Monthly Archives: June 2012

Summer School

| June 29, 2012

School’s out for summer but Vita’s Public Brewing School is always in session. Join us July 28th when we’ll feature home brewing methods like Chemex, pour over, French press, Bialetti, and siphon. We will also cover Aero press and show you how to make simple and delicious cold brew at home!

To enroll, email your info and the number of attendees to

Eatocracy: Ross on Cold Brew

| June 25, 2012
Ross demonstrates hot brewing techniques at Public Brewing School.

Vita’s own lead trainer and barista extraordinaire Ross Beamish was recently featured on CNN’s Eatocracy with 5 tips for perfect cold brew:

Five Ways to Enjoy Cold-Brew Coffee

1. Order a cup of cold brew from a coffee shop that makes it 

This really is the best introduction, and the most consistent way to try different blends and coffee origins. Cold brew is made in a high volume, multi-filtered basin, usually one trademarked by the Toddy company (you will hear cold brew sometimes referred to as a “Toddy”). 

A large quantity of medium blend, coarsely ground coffee (5-10 lbs) sits in cold, filtered water and brews from 12-24 hours depending on a variety of factors and variables all carefully calculated by coffee company nerds in quest for the perfect product. 

Because of the nature of cold extraction, the absence of heat brings out specific flavors in coffee beans characteristic to their origin in exciting ways. Some single-origin coffees make for a tasty and interesting cold brew. As with hot coffee, people develop their favorite cold-brew origins. 

2. Try a Kyoto-style cold-brew drip 

This is another cold-brew method, only more specialized (OK, way more specialized). Kyoto-style coffee is produced out of a Japanese crafted “Oji” machine, an impressively eye-catching contraption that looks like something Kevin Costner would have searched out in “Waterworld.” 

It’s tall, fragile, made of glass bulbs, brass, nylon netting and stained oak. The Oji brews a 6-cup batch (1500 cc) of cold-brew coffee, literally drip by drip – 48 drips a minute – to ensure the right time to volume, about seven hours.
Because of the extremely high caffeine content and size of the batches, Kyoto is served in four-ounce servings over ice. This method produces a light body and a deep sweetness that’s always highlighted when brewing cold. First timers are always surprised by the smoky or cask flavor, often comparing the brew to flavors of a scotch or whiskey. 

3. Make cold brew at home using a French press 

Start with a clean, dry French press (6 cup or larger) and add one half pound of coarsely ground coffee. (Conveniently, a French press grind works optimally.) Add 5 cups of cold, filtered water and stir gently. Cover the top of the press with a towel or plastic wrap and let it sit (brew) for 8 hours. 

After the brew time has completed, plunge the French press as normal. You’ll want to select a vessel to decant the coffee into, a mason jar with a lid works well. Pour the brewed coffee through a mesh strainer into the container and store in the fridge, the brew will keep well for up to a week. 

To serve, dilute two parts cold filtered water to one part cold brew and serve on ice. You can dilute the cold brew with milk for a creamier product. 

4. Now that you have cold brew in your fridge, make a cold-brew cocktail 

Via this recipe adapted from The PDT Cocktail Book: 

Jack Black 

1.5 oz cognac (Recommended brand: Pierre Ferrand Ambre)
.5 oz Kirschwasser (Recommended brand: Clear Creek)
.5 oz coffee concentrate
.25 oz simple syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with three cherries on a pick. 

5. Try making quick and easy coffee ice-cubes 

If you’re in a crunch for time, you can still give your iced coffee a boost with coffee ice cubes. Start by brewing coffee at home and placing it in the fridge to chill. Remove half of the batch and pour it into ice cube trays. Leave the second half in the fridge and once the coffee cubes are frozen, simply combine the two. Typical ice cubes dilute the coffee’s flavor as they melt, but this quick fix ensures pure iced coffee that boasts fuller flavor all summer long.

Read more here.

Valle de Chanchamayo

| June 14, 2012
Greetings from the high jungle of Central Peru, where the coffee harvest has commenced and will continue towards peak productivity in the coming months.  Peru is blessed with some of the most magnificent terrain in all of the world, with the drive from the dry desert Pacific coast traversing snowcapped mountains before descending into the fertile valleys of high jungle and then onward to the sweltering, lush Amazon basin.  Peru ranks fifth in the world in Arabica coffee production with its suitable land for cultivation running the length of the eastern slopes of the Andes for thousands of miles.  I am currently in the Central growing region of Chanchamayo, and will continue my journey southward in the coming days. Travel here is time consuming; in the days I have been here I’ve likely spent half of my waking time in a car.   

Though Peru is a prolific producer of coffee, the farmers and producers of Peru are eager to elevate its reputation for quality.  In the coffee industry, Peru is primarily known as an origin that produces a large volume of organic and fair trade certified coffees, with consistently average cup quality.  It has satisfied consuming nation’s demand for certification, but has yet to become known for truly remarkable and memorable coffees.  This isn’t for lack of suitable land or dedicated farmers, but has more to do with the existing infrastructure and culture of coffee that exists.  The incentive for quality has not been provided, when the demand has been primarily for certified coffees destined for blends.  Our goal here is to find either a farm or community of farmers whom we can offer a premium on the basis of quality and then collaborate with a mill and exporter who is willing to guide our coffee through to the port and onward to Seattle. 

In the Chanchamayo growing region there exist the older estates of Villa Rica, as well as many cooperatives that have been established to supply certified coffees.  Though the cooperatives have done much for the community here, they do not appear to have the capacity to work in separating micro-regions of the highest quality and keep these lots separate throughout the milling processes.  I have gathered samples and visited some smaller estates in the area that have shown great promise in the early harvest cups I’ve tasted, including one fascinating biodynamic farm with an extraordinary composting system.  These are farms that could work directly with Caffe Vita and in the following weeks we will continue to evaluate and consider them as potential partners.  For now however, I must continue on to the southern region of La Convencion – the travel from here will take almost two full days.