Category Archives: Coffee Tour / Kaffetur

Come along with us and check out a variety of coffee shops in Europe and North America

Kaffetur 25 / Coffee Tour #25: Phoenix Roasters // Coffee That Matters

Some claim that after extended time together, a dog and its owner begin to resemble each other. I have to admit, I’ve seen photos, and the phenomenon does seem to exist!But perhaps the same is true in the professional world. I wonder if maybe an entrepreneur or businessperson becomes more like his or her products the longer the two are together.

Case in point: meet Brian Holland, founder, president, and CEO at Phoenix Roasters. It could be merely coincidence. But just a few minutes with Brian, and you’ll quickly see the similarities between the man and the coffee his company produces.

Highly caffeinated at all times, or merely abounding with endless energy, Brian rarely sits still. And even when his body slows for a moment, he’s at warp-speed in conversation.

But when you spend a few minutes with Brian, you also quickly discover he is a man who is passionate. Passionate about helping those who are struggling or hurting. And passionate about coffee.

And what do you get when you put those passions together? Coffee that matters. It’s the theme of Phoenix Roasters, and the heart of what they do.

Phoenix Roasters is a coffee roasting company operating out of Duluth, Georgia, and distributing coffee throughout the United States.

Phoenix’s goal is to use the proceeds of their sales to support their community-related operations:

  • Phoenix Roasters operates in connection with Phoenix Community of Atlanta, which includes Sunday morning gatherings and weekday community groups taking place in various suburbs of metro Atlanta. These faith-based groups are designed as a place for encouragement, redemption, and transformation – particularly for people who are struggling or hurting.
  • Phoenix spends time in Central America, building relationships with and training coffee growers in several countries. Through their programs, they are teaching methods for growing and cultivating high-quality coffee beans. And by paying a better-than-fair wage, the growers can also better provide for the needs of their families.
  • Phoenix partners with such groups as the Atlanta Mission and in local prison ministries.
  • The Phoenix team can be found throughout the US serving up #CoffeeThatMatters at national conferences like Catalyst and If: Gathering.

 

During our recent time in Georgia, our family stopped by Phoenix’s roasting facilities a couple of times. Their warehouse space is where all of their roasting, packing, and distribution happens, and also the home to one of their Sunday morning groups.

While there, we indulged in Phoenix’s new nitro coffee.

Liquid energy. It’s the best way to describe this coffee concoction. A cold-brewed coffee infused with nitrogen and dispensed from a keg, it offers intense flavor and a lightning-fast caffeine jolt.

And now that I’m back in Norway, I think I’m experiencing Phoenix Nitro withdrawal!

What a great concept: Coffee That Matters. As they state on their website, Phoenix is all about “life transformation through the sale of excellent coffee.” It’s all part of Phoenix’s Cycle of Relief program. And it all points back to the legendary bird for whom the company is named, beautiful imagery that speaks to Brian’s passion for reaching out to those who are broken up and burned up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Learn more…
What is #CoffeeThatMatters: http://phoenixroasters.coffee/about/
Order coffee from Phoenix: http://phoenixroasters.coffee/shop-great-coffee/
Phoenix Community Groups: http://phoenixatl.org/about/
Contact Brian Holland: holland@phoenixatl.org
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kaffetur 24 / Coffee Tour #24: Artisan, London

Artisan. An apt name for a shop serving specialty coffee, if you ask me.

On a recent trip to London, we stopped in Ealing for breakfast, and decided to pop in Artisan for a coffee before we set out to explore the city with Zack’s brother and sister-in-law.

Zack had actually been here before, on a business trip. He’d raved about their smoked salmon sandwich, and spoke highly of their coffee as well.

Walking in, I thought the shop was cute. Fun lighting, lots of seating, great signage, and a nice overall setup. Artisan in Ealing is a perfect blend of rustic, charming, and cozy. But honestly, the charm factor was so high, I found myself feeling less than confident about the coffee itself.

Not to worry! Zack and I decided on a cortado and a V60. Our 13 year old, as he usually does, chose a cold brew. And imagine the delight of our 10 year old when the barista delivered a Babycino to the table for him.

Seriously. Other cafes should take note. Artisan offers a free Babycino for their ‘junior’ customers. It’s a very simple concept: steamed milk, topped with whipped cream, chocolate, and a marshmallow. Simple, and yet, it was totally appreciated by me, and devoured by my little man!

Babycino – yeah, the little man was thrilled!

Our coffee was excellent. Every drink ordered was carefully prepared, and was really delicious. Way better than I expected. Their coffee is just as excellent as their shop is cool.

 

The Ealing location is also home to Artisan’s Coffee School. Wish I could have taken part in one of those!

When in London, I encourage you to take a little side trip to Ealing. The neighborhood itself is full of cool shops and lots of charm. It’s got such a great feel, without all the touristy hoopla.

And Artisan is just icing on the cake – or should I say, crema on the espresso.

Artisan Coffee
(They have four locations… we visited them in Ealing)
32 New Broadway
Ealing, London W5 2XA

Kaffetur 23 / Coffee Tour #23: Attendant Coffee, London

We found the location and walked down the steps, to the underground cafe. 

