Coffee Shot: Chemex & French Toast

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Chemex & French Toast

 

We have had a lot of winter weather here in Raleigh this past month. As such I’ve been required to work from home recently. As a result I’ve been able to spend a little more time preparing great coffee to go along with my breakfast. Most recently I’ve been trying to hone my skills using a Chemex. Yesterday I used my Chemex to brew a great cup using Peru La Florida beans from Raleigh Coffee Company. The smooth cup paired nicely with my plate of french toast made with fresh sourdough bread from local baker Yellow Dog Bread Company. Next week I’m going to work on using a french press. What’s your favorite brew method these days?

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Micro Roaster Preview: Back Alley Coffee Roaster

Back Alley Coffee Roasters – Wake Forest, NC

Back Alley Coffee Roasters is a small batch roaster located just north of Wake Forest in Youngsville, NC. Back Alley was started by Tracy McKenzie after 10 years of home roasting and sharing his coffee with friends. I recently had the pleasure of sampling three of Back Alley’s current offerings with coffee from (Kenya, Ethiopia, and Costa Rica). I enjoyed experimenting with all three using the traditional drip, pour over and the AeroPress method. All three coffees arrived extremely fresh (just roasted days prior) and I found each made for a unique and delicious cup of coffee. The Costa Rica made for a clean cup with a smooth finish, while the Ethiopian features I slightly earthier sweeter flavor. The Kenyan was the darkest of the three roasts and I found that in addition to a great pour-over it worked great for pulling shots of espresso to make a full bodied cappuccino.

Pour Over w/ Back Alley’s Kenya Coffee

So where does the name “Back Alley Roasters” come from? As Tracy explains it, after learning of his love for coffee and several requests from coworkers one day he did a little roasting demonstration for his colleagues at work. He set up in the alleyway between two office buildings at work and while the smoke billowed from the roasting beans, they talked about the finer points of roasting over pour over coffees. Someone came out of the building and warned them that the bass was going to hear all the commotion to which somebody replied “We’re just roasting in the Back Alley!” and hence the name of Back Alley Coffee Roasters was born!

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Ethiopia – Costa Rica – Kenya
Back Alley Coffee Roasters

For now Back Alley Coffee can be ordered through their online shop at backalleyroasters.com or by emailing Tracy directly at  tracy (at) backalleyroasters (dot) com. As an added bonus deliveries in the Wake Forest area are free and shipping is available to other areas. I suspect you will also soon be able to find their coffee in select retail locations in the Wake Forest area in 2015. In the meantime, to learn more about Back Alley Coffee Roasters and order some of their coffee beans visit their website here. Happy brewing!

Back Alley Coffee Roasters – Wake Forest, NC
website: http://www.backalleyroasters.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/backalleyroasters
twitter: @backalleycoffee
instagram: @Back_Alley_Roasters

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Coffee Shot: Morning Apple Tart & Coffee

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Rustic Apple Tart & Coffee

I’m a morning coffee drinker and like enjoying an early a.m. pour over with my breakfast before heading into work each day. Lately I’ve been using the Chemex method to prepare my coffee and experimenting with ground size. But sometimes I like to look a little beyond the coffee and experiment with food pairings to compliment the coffee I am exploring that week. Recently I picked up a delicious apple tart from a new pasty shop called Lucettegrace in downtown Raleigh. The tart has thin apple slices, raisins, cinnamon, over a thin pastry crust. I enjoyed one recently with my morning chemex with some freshly ground Kenyan coffee from local roaster Back Alley Coffee out of Wake Forest. The two went perfectly together and it was probably the best breakfast treat I’ve had in while making it a little easier to head out on a cold January morning to start my day!

