New Orleans #2

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It’s been a few days since we arrived in New Orleans. We’ve managed to visit a few really good coffee shops, take down a couple really good cocktails, and only found ourselves on the wrong side of one (1) hangover.

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What really stands out to me is the contrast between their classic, indulgent architecture which has lasted for hundreds of years, and the hanging-on-by-a-thread damage that a lot of buildings have sustained. It sort of feels like I’m witnessing the last days of something great, though I know the people won’t let that happen.

I’ve also noticed, and this makes a lot of sense, that cold brew is very big here. Our first specialty coffee stop was Spitfire Coffee in the French Quarter. This is the big Mardi Gras, tourist-y neighborhood, so I would imagine rent is very high. Spitfire makes due with a small closet which seats four at the most. Not a problem, since you really want to be walking around this area. I don’t recall anything about their beans, but I do remember it being subtley sweet and very chocolately, something hard to accomplish with anything but a true cold-brew process. The barista working had a lot of good suggestions when it came to specialty coffee, and was legitimately excited to tell us about his favorite spots.

For the rest of the afternoon, we slowly made our way across town into the Garden District. We stopped in a few bars and a few parks along the way. Most notably, a writer-themed bar called Backspace and Louis Armstrong park,

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The Garden District, as you may imagine, was lovely. It is on the other side of town from the French Quarter, and as such, much cleaner, and much more relaxed. Now by cleaner, what I mean is that there is less trash strewn about and the houses appear newer and in better condition. That doesn’t mean it lacks things like residential chickens, because it most certainly has those.

Our coffee stops in the Garden District included Cherry Coffee Roasters, and Mojo coffeehouse. Both pulled really nice espresso blends, and offered many single-origin beans to take home. Mojo was pretty busy when we went, but the barista serving us was quite pleasant and… possibly Australian. We spent more time at Cherry, taking a bit of a break from all of the walking. It was much less busy here, and we had the opportunity to chat with the only barista working that afternoon. She suggested we check out the Bywater and 9th Ward neighborhoods for their waterfront parks and generally artsy-ness.

We spent the whole day out, and saw a lot of street performers along the way. Two highlights; a band called Holy Locust (they are on Spotify) and this group of brass players on Frenchmen street.

 

FYI, the first beans being sent out for the March coffee club have been picked, and they are from Mojo. I am really looking forward to sharing these with y’all. If you’d like to try some, join the club over on Patreon.

 

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New Orleans #1

Andrea and I left Hamilton at 5:00 pm on Friday after grabbing some American dollars and road beans from Durand. We decided not to obsess about the time we left since we would be driving through the night no matter what.

I’ve been fantasizing about a long, non-stop drive since discovering Dream Whip, at the recommendation of Dave at King West books. The idea of crossing the country, and having as much time and space as you’d like sounded ideal.

Part of this fantasy included having a nice coffee early in the morning among strange, foreign scenery, far away from anything familiar. I’m currently writing a guide to making coffee outside and figured this would be an ideal time to test some things. I packed my kettle, camp stove, and French press and planned on stopping somewhere off the highway to watch the sun rise.

Our first coffee stop was in Ohio. We were just getting the kettle filled with the water we brought when I realized I had forgot gas for the stove.

Plan B was to ask for hot water at rest stops and gas stations. Part of the article was going to focus on where and how to get the resources you are missing. It turns out getting hot water is exceedingly easy. Provided you are satisfied brewing at a rest stop rather than the edge of a cliff, all you really need is a cup, your brewing device, beans and a hand grinder. Typically you can get hot water for free anywhere coffee is sold.

Only one person charged us for water. We met a strange, drawling charecateur of a man at 3:00 am in Kentucky, off a forgotten exist, far from the highway. His station was next to a boarded up Motel that oddly still had “Open” sign. After paying, he kept us at the register for a while as he relived the story of a murder-suicide he witnessed two nights ago right at this spot.

Getting back to the highway, we were diverted to a winding, single lane dirt road that seemed to go on forever. There were no lights except from the occasional, distant farmhouse. Part way along, we came across a small group of deer making their way to the other side of the road. We would meet nearly a dozen before we made it back to the I-65 South.

We took our one and only simultaneous break at the edge of Kentucky and Tennessee at 6:00 am. We parked in the back of a truck stop, locked the doors and had an hour nap. Andrea’s car is a late-era Grand Marquis, so the back seat was essentially a double-bed. Waking up with the sun that day was one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced.

We got moving again by 7:00 am, and after a few more coffee stops, we arrived at our AirBnB at 7:00 pm local time, right as one of the many pre-Mardi Gras parades was ending.

Welcome to the club

Hi! I’m Adam, the guy behind A+S. I’m a physics graduate student and coffee lover.

coffee man science glamour model beauty so pure so sexyAs a grad student, I have a professional relationship with coffee. Like many jobs that require long hours and concentration, grad students – even if they were never coffee drinkers before – will eventually find their way to the stuff. “Come on, just try it,” they said. “We need to get all this work done by tomorrow, I think Starbucks is open late,” they said.

I’ve personally never really felt the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine (though I have felt a caffeine OD, a story for another time). Still, my coffee habit really developed in grad school. I found something comforting in having a warm drink while I work. Later I discovered that brewing my own coffee gave me a moment to take a step back, clear my mind, and re-focus. And of course it was fun discovering interesting (and sometimes uniquely horrible) roasts.

I’m not a barista (though I have taken part in the Canadian Aeropress Championships). I don’t have access to all the latest tools, nor the time to perfect the art and science of coffee (I’m currently trying to learn the art and science of science, after all). However, I do appreciate a good cup, enjoy exploring flavors, and have a DIY mentality I bring to pretty much everything I do. I find digging in a figuring out how all this stuff works to be fun and rewarding, but that doesn’t mean you have to. And that’s the reason for this blog. I want help you brew the best coffee with whatever time and tools you have access to, according to your tastes and interest level. There’s no wrong way to take your coffee, and there’s no reason you can’t brew something you love.

If this all sounds good, then welcome to the club! In the following weeks I will be writing and sharing a few basic brew guides (The Office Coffee Guide is already up). I will also be reviewing coffee and gear. If you already have a coffee routine, great! You may be interested in the new cafes and beans I try (I am based in Hamilton Ontario, near Toronto). In the coming weeks I will be visiting New Orleans and Boston, drinking and writing about as much coffee as possible.

Finally, if you’d like to try some of the unique beans from my travels and want to support the site, consider joining the Patreon. Patrons will receive three (or more!) different and exciting coffees every month from great roasters around the world- ground, packaged, and vacuum sealed to your specifications.

So there yah go. That’s who I am and what this is all about. Thanks for for reading, and I look forward to (figuratively) diving into all this coffee with you!