The First Cupping

After a couple days of furious roasting we decided it was finally time to try all the new coffees and roasts. To pit them in a battle head to head, mano a mano, roast to roast! Well… nothing THAT exciting, but we did break out 3 different kinds of coffee, 4 different roasts, and one kind of weird concoction.

From left to right we have: Bali Kintamani, Ethiopa Yirga Cheffe Kochere, Brazil Cerrado (roasted to just past second crack), Brazil Cerrado (roasted just past first crack).

I will go into a little more detail on performing a cupping in a later post, but for now… the coffee!
. . . → Read More: The First Cupping

ManhattanRoasts is Back?

I know I know, the absence has been shameful.  Well, we’re back!  Kind of…

We’re going to be trying a couple new things in the land of ManhattanRoasts over the next little while.  The first is a new roaster!  Now that we have moved and no longer have a balcony, stovetop roasting is a little more difficult as there is nowhere to cool the coffee and get rid of the chaff (a balcony on a high floor is AMAZING for both).  So, we had to find an alternative method of roasting.

We’ve used the i-Roast before (the latest model, not the old one, which was apparently crap) and really liked it (even though it was little more than a glorified popcorn maker with heat profiles), but alas they are out of stock and have no plans to produce / release more in the near future.  Bummer.

So that brings me here.  Soon we will . . . → Read More: ManhattanRoasts is Back?

Mypressi Twist

We just found this really neat gadget, which apparently has won all sorts of honors and awards.  The device, called the Mypressi Twist is a handheld, portable espresso “machine” that apparently provides perfect extraction pressure anywhere in the world.  All you need is the device, espresso grounds (or pods), hot water, and a CO2 cartridge!

Check it out at

I would love to hear from anyone who knows more about this or has even . . . → Read More: Mypressi Twist

The Familiar Taste of… Jute?

I have a particular coworker who shares my love of coffee.  She often acts as my co-adventurer in tasting activities, but even further than that, we tend to exchange beans we find particularly good or interesting.  I was not terribly surprised when I got an email yesterday saying “I have some beans for you.”  The beans were an Indian Monsoon Malabar from Porto Rico Importing Company in the East Village of Manhattan.  I immediately tried a bean and thought “Hmm, this has a slightly strange, but familiar, aftertaste.”

This morning I tossed some in my French Press and brewed it for my morning coffee.  Again, I did not think the coffee tasted amazing, but it had this strange aftertaste that I thought I had tasted before.  At first I thought it was similar to a Sumatra’s peetiness, but it was not quite as full, and was a little muddier.

Then it came to me… JUTE.

Continue reading The Familiar Taste of… Jute?

The Importance of a Good Machine

I am not a huge “gadget” person.  Sure, I enjoy new gadgets and new machines every once in a while, but I do not lust after them.  Well, except for today.  You see, today I am traveling for work, which means I stopped in to see my family.  My family happens to have a small roaster and a Rancilio Silvia espresso maker with a temperature control gague on it.  I have to admit I get a little excited just walking in the door…

The Rancilio Silvia is not only a beautiful piece of machinery, but it brews espresso meticulously.  The pressure is just right to get the perfect pull and a delightful crema.  Retrofit a temperature control to the machine and you can brew at exactly the temperature you want.  For my family that temperature is 192.5 degrees fahrenheit, which means you get enough heat to extract the espresso, but not so . . . → Read More: The Importance of a Good Machine

Starbucks 2.0 (f/k/a Peet’s Coffee)

Do you remember when Starbucks coffee was “gourmet”?  Those days when it was a treat to go to one of their stores for a cup of delicious coffee or a frothy, delightful cappuccino?  Now there is a new kid on the block.  Actually, the kid has been around for a while, but like the plain girl who went through puberty and became beautiful, this store is just now becoming noticeable in its own right as a top coffee-chain.**

After enjoying a tasty double espresso from Joe The Art of Coffee at Grand Central yesterday (a review will be coming soon), I wandered back up to the office and settled in to listen to Peet’s Coffee’s webcast report of the company’s fourth quarter and year end results.  I had expected nothing but doom and gloom from the report, since Starbucks had taken such a hard hit, and consumer spending in general has fallen so dramatically.

Continue reading Starbucks 2.0 (f/k/a Peet’s Coffee)

A Perfect Bean From Tree to Cup

On a clear cool morning in late December 2008 I was fortunate enough to attend a cupping and lecture at one of the country’s premier specialty coffee importing and roasting companies, George Howell Coffee Company.  Started by George Howell in the early 2000s, the company has consistently pushed to change the landscape of coffee both in the United states and abroad.  Beginning at the source, George has tried to bring the freshest coffee to the consumer by vacuum packing green coffee in the country of origin whenever possible.  To carry this quality and freshness through to the cup, George and his team conduct brewing seminars for restaurants across the country.  This company recognizes and espouses the belief that many factors go into making a great cup of coffee, but like so many things in life a great cup of coffee is only as good as the weakest link in its creation; the . . . → Read More: A Perfect Bean From Tree to Cup