Written by the 2009 Irish Barista Champion, Colin Harmon, Dublin Barista is a great read — covering details on events he attends, training and education he takes part in, the process of starting up his own cafe and more.
We love checking in on it every now and again to see how the ‘other half’ live — you know, the highly skilled professional baristas who work with each other on an international level to explore and push the limits of what people define as specialty coffee. It’s not our corner of the coffee industry, but we learn a lot by watching from the sidelines, and you might, too.
One of the things we love most about coffee is all the different perspectives folks can have on it — and, like anything that can engage some level of connoisseurship, those that enjoy it range from Folgers enthusiasts to those who love to analyze all the elements that go into a great cup. God Shot is a blog created by the latter, someone who has worked as a pro barista and really digs perfecting espresso as an art.
While we have a deep and enduring love for coffee and all that it entails, we know we’re not the place to turn to if you’re looking for the defining principles of balance in espresso or a comprehensive analysis (parts one, two and three) of the state of coffee in San Francisco, but God Shot is. We appreciate the passion, the detailed assessment and the truly geeky nature of this blog — and we think you will, too.
We absolutely can not do a better job of laying out, explaining and showing the wonderfully delicious results of this recipe, so please head on over to foodthinkers (by Breville) to get instructions and see the play by play of concocting this tasty little number.
There really is no end to the inventive uses of caffeine and its related delivery devices. We won’t even get into some of the freakier experiments starring caffeine, and instead we’ll focus on its artistic elements: Beautiful paintings crafted solely with espresso!
Caffeinated Creations is the artistic brainchild of Karen, who was inspired to create the warm, rich pieces while drinking and serving up espresso in cafes from New Orleans to Tulsa. Described as a slow and detailed process, we loved the meditative and Zen-like description of how she works to build up the different hues slowly, layering espresso to create depth and texture.
You can purchase her one-of-a-kind pieces, but if that’s too rich for your blood, you can pick up postcards or prints of many of them as well.
Back in the bad old days when Internet access was not easy to come by in the US, cafes offering a little jitter with your surfing proliferated. They catered to travelers and students, artists and writers; they were community centers and neighborhood hangs. But as the cost and availability of ‘net access changed, their ability to support themselves as a web hub declined — and cafes with computers for rent by the minute morphed into cafes with BYOL(aptop) and misc. wi-fi access policies.
Since we spent some of our coffee slinging years behind the bar of an Internet cafe, you can understand why they hold a sweet little place in our hearts. So it’s no surprise that when we ran across this BBC web documentary series that’s tracking a journalist as he’s traveling around the world from Internet cafe to Internet cafe — reporting on the stories he finds along the way — we really dug it. Now we’re sharing! Complete with maps of his travels, snapshots and audio as he explores how the Internet cafe is still a big part of many communities around the world.
We’ve talked before about how much caffeine is in different forms of coffee preparation, and we’ve even covered the relative caloric intake of many drinks compared with food. But if you’re looking for something a little more visual-oriented, check out the Caffeine Poster created by Randy Krum over at Cool Infographics.
Now it’s easy to reference how much caffeine you’re taking in each day via different drinks — from different forms of coffee to the legendary Jolt soda. Plus, it has a couple of fun facts incorporated in it, such as the date of National Coffee Day (wait, isn’t that every day?!) and how much caffeine you have to ingest before you feel the, uh, love.
If you’re looking for a little perspective on the specialty coffee industry, head on over to Daniel’s World of Coffee.
Written by a coffee connoisseur and professional in the specialty coffee industry, Daniel Humphries, the blog discusses everything from different kinds of coffee varieties to roasting technique to a favorite cuppa to just plain caffeinated rumination.
It’s a fun read and we often glean a few tips, tricks and facts from it each time we take a gander. He’s also got some great educational videos that show cuppings, classes and his thoughts on certain coffee-related subjects. Enjoy!
One of our favorite online stomping grounds, Home-Barista, is running a holiday Wish List Giveaway contest to promote awareness of their website and others in the online coffee and espresso community. If you’ve got some time to kill or are looking to pick-up some brand new toys, check out the full details of the contest on their site. They are also a rich information source for more technically-minded home espresso enthusiasts.
We’re participating as sponsors this year and so will be offering three different levels of prizes:
- Gift: 1 free Baratza Vario burr grinder
- Delight: 10 coupons for 10% off any Rocket espresso machine
- Surprise+: 50 coupons for a free bag of Velton’s Bonsai Blend for espresso
Have fun while increasing your espresso knowledge and maybe winning a little somethin’ somethin’!
We get a lot of questions about crema: What is it, how can I get more of it, where does it come from, etc. We’re going to get Gail in front of the camera soon to talk about and experiment with crema, but first up let’s reference James Hoffman’s strongly posited belief that crema is, in fact, ‘rubbish.’
What we love about this video is that he questions some of the basic ideas behind espresso, and when the pros who devote their lives to learning all there is to know about their passion start messing around with core ‘truths’, we all benefit from their innovations at some point. There’s talk about how the crema is a chemical result of the espresso extraction process, and we’ve noticed that the crema from different coffee bean types is produced differently — even roast types will have a different crema story, when pulled from the same machine.
Ultimately, again, it’s all about flavor and what you like in your coffee; we’re going to do some experiments so expect more to come on this topic. You can check out what others are thinking about in this opinionated forum topic on Home Barista.
Our birthday’s coming up in a couple of months and you can certainly make this gorgeous confection for us! Thanks in advance.
- 1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as soybean, canola or vegetable blend
- 6 eggs, separated
- 6 tablespoons freshly brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottoms of three 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with rounds of parchment or waxed paper, but do not grease.
In a medium bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, espresso and vanilla; whisk lightly to blend. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set the dry ingredients aside.
In a large mixer bowl with an electric mixture, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until frothy. Raising the mixer speed to medium-high and gradually add the remaining half cup of sugar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form; do not whip until stiff or the cake will shirk excessively upon cooling.
Add the espresso-egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together just enough to combine. Add one-fourth of the beaten egg whites and fold them in to lighten the batter. Fold in the remainder of the whites just until no streaks remain. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.
Bake the cakes for about 18 minutes each, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pans. When cooled, run a blunt knife around the edge of the pans to release the cakes. Invert onto wire racks and remove the paper liners.
For the Espresso Syrup (Makes 1 cup)
- 1/3 cup hot, freshly brewed espresso
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup dark rum, such as Meyer’s
In a bowl, stir together the espresso and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the rum and let cool to room temperature.
For the Fudge Frosting (Makes about 5 cups)
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
- 4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
- 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth.
For the Main Event
To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Soak the cake with 1/3 cup of the Espresso Syrup. Spread about 1 1/3 cups of the Instant Fudge Frosting evenly over the top of the layer. Repeat with the next layer, more syrup and more frosting. Finally, top with the third layer. Soak it with the remaining syrup and frost the tops and sides with the remaining frosting.
Source: Also includes great step by step photos, tips and variation suggestions