The Sheridan Street Shakerato

In the spring I entered a signature drink contest to win a trip to Hawaii with Daylight Mind Coffee Company at the Specialty Coffee Asociation's Global Expo.  For a chance to compete you had to write an essay about "What Kona coffee means to me" 

 

Here is what I wrote: 

 

I've never been to Hawaii. Growing up in the Midwest, Hawaii always seemed like such an exotic distant land, a foreign country really. When my aunt Janet would go visit Maui, or "island hop" she would always bring my grandmother back some Kona coffee. It's because of these trips that I was able to experience any kind of specialty coffee as a child. I still remember the mason jar that my grandma would refrigerate the ground coffee beans in. An idea that I would find cringe worthy today, but grandma thought it made the beans last longer. I remember the smell of the open jar filling the kitchen with a rich nutty chocolate aroma just after one of my grandmother's famous dinner parties. The first time I was allowed to partake in after dinner coffee with the adults I was 8 years old, and it was Thanksgiving. In our family Thanksgiving dinner is served as a late lunch so, there was no fear of the coffee keeping me up past my bedtime. 

It is this moment,  this memory that has brought me to coffee as a profession. In this memory I am home. I am sitting around my grandmother's dining room table with everyone that I love and we are drinking the most delicious drink. There is the greatest comfort in this feeling and I feel that comfort every time I serve a drink, every time I take a sip and every time I smell a coffee that has a strong nutty chocolatey aroma. I want to share that comfort with everyone I meet. 

If it were not for this memory of Hawaiian coffee I may have chosen a different path. And, I can't really imagine my life without specialty coffee. So, thank you Hawaiian coffee producers, and my aunt Janet for bringing a little bit of paradise to my small hometown of Danville, Illinois.

My Grandmother in her kitchen on Sheridan street in Danville, Illinois. 1948 

My Grandmother in her kitchen on Sheridan street in Danville, Illinois. 1948 

I was invited to compete with 14 other people from across the country.  I didn't win but I had a lot of fun shaking up shakeratos for the judges and coffee producers from Hawaii. It was a good reminder of the stories that can be told through coffee and what a deep impact other people have in our lives. 

The Sheridan Street Shakerato

You will need: Cocktail shaker, ice, two shots of kona coffee espresso, Hawaiian coffee blossom honey, macadamia nut milk. 

Fill cocktail shaker with ice, mix in two teaspoons of coffee blossom honey with 1 ounce of macadamia nut milk. Pull you two shots of kona coffee espresso (if you don't have an espresso machine at home you can make some strong coffee in a french press or a Bialleti but only use two ounces) Shake mixture, strain,  serve up in a rock's glass.  

The Disconnect

Our little Northwest city is having a bit of a boom right now, and finally "Third Wave" coffee shops are starting to pop up in our little corner of the world. Third wave coffee roasters tend to have a different roasting style then their 1st and 2nd wave brethren. The coffee tends to be roasted on the lighter side, and single origin coffees dominate the market as opposed to blends. As a coffee enthusiast I am enamored. I've been waiting for this to happen for a few years. As a coffee professional in a 2nd wave city where dark roasted coffees are king I am concerned. Then, I thought that maybe preferences have changed? So I decided to do a very unscientific Facebook survey to see what people are drinking, and spending on coffee these days. 

Preferred Coffee Roast

As you can see by my very unscientific chart most people preferred a dark roasted coffee. In fact no one in my survey said they preferred a light roasted coffee but I do, so I decided to count myself. Of the 18 responses most of the 'Hamsters' preferred a dark roast. The "depends on my mood" people were all from larger cities and a good majority of medium roast lovers are currently living in the Midwest. 

I specifically tried to call out to average consumers, and not people that work or have worked in the specialty coffee industry. 

How much do you spend on coffee in a week?

Spending habits seemed more flexible. Generally most people spent between $10-20 a week. This included drinks out as well as a bag of coffee at home. My Aunts and Uncles seemed to spend the least, and not wanting to spend more than $6.99 per pound.But, they adjust this expectation when they travel to different places.  My friends in larger cities said that would spend $25-30 for a bag of "really good coffee." It would seem in my very unscientific study that people are willing to spend more on coffee if they know the quality is there and if they do not have to make it. 

