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Melodrip Fellow Stagg [X] Dripper Pour-Over Recipe

The “Melo Fellow” Pour-Over Recipe | Melodrip x Fellow

By | Coffee

The “Melo Fellow” is a simple four-pour brewing recipe that combines the unique steep-wall design of the Fellow Stagg [X] Dripper with the controlled agitation capabilities of the melodrip to deliver a consistently clean and evenly developed pour-over coffee.

What sets the Stagg [X] Dripper apart from the rest is its compact tube-like geometry, which allows each pour to achieve a relatively higher water level than other flat bottom drippers. This contributes to a speedier output flowrate throughout the course of the brew, adding to its versatility across a broad spectrum of grind profiles.

We recommend first trying this recipe with your usual grind setting, and following the coffee to water recipe of 15g coffee to 250ml water (1:16.6 ratio). You can also scale up the recipe with larger doses, though we recommended keeping each pulse around 50-70ml for a consistent flow rate and contact time.

Here’s what you’ll need:

The Melo Fellow Pour-Over RecipeThe Short and Sweet:

1. 60ml Center Pour to Bloom, Stick Stir 3 times. Wait 30 seconds.
2. 60ml MD Sprinkle, Stick Stir 3 times. Wait for the water level to drop to the top of the slurry.
3. 60ml MD Sprinkle, Stick Stir 3 times. Wait for the water level to drop to the top of the slurry.
4. 70ml MD Sprinkle, lift the dripper and tap the side a few times to level the grounds.

Finish at 3:30-4:00

The Play-by-Play:

1. Grind 15g coffee at your usual settings.

2. With filter paper inserted, pour 10ml-20ml of heated water directly into the bottom of the Stagg [X] Dripper keeping away from the walls. Then hold the dripper at a 45-degree angle and rotate with the other hand. This will help hydrate the paper fins and help them adhere to the dripper. Pour out excess water.

3. Add 15g ground coffee: Pour in the grounds and shake the dripper to level the grounds.

4. At [0:00] Single Pour 60ml Water for the Bloom (Approx. 12 seconds of pouring): Pour directly into the center of the Stagg [X] Dripper and spiral outward and back in. Then continue to focus on pouring evenly in the center of the dripper for the remainder of the pour [due to this dripper’s compact size, a center pour is effective at evenly distributing heat and hydration].

5. Stir 3 times: Use the included glass stick and stir 3 times staying close to the paper fins, ensuring that the stick is placed close to the bottom of the dripper. This helps to break up any dry spots in the slurry as well as ensuring proper saturation.

6. At [0:30] 60ml MD Sprinkle: Place melodrip centered closely above the dripper and spiral pour 60ml onto the dish.

7. Stir 3 times.

8. At [1:30] 60ml MD Sprinkle: Wait until the water level drops to the top of the coffee slurry then MD Sprinkle 60ml.

9. Stir 3 times.

10. At [~2:30] 70ml MD Sprinkle: Wait until the water level drops to the top of the coffee slurry then MD Sprinkle 70ml. Hold the dripper and tap lightly to settle the grounds once more.

Scaling the Recipe
To scale this recipe up to 18g or 20g of coffee, we recommend keeping the same ratio of coffee to water (1:16.6) but limiting each pulse pour to roughly 50-70ml. So rather than scaling up the original 4 Pour recipe and increasing the amount of water per pour, we’ve found the best results when increasing the number of pours. For example, with an 18g coffee:300ml water recipe, follow the original recipe and add another 60ml pour, then finish off the last pour to 300ml for a total of 5 pours.

Melodrip and Fellow Stagg [X] Dripper RecipeA huge thank you to the melodrip team for not only developing the official “Melo Fellow” recipe but also filming video! Make sure to follow melodrip on Instagram for more awesome content.

The Beginners Guide To Measuring Total Dissolved Solids In Coffee

The Beginner’s Guide To Total Dissolved Solids And Coffee

By | Coffee

Have you ever heard someone at a café, cupping, or brewing competition throw out the acronym TDS and felt completely lost? The coffee jargon lexicon is lengthy and confusing at times, but we’re here to help breakdown the acronyms and fill in the blanks, starting with TDS. TDS stands for total dissolved solids, and in short, is our way to measure how much “coffee” is in our coffee.

To start, dissolved solids are the soluble parts of roasted and ground coffee that are dissolved and extracted by hot water and thus, make their way into our brew. Since water is a polar molecule, meaning it displays both negative and positive charges, it is particularly easy to bond with and dissolve into. This polarity allows water to easily attach to the various chemical compounds in coffee and extract them. Having two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom make the molecule uneven and ready to attach to another compound (coffee!) that might even out its molecular weight.

