Author. Entrepreneur. Barista champion. James Hoffmann wears a lot of hats. One of his most recent Youtube videos makes us think one of those hats must be that of the earth’s sorcerer supreme. Using only a demitasse spoon Hoffmann shows how you can eliminate the pesky static electricity that causes coffee chaff to cover our counter tops. Watch and be amazed.
Many coffee companies brag about roasting “direct-trade” coffee. The Menendez family takes direct trade to another level. With nine award-winning farms in El Salvador, the Menendez family also processes, exports, and imports their own coffee into the United States. In an industry with a big disconnect between producers and consumers, the Menendez are bridging the gap. We’ve tasted coffees from their farms El Rosario and Las Delicias roasted by companies as esteemed as Crema, Greenway, and Kuma. The clarity and sweetness of these wonderfully delicate coffees leaves no doubt why the Menendez family has won the Cup of Excellence multiple times. Whether it’s sorting their coffees by lot and variety or experimenting with different processing techniques, the Menendez family are some of those rare producers who are pushing specialty coffee forward….
It’s no secret: we’ve shared some iced coffee tutorials before. We’ve even shared a Japanese iced coffee tutorial before. But summer is upon us and the need for fresh content has us once again sharing an iced coffee how-to video, this time from our friends at La Colombe Coffee, a Philadelphia-based coffee roaster with cafés in a growing number of American cities. Unlike other methods, this video uses everyone’s favorite brewing device in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art: the Chemex. Don’t forget, if you want good iced coffee, you need some good ice. We’re fans of these perfect cubes for an ideal temperature/dilution ratio….
From the farm to the café, women play an important role in every part of the coffee supply chain. A new short film from Equal Exchange celebrates the leadership that women provide in their company. We watch as their green coffee buyer meets with an organic cooperative in Honduras. Upon reaching America, the coffee is roasted and served in Equal Exchange’s Boston café. In every step, women are leading the way. Although the coffee industry has a long way to go towards gender equality, we applaud Equal Exchange for highlighting the integral leadership roles that women already fill in this industry. Watch the film below and be inspired….
Philadelphia-based coffee company La Colombe is making national headlines with their new draft latte. They’ve offered the frothy, chilled beverage at their cafés since last year, but a recent innovation has allowed La Colombe to can the drink as a shelf-stable product. In a new video La Colombe cofounder Todd Carmichael offers a glimpse into their proprietary process. Long time readers of The Compass will spot James Tooill, consulting with Carmichael about some green coffee. Watch the video below and see if you can resist purchasing a four-pack of the draft latte online.
What happens when you plant 100 coffee cherries you picked in Costa Rica? Turns out some pretty crazy stuff. Kávékalmár, the same creative team behind these genre-defining short films, just released a project 150 days in the making.
Edited down from over 200,000 frames of footage, SPROUT features a time elapse of the first months of a coffee tree’s life. We watch as coffee beans eerily emerge from the soil in an almost zombie-like fashion. Then, in a surprise burst of color, the first leaves appear.
For all the seed-to-cup education that has taken place over the last decade, few coffee drinkers have any meaningful connection to the agricultural processes that produce their morning cup. SPROUT offers a rare glimpse at those first, precious steps. Hats off to Gabor Laczko and company, who continue to outdo themselves!
Here at the Coffee Compass we love barista competitions and documentary films. It just so happens that Prima Coffee shares this esoteric intersection of interest. Their new documentary, The World Barista Championship – A Global Influence, takes a look at the 2015 World Barista Championship. Sure we’re biased– Prima is one of the companies that helps sponsor us — but we think this film is one of the finest examples of coffee cinema we’ve seen yet. The film is narrated by Steve Rhinehart and features interviews with a smattering of World and National champions, including James Hoffmann, Tim Wendelboe, and Laila Wilbur. Hats off to cameraman/editor Cody Maher and the rest of the Prima crew.
2015 is turning into the year of mid-length coffee films. After sharing Cafe Imports’s new series about Ethiopia and Kávékalmár origin trip to Costa Rica, we decided to lay off the video posts- but then we stumbled upon this gem from Aarhus, Denmark’s Great Coffee. The evocative cinematography, haunting soundtrack, and compelling main character made it too good to not share. Danish coffee was long been a pacesetter for both coffee quality and café design, but Aarhus’s coffee scene has largely been eclipsed by Copenhagen, an intentional Mecca for coffee pilgrims thanks to innovative companies such as The Coffee Collective. This film centers around Søren Stiller Markussen, the founder, head roaster, and lead barista of Great Coffee. We watch as the repeat Danish barista champion roasts coffee, does yoga in Costa Rica, café crawls around Brooklyn, and even swims in the tumultuous North Sea. Kinfolk, eat your heart out.
This last holiday season we splurged and got ourselves a special Christmas present: the Hartmann Geisha Series from Calgary-based coffee roasters Phil & Sebastian. The special seasonal offer featured one coffee variety processed three different ways: washed, natural, and honey. This rare opportunity to experience exactly what impact processing has on flavor was possible due to the forward-thinking Hartmann family in Santa Clara, Panama.
Phil & Sebastian recently released a short film that offers an intimate look at life on the Hartmann family’s farm. Few coffee farmers get the opportunity to taste their own coffee, but the Hartmann family has their own quality-control lab, complete with a two-barrel sample roaster. The fact that Ratibor Hartmann is a certified Q Grader is practically unheard of. It’s coffee farmers like the Hartmann family that make it an exciting time to be a coffee consumer.
You can order coffee grown by the Hartmanns on Phil & Sebastian’s webstore.
If you read the Compass, you probably have been to a microroastery. You might even roast you’re own coffee. But we’re pretty sure you’ve never seen coffee being roasted like this. Attila Zérczi, the same guy who brought us Back to the Moka Pot, dropped his GoPro camera inside his friend Laczkó Gábor’s Probat roaster and the result is pretty incredible.