Archive for August, 2011

Coffee Talk

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Im addicted to coffee.  I love the aroma and the flavor and the way it makes me feel!  I even worked at a Starbucks for a little over a year (I miss the FREE coffee).  IM going to break coffee down for you and what it means so you have have a wonderful experience like I alway have and give you my favorite places to enjoy this amazing beverage!

Brewing coffee at home is, in my opinion, the best thing about the mornings in the cold months.  Sipping on some hot coffee in your jammies getting the morning started.  There are three main parts to making the perfect brew in your home. 

#1 is water.  Water does matter.  If you are using non filtered water or well water it will ulter the flavor and aroma of the coffee.  If you do not have a filtration system in your home and you water is well, pick up a distilled gallon next time you go to the gas station (they are around $1).  The coffee will be bright and clean. 

#2 is grind.  If you have ever been to a cafe to buy your coffe beans for home brewing, you would have noticed the beans are still whole.  The barista can grind them for you or you can grind them at home.  KNOW WHAT KIND OF GRIND YOUR MACHINE TAKES… IT DOES MATTER.  When the hot water is filtered through the grinds in a flat bottom filter the water sits in the basket for a few minutes.  If the grind is too course or too fine the coffe will be weak or way too strong.  For guest who are unsure of cofffee drinking a weak or strong batch this will turn them off.  So know your grind. 

#3 and final, freshness.  You may think by storing your coffee in the freezer you are saving it or preserving its freshness.  Its time to let you in on a little secret, you are not doing anything but making your beans cold.  The best way to keep your coffee at the freshest state is to grind as you go.  Grinders are under $15 at Target, www.target.comor if you want to continue to impress your friends with all the money you may make you can always go to Williams-Sonoma, www.williams-sonoma.com.  (Trust me if I had all the money I wanted I would buy EVERYTHING from there!)  Grinders have measurements on the side for how many cups are being brewed and which grind you would like.  This is very helpful to newbys. 

Using these three rules, you will have the best cup of coffee on a snowy morning and maybe learn how to appreciate rich black coffee like a fine glass of wine. 

However if you are someone who does not own a coffee maker or yours is sitting in the garage with molded coffee grinds in it from last Holiday then this breakdown is for you!  Working at Starbucks taught me a lot… especially what the menu means.  Don’t judge me, you probably don’t know either and if you do than you are the customers I loved getting in the drive thru!  So let me break the menu down for you!

Latte: Espresso, steamed milk topped with foam.  If you have a vanilla latte, or a different flavor, its the same thing but with your flavor in it. 

Cappachino: Espresso and equal parts of steamed milk and foam.  This is a creamy, yummy drink that you can add any flavor to jazz it up.  Cappachinos can be wet chich has more steamed milk than foam or dry is has way more foam than steamed milk. 

Mocha: mocha, espresso, steamed milk topped with whipped cream.  This includes, white mochas, peppermint mochas and coconut mochas.  The peppermint and coconut have a sprkinle on it. 

Frappachino: BLENDED coffee drink, usually topped with whipped cream.

Iced Coffee or Tea:  Its that, OVER ice, its NOT blended.

Americano: Espresso and Hot water

Drip: (really?) brewed coffee, like the one you can do at home.

This list in very long,  To save you from a boring lecture Im going to have my Starbucks friends add their favorite drinks and a crazy different drink that is hardly ever ordered but after you read the definition you may want it. 

If you are turned off by Starbucks pertension and their know it all attitudes (ps, its not like that at all of the store, just most!) Here are my favorite coffee shops to enjoy and read! 

Erie Island Coffee Shop, located in Downtown Cleveland with a new location in Rocky River.  I love the atmosphere, comfy enough to read a good book, check emails or a business meeting.  The baristas will help you will all the coffee questions you have.  Go to http://www.erieislandcoffee.com/ to find the menu, history and passion they have for coffee! 

When working in Greene I wanted a different coffee than I was getting at Starbucks every morning.  My friend and co-worker discovered Blake’s which was seconds from our work.  Every morning they make the most wonderful cupcakes in house with flavors like, caramel by the sea, Oreo, maple and bacon and red velvet.  If you would like one, it best to place an order or get there before 10am!  They also have a latte that is to die for, Orange white mocha, their signature drink!  You will not be disappointed when the cool citrus hits your tongue…mmmm, I can almost taste it!  Go to   http://www.basketfanfare.com/option/home.asp to read their beautiful story and where you can find these YUMMY treats!

My newest favorite location, I can only visit it once a year.  Its on the island of Chincoteague, VA.  I woke up on the second day of vacation feeling very ill with an ear infection.  The weather was over 100 degrees and I didn’t want to stay in the condo alone all day.  After my medication induced nap I went to a little coffee shop called Main Street Shop and Coffee House.  Not knowing what to expect being away from Starbucks and feeling ill, the sweet owner and barista helped me make a wise choice of an iced vanilla americano.  I don’t know if it was the heat or the medicine or being on an island or a combination of all but I had a religious experience.  The coffee was so smooth which is hard to do with an iced americano.  The price was VERY reasonable for a high end coffee on an island!  If you live in the area or planning a trip please visit them at http://www.mainstreet-shop.com/

Coffee is a huge part of our culture in the United States.  Please post your feedback and stories of your coffee experiences good or bad.