Stagg EKG pour-over kettle brewing over coffee grindsUsing TDS as a guide, we can determine how much of the coffee has been extracted. Then, with taste as our method, we can decide if we want more or less extraction during the next brew.  While coffee is approximately 30% soluble, for a long time, it was believed that coffee tastes best somewhere between 18%-22% percent. As the quality of the world’s coffees continues to improve, we are able to extract higher percentages with the flavor of the coffee still in the desirable range. Approximately 25% seems to be where the cut off point starts for specialty coffees. Each coffee is different and all coffees are constantly changing especially from the moment they leave the roaster.

How To Measure TDS

Unfortunately for your wallet, a device called a refractometer is required to measure the amount of dissolved solids in your brew. Refractometers for coffee can be somewhat expensive ($200-$1,000), but they are considerably cheaper and much smaller than a gas chromatograph coupled to a mass spectrometer, the other VERY fancy and scientific way of measuring dissolved solid. This magic tool works by measuring the deflection of light as is passes through the coffee. (Barista Hustle has a great article explaining this light bending property  further if you’re interested in nerding out a bit more.)

Along with your refractometer, you’ll need these items:

  • Distilled water
  • Alcohol wipe
  • Dropper
  • Paper towel
  • Small bowls or cups
  • Filtered syringe*

*Optional: If you are brewing using a metal filter like a Prismo or espresso shot, there will be suspended solids that are not water soluble. You will also want to use a filtered syringe to eliminate the suspended solids to get an accurate TDS reading. If you are using a paper filter, then your brew will be entirely dissolved solids.

How to measure TDS on a refractometer for coffeeStep 1: Set refractometer to zero using distilled water

  • Turn on your refractometer.
  • Add 3-4 drops of room temperature distilled water.
  • Take a zero set reading.
  • Wipe down refractometer lens with an alcohol swab.

How to zero out a refractometer for finding TDSStep 2: Put a small sample (around 2 oz) of well-integrated brewed coffee into a small bowl or cup

  • Make sure to stir the coffee to unionize the liquid. Stratified coffee will give you an inaccurate measurement.
  • Be sure to also allow the brewed coffee to cool to approximately 100°F or below. If you don’t have a thermometer, aim for room temperature or cooler.
  • If you’re using a non-paper filter, this is where you use the filtered syringe

Step 3: Take a small sample of  brewed coffee with a dropper or syringe

  • Place 3-4 drops of brewed coffee on the eye of the refractometer.
  • Close the lid and wait 10 seconds for the sample to reach a temperature close to the refractometer.
  • Press go and take a reading. Do this 2-3 times to ensure a proper reading.

Adding coffee to refractometer for TDS measurement

How to measure TDS on a refractometerStep 4: Use a clean paper towel to remove the sample

  • Wipe clean with an alcohol swab to reset for the next coffee sample.

For extra guidance during your first refractometer reading, check out this great video from Matt Perger of St. Ali and Barista Hustle.

Optimal TDS Readings For Different Brew Methods

For a pour-over dripper like Stagg [X] or Stagg [XF], the typical TDS measurement will be somewhere between 1.2-1.7 TDS. That’s right, your pour-over coffee is actually about +/- 98.5% water! For espresso-style shots with Prismo, we love the flavor most with TDS readings of 3.5-5.

Pour-Over: 1.2-1.5
AeroPress® Coffee Maker: 1.4-1.7
French Press: 1.4-1.7
Prismo: 3.5-5
Espresso: 8-12

Once you know the measured TDS, you can use a simple equation to determine the extraction percentage, which is the amount of coffee that it into your coffee.

extraction percentage equation for TDS

Ex: 320 grams of brewed coffee x 1.43 TDS = 457.6
457.6 / 20 grams ground coffee weight = 22.88
22.88 = your extraction percentage

How To Improve Your Brew Using TDS

The Beginners Guide To TDS and CoffeeThink of TDS as a tape measure for your brewed coffee. Did you take it as far as you wanted to? Did you take it too far? Using taste/flavor as the primary gauge, and then determining what level TDS tastes the best will allow you to know when you have reached the desired extraction level for a given coffee. Try your favorite pour-over using the same dose of ground coffee, brew style, and coffee-to-water ratio with three different grind sizes and see which you prefer. You can also try three different ratios (1:15, 1:16, 1:17) and see which one tastes the best to you. Remember, different coffees will taste best with different levels of TDS.

Are you ready to start using TDS measurements to fine tune your brews? Check out these great options: VST LAB Coffee III Refractometer or ATAGO Coffee Pal III. If you’re in San Francisco, you can also stop by the Playground for a brew demo. I can measure the TDS of your brew, and we can discuss how it may be improved. I also teach a Home Brewing class once a month. We’ll measure the dissolved solids in our brews and use taste/flavor to find the overall best version of the pour-over we are brewing. Find our Playground Education schedule here.

If you have any questions about TDS, feel free to email me at johnny@fellowproducts.com. I love to spend my time talking about coffee!

