Thursday, March 22, 2007

New Espresso Blend

Sometimes, I wear all white when I work in the café. After an hour of making lattes, I end up looking like I just replaced some brakes. Today, I have apparently made that choice. I wear topsiders. Sometimes I drink unsweetened tea. Enough about me…

It’s been a fascinating week here at FreshCoffeeNow. We have been working on a new espresso blend. Espresso is touchy because when it’s brewed in a machine all the qualities, defects, acidity and body come alive. It is easy to mistake a great coffee for a great espresso blend. Making a blend you start with a base, enriching it with coffees of various flavor profiles to reach a desired result. Trial and error, testing and re-testing will ensure a good product. I will continue to update you on the progress.

We have been trying to get rid of one of the best coffees ever this week, as well. I can’t tell you what it is because we don’t have much left, but I hate to see it go. Ok, Ok - it's Bolivian Fair Trade! Shhh!!! My choice for favorite coffee this week, however, is the Mexico Pluma. This coffee has unbelievable quality for the price. I can’t say enough positive things about it. It has a medium to full body, which supports a subtle earthiness and bakers chocolate balance that makes for a truly remarkable cup. I would choose this coffee over most because of its rich character without being over powering. Please let me know what you think about it. I’m off to work on my espresso blend, see ya next time!


My first Word!

I remember my mom, each morning, in her fuscia night gown, coming down stairs into the kitchen to make coffee. She would point at the coffee jar on the counter and say “mmm, coffee…” It said COFFEE on the side of the jar in gold letters. So, at a really early age I learned to read, and my first word was coffee. My mom told me this, years ago. Being the smart lad I am I tried to prove it to one of my co-worker friends the other week. I said to her, “I’m serious, my first word was coffee, go ahead… call my mom!” I gave her the number and she called. My mom answers the phone and was asked,

“What was Joe’s first word?”

Mom says, “I don’t remember what it was.”

I grab the phone, “Mom, it was coffee, remember? You told me this a while ago!”

As it was clear I was disgruntled, she said “Joey, (she calls me Joey sometimes) I don’t think it was coffee, I could be wrong.”

“Mom, you told me it was coffee ok, so for future reference when I have someone call you and ask what my first word was, it was coffee, ok?”

I hung up the phone in disbelief and continued to tell my friend that my mom said she remembered all the sudden. The ploy was unsuccessful.

My parents must have had a hidden agenda while raising me. I was named Joe. Joe means coffee: “cup of joe” and so on. My last name is Consentino, very similar to cappuccino. It even rhymes.

Interest in coffee began early for me. I attended school for my early years, of course. When I turned 16 all that learning had become boring, so I started working at cafés’ and coffee roasteries. I was mystified by the steaming, shiny machine on the counter, which I wasn’t allowed to touch until I was trained. I am still mystified. I find myself staring at the milk as it cyclones in the pitcher. Its velvet texture, shiny when I swirl it, touches the espresso. It mixes with the cocoa and sugar and works itself under and around. I get so much pleasure making drinks for people who are exited to get something special. We try giving people a great experience here in the café, as we do with our online customers. Our coffee rocks. Try it!


Roasting Coffee

Half asleep, I stumble towards my window and push the curtain aside. The blinding glare of the morning sun wakes me abruptly from my slumber. Arriving at the café by noon, I enjoy a quick shot of espresso before gearing up for my ritualistic bagel and cream cheese—free of charge, of course. These bagels are unquestionably good, but unfortunately, I have developed a deep, habitual yearning for them. The first time I tried these things; I wasn’t impressed. They were gooey in the middle and crusty and burnt on the outside and I was dumbfounded at the size of the hole in the middle. “No bagel should have a hole that big,” I said with conviction.

A solid year has passed. Many events took place during this time, and I found myself connected to these bagels by cosmic force; as if a ray of nuclear energy grabbed hold of my lymph nodes and tugged until they—I stopped and turned to witness an alarming sight. In a large, crumply, brown, innocent paper bag they sat. I could smell them, burbling with gasses omitting an odor only these…things…could produce. A smell so inviting no mortal man in his mid-twenties (who was perhaps a little chubby) could ever resist. A matter of life or death was at stake. Only one man at this hour, in this place, on this stool, wearing these tighter-then-need-be pants, could save the world from such an unforeseeable ending... I’m fond of Montreal-style bagels: honey boiled, stone hearth-wood fired, and hand rolled. When you cut into these bagels, toast them with some maple-walnut cream cheese; it’s heaven. But enough about bagels, my real passion is coffee.
Deep in my lair below the café I stand (at will) for hours roasting coffee beans while I listen to the familiar sounds of the cafe above me. Today I'm roasting Tanzanian peaberry beans. From afar these beans might look like traditional, everyday beans, but Tanzanian peaberry beans are round like cylinders and have very distinct characteristics. Unlike other beans, they take all the nutrients for themselves—so the taste is lively and exciting. Here at FreshCoffeeNow, we have peaberry beans from different farms located all over the world, which result in coffee beans with very unique attributes. For instance, a Tanzania peaberry is winy and tart with an earthy balance while a peaberry from Sulawesi might be more syrupy or woodier, but still sharp and snappy.

Comparing just these two slightly different beans, you can guess how diverse bean varieties are worldwide. Remember this on your next trip to buy coffee, and be bold enough to try some different blends because each one produces a different aroma, taste, and emotion.

Love always,