Coffee inspires creativity—this is merely an overflow of that. A bit of my coffee journey in the form of doodles and sketches.
July 18, 2012

I’ve written about Baratza before. I love their grinders, I love how helpful they are, and I love how collaborative and encouraging they are. I’ve had the privilege of owning three different Baratza grinders—the Maestro, the Encore (Encorn, to some), and the Virtuoso. Each performing amazing.

Having a consistent grind is key to making great coffee.  If you’re anything like me, you started getting more serious about coffee by grinding your own beans with a blade grinder—I’ll always remember blade grinders by the high-pitched “whizzing” sound they make as they brutally chop up the coffee. While the heart behind grinding your own beans is great, this shotgun approach to blade grinding only allows for randomness and inconsistency in your grind.

The thing that sets Baratza apart begins with their use of quality conical burrs. “Burr coffee grinders are designed to create a very consistent grind size by crushing the coffee beans between a rotating burr and a stationary surface. This gives you grounds that are uniform in size and shape, from which the sweet, smooth flavors of the bean can be extracted reliably.”

I’m no expert, but one thing I have noticed is the difference a good grinder makes. Its night and day. If you’re just starting to venture down the path of brewing quality coffee at home, one of the first places to start is with a quality burr grinder. Although it’s a bit of an investment, the quality grind and resulting coffee that a well-made grinder will give you pays for itself.

I love my Baratza grinders, everytime I make coffee, it goes through my Baratza. Anything less is a disappointment and it shows in the cup.


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June 12, 2012

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of receiving some beautiful cloth filters from American Coffee Trader. I’ve liked brewing with cloth since I got my Hario Woodneck, so its nice to have a cloth alternative for nearly every brewing device I own. American Coffee Trader prides itself on using Organic Cotton, grown and made in the U.S.A.

Cotton cloth, as a coffee filter medium has been in use since around 1710. It was used much like a modern tea bag until the 1780′s, where the use of a coffee sock was employed. Since then, many fabrics and metals have been used in that shape, though none more rare than organic cotton.

This particular cotton was grown in Texas, woven in South Carolina, and carefully sewn in Boston, Massachusetts. These filters are all American made, 233 thread count organic cotton cloth.

From a design standpoint, these filters are beautiful. More importantly, though, I’ve enjoyed brewing through them—it seems that the cloth gives a nice balance of oils and crisp acidity with an extremely low sediment yield.* They clean pretty easy, and the creme color of the filters look great in contrast with the coffee while you’re brewing.

As we were chatting over email, one of the inspirations for these filters became evident—Simon’s Coffee Shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.   Simon’s is a George Howell (Terroir) and Barismo account, both of which are respected, quality roasters. I had the opportunity to sit in on a session that George Howell led and I was amazed at the extent of his knowledge about coffee, and the level clarity he used to speak about it. All that to say, the fact that Simon’s uses Terroir as a coffee shows that they’re committed to excellence and to bring the people of Boston quality coffee. According to the guys, Simon was also one of the first to introduce the Hario V60 to the Boston coffee community.

Through our conversations, I found out that today was the tenth anniversary that the shop had been open. It seemed fitting that today’s doodle ended up on an American Coffee Trader Cloth Filter, and celebrates Simon’s accomplishment of 10 strong years in the Boston coffee community. Congratulations, and keep up the good work!

Be sure to check out American Coffee Trader Cotton Filters.

December 22, 2011

Columbus, Ohio is a great city for people of all types. With a thriving art scene, a healthy arena district that pulls in top-notch shows, and suburbs full of their own unique personalities, it can compete with the best of small-market cities.

One of the things that really helps make Columbus “pop” is its coffee scene. There are some great local shops and roasters in town with plenty of diversity to satiate any coffee-related craving you could have.

For me, one of them stands above the rest: Stauf’s.

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters in Grandview Heights is my first love. It’s where every bit of love and appreciation I have for coffee started. They do a little bit of everything here: single cup brewing, specialty drinks, teas, sandwiches, desserts, and it doesn’t hurt that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is right next door. They roast their own coffee, and have been doing so for over 20 years – before coffee shops became as trendy as they are now. So, as far as quality and technique go, its hard to top Stauf’s.

Stauf’s is comprised of a two-sided shop: the left side houses the bar where you can order food and spcialty drinks, while the right side holds most of their beans and equipment. There are barrels and barrels of fresh roasted beans and the walls are lined with top notch brewing equipment, filters, mugs, and plenty of other accessories. If you really love coffee, make sure you get a cup of coffee (pick from any barrel) made in the Clover brewer.

The clover takes everything we love about full-immersion and vacuum brewing (french press, vacuum pot) and combines them. The final result is an amazing cup of coffee that you won’t soon forget. Some have called the Clover the best coffee invention since the Espresso machine. Starbucks caught wind of the machine a few years ago and snatched up all the rights to the machine and absorbed the company who produced the machine. Not many shops are lucky enough to have a Clover machine because of this.

All in all, Stauf’s is a quality shop that sources good coffee and roasts to perfection. Now that they’ve grown a bit and have started doing wholesale for other shops, they do most of their roasting across town – but if you can get yourself there on a Saturday morning, you might get lucky and catch Stauf’s founder roasting in the old gas-fired drum roaster.

Even though Stauf’s is a little out of the way from the typical Columbus hot spots, it’s worth the trip.

Be sure to follow Stauf’s on twitter (@staufs).

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