Brick and Mortar Coffee: Guatemala Chimaltenango El Rosario

IMG_4680Brick and Mortar Coffee, located in Springfield, Missouri, is dedicated to the art and craft of specialty coffee. As mentioned in the previous post, Brick and Mortar says, “Our love is people, our design is simple, our craft is coffee.” All of these things are evident, whether you are sitting inside their tasting room, or you are sipping on one of their coffees at home.

Coffee Notes

This second coffee from Brick and Mortar is from Guatemala. This coffee comes from a relative of the Perez family, specifically in the region of Chimaltenango at El Rosario, and is grown at about 1600 masl. It is a washed processed coffee, roasted to 401F, which is what Brick and Mortar calls the “New American Roast.” When I visited Brick and Mortar, this coffee was what they were running as their Single Origin Espresso. Also, it is true that this Guatemalan coffee is a part of their house blend, called Ampersand.

Brew Method: Chemex – 50g – Medium Grind (21 on a Baratza Encore) – 800ml Water – 203*F – 5:00min Brew Time. When I visited Brick and Mortar, during a trip to see some family, I was also able to try this as Espresso.

Analysis: This Guatemalan is particularly smooth and truly is an easy drinking coffee. There are heavy notes of chocolate and toffee, with some minor dried fruit notes, like cranberry, and there is maybe even a small hint of hibiscus in the dry and wet aroma. The aroma also seemed to hint at minor notes of honey and caramel. The flavor notes seemed to minimized some of the aroma notes, leaving this coffee tasting primarily like chocolate, toffee, and caramel. Minor bitterness that hits at the end, but overall a very balanced cup.

And, as mentioned above, I was able to try this as espresso, which helped bring out some of the natural sweetness. It maintained the chocolate and toffee notes, but also had a candied nut flavor to it that was quite pleasant, which lingered for quite a long aftertaste.

This coffee can be purchased on Brick and Mortar’s website for $14.00. And as mentioned last time, Brick and Mortar Currently ships their coffees in 8oz glass jars, though they can also be ordered in bulk.

Thanks again for the review beans, Brick and Mortar Coffee!

Brick and Mortar Coffee: Colombia Narino Fiesta

IMG_4119Springfield, Missouri, or “The Queen City of the Ozarks,” is known for many things. It is the home of Missouri State University, the Springfield Cardinals, and the always wonderful Askinosie Chocolate. It is said to be the birthplace of Route 66. And it is known for its tasty Cashew Chicken.

However, as a one-time student at Missouri State University–when I was just beginning to find the narrow path that leads to the pearly gates of the heavenly world of coffee–I know all too well the fact that the specialty coffee scene in Springfield has been lacking. Aside from The Coffee Ethic, of which I am especially grateful for, there wasn’t much.

Now, though, a half-decade after my time at Missouri State, Brick and Mortar Coffee has entered the scene and has been standing strong for just over two years. Brick and Mortar is a specialty coffee roasting company, seeking to “move people toward greater coffee craftsmanship.” Brick and Mortar says, “Our love is people, our design is simple, our craft is coffee.”

This love for people, simple design, and craft coffee is quite evident when visiting Brick and Mortar. When you walk inside, it is clear that this is not your average coffee shop. You won’t see a number of tables next to a number of outlets; rather, you will see one gigantic, and beautiful, community table, as well as a community-style bar, a space that they call a “Tasting Room.” This tasting room offers a limited menu with a changing selection of coffees. Alongside community seating, and a coffee-focused menu, you will also become quickly aware that this is also a roastery, where all that comes with roasting can be experienced from right inside the tasting room.

IMG_4686Coffee Notes

The coffee that I will be commenting on in this review, is Brick and Mortar’s Colombia Narino Fiesta. This coffee, being from the Narino region of Colombia, specifically from La Guamera farm, was grown at 1900-2250 masl. Brick and Mortar roasted this to 401F, what they call a “New American Roast.”

