Peanut butter and jelly. Cookies and milk. Thai food and riesling. There’s a lot of classic food pairings, but perhaps none more universal than coffee and chocolate. So it’s fitting that Wake Forest, North Carolina’s Black & White Coffee Roasters recently opened their second retail location inside of bean-to-bar chocolatiers Videri Chocolate Factory. We caught up with Black & White co-owner Kyle Ramage to learn more about what he and his business partner Lem Butler have been up to in Downtown Raleigh….
Of all of the varied coffee competitions in the world, there’s little question which one is the most fun: the World Aeropress Championship. The Aeropress enjoys a cult-like following around the globe, and the WAC, which puts baristas head-to-head-to-head in a bracket-style tournament, does an amazing job of showcasing both the versatility of the device and the creativity of coffee professionals from around the globe.
Barista Carolina Ibarra of the United States won the 2018 WAC in Sydney, Australia. Originally from Colombia, Ibarra started working in specialty coffee after immigrating to Los Angeles. We asked Ibarra to share her recipe and what it was like when she was crowned champion.
First of all, congratulations on winning the World Aeropress Championship! What was it like when you heard them call your name?
The feelings when you are up there waiting for your name to hopefully be called are crazy intense. Michelle Johnson, the MC, was holding both mine and Clay’s hand, one of us was going to be the first place. …
Best-selling author A.J. Jacobs is no stranger to big projects. After reading the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica for his book The Know-It-All,Jacobs spent a year trying to follow the Bible as literally as possible for his 2007 book, The Year of Living Biblically. For his most recent release Thanks A Thousand: A Gratitude Journey, Jacobs tracked down everyone involved in producing his morning cup of coffee– from the farmer to barista and everyone in between — just to say thank you. Jacobs was kind of enough to answer our questions about the book, and, of course, let of know what coffee he’s drinking these days.
First of all, congratulations on your new book. Where did the inspiration to Thanks a Thousand come from?
It started a couple of years ago. I’d read about all the many health benefits of gratitude – both mental and physical health – so I decided to say a prayer of thanksgiving before meals. But I’m not religious. So instead of thanking God, I would thanks some of the people involved in my meal. I’d say, “I’d like to thank the tomato farmer, and the cashier at the grocery store who sold me the tomato.” And one day, my 10-year-old son said, “You know, dad, those people can’t hear you. If you really cared, you’d go thank them in person.” And I thought, that’s a great idea. That would make a lovely book. So that sparked the journey….
Perhaps the most rewarding part of competing in barista competitions is the camaraderie among competitors. Both years I spent on the USBC circuit I was neck and neck at regionals with Tim Jones, then of my favorite Raleigh cafe, Jubala Coffee. As I got to know Tim as a friend I learned he and his wife TiLissa wanted to open their own café. Years later, that dream is on the cusp of becoming a reality. The couple recently took to Kickstarter to raise the last $20,000 they need to cover their start up costs. I caught up with my old friends to hear about their plans to open in Durham early next year.
I know opening your own shop has been a dream for many years. What’s it like to see that dream start to materialize?
We’ve known for several years that we wanted to create a cafe space in Durham, even before we moved here fourish years ago….
Indianapolis, like most Midwestern cities, is modest but proud. Proud of its history, its speedway, Peyton Manning. I think the same could be said about the city’s coffee community, especially the roasters. None of Indy’s roasters are nationally known, but they don’t need to be. They’re content to roll up their shirtsleeves, put their hands to the plow, and get to work. A growing part of the Indy roasting scene is husband and wife duo Andy and Sarah Hassler, who roast coffee out of their garage under the name of Blue Mind Roasting. I know Andy through a mutual friend (and occasional Coffee Compass contributor), and have been watching their business grow from a distance these last few years. I caught up with Andy over email to hear about their recent expansion.
I think a lot of people dream of roasting coffee in their garage, but you’re actually doing it. What inspired you to start Blue Mind?
Well, interestingly, it was never really a dream of mine. I kind of stumbled into coffee roasting. I always loved drinking it and learning about it, but I never thought I’d be roasting it, let alone roasting it for a living. But after trying it as a hobby, I was hooked. And when other career plans seemed to be taking a turn, it felt like the right time to take a leap of faith and start the business….
