be to beginners who just want to brew better coffee at home. There’s a lot of information that can quickly overwhelm consumers and most of it is unnecessary. Start simple and go from there.
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.
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.
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!
Today was my first day at the 2011 Specialty Coffee Association of America Expo in Houston. It’s the year’s biggest coffee event and host to the United States Barista Championship and Brewers Cup. There’s coffee pouring from every corner of the convention center, more tote bags than you could ever fill and rows upon rows of syrups, smoothies and tea that seem a bit out of place.
This being my first coffee expo, I quickly learned the best thing about the event wasn’t the free swag or tables of new products—it’s the people. The incredibly passionate people who make up the specialty coffee industry. To be surrounded by people who inspire you and continue to push the limits of what they do in search of ways to be better, is an incredibly energizing feeling—though it could just be the caffeine.
I spent the first part of the morning tasting coffee from around the world at the “Best of Origin” area. There were about 12 coffees to try and I made it through about half of them—the coffee from Ka’u Hawaii surprised me the most, it was quite nice. Next I sat through a lecture about developing a training program for baristas, but found most of it to be pretty basic, common sense stuff.
After the lecture I met up with 2/3 of Handsome Coffee Roasters and hit the showroom floor to do some window shopping and make the rounds. Here are some highlights.
First stop was the La Marzocco booth to try a shot of Ryan Wilbur’s competition espresso, pulled on a Strada.
Checked out a demo of the EsproPress, a microfilter press pot which created a surprisingly clean cup.
Discovered the company responsible for producing some of the nicest coffee packaging on the market, including Intelligentsia, Verve and Social Coffee Co. Now I’ll be prepared when I’m finally hired to design someone’s coffee bags (hint).
Got to see the new Baratza Essato, a weight-based grinding system. Cool, but definitely overkill for a home-brewer. I can see the benefits for a small volume café, but I think it ultimately has limited use.
Had a cup of Square Mile’s Santa Lucia on the new Kalita pour-overs that Nick Cho recently started importing.
A Hario hot-brew iced coffee maker. While it’s pretty clunky looking, it creates a nice cup of coffee. The clear plastic funnel is filled with ice, and a double strength V60 is brewed on top of it—melting the ice and cooling the coffee simultaneously. Unlike cold-brew systems it retains some of the coffee’s brightness that I enjoy, but is often stripped away.
Some new products from Hario. I love the double walled press pot. Beautifully designed, with wood where most companies would use plastic.
A couple of former World Barista Champions (Stephen Morrissey & James Hoffmann) announcing the semi-finalists of the USBC.
The Championship trophies made by Reg Barber. Two more days before we know who they’ll belong too. Congrats to all the semi-finalists and good luck!
In January, I had the pleasure of trying PT’s Coffee for the first time. I ordered a bag of their Panama Elida Estate from GoCoffeeGo, and was completely blown away by it—which you can read about here. After such a great first impression, I looked forward to the next offering I would have the pleasure of trying from this midwest-based roaster.
When I finally stopped traveling long enough for the guy’s at PT’s to send me something new to try, this Kenya Thiriku was their homepage headliner. A few weeks ago, I excitedly received a bag of the Kenya along with some of their Burundi Kayanza Gatare (Lot 3). While the Burundi was a really nice coffee, with notes of smooth white chocolate mixed with a citrusy sweetness, the Thiriku was my favorite of the two.
Aroma: The aroma flowing from the Chemex as I buried my nose in it was refreshing and alarmingly sweet like cherry Jolly Rancher candy with a citrus twist. As the cherry vapor left the carafe, it evolved into a tart and accurately noted ruby red grapefruit.
Taste: This coffee celebrated its introduction to my mouth with very bright and sweet grapefruit characteristics. The body held up surprisingly well for a Chemex-made coffee and met my palette with a smooth honey mouthfeel. As the citrus mellowed, it shifted into a sweet caramel and salted nut finish that lingered pleasantly on the tongue.
