c[_] Video of the Day

Signature drink... with a little flair!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cafe Snapshot: The Divine Cupcake Cafe

On West 11th Avenue just shy of Chambers Street behind a little lime green storefront you'll find Eugene's first gourmet cupccakery, "The Divine Cupcake Cafe." You may have Seen Divine Cupcake owners; Thaddeus and Emily Moore and their delicious vegan treats at any number of special events over the past few years. When the retail space in front of Thaddeus' professional music recording studio, "Sprout City Studios" opened up the couple decided to expand their wildly popular cupcake catering and wholesale business by creating a unique little neighborhood style cafe for their growing fan base. 

Thaddeus Moore, wanting to give his friends, family and neighbors a coffee experience that would compliment the high quality of their cupcake offerings, has employed a couple of unique ideas at the cafe. First, after a blind taste test by barista & baking staff and assorted friends & family Moore chose to carry organic coffees from the two blind tasting winners. Wandering Goat Coffee Roasters is a popular little local roaster that produces some of the best coffee I've ever tasted. Caffe Pacori is another small local roaster and unique to Pacori is their traditional Italian wood roasted coffees. A unique choice of flavors await the coffee lover behind the bar at this cafe.
Next, Moore decided to skip the automatic, electric big-batch coffee brewer used by most cafes, espresso bars and coffee houses. Instead all brewed coffees are brewed manually (by hand) which gives the barista the greatest control over the brewing process resulting in a better cup of coffee. Brewing the coffee directly into preheated thermal pump pots keeps the coffee hot without cooking it as it sits like most electric coffee brewers tend to do. The use of reusable cloth coffee filters reduces paper waste.

This was the scene inside the cafe from 10am until we had to close the doors at 10pm. The turnout was amazing. I think free organic vegan cupcakes with flavors like Red Velvet, Lemon Heaven, Peanut Butter Cup and Coconut Lime probably had something to do with it.

Vegan Cupcake? What Does That Mean?
The fact that it's a vegan cupcake simply means that it's the most delicious cupcake you've ever had. And it means that no animals were harmed... or milked in the making of these cupcakes! All cupcake ingredients are organic and no expense was spared bringing the guests organic local coffees, local organic milk and a great assortment of dairy alternatives including soy, rice milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, coconut milk & hemp milk.

Along with a full espresso menu and latte art in the mornings, the Divine Cupcake Cafe is also Eugene's own artisan coffee brew bar! Yes you can get the more common brewed on-demand custom cups of coffee here like an Americano (cup of black coffee brewed from espresso) and everyones favorite; the French press but you can also get brewed fresh to order pour-over drip decaf coffee, cold water extract coffee (hot or cold), or try a cup of brewed with our gold filtered dripper. Ask your friendly barista for an Aeropress coffee or you might want to experiment with a Cafe Au Lait (latte made with brewed coffee instead of espresso) using an americano or Aeropress coffee, instead of drip! And if that's not enough to indulge your every coffee whim, the Divine Cupcake cafe is the first place in the world to get "shaker" brewed coffee, a new brewing method developed by one of the cafe's own baristas! Let me give you a hint...

Cafe  Borgia. Chocolate and espresso, orange peel rubbed cup rim & dropped in the chocolate, textured(steamed) milk,
a dollop of whipped cream, orange zest and fresh grated dark chocolate.

Divine Cupcakes

All of the cupcakes at The Divine Cupcake are vegan and made with all organic ingredients. There is usually a selection of gluten free cupcakes at the cafe as well and sugar free and gluten free cupcakes available by special order. Lots of love go into making these truly divine cupcakes! Since the cafe opened March fifth to a packed house of cupcake lovers, the cafe and it's delicious fare is quickly becoming a favorite treat for meetings, for birthdays and as gifts for clients, co-workers, hairdressers and chiropractors. Gourmet cupcakes are also proving to be a popular choice for weddings.   

Espresso and coffee pairs perfectly with gourmet cupcakes!

The tea station at the cafe.

In addition to all organic cupcake ingredients, organic coffees and organic milk, the cafe features local organic teas by "J Tea" and "Sip-T"! Each tea is hand measured and brewed to proper tea-to-water ratio and for the proper steep time for the optimum cup of tea!

The line from the door ran from 10am until the doors shut at 10pm!

Some of the awesome people at the Divine Cupcake.