Brew Method: Chemex – 32g – Medium Grind (17 on a Baratza Encore) – 512ml Water – 203*F – 4:00min Brew Time. This was how it was brewed for this review, though I also tried it with a V60 and an AeroPress.

Analysis: Upon opening the bag, it was clear that this coffee is a natural processed coffee. Though I picked them out for my brew, there were a few quakers, but only a couple. After grinding the beans, the aroma smelled fruity, with notes of mango, blackcurrant, and lychee, reminding me of a Tropical Capri Sun. The aroma also had notes of chocolate and was a tad bit floral, with notes of hibiscus and maybe honeysuckle. Upon tasting it, the coffee was quite sweet. It was very smooth and maintained a medium body with a higher level of acidity, alongside barely any bitterness. Many of the aroma notes came through clearly in this coffee’s flavor; there was definitely mango, lychee, blackcurrant, and dark chocolate, as well as minor notes of maybe lime, pineapple, and lavender.

Now that I have had four fantastic coffees from Brick and Mortar Coffee, I will admit that this is probably my favorite one. These beans can be purchased from their website for $15.00. Brick and Mortar Currently ships their coffees in 8oz glass jars, though they can also be ordered in bulk.

Thanks so much for the review beans, Brick and Mortar Coffee!

Onyx Coffee Lab: Ethiopia Hambela Buku (Natural)

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Sadly, this is my last bag from Onyx Coffee Lab. I have so greatly enjoyed tasting each one of them. And, honestly, Onyx Coffee Lab has blown my mind. They truly are one of my favorite roasters (I know I’ve said this multiple times now, but I’m serious!). I love that their focus on aesthetics, whether their packaging or their cafés, does not hinder their focus on wonderfully roasted coffee. If you haven’t had any, definitely check them out.

Also, if you haven’t read any of the previous reviews, definitely check them out as well. Here are the previous reviews: Kenya Nyeri Barichu, Colombia La Plata, and Sugar Skull Blend.

Coffee Notes

According to their website, for the past three years, Onyx Coffee Lab has been traveling every year to Ethiopia, specifically visiting the Hambela estate in the Guji zone. With every visit, they have seen significant growth and improvement. This year’s coffee, now being fully organic, cupped extremely high, and Onyx Coffee Lab contracted both the natural and washed options from the Buku lots. For this review, I will only be commenting on the natural processed option.

Onyx Coffee Lab suggests that this natural processed Ethiopian should be “brew with any device that uses a paper filter. Thicker the filter the better in our opinion.” They suggest this because of the intricate complexity of this coffee, which shines through extremely well in something like a Chemex. Onyx Coffee Lab also suggests, when using a pour-over, to “add more turbulence and pour hard, as [this coffee] has a slow drain time.” Brewing this from both a Chemex and a V60, I found this to be spot on. They also acknowledge that it works great as a Single Origin Espresso (SOE), of which, sadly, I was unable to try.

Brew Method: Chemex – 50g – Medium Grind (21 on a Baratza Encore) – 800ml Water – 203*F – 5:00min Brew Time

Analysis: Intense strawberry and kiwi, like artificial fruit flavors, reminding me of some sort of strawberry-kiwi candy. As in, if Wrigley/Mars decided to make a strawberry-kiwi flavored Starburst, it would taste just like this coffee. Or, aside from the sourness of a warhead, it reminds you of one of those strawberry-kiwi flavored ones.

Anyhow, these strawberry and kiwi notes were prominent in both the actual flavor and the aroma. And, honestly, we had a difficult time getting past these intense notes. While we didn’t get much coconut milk, as the bag suggested, we did get lime, maybe lychee, and definitely cocoa as secondary notes.

In the end, this was definitely a tasty, clean coffee. It got sweeter as it cooled, and maintained a medium body with a higher level of acidity. It had a pleasant aftertaste, and though it was much more complex than a lot of coffees I’ve had, it did not seem to be as complex as the Kenyan that was also sent to me.