Once again PT’s delivered an exceptional coffee that I woke each morning eager to brew. Unfortunately, the Kenya Thiriku is no longer available and the Burundi Kayanza Gatare has taken it’s place on the homepage. Sorry for the delayed review, which means the missed opportunity to try it yourself, but I doubt you’d be disappointed with another offering from PT’s. I’ve got my eye on their Costa Rica Finca Cerra Paldo as well as the Panama Carmen Estate—or just ask them for their recommendation on twitter.
This video is a trailer for an upcoming [now available] book called Coffee Story: Ethiopia, published by Ninety Plus Coffee. The book, written by adventure author Majka Burhardt and photographed by father & son duo Travis and Helmut Horn, tell a variety of stories about coffee and it’s role in Ethiopian culture. With Ethiopia being the legendary birthplace of coffee, there is a lot of history and folklore weaved into the culture and this book is meant to share some of it. It should be an enlightening read for any coffee lover.
Ninety Plus Coffee works with producers at origin in Ethiopia and Panama to develop and implement new packing technologies and other system-related solutions to help source, develop and export some of the highest quality coffee from these regions. You may be unknowingly familiar with them if you’ve ever tasted a Nekisse, Amaro Gayo or Hartmann Honey. The site’s blog reads less like that of a coffee exporter and more like the travel journal of a romantic, experiencing the wonders of a beautiful world.
Along with publishing the upcoming book on Ethiopia, Ninety Plus also offers a sensory spoon handmade from ancient silver coins in Ethiopia as well as the opportunity to become part owner of an Ethiopian Gesha Farm. The company has a very unique and refreshing approach to sharing their business with the rest of the industry.
Coffee and love taste best when hot. -Ethiopian proverb
When my non-coffee loving friends begin sending me links to things before I’ve seen them, red flags immediately go up. This isn’t because I think I know everything about coffee, but if something has bypassed all the normal industry channels and immediately lands on the pages of non-coffee blogs, there is usually something gimmicky or blasphemous about its existence. Coffee Joulies happen to be both.
The creators of Coffee Joulies are currently raising money on Kickstarter. While they only needed $9,500 to begin production of their product, they’ve already raised over $134,000 with another 3 weeks left. That’s awesome for them—it really is. I support entrepreneurship and getting that kind of financial backing is a dream come true. They’re even going to produce them in the USA, reviving an old silverware factory and probably create more jobs than the US Government. However, their product is a joke.
In a video that demonstrates the Joulies ability to cool coffee, it takes less than 90 seconds to bring the temp of boiling water down to 140°F (60°C). Wicked fast, right? But here lies the ultimate problem with the product. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, 160° (71°C) is the temperature when flavor and aftertaste are at their greatest intensity. Those flavors continue to evolve as it cools, with 160°–140° being the ideal temperature range to best note the acidity, body and balance of a coffee.
With a set of Joulies making your coffee race past both temperatures, it takes less than 90 seconds before you miss the opportunity to enjoy some of the best moments your coffee has to offer. You may be able to chug 3 minutes sooner, but you’re going to miss out on the coffee’s unique flavor notes the farmer and roaster worked so hard to discover and highlight—assuming it doesn’t look like the charcoal they used in the photo above.
For $40, you’re better off investing in a burr grinder, which many people fail to do. This will improve you’re coffee dramatically, as long as you can wait a couple minutes before you start sipping it. If you have a grinder, treat yourself to a couple bags of really nice Direct Trade coffee instead. While I’m constantly trying to get people to stop putting things in their coffee (cream & sugar), along comes someone asking them to drop a few steel “ice cubes” into their mug. How long before an eager coffee lover chips a tooth?
I’m tired of reading praise for design solutions to non-problems and seeing people—who seem to know very little about coffee—flooding the industry with more junk we don’t need. Who keeps a cup of coffee for 3 hours anyway? Even Starbucks dumps airpots in their store every 30 minutes if the coffee hasn’t been purchased because of quality loss.
They say there’s a sucker born every minute. In this case there’s over 2000 of them. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the punchline.
I recently mentioned having conversations with soldiers about how terrible coffee is while they’re deployed and I can only imagine how important it is to their long days on patrol. This video show’s a few Canadian soldiers keeping themselves entertained by showing friends at home how they make coffee in the field. Bring them home!
Warning: every other word beings with “F” if that bothers you or your boss.