Find Great Coffee Secret

Coffee Talk: How to Find Great Coffee

By Adam Craig

I see coffee as an everyday luxury, fresh roasted coffee brewed the way you like it either at home or at your local shop. But what to do when you move to a new neighborhood or travel abroad?

Unfortunately odds are stacked against you stumbling upon a great spot and unfortunately if on vacation you probably won’t get much help from your concierge—I am always stunned how little concierges know about specialty coffee and can understand the frustration of hotel guests communicating their desire for an independent coffee shop, only to be directed to the nearest chain.

You need to do your homework or at least have a trained eye for what to look for to avoid being disappointed. Paying good money for bad coffee can quickly get very irritating.

Tip 1. Do it Like the Pros

When traveling, locate a great coffee shop and then find a good hotel in close proximity. Good coffee everyday and good tips from the baristas for the rest of your stay. You scored big time!

Tip 2. Equipment

You may have noticed that the better shops invest in great equipment. Espresso machine manufacturers such as La Marzocco, Synesso, Kees Van Der Westen are the usual suspects.

If you spot a place with the above, there’s a good chance you have stumbled on a place that will measure up to your expectations.

Now you have found a candidate, it’s time to observe before deciding what to drink.

If the barista is taking pride in his or her work, tamping the coffee, cleaning the porter filter of old grinds after each shot, purging the group head between shots to clean the dispersion screen then order your favorite espresso drink, If this is not the case, a filter style drink may be safer, or consider ordering a herbal tea.

Here are a few of my favorite apps to help you find great coffee on your next trip:

Beanhunter is a site for sharing great coffee experiences and help you discover independent cafes.
Monocle is a lifestyle magazine that hones in on quality establishments.
New York’s Best Coffee is an app that has a great insiders guide for specialty coffee shops in NY.

I wish you success on finding great coffee.

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Cold brew coffee?

Cold-brew coffee gaining popularity

By Paul Stephen

While the method has been around for centuries, few techniques in the world of coffee preparation have enjoyed a mercurial rise in popularity like cold brewing.

A way to extract much of a roasted bean’s flavorful compounds while leaving behind a considerable portion of acidity, cold brewing involves steeping coffee grounds at room temperature in cool water for as long as 24 hours before filtering. The resultant liquor possesses a notably floral aroma and almost sweet flavor thanks to a different chemical profile leached from the beans.

Strolling through the supermarket’s cold beverages aisle can find precious shelving space muscled away from more traditional items to make way for the booming cold brew trend, one that has seen multiple bottlers set up shop in North Carolina alone. Raleigh-based Slingshot Coffee Company founder Jenny Bonchak entered the market in 2012, and growth has been steady.

“Cold brew has certainly gained some popularity,” she said, noting that many get their first exposure to the product while she’s conducting in-store tasting. “It is, however, apparent that it is still a very new concept for a lot of people.”

Often produced as a rich concentrate that is later diluted, cold-brewed coffee is most visible in the form of iced drinks served on sweltering days. Bonchak said the product has year-round appeal, though. Depending on the strength of concentrate, for a hot cup one only needs to add a portion of brew to near-boiling water to obtain a mixture that is within the range of 160-180 degrees many coffee experts feel is ideal for enjoying the beverage.

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