Nevertheless, this was a fantastic coffee, and it can be purchased from Onyx Coffee Lab’s website for $19.00.

Again, thanks for the review beans, Onyx Coffee Lab! It was such a pleasure!

Onyx Coffee Lab: Sugar Skull Blend

IMG_3914Onyx Coffee Lab, as mentioned before, is one of my favorite coffee roasters. They are a small batch coffee roasting company who sources coffee ethically and skillfully mixes science and artisanship to bring about great coffees. Onyx Coffee Lab is based out of Springdale, Arkansas, with cafés also in Fayetteville and Bentonville. They are definitely a coffee roaster that you want to be familiar with. For a fuller analysis of Onyx Coffee Lab as a whole, please refer to my review on their Kenya Nyeri Barichu.

As also mentioned before, I received four different coffees from Onyx Coffee Lab in return for coffee reviews. One of the many things that is quite impressive about Onyx Coffee Lab is that their desire for perfection does not end with coffee. From the packaging to shipping to the way that they prepare and serve beverages, Onyx Coffee Lab is extremely intentional. One example of this is that I received these four coffees 2 days after they were roasted! Anyway, to say the least, they are good.

Coffee Notes

For this review, I will be looking at Onyx Coffee Lab’s Sugar Skull blend, which is a two-origin coffee: Guatemala and Colombia. It is made up of four different varietals: Bourbon, Typica, Castillo, and Pache. It is a direct trade coffee that was exported by Royal NY. And, Onyx Coffee Lab considers this coffee to be in the middle range on their scale of traditional and modern.

Brew Method: Because this was a blend, I ran it as espresso, on a La Marzocco 3-group Linea, grinding it on a Mahlkönig Peak. For this blend, I dosed 18.5 grams of coffee and pulled shots from 20-30 seconds. And, surprisingly, all of them were great. While the shorter pulled shots seemed a little under-extracted, being a little sour, they were still quite nice, though not as great as the longer pulled shots.

Analysis: Very bright and sweet! It completely covered my mouth with sweetness. Orange zest and maybe even lemon in the aftertaste. My wife said that it reminded her of orange juice, which I think is a great description. There was also a chocolatey-ness and a nuttiness that seemed more prominent as it cooled. I was truly blown away by the sweetness; it seemed to be prominent citrus with maybe a hint of cherry. The body was wonderful as well, a nice heavier body, with such a long aftertaste. As in, I literally remember tasting it 3 hours later!

The Sugar Skull Blend can be purchased on Onyx Coffee Lab’s website for $14.50! Definitely check it out! As Onyx Coffee Lab rightly says, “Sugar Skull embodies the wonderful relationship between a citric acidity balance and wonderful, full bodied chocolates.” And, actually, FYI, Onyx Coffee Lab serves this coffee every day, using it with all sorts of brewing methods.

Although I did not get a chance to brew this as a pourover, I think that it would be interesting to see what it would have tasted like. I don’t usually prefer blends as pourovers, but I think that this could be a fairly nice one.

Thanks again for the review beans, Onyx Coffee Lab!

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Onyx Coffee Lab: Colombia La Plata

Last week I posted a review of Onyx Coffee Lab’s Kenya Nyeri Barichu, of which I absolutely loved. Be sure to check it out if you have not read it. Also, before I get into this review, be sure to follow this blog on here (link on the right, or below on mobile) and on Instagram.

IMG_4650Now, as I mentioned last week, Onyx Coffee Lab is a small batch coffee roasting company who sources coffee ethically, and skillfully mixes science and artisanship to bring about great coffees. They are based out of Springdale, Arkansas, with cafés also in Fayetteville and Bentonville. They are incredibly intentional, whether that be with regards to roasting, packaging, shipping, café aesthetics, or customer relations.