What Is Agitation And How Can It Make Our Coffee Taste Better

What Is Agitation and How Can It Make Our Coffee Taste Better?

By | Coffee

Agitation is defined as the action of briskly stirring or disturbing something, especially a liquid. An old can of paint, cake batter, and you guessed it, coffee, all benefit from the act of agitation. When we are brewing our coffee in the morning, it may seem counterintuitive to move, touch, or adjust the brewer of choice in any way, but by doing so we can use that agitation to help ensure that all of the ground coffee is exposed to water evenly. Ultimately, this provides a more even exposure of the ground coffee to water with the result being an overall higher extraction and ideally, a more balanced brew.

There are two ways that I have found are most effective to agitate the coffee slurry during brewing. First, gently stirring the slurry soon after a pulse pour with a spoon, or lifting the dripper or brewer and using a gentle 360° swirl. If you are brewing a “shot” with our AeroPress® Coffee Maker attachment Prismo, the stirrer that comes with the AeroPress works great. Since less water is used to brew a Prismo “shot,” there is more room to stir quite aggressively to achieve full saturation of the ground coffee. Swirling and stirring are both effective methods, and I recommend trying both to see which one you prefer. The goal with both of these methods is to expose all of the ground coffee to water as evenly as possible.

Adding agitation to coffee brewingSince Coffee is an organic substance, it changes as it ages from the date of roast. Can we get a similar extraction from a coffee that is three weeks off roast that we did when the coffee was eight days out of the roaster? Most likely not, but we can shoot for getting the most out of what is left. I have found that the same coffee at different ages off roast will taste better with different extraction percentages. Adding agitation between pours will help to more fully extract the compounds we have left in an aging coffee. Try adding agitation between each pour to get a full extraction if it seems your coffee isn’t tasting as good as it did when you first opened the bag.

Carbon dioxide also plays a role in our agitation choices. As you know because most likely, a “bloom” is part of your pour-over brewing ritual, roasted coffee contains CO2 and other gases. These gases are released much more readily when we grind the beans. Also, most electric burr grinders create at least a small amount of static charge when grinding coffee. Those gases, as well as any static from grinding, can cause parts of the ground coffee to become hydrophobic, or in other words, the coffee repels or fails to mix with water. We want to make sure that these pockets of the coffee bed that are more resistant to water get saturated as well. This is where the agitation really helps us achieve a full extraction.

Consistency is also key when determining how much additional agitation may help with getting an ideal brew. Are you doing five pulse pours total? Try lifting and swirling the dripper or stirring the coffee slurry after the bloom, after the third pour, and after the final pour. If you want more extraction, add a stir or swirl after the second pour. Want less extraction? Try only agitating the bloom and final pour. Allowing for room to move in either direction will help to narrow down which brew tastes best with given coffee and give you a consistent method and recipe to start with on any new coffee.

Ready to add agitation to your pour-over routine. Below is my favorite recipe using Fellow’s Stagg [X] Pour-Over Dripper to brew a 10-ounce cup of coffee:

Stagg [X] Pour-Over Dripper With Agitation

20 grams medium to fine ground coffee
340 grams of 205°F water
1:17 ratio

Benefits of agitating coffee bed during pour-over brewing1. Pre-wet entire paper filter with a pour-over kettle such as our Stagg EKG.

2. Dump out rinse water from brewing vessel.

3. Add ground coffee into the Stagg [X] Dripper, then gently lift and shake the dripper to level the coffee bed.

4. Start with the bloom. Add 60 grams of water to the coffee bed.

5. Lift the dripper and swirl gently a few times in a clockwise direction.

6. Add a second pour of 100 grams reaching a total weight of 160 grams.

7. Add a third pour of 60 grams reaching a total weight of 220 grams.

8. Lift the dripper and swirl gently in a counterclockwise direction.

9. Add a fourth pour of 60 grams reaching a total weight of 280 grams.

10. Add a fifth pour of 30 grams reaching a total weight of 310 grams.

11. Lift the dripper and swirl gently in a clockwise direction.

12. Add a sixth and final pour of 30 grams reaching a total weight of 340 grams.

*Total brew time should be between 3:00-3:30 minutes.

Give our agitated Stagg [X] Dripper recipe a try and report back. Do you have a favorite method of agitation we didn’t touch on? Drop us a line on Instagram. We love talking shop almost as much as we love drinking coffee!

Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister Frequen

Your Atmos Vacuum Canister FAQs Answered

By | Coffee, Design

The coffee supply chain is long and loving. The number of people who play a role in getting your favorite coffee beans to your kitchen is truly extraordinary. We created Atmos Vacuum Canister to be the final bit of love in this chain before you brew. By simply twisting the lid back and forth, Atmos sucks air out to prevent oxidation and extends coffee’s shelf life by up to 50%. The care put into each and every bag of coffee can now last longer.