I invite you, my fellow coffee lovers to come visit us at The Divine Cupcake Cafe. I'll be your host and barista from 7am until 11am Tuesday through Saturday. The Cafe is open 7 days a week from 7am until 9pm with extended hours until 11pm on Friday and Saturday. Free Wifi too! - Cash c(_) [_]o

The Divine Cupcake Cafe
1680 W.11th Ave.
Eugene, Oregon

Friday, March 12, 2010

Coming Soon...

What Happens when you hook up a Flux Capacitor to your Astoria Argenta?
We'll be traveling back in time, ten - twenty years to collect new footage and photos of Eugene and the coffee industry past!

Great Scott!
Coming Soon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Coffee Corner: Aroma Infusion!

Brewing Caffe Pacori coffee infused with aroma of fresh chopped Cinnamon. 

Back in my days as barista at Coffee Corner, Eugene's first local coffeehouse chain, I would experiment with direct contact flavor infusion by sprinkling sugar, cocoa powder , cinnamon or nutmeg directly onto the packed espresso grounds before extraction. More recently it dawned on me that because of coffee's odor absorbing properties, like that of baking soda, I may be able to introduce new aromas for the coffee to absorb without covering up or destroying the coffee's own flavor.
For my first experiment I put a Punch label cigar in a giant Ziploc bag with whole bean coffees. My reasoning was, "well since a good smoke pairs well with a good black cup of coffee..." I let the two sit for about 24 hours. When I ground the beans and brewed them up the coffee had a hint of spicy tobacco leaf aftertaste that I could almost feel on my tongue. It was an interesting, unusual and fun cup to brew and taste and I could distinctly taste the characteristics of the coffee and at the same time the spicy cigar tobacco flavor was unmistakable. So in that respect my aroma infusion experiment was a success. However the combination in the cup of coffee was less than desirable, a pairing better left to the traditional puffing from the one hand and slurping your coffee from the other.

I chose Caffe Pacori coffees for my aroma infusion experiment.

My second experiment involved fresh chopped cinnamon and ground coffee as shown in the above slide show. After about 12 hours of exposing the ground coffee to the cinnamon I could barely detect any hint of cinnamon in the cup that I brewed. I brewed another cup after letting the two sit in the same container for several day, never making direct contact with each other. This time the cinnamon aroma and hint of flavor was apparent and very pleasant without covering up or distracting from the cup of coffee like a cinnamon flavored syrup or creamer would tend to do. Fun! c[__]

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cafe Snapshot: Bedrocks Organic Coffee!

We coffee lovers here in the beautiful city of Eugene are already spoiled. And it's only getting better! Bedrocks Organic Coffee is located in the new Coburg Station shopping center on Coburg road barely two blocks from Oakway Center. Bedrocks boasts a drive through window for your convenience and at the time of this writing they're giving away $2 lattes and $1 cups of house coffee in the drive through as a special promotion this week only. 

Some of the beautiful modern interior of Bedrocks.

My first surprise as I walked into the shop was the unique beauty of the interior design, a mix of modern/retro and attention to detail which made it as pleasant to look around at the shop as it was to sit in one of the comfy hydraulic cushioned chairs and sip my latte. 

Enjoying a cup of coffee and a chocolate orange scone.

My next surprise was the wonderful service I got from my friendly baristas; Kiira and Stephanie. Friendly, attentive service isn't the easiest thing to come by these days but that's exactly what I've received each time I've visited Bedrocks. It's refreshing to find knowledgeable staff that can answer my questions and even make product recommendations to help me find what I'll really enjoy.  

Beautiful latte art by Kiira and a scrumptious drink.

If you haven't been into Bedrocks yet, this is one shop you won't want to pass by. If you're a tea lover they have you covered there too. Brew coffee at home? No problem, Bedrocks roasts their own Fair Trade organic coffees. I took home some of their Honduran coffee beans and they brewed up very nicely with my Aeropress coffee maker. Follow Bedrocks on facebook and twitter to keep up on special offers and some fun events at Bedrocks. I've heard rumors of a coffee cupping and maybe a wine and/or beer tasting event as well. See you at Bedrocks! [_]o

Coffee Snapshot: Cold Water Extract from Caffe Pacori!