All this is to say that I think there is a disconnect between what we are producing as an industry and what consumers want to buy. And, while a certain style may work in bigger cities where people are more adventurous does that mean it will work in other places too? I don't know. That's why I'm asking. How much "education" will consumers tolerate, and how do we go about it in a way that doesn't make us all seem like the stereotypical snobby Barista? 

Remedy

The end of the summer came like a whirlwind. And as whirlwinds go one can only hope to be unscathed. Naturally it came at no surprise that once the dust settled I found myself home sick with a terrible stomach flu. I generally do not suffer from the stomach flu. I may get a cold once a year, but as far as other flu bugs go they tend to leave me alone.

Autumn is now upon us and that means any matter of sinful sickness is destined to float our way. I suppose this is just mother nature's way of reminding us to practice self care. Something that I have not been so great about as of late. What with all the various projects there are to do, and endless work I can find for myself. Still self care is important, and like any other regiment it has to be applied daily along with moisturizer. 

 

Barkeeps trusted friend. 

Barkeeps trusted friend. 

Barkeeps Remedy for a Sour Stomach 

Whether you're sick with the flu or have just enjoyed too many dirty martinis here is a classic remedy to cure your sour stomach. 

 

You will need:

A rocks glass 

Angostura Bitters (or any house made bitters)

Club soda (or ginger ale if you like thing sweet)

 

Pour the club soda into the glass add three to four drops of bitters and enjoy. Sure to cure what ails you. 

Home

About a month ago my cousin Chris put our family's historic home on the market. It's just her now, the yard and the big house have become too much for one person to maintain. We all understand. But, it's a sort of bitter sweet feeling. For the first time in over a 100 years a non-family member will live at 604 Sheridan. We will always have the memories, family stories, and history, still in a way if feels like the end of an era.  The end of the greatest generation of the Connor family. 

All this has gotten me thinking about the concept of home. "Where is my home?" "Is it Danville, Illinois or is it Bellingham, Washington?" "Am I at home in my craft?" "Am I at home in this moment or am I at home in my memories?" "What does home mean to me? What does it mean for  other people?" 

For some home is a place. There is no question where their home is. For others, the concept of home is far more complicated. 

 I grew up in the Mid-west and while I have distinct memories of moments feeling like home. I haven't felt at home there in a very long time.  I think most of my "home like" feelings come from smells. The smell of coffee brewing, fresh laundry, flour smells like home because of mom's homemade noodles, lemons smell like home because of the cut lemons  Aunt Lois would put in her sun tea.  But are the feelings associated with these smell really "home" or is it simply nostalgia for my childhood? I don't really know. But, I think it's okay not to know. For now I'm going to enjoy some sun tea, with some lemon slices and allow myself to feel at home.

 

Aunt Lois' Sun Tea 

6 quarts of Water in a glass jar or pitcher 

7 tea bags (she used Lipton but I prefer Twinning's earl grey for some florally goodness)

Place glass jar or pitcher in direct sun. 

Allow tea to steep in water until it looks to be the strength you like (3 hours for me, but if you like weak tea, or stronger tea you may want to adjust your time accordingly) 

Sweet Simple Syrup 

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water 

bring water to a boil or until sugar is fully dissolved.

allow to cool and add to jar or pitcher of tea. 

 

 

 

 

La Bialetti Vita

One of the most common questions I get while standing behind our commercial espresso machine is,  "How do I get one of these?" When I tell them the price tag they change their tune. Fear not friends there is a way to create espresso at home without a $10,000 machine. It won't be quite the same but for $20-$30 you too can make espresso at home.

Behold the Moka Express 

Behold the Moka Express 

Bialetti has been an Italian classic since 1919. It is a double chamber pressure system divided by a filter. A funnel sits in the bottom chamber. You fill the bottom chamber with water, and the funnel with fine (not too fine) ground coffee. You twist the bottom chamber into the top. Place the moka express onto the stove heat on a medium high setting.  The water in the bottom will start to boil and begin to percolate to the top chamber. When you no longer hear the water splashing around, turn off the heat, open the lid and you will discover black gold. 