Since Atmos is a new technology, we’re sure you have a few lingering questions you need answering before bringing it home. We combed our social media comments and customer service emails to round up the most frequently asked questions:

What exactly is a “vacuum canister”? I thought my coffee bag was airtight!
First off, let’s define what a vacuum is. A vacuum is a closed system in which pressure is less than atmospheric. In order for this to happen, you need a constant amount of space (i.e. a rigid container) where air particles are removed. There’s a lot of airtight containers/bags out there that get rid of some air, but these aren’t necessarily a true vacuum. An easy way to tell if you don’t have a vacuum container is if your container shrinks (i.e. is it a bag or does it have a lid that collapses into the container). If your container shrinks, it is not a vacuum and will not decrease the pressure below atmospheric.

Uhh Fellow, Atmos is definitely not the first vacuum canister on the market. What makes Atmos “special”?
Unlike other vacuum canisters, Atmos does not have an external pump or part that attaches and detaches. The magic of Atmos is all in the lid. This makes removing air from Atmos super simple. Also, the vacuum mechanism in Atmos is so strong that it reduces internal pressure down to half an atmosphere. In fact, pressure is so important to coffee freshness that we wrote a full blog post on it.

Since Atmos is a sealed environment, will this mean there is a buildup of CO2?
Commercial coffee bean bags with CO2 degassing valves are designed to relieve CO2 pressure build-up and prevent bag rupture, not to necessarily keep coffee fresher for longer. In a vacuum chamber, the pressure is low enough that CO2 buildup is not a concern. CO2 in the air around the beans is non-reactive and will not affect the flavor of the coffee. CO2 does, however, affect your coffee’s flavor once you start brewing, so make sure to bloom your bed of grounds before brewing!

How much coffee does each Atmos hold?
Atmos is available in three sizes. The .4 L Atmos holds up to 6 oz of coffee beans, the .7 L canister holds up to 10 oz of coffee beans, and the 1.2 L canister holds up to 16 oz of coffee beans. But remember, some varietals of coffee beans are bigger than others (looking at you, Pacamara).

Can I store ground coffee in Atmos?
Nope! Powdery or ground substances do not play well with the seals and can clog the intake valve. Since we always advocate for coffee to be ground right before brewing, Atmos was never designed for the intention of storing ground coffee. In addition to ground coffee, please avoid putting any powdery substances inside Atmos such as spices (like turmeric), flours, and matcha tea.

No coffee grinds or powdery substances, got it. What else is good for storing in Atmos besides coffee beans?
The sky’s the limit. Atmos extends the shelf life of your pantry items, too. Toss in loose leaf tea, nuts, cereal, cookies, granola, candy, and other plant-based things you have in your house 😉

Can I put Atmos in the freezer?
You can freeze Atmos, but it’s not the best use of the product. Since coffee beans should be frozen in individual servings as to not refreeze and freeze beans continuously, Atmos doesn’t make the most sense. Atmos is intended to hold multiple servings, so it would be a waste of space in your freezer to put only one serving of beans inside. Also, placing Atmos in the freezer will also eventually reduce the life-span of the vacuum seal.

Why did you make a clear glass Atmos if sunlight is a big contributor to coffee freshness?
If you anticipate storing coffee in your cupboard or a shaded area, clear glass is great! You can see the contents, which is especially important if you’re storing pantry items. But if your brew station is near a window or want to put your Atmos Vacuum Canisters on display, then our matte black stainless steel makes more sense. We think both designs are beautiful, so it comes down to your preference and needs.

I have more than one Atmos. How can I label them to tell the difference?
If you have a clear glass Atmos, you can use chalk pens or whiteboard markers. Both of these options will wash or wipe off. Also, if you have the largest size, you can keep the beans in the bag and put the bag directly inside of Atmos. For the matte black stainless steel, we don’t recommend writing directly onto the body. We love using a strip of washi tape on the bottom.

And lastly, a boring but necessary question. How do I clean my Atmos?
Atmos is not dishwasher safe. When it comes to the lid, please prevent liquid from getting inside and do not clean the lid under running water. Instead, clean with a damp, non-abrasive sponge and use mild soap, if needed. For thorough cleaning, the gasket and filter can be removed and washed separately. Similarly, we recommend hand-washing the stainless steel and glass canister with a damp, non-abrasive sponge and mild soap. Using a coarse sponge, brush or other rough surfaces will scratch the finish of the lid and canister.

If your question didn’t make the list, don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer service team at hello@fellowproducts.com. We’re here to help!

Grace McCutchan Red Rooster Coffee

How The World’s Best Brewers and Baristas Prepare For Competition

By | Coffee

Brewers and baristas from near and far will be gathering this weekend in Kansas City for the US Coffee Championships, or CoffeeChamps for short. The road to the national stage is not easy. First comes qualifiers and then onto regionals with hours and hours of practice fit into any and all spare time.

