San Diego Joe

a coffee blog

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Coffee. Culture. Community.

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For some of you, this may be the first time you’re seeing the anchor logo of the newly established San Diego Coffee Network.

This is the latest advent of my adventures in local coffee in San Diego, and the reason why posts here have slowed to a trickle. After three years blogging about local coffee, experimenting with event creation and making some great connections, it became clear that it was time to team up for the next leg of this grand adventure.

Ultimately, San Diego Coffee Network’s big picture goal is to put San Diego on the map as a coffee city. Our mission toward this end is to elevate San Diego’s coffee culture through social, educational and competitive member-driven events.

As a network, we’re setting ourselves up to be the grass roots conduit for uniting the three pillars of our community: Craft Coffee Ownership, Baristas, and Home Enthusiasts.

To this end, we’re not just creating social and competitive events, we’re also in the process of collaborating to build a LAB space (coming June of 2014). This LAB space will be the center for fulfilling the educational piece of our mission for all three community pillars.

For Craft Coffee Ownership, we will offer staff financially accessible training by an SCAA Certified Barista Trainer. We’re talking the basics. Latte Art is the last class that will be taught. Learning how to dial in and pull a perfect shot no matter what tools you have to work with will be the most important focus. A full list of classes will be released in the coming months. Naturally, we’ll also be preparing to consult, which will go hand-in-hand with best practices.

Those that are passionate about coffee and want to learn the basics before applying for a Barista position will be able to do so, and given priority when applying for jobs in San Diego with their certificate of completion. Baristas who have always wanted to take their skills to the next level will be able to do so. In addition, we are designing a scholarship program, where we hope to eventually send Baristas via an application process, to Barista Camp and to take SCAA Certification Courses. But the important thing is being able to make learning fun and accessible for those passionate about coffee as a career choice. There is so much room for growth and we want to give Baristas the tools to succeed as many will go on to hopefully open new cafes themselves.

Finally, last, but not least, home enthusiasts. I’m rebranding my blog and going public as an extension of the SDCN to bring you the SD Coffee Club. As your host, I’ll be scheduling regular meet-ups at local craft coffee cafes and roasters in San Diego County. The first will be announced soon! In addition, I’m harnessing my relationships with local roasters to bring you a monthly subscription service delivering fresh locally roasted coffees to your door. Stay tuned via Facebook for the first meet-up and pre-launch special of the coffee subscription service. I’ll also host home enthusiast classes and brew dates at our LAB for some home brewing coffee fun! Lots to look forward too!

This means that this will likely be one of my last posts on Tumblr. I will be exporting my blog shortly to SDCoffeeClub.com (still under construction). So I ask that you stay in touch either via our many social media channels at sdcoffeenetwork.com, or via the SD Coffee Club Facebook Page to get news in the meantime. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you will notice my handle change of @SDCoffeeClub, and it will all make so much more sense now.

As always, drink local. Drink often. And Happy Coffee-ing!

—Jess—

Aeropress & Sciency Fun With Brewing

My friend and neighbor, Matt Myers, a coffee and bicycle enthusiast who travels all over California, Arizona and different parts of the US peddling high end bike shiz, recently brought me a bag of coffee from Cartel Coffee Lab in Tucson, AZ.

He often shares his sweet coffee finds with me. Only this time, Matt asked if I’d come over and bring my Aeropress. He wanted to see how the paper filter I was using stood up to the stainless steel filter he preferred, so we decided to face-off.

1st go-round.

Constants: Coffee (Yirg Z by Cartel Coffee Lab), Grind (med-fine), water temperature 200 degrees (off-boil), Recommended water for the equivalent of 2 shots of espresso, Stir, Saturation 1 min prior to pressing.

Variables: Aeropress #1 (Matt’s) Inverse method with a stainless steel filter. Aeropress #2 (Mine) Upright with paper filter.

Results: Both were bright and a bit bitter, however the inverse method with the stainless steel filter revealed more depth to the overall flavor profile of the coffee.

2nd go-round.

Constants: Everything the same as in the 1st go-round, but we decided to change the water tempature to the manufacturer’s recommended 175 degrees for both Aeropress #1 and #2.

Variables: The same as in the 1st go-round.

Results: Both produced a smoother better rounded cup of coffee, however, the stainless steel filter using the inverse method continued to reveal more depth in the coffee itself.

Conclusion.

Outside of playing with the grind and various other variables, it is our findings that the best way to Aeropress is using a stainless steel filter and the inverse method with the manufacturer’s recommended water temperature of 175 degrees.

