Wednesday, 21 October 2009

First Crack 121. Drink Beer from a Cat’s Butt: Tasting of Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Brunch


Now that Surly’s Coffee Bender has become the pinnacle of Coffee Stouts I’m on a quest for interesting and unique coffee beers. I picked up bottle of Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Brunch – an oatmeal stout with civet coffee.

After the civet coffee review with Sam Buchanan how could I not take this beer home.

10.9% alcohol in a 1 Pint 0.9 oz. bottle.

My tasting notes:

Short version: “It doesn’t want to be drunk.”

Long version: Listen to Drink Beer from a Cat’s Butt: A Tasting of Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Brunch [11 min].

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


Some quick reviews of the handful of books I savored during my recent trip in Mexico.

The End of Prosperity: How Higher Taxes Will Doom the Economy–If We Let It Happen

I found this month’s Economics book club selection (my first Kindle purchase) an extra-ordinarily frustrating read mainly due to the Fox News-esque partisanship. Despite that, the sections on the incentives and implications of the Laffer Curve, Flat tax, Fair tax were thought-provoking and highly recommended.

Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods

The most inspiring cook book I’ve ever read – all about improvising in the kitchen and embracing the microorganisms around you. The recipes for Persimmon Cider Mead and fruit Kimchi sound pretty delicious.

Belgian Ale

Great book (like all the books in the Classic Beer Style Series) on the history and definition of Belgian ale. The key – don’t be afraid to use 20+% sugar and focus on flavor rather than strict tradition.

Brew Like a Monk: Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How to Brew Them

A deep dive into the history, brewing process, and recipes for some of my favorite Belgian beers – Afflighem Blond, Westmalle Trippel – and some of the American beers brewed in the same style. Stan Hieronymus makes a pretty good argument that it’s the Americans that are moving the style forward.

194X: Architecture, Planning, and Consumer Culture on the American Home Front (Architecture, Landscape and Amer Culture)

Fifty years ago, the Great Depression and WWII destroyed the careers of American architects – they switched from building to planning. Planning the new American cities, planning suburbia, planning for the war to be over and their careers to return.

Coffee Cupper’s Handbook

THE vocabulary book on describing coffee’s taste. The biggest ‘a-ha’ for me: cooling removes the sweet and bitter aspects of coffee – but has no impact on the sour tastes. Big thanks to Sam Buchanan for loaning me his copy.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Friday, 19 December 2008

The Roastery and Kopplin’s Offering Coffee Subscriptions

If you’re still looking for something delicious to give the fanatic coffee drinker in your life – I’m super excited to share that both Jeremy Raths, of The Roastery, and Andrew Kopplin, of Kopplin’s Coffee, are offering coffee subscriptions.

The Roastery Regulars subscription, is $144, delivers 1 pound of coffee to your door every other week for 26 weeks (yes, 2 lbs /mn for 6 months + a bonus pound).

Kopplin’s Coffee of the Month Club subscription ($180) offers 1/2 lb. per month for 12 months of some of the most amazing coffees you’ve (I’ve) ever tasted. I’ve been ‘beta tasting’ Kopplin’s subscription this year and I’ve been blown away month after month (I’ve even recorded a few of my tastings). The only downside – it’s only a 1/2 lb. per month. ­čÖé

In both cases, I’d recommend picking up a good press pot or a Chemex, your regular drip coffee maker probably isn’t up to the task.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Jon Gordon’s Twin Cities Coffee WiFi Google Map Started

Jon Gordon‘s going to be in the Twin Cities for a while and he thought it’d be fun to review the local selection of independent coffee + wifi shops.

As part of that effort, I’ve started a Google Map for listing and pin-pointing these places. There’s also a handful of invites floating around to for those that want to help.

Want one?

View Larger Map

Update 07 July 2008
I just cracked open a PBWiki for this project:

Saturday, 22 March 2008

First Crack 108. Coffee Review – Honduras, El Filo – 49th Parallel Roasters

This is the third in the monthly coffee review series at the First Crack Podcast.

This month, I’m reviewing Miguel Moreno Leiva – El Filo as roasted by 49th Parallel Roasters.

It’s a very subtle and floral cup with powerful aroma off the grind. Andrew described it to me as, “technically good.” I quite agree. It’s a perfect example of a good cup of coffee.