We love supporting competitors. It’s humbling to see the best brewers and baristas in the world use our gear on our stage. If you’re thinking about taking the leap to compete in the future or just curious about what the heck goes into a “coffee competition,” you’ve come to the right place. We spoke with five of this year’s CoffeeChamps competitors to get the inside scoop on their routines and advice for future competitors.

CODY BARNHART | VIENNA COFFEE COMPANY | BREWERS CUP

Cody Barnhart 2019 CoffeeChampsHow did you first get into coffee and what is your role now?
Vienna Coffee Company opened up its first café in my hometown when I was only fourteen. Since their third day open, I was a regular customer for years. I moved to Kansas City for a year or so. Shortly after I moved back to Tennessee in 2016, I got a barista position at their café. Since then, I moved to Lead Barista at our downtown Knoxville location and then onto Sales Account Manager within the company. I still split time between our wholesale business and being on bar, but the bulk of my time is spent trying to help wholesale customers provide the best coffee they can — whether it’s training, coffee offerings, retail strategies, etc.

What were your goals going into the start of the competition season?
My mantra for specialty coffee from day one has been this: “Hospitality and excellence don’t have to be at odds.” Too often, specialty cafés offer hospitality at the expense of excellence (or vice versa). I went into competition season wanted to grow in both service skills and brewing skills — to learn how to talk about excellent coffee without alienating those different than us.

How did you prepare for competition?
For both the qualifying and national events, it took longer than expected to find a roast profile I felt made the coffees shine. The largest chunks of my preparation were unlearning the bad brewing habits I had, taking note of where I needed to “get out of the way,” and learning to be a little less heavy handed in my brewing. My preparation focused on yielding to the coffee, rather than pursuing a specific flavor profile or characteristic. The thing that shined in the El Obraje Caturra I used for qualifiers was its acidity and flavor clarity; the thing that shines in the Cold Fermented Pink Bourbon I’m using from Finca Monteblanco is the sheer complexity. I wanted the coffees to determine the brewing methods because, in brewing, one size doesn’t fit all.

I’ve been mentally preparing and reading up on brewing science since the company decided last April they would ask me to compete. That said, I couldn’t even begin to count the number of hours I’ve spent preparing. My family and friends have to be sick of hearing my tangents about processing and elevation by now!

How are you using Fellow gear in Kansas City?
I’m using two of the matte white Stagg EKGs in my routine, alternating between kettles so that I have more consistency across brews. I love your kettles because they offer unmatched control over brewing temperature. We ought to treat water temperature a bit more dynamically and use it in tandem with grind size. Brewing is a dance, and the Stagg EKGs make me a better dancer.

How did you pick your competition coffee?
I decided pretty early on that I wanted a stellar coffee that was resistant to la roya and didn’t break the bank. I don’t have any qualms with geshas, but they are a bit inaccessible and not completely understood by everyday coffee drinkers. In addition, they’re predominantly lower yield and more delicate plants, driving the price up.

The Pink Bourbon I chose is also, put simply, a fascinating coffee. It isn’t “actually” a Pink Bourbon; it was given the name for commercial reasons. The producers think it’s an escaped seedling from a research farm, but they’re not entirely certain. It was also processed using Cold Fermentation. Rodrigo Sanchez, who operates Finca Monteblanco in Huila, Colombia, began using the process a few years ago. When the coffee has a Brix content of 27-31 degrees, Rodrigo and his team use the Cold Fermentation process to slow down sugar degradation and enable the mucilage to have longer contact time with the bean. It offers a sweetness and complexity like nothing else.

Any advice for folks thinking about dipping their toes into the competition scene for the first time?
Well, first things first: read the rules. Everyone says it, but I’ll say it again. Know what you’re going into. I printed the whole packet and marked it up with highlights and arrows and underlines. Ingrain it in your head. Secondly, cultivate your sensory skills. Evaluate everything you consume (please don’t use a scoresheet – just do it really quick in your head!). I don’t have the most refined pallet, but I noticed an improvement once I started paying attention. It doesn’t even have to be coffee. You can spend some time learning about hops in beer or different types and ages of wines, or flavors in cheeses or unfamiliar spices. I distinctly remember pouring a soda at a friend’s house and prefacing that I would be smelling before I drank it (and asking them not to make fun of me). I looked like a fool, but I think it helped me in the long run.

Lastly, if you compete, have fun with it. It seems like there’s too much competition and condescending spirits in the coffee world. We’re all in this thing together, so if you’re not having fun and growing as a professional because of competition, you might be in it for the wrong reasons.

Follow Cody’s brewing adventures on Instagram (@codygbarnhart)!