 

I feel quite confident that this is the strangest location we’ve visited for coffee. You would be hard-pressed to find a weirder one. If you do, please tell me.

Yes, an underground cafe. But that isn’t what makes it so odd. In fact, this coffee shop had a prior life. As a urinal.

 

Urinals. Yep.

No joke. This location was once a men’s public toilet – a Victorian toilet – but has been converted to a charming (albeit wacky) coffee shop.

 

It takes serious effort to suppress the urge to use some major potty humor here…

We arrived at Attendant, and my initial fear was that a place such as this would be so focused on its kitchy-ness, it would not be quite as concerned with quality coffee.

But once we received our drinks, my fears subsided. Attendant has excellent coffee. I enjoyed a cortado, while Zack had a fresh-brewed coffee via AeroPress.

Both were delicious, and I can say that Attendant in the Fitzrovia district of London is well worth a visit. And the only time one will feel comfortable cozying up right next to someone in a urinal, I’m sure!

 

The Attendant
27A Foley Street
London
W1W 6DY
Telephone: 0207 637 37 94

Kaffetur 22 / Coffee Tour #22: Taf Coffee, Athens (Greece)

“Coffee is a sense of energy for your body. One cup of good coffee
is a perfect reason for a good start of your day!”
~Konstantinos Iatridis, barista

Once again, our travel – this time, to Athens – was preceded by the mandatory coffee research. As I began reading, I ran across info about a shop called Taf. And when I saw that one of their baristas, Konstantinos Iatridis, had recently come in second place in the 2015 World Brewers Cup, I knew I wanted to check this place out.

So imagine my surprise when I started chatting with the barista behind the counter, and discovered that he was none other than the World Brewers Cup man himself!

We talked about the recent championship, and about the fact that he came in second to a Norwegian barista from Supreme Roastworks, a fantastic shop in Oslo that we have visited on several occasions.

Konstantinos at work, preparing a delicious V60 filter coffee for us

Iatridis has been in the coffee game for about six years, the last half of that time working in the specialty coffee industry, at Taf Coffee. When asked what sparked his desire to become a barista, one name came up: Stefanos Domatiotis.

Domatiotis is a well-known name in the coffee world, winning the World Barista Championship in 2014, and being named Greek Barista Champion six times. So for Iatridis to be inspired and motivated by the likes of a Stefanos suggests a truly deep passion for coffee.

After spending the day walking all over the city, it was nice to take a break and savor a quality cup of coffee. We found a table outside, and ordered a V60 and an espresso. The V60 was good. Okay, good would be quite an understatement. But Konstantinos impressed me most with the espresso. He offered us several options, and we chose Taf’s Rosebud blend. It is a mix of Ethiopian, Rwandan, and El Salvadorian beans. As our skilled barista explained, Rosebud’s cup profile has a creamy feeling and smooth body, with notes of cherry, apricot and tangerine.

I’ve tried a lot of espressos. I’ve had some that were great, and some that I struggled to finish. But Taf’s Rosebud espresso is one of the best I have ever tasted. It’s a tribute to quality coffee, quality roasting, and a barista who knows what he’s doing!

Konstantinos enjoys being a barista, and it shows in his attitude and his coffee. He loves his job and he loves coffee. He is extremely knowledgeable, and his fantastic people skills make a stop by Taf Coffee all the better.

When asked what he prefers to drink, Konstantinos opts for the coffee he used in the World Brewer Cup championship, a Ninety Plus maker series from Panama. And Iatridis is a coffee purist, preferring a filter coffee over anything else, due to the fact that this methods makes it “easier to realize all the aromas and the characteristics of the coffee.”

Thanks to Konstantinos for his time, expertise, and help in making our afternoon at Taf so very satisfying!

 

Taf Coffee 
Benaki Emmanouil 7-9
Athens, Greece

Kaffetur 21 / Coffee Tour #21: Coffe Baum, Leipzig

Sometimes you visit a place because of good reviews.And sometimes it’s because of a special story.

We read that the oldest coffee house in Europe was in Leipzig, Germany. (I also read that it’s only the second oldest. Either way, it’s old!)

So when Zack found out he’d have a few hours in between train trips with a friend earlier this year, he decided to check it out.

Coffe Baum began serving in 1694. Yeah, it’s been around awhile.

The shop, as it exists today, includes coffee, food, and a museum.

Zack had coffee and a slice of cake. He said he really enjoyed the cake. He and his friend also took a quick walk around the museum, before making their way back to the train station.

Coffee Baum offers something special. Experience. While it probably won’t be the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had, there is something to be said for the historical experience of it all.

 

 

Coffe Baum
Kleine Fleischergasse 4
04109 Leipzig
Germany

Kaffetur 20 / Coffee Tour #20: My Coffee Story

Why do I do this? Why do I share the coffee tour?

Photo: Brown/Evans 2014

We enjoy visiting coffee shops because we like coffee. But also because we like to hear the stories of the people who work there, of the people who started the shop.

