Category Archives: Weblogs

Hot Blog on Blog Action: jimseven

If you’re interested in the life and times of a coffee-obsessed 2007 World Barista Champion, you might just love to read the blog of James Hoffman. He is now roasting with Square Mile Coffee, based in London, and writes a lot about his trials, tribulations and triumphs with the great bean.

We’ve learned a lot about some of the finer points of coffee, thanks to his singular perspective, and think he’s a great read.

Coffee in High Altitudes

It was just a couple of weeks ago that we were wondering in the store how brewing coffee or pulling espresso differs at higher altitudes. We’re basically at sea level here, but we’d been talking about the kind of coffee some of us have found in the higher elevations of Montana — more bitter and like ‘coffee water’ than what we make and drink here.

We found the answer in this interesting piece on coffee in Santa Fe, NM. A Qasimi discusses how the higher altitude affects brewing and roasting:

I don?t drink home-brewed coffee in Santa Fe. I?ve often found it sour and lacking in the depth, robustness and natural sweetness that makes great coffee great. How does high altitude affect coffee and espresso quality at home and with the use of commercial equipment? Drip coffee machines that merely boil are convenient devices but they deliver water to the grounds at below the ideal range of temperatures, leading to underextraction of the beans and a sour, dull or poorly developed brew.

Thus, the only way to compensate for altitude is pressure — and that means espresso — but pulling a proper espresso shot is not easy at this altitude either. Ironically, though the best coffee grows at higher altitudes, with water?s lower boiling point in elevated places, brewing can get tricky. Roasting, on the other hand, merely benefits from altitude: The best possible results come from roasting the beans at the same altitude as they?ll be used and particularly at high altitudes that allow for faster roast development at lower temperatures

Roasting Art

We found this great article on coffee roasting and it inspired us to think more about roasting beans at home. We carry three different models of roasters, and have been thinking about trying out the i-Roast 2 to get more familiar with the roasting process. Do you roast your own beans at home? Got any tips for us? We’d love to hear them!

Article reprinted here for your reading pleasure.

Continue reading Roasting Art

New! Coffee – A Guide to Buying, Brewing & Enjoying

We just got in a batch of Kenneth Davids’ seminal coffee book, Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying and we highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in an in-depth explanation of pretty much all there is to know about coffee.

Covering the entire lifecycle of your favorite bean, this book talks about history, agriculture, roasting, tasting, grinding, brewing and serving — a resource-rich compendium that will most certainly answer any coffee-related question you might have had.

Kenneth also authors the website Coffee Review, which provides detailed assessments of hundreds of different coffees from around the world. If you’re looking into trying out some new coffees, his website is definitely a place to start your research.

Hot Blog on Blog Action: Coffee Like Wine

We spend a fair amount of time poking around the ‘net to find interesting information to share with you, gentle reader, and came upon the blog Coffee Like Wine that discusses artisan coffee and wine experiences had by its San Francisco-based writer.

Providing feedback on everything from different bay city cafes to cupping events to the flavors of single origin beans, this blog has a ton of great subjective information from an avid connoisseur. Check it out!

Your Daily Coffee, Courtesy of HAL

Maybe we’ve painted ourselves into a corner with the whole time-is-of-the-essence ideology that seems to influence our focus on developing new and improved gadgets that will save us time, but one thing’s for sure: We can’t stop now.

Enter a Windows XP powered coffee maker that will allow you to program your favorite coffee, access it over the Internet and initiate the brew so you can walk right into the kitchen and pick it up. It’s almost worthy of the Jetson’s…but, unfortunately, it’s just a home modification at this point. At least we know it can be done — and that’s half the battle, right?

Hot Blog on Blog Action: Man Seeking Coffee

Written by a mild caffeine addict whose only qualifications are a passion for coffee and tons of wasted money on experiencing bad coffee, Man Seeking Coffee is a blog for lovers of the bean who are looking for tips, corroboration or debate.

The San Francisco-based writer has even come up with a rating system for beans so that you’ll come to understand his perspective on a truly quantitative level, but also talks about cafes and coffee culture…you know, just to round it out. Enjoy the read!

Ed. Note: The Man Seeking Coffee blog is currently on hiatus. You may want to try A Table in the Corner of the Cafe blog instead.

Recipe: Chocolate Espresso Pots du Creme

Whilst poking around for a good Thanksgiving treat, we found a delicious recipe for Chocolate Espresso Pots du Creme at Harvest Eating. You can check out their video on how to make the recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 3/4 Cups Espresso or dark coffee
  • 1 Cups Organic heavy cream
  • 1/3 Cups Organic heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar

Directions

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Put chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Bring cream, milk, espresso
    powder (to taste), and a pinch of salt just to a boil in a small heavy
    saucepan, stirring until espresso powder is dissolved, then pour over
    chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in another bowl,
    then add warm chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly.
    Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart
  4. Line bottom of a baking pan (large enough to hold ramekins) with a folded
    kitchen towel and arrange ramekins on towel. Poke several holes in a
    large sheet of foil with a skewer. Divide chocolate mixture among
    ramekins, then bake in a hot water bath,(bain marie) pan covered
    tightly with foil, until pots du creme are set around edges but still
    slightly wobbly in centers, 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Transfer ramekins to a rack to cool completely, uncovered, about 1 hour.
    (Custards will set as they cool.) Chill, covered, until cold, at least
    3 hours.

Enjoy!

Compassionate Coffee

Coffee Kids is one of our favorite organizations and we heartily support its mission. Working to improve the standard of living in coffee growing regions throughout Central and South America, Coffee Kids have been around for 20 years and have built strong, respected bonds within these communities.

Please take the time to learn more about their mission and contribute if you can.