Updated on December 5, 2016
Grind Your Own Coffee Beans
Ah, coffee. I strongly believe that it’s one of the few things that can bring people of different backgrounds together. Call it coffee diplomacy or just plain love for this morning pick-me-up. So today I wanted to talk about how you can elevate your coffee experience, if all you’ve ever tried is pre-ground beans, which makes for a pretty bland cup.
Naturally, to do this, you must start with the beans. If you buy pre-ground, then it’s time to find a few extra minutes in your day to start grinding your own beans before brewing. Why? Because there’s a world of difference between fresh grind and pre-ground.
The latter isn’t actually all that bad for the regular joe. But you’re here to elevate your coffee experience, aren’t you? To do that, you’ll need to invest in a grinder. Don’t worry! I won’t ask you to shell out hundreds of dollars for this. If you’re on a tight budget, those grinders at Walmart will already do and those are just around $20-30.
Next, you’ll want to explore what’s available in your area. If the coffee beans you’ve only ever bought are those from the supermarket, widen your scope and purchase coffee beans online. Not only is this more convenient but you’ll have more variety to choose from as well. Some sites you can check out are Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea and Happy Mug Coffee.
Finally, you’ll need an electric kettle with a gooseneck spout for the pour over. Again, you don’t need to break the bank for this. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find decent ones in garage sales for a couple of dollars. On the other hand, if you’re willing to splurge and invest in one, I suggest getting the Bonavita gooseneck, which is around $50-60.
Following these steps should set you up to enjoy your coffee more.
Updated on December 5, 2016
Coffee Preferences: What Do You Like?
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you probably already know that I’m a huge critic of Starbucks’s offerings. The massive coffee chain may have put Seattle on the coffee map, but I somehow think that this achievement is hollow in the grander scheme of things. I can give you a hundred reasons why Starbucks is not the coffee experts it claims to be, but I’ll leave that for another post.
For my readers out there, however, who are coffee connoisseurs in their own right, I ask: what type of coffee do you like?
I ask this out of genuine curiosity for people’s preferences—maybe get a discussion going here about it too—and I want to find out whether there’s an underserved market in the industry. I think anyone who is open to the idea of starting their own niche coffee shop would be interested in hearing about the latter, hence this post.
You can answer this any way you want. You can answer by region like Latin American coffees, or give nouns and adjectives if there’s a specific taste you’ve fallen in love with.
Speaking of adjectives, here are some commonly used words to help you express your preferences. After all, part of appreciating coffee is expanding one’s coffee vocabulary.
Coffee can be: bright, sweet, buttery, balanced, chocolatey, and fruity.
As for nouns, on the other hand, there are a lot of words you can use, usually pertaining to the ingredients and notes in it like: honey, apricot, apple cider, toasted coconut, plum, and so on.
So you see, there’s more to coffee than what can be found at your nearest Starbucks—which by the way has really acidic and burnt-tasting coffee, if you ask this coffee snob. Once you’ve gotten a taste of coffee’s nuances and complexities, I assure you, you’ll never think about Starbucks the same way ever again.
Posted on October 20, 2016
Do You Drink Coffee for the Caffeine?
I’m just curious about this one—do any of you drink coffee just for the caffeine?
If you do, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I know a lot of people who do and in a way I kind of envy them because they can enjoy their cup of joe without a care in the world. Me, on the other hand, as a self-proclaimed coffee snob, I can’t seem to enjoy my cup of coffee without thinking, nay, obsessing about it. It has to be perfectly roasted with just enough sugar and cream. Otherwise, my mind goes crazy, trying to figure out what’s wrong with this batch and how it can be made better.
I know, it’s a little extreme, and I try to keep it under wraps, but I guess I just love coffee too much to not talk about it as a process; a science, and an art.
So, yes, if you drink coffee for the caffeine, hats off to you! Might I introduce you, however, to the different coffee types there are? Who knows, it might just awaken another side to you as a coffee lover besides getting your daily dose of the jitters. You can learn about flavor, notes, aroma, and all the technicalities of brewing “the perfect shot.”
If this sounds awfully complicated to you, don’t worry! I’m here to share all I know in this blog. I can even get you started on where to find the best places for truly exceptional coffee in Seattle. Yes, real coffee brewed by real baristas.
Personally, I don’t drink coffee just for the caffeine, although it would be hard for me to deny how addictive caffeine is. I mostly drink coffee for the taste and I look forward to the aroma freshly brewed coffee gives off in the morning. Nothing wakes me up than a freshly brewed cup of joe!
Posted on October 10, 2016
Happy National Coffee Day and International Coffee Day!
Hey guys, I just want to greet you all a happy National Coffee Day and International Coffee Day this week!
Wait, what? There are two events celebrating coffee? Yes, that’s right!
National Coffee Day comes around every 29th of September while International Coffee Day is celebrated on the 1st of October. We love our cup of joe so much that we have two events back-to-back to celebrate the addictive wonders of coffee!
International Coffee Day gathers coffee lovers around the world to “honor the men and women who grow and harvest the coffee we love.” On the other hand, no one seems to know or have information as to who started National Coffee Day. Nonetheless, a lot of major retailers in the country celebrate both events by giving free coffee or offering it at a discount, which is always great news for us!