GRACE MCCUTCHAN |  RED ROOSTER COFFEE ROASTER | BREWERS CUP

Tell us a little about your journey into coffee!
I started in coffee when I was 14 years old. My family opened up a café, and I began working there after school. We knew very little about specialty coffee and coming from a small town in rural Appalachia (Floyd, Virginia) our resources were pretty limited. We experimented most of the time, read online articles, attended trade shows when we could but essentially only had one another to rely on to perfect our craft. Six years later, in 2010, my sister and brother-in-law formed Red Rooster primarily to roast coffee for the café (with bigger ideas and dreams always in the back of their minds). Today, Red Rooster has 31 employees, a thriving flagship café, partner cafés all over the east coast, a premier training lab, a successful tea (Swallowtail Tea) and syrup line (JT Copper Extracts), and an on-site daycare facility for employed working parents. We’ve come quite a long ways, and we did it together relying on one another’s feedback, advice, and pure gut intuition.

What were your goals going into the start of the competition season?
My goal going into this competition was simple: make the best cup of coffee and hit every single sensory note possible. As a first time competitor, I knew very little when it came to the overall structure of the competition, but I wanted to do it so that I might learn more about the industry and the SCA, meet more coffee professionals, and help put Floyd, Virginia and Red Rooster on the map. I also just wanted to have fun and make a good cup of coffee for the judges while telling my story and the coffee’s story. So that’s what I did and what I hope to continue doing!

How did you prepare for Brewers Cup?
I began thinking of a narrative for my presentation 2-3 months before the qualifiers in Nashville and practiced every day in some facet or another leading up to the competition. I already knew which coffee I was going to use so I began thinking of different stories I’d like to tell the judges and the audience and ultimately, settled on something that I believe to be the most authentic and real part of myself. My story, alongside the story of the WORKA cooperative in which this coffee comes from. I’ve changed quite a bit up in my routine in preparation for Kansas City focusing primarily on the many technical aspects within the presentation so that’s been fun and challenging, but I am happy and honored to continue sharing this coffees story as well as my own. Because that’s what it’s all about right? The journey from seed to cup and our belief in what makes coffee beautiful and life-changing for so many people in the world.

What Fellow gear will you be using for competition?
I’m using two Stagg EKG kettles in my routine for water temperature control. I’ve been experimenting with different water temperatures at different times throughout the brew and the hold function really comes in handy for that purpose. This was not something I did in Nashville, so I am excited to apply it in the next round in KC.

How did you pick your competition coffee?
I chose my competition coffee because I wanted to share the bean that changed my life with the rest of the coffee community! Five years ago when Red Rooster started to really find its wings, I took part in a blind cupping and had a coffee that completely changed everything for me. I knew immediately going into this competition, that would be the coffee I’d be using. Coffee is extremely personal and so I wanted to put the two together. My journey and the coffee’s journey into one narrative.

Any advice for folks thinking about dipping their toes into the competition scene for the first time?
Just have fun and enjoy the process! Listen to yourself. Don’t overthink too much. Get plenty of rest. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to try new methods or create new ones. Oh, and practice your open service but practice compulsory, too! It’s a big part of your score, and I think folks often spend so much time perfecting their open service we forget to practice with beans we may not be familiar with.

Follow Grace’s brewing adventures at CoffeeChamps on Instagram (@redroosterontheroad)!


BLAIR SMITH | AUGIE’S COFFEE | BREWERS CUP

Blair Smith Brewers Cup Competitor

Photo Credit: @maestastim

How did you get into the coffee industry?
I was looking for a second job after college and stumbled across an ad on Craigslist for a barista position. I had no idea that it was for a specialty shop with a full bakery. At that time, I was drinking really nasty coffee with tons of hazelnut creamer and had no idea what any drink really was: Americano, macchiato, etc. I learned a ton at this job and eventually went on to manage the cafe side for a year before moving to California and working at Augie’s Coffee. This month will be my fifth year working at Augie’s, and I have been managing my store for four and a half years.

What were your goals going into the start of the competition season?
I’ve been competing for the last four years and always trying to learn more and bring that into my routine each time. This year, I knew I wanted to focus on my water chemistry and being able to bring the same flavors I love in our warehouse to wherever the competition is held.

How have you been preparing for competition?
Prepping is essentially easier every time since I know what to expect. In the first few competitions, I’d spend many hours just figuring out how to brew coffee best and trying out different brewers. But now, I feel like I can be more intentional because I’ve had the experience to know where and how to change things quickly. The water dialing in was probably the most challenging and time-consuming such as researching and tweaking with different chemicals to achieve different attributes. It’s amazing what such small adjustments can contribute to the cup, good or bad.

How are you using Fellow gear at competition?
I’m using the Stagg [X] Dripper. I love the heat retention, and I can’t stray away from the body that it gives the coffee. I absolutely love the Stagg kettles because they are so easy to use and I like not having to hit the button to hold the temperature. I’m using two different temperatures for my routine, so it’s nice that the kettles are so efficient.