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Coffee Shot: Rook Coffee via Chemex Method

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Rook Coffee of New Jersey via Chemex

Over the holidays I visited Rook Coffee in Monmouth County, NJ. I was thrilled to see more great specialty coffee at the Jersey Shore. I picked up two pounds of their freshly roasted coffee to experiment back in my kitchen. This week I am brewing their roast from Guatemala. Next week I will experiment with their Sumatra. I am also switching things up by using the Chemex method to brew. A friend of mine was kind enough to lend me his chemex and I am excited to experiment with it. So far the results have been fantastic. I look forward to sharing more about Rook Coffee in the meantime you can learn more about them on their website here.

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The Coffee Collective – Espresso 1

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It has been a while since I shared my last review, but the cold weather of fall has me inspired and I’m back to exploring coffee. Just like old times. This week I am sharing my thoughts on about a roaster by the name of The Coffee Collective (TCC). They are a great roaster out of Denmark. This really brings home just how international the coffee scene is. Here I am in Raleigh, North Carolina drinking a coffee that was picked in Kenya, Colombia, and Ethiopia that was roasted in Denmark. Truly a global market. What is most amazing is that the coffee arrived in North Carolina from Denmark a mere 72 hours after it had been roasted. Always a treat to get such fresh coffee in the mail!

About The Espresso 1
The Coffee Collective (TCC) offers two new espresso blends. They are simply named Espresso 1 and Espresso 2. The Espresso 1 is a blend of three beans. Here is the composition:
50 % El Desarollo , Colombia
25 % Yukro Natural, Ethiopien
25% Kieni, Kenya

Espresso 1 is where TCC got very creative with aromatic and juicy coffees. It is definitely not the most forgiving espresso to pull, I had to get the grind just right, but I had great success with it on my home machine.

My Thoughts about the Coffee
I had great success pulling tasting shots with this blend on my home espresso machine. I found setting my Baratza grinder on the #12 setting made for the perfect extraction on my machine. I typically used 21g of ground up coffee and pulled the shot over 28-30 seconds resulting in 35g out of the machine.

I used the espresso 1 blend to make several cappuccinos and single shots of espresso to enjoy. I thought the three beans complimented and blended well together. It made for a smooth and rich shot of espresso that didn’t have the bite of bitterness that I sometimes experience from other beans. Admittedly my home espresso machine is nothing fancy so it isn’t very forgiving if I use the wrong grind or a over roasted bean. Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about any of that with this great roast from TCC.

About The Coffee Collective
The Coffee Collective is collectively owned and run by some of Denmark’s most reputable coffee personalities. They roast their beans using a modern Loring SmartRoast 30 kg roaster that allows us to control the roasting profile in detail. The dream that drives The Coffee Collective is to explore and unfold exceptional coffee experiences in a manner that gives better living conditions to coffee farmers across the globe. To learn more about The Coffee Collective and order some of their fine coffee beans visit their website here.

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Coffee Shot! Cafe’ Volan ~ Asbury Park, NJ

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Cafe’ Volan ~ Asbury Park, NJ

So it has been a while since my last post, but I promise I have been out there exploring great coffee all summer and have a few great posts in the works. Earlier this summer I took a trip up to the Jersey Shore to visit family. While there I was thrilled to visit Cafe’ Volan in Asbury Park. This is a fun little spot just a few blocks from the beach and a much welcomed addition to the Jersey Shore Coffee scene. I think they have offered different coffees in the past, but on my visit it looks like they have made the switch over to serving Counter Culture Coffee exclusively. If you ever find yourself up that way I highly recommend a visit.

Cafe Volan
510 Bangs Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
website: http://cafevolan.com

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Coffee Shot! Wafflegato

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Jubala’s “Wafflegato”

I recently paid a visit to my favorite coffee shop in Raleigh, NC – Jubala Village Coffee. They were celebrating their 3rd birthday that week by offering some very special menu items. On this particular day they were treating customers to free “Wafflegatos”. This is a twist on the traditional affogato (which means “drowned” in Italian). A typical affogato is a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. In this case Jubala added a small piece of waffle to the mix to turn it into a “Wafflegato”.  The result was delicious. My only regret is this is not a regular menu item. I guess  I will need to learn to make these at home!

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