Most brewing cards wherever you go say 200 degrees (or an off boil). This just did not produce the strong, smooth well rounded cup of joe we were looking for until we lowered the temperature.

It may also be that this particular coffee did well at that temperature. Others may not, but it was fun to play with the variables, test, and taste for ourselves.

How do you prefer to Aeropress? Are there any unique variables you use to get the best out of your coffee?

Until next time, happy coffee-ing!

Here’s a little coverage from Barista Magazine on this last Tuesday night’s SDTNT at Caffe Calabria in North Park, organized by the San Diego Coffee Network.
Photos by Jared Armijo-Wardle of the San Diego Coffee Network. From left to right (above), 2nd place, Anton Dimov of Caffe Calabria (a.k.a. Tony, a.k.a. “Swanton”), and 1st place, Joshua Bonner, recently relocated from San Francisco back to San Diego after working for Blue Bottle & Stanza in the Mission District):
http://baristamagazine.com/blog/?p=11156

Here’s a little coverage from Barista Magazine on this last Tuesday night’s SDTNT at Caffe Calabria in North Park, organized by the San Diego Coffee Network.

Photos by Jared Armijo-Wardle of the San Diego Coffee Network. From left to right (above), 2nd place, Anton Dimov of Caffe Calabria (a.k.a. Tony, a.k.a. “Swanton”), and 1st place, Joshua Bonner, recently relocated from San Francisco back to San Diego after working for Blue Bottle & Stanza in the Mission District):

http://baristamagazine.com/blog/?p=11156

Cafe Virtuoso, 1616 National Ave, San Diego, CA

Video recap coming soon of last Thursday’s Latte Art competition (a.k.a. Thursday Night Throwdown) hosted by Cafe Virtuoso and organized by the San Diego Coffee Network. We had over 30 Baristas participate. A 150 plus turn-out.

Check out the San Diego Coffee Network's new website, and stay tuned for a schedule of events kicking off in 2014!

In the meantime, happy Coffee-ing!

Handsome Coffee Roasters in L.A.’s Art District.

This area is gonna blow up. I’d say they already have an anchor tenant. And a Damn handsome one at that. Or at least one that knows how to craft one damn great tasting cup of coffee. Made me want to buy one of the warehouses in close proximity and convert it to lofts, so I could live in one and slip down here every morning, but alas, I don’t have a license to print money, so visiting when I’m in L.A. will have to suffice.

I ordered espresso with 3oz. of milk. At this size for an in-house order, they pour one shot into milk and the other alone. This means you get to taste the espresso by itself as well as with a shot of steamed milk. I really enjoyed this experience. The espresso was lovely both ways.

There to help us pick-up beans to take home was partner, Michael Phillips, 2010 World Barista Champion. He explained the differences between the coffee labels, which are based on whether you like adventure, traditional coffees or want to try something really special. We decided we were feeling special since we’d just had a great Thanks-Hanukkah with the family in Los Angeles. Also, it happened to be Small Business Saturday, and after what we tasted at the coffee bar, we were more than happy to throw down the bucks to take some of that damn handsome coffee home to enjoy (and a few gifts too).

Thanks Michael and crew! We’ll definitely be back next time we’re in Los Angeles. Happy Holidays!

How Do You Aeropress?

Okay, Dad. As promised, here’s a post on how to use that Aeropress I sent you. I’m not kidding about the taste either. It will knock your socks off. Of course, make sure you use freshly roasted beans from your local roaster . Here’s the link if you forget where they are located: Walla Walla Roastery. And don’t forget to use the Hario hand grinder I sent (muy importante).

For those of you that have not partaken of the fruits of the Aeropress, please observe, but note that there are other techniques for taste extraction. In fact, that is the second reason I am posting. For those of you who do have an Aeropress, I hope you’ll feel free to share how you Aeropress.

You will need a kettle for warming water. If you can control the temperature, heat it just above 175 degrees F (80 C).

The reason I do this is I like to warm my cup or the receptacle into which the coffee will go and set them aside. This also allows the temperature to adjust down a bit while I grind 2 spoonful of beans on fine-drip grind with my grinder.

After grinding, I immediately pour the grounds into the Aeropress. I am using freshly roasted Ethiopia Sidamo beans from Dark Horse Coffee Roasters in San Diego.

As you can see in the photo above, the chamber has already been assembled. I use a carafe I have, but this will fit right on top of any standard coffee mug. Assembly is simple and straight forward if you can read (Dad, I know you can read).