"Caffe Freddo" African roast is Caffe Pacori's cold water extract coffee. The cold water brewing process produces a dream of a cup of coffee. A much less acidic cup of coffee, cold water extraction creates a super-smooth and full bodied cup. With hints of toasted nuts, malty cocoa notes seem to dominate this brew and without the typical coffee acidity to distract, all the little flavor nuances in this rich, complex coffee are easy to pick up and a pleasure to enjoy.

You can find a cold water extract brewer at any number of local kitchenware stores or you can find them just a 
Google search away online. "Toddy" is a long standing and trusted brand of cold water brewers and using a Toddy coffee maker is a pretty straight forward process. Cold water extract coffee is typically brewed with a full pound of ground coffee beans at a time. The coffee is ground course and put in the cylindrical Toddy with its cloth filter where it is left to steep in room temperature water as it slowly brews and drips into a second container over a twelve hour brew cycle. The coffee concentrate produced is then stored in an airtight bottle or jug and kept refrigerated until ready to cut with water to taste (roughly 1/3 concentrate-to-2/3 water), served and enjoyed.

Although I prefer my extract coffee hot it does make for the best iced coffees. The cold water extract won't melt your ice cubes and dilute your favorite iced coffee which makes for a more full flavored and enjoyable iced coffee drink. I whole heartedly recommend trying your hand at brewing cold water extract. Check out Caffe Pacori online for a list of local cafe's and groceries where you can find some of Pacori's wood roasted coffee.
Enjoy! (_)o

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Coffee Corner: Free Online!

Good News for Coffee Professionals and coffee enthusiasts, "Specialty Coffee Retailer", "Fresh Cup" and "barista Magazine" are now all available free online!

Are you a barista, coffee shop owner or manager? Are you thinking about getting into the business or just a coffee lover curious about the goings-on behind the scenes in the exciting industry of specialty coffee? Check out these popular and trusted industry publications for more useful coffee and business info than one person could fully assimilate. Very informative articles and often times beautiful photography can hold the interest of any coffee lover and all three publications are jam-packed with useful insights for the specialty coffee retailer and the professional barista. Check out each of these magazines in their original printed format online for free via the following orange links. Enjoy! [_]D

Cafe Snapshot: Espresso Roma Cafe

Espresso Roma cafe on East 13th avenue, just half a block from the University of Oregon campus, is a long time fixture here in Eugene. Though the cafe has been a favorite of some of us "townies" (locals) for years, it's the university students that keep the place buzzing throughout the school year. With it's proximity to campus and sprawling interior with seemingly unlimited seating, Espresso Roma makes an ideal spot for either people watching or getting some homework done. 

This was the view from my table in one of the back seating areas.

Looking towards 13th Ave. from the outdoor seating area in the back of the cafe.

Very nice outdoor seating areas with an entrance from the rear alley.

At first I was disappointed that there was no wifi available at the cafe but after subsequent visits I realized that this actually gives Espresso Roma its own unique atmosphere and feel, one that seems somehow more social.. more personable. Espresso Roma serves up their own brand of coffee and I enjoyed both their drip brewed coffee and the latte they made for me. And though you can get a good cup of coffee at the cafe they are a high-volume type of operation so I probably wouldn't go in expecting any hearts, rosettas or any other artistically presented lattes. 
The service was prompt and they had a great food selection too. I also picked up some large burlap coffee bags  that they have for sale at the shop which I used to decorate with at home. If you haven't been to Espresso Roma yet or if it's been a while since the last time you've had one of their drinks I highly recommend that you visit for yourself while the weather's nice and school is in full swing. Enjoy! [_]D 

One of many seating rooms and nooks @ Espresso Roma.

Espresso Roma 
825 East 13th Ave.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Coffee Corner: Coffee Fueled Creativity!

Over the centuries coffee has fueled countless a creative mind,
 inspired artistic expression and greased the gears of invention.
Here are a couple of the artsy projects I've undertaken recently, 
both borne out of my enjoyment of the world of coffee.

When communicating through my keyboard I often use
an emoticon such as this smiley face :_)
Since so much of my focus is on coffee these days
I guess it was just a matter of time that I came up with the
 coffee equivalent of an emoticon. A coffee cup of course!
There are a number of coffee cup emoticons you can check
 out by scrolling down the left and right hand columns of
 this page.  

I decided to take my coffee cup emoticon idea to its
 logical conclusion and set out to design a business logo
from the idea. Below is the finished product.   

