After a break and writing a few stories over on the local Patch website, we’ve decided to kick-start this up again with a re-focus. This time we’re back not because of a local restaurant, but because we dove head-first into learning how to brew an excellent cup of coffee. So with that said…
Americans drink a lot of coffee. And so do we.
Until very recently we were under the impression that Starbucks was “good” coffee. And it’s good… in a way. It kind of has its own style and is certainly consistent throughout its thousands of locations. The vast majority of us have been conditioned to think of coffee in a certain pyramid: diners, fast fooderies and Kuerigs at the bottom, donut shops and “coffee houses” somewhere in the middle, and then major chains like Starbucks at the top.
But there’s so much more out there.
If you strip out the tablespoons of cream and sugar Americans are wont to add, or stay away from drinks that are more like coffee-flavored milkshakes, you can get to the heart of what coffee is all about. And it all starts with really good beans. Now, your first thought may be that pure black coffee tastes dark, bitter, and strong. And if you order a black coffee from your run-of-the-mill coffee shop, you’d be right. The thing is — it doesn’t have to be that way. With really good beans, properly roasted and freshly ground, black coffee can be light, flavorful, and even “sweet.” This flavor profile mostly comes from the beans, but factors in the brewing process can also lead to flavor variances. For example, one of our current favorite beans tastes subtly spicy when brewed hot, but a cold brew brings out an almost caramel undertone. Beans from different regions can lend unique tastes, and different levels and processes of roasting add even more to the equation. It’s complex and exciting and seems like a lot to learn, but also seems intuitive and plain fun. So, that’s where we’ve found ourselves. Over the next year we’re going to run slowly through the list of roasters known as part of the “third wave of coffee” and also specialty coffee shops in the region (and discovered on our travels). And since we’re the DIY types, we’ll be testing everything out at home too.
Our quest for a great cup of coffee begins now. Check back soon for our first review of a coffee that made gold-card member Jessica proclaim, “I’ll never drink a Starbucks coffee again.”