Istanbul is truly enormous. It’s so big, it’s hard to measure, though some counts list it as the fourth largest city in the world. As the city sprawled out over the the twentieth century, it engulfed several ancient communities, including the modern district of Kadıköy, known as Chalcedon in ancient times. Today, Kadıköy is the main cultural hub for Istanbul’s Asian half, and is home to a dense array of cafés and coffee roasters, including the new headquarters for Story Coffee….
In the world of coffee brewers, there’s a pretty big gap between SCA-certified home brewers, like the Bonavita 1900 series or the Technivorm Moccamaster, and commercial brewers, which need to be plumbed and sometimes even hardwired. The consumer models tend to max out around a liter capacity, while commercial machines are optimized for brewing 3+ liters of coffee….
One of the most painful parts of leaving the land of 110 voltage and moving to Europe was saying goodbye to all of my electronic coffee gear. The most beloved item was a well-worn Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle, a prize from a barista competition with both sentimental and practical value. The kettle was used daily for four years, and was still going strong when I passed it on to a friend. Although there are kettles I prefer for their superior handle or spout, the convenience of automating water temperature wins every time, especially when it comes to that first, sleepy-eyed cup in the morning….
I’ve longed bemoaned the fact most tourists visiting Istanbul don’t make it to Balat, the old Jewish quarter. In addition to its colorful row houses and historic synagogues, Balat is home to one of my favorite coffee shops, Coffee Department. The roaster/retailer has set themselves apart as one of the strongest brands in a very crowded marketplace, due in no small part to founder Metin Benbasat’s tireless dedication to quality. Benbasat is a longtime resident of Nişantaşı, so it makes sense he would open his second café closer to home….
I spent the better part of my twenties in Louisville, Kentucky, a city that, by all accounts, punches above its weight class. From fast casual barbecue to white tablecloth Mayan food, the culinary scene is surprisingly diverse, spurred on by low cost of living and a young, culturally-aware population. Many of the most exciting restaurants and cafés are independent, DIY passion projects– a little rough around the edges but driven by a salt-of-the-earth, Midwestern work ethic, with a generous portion of Southern hospitality. (As a river city straddling the Mason-Dixon line, Louisville is geographically, and culturally, confused.)
The most exciting neighborhood for coffee in Istanbul right now is a full 12 kilometers from the city’s center, and technically it’s not really a neighborhood. Maslak is something of an urban curiosity— a suburban financial district on the Northern edge of Istanbul’s European side. But this island of skyscrapers is also home to a booming number of specialty coffee shops— driven by the plethora of white collar office workers that populate the glass high-rises during working hours. The newest of of those shops is the latest café from roaster/retailer Petra Coffee, in the lobby of the Mudo Concept Tower….
Çağatay Gülabioğlu is something of a legend in Turkish coffee circles. Gülabioğlu was the first licensed Q grader in Turkey, serves as the national coordinator for the Turkish Aeropress competition, and is the regional distributor for Cafe Imports. He also founded the pioneering roaster/retailer Kronotrop, a company he has since sold. After moving on from Kronotrop, Gülabioğlu cofounded the wholesale roastery Probador Colectiva, which continues to set the standard for quality in the Turkish coffee scene. Although Probador often hosts professional events and trainings, consumers who wanted to try their coffee had to buy it online, or track down one of their wholesale partners. That was until Probador recently opened a tasting room in its Tophane headquarters….
Nashville residents will recognize Nolensville Pike as one of the best and most diverse areas to eat in the city. You can find cuisines ranging from Kurdish to El Salvadorian along the stretch of road south of downtown. Recently, the Solis family added a new destination to the lineup – Tempo.
Tempo is a coffee shop that Javier and Yvonne Solis, along with their kids, Zylah and Uriah opened this September. The family is originally from San Antonio and Houston and the offerings at the shop are distinctly Texan. The coffee is sourced from Greenway Coffee in Houston, they make homemade tortillas (the dough is shipped from San Antonio) for their breakfast tacos, and they always have cold Topo Chico on hand. They also source…
Every coffee nerd’s significant other has asked themselves the same question during the holidays: “What was that coffee thing they were droning on and on about?” Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of the top presents every coffee lover is not-so-secretly hoping will be under the tree Christmas morning.
