Take a look inside any Houston coffee shop or café and you will find customers chatting over cups of coffee or espresso drinks. Some may be black or small shots of espresso but most are bigger cups with crafted rosetta or heart shapes decorating the surface of the drink. Depending on what you order you may receive a creamy warmth or a caramelized textured experience as you savor your drink. The two main ingredients that create these sweet and satisfying drinks are obvious: espresso and milk. Most of us know that the espresso comes from carefully sourced coffee beans. Importers, roasters, and sometimes shop owners carefully check the quality of the bean at it’s source, as well as the process used to harvest them. If such care is taken with the espresso, then why not the same with the milk? Why not go to milk origin and discover the quality and process of harvesting coffee’s important companion.
I am willing to bet that at least every other day a new food truck appears on the scene in Houston. Add that to the army of existing trucks and it can be hard to stand out among the rest. So, when a new truck opens up that happens to be a ‘57 Cadillac pulling a ‘62 Shasta camper and serves espresso drinks it has no problem making headlines. The real news, I discovered after chatting with Cadillac Coffee owners Meghan Ackerman and Austin Lane, is that the retro theme is no gimmick and not their focus either. Quality, hand-crafted coffee drinks are what they want to give their customers and not just a show. Continue reading
Houston has such a diverse mixture of cultures that you can drive 10 minutes in any direction and be able to sample food from any part of the world. So, it’s not surprising that you can also find different coffee recipes from around the world as well. Every culture has their own variation of coffee, whether for ceremony or just to cover the taste of burnt low quality beans. Today I’m starting a series that I will be updating periodically, focusing on the different ethnic coffee drinks that you can find in Houston.
Spring-time weather has arrived in Houston! Well, at least for a couple of days anyway and that means it’s time to start thinking about how to cool off during the coming summer. For coffee drinkers that means switching to a cold version of our favorite hot drink. I’ve been trying quite a few lately around town, and found a wide variety of tastes. Some are punch-you-in-the-face bold while others are like a cool towel carefully draped on your face after a close shave. The difference in taste depends, of course, on the beans used but also is affected by the brewing method. I think that the best version I have tasted so far is the Japanese iced pour-over. Continue reading
Enthusiast, lover, junkie….call me what you will but please do not call me a coffee snob. When I hear that phrase I always cringe as if someone had run their fingernails down a chalk board. The stereotype of a stuck up, too good for anything that hasn’t been pooped out of a civet just doesn’t apply to me or many other coffee lovers. I do love coffee, passionately. I do drink special (not Folgers or McDonalds) coffee from places lots of people have never heard of. I do eagerly talk about my love for coffee to others and encourage them to try it as well. So, if you want to compare me to someone then make it the cosplayers who spend hours making costumes, or the Trekkors who learn how to speak a language from a fictional universe. The extent of my passion is no different from theirs. Continue reading
Coffee shops have long been favorite meeting places for everyone from revolutionaries, and politicians, to friends and family. In recent years, with the addition of free wi-fi, coffee shops have become a place to be secluded with your device. Paper Co. Coffee is one shop that is trying to change that by encouraging their customers to share their stories. “Everybody has a story. We want everybody to hang out and talk and share their story about their lives,” Dave Foong Paper Co.’s coffee shop manager tells me. After sitting down with Dave and their coffee supplier Josely, head roaster for Mueva Coffee, I discovered that there are indeed many stories to tell here. Continue reading
PBS NewsHour recently broadcasted this piece about Houston importing more beans than any other location outside of New York and what that means for local coffee roasters and boutiques. It’s a great little piece that just touches the tip of the ice berg of what’s going on in Houston.
Comedy sketch group Nacho Punch has produced a video poking fun at “Hipsters” and their stereotypical complicated coffee order. It’s definitely hilarious, and it isn’t far from the truth of what people outside of the coffee world think about coffee house patrons. Everyone that knows me have similar things to say about my “frou frou” coffee drinking habits but with me and many others the stereotypical is far from being true.
My love for coffee isn’t based on the milk based espresso drinks but actual “black” single-origin coffees. I enjoy the unique tastes that the different coffee regions and farms produce. It’s not snobbery but discovery that best describes my coffee habits. And yes I would buy a coffee if I thought it would help people less fortunate than me, and that’s exactly what I hope happens with each cup I buy. I believe that by drinking coffee that come from micro-lots and small farms I do help the farmers and communities that are supported by them. It doesn’t have to be a particular brand that will supply water for each pound but each farm we support that helps.
There is absolutely have no problem with the cartoons and videos that poke fun at the coffee world. I laugh just as much as everyone else does at them because I worked at Starbucks for a short time and have seen my fair share of over the top requests. I just hope that people realize that there are a lot of us “hipsters” or “snobs” who are really just people who have passion for what we love and the people that produce it.
I stopped by the Mercantile’s new Montrose location this morning while they are having their soft opening this week and sampled a shot of their Espresso. It was well prepared by David and accompanied by a nice chat about what the new location will have that the Rice Village location doesn’t (parking and indoor seating.) The shot I had was from Houston’s Amaya Roasting Company but they plan on having beans available from other National roasters as well like Portland’s Stumptown and Chicago’s Intelligentsia. Mercantile Montrose is located at 3321 Stanford, just off of Montrose Dr. The place looks great and I’m looking forward to their grand opening!