Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
If you’ve heard the buzz, Roast is getting a new ceiling installation! It’s a big deal…a very big deal!
Grit Tank, a UWM graduate level architectural class, has been designing and building a permanent installation to go around the bar in the cafe. It’s cool, super impressive, and looks amazing! They have been putting a tremendous amount of time and energy into this project and it shows.
Their work has gained some unbelievable exposure for the UWM architecture program, the school, themselves, and Roast. They’ve had reviews with the who’s who of the architectural world. On December 16, a panel of judges is being flown in from various cities throughout the US to judge them. All because of the work they are doing for Roast!
We’re planning our own get-down to celebrate the installation. Roast will be closed December 24-January 3 so that we can do the installation. During that time, we’re doing some additional work to the café to complement the new installations.
If you want to get a sneak peak, you can check it out through December 26 at BYO Studio. They are located at:
2246 S Kinnickinnic Ave
MKE, WI 53207
Roast is going BIG in 2011!
Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
Yesterday, we shared with you gifts under $15.00. Today, it’s all about gifts under $25.00. We have 3 holiday gift boxes worth talking about.
First is the Sustainability Sampler. Sustainability is all the rage. This box includes coffees that are direct trade and direct sourced…they can all be traced back to the farm. The coffees are:
El Salvador Finca San Jose
Organic Sumatra Lintong Dolok Sanggul
Nicarargua Los Milagros
Colombia Reserva Del Diablo
Make someone happy for $22.95!
Second is the Holiday Sampler. This includes some top notch coffees from award winning farms.
Guatemala Finca El Injerto – Won numerous ‘Best Coffee Awards’
Costa Rica Brumas Del Zurqui – Best Coffee in all of Costa Rica in 2006.
Rwanda Coopac Coop – ‘Cup of Excellence’ winner
Holiday Blend (Rwanda & Nicaragua) – Perfectly balanced to create a light-body with lingering dark notes and hints of caramel and spice
Spread the love for $22.95
The last is the Roast Home Sampler. Enjoy a pound of your favorite Roast coffee and two diner mugs. Perfect for catching up with friends or family over the holiday. Priced right at $21.95.
If you can’t decide, buy a $25.00 gift card…it’s sure to make someone happy!
Monday, December 6th, 2010
‘Tis the season and we have your coffee related gifts for under $15, 25, and 50. Check out these gifts for under $15.00!
Support Your Local Coffee Shop – $14.95
Roast mug and $10.00 Gift Card
Roast Trio – $12.95
Roast mug, chocolate covered espresso beans, and
frac pack of Holiday Blend
Roast Duo – $10.95
Roast mug and chocolate covered espresso beans
Roast T-Shirt – $10.95
Holiday Special! After the holiday’s, they will be $12.95
$10.00 Roast Gift Card
Great gifts for your roomies, co-workers, or family!
Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
At Roast, we do things to position ourselves ahead of our competition. We focus on quality and freshness and I’d like to share two things that will make a big difference!
Sassy Cow Creamery – Our new Milk Supplier!
Aside from coffee, the number one item we buy each week is milk. We use hundreds of gallons of milk each month and price is constantly fluctuating. We started looking for a new supplier when we had trouble controlling our costs.
We found Sassy Cow Creamery, a local company, and were instantly impressed. The big selling point for us was Sassy Cow has never used bovine growth hormone (rBGH). As we started doing our research on rBGH, we determined pretty quickly that it wasn’t a good thing. When you taste milk that contains rBGH and milk that doesn’t, there is a big difference. Milk that is free of rBGH tastes far better. We realized right away we needed to switch from our conventional milk to Sassy Cow.
Our first delivery will be this week. Come on in and try your favorite drink with Sassy Cow…you’ll taste the difference.
Sweet Water Organics Field Greens
We went to Farm Aid this past October and Sweet Water was there. We’re friends of Sweet Water and they’re friends of Roast. We started having a conversation about using their organic field greens in the café and they dropped off some samples. When we tasted it we said, “Yup, time to switch.”
Here’s Sweet Water’s process: Grow organic lettuce. Harvest it. Dunk it in cold-water. Deliver to Roast. That’s it.
