finding the perfect cup

Coffee Cupping

Artisan coffee shops are everywhere, and the “art” and “science” behind preparing and brewing coffee is becoming increasingly popular. How do coffee roasters figure out how they want to brew their coffee when each set of beans are different?

I recently learned about cupping coffee. Roasters use this method to figure out the flavor profile of different kinds of coffee.

This is one of the very first steps to figuring out how to find that perfect cup of coffee with the beans you’ve purchased.

Here’s one way you can do it at home to learn more about the coffee you’re drinking every morning.

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My new coffee love

This week I became obsessed with Vietnamese iced coffee. It’s usually made with Vietnamese, dark-roast beans that are brewed using a small French drip. Once the coffee is brewed, it’s mixed with sweetened condensed milk.

At first I was skeptical. I thought the condensed milk would be way too sweet. I don’t like my coffee to taste sugary. I’m not about that Starbucks frappuccino life.

But it turned out that the coffee was very strong. So the sweetness of the condensed milk and the bitterness of the coffee were perfectly balanced. The drink also gave me an intense caffeine high combined with a sugar high, which resulted in a very productive afternoon.

I’m totally hooked.

This introduction was made with perfect timing since we’re getting closer to summertime. Vietnamese iced coffee will definitely be my drink for Summer 2015.

What’s the deal with buttered coffee?

There’s been a lot of hype over buttered coffee or Bulletproof Coffee this year. Instead of using milk, sugar or creamer, people are mixing their black coffee with unsalted, grass-fed butter and MCT oil.

Dave Asprey, founder and CEO of Bulletproof Coffee, claims that his recipe is a healthier alternative to drinking regular coffee. The caffeine high is supposed to last longer, and there’s no crash when it eventually ends.

I’m not sure I buy it. But my some of my favorite people at Buzzfeed video tried it out a little while ago, and most of them seemed to like it.

What I’m still unsure about is the supposed added health benefits. Replacing breakfast with buttered coffee every morning just doesn’t sit right with me. Yes, saturated fat isn’t as evil as the majority of people might believe. At least it isn’t evil in moderation.

If someone has high cholesterol or if they aren’t monitoring their saturated fat intake throughout the day to compensate for the high dosage they’ve taken with their morning joe, there could be problems.

I might try buttered coffee every once in a while as a treat, but I definitely wouldn’t have it replace my daily morning cup of good old fashioned java.

Coffee in Space

I heard an interesting story while driving in my car the other morning.

The International Space Station will receive an espresso maker.

HOW COOL IS THAT?!

Until now, the only coffee available in space was instant, which we all know is the worst.

Here’s how the astronauts will be able to drink the coffee.

Thank you Buzzfeed.

I’m going to be ashamed to admit this…

But I’m hopelessly addicted to Buzzfeed. I check it probably six to seven times a day. (Okay, that might be a conservative estimate, but still.) I’m mostly obsessed with Buzzfeed video.

This week they posted the most genius way to make a milkshake with coffee, and I decided to give it a try.

On Friday afternoon I arrived at the drive-through window of Starbucks, and I ordered a venti black coffee. I then made my way to the grocery store, and I picked up some ice cream sandwiches. I decided on the mini sandwiches, because I thought they might be easier to blend.

I then made this concoction.

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It was incredible. I couldn’t finish the entire glass at once, which was probably a good thing because it had five mini ice cream sandwiches. But I was very pleased.

The video doesn’t give exact measurements, but I was pretty heavy on the coffee. I really wanted it to be a coffee milkshake.

I also found another post yesterday that gave different recipes for new ways to drink coffee.

I might have to try a few of them out.

Latte Art

I’ve never been an artistic person, and I’m always in awe of what other people create. I’m memorized by latte art, and I assumed that it would be a difficult task that takes some skill.

Macy's European Coffeehouse, Flagstaff, AZ. August 2012

Macy’s European Coffeehouse, Flagstaff, AZ. August 2012

Kaldi's Coffee, Columbia, MO. April 2015

Kaldi’s Coffee, Columbia, MO. April 2015

But after watching this video, I realized just how much goes into creating these designs. Now I feel so much more appreciative latte art.

Coffee on Break

For spring break, I went home to my hometown Phoenix, AZ. There are plenty of coffee houses around my neighborhood, and I decided to try a new one. My mom’s favorite place by our house is called Daisy Mountain Coffee. She’s been telling me about it for months. So I decided to check it out while I was in town. I wasn’t very impressed by the coffee. They definitely burned the beans during the roasting process, and the coffee was way too bitter.

But I will say that they had these delicious little scones. I can definitely understand why my mom likes the place so much. The atmosphere is very laid back and relaxing, and the baristas were very nice. My mom is always making friends everywhere she goes, and they remembered her. But the coffee was not great.

I did have a great time at my usual coffee place in town. Elevate Coffee is one of my favorite places to hang out with friends and catch up on work. Anytime I’m in town, I spend a good amount of time there with a group of high school friends that I’ve kept in touch with.

The owners served a new blend that I really liked. It’s called Mexican Chiapas. The barista told me the beans were organic and fair trade. The idea of “organic” beans doesn’t mean anything to me, but I did like the fact that they were fair trade. It was a more mild blend, but it was fresh and light. It was the perfect cup of coffee for an afternoon meeting with friends.

Of course I also had my fair share of Starbucks lattes while I was on break.

But my favorite cup of coffee was actually from the Cheescake Factory. The coffee was bold, and rich and went perfectly with my piece of Dulce de Leche cheescake. Though I will say that coffee always tastes the best when it’s paired with a treat.

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