March Coffee

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I’ve been travelling a lot in the last month, which means the March coffee club review is coming a bit late. But this also means I’ve managed to source some nice coffee along the way!

In February I visited New Orleans, which from what I’ve read, doesn’t have the biggest specialty coffee scene. This couldn’t be further from the truth! …with a small caveat. It’s likely a visitor is going to stay closer to the tourist areas around the French Quarter, and aside from Spitfire Coffee, I had a hard time finding anything that great. However, if you are interested in exploring the neighborhoods surrounding the small pocket that is the French Quarter, there are plenty of great spots to check out.

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This month I’m bringing back beans from Mojo, HEY! and Stumptown (which I know is not a native NOLA roaster), and by subscriber request, they skew to the more traditional, dark-and-chocolaty flavors.

The Stumptown is a sweet and syrupy Ecuador with a bit of a grape or plum. I’ve really enjoyed this as a pour-over. I found it hard to over-extract, so would recommend 17 g of a-bit-finer-than-usual grind with about 300 g of water. For me, this took a little longer to percolate than usual, but I was happy with the results.

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I brought back some Mexican beans from HEY! and this was the darkest, heaviest of the bunch. It’s toasty and chocolaty, but easy to overdo it (maybe because it’s a natural wash). I had the best luck with a coarse grind in my French press. As long as you don’t leave it too long (start around 3 minutes), 15 g beans to 250 g water seemed good.

 

Feb19_mojofront-01Finally, Mojo had a nice Uganda available. It reminded me a lot of the HEY! beans, but a lot easier to get right, and a lot smoother. While the HEY! beans were heavy on the chocolate (or maybe cacao to be a little more specific), the Mojo had a bit more spice to it. I was happy with my typical pour-over recipe of 15 g coffee (medium-fine grind), with 250 g water.

I hope you enjoy tasting these coffees as much as I enjoyed finding them! While the shipping period for these ones is now closed, there is still some time to sign up for April. This month I went to Boston for a physics conference and just so happened to taste some of the best coffee I have ever had.

If you are interested in the coffee scene around New Orleans, I will be posting a bit of a travel report (including some breweries and veggie restaurants) in the next couple weeks.

PS. You might be wondering what that yellow bag is in the back. Apparently The South traditionally likes to add chicory to their coffee, so I figured I ought to try it. I can say definitively, that I do not like to add chicory to my coffee, so I won’t be sending any of that out. In the spirit of scientific discovery, even a failed experiment can be a learning experience. So before I give up on the chicory, the roaster recommends trying it as a cold-brew. Results to follow…

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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