I set out to see if I could make a cool looking logo
 from a coffee stain left by a coffee mug. 
Below is a slide showing how I went about creating
 the coffee stain. This is the finished product. 
I took this photo using a makeshift camera lighting studio
  I threw together at home and then put the finishing touches
 on it using photobucket.com's awesome photo editor!

Have any coffee inspired or coffee related art or ideas? Consider sharing them with others on either of these social media sites; look for the group "Coffee and the Arts" at baristaexchange.com and the group; "Eugene, Worlds Greates City of Coffee and Espresso" at facebook.com 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Coffee Corner: Coffee Cupping at Gary's Coffee

 A coffee "cupping" at Gary's Coffee, just one of the classes and events hosted at the shop.
"Cupping" is the technique for tasting coffees used by coffee industry professionals like raw coffee quality graders, coffee buyers and coffee roasters. Jennifer Prince from Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland made the trek to Eugene's own "Gary's Coffee" to introduce some of us local coffee enthusiasts to the art of cupping. Cupping provides a uniform method, a standard for experiencing and communicating flavor components and other characteristics of this complex concoction. To give us some frame of reference we can look to the world of wines. While wine connoisseurs enjoy any combination of a thousand flavor components found in the fermented grape, coffee boasts three times the flavor components just waiting to be detected, extracted and enjoyed!

Brenda Cervantes of Gary's Coffee sets up for the cupping

It was a real treat getting to taste a variety of single origin coffees from around the world. Unlike some coffee roasters that boast "fair trade" practices with third world coffee farmers, Stumptown buys their coffee directly from the farmers themselves, eliminating middlemen and ensuring that the farmers that toil and labor to produce the coffee are the ones that reap the financial rewards also. 
Cupping focuses us in on the five areas of coffee tasting; aroma, flavor, body, acidity and the overall impression you get from the cup. 

Below: Jennifer from Stumptown Coffee Roasters prepares coffee for cupping.

I was so impressed with Stumptown's coffees I decided to special order some of their Ethiopia Michelle to brew at home.

The coffee cupping was fun and it was nice meeting Jennifer, her passion for coffee was contagious! Along with the people I got to meet and spend time with, the most exciting thing I came away with was the beginnings of a coffee vocabulary to be able to put the aromas, flavors and textures of coffee I'm experiencing into words. Here's a link to a site where you can find a coffee "flavor wheel"- http://www.atdcusa.com/flavor.html

Gary's coffee has some more fun events planned and I encourage you to stop by for a drink and see what's coming up next at Gary's. Thanks again to Brenda at Gary's Coffee for hosting the cupping! 

If you can't wait until Gary's Coffee's next cupping, here's a video that will step you through the process.

Gary's Coffee is located on High Street directly across from the 5th St. Public Market.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cafe Snapshot: Caffe Gourmet

Enjoying my "Americano" coffee.

On Springfield's Harlow Road, just a stones throw from both the Gateway Mall and Sacred Heart's River Bend medical center sits Caffe Gourmet. Dan, a local businessman told me about Caffe Gourmet and encouraged me to check it out for myself. I don't make it over into Springfield that often and when I finally had the opportunity to stop by Caffe Gourmet Dan happened to be there too! I also had the pleasure of meeting the caffe's proprietor, Dave Curtis and one of his friendly staff members, Jamie.
Ever seeking that delicious, custom brewed cup of coffee I ordered an Americano (a cup of "American" style black coffee brewed from espresso diluted with hot water to the perfect ratio) and my barista did it right! My Americano was awesome, very yummy and satisfying.
I was surprised by Caffe Goumet's extensive food menu including a pastry/breakfast menu, two sandwich menus gourmet "wraps", salads, soups and even a pizza menu. And maybe the best part of all for those of you who work or live in the area, you can call in your food order ahead of time to have it delivered to you!
And if you drink espresso and have a sweet-tooth, they have a menu of mouth watering signature specialty Mochas and flavored lattes as well. (__)o

Caffe Gourmet features art by local artists.

Dan & I at Caffe Gourmet.

A Visit To Off The Waffle

The "Off The Waffle- Authentic Leige Waffles" facebook fan page reads, "Li├Ęge waffles are made from a yeast-based dough containing imported Belgian pearled sugar, which caramelizes throughout the waffle due to its high melting point. This caramelization effect is the secret that gives our waffles the unique flavor and essence that may flatter, impress, delight, empower, and maybe even confuse you." 