Sometimes it’s about their interest in coffee. Sometimes it’s stories of the beans, of the farmers, of dreams, of relationships.

I consider myself a bit of a storyteller. And I love hearing stories. That’s what this is really about: stories.

And so today, I thought I would share my
own coffee story.

Growing up, my parents never drank coffee. My dad still doesn’t drink it, while my mom will have a coffee drink from time to time.

But I vividly remember coffee as a child. When I was small, I spent quite a few of my weekends – possibly the majority of them – with either my grandparents or my great-grandparents. As the oldest of the grandkids and because we lived close by, I found myself there quite often.

I would often sleep over on Friday nights. It was fun to play games and watch TV together. We’d sometimes go out for ice cream in the evening. And when I was with my grandparents, I looked forward to the possibility of staying up with my grandfather and watching the monologue on the Johnny Carson show. I didn’t really understand what was so funny. But those few minutes sitting with him were special. I sat there, enjoying the sound of his laughter, and feeling quite grown up.

On Saturday morning, while my grandfather slept in, I would wake fairly early and tiptoe into the living room, where my grandmother would be sitting with her cup of coffee. And as became the norm, she would offer me a cup of my own.

I always accepted the offer. And I enjoyed my little cup of coffee. About 25% coffee, the rest milk, along with a nice big spoon of sugar.

The same happened when staying with my great-grandmother. And again, I always graciously accepted the offer for a cup.

And so began my interest in coffee. A meager start, but that’s how it began.

As with most things with which one has interest, my knowledge has increased over the years and my preferences have changed. And yet, almost every time I pick up a cup of coffee, I think back to that little cup: the foundation of my coffee story.

Kaffetur 19 / Coffee Tour #19: Starbucks Reserve / Starbucks Clover

Before moving here, we didn’t think twice about finding anything other than a national chain for coffee. I guess that’s mostly because we had not yet been exposed much to locally roasted and handcrafted coffees. But that was probably also because we didn’t have many independent shops around us.

So it was pretty normal of us to stop by Starbucks. But since getting into the local coffee scene and learning more, Starbucks has become less about coffee and more about a travel tradition.

Yes, it’s really become more about the place we stop by when we are traveling, so we can pick up a city mug. Now don’t get me wrong: I like their specialty drinks. And yes, whenever the season and my travels align, I have to pop in for a pumpkin spice latte! But we are not regulars.

But today I have to share with our readers that it is possible, though not frequently, to get something from Starbucks other than their mass-produced drinks. We discovered this as we were transferring planes at Schiphol Airport, in Amsterdam.

It’s there that we discovered one of the rare Starbucks Reserve shops. They offer small batch single origin coffee, and will be glad to brew a cup for you on the clover machine.

Clover is a single cup system that takes into consideration water temperature and brew time in an effort to produce a higher quality cup of coffee.

While I still prefer locally roasted beans, hand brewed coffee, and supporting local businesses, it’s nice to know that Starbucks is recognizing the changing market and seeking to offer something that fits the niche a bit better.

Read more about Clover at http://www.starbucks.com/coffee/learn/clover

This is a personal blog.  The authors have not receive any compensation for posts, monetary or otherwise. The opinions expressed are solely that: opinions. If you find anything helpful, feel free to share but please reference the original work.

Kaffetur 18 / Coffee Tour #18: Stockfleths, Oslo

With 10 locations scattered all over the city, Stockfleths is a bit of an Oslo institution. While my niece was here in June, we stopped by their largest location on Prinsensgate for a morning coffee.

Once we managed our way around the construction outside, we walked into a clean and well-lit cafe. Not especially unique in its design, but appealing and comfortable all the same.

 

Stockfleths has been around since 1895. They are easy to find throughout the city. With a nice selection of coffee, as well as tea, pastries and sandwiches, it it a good choice for breakfast, lunch, or a coffee break.

We were on our way to the airport and a bit short on time, so we opted for their daily coffee. It was a nice medium roast with a good, smooth flavor, although I felt it was served too hot. That’s the drawback of getting the daily coffee, I guess!

The Prinsensgate location is two stories, and the downstairs also has a room for holding coffee classes.

Svartkaffe, takk!

What? No sugar? No milk?
No, it’s very Norwegian, you know.
(Taken from a Norwegian coffee magazine)

It took time. It didn’t happen overnight.

I remember back in college. Yes, many years ago. When we were facing a late night study session, we would head for The Otter (a local convenience store) and both Zack and I would get a really big ‘coffee’.
Well, it had coffee in the name. But it was mostly sugar, flavoring, and other artificial junk.
We gradually graduated to coffee with milk and sugar.Then we dropped the milk.

In 2011, after I traveled to Ethiopia, we transitioned to black coffee with a bit of raw sugar.

And now it’s only the real thing for us. No extras when it comes to a regular cup of coffee. Just quality beans, clean, cool water, and good equipment.

How do you take your coffee?

I recently read an Alton Brown article on coffee that I found interesting, and thought I would share it here.
http://altonbrown.com/how-to-brew-best-cup-of-coffee-at-home/