Tag Archives: coffee

Homage to Brewing: Burgundian’s Coffee Beer Festival

Is it possible? Could two of my favorite beverages, coffee and beer, share the same glass at the same time, in the same reality? String theory aside, Burgudian’s Coffee Beer Fest last weekend accomplished this very feat, and Sam and I were fortunate enough to attend.

With over 20 coffee beers, 5 toddy cocktails and a caffeine-infused food menu to get through, we braced ourselves for the long haul — thankfully, doors opened at 10am.  Here’s a rundown of our favorites from the artfully constructed line-up:

Big Time’s Marzen Oktoberfest aged on Stumptown’s Ethiopia Mordecofe: This medium brown combo was light and refreshing, with hints of brown sugar and citrus notes — a solid standby throughout the afternoon.

Fremont Dark Star Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged on Tony’s Ganesha Espresso: The highest gravity mix at 8% ABV, this beer was big and balanced with a hint of sweetness. It highlighted the espresso’s depth and the stout’s molasses undertones.

Elysian’s Split Shot Coffee Milk Stout with Lighthouse Coffee:  Velvety, dark and mysterious, this stout was extremely smooth and mellow, reminiscent of Guinness.

Straight Bourbon Cold ToddyZoka cold toddy, bourbon, vanilla citrus bitters, orange zest. Smooth toddy spiked with citrus made this cocktail refreshing and dangerously sippable. I’m re-creating this next summer.

Bacon Dipped in Coffee-Infused Chocolate: Um, this kind of speaks for itself. Fan-freakin’-tastic!

It’s Friday, and I wish we could do it all over again tomorrow. Thank you to the Brouwer’s crew and Burgundian for orchestrating a killer event. We just hope that we won’t have to wait a full year to again witness another marriage of beans and hops.

Back to the Roots: Putting coffee grounds to work

What do you do with your coffee grounds?  Compost them, toss them in the garbage, leave them in your knock box and forget about them until you get yelled at by your house mate? Don’t do the latter, mold is a serious health concern, people. ;)

Co-founders Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora put recycled coffee grounds to work every day at their company Back to the Roots. The pair met at UC Berkley, and were inspired by a lecture that discussed the potential to grow gourmet mushrooms entirely on recycled coffee grounds. Sparked by this fun fact and a little entrepreneurial spirit, they started growing mushrooms in a bucket of used grounds, and eventually developed mushroom growing kits that you can use in the comfort of your home.

The kit comes with a cardboard carrier, bag of recycled coffee grounds, mushroom spores and a water mister.  With a little TLC (mist the bag twice a day) and in as few as 10 days, you can harvest your first batch of oyster mushrooms and most kits yield at least two crops.

Check out my first batch after 14 days. These mushrooms ended up on my plate sautéed with garlic, olive oil, chili flakes and tossed with angel hair pasta. Delicious!

Back to the Roots is on track to recycle 3.6 million pounds of coffee grounds from Peet’s Coffee and Tea in 2012, and help families grow over 135,000 pounds of fresh food in their own homes. Sustainability + yummy mushrooms = many happy tummies. I bet you’re going to think twice before tossing out your coffee grounds now – am I right?

Brewin’ with Brandi: Coffee Punch

You’ve got pals over for the big game, the end-of-summer barbecue, the block party — or all three — and you need something to serve up that is both sweet and caffeinated, right? Right. Well you know that Brandi’s got you covered with a sumptuous treat that will have you cheering for more.


  • 8 cups of brewed coffee – we used Velton’s Twilight Blend
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 1/4 gallon chocolate ice cream
  • 1/4 gallon vanilla ice cream


  1. Brew up a batch of your favorite coffee and, while it’s still hot, dissolve sugar into it.
  2. Chill for at least 45 minutes — more if you can do so.
  3. Add heavy cream and stir well, then chill until you are ready to serve.
  4. To serve, pour coffee mixture into a punch bowl. Scoop the ice cream into the mixture and blend together. Enjoy!

The Sun Will Come Out With Cold Brew!

In follow-up to our test video that we posted yesterday, we thought we’d break down and compare the different cold brew options we have — including the Sowden / Hario / Bodum variety and more!