It is time to add the water, which should have cooled slightly to the correct brewing temperature. It’s time to pour. I am doing a basic one serving for a typical mug of American Coffee. This means I’m just going to fill it to the #2 mark. Add steamed milk for a Latte or drink as brewed for a Double-Espresso (I like it all three ways).

Just a little bit more…

Perfect, now stir for 10 seconds. Wet the rubber seal on the plunger. Gently press down about a quarter inch and maintain the pressure for about 20-30 seconds until the plunger bottoms on the coffee grounds.

Pour into your preferred drinking receptacle like so:

Ta-Da!

I recommend sipping it in this form before topping off to preferred strength with the rest of the hot water in your kettle.

Finally, enjoy!

Mmmm that’s good!

Now it’s your turn. Cheers!

I love coffee because it doesn’t judge me. It picks me up when I’m feeling down, and on rainy days it makes a nice hand warmer. I can’t say that about most people. Usually people are quick to judge my relationship with coffee as co-dependent at best. And I die a little inside whenever I see a Costco-sized bag of beans, or worse, ground coffee, in their freezer. Oh, and go ahead and TRY to get a stranger to stand still long enough when your hands are freezing. This is why I love coffee.

—San Diego Joe

Brings back memories…um, err flash backs?…

Your Coffee Just Got Warm & Fuzzier 
Have you ever been dining at a five star restaurant and had the waiter present your table with something gorgeous and tasty “Compliments of the Chef”? This was my experience today while coffee-ing at Coffee & Tea Collective in North Park.
During a short follow-up meeting with Daniel Holcomb, owner and roast master, I was presented with a double shot of Columbia St. Augustine “Compliments of the Artist” behind the bar, Patrick Conley. A barista at Coffee & Tea Collective, and winner of the San Diego Coffee Network’s first of many Thursday Night Throwdowns (Latte Art Competitions), he’d been hand-crafting something special while I visited with Holcomb.
While not yet on the menu, many specialty coffee artisans, such as Conley have been experimenting and presenting their masterpieces at industry events. Conley, inspired by the natural flavors present in their Columbia St. Augustine (red fruits, such as red apple and raspberry), uses a syphon brewer to yield a red apple and raspberry reduction. A perfectly pulled shot of espresso infused with red apple and raspberry reduction…one ripe raspberry added to the rim for effect and voila—specialty drink! The result, a delicious enhancement of the bold fruit already present in the coffee without drowning out the complexity of the coffee itself. Sometimes these specialty drinks are referred to as “Signature” drinks.
Whatever you call them, they give this girl the warm and fuzzies. Thanks Patrick for giving me a glimpse into what you’re working on and making my craft coffee experience a true craft.
Have you had the opportunity to taste a specialty hand-crafted drink while out coffee-ing, or at an event? What did you think? What coffee pairings did you find most intriguing in your artisan beverage?
Let me know by posting a pic (if you still have one), and/or a comment on your experience here, or via Facebook.
In the meantime, happy coffee-ing one and all!

Your Coffee Just Got Warm & Fuzzier 

Have you ever been dining at a five star restaurant and had the waiter present your table with something gorgeous and tasty “Compliments of the Chef”? This was my experience today while coffee-ing at Coffee & Tea Collective in North Park.

During a short follow-up meeting with Daniel Holcomb, owner and roast master, I was presented with a double shot of Columbia St. Augustine “Compliments of the Artist” behind the bar, Patrick Conley. A barista at Coffee & Tea Collective, and winner of the San Diego Coffee Network’s first of many Thursday Night Throwdowns (Latte Art Competitions), he’d been hand-crafting something special while I visited with Holcomb.

While not yet on the menu, many specialty coffee artisans, such as Conley have been experimenting and presenting their masterpieces at industry events. Conley, inspired by the natural flavors present in their Columbia St. Augustine (red fruits, such as red apple and raspberry), uses a syphon brewer to yield a red apple and raspberry reduction. A perfectly pulled shot of espresso infused with red apple and raspberry reduction…one ripe raspberry added to the rim for effect and voila—specialty drink! The result, a delicious enhancement of the bold fruit already present in the coffee without drowning out the complexity of the coffee itself. Sometimes these specialty drinks are referred to as “Signature” drinks.

Whatever you call them, they give this girl the warm and fuzzies. Thanks Patrick for giving me a glimpse into what you’re working on and making my craft coffee experience a true craft.

Have you had the opportunity to taste a specialty hand-crafted drink while out coffee-ing, or at an event? What did you think? What coffee pairings did you find most intriguing in your artisan beverage?

Let me know by posting a pic (if you still have one), and/or a comment on your experience here, or via Facebook.

In the meantime, happy coffee-ing one and all!