Matcha & Me

This morning I had some extra time after an appointment in Baltimore, so naturally I stopped by Artifact Coffee and had delicious things (below).

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Latte with cornmeal strawberry jam cookie (amazing, btw). Of course, while there I had to buy all the things, hence Artifact Coffee Hydroflask in upper left (and Counter-Culture coffee beans not shown). Side note, if you’re into low-fantasy genre books, you should check out Rivers of London.

About two hours later, I find myself at the office without lunch and justify going out again with, ‘It’s Friday.’ So I walk up to my go-to spot near the office and get lunch and a matcha latte at Cunningham’s. Matcha scares people because it’s green. When you see green drinks, you think kale (and vomit in your mouth a little). But rest assured, this is no kale drink folks…

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Matcha is simply green tea leaves that have been finely ground into a powder. If you’ve ever had green tea ice cream, you’ve had matcha. It is essentially highly concentrated green tea – both in caffeine and flavor. Two teaspoons has about the equivalent caffeine content of a single shot of espresso; or to compare with coffee, you’re looking at 70mg caffeine in matcha to 100mg in coffee. For lattes, it is simply added to the milk before frothing and often sweetened with simple syrup, or in Cunningham’s case, vanilla syrup (because they know what to do).

Don’t worry, I will never give up coffee. That said, matcha lattes have more or less replaced my after lunch [espresso] latte. :-O I’m kind of obsessed. PLUS, matcha has a ton of health benefits (after wondering if you can have too much matcha, I found some good info here – spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/how-much-matcha-per-day-is-safe-to-drink):

Matcha is known for being a healthy alternative to coffee, and for good reason. Matcha is antioxidant rich (it has 15 times the amount blueberries do), contains polyphenols, and is high in vitamin C and fiber. 

Matcha can also be used to relieve stress due to the amino acid L-Theanine that it contains. This amino acid produces a state of relaxation and well-being. L-Theanine is present in all tea, however, matcha contains five times as much as black or green tea, making the matcha tea drinker five times as relaxed.

It also has many other amazing benefits such as anticancerous properties, a possible decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, and it causes a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

So. Close your eyes if you have to, but go get yourself this delicious green latte (at Cunningham’s, cause Starbuck’s version is crap).

Love & coffee,
Lisa

P.S. You can purchase matcha online (I get this one) and use it in baking too. I’ve made matcha pancakes and matcha white chocolate chip cookies. Both delicious.

 

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Not only typewriters

So I know it’s been a long time coming, and you may be disappointed to learn that this isn’t a real post because I still don’t have time for that. BUT, I just had to share this with y’all.

Tom Hanks is my new favorite. I knew he was a typewriter enthusiast (collection includes over 50), but apparently he knows his coffee too, espresso even. After a long day of protesting fracking in western Maryland, this article made my day. I hope it makes yours.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/02/politics/tom-hanks-white-house-press-espresso/index.html

Love & coffee,
Lisa

Greenstreet Coffee Co.

Thomas and I recently took a weekend trip to Philadelphia and of course researched the best coffee shops to check out. We only had time for one, but we chose wisely…

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This place is legit. Similar to bb’s cafe, they offer several brewing options (i.e., french press, chimex, etc.) and even lay out little tutorial pamphlets on each method for trying out at home.

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I had a dirty chai (chai latte with two shots of espresso) and Thomas had a vanilla latte. Delicious. They make their syrups (even the chai) in-house and we were both impressed.

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My dirty chai with cinnamon…mmmmm
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Thomas enjoying his vanilla latte while checking out the beans selection.

Brothers, Tom and Chris Molieri (featured below) founded Greenstreet Coffee Co first as a roasting company, later opening the coffee shop. They wanted to get the beans right first, that’s a good sign.

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Here is our refreshingly friendly/not-your-typical-hipster barista, Turquoise making my latte. Always nice when your high-end coffee comes with a not-so-snobby attitude. 🙂

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The coffee shop itself is quite small, but very cute. It only has enough seating for about 15 people, but they over double that with tables outside in the warmer months.