Now think about the process of our commercial grade field greens provider: Grow lettuce in some other state. Harvest it. Send it down a conveyer belt to be washed. Package and Box it. Load it on pallet with 500 other boxes of the same stuff. Pack it onto a semi truck. Travel 500-2,500 miles to warehouse drop point. Put it on another semi to be delivered to local warehouse. Put it on another truck to be delivered to Roast. Um, wow.
We hope you’re excited as we are about the new additions. Both suppliers are super high quality, local, and super fresh. It’s a good fit for Roast and the customers we serve.
Now come support your local coffee shop!
Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Remember economics? It applies to coffee as well. Here’s a quick review. If there is more supply then demand, there is a surplus of coffee. When supply equals demand, there is a balance. If demand exceeds supply, there is a deficit of coffee. Currently, the industry has been operating on a balance/deficit ratio. Prices are going up, however, which means demand is outpacing supply. Where will we get the coffee to service the demand? It’s good news for our farmers because they are getting paid more money for their work, but it also means higher prices for the consumer.
I bring this up because when the scales tip and coffee prices react upward, we have to do something about it. We, as an industry, have been talking about fair wages for farmers, pricing coffee for what it’s worth, and the value retailers bring to the coffee chain, but when the talk becomes reality, how will we react?
There are some really smart people that are working on this problem through the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative. This group was born from a 2009 SCAA Symposium to discuss supply issues and potential solutions. They met in Texas October 27-29th.
There is some interesting reading on the website under the Literature tab. It’s a lot of research, papers, and presentations about the issue and incredibly thought provoking.
Monday, November 8th, 2010
The Pour-Over Bar is up and running. The staff has been trained and we are ready.
One customer described the coffee like a delicate wine. She said most of us drink wine to complement food, relax, and enjoy ourselves. When you have a really good wine, you take notice. When you have a pour-over, it’s like a fine wine….you take notice.
We’ve been running the numbers and we’re extracting in the pocket at the 20% range. It makes for some tasty brews. Come in and try one. Through the month of November, all pour-over’s are $2.25. After that, you’ll see a price differential for better coffees.
Sit down and enjoy…Its worth the wait!
Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
Roast’s beautiful pour-over bar is in. Hand crafted by none other then Brew-Wright Fabrication! We are on the cusp of rolling-out the pour-over bar program and though we would offer a few details on the process.
It’s a big endeavor because, as coffee brewing methods go, this one takes a little time. It’s a manual process, a ritual that focuses on details. If done correctly, the result will be a properly extracted cup of coffee in about 4 minutes. Done poorly, you will have an under extracted mess.
Essentially, the pour-over bar is coffee made with a filtered cone. Ground fresh and made to order. The technique to this method is essential to create a better cup of coffee.
Here is the method we will be training the staff on;
–Rinse the paper filter: paper filters taste like paper. By rinsing the filter, you wash the filter’s off-tasting flavors. This will also help the filter attach to the Hario’s V60 edges better.
–The Formula: we will be offering the pour-over in two sizes…an 8oz and 12oz. The formula for a 12oz size is 24 grams of coffee for 390 grams of water. For an 8oz, 16 grams of coffee for 260 grams of water. Weight and grind the coffee fresh to order. Add the ground coffee to the filter and settle the grounds evenly.
–Pre-wet the coffee: ground coffee releases carbon dioxide (CO2). While CO2 is being released, the gas expels water. During the pre-wetting stage, the coffee is being prepared to accept water. Fully wet the coffee with ~50 grams of water and wait 30 seconds for it to bloom.
–Add the remaining water: start in the center of the grounds and move outwards in a circular pattern. The key here is not pouring the water faster then the height of the grounds. This is difficult and takes practice. It’s ok to stop pouring as long as there is water in the grounds. However, if the pour is too fast, the water will get pushed to the edge of the filter and not brew the coffee. Read: under extracted coffee!
Not many cafes in Milwaukee have attempted this. Surprisingly, we may be the first to roll out a full pull-over bar in a cafe. Granted, Anodyne used the pour-over process at farmers markets to serve their coffee. Alterra has a pour-over bar at the Prospect location. Other then the city’s majors, I don’t know any independents who offers a pour over bar. Please let me know if I’m wrong.
