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archive for 'brewing'

- recent coffee adventures -

over the last year or so we’ve tried quite a few of batdorf & bronson’s locally-roasted coffees. we tend to stick with single-origin, central & south american beans for their crisp and fruity flavors. these coffees also brew really well in our chemex setup, so it’s fun sampling new varieties!

here are the beans we tried along with their batdorf & bronson descriptions:
costa rica: cerro del fuego – crisp & fruity; pineapple, honey, macadamia nut
mexico: organic el triunfo – creamy & bright; orange blossom, caramel, chocolate
nicaragua: isabelia – balanced & sweet; black cherry, cocoa, cinnamon
guatemala: antigua – elegant & intense; chocolate, rum raisin, caramel
columbia: estrella del sur – citrus blossom; vanilla, almonds, dried fruit
columbia: monserrate – gala apples, blood oranges
dancing goats blend – bold & toasty; almond, chocolate, and spice
skye’s mountain blend – velvety & lush; raspberry, herbs, sugar
nicaragua: finca san jose – tropical & jasmine; lush body, hints of fruit punch sweetness

our favorites were the monserrate, which was one of their voyager coffees, the finca san jose, and the el triunfo. none of these are available regularly though, so we tend to go with the cerro del fuego and estrella del sur when we buy batdorf & bronson beans.

you can find these delicious coffees at the dancing goats in decatur or the new dancing goats in ponce city market. the decatur location has a wider selection of beans however.

- ryan

dancing goats decatur (better selection)

419 west ponce de leon ave
decatur, ga 30030


dancing goats ponce city market

675 north avenue
atlanta, ga 30308


- starbucks blonde updates -

starbucks recently started selling their blonde roasts in whole bean bags at both grocery stores and starbucks outlets. they sold whole bean bags of their christmas blonde last winter, so i’m glad to see year-round options available.

i’ve also discovered if you order the blonde roast at a starbucks, you actually get a hand-brewed pour-over style cup of coffee! they don’t even charge extra for the hand-brewing, like other coffee shops do.

be sure to check out our previous posts on light roasted coffees as well as pour-over brewing!

- ryan

- intelligentsia coffee -

our friends rob & ellen recently sent us a gift box from intelligentsia with a bag of fresh roasted coffee and two mugs! we had never tried intelligentsia before, at least that we are aware of, so we were excited. it was a very tasty, smooth cup of coffee, especially brewed with our chemex. we were quite impressed!

on a related note, we’ve upgraded our coffee brewing setup over the last few months. our electric tea kettle was on the fritz, so we got the new variable temperature kettle from bonavita. it’s the perfect companion for pour-over coffee brewers and tea lovers alike. it has a gooseneck spout for easy pouring and the kettle offers complete temperature control for ideal brewing settings. there is also a hold feature to keep your water hot throughout the brewing process, or if you plan on having another cup of tea. basically, it’s pretty awesome!

for christmas we also upgraded our grinder, which was on its last legs as well. we went with a conical burr style from capresso. it actually grinds the beans instead of chopping them, preserving aroma and flavor. the grinder is also extremely quite and super easy! you just set the fineness (from coarse to turkish fine), turn the knob to the amount of cups you want and it does the rest. for our chemex setup, we stick with a coarse grind, which you can see in the below photo.

- ryan

- light roasted coffee -

starbucks recently introduced their new line of light roasted coffees called blonde. this is something many smaller roasters have been offering for awhile, so i was intrigued to see how starbucks would compete.

basically, there are certain coffee beans that reach their ideal flavor at a shorter and/or cooler roasting time, hence the term light roasted. the result is a lighter bodied coffee that tastes crisp and clean with a bit milder flavor. it’s easier to over-roast coffee beans though, to ensure potential bad flavors are burnt out, so most companies roast everything really dark. it’s also not as cost-effective to separate the ripe beans for a lighter roast, so you don’t see many options outside of specialty coffee shops.

light roasted coffee often gets a bad wrap for not being very strong or being too mellow, however this is definitely not the case. most people don’t realize that a light roasted coffee actually has more caffeine than a dark roast. beans lose their caffeine the more they are roasted, so a light roast packs more punch then a dark one. it makes sense, but you always hear people requesting a dark cup of coffee when they need to stay awake.

light roasted coffees are also very flavorful, especially when brewed through a chemex or a french press. they are just more subtle when compared to a dark coffee like a french roast. you will still pick up fruity, nutty or even chocolaty notes in your coffee though.

so far starbucks has a willow blend and a veranda blend in the blonde line-up. i’ve tried both and really enjoyed them! i don’t think i’ll switch from my locally-roasted batdorf & bronson when buying nice coffee, but i’ll grab some more if it goes on sale again.

did you know you get a free cup of coffee at starbucks when you bring in your empty starbucks coffee bag? sounds like a pretty good recycling program to me! i noticed the offer on the bottom of the blonde coffee i purchased.