French Press
Dual purpose for hot and cool drinks, making cold brew in your french press will give you that kick in your pants all summer long. Whether you make it as a coffee concentrate to dilute or if you drink it STRONG like the SCG crew, all it takes is your desired amount of coffee, cold water and 12 hours in the fridge. This is great for making a big batch and stocking it up so it’s available whenever you need a cup o’ cold joe.

Sowden Soft Brew Coffee Maker
While you can use it to make cold coffee similar to that from a french press, the Sowden Soft Brew gives you more flexibility in that you can use different grind consistencies. The microfilter features over a million tiny holes that enable you to brew with even the finest grind, producing a richer cup or more concentrated coffee in a similar amount of time. This can also be used for make hot coffee, as well.

It may look like a science experiment, but the science of the Chemex is easier than it looks. Unlike the french press and Sowden, you’re going to start your coffee out hot and as it brews it’ll cool down in the second chamber. All it takes is placing a good amount of ice in the bottom chamber, placing a paper filter in the top chamber, filling it up with your desired amount of coffee, pouring hot water over the coffee and watch as the coffee is extracted on to the ice giving you a smooth, cold and refreshing cup o’ java.

Hario Cold Brew/Mini Pot
Made specially for cold brewing, the Hario Cold Brew and Mini Pots come in a sleek glass pitcher that will guarantee you will extract the most flavor out of your coffee. No need to heat up your water, whether it be cold or room temperature, fill up your pot’s nylon filter basket with coarse grounds, pour the water and brew it in the fridge for about 12 to 24 hours. You won’t need to finish your brew all in one sitting as it can keep for up to one month in a sealed container.

Hario Cold Brew Dripper
If you’re fancy and have a lot of time on your hands, the the Hario Cold Water Dripper is what you need. A unique way of making your average cup of coffee or coffee concentrate, this dripper uses the classic cold-drip method. With every drop of water per second it saturates your coffee and drip by drip it will extract 26 oz. of coffee concentrate in about 5 hours. With a little more patience and learning curve, once you get the hang of it you’ll be sipping on some non-oily and acidic-free java.

Compare: Entry Level Coffee Grinders

You know how serious we are about coffee grinders! If you haven’t heard us rant before about how they’re really the most important element of your coffee setup, remind us to break it down for you sometime.

Today’s video addresses a different aspect of coffee grinders: If you’re not planning to ever make espresso at home, how do the entry level grinders compare? Even if you’re just budget-conscious and aren’t making espresso right now, picking up one of these grinders in the short term isn’t a bad idea.

We asked Gail to discuss a few different grinders (Capresso Cool Grind, Capresso Burr Coffee Grinder, Capresso Infinity and Baratza Encore), many of which don’t go fine enough for a standard espresso extraction. She shows us their features and specs, then compares their grind consistency. Finally, she prepares an Aeropress brew with each of them to see how they practically compare in a side-by-side taste-off.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Mocha Pops

If you know anything about us it’s that we love, love, love hot weather! What are we doing living in the Pacific Northwest, then?! We ask ourselves that all the time … except for when summer finally shows up and showers us with gorgeous sunlight dappled through lush evergreen trees. Then it all makes sense.

In celebration of summer’s arrival, Brandi has crafted a delicious and simple frozen treat. Delicious because it incorporates the amazing blueberry notes of Atomic Cafe’s limited edition Ethiopian East Harrar coffee and simple because it has only three ingredients!




  • 2 cups strong cold brew coffee or espresso
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder


Mix the coffee, condensed milk and cocoa powder together. Whisk for a couple of minutes (as the coffee is cold, you’ll need to put a little elbow grease into this to fully incorporate the cocoa). Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for about 8 hours (we did our overnight).

The Great Saeco Semi-Automatic Battle: Aroma vs. Venezia vs. Poemia

In search of a small single boiler espresso machine? Check out how these three models from Saeco stack up.