As always, special thanks to Andrew Kopplin at Kopplin’s Coffee for putting this Cup of Excellence on my table and resetting my coffee judgement scale.

Listen to Coffee Review – Honduras: El Filo [9 min].

Saturday, 1 March 2008

First Crack 106. Coffee Review – El Salvador: Finca La Monta├▒a

This is the second in the monthly coffee review series at the First Crack Podcast.

This month, I’m reviewing George Howell’s Terroir Coffee: El Salvador: Finca La Monta├▒a

The 2007 Cup of Excellence winner that was completely devastated by near hurricane-strength winds in January. Pushing the next harvest out to 2010. In response to this tragedy, George Howell doubled the price of his last 70lbs and sent all the proceeds to aid the farms recovery:

“This is a farm which won 5th place, then 4th place, then 1st place in succession over the last three years in Cup of Excellence. Preliminary estimates indicate he will not have a crop until 2010! How does a farmer with less than 14 acres survive? The 3rd place and 4th place winners of last year’s Cup of Excellence are his neighbors, and all three use the same mill to strip their fruit and dry their beans. We have yet to hear about them. We want to help in a meaningful manner.”

“La Monta├▒a is scheduled to be roasted on Monday, January 28. We will be offering this coffee, which in my opinion is the purest coffee expression we have, bar none, at $50 for eight ounces (versus the usual $27.95). Terroir Coffee will donate the entire price to Mr. Ochoa primarily and to the mill, his critical support, which may also be facing very bad times from these events. Not a penny will be spent on any bureaucracy. We have approximately 70 pounds of his coffee left. $50 dollars per half-pound would result in $7,700, if all is sold.”

Special thanks to Andrew Kopplin at Kopplin’s Coffee for putting this Cup of Excellence on my table and connecting the world economy.

Listen to Coffee Review – El Salvador: Finca La Monta├▒a [9 min].

Cup of Excellence Winning Farm 2007: Ra├â┬║l Ochoa Hern├â┬índez – La Monta├▒a El Salvador La Monta├▒a – 93 points

Monday, 21 January 2008

First Crack 105. Coffee Review – Grand Cru Kenya: Mamuto, Kirinyaga

This podcast kicks off a new monthly coffee review series at the First Crack Podcast.

This month, I’m reviewing: George Howell’s Terroir Coffee: Kenya Mamuto Kirinyaga

First, it took me a while to tweak the grinder back for a good press pot. In that time, the time was ticking on the coffee itself. Lesson learned for February.

This is a great bean, Andrew called it his favorite bean in the past 3 months. In the press pot I tasted heavy blueberry and banana notes with a trace of cherry and just a whiff of cocoa.

In the Mocha Brew, the cup was sharp and thin, very little flavor or mouthfeel. So, while I had two cups in front of me, I avoided that one.

Special thanks to my wife and Andrew Kopplin at Kopplin’s Coffee for inspiring this series and selecting this month’s coffee.

Listen to Coffee Review – Grand Cru Kenya: Mamuto, Kirinyaga [7 min].

Elsewhere: Kenya Mamuto Kirinyaga – 96 points

Monday, 31 December 2007

RE: Starbucks Might Be Helping, Not Hurting, Independent Coffee Shops

“‘Anyone who complains about having a Starbucks put in next to you is crazy. You want to welcome the manager, give them flowers. It should be the best news that any local coffeehouse ever had.'” – Martin Diedrich, coffeehouse owner in Orange County, CA.

Competition increases demand and you can succeed by outsourcing your marketing to your competition?

What a wonderful world we live in.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Minneapolis / St. Paul Roasters Meetup

via Jared on the Sweet Marias mailing list:

Minneapolis area roasters. We have a date, June 30 a time 2pm and a location Black Sheep Coffee Cafe (705 Southview Blvd., South Saint Paul, MN (651) 554-0155)

For those of you who missed the early posts Peter Middlecamp the owner of Black Sheep is both a new shop owner and Barista competitor yet still placed 6th this year at the US championships. He is also a very nice guy. Here is the email Peter sent me today:
“Sounds great Jared. I’ll have some cupping samples and maybe some signature
beverage ideas for next year for you to try…

I’ll be there. Should be fun.