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This is the seating along one of two sides in the shop.

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We took home some beans for espresso at home and they did not disappoint! I highly recommend you check this place out next time you’re in Philly.

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Update on bb’s cafe

Yesterday I bought some of their beans for use at home. Thomas just made us some espresso with steamed cream.

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Need I say more.

If you’d like to purchase some, I would DEFINITELY recommend their house espresso. We also got a 1/4 lb of their Mexican roast, which we will now be trying out ASAP.

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Forgot to get a proper photo with the pretty swirl of espresso-foam before I drank three-fourths of it. Sorry, it’s bb’s fault.

bb’s cafe

A few weeks ago, I discovered a little-known cafe located in the Baltimore County Public Library in Towson, which happens to be down the street from my office.
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A coworker gave me their website and I quickly realized this coffee shop is legit. There are some seriously professionally trained baristas there, specializing in ALL forms of brewing coffee/espresso. That’s kind of their thing – they don’t believe any one method of brewing coffee is THE method. So they offer all of them. And when I say all, I mean all…

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Abid Clever Immersion Brewer
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Pour-over Method
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Vacuum Pot

Needless to say I was impressed before even trying their coffee. Then I tried their coffee.

AMAZING.

That needed it’s own paragraph for emphasis. Wow, I thought the in-house syrups at Cunningham’s and Atwaters were good. Nope. This place has actual vanilla bean pods sitting at the base of their syrup bottles.

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^Note vanilla bean sticking up in lower left of bottle.

I spoke to one of the baristas about her background. She said they were very fortunate to have been trained by an internationally-renowned barista. I was like, yeah, fortunate for all of us.

I had an iced vanilla latte and watched as she used a method I had never seen before. Despite it being an iced latte, she still steamed the milk. Having that bit of foam at the top of your iced latte makes a surprisingly tasty difference. She explained to me that you should never pour espresso directly into cold milk because it changes the flavor of the espresso. So basically EVERYONE’s doing it wrong. That, and their espresso content starts at a minimum of two shots (unlike some *ahem, Starbucks* coffee shops) so you’re always guaranteed a strong espresso flavor.

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Here is barista, Marni pouring her amazingly-steamed microfoam [think velvety] into the latte.

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Note spoon in right hand. You would think stirring your latte is a given, but you’d be wrong – see iced coffee post warning on lazy baristas.

Another reason to check them out – they have super cute magnets on the espresso machine. I want them.

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bb’s cafe originally opened as spro at the library in 2006, but they have since (2011) opened a second coffee shop (keeping the name spro) in Hampden, Baltimore – sprocoffee.com.

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Unfortunately they were closed when I got there, but at least I got to see their cute holiday lights.

I can’t wait to try them out in Hampden! Have to say the little seating area at the library cafe is lacking ‘ambiance’ – but hey, I’m definitely not complaining. I have a new coffee run go-to within walking distance of my office! Sorry Zeke’s, you’re history!

A Sad Story

So I was perusing the farmer’s market held near my office every Thursday. Today is pretty rainy and especially windy (up to 40 mph winds). I was hoping to get my usual coffee from Zeke’s Coffee booth (local Baltimore roaster), but alas he wimped out and didn’t show due to rain. Side note — isn’t a rainy day the best time to get coffee? Bad business decision.

Anyway, I opted to try just a straight hot coffee from Cunningham’s booth (see Cunningham’s post). As mentioned before, Cunningham’s uses Ceremony Coffee Roasters beans and I’ve had great luck with their lattes. Their coffee however, bleh. I am continually surprised by how much I don’t like the flavor of their coffee, I’ve even tried their beans for French press at home. I don’t mean to bash this coffee roaster – they’re local and considered by most to be a fairly high-end coffee. Just consider yourself warned.

I think what’s happened here is I’ve finally accepted that Cunningham’s is awesome and Ceremony is not. Cunningham’s makes their own syrups and has delicious latte creations, perhaps good enough to mask the coffee flavor I’m not so fond of. Nonetheless, today I was left with gross coffee on a rainy day and a broken umbrella. Thanks a lot, Zeke.

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