I just finished up a fun project with Has Bean Coffee out of England that compared three different varietals from the same farm in Nicaragua—Finca Limoncillo.
The guys from Has Bean needed a drawing that outlined some of the differences between the three varietals, tasting notes, and the processing methods used for each. It was a lot of fun to work with Dale and Steve, read their descriptions of the coffees (bubble gum, strawberry milkshakes, toffee apple) and put them down on paper. From my understanding, they’ll use this drawing in a presentation, and will have the ability to zoom in and out of and around the drawing. Should be pretty cool.
I knew that different varietals—even from the same farm—had different characteristics, but actually tasting the coffees completely opened my eyes. Each varietal is extremely unique and different from the other. If you ever get the opportunity to purchase varietals from the same farm, I’d really encourage it. Thanks again to Has Bean for the opportunity!
I’ve been loving my new Able Kone lately, and have found myself wanting to use it in as many ways as possible. If you haven’t gotten your hands on one yet, its a real beauty, and a lot of fun to brew with.
In the past, I’ve gotten great results putting my Chemex and V60 underneath the showerhead of the Bonavita Brewer—no different with the Kone. I was able to use a pretty fine grind—a 20 on the Baratza Virtuoso—and still maintain a pretty good flow rate with the showerhead and Kone.
Nothing tricky here. Great results, though. You may want to play with the grind settings a bit.
Back in April, I flew out to Portland to spend some time visiting with Mark Hellweg, owner of Clive Coffee, and to visit some of the local shops I’d heard so much about. I instantly fell in love with the comfortable, unique, and neighborhood-like feel of the city, and was exposed to some great coffees and spaces laced throughout the city.
The main reason for my trip, though, was to work on a film project with Clive. The premise of the video was to explain some of the differences between home espresso machines, and to visualize some of the benefits and qualities you should be looking for when approaching espresso machines for home use.
The video starts off with a Venetian style coffee house—symbolizing the first time you ever fell in love with espresso. From there, the video walks through the thought process of trying to figure out how to get the same experience at home.
Highlighting some different espresso machine styles—from the simplistic and cheap plastic models to the over-complicated Rube-Goldberg style with unnecessary bells-and-whistles, the video finally lands on some good quality options to use at home.
The whole experience was really fun for me—getting to travel to Portland and immerse myself in some of the coffee scene out there was an added bonus, but getting to work with Mark and the gang at Clive to put this together was a real highlight. Great people doing great things—I really appreciate the oportunity to work with them and look forward to connecting with them again in the future.
**Also, I learned a lot about drawing and myself while I was out in Portland. Being filmed while drawing really adds a strange dynamic to my thought process. I really started to over-analyze every movement, and started worrying about things like staying out of the way of the camera, lighting, subtle movements, etc. Needless to say, I don’t think the drawings in the video are my best work, but they sure did a great job with the video as a whole, adding in some nice B-roll and annotations.**
While the coffee scene in Ohio starts to take off thanks to an onslaught of micro-roasters, it continues to be bolstered by original roasters/shops that have been staples in their respective communities. Boston Stoker is one of the originals in Ohio.
I hadn’t had the chance to try much of their stuff, but I had the privilege of meeting a few of the staff when they came for the Northeast Regional AeroPress Championship. The head judge of the competition, Mick, was actually Boston Stoker’s Director of Coffee Culture before moving to Columbus.
Something extremely unique to Boston Stoker is that the company actually started off as a Cigar Shop—their coffee services started off as a convenience to cigar shop customers, and only later on did it become their primary business.
Not too long ago, Adam Eckley, an employee at Boston Stoker emailed me some doodles he’d done while in the process of learning about coffee over the years, including a filter doodle of Boston Stoker. I wanted to share some of it, because I really like them.
He was also kind enough to send over a couple coffees they’d been working on—both an Ethiopia and a Kenya. My first taste of the Kenya was awesome.
I’m looking forward to enjoying them this week, and can’t wait to see what Boston Stoker continues to do in the future. It’s nice to see some of the old guard continue to progress and put out stellar coffees rather than swim in the success of yesteryear.
While I was in Atlanta this past week, I got to spend some time with Kaldi’s Coffee Owner Josh Ferguson. It was great to get to hear a bit of his story, how he got into coffee, and a little bit about what’s next for his company. Thankfully, he brought some coffee along, and I was able to get my first taste of Kaldi’s—El Salvador El Aguacatal. Really balanced fruit and chocolate notes, and made with In A Cup Coffee’s pocket pourover.
I’m excited about what Kaldi’s is doing out in St. Louis and beyond, and really looking forward to crossing paths with Josh again.