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!
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.
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.
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.
510 Bangs Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
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!
This week’s shot is a picture of what is known as the “One and One”. Believed to have been created by two guys at Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters, a one and one showcases espresso with milk and without. A One and One is comprised of a single-shot espresso and a single-shot macchiatto or cappuccino served together. Typically the two are accompanied with a side of sparkling water. When served with a machiatto the one and one may be presented with the two demitasse cups balanced on a single saucer.
Often times this drink will not be listed on a coffee shops menu, but a quick inquiry with your favorite barista will usually result in a knowing nod and service of this secret menu item.
I grew up at the Jersey Shore and love going back to visit friends and family, but the one downside during previous trips home is I could never find a good coffee shop. The Jersey Shore is dominated by “big corporate” coffee like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. Fortunately, last year when I went home for Christmas I discovered a new local coffee shop had opened up just a few miles from my parents in Belmar, NJ called Turnstile Coffee Roasters.
Turnstile is located on Highway 71 near just across the street from the Belmar Marina and several blocks inland from the beach. Unlike many coffee shops you find in beach communities turnstile doesn’t go the cliché route of trying to make their coffee bar a beach themed surfer style coffee shop. It instead has the classic “third wave” coffee shop look with wood floors and tables, leather couches, and nice warm lighting. The space inside is ample with plenty of tables and offers options for sitting in the back closer to the coffee roaster or along a along a large window providing natural lighting in the front of the shop.
They offer a full range of coffee and espresso drinks and have a small case of freshly made pastries sourced from a local bakery. Turnstile roasts their own coffee but they also use coffee beans from Stumptown Coffee out of Portland. During my visit they were using their own coffees for drips and pour overs and French presses while also using Stumptown’s Hairbender on the espresso bar. Since my last visit I heard a rumor that they sometimes also use Counter Culture Coffee but I have yet to confirm this and hope to find out during my next visit home.
Since my last visit I heard a rumor that they sometimes also use Counter Culture Coffee but I have yet to confirm this and hope to find out during my next visit home. I love how their coffee roaster is located right there in the shop. They were roasting coffee while I was there during my last visit and it was fun to sit at a nearby table sipping my cappuccino while witnessing the roasting and bagging process. On that particular day they were roast Ethiopian Yirgacheffee. I picked up a bag they had roasted the day before for $14 and found it to be quite good.
The cappuccino and pastries I had were quite good and I was pleased to see that the Jersey shore now has a coffee shop I can look forward to hanging out at on my visits home. It appears that the shop has been well received by the community and has already collected a host of regulars. The one thing I hope they will reconsider at Turnstile are their hours of operation. Right now they are only open from 8am to 3p. I’d love to see them stay open a little later for those looking to spend a quiet evening enjoying a coffee with friends.
I am thrilled to see this third wave shop thrive in my hometown and offer residents a quality coffee option and alternative to the big chains. If you ever find yourself staying in Belmar during a trip to the Jersey shore I highly recommend a visit to Turnstile Coffee.