As coffee lovers though, we don’t really need an event to serve as an excuse to get the coffee machine going, do we? We’ll take all the initiative needed to get up early in the day to start grinding those coffee beans.
Here’s a crazy idea I had while sipping my cup of coffee today: maybe we can have a coffee-drinking marathon in honor of these two events by staying up the entire 72 hours in between? Crazy, right? Don’t take me seriously on this idea, though. It’s highly likely it’s the caffeine in me that’s talking and kicking in. Sleep deprivation is a serious matter and coffee should not be abused, lest you end up in the hospital.
So, how are you celebrating National Coffee Day and International Coffee Day? I dearly hope it’s not with a latte from Starbucks—get out there and buy a cup of real Italian coffee! Trust me; you don’t know coffee until you’ve tasted the real thing!
Posted on May 16, 2016
Young Adults and Coffee
I read a very interesting story the other today regarding the future of coffee and the relationship coffee has with young adults in today’s society. I know what you are thinking, what a random topic to be thinking about. You would be surprise how prevalent this topic is to coffee provides and the length they will go to research this topic. As a matter of fact S&D Coffee & Tea the almost ninety year old full service coffee company that specializes in special roasting based out of North Carolina commissioned two papers. This consumer research was done by “Datassential to explore consumer trends, habits and perceptions of the young adult population in the 18-14 range, the group frequently referred to, most often by marketers and space-saving headline writers, as millennials.”
In fact both of the papers were published, they were “Appealing to Young Coffee Drinkers Along their Maturity Path” and “Millennials: The Language of Coffee & the Role of Sustainability”. Both website can be found at their website and it is definitely an interesting read if you get the chance to take a look at them.
What they found out does not really surprise me but like many coffee fans, coffee is not just a drink to them it is an emotional experience a very important part of the daily ritual for them. They broke down that emotional experience even further talking about the basic needs they look for in coffee. The first is obviously how clean and convenient is it? But it goes to even more detail about how coffee can meet the clients complicated and emotional needs.
It may sound simple but it get’s more complicated then that when asked 45% of respondents said they would think more positively on a location if it was “sustainability sourced” but only 22% respondent said they know what that actually means. The paper was nothing ground breaking but if you enjoy reading about coffee and market trends these papers are must reads.
Updated on April 15, 2016
Growing up in Seattle I have been lucky to experience a number of things that no one else in the country can. But one thing I absolutely love is something you probably already figured out by the name of this blog and that is I LOVE COFFEE. I have since I was a young man in college, something about a nice hot cup of coffee is just something I always look for. My friends, family and colleagues already know not to ask me anything too serious before I have my first cup of coffee. I take my coffee drinking very seriously, I have gone all over the world to different countries experiencing different types of coffee. To many people its surprising that there are different ways to make coffee and each country has their own distinguished style and taste. Let me tell you there is nothign better then waking up for the sunrise and sitting in a French Coffee shop and just enjoying your morning coffee, socializing with the locals, reading your morning paper and watching the sunrise. Nothing can beat that! While the rest of the world has great coffee to experience, let’s not forget that some people consider Seattle the coffee capital of the world. We have Starbucks! People like to hate on Starbucks and say they are taking away from the mom and pop shops. But let me tell you, from someone who is a huge coffee aficionado I have been to a whole bunch of mom and pop coffee shops with in the United States. Let me tell you that i would say close to 75% of the time Starbucks coffee is always better. Can you blame people for wanting to get the best coffee out there for them? I cant and I never will blame people for making that choice.
Updated on March 2, 2016
According to Emile Haddad, Seattle’s coffee scene could use a little help. Here, he discusses bean selection for the novice coffee connoisseur.
How many of us really knows how to select a truly exceptional coffee? Sure, there are people who select and grade coffee for a living, but for the casual enthusiast, it can be difficult to gauge which roasts will deliver the nuanced, complex flavors that are associated with a truly great cup of joe. Here, I’ll try to delineate which types of coffee offer the ultimate sipping experience.
For you bold types…
Those who prefer a dark coffee might want to try a Kenyan coffee bean. These have the robust flavor bold coffee enthusiasts enjoy, but with very low acidity, so you don’t get that awful bitter finish that coffee-haters (who were probably introduced to coffee via the local IHOP) assume is typical.
Mild is wild!
If you’re like me and enjoy a milder, cleaner coffee taste sensation, I recommend Kona Coffee (100%, of course). Kona is world-renowned for its complexity and smooth chocolatey notes. Honestly, what’s not to love?
When shopping, go the road less travelled by
Honestly, you’re probably not going to find a truly top-tier coffee bean in your local supermarket. Those beans have been roasted who-knows-when. If you want a fantastic and varied coffee experience, try a subscription program from a roaster. You’ll get a great variety, and you just might stumble upon the coffee of your dreams!
Take your water’s temperature
Don’t boil the water! Don’t boil the water!! DON’T BOIL THE WATER!!
One doesn’t typically think that boiling water is capable of burning coffee, but it will. Water should be approximately 200 degrees Fahrenheit in order to extract the flavors without winding up with a bitter mess.
Grind right before you brew
Invest in a grinder, grind coarsely—if you’re not brewing espresso, that is—and never, ever, grind the whole bag at once. You might as well just buy Sanka.
A full time student, and part-time waiter, Emile Haddad’s Seattle experience is largely limited to running to class, running food, and running on at the mouth about coffee.