What coffee will you be using in your routine?
I’m using a relatively approachable coffee which is unique to the national competition. Usually, folks will use geishas or rare varieties from small lots. My coffee is made up of two very high yielding and rust resistant varieties and comes from a 700 kilo lot. It’s an anaerobic fermented coffee that’s been really carefully executed. It jumped off the cupping table, and it’s crazy unique. Tastes like strawberry, watermelon, plum, and cherry blossom. I’m excited to showcase a relatively inexpensive coffee that can achieve high scores through the fermentation process.

Follow Blair’s brewing adventures CoffeeChamps on Instagram (@theblairista)!


ELISABETH JOHNSON | VASHON COFFEE COMPANY | BARISTA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Elisabeth Johnson Barista Championships Competitors

Photo credit: Paige Hicks

How did you first get into coffee?
I first started working as a barista in 2010. I fell in love with cozy cafés and their well-worn sofas. As the offspring of small business owners, I loved the idea of someday owning my own café, so I decided to get a job as a barista. As I earned some years as a barista, a new wave of cafés rolled in that was much more clean and precise with more white walls and scientific research. There’s constantly something new to learn, and that’s why I’m so invested in coffee. In the beginning, I learned so many things the hard way that I was determined to learn more so that I could become an effective trainer and help new baristas have a better foundation. Now I manage a café, I’m the head of education, and I also do consulting. It’s a lot of hats to wear!

What inspired you to compete this year?
I felt like I had something to prove, and I really wanted to do better than last year. I made a lot of mistakes as a first-year competitor, and I kept telling myself, “I know I’m better than that!” I just wanted to learn from my past experiences and improve myself and my craft.

How have you been preparing for Kansas City?
I started practicing in August by participating in the USCC Preliminaries in Seattle where I placed 2nd in both Brewer’s Cup and Barista. I wasn’t sure which path to take and I wanted to try my hand at Brewer’s. After I got accepted to Glitter Cat Barista Bootcamp, it made the decision a lot clearer. I did a training workshop in Philadelphia with some coffee greats who I really admire, and it bolstered my routine a lot.

How are you using Fellow gear in your routine?
I’m using the Monty Milk Art Cortado Cups. Surprisingly, I had a very difficult time finding this size cup (4.5 oz), and it’s such a standard size for competition. I think that they are beautiful and I really wanted the judges to have a ceramic cup with a good weight to it as opposed to the simple glassware I was practicing with. A good cup makes all the difference! Not to mention, the rose gold perfectly matched the rest of my wares.

How did you pick your competition coffee?
I picked my coffee based off of a relationship with the importer, Cafe 1959, and because it was the most delicious coffee I could find. When I’m looking for a competition coffee, I go for sweetness, body, and acidity. The mouthfeel (or “tactile”) component is a huge multiplier for points in the competition, but I also wanted to choose a coffee that I personally just really enjoyed. After reaching out to one of the farmers from Finca la Julia on social media, I felt much more invested in representing this coffee because of the love and effort that goes into their art. I feel lucky that now I get to leave my mark on it!

The coffee that I’m using is a natural process Java variety from Colombia, specifically Finca la Julia in Trujillo. It’s certainly a unique coffee, and I’m excited to be able to serve it!

What’s unique about your competition routine?
I have studied this competition a lot, and I know that a thorough knowledge of the rules and what the judges are looking for is a huge component. As much as I’m focused on the points, at the end of the day, what’s important to me is that my routine feels true to who I am is a person. I hope that the work that I have put into my career and competition puts me in the top bracket of competitors vying to represent the United States at the world level. But ultimately, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished at this time in my life, and I have a tiny cheerleader at home who already thinks I’m a winner. My daughter Scarlet is an avid supporter of me and always assures me that I’m a winner.

Follow Elisabeth of Vashon Coffee Company on Instagram (@elisabethanej)!


KIMHAK EM | PEIXOTO COFFEE ROASTERS | COFFEE IN GOOD SPIRITS

Kimhak Em Coffee In Good SpiritsTell us a little about your journey in coffee!
My journey started with my love of the cafe. I remember how much I like and still do enjoy hanging out and talking to everyone one in a coffee shop. With my professional career,  it started about three and half years ago when I started at Peixoto Coffee in Chandler, Arizona.

You’ll be combining your mixologist and barista skills at the Coffee in Good Spirits Championships. Can you tell us more about the beverages you’ll be making?
There are two rounds at Nationals. In the first round, you have to make two pairs of beverages. One of the coffee cocktails has to be hot and other has to be cold. We have to use whiskey in both of the beverages and for the coffee, one of the beverages needs espresso and the other needs to have brewed filter coffee. If you make it into the top six for the second round, everybody needs to make an Irish coffee. You are only allowed four ingredients: coffee, whiskey, cream, and sugar.