The pour-over bar is the first step in our ongoing plan for 2011. Extraction will continue to be on the forefront. Fully understanding extraction will allow us to develop a program for a guest espresso/featured roaster. Yes, I did say that and yes, it is in the works.
Roast is on the move! We are gearing up to due some great things in the coming months and upcoming year. We are developing a plan to improve the café and our coffee offerings. In other words, we are strengthen our core and investing in our future!
Monday, October 25th, 2010
Day two of the espresso blend challenge. We pulled 14 espressos over a two-hour period and explored coffees from seven different countries. It’s a deadening process on the palette, but the end result will be a great espresso blend.
We tried 50/50 blends of:
Brazil Cerrado and FTO Ethiopian Yirga Cheffe Koke Co-op
Sulawesi Toraja Grade 1 and Rwanda Coopac Western Province
Washed Nicaragua Los Milagros Microlot and Sulawesi Toraja Grade 1
Rwanda Coopac Western Province Washed and Nicaragua Los Milagros Microlot
Costa Rica Brurras Del Zuroui Honey Process and Guatemala Huehuetentenago Finca El Injerto
The idea is to create a starting point. Our process was similar to the other night where we logged dose, brew temp, brew time, total volume, brew ratio, and detailed each blend with notes. What’s interesting to me is the methods and techniques we use dictates the way the coffees are being pulled. For example, we could adjust all the parameters above and create a total different flavor profile.
So how do you know that you aren’t eliminating a great blend based on the parameters being use? The answer is that you don’t. You don’t know if you’re missing the true taste components of the coffees. If the blend isn’t even hitting on a basic level, it’s time to move on. If the blend shows promise, explore it some more. Adjust variables and see where the coffee takes you. That is the easiest way to manipulate the flavor of the coffee.
The blends we tried had some winners and some totally missed the target completely. It’s part of the process. Our job is to work with the winners and develop a great blend.
Off to pull some more shots…
Friday, October 22nd, 2010
One of our good friends, Ali Carlucci, is a graduate student in the architecture program at UW-M. She has been a Roast regular for quite some time and has watch intently as the cafe has transformed over the years.
This past summer, I was planning and installing some new interior design work. I was doing the work in stages while she was offering advice, encouragement, and suggestions. She asked if she could help with an installation I had planned to lower the height of the ceiling behind the bar. I said absolutely, when the plans were developed…
As time passed, she came to me with a proposal: for her and her classmates to do the schematic design, material sourcing, and installation of said bar ceiling. I was blown away. Think about it: Microcosm Studio 815 of the Architecture department will be doing a custom crafted interior installation behind the bar! It’ll be pretty rad, if you ask me.
What makes this proposal strangely unexpected is that it paralleling conversations I’m having with an Architect discussing ways we could solve the identity issue facing the interior design. Over the past seven years, I’ve been adding, building, and remodeling without a particular plan in place. The work has been a reaction to what I thought needed to be done to solve a particular problem. The result has been a better Roast, however, many styles are competing against each other at the cost of a unified design.
The image I have in my mind to describe the competing styles is a simple bell curve. At the core of the bell is what Roast represents. The outliers are the parts that can be cleaned up. The goal is 1) develop an overall plan for the design of Roast and 2) to have an unbiased, unemotional evaluation of the design and clean up the outliers. In other words, plan the work, work the plan.
Cordell (the architect), the architectural installation team, and myself have a lot of work to do. It’s fun and work that I think will be very beneficial to the identity of Roast.
Thursday, October 21st, 2010
23 shots of espresso, eight single origin coffees, three friends, and one Wednesday night. It was a massive undertaking, but a process we have done before. All in a quest to develop a new espresso blend for Roast.
In order to pull off this feat, we had discussed our criteria for evaluation. The dose, brew temp, brew time, total volume, and brew ratio were all logged along with copious notes detailing the best shot, the typical characteristics of the coffee, and overall thoughts. We narrowed the eight coffees down to the best SO.
Organic Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe
Rwanda Coopac Western Province, Washed
Nicaragua Los Milagros Microlot
Sulawesi Toraja, Grade 1
Our espresso blend will consist of some or all of these coffees. Only time will tell what the components of our next espresso blend will be.