Read any most-livable city list and Vancouver is near the top, and for good reason. Between its breathtaking panoramas, copious green spaces, efficient public transportation, and excellent social safety net, it’s a city with few equals. But if you ask us, the real reason to live in Vancouver is the great coffee shops. One of its best cafés also happen to be one of its newest: Nemesis Coffee in Gastown….
I’m going to be honest, if you asked me last week whether the world needs another coffee dripper my answer would have been a resounding no. Between the Hario V60, Kalita Wave, Beehive, Melita, and even this collapsable silicon thingy, there’s more than enough products on the market. But then I saw this Kickstarter campaign and realized how wrong I was. …
During my five years on bar I’ve heard some bizarre requests. As a barista, it’s my firm conviction that my responsibility to provide hospitality trumps my own preferences. Would I put two Splendas in my coffee? Never. Will I put two Splendas in your coffee if you prefer? Happily.
That being said, there are a few common orders that are objectively wrong. If you value your reputation or have any common decency, you’ll stop ordering these immediately. I write this not to order-shame anyone, but to improve your life and the lives of baristas everywhere. …
My New Balance shoes are covered in coffee stains. Actually all of my shoes are covered in coffee stains. Alas, Cafiza can only do so much. But that doesn’t stop me from drooling over these limited edition New Balance 997s. The shoe is a collaboration between New Balance, J. Crew, and Counter Culture Coffee. According to J. Crew, the shoe is,
Crafted in premium suede at New Balance’s Skowhegan, Maine, factory—in a colorway inspired by the classic espresso drink—this collaboration on the iconic 997 silhouette is available in extremely limited numbers.
A limited quantity come with a custom blend of coffee roaster by Counter Culture for the project. They also poured what appears to an absolutely perfect cortado for this video. The shoe sells for $210, and is available online.
Kurt Vonnegut. David Letterman. The Indy 500. President Benjamin Harrison. Indianapolis is home to a lot of famous people and things. Not as famous, but just as noteworthy in our humble opinion, is Indianapolis’s growing specialty coffee community. Although long eclipsed by larger markets in neighboring states, the coffee scene in Indianapolis is refreshingly passionate and non-partisan. The latest addition to this burgeoning community is Coat Check Coffee, a small lobby café already punching well above its weight class.
McDonald’s in the United Kingdom released a commercial ribbing specialty coffee shops last week, and a lot of baristas took to social media to voice their anger. The video ridiculed craft coffee shops for having limited hours, being over priced, taking too long, having rewards cards, and frankly just being too precious when it comes to coffee. As voiced by one actor in the commercial, McDonald’s is the place for people who “just want a cup of coffee.”…
You’re probably ignoring the second most important ingredient in your coffee. Although coffee nerds meticulously select their coffee, equipment, and brewing techniques, most just use whatever water comes out of the tap. But water makes up more than 98% of filter coffee, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that water can radically change the way your coffee tastes.
The chemical composition of the water both affects how the soluble coffee particles are extracted and how those flavors are perceived when consumed. For example, softer water will accentuate a coffee’s bright, juicy flavors, while water that is overly-hard will like taste flat and astringent. But it gets more complicated. As Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood and Chris Hendon explain in their seminal book, Water For Coffee, although water hardness is determined by the cumulative ppm of dissolved minerals, it doesn’t tell you what minerals are present. This matters because minerals like calcium and magnesium aid coffee extraction and don’t negatively affect flavor, but other minerals like iron and sodium bicarbonate can have an off-putting affect on coffee flavor. In other words, water matters.
While serious coffee shops spend thousands of dollars on their water filtration systems, for most consumers buying filtered spring water is the only viable option. But different brands and even different bottles of spring water can have very different chemical compositions depending on the source water. This problem bothered a couple of coffee-loving entrepreneurs in Southern Ohio which led them to create a product they call Third Wave Water….
Hang around a coffee shop long enough and you’ll likely hear a barista mention cupping. No, they’re not talking about competitive cup stacking. Cupping is a century-old quality control technique utilized by coffee producers and roasters alike to evaluate coffee. Thanks to a great new educational video from Cafe Imports, you too can learn how to cup coffee. Watch as roasting guru Joe Marrocco walks you through the basics, including water temperature, brewing ratios, and best practices. Cupping spoons and coffee not included.
Scientists at The University of California Davis have successfully sequenced coffea arabica‘s genome. The findings have been posted to the public database Phytozome.net so the breeders and researchers around the globe can have access to the data. The project, which was funded by the Japanese beverage corporation Suntory, was complicated by the fact coffea arabica has four sets of genomes, twice as many as most plants, including other species of coffee. Researchers chose to sequence UCG-17 Geisha’s genome, an heirloom coffee variety indigenous to Ethiopia but now being grown commercially in California. Geisha varieties are known for disease resistant qualities and researchers hope their finding will help coffee producers fight leaf rust and other diseases. Watch a video and read about the the findings from actual scientists here.
There’s a million ways to pull a bad shot of espresso, but the easiest way is to mess up the tamp. Although it might appear to be a menial task, tamping is essential for an even extraction, i.e. ensuring all of the coffee grounds are saturated with the same amount of water. Any inconsistencies in the bed of coffee grounds and the water will channel, resulting in an unpleasant, astringent espresso.
As a barista educator, I can testify there are few bar skills that take as long to master as tamping. Even veteran baristas tend to tamp at a slight angle, ensuring the full flavor potential of that shot of espresso goes unrealized. Traditional tampers have the further problem of placing a lot of tension on the barista’s wrist. More than one barista I know has needed physical therapy because of repetitive stressed caused by tamping. The UK’s Clockwork Espresso claims to address both of these issues with a revolutionarily simple device they call the PUSH Tamper….