Coffee Notes

This Colombian coffee is from the La Plata project and is a blend of micro-lots from Hula that Onyx Coffee Lab got from Pergamino, who is a “specialty coffee producing company who also works with Associations.” This coffee is made up of Caturra and Bourbon varietals, grown at 1600-1850 meters, and washed processed with the use of raised drying beds. It is a direct trade coffee that was exported by Royal NY.

Onyx Coffee Lab suggests that this is a “Great coffee for a light sweet juicy batch brew or great for pour-over.  [It is] super easy to control the drain time of this coffee.  It performs well in both full immersion or drip brewing.”

Brew Method: Chemex – 50g – Medium Grind (21 on a Baratza Encore) – 800ml Water – 203*F – 5min Brew Time

Analysis: At first sight, the beans look just a tad darker than cinnamon. Regarding the dry aroma, Colombia La Plata began with strong floral notes, like honeysuckle, and maybe coffee blossom, alongside some very pleasant lemon notes. These notes, though, took a backseat to vanilla bean and plum as water was added.

Being marked by medium acidity, medium+ body, and medium-high sweetness, this coffee was quite balanced, though quite complex as well. The flavor maintained strong notes of vanilla bean and plum, with added nuttiness and lighter floral notes. The aftertaste, though, pulled forward those  nutty flavors, like pecan and maybe hazelnut, alongside strong notes of vanilla bean.

While this coffee wasn’t as exciting as Onyx Coffee Lab’s Kenyan, it was still a fantastic coffee. It was an easy drinking coffee that I would suggest to anyone, but especially those who are not particularly keen on fruity coffees with high acidity.

Colombia La Plata can be purchased over at Onyx Coffee Lab’s website for $16.50.

Thanks again or the review beans, Onyx Coffee Lab!

Onyx Coffee Lab: Kenya Nyeri Barichu

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When most people think of Arkansas, they think of rock climbing, backpacking, canoeing, spelunking, the Razorbacks, and, of course, Walmart. Onyx Coffee Lab, though, based out of Springdale, Arkansas, with cafés also in Fayetteville and Bentonville, are making such a name for themselves that coffee is now making that list. And if it isn’t on your list, then you should definitely check them out.

Onyx Coffee Lab is a small batch coffee roasting company who sources coffee ethically and skillfully mixes science and artisanship to bring about great coffees.

Throughout my coffee journeys, I had heard so many wonderful things about Onyx Coffee Lab, but I never had the chance to try any of their coffees. Thankfully, that has now changed. When writing this post, I have tried three of the four coffees that Onyx sent me in exchange for reviews. And all three of them have been superb; so great that I would consider them one of my favorite roasters at this time!

Not only are they great at roasting coffee, their cafés are known for being extremely intentional in all that they do. An article on Spurge back in January 2016 said, “Onyx Bentonville is more coffee showroom than coffee shop, an exercise in grandeur, and it’s something Southern cafe cultures need more of.” Yet the focus on aesthetics does not end with the building, Onyx Coffee Lab’s packaging for their coffees is marvelous. They clearly did not skimp on the bags, or even the boxes that the bags are sent in. But that is not the end of their focus on aesthetics either, because Onyx Coffee Lab is also known for having extreme care for drink presentation, creating drinks like the S’mores Gibraltar.

On top of this, I must note that the roast date on the coffees that I received were 7/25, and I received them on 7/27, which is really impressive. One of the issues that I run into with reviewing coffee is the time between roasting and receiving, so I was especially surprised and grateful for this!

Coffee Notes

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The first coffee that I will be reviewing in this post is their Kenya Nyeri Barichu. This coffee is a Kenyan Washed processed coffee, meaning that it includes both wet and dry fermentation. This coffee is a blend from the Barichu Cooperative in the Nyeri Region of Kenya, specifically from the Karatina washing station near the Ragati River. This cooperative, Barichu Farmers Cooperative Society, consists of 972 coffee producers who grow both SL-28 and SL-34 varieties (the notes on the bag also included Ruiru 11). Onyx Coffee Lab contracted this coffee from Red Fox Coffee Merchants. All of this extremely helpful information can be found on Onyx Coffee Lab’s website.