- ryan

- the perfect cup of coffee -

after my recent tour of the batdorf & bronson roastery, i went on a quest to brew a better cup of coffee. i learned on the tour that there are many factors that go into a good cup of joe. these range from the quality and freshness of the coffee, to using the proper ratio of grounds/water, to hitting the ideal brewing temperature of 205°. the problem is most consumer coffeemakers never reach such high temperatures. for that, you need a hand-brewed method where you are in full control and as much as i love my french press, it sounded like a pour over coffeepot was the way to go.

after a little research, i decided on the stylish chemex coffeepot. it’s both a great coffeemaker and a beautiful piece of design, even 70+ years after its creation. plus it only set me back $31.95 at dancing goats in decatur. i did have to buy special chemex filters for it, but they were just $5.95 for a 100 pack, which wasn’t that bad.

for my inaugural pot, i picked up some nice costa rica la minita del sol coffee. the description on the bag was “full bodied & sparkling sweet, maple, almond & orange juice,” which sounded interesting. the beans were 100% sun dried instead of fully washed, like most central american beans, so it’s supposed to be fairly unique.

the brewing process was pretty easy to follow. i put a chemex filter into the top of the coffeepot and added a tbsp of freshly ground coffee for each 5 oz cup, 8 tbsp for a full pot. i boiled 40 oz of water and removed it from heat for roughly 20 seconds until it reached ~205°. i then wet the grounds with 4 oz of water and let “bloom” for 30-40 seconds. from there i added the rest of the water, making sure not to overflow, and composted the spent grounds. voilà, the perfect cup of coffee!

the results were definitely worth the effort! the coffee had that fresh, strong taste you get from a french press, but seemed cleaner and less-bitter since the oils and sediment were filtered out. it was a nice, crisp cup of coffee where I could actually distinguish some of the descriptive characteristics. i wouldn’t say i sensed the orange juice, but i picked up some sweet and nutty elements, especially when sampled next to a cup of french roast. it was some of the better coffee i’ve made at home!

on top of that, the actual coffeepot is gorgeous and looks great on the countertop! it’s on permanent display at moma and was featured in the modern by design exhibit at the high museum of art, further proving its elegance.

for more thorough brewing instructions, or to check out some great mid-century illustrations, head to the chemex website. there are also some slightly different brewing instructions offered from dancing goat, although i tried this method and didn’t care for it. it used almost twice the coffee and was a little strong for my taste.


- ryan

dancing goats coffee bar

419 west ponce de leon ave
decatur, ga 30030


- the decatur craft beer festival -

i ended up going to the decatur craft beer festival this year with my buddy willy! there were lots of great beer for the tasting, although it’s always a gamble drinking that much between noon and 5pm on a saturday. i know it’s boring, but my highlights were sierra nevada’s northern hemisphere harvest and estate homegrown ale on tap!

- ryan

- back in the saddle -

i recently spent a nice fall afternoon brewing a couple batches of beer with some friends! it had been awhile since i’ve brewed, so i was excited to get back into the swing of things.

we made a bell’s two hearted clone and a pumpkin amber, although we had to substitute some ingredients on the two hearted. the ipa ended up being 9.6% (wohoo!) and the pumpkin amber a respectable 5.2%!

here is the bottle rocket brewing website if you want to check out previous beers i’ve been a part of.

- ryan

brewing recipes:

pumpkin amber ingredients:
5-8 large okra sliced

egg wash:
1 lb pale ale 2-row
1 lb caramel/crystal malt (10l)
6.6 lbs amber sparkling lme
2 oz willamette pellet hops
1/2 oz fuggles hops (dry hop)
wyeast 1098 british ale
2 tbsp pumpkin spice (2 tsp dry hop)

two hearted clone ingredients:
1 lb pale ale 2-row
1/2 lb munich
1/2 lb carapils
6.6 lbs golden light lme
2.3 lbs pilsen light lme
4 oz amarillo hops (centinnial was the hop we wanted)
1 oz cascade hops (dry hop)
white labs high gravity yeast

- bottle rocket brewing -

once upon a time, my buddy willy and i brewed quite a bit of beer under the name bottle rocket brewing. we hosted gatherings where we grilled out and shared our beer with friends. summertime favorites were our watermelon wheat and orange cream ale, both went quickly when we had them on tap.

most of our friends also chipped in and designed labels for our beers. the labels were a big part of the fun we had! you can see all of the different label designs on the bottle rocket website, or flip through them here.

although it’s been awhile since i’ve brewed, i hope to get back to brewing soon!

- ryan