Red Barns of North Country

img_0892.jpgAt the tippy top of New York is my inspiration for my coffeehouse blog–North Country. Farms are everywhere and you can buy worms on Main Street. North Country has cities such as Potsdam, Canton and Brasher Falls. It’s beautiful.

While I was visiting last year, I heard a story about a men’s coffee klatch. They meet regularly for the local gossip inside of a barn.

There are many Amish people, vegetable stands alongside the road, and several colleges. There are no Starbucks, which makes it a great place for a coffeehouse.

It gets cold there, which keeps many people away from North Country. But you can get a lot of house and land. A 4 bedroom house plus land for less than $100,000.


Coffeehouse: Good Location, Bad Coffee

bad-coffee.jpgWe have a brand new independently owned coffeehouse that opened nearby and it has a great outdoor patio and the ambiance is comfortable.

It was much needed because the other local coffeeshops are packed in the morning. But of the 4 times that I’ve been to this new shop, only once did I get a good cup of coffee. Do I tell?

Icky coffee is a deal breaker but I suppose I’ll give them a few weeks to ramp up and I’ll try once more.

A Latte Today or $1 Million Tomorrow

latte-factore.gifI’ll take the latte today.

I don’t like it when the financial gurus gang up on my coffee budget. They call it the “latte factor.” I get the idea. If I save the money I spend on the small things, it will grow. But why do I always have to forgo my coffee?

Why is coffee seen as something that’s easily cut out?

Even if it was, I wouldn’t cut coffee out of my life. It’s a part of my life. It makes me happy. Nothing beats relaxing in a coffeehouse over a cup of coffee.

I prefer to cut my cable bill. So there.

Barista Perry

Perry is a Barista in Greece. Check out his latte art.Wave Tulip

Isn’t it lovely!

Here is his flickr photo stream.

Siphon Coffee Machines

coffee-siphon.jpgphoto from javaholics

Siphons look really cool, don’t they? Read the history of “vacuum pots” (siphon machines). 

At Last, a $20,000 Cup of Coffee

SAN FRANCISCOWITH its brass-trimmed halogen heating elements, glass globes and bamboo paddles, the new contraption that is to begin making coffee this week at the Blue Bottle Café here looks like a machine from a Jules Verne novel, a 19th-century vision of the future.Called a siphon bar, it was imported from Japan at a total cost of more than $20,000. The cafe has the only halogen-powered model in the United States, and getting it here required years of elliptical discussions with its importer, Jay Egami of the Ueshima Coffee Company.

“If you just want equipment you’re not ready,” Mr. Egami said in an interview. But, he added, James Freeman, the owner of the cafe, is different: “He’s invested time. He’s invested interest. He is ready.”

Professionals have long been willing to pay prices in the five figures for the perfect espresso machine, but the siphon bar does not make espresso. It makes brewed coffee, as does another high-end coffee maker, the $11,000 Clover, which makes one cup at a time. Together, they signal the resurgence of brewing among the most obsessive coffee enthusiasts.

Could this be the age of brewed coffee? “We’re right there at the threshold,” said George Howell of Terroir Coffee, a retailer of roasted and green beans. “Coffee has never been a noble beverage because the means to perfectly produce it haven’t existed,” said Mr. Howell, who is also a founder of the Cup of Excellence, an annual competition that seeks to identify the best beans in each coffee-producing nation.

But, he said, with recent advances in coffee-making technology, “now you can get perfect extraction.”

Mr. Freeman is not trying to end the era of espresso. He still starts his days with a cappuccino, and his cafe serves drinks mostly from espresso machines, including a lovingly refurbished San Marco from the 1980s. But he’s excited by the possibilities of brewed coffee.

“Siphon coffee is very delicate,” he said. “It’s sweeter and juicier, and the flavors change as the temperature changes. Sometimes it has a texture so light it’s almost moussey.” read the rest at NYT

Winona Goes Fair Trade

Published – Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On moral grounds: Winona shops feature fair-trade certified coffee

The consensus among Winona’s coffee shops: Fair trade is the way to go.

Every coffee shop in town buys at least some coffee from raw-bean wholesalers and roasters who offer fair-trade certified coffee.

To be certified, a coffee must come from a farm that adheres to regulations that ensure a safe working environment and sustainable cu

ltivation practices, said Carmen Iezzi, executive director of the Fair Trade Federation. Fair prices are given to farmers who would otherwise be given just enough to survive, if that, she said.

Like all commodities, the price for fair-trade coffee changes constantly, but is about $1.30 per pound right now, Iezzi said.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world behind oil.

About 40 percent of the beans the Acoustic Café offers are fair-trade certified, said café owner Jerry Heymans.

Heymans roasts the raw beans in a small roaster in his Winona café and uses them in his local store and his location in Eau Claire, Wis.

Heymans thinks his college-town patrons “have a broader vision of what’s important.”

“More and more consumers are becoming conscious of supporting the global community,” Heymans said.

Mugby Junction has carried all fair-trade coffees for about a year, said owner Carew Halleck.

Before the switch, Halleck offered some fair-trade varieties, but switched to align his business practices with his moral principles.

“What you’re talking about is relationships,” Halleck said. “Not based on exploitation, but based on mutual support … and mutual benefit.”

It’s not a matter of besting competition or boosting sales, Halleck said.

In fact, Halleck eliminated some coffees because they were not fair-trade certified.

Solid Grounds espresso stand carries 100 percent fair-trade coffee, said Greg Moser, Rock Solid Youth Center executive director.

Fair-trade coffee is not sold only by the cup; some area grocers offer fair-trade coffee in bulk.

“Fair trade is a very hip thing right now,” said Dennis Zenk, bulk foods manager for Bluff Country Co-op.

Demand for fair-trade coffee has grown in recent years, Iezzi said. Sales grew 53 percent from 2006 to 2007.

Popularity isn’t the only reason to carry fair-trade coffee, said Zenk, adding that the co-op has stocked fair-trade coffee since 1999, when certification first started.

Zenk thinks it’s important to give farmers a fair return for their

product, which takes “a lot of energy and a lot of toil to produce,” and to offer farmers an opportunity to “develop themselves so they can make their lives better.” read the rest.


I Love Coffee

i-love-coffee.jpgThe best part of this book is its drink recipes and its review of home coffeemaking gadgets and machines.

Here’s a recipe from the book for iced cafe cola. Talk about a caffeine jolt.

4 ounces cold espresso

2 ounces of rum

6 ice cubes

16 oz Coke

Stir coffee and rum and top off with cola. Makes 2.

This tip from me: Add a heaping of fresh whipped cream to the top.