The World Atlas of Coffee: Second Edition
As we recently wrote, we think James Hoffmann’s magnum opus is the single most important book about coffee that’s been published to date. And now The World Atlas of Coffee has a second edition that includes more countries, including Uganda, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Hatfields London Nitropress
I asked Steve Rhinehart, brand lead at Prima Coffee, for his top holiday gift recommendation, and he came back with the Hatfields London Nitropress. Steve explains, “It’s is one of our premiere products for the year. It’s a compact system for making nitro coffee at home, in a small whipping siphon format. The key is that they use nitrogen gas capsules (rather than nitrous oxide) and have a patented dispensing nozzle that restricts flow rate just like a stout spout, giving you results just like a draft system. It’s legit, you get a proper creamy head rather than a fluffy mound of foam like you would with N2O. It’s a solid option for home brewers, or cafes that want to offer nitro by the cup rather than install a bulky system. Good option for bars that want to do nitro cocktails as well!”
Bonavita 8 Metropolitan Coffee Brewer
For years, we’ve recommended the Bonavita 1900 (and, more recently, the Bonavita 1901) as our favorite consumer coffee pot. Even though the value compared to price is incredible, we recognize a lot of consumers aren’t going to spend more than $100 on a coffee pot, which is why we were ecstatic when Bonavita released the 1901PW Metropolitan model. By scaling back on some of the more high-end features, Bonavita is able to sell the Metropolitan for $82 without sacrificing coffee quality. We have one in our kitchen and it’s become a regular part of our coffee routine.
Fellow Stagg EKG Kettle
The Stagg EKG Kettle has become a fixture in design-conscious cafés and kitchens everywhere, and the new matte white colorway, available exclusively from Fellow and our partners at Prima Coffee for the holiday season– has never looked better. You won’t find a kettle that gives you more control– over the temperature or your pouring technique. We just wish it came in European voltages too.
Buy it from Prima before December 9th with the code WHITESTAGGMAS to save ten percent.
Decent DE1+ Espresso Machine
This one is probably wishful thinking for most of our readers, but we know there’s got to be a few whales out there, or at least someone with a rich uncle (and while you’re at it, mind putting in a word for us?). The DE1+ is Decent Espresso’s home model, but make no mistake, this is a serious machine. The tablet display allows the barista to track certain metrics in real time, giving the user access to unprecedented data. Sadly, we haven’t gotten our hands on one, so this doesn’t amount to an endorsement, but the initial reviews have been great.
Quills Coffee Sweatshirt
I worked at Quills Coffee for almost six years, so I’m a little biased, but when I saw their pullover sweatshirt, I immediately regretted not having an employee discount anymore. It looks cool. It keeps you warm. What more do you want in a sweatshirt? This isn’t a sponsored post, but Quills, if you’re reading this, it could be.
Where the Wild Coffee Grows
Yes, there’s a lot of books on our list this year, but 2018 might have been the best year for coffee books ever, thanks in part to Where the Wild Coffee Grows. Author Jeff Koehler takes a deep dive into the wild origins of coffee in the forests of Southwest Ethiopia, and traces it’s expansion around the world. We learned a lot from this fascinating book, but it was Koehler’s beautiful prose that kept us turning the pages.
Don’t be fooled by the name. Cafiza isn’t just for cleaning espresso machines. It’s for cleaning anything that’s got coffee oil stains: your ceramic Hario V60, your travel mug, your canvas sneakers. Not convinced? Read our post “Nine Reasons You Need Some Cafiza in Your Life.”
Bonus Stocking Stuffer: Coffee Filters
Yes. This has been on our holiday gift guide before, but your coffee lover probably still needs more filters. We know we do.
Does the world need another pour-over dripper? There’s never been more options available, most of which, when properly used, do a pretty decent job of making a cup of coffee. But sometimes it’s not so important to reinvent the wheel as it is to make incremental improvements, which is what Fellow has set out to do with their Stagg Pour-over Dripper. We recently got our hands on the X and XF models and enjoyed putting the devices through their paces.
Fellow has made a name for themselves in specialty coffee circles for their widely-embraced Stagg Kettle. Now with a variable temperature model on the market, it’s become an instant classic– a standard fixture of design-conscious cafés and kitchens around the globe. The Stagg dripper is clearly a companion piece to the Kettle, with the same textured finish over stainless steel….