Brew Method: Chemex – 50g Coffee – Medium Grind (21 on a Barazta Encore) – 800mL Water – 203*F – 5min Brew Time

Analysis: Upon looking at the whole beans, it is clear that they were roasted very consistently to a lighter, maybe cinnamon, roast. The dry and wet aromas were beautifully complex. Fruity and creamy, with notes of wine, honey, lycheee, rose, peach, blackcurrant, vanilla, Crème Brûlée, and almond extract. Flavor notes included many of the above, but emphasized wine, Créme Brûlée, and grapefruit. I literally did not smell grapefruit when analyzing the dry and wet aromas, and I figured that the bags description of grapefruit was simply a way of speaking of the acidity. But after the water was added, and it began to cool enough to taste, grapefruit became quite prominent. It had a nice medium+ body, sporting a creamy mouthfeel, and had loads of sweetness, which seemed to balance this cup exceptionally well with the high level of acidity, which was also similar to a grapefruit.

The bag says mouth-watering, and I definitely agree. I truly want more of this coffee!

This bag can be purchased on their website for $18.50, which I think is definitely worth it!

Thanks for the review beans, Onyx Coffee Lab! It is clear that you did not settle for good enough!

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Coffee Shop Review: Bold Bean Coffee Roasters

IMG_3443_FotorJacksonville is known for many things, but if you find yourself involved in the specialty coffee world, Bold Bean Coffee Roasters is the first thing that comes to mind. With a goal of “sourcing, roasting and serving outstanding coffees every day,” Bold Bean finds itself growing quickly. They currently have two cafés and a roasting facility, as well as plans for a third café coming to San Marco in the near future, and dreams of opening a downtown location further in the future.

The café that my wife and I visited was the Riverside location on Stockton Street, which was actually Bold Bean’s first location, starting in December 2011. Upon walking through the front door, the menu is immediately to the left, taking up the entire wall, and the cashier is directly in front of the door.

Then, pleasantly, we were greeted by an extremely nice cashier, who was more than happy to answer all the questions I had about their espresso. He told me that they had two options for espresso, one being a blend and the other being a single-origin, I think Brazil. I was curious as to what their blend was like, so I went with a double espresso, while my wife, who was feeling the Florida heat, went with an iced coffee. Bold Bean also had some tasty-looking treats as well as an attractive pour-over bar, but we didn’t have the opportunity to try those.

Nevertheless, after ordering our drinks, the cashier immediately prepared the iced coffee, which was completed by putting ice inside a cup and pouring coffee over it from a urn right behind him. I’m guessing that they use the “Japanese Iced Coffee” method with a batch brewer. Anyway, while he did that, the barista on bar prepared my double espresso.

It was clear that Bold Bean stays on top of what’s hot with regard to equipment, as they were sporting a beautiful 3-group Slayer Espresso Machine, two Peak Grinders, and an Acaia Lunar Espresso Scale. And, as mentioned before, I’m always a fan of cafés that use bottomless portafilters, because usually those are the ones that are actually worried about channeling; and, in fact, Bold Bean used them very well.

My wife’s iced coffee was okay, nothing to write home about, but we did enjoy it. My espresso, on the other hand, was fantastic. They served it with homemade carbonated water and a spoon. It was so so so sweet, super tangy, quite bright, and offered major notes of citrus as well as a bit of chocolate. It was so tangy that it was almost sour, but not sour in an under-extracted kind of way. The lingering aftertaste definitely left me satisfied and wanting to order another one before we left.

In the end, we left Bold Bean feeling like it lived up to all the hype. We were grateful for our coffees, as well as our experience with the baristas and the atmosphere of the café.