Just like magic!

Just like magic!

What? What's that you say? "But Hayley I want to steam milk. I want to make cappuccino, and lattes.." Don't worry boo I got you! 

All you need is an aerolatte- a battery operated wand frother. You can pick one up for around $20 at any home furnishing store. 

If  you want to make yourself a latte or a cappuccino you only need to heat your milk or dairy alternative, then froth the liquid. Brew your coffee in you moka express. Once the coffee is brewed add your espresso to your favorite cup, then add your frothed milk. It may be awhile before you get your portions right for how you like your coffee to milk ratio. Personally I like a smaller amount of volume, I generally use an 8 ounce cup or sometimes even a 6 ounce cup. I pour 1-1.5 ounces of coffee and the rest milk. 

The Java Jive

Nothing goes with a nice cup of Joe like some sweet tunes.  This may be the best way to start any day: coffee and music. Inspired by the Dinner Party Downloads weekly dinner party playlist. I have created a coffee lovers playlist, and since mornings are sometimes unpredictable it's a little all over the map. 

1. The Java Jive by the Ink Spots. A classic coffee loving tune. I believe several groups have remade this one but in my opinion the Ink Spots preformed it best.  It's true, "I love the Java Jive and it loves me." 

2.  Black Coffee by Peggy Lee. This may be her sexiest performance ever! Sometimes a coffee drinkers life can be a little blue. This tune is for the black coffee drinking divas in all of us.

3. Coffee by Sylvan Esso. This song definitely showed up in some Barista routines for United State Barista Championships. It's a fun song and "Hey it's called 'Coffee" .

 

4.The Coffee Song by Old blue eyes Frank Sinatra. In 1946 they had an awful lot of coffee in Brazil. I suppose they are still growing it there but I don't imagine much of it is staying in the country. I don't imagine that was really the case in 1946 either.... 

5. Bolivia by Jorge Drexler I heard this song on the same day as trying an amazing coffee from Bolivia. Now when I hear it I can taste that coffee. Since my Spanish is horrible at best I didn't really understand the lyrics. But, I did know that Jorge Drexler was from Uruguay and not Bolivia and what is a Latin artist doing with a last name like Drexler? Jorge's father is a German Jew. His family moved to Uruguay when his father was 4 years old to flee the Holocaust. The family also lived in Bolivia for an extended period of time. In the 1930s Bolivia was one of the only South American nations that was open to the idea of welcoming Jewish immigrants. Either way Bolivia is a great song, and if you don't know who Jorge Drexler is, you should. 

WELCOME

One of my first memories is waking up at my grandmother's house on a Sunday morning. The smell of Chanel No. 5 and coffee hanging in the air. She was ready to go to mass, and just about to wake me up. If I close my eyes I can see my sunlit room at her house bathed in the early morning light. It was spring, just after Easter, one of her favorite parts of the year. In that moment I was safe. The death and disease that would plague the later years of my childhood and early teens hadn't come, and in that memory is a sweet feeling. A feeling that as you get older you lose, and then something pulls you back to it. A familiar smell, the older lady at the market wearing Chanel No. 5,  the way the sunlight dances on your curtains at 6:45 am, and coffee. Coffee is there comforting you. Reminding you that the safety and sweetness of youth are still hidden in your memories if you just breathe deep and take in the aroma. 

I wanted to start with this story because it illustrates my connection to the warm beverage we call coffee.  I hadn't realized where my true love of coffee came from until I was standing in a cupping(there will be more on what cupping in a later post), smelling and slurping when this memory came over me. Suddenly I was crying. I had to leave the room. That's when I realized what my drive with coffee is. Coffee is waking up at Grandma's house on a Sunday morning. Coffee is comfort. I want to give that comfort to everyone I meet. Everyone deserves to have a little comfort in their life. Even if it's for only five minutes of every day. 

My hope with Reincaffeinated is that you will discover something new within yourself, and help to awaken your senses to  possibilities, memories, and the comfort that is coffee.