We all know it’s advertising psychology when Coca-Cola features cute little penguins and polar bears in ads (I didn’t want to have a Coke, but the penguins look so happy! I want to be happy, too!). And when the latest must-have item of the year is touted by whatever celebrity is popular, you need it, because you need to be just like him/her (read: sarcasm. I don’t follow celebrities and I didn’t care enough about this particular example to look up popular celebrities modeling items).Read More
If you’re a coffee elitist like me, you balk at using beans more than two weeks past the roasting date. But what if you don’t finish it all? I usually pawn them off to friends who aren’t as picky as me. All that coffee gone to waste. Why not put the beans in food?
I’ve always loved baking. And what’s bettter than adding coffee to the mix? Coffee-flavored food items (ice cream, cheesecake, chocolates) seem to run high on my list of favorites. If given the choice between a mocha cheesecake and a fruity one, I pick the mocha. Anyway, I’ve been craving some snickerdoodles lately and finally had some time to make them. Never made them before, but hey, why not add some coffee, too? So here’s my recipe for some yummy snickersprodoodles.
Aka Japanese iced coffee. I’ve only experienced cold-brewed iced coffee before (Toddy system w/Lavazza medium-dark roast beans with no roast date= still amazing sweetness and low acidity) and was under the impression that cold-brewed iced coffee was the only way to go for iced coffee. Make it, entertain yourself for 12 hours, and then drink. I used a pound of beans last year in one sitting, froze them in ice cube concentrates, and had an iced soy latte on my morning walk to class for two months.
Now, HOT-brewed iced coffee is different. As you can imagine, it’s made with hot water instead of cold water. Take a pourover, fill cup with ice, put grounds in pourover, and pour hot water over grounds. Voila, you have hot coffee dripping right over the ice. That, by itself, sounds almost like it’d turn out to taste like lukewarm, watery coffee. But hey, don’t bash it until you’ve tried it. The ratio of coffee to water would need to be intense for me to enjoy. Plus, the acidity will remain if you try this method.
Why am I writing about iced coffee right now? Because even if it’s 15 degrees outside, we’re still wearing t-shirts in the cafe and hustling around. Iced coffee sounds amazing. And even if the ice melts, it will still be cold, unlike any hot drink I make. So if I get the time, I’m going to experiment with this a bit and see how it goes. We don’t make iced coffee in concentrate anymore for the winter, but that won’t stop me from making my own!
Sidenote: For those stalking me, this is NOT a blog about my place of work. It’s about my experiences in coffee that I’ve had and want to have. Yeah, I mention work a lot, but I work IN COFFEE. So obviously, I’ll have experiences in coffee at work to talk about.
Word around The Windy City is that Stumptown is opening up a shop here (see edit below). But hey, maybe it’s just the gossip blowing around (I know, I know, bad pun, my apologies). The roaster has already taken its home, Portland, by storm, plus nearby Seattle. And last fall, it infiltrated New York City through the high-end Ace Hotel. What’s next? Hopefully, somewhere in the Midwest?
Earlier this week at work, I had just emerged from the back room, carrying a load of clean dishes, when I spotted the distinctive bag of beans (their exclusive espresso blend, “Hairbender”) and a fancy schmancy jar of their Anniversary Blend. Obviously (they’re based in Portland), I excitedly went, “Ooh! Where did these come from? I wasn’t able to taste Hairbender when I went there!” My co-worker discreetly nudged me, did a head-jab towards two men sitting at the bar, and whispered, “They’re here. That’s the owner.”
And that’s when I did a double take. “Duane?!” I had to ask, just to make sure I heard her right. Apparently, he visits us when he’s in Chicago and bears gifts. He and another Stumptown employee chatted with the cafe owners for a few minutes while sipping our espresso (which wasn’t tasting so hot that day) and then took off. But the exchange got me wondering. The infamous Duane Sorenson was in our shop… was he possibly wooing us? He’d probably say that he doesn’t woo, he just gets what he wants.
But Stumptown in Chicago will definitely heat up the competition here even more. Can’t wait to see what happens.
Whoops, I forgot to add on my notes of their Anniversary Blend.
I’ve recently had the pleasure of imbibing in a fascinating coffee that has a very distinctive history. This particular coffee hails from Indonesia and is selectively chosen to become internally processed by a small mammal. The subsequent beans are then sold for hundreds of dollars per pound and carefully roasted to perfection.
Oh, what the heck. I’ll skip the bullshit. It’s cat poop. Kopi Luwak is the name of the coffee and the cherries are eaten by a cat-sized mammal, who then poops out the beans. And we drink the roasted beans.
I’ve been reading Coffee: A Dark History for the last month or so. And while I’m only 48 pages in (it feels like I’m reading a history textbook and I really don’t like history textbooks), it does have a few positive points. I am, so far, receiving an enormous amount of detailed chronology from the very start of coffee’s recorded appearance in history. On the negative side, not only are the paragraphs riddled with unneccessary adjectives and flourished words, but it goes off into tangents. One of these tangents is the introduction of tea from China and its impacts on the brewing of coffee.Read More
I haven’t worked with a register for about a year now. And the one I worked with was at my local Wag n’ Wash, a self-service dog wash and organic/gourmet pet supply store. I baked dog biscuits all day. Human grade dog biscuits. Which meant that the fruit muffins I made were suitable for humans (only good when they’re halfway through to hardening).
Anyway. The register. This thing has a touch screen, an admirably sensitive touch screen with all the drink and cookie and bread orders you can think of. There are also two drawers so two people can man the register and still be held accountable for the amount in their drawer.Read More
Four weeks on the search for an open barista position in some of Chicago’s north side’s best shops, I finally landed into a shop.
My interview went something like this:
[Owner] It’s obvious that you have an interest in coffee.
[Me] *twitching from nervousness and the coffee the barista just gave me* Yes, I really want to learn about the retail side of the business. I want to open up my own shop someday, but I want to learn as much about coffee as possible before I do that.
[Owner] The only problem I can see here with this job is that you live in Naperville. Are you planning on moving to the area or communting? It’s a long way to travel for a cafe job.
[Me] I’m completely aware of the commute. I most definitely plan on moving into the area. In fact, I’m looking at apartments this weekend.
About Jenn Chen
I'm a San Francisco-based writer & photographer. On the side, I munch on donuts & hang out with my dog Zoey.
You can reach me here or on Twitter.
eat / drink coffee / write / travel
>>>> all in one.