Brewing with Brendan: Joy in Versatility

This blog post is brought to us by our very own Brendan O’Brien. Look for Brendan every Thursday at Diesel from 12:30pm-2:30pm, and every Friday at Bloc 11 from 9am-11am, then later at Forge from 12:30pm-2:30pm, where he will be serving up new and exciting coffee from Intelligentsia. 


It seems that everyone likes to take their coffee in their own particular way. Black, cream and sugar, a dash of milk, brewed twice with some honey. Some want it close to boiling while others let it sit until it’s cool. For many of us, coffee is a pick-me-up to be snagged on the way to work, while for others it is something to reflect on and explore. It’s wonderful that coffee is so versatile and allows us all to enjoy it in our own unique preference.


In an effort to accommodate a wide range of palates at our cafes, we always strive to offer options to our customers in our drip coffee offerings: one that goes well with any milk or cream and one that may be more acidic or exotic and thus may not take milk as well. At Diesel Cafe, we offer the choice between a blend or a single origin as our drip coffee, and at Bloc 11 and Forge, we offer a coffee blend on tap and a small selection of single origins as pour overs. This week, I chose to highlight one coffee that goes very well with milk and another that should only be enjoyed on its own.


pic1Frequency Blend is a harmony of coffee from Brazil and Zambia. Intelligentsia gave it this name because “frequency is the measure of repetition, the rate of return to normalcy.” I have found this coffee to be the perfect cuppa joe for the morning, so the name feels very appropriate in that sense. This coffee has a sweet scent of caramel with delicious flavors of chocolate, nuts and dried fruit. One of the first things people remark on is the Frequency Blend’s smooth and heavy body. It’s a comforting cup of coffee that is fantastic on its own, but also mixes very well with any dairy.



image2Ljulu Lipati [Lu-ju-lu Lee-pah-tee] comes to us from the Munali Hills in Zambia. This incredible coffee is for those who like their coffee black or perhaps with a bit of sugar. There are many factors that impact the flavor profile of coffee, such as the coffee cultivar, where it’s grown, what’s grown around it, the elevation, the minerals in the soil, and the process of removing the beans from the cherries, just to name a few. They all can effect the flavor in subtle or dramatic ways. This particular coffee has some bright and sweet tropical fruity notes that never disappoint. It has lighter body than the Frequency Blend, but there is a certain juiciness to the mouthfeel that stands out well. You may notice a lemony type of acidity in this coffee, but it is well balanced and approachable.


Home Brew Tip of the Week: Adjusting the grind setting. This is a crucial step that will require some experimenting.
Does your coffee taste ashy and bitter? It could be that your grind setting is too fine. When your coffee particle size is finer than it should be, the water will be in contact with the grounds for too long and it will over-extract your brew. Or maybe your cup tastes weak or sour? It is possible that the grind setting is too coarse. When this happens, the water is rushing through and not spending enough time with the coffee and does not extract enough. It might take some fiddling around with, but the sweet results are well worth the time and attention.


Happy brewing!