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Coffee Shop Review: The Coffee Fox

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There are definitely a few things that I think of when it comes to Savannah, GA. Just saying the name Savannah leads me to think of The Office, when Andy corrects Pam, because she is clearly using a Florida Panhandle accent, rather than a Savannah accent. More seriously, though, I think of beautiful buildings, cobblestone streets, and great food. And, sadly, I also think of the terrible aspects of history, specifically regarding slavery.

Nevertheless, before going to any city, I always map out which coffee shops to hit up. And because The Coffee Fox showed up first in my searches, it was at the top of my list. Actually, while searching for coffee shops, I found an article from Gear Patrol that listed The Coffee Fox as among the “25 Best Coffee Shops in America.”

The Coffee Fox, in fact, is a craft coffee house that is located downtown. And to my surprise, the Airbnb that we stayed in was literally across the street. So, after getting parked and unpacked, we headed straight over.

During our first visit, I got a Macchiato, and my wife got a Horchata Latte.  The macchiato was pretty good. It was both fruity and nutty, with a creamy mouthfeel. But there was a tad bit of bitterness that made it seem a little over-extracted. My wife loved the Horchata Latte! The Horchata that they use for this latte is milk based, being sweetened with vanilla and cinnamon. Also, interestingly, we were told by the barista that Horchata Lattes are hard to find outside of Texas.

Then, during our second visit, I got two shots of espresso, and my wife got an Iced Horchata Latte. My shots of espresso were fantastic. They were pulled by a different barista than the night before; he gave, gratefully, meticulous attention to detail. The first pull ran a bit long, and I was thankful to see that he dumped it out even though there was a line of people behind us. The second pull, however, was spot on, and my tongue could definitely tell. It was super sweet, very fruity, like strawberry and orange, while retaining a bit of nuttiness and a creamy, buttery mouthfeel. (A “buttery” mouthfeel seems completely appropriate, since Paula Dean’s restaurant, The Lady and Sons, is right around the corner.)

On top of all of these drinks, I was also able to try the affogato, which was wonderful, considering how hot it was in Savannah, as well as the cortadito, which is 2oz of espresso pulled with sugar and 2oz of steamed milk. All of those were pretty nice, though it seemed like it was a little dependent upon who was behind the bar.

The Coffee Fox also offers pour-overs, cold brew, nitro cold brew, snacks, cheese boards, beer, and wine. On top of this, you can purchase mugs, brewing equipment, coffee (roasted by Perc Coffee Roasters), and even small Arabica coffee plants for growing coffee indoors.

In the end, if you are in or near Savannah, The Coffee Fox is definitely a place that you should check out. Do be prepared, though, not to be able to find a seat. With that said, while there is limited seating, The Coffee Fox’s location is perfect for those who want to walk around while sipping on a nice cup of coffee.

War Eagle Coffee Co: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe

IMG_3579_FotorWar Eagle, Arkansas is a small community in Benton County, the closest community to War Eagle Bridge. War Eagle is known for two things, War Eagle Mill, which was built in 1832 and is still used today, and War Eagle Bridge, which is a one lane steel bridge that was built in 1907. Deemed worthy of preservation, War Eagle Bridge finds itself on the National Register of Historic Places. This bridge was actually created because the mill needed a better way to transport their goods to local markets.

Now, with all that said, War Eagle Coffee Co. finds itself next door to the historic War Eagle Mill. In fact, it is the historic War Eagle Bridge that makes up War Eagle Coffee’s logo.

This bridge, though, is not the only inspiration for War Eagle Coffee Co. They are also motivated by passions for quality organic coffee, as well as Fair Trade Certified beans. All of these inspirations push War Eagle Coffee toward a goal of producing “coffee that tastes like it smells,” and toward maintaining a dream of “making the coffee world better…one pound at a time.” On top of all that, the owner, Cameron Covey, who started roasting in late 2012, is extremely passionate about making fresh roasted coffee as affordable as possible.

