Sometimes, checking up on an old workplace feels a little bit like running into an ex. In my case, Quills Coffee is the ex you’ll always have a special place in your heart for and would consider hooking up with again if your spouse died in a fiery plane crash. Perhaps it’s fitting that this Valentines Day Quills has a variety of oddly specific Valentine messages, which somehow feel universally relatable in our modern times….
The rich volcanic soils of Antigua, Guatemala have a lot to do with its coffee’s distinct terroir, but Antigua’s picturesque Fuego volcano is active and tragedy struck this week in what experts are calling the country’s worst eruption since 1974 (pictured). Over 200 people are missing and thousands more, including many coffee farmers, have been displaced and face potentially extensive damage to their farms.
Anacafé, Guatemala’s national coffee agency, is using their headquarters as a makeshift relief center, in partnership with the Red Cross and other disaster relief organizations. According to their press release:
Those affected need non-perishables, canned food, clean water, blankets and clothes in good condition. We also need medication for eye and skin burns, saline solution to wash burns, oral saline solutions and dressings. All donations will be distributed by our staff in collaboration with CONRED (The National Coordination for Disaster Reduction).
For more information about how you can help those affected by Fuego volcano disaster, read their full press release here.
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.
Last year Michigan’s Populace Coffee turned heads when they gave away a Mahlkönig EK43 in their Flight of Fancy contest. The competition entailed correctly identifying four coffees in a blind tasting. Out of hundreds of entries only two people got all four correct (unfortunately, to our great sensory humiliation, we were not one of them). This year, Populace is at it again but has raised the stakes with Mahlkönig’s latest espresso grinder, The Peak.
With five more days left in the purchasing window, there’s still time for you to enter. Worst cast scenario you’re left with four bags of wonderfully roasted specialty coffee.
If your New Year’s Resolution is learning how to make coffee from a world barista champion, you’re in luck. A new video series from Gwilym Davies and European Coffee Trip offers just that opportunity. Davies is the 2009 World Barista Champion and co-founder of London’s Prufrock Coffee. These days Davies is running a barista training center outside of Prague, which doubles as a film studio for this series of instructional videos. Over the course of the series, Gwilym breaks down the fundamentals of espresso preparation, including dosing, tamping, and equipment maintenance. The series is being released in installments, so be sure to sign up for notifications for when each video is released. With more and more resources like this becoming available for baristas worldwide, we can only expect 2015 to be the best year for specialty coffee yet.
Any entrepreneur will agree that steady growth in innovating new products is hard to maintain. Tyler Deeb could have easily walked away from one of the most successful playing cards Kickstarters of all time to return to a safe desk job. But he decided he was all in, and has returned to Kickstarter with an innovative coffee brew method. SAY WHAT?!? That’s right. Misc Goods Co. has partnered with Quills Coffee consultant, home roaster extraordinaire, and Coffee Compass guest blogger Chris Heiniger to bring you Coil, a cold brew coffee maker.
Misc. Goods Co. Coil Cold Brew
Coil is the first brew method of its kind, and can cool freshly brewed coffee from essentially boiling temperatures to near 48° in under 4 minutes without ever touching ice. Deeb explains…
It’s always nice when someone pays for your coffee, especially if they’re a famous television personality. Rachel Ray recently popped into our favorite Houston café Blacksmith and bought everyone in the store a cup of coffee. Co-owner David Buehrer was on hand to take the large amount of cash from the celebrity chef, and pass on the news to some rather incredulous customers. No word on what drink Ray ordered. Watch the video here, then check out our friends and sponsors Greenway Coffee, who supply Blacksmith’s coffee.
Fresh Cup Magazine published my feature “Refining Istanbul’s Coffee” today. The story looks inside Kronotrop’s roastery, a coalition between Kronotrop founder Çağatay Gülabioğlu and renowned chef Mehmet Gürs. A lot of exciting things are happening in the Turkish coffee scene right now, not least what Çağatay and company have in the works. Read the feature here and look out for a longer, in depth article soon.
Louisville-based roaster Quills Coffee announced today that they are expanding to Indianapolis this fall. Quills (which also happens to be my other place of employment), already roasts their coffee in New Albany, Indiana – a small town directly across the Ohio River from West Louisville. Quills writes on their website:
Expanding to a new city is a big and, frankly, scary step for our company- but one that we’re excited to make. Indianapolis’s culinary scene is experiencing burgeoning growth that is attracting national attention. Our experience opening our New Albany café and roastery has taught us that Hoosiers have an eager appetite for specialty coffee, and we’re excited to contribute to Indy’s growing coffee community. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that our founder Nathan Quillo is a diehard Colts fan.
Very few specialty coffee companies have pulled off the multi-city model, but the close proximity to Louisville makes Indy a logical choice for Quills. We expect Indianapolis has a lot in store for the future, and we’re excited Kentucky gets to be a small part of it.