My waffle lasted barely long enough to get a couple photos!

I love trying new foods, textures and flavor combinations. And after hearing all the buzz about these waffles and reading the description above, how could I resist? I visited Off The Waffle's old location, a house on Van Buren just down the sidewalk from New Frontier market. Just reading the waffle menu made my mouth water and all the unique flavor combinations available didn't make it very easy for me to decide just which waffle I was going to try first. First off I could smell the herbs garnishing my waffle and then my first bite was a delightful mix of flavors from the cheese & bacon topping. Then it hit me... that unique super-sweetness in the waffle that contrasted deliciously with the toppings and brought the whole flavor experience together!

I was glad to see that they served good, locally roasted coffee by Caffe Pacori. These sweet and flavorful waffles pair perfectly with a good, hearty cup of coffee and the people at Off The Waffle serve their coffee in paper cups made from renewable resources and that are commercially compostable.

I can tell you how much I enjoyed my waffle and coffee but you really have to try it for yourself! Off The Waffle's new location is 2540 Willamette Street in Eugene and you can check out their website at http://offthewaffle.com/     [_]o

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Snapshot: Seattle's Best... In Eugene!

Borders Books inside Oakway Center Mall.

My Mother received a Borders Books gift card from a co-worker and when she invited me to go along with her to the book store I jumped at the chance to visit the Seattle's Best Coffee cafe inside the store. I ordered a flavorful holiday latte complete with whipped cream toped with chocolate sauce and crushed candy cane.
What was even better than the drink itself was the attentive, helpful and friendly service I got from all the baristas behind the counter. A breath of fresh air in a day and age when it's more and more difficult to find good and friendly service. By the time I had my drink in hand all four of the baristas on duty had acknowledged me (and smiled!) and were quick to make suggestions and answer questions about their drinks and coffees.
The cafe has a very comfortable seating area with a mix of wood tables & chairs and cushioned armchairs. I also noticed a sign in the cafe touting free wifi, a change from the T-Mobile pay-as-you-go service they offered last time I visited.

Henry's blend by Seattle's Best Coffee

I needed some whole bean coffee for my roommates and I to brew in the mornings at home and one of my friendly baristas at the cafe gave me a sample of their holiday blend coffee that they had brewed up that day. It didn't impress me right away so I decided to take home some other blend of beans to brew. Then I saw "Henry's" blend listed on the menu and I remembered back to my early years in coffee and the story behind the name. Henry was the cat that  lived at their coffee roasting warehouse and the blend was named after him.
And the blend brewed up a delicious, rich and satisfying cup of coffee. You don't have to dig deep to taste the chocolaty and nutty characteristics of this full-bodied coffee. Very enjoyable. (__)o
Seattle's Best Coffee is located inside Borders Books at the Oakway Center Mall on Coburg Rd. in Eugene.

Downtown Loses a Unique Coffee Spot 

I finally made it in to say "hi" to my facebook friend Jon, a barista at the recently closed Coffee For Canines inside the "District" nightclub and lounge downtown. Jon wasn't working that particular day but my friendly barista, Sol took good care of me. Coffee For Canines served coffee and espresso from local roasting company Cafe Pacori Coffee Roasters and my cup of coffee was as enjoyable as the eclectic interior with its retro style furniture and floor-to-ceiling windows providing a front row seat to all the downtown action at the intersection of 13th & Oak.

My friendly barista, "Sol".

My barista, Sol was knowledgeable about coffee and engaging. Sol offered to pull a shot of espresso for me to taste and I must say it was the most unique tasting espresso I've had thus far in my coffee and espresso adventures. The espresso's saltiness was just one of the unique characteristics I tasted in my double shot. Very good.

People watching @ Coffee For Canines.

The idea behind Coffee For Canines was as unique as the shot of espresso I enjoyed there. All of the profits generated from Coffee For Canines went directly to helping local dog owners in need of financial help with costs of emergency and life-saving medical procedures for their beloved dogs. The baristas even donated their tips to the fund, showing their commitment to the cause of helping others.
Unfortunately for coffee lovers and dog lovers alike Coffee For Canines has closed up shop, though the District nightclub and lounge that housed Coffee For Canines lives on. I'm glad I made it in. I enjoyed the coffee, the conversation, the view and making new coffee memories.

Enjoying a cup of Caffe Pacori coffee.


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