Thanks to War Eagle Coffee Co., I was able to receive a 1/2lb bag in exchange for this review. After looking at all of the options, I went with their Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee. As their website acknowledges, War Eagle Coffee roasts on the weekends and ships on Mondays, via USPS or UPS, with a goal of receiving it in 2-4 business days. With that said, I definitely received the 1/2lb bag of coffee way before the 2-3 week mark where coffee loses much of its good qualities. Also, when purchasing from their website, there is the option to suggest a different roast date, as well as, interestingly, a different roast level.

Coffee Notes

As the pictures above acknowledge, I decided to brew this Ethiopian Yirgacheffe with a Chemex. After getting everything ready, I opened the bag and found a roast much darker than I expected. I did later find out that War Eagle Coffee describes this coffee’s roast profile as “Full City,” which, though it is subjective, I classify as a Medium-Dark. Anyway, the beans were definitely Full City, in that they were a darker color with spots of oil on their surfaces.

Although it was darker than I expected, it was not unpleasant. Aside from some extra bitterness, it was quite balanced. The aroma and flavor matched the darker roast profile, turning up those bassy notes, while softening the treble. There were quite clear notes of chocolate, cinnamon, soy sauce, and honey, with fainter notes of raspberry, lavender, and maybe rose. Also, it noticeably sweetened as it cooled down, which was nice.

In the end, I would suggest War Eagle Coffee’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe to those who like darker roasted coffees that still retain some of their origin’s flavor and aroma notes.

With all that said, I am looking forward to seeing what else War Eagle Coffee Co. has in store for the coffee community at large. I’m excited to see them continue to grow as a company in the coming years, and wish Cameron Covey all the best! Thanks again for the review beans!

Coffee Shop Review: Trade and Lore Coffee

IMG_3404In Asheville, NC, where the coffee scene had been stainedTrade and Lore Coffee came along to fill the much-needed specialty coffee gap. Thanks to Barista Magazine, for publishing an article about this wonderful place, my wife and I were able to plan ahead and make a pitstop on our way to a wedding near Savannah, GA.

In response to the unveiling of misogynistic owners of a different coffee shop, which closed soon after, Trade and Lore Coffee seeks to bring specialty coffee, roasted by local roasters (including a constant flow from Mountain Air Roasting), alongside a heart for “empowering and providing a space for community enrichment.”

Upon walking up to the front door, that speciality coffee shop feel we all desire is definitely present. The beautiful brick walls, antiqued furniture, and hanging lights make this place feel both inviting and comfortable.

On this visit, my wife and I both ordered, essentially, cortados, with 2oz of espresso and 2oz of milk. Just like Steadfast in Nashville, the menu doesn’t include the names of traditional espresso-based drinks, like macchiato or latte. Rather, you can order an espresso with 2, 4, or 6 ounces of milk.

IMG_3409The cortados that we ordered looked nice, and tasted just okay. I like to try at least one drink with steamed milk just to see how coffee shops do with presentation, and Trade and Lore did pretty well. But as I watched the barista pull the shots for our drinks, the shots looked especially pale and weak. And upon tasting our drinks, you could easily tell that they weren’t the best shots of espresso; both drinks tasted under-extracted: sour and lacking sweetness.

The odd thing, though, was that the person behind us ordered a shot of espresso, and it was pulled on a La Marzocco GS3, with an Acaia Lunar scale, while our drinks were pulled on, I think, a 2-group Linea, without a scale. I do know that some specialty coffee shops don’t care about espresso drinks with milk as much as they do about straight shots of espresso. Whatever the case, it was noticeable.

While our drinks may not have been the best we’ve ever had, we really did enjoy our time at Trade and Lore. We greatly appreciated their passion and heart for the community, as well as their supporting of social justice causes. We were also particularly grateful for the bar flow; their setup allowed for quality interaction with the barista preparing our drinks.

In the end, definitely a place that you should check out, if you get the chance. And when you are finished, be sure to take advantage of their recycling and composting bins!