Saeco Aroma

Saeco Via Venezia

Saeco Poemia

Casing  Cased in a steel casing, this compact machine won’t take up too much space with it’s boxy figure. Internally you can call this bad boy and the Aroma twins, but externally it’s a little more of an upgrade. Cased in the same steel material, the Venezia’s curves do more of the talking.
Like triplets on the inside, it’s the Poemia that physically stands out from the rest of them by far. Modeled after the Saeco Xelsis and Exprelia, it has a compact metal and plastic casing.
Footprint 8.25″ W x 9.75″ D x 11.75″ H 9.63″ W x 11.5″ D x 13″ H
7″ W x 9.5″ D x 11.5″ H
Steam Wand Making life a little easier with the panarello wand, you’ll be able to get foamy milk in no time. However, this wand will only move left to right making it a little more difficult to fit bigger frothing pitchers underneath. With the ease to foam your milk into velvety goodness, this panarello wand gives you a little more clearance with your frothing pitcher. Its ability to swivel also makes for easier clean-up.
Taking a cue from its superautomatic cousins, the Poemia’s panarello wand has their design and will allow you to easily create milk with microfoam. However, like the Aroma, its right to left motion makes fitting larger frothing pitchers underneath more difficult.
Drip Tray This may be a little messier than most. But with a more compact machine comes smaller parts. You’ll find yourself having to lift the tray out of the casing to empty out a lot more often than not.
With more room and accessibility to slide the drip tray out when it’s time to empty, the Venezia gives you less of a mess. It also sports an accessory drawer underneath that is removable to provide more room for larger cups.
 Ridged (baffled) that will prevent messes and sloshing, you’ll find it easier to empty out your drip tray when it’s time, no matter how full it is.
Water Reservoir 80 oz.
98 oz. 34 oz.
Portafilter Equipped with a pressurized stainless steel with plastic cased portafilter, it will help you pull ideal shots no matter what grind you use. However, the quality of this portafilter is more basic than the sleek portafilter that comes with the Black Via Venezia. The Black Via Venezia comes with a sleek upgraded look to the heavy metal portafilter, however you’ll find the stainless steel version to have the same basic portafilter as the Aromas.
Functions as well as both the Aroma and Venezia portafilters, you’ll find that the quality of the Poemia is not as sturdy. Made of aluminum wrapped in a plastic case, it will still do the job.
Pods/Grounds Both Both Both

Chemex Cold Brew

We’re finally experiencing the joy of summer (!!) and there’s no better way to rock it than with a tall glass of cold brewed coffee in your hand. Jessica’s favorite brew method is the Chemex, so we asked her to demonstrate this brew technique to one of our compatriots, Teri, which involves standard Chemex brewing into a carafe filled with ice.

Java on the Open Trail

The sun’s finally out, the weather’s getting warmer and it’s that time of year to trek up the mountain to enjoy good ol’ Mother Nature. But make sure you fill up that pack with all the essentials — map, water, compass and … CAFFEINE! Yes, it’s possible to keep yourself buzzing with java as you hike through the forest. Check out some of our favorite on-the-go coffee makers that we throw in our packs before we hit the open trail.


Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker
As long as you have your whisper light, some water and your favorite coffee, you’ll be brewing up a strong cup o’ java in no time. Made of aluminum, this indestructible pot allows you to diffuse heat and get that same aromatic smell out of your coffee in the great outdoors. Simple and easy to use, just fill the lower chamber with water, add ground coffee to the filter and then  place it on your whisper light until the water boils your espresso to perfection.
AeroPress Light and easy to pack, the AeroPress is the next best thing to bringing the actual coffee maker on a hike. Made of BPA-free plastic, the AeroPress mixes grounds and water for ten second and then uses a micro-filter,  leaving your coffee silt and grit free. Smooth!
Handpresso Wild/Domepod Bike pump or espresso maker? The Handpresso may look like a bike pump but rather than pumping up your tire it’ll pump you up with caffeine. This hand held tool barely takes up any space and gives you an even easier option of using E.S.E. pods or your favorite ground coffee. All you need is hot water and your favorite coffee grounds or pods, then pump up the Handpresso and it’ll extract away.
Bodum Brazil French Press – 8 Cup – Polycarbonate Nearly indestructible, the polycarbonate version of Bodum’s popular French press is going to stick around for the long haul. Carry your favorite coarsely ground coffee, add hot water and let it hang out for a few minutes. Then serve up a rich brew for yourself and your favorite hiking partner — while watching the sunrise or set over the mountain side.