If there’s only one book on your shelf about coffee, there’s no doubt in our mind which one it should be: The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffmann. Hoffmann, famously, is the co-owner of London’s Square Mile Coffee Roasters and the 2007 World Barista Champion. His popular Youtube channel has changed the way we use our French press, helped us keep chaff off our counter, and given us some candid commentary on everything from “specialty” instant coffee to new products. Hoffmann’s groundbreaking book is now available in a second edition, which includes six new country profiles. Hoffmann was gracious enough to answer a few questions we had about the book.
First of all congratulations on the second edition of The World Atlas of Coffee. How long has the second edition been in the works?
In some ways work started on the second edition the moment the first was released. I kept a running file of people’s feedback, captured little tiny errors or things I wanted to improve. The edition was actually commission over 18 months ago. The nature of books like this – very heavily illustrated – is that they need to be wrapped up nearly six months before publication, so there’s weird period of nearly half a year after you’ve finished the work before you can really talk about it….
If you roast coffee, Rob Hoos likely needs no introduction. His book, Modulating the Flavor Profile of Coffee, and articles in Roast Magazine have been a lodestar for many aspiring roasters. We caught up with the Portland-based roasting guru to find out what roasters are overrated, what mistakes most roasters are making, and what’s in his cup.
When I think about books about coffee roasting, yours is one of 2-3 that come to mind. What inspired you to write the book?
First of all, you’re kind to think of me in that way. To be fair, it seems like there are only 2-3 books out there! I was mostly inspired to write the book because of the lack of readily available information out there about coffee roasting. I come from a barista background, and seeing how much there was (even early on) related to brewing, extraction, and just really every element of being a barista was set in harsh contrast to the relative silence between roasters. When I originally started working on the experiments that became the basis for the book in 2011 (ish) my goal was to bring much of the openness and collaborative spirit that I had loved and appreciated from the barista side over to the roasting. This paired with the realization that part of what I wanted the roasting community to be sharing (profiling for flavor) wasn’t being shared because it was novel information. The reason for calling it a manifesto is because I didn’t want to be claiming to be the end-all-be-all of roasting, but to establish my observations and the changes I’ve seen in flavor due to roast profile changes….
With the most pessimistic reports predicting the near extinction of arabica coffee in the next fifty years due to climate change, the specialty coffee industry has an invested interest in reducing coffee’s environmental impact. But most coffee roasters utilize technology that is more or less a century old, and far from fuel efficient. A conventional drum roaster burns a lot of fossil fuels, not to mention the by-products that are put into the atmosphere. But a new in-shop roaster from Bellwether Coffee aims to change the way the industry roasts coffee. We interviewed Bellwether Coffee’s COO Arno Holschuh to find out how their zero-emissions roaster works, and why he thinks it could disrupt a whole industry.
Bellwether Coffee is manufacturing the first zero–emissions coffee roaster. I’m sure your technology is proprietary, but can you tell us something about how the roaster works?
I can tell lots of things about how it works! For starters, our roaster uses a fixed-drum roasting architecture. This is also known as the “modified drum” architecture. What I mean is that the roasting drum is made out of stainless steel and does not rotate; the beans are mixed to assure even roasting by “paddles” that lift the beans off the drum surface and loft them into the air. (This design was popularized by …
I’ve often bemoaned that specialty coffee doesn’t have a book like Kermit Lynch’s classic memoir Adventures on the Wine Route. The story of how coffee travels from remote farms in the tropics to cafés around the world is rarely told, and when it is, it’s usually stripped down to utilitarian logistics. But an exciting new book from coffee industry veteran Ryan Brown aims to offer aspiring green coffee buyers a field guide to a largely mysterious, but incredibly important, aspect of the coffee industry. We caught up with the author of Dear Coffee Buyer: A Guide to Sourcing Green Coffee to find out what inspired the book, who’s it for, and what gear he packs when he travels. …
For all the talk from coffee professionals about how coffee is a science, there’s not a lot of hard research, especially when it comes to espresso. Much of the received orthodoxy surrounding espresso is a random combination of tradition, hunches, and preferences handed down from barista to barista.
But a new piece of technology promises to usher in a golden age of enlightenment, in which espresso shots neither channel nor under-extract. Or perhaps more accurately, the machine promises to inform the user when channeling occurs, as well allowing for control and customization previously unavailable from an espresso machine. This miracle machine is the DE1+, from the rather modestly-named Decent Espresso. We caught up with Decent Espresso’s founder John Buckman and asked him to explain the technology that has the coffee world buzzing.
Your new espresso machine, the DE1+, has been making waves at coffee trade shows around the globe. Exactly, what’s so special about the Decent espresso machine?
The Decent is a software-based espresso machine. Rather than having a single way of making espresso,…