What were your goals going into the start of the competition season?
My goal is to win first place! But truthfully, my real goal is to grow as a professional and do my best. I hope I can get my stories across to the judges. I put my heart and a lot of time to this routine, it is such a fun event. I encourage anyone who is thinking about doing it to just take a leap and do it!

How are you using Fellow gear at competition?
I’m going to be using the Stagg EKG Electric Pour-Over Kettle! It helps me make sure that my water temperature is on point and heats up fast! This is so important because it will help brew my filter coffee correctly. If I don’t get the right extraction, my beverage will not taste correctly as it should.

Kimhak Em Coffee In Good Spirits ChampionshipsHow have you been preparing for competition?
I start out with just a concept in my head. I imagine how the flavors and texture would be. I used to be a cook and this practice helps me out a lot with coming up with recipes. Then, I test out the recipe in real life and adjust as I go. Next, I write out my presentation, my story. I read this out while I drive to and from work. Finally, a week before competition, I do it all together a few times until I am comfortable.

What coffee will you be using in your routine?
I’m going to be using a natural Brazil and a washed Brazil. We at Peixoto Coffee own the farm in Brazil, so I’m very proud and honored to be using our family farm coffee.

Follow Kimhak’s at CoffeeChamps on Instagram (@kimhak.em)!


If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest 2019 CoffeeChamps action, follow along on our Instagram. We’ll be on hand in Kansas City documenting the fun!

The Making of Eddy Steaming Pitcher by Fellow

Perfecting Steamed Milk: The Making of Eddy Steaming Pitcher

By | Coffee, Design

With no moving or electrical parts, one would think a steaming pitcher would be a breeze to engineer and manufacture. No complicated PID controller like Stagg EKG. No first-of-its-kind vacuum pump like Atmos. Easy, right? Right.

At least that’s what we thought when we started on this journey into steaming pitcher land. Named after the whirlpool effect in water, Eddy took two years to complete from start to finish with the design guidance from our partners at Branch. We decided against the path of least resistance and chose to swim upstream, if you will, because we knew we could make a serious statement in the saturated pitcher market if done correctly. Each of Eddy’s unique features was born from extensive user testing with baristas. Coincidentally, the features the baristas requested posed major manufacturing challenges which, after countless prototypes, we were able to conquer.

We sat down with Eddy’s product manager, Hanna McPhee, to talk about the user feedback loop, manufacturing woes, and the final product we couldn’t be more proud to share with you. The two-year process was well worth the wait.

Fellow Eddy Steaming Pitcher for latte artWhat was your role in bringing Eddy Steaming Pitcher to life?
My role centered around working with our design partners at Branch to research and prototype Eddy’s unique design features by observing specialty coffee shops and baristas. We wanted Fellow to have the best understanding of what baristas like about the current milk pitchers on the market and what they didn’t like. We then took this industry feedback and went to the drawing board to see if we could actually make a physical product that included everyone’s requests and feedback. This part was extremely tricky and the main reason it took us two years to engineer Eddy.

What inspired Fellow to dive into the espresso tool world?
Obviously, our origin is pour-over brewing equipment but we dipped our toes into drinkware with Joey. As we got into the mug game, we quickly realized we wanted to make cups that made it easier to serve milk-based drinks and pour latte art. When we started engineering this new line of drinkware called Monty Milk Art Cups, we decided to design in tandem a thoughtful steaming pitcher for creating latte art both at home and in the café. Fellow always gets very excited when brainstorming new coffee products, but we won’t make something unless we truly believe we can add our special touch to make something better than what’s currently on the market.

Eddy Steaming Pitcher pouring latte art into a Monty Milk Art Cup by FellowWhat are these differences that set Eddy apart from other pitchers?
In both form and function, Eddy is very different. From a functional perspective, the most defining feature is the sharp front crease. It’s a giant bend that goes almost all the way down the front face of the pitcher. Most steaming pitchers have this little gullet as we like to call it. It’s what you see on a pelican or some type of bird that catches fish in its beak. When pouring, the gullet creates two different flow rates which isn’t necessarily intuitive to both home baristas and professional baristas. Obviously, when you use a product for a long time, pour after pour, you get used to this change in flow rate. With Eddy, we wanted to try something different and see if we could keep the flow rate consistent from the start, which would lead to a more intuitive pour for the user. The sharp crease on Eddy did result in a faster pour because now the milk is all going at one speed. However, we do think that we accomplished creating a more intuitive drawing tool. This sharp crease combined with Eddy’s unique fluted spout, gives you more control and a better understanding of what happens with the milk when your hand moves.

From a form perspective, we worked closely with our partners at Branch to visually create something that’s unlike any other pitcher out there. We’re always trying to keep in mind designing for both specialty cafes and home kitchens. This product should be something you are proud to leave on your counter or beside your espresso machine and not something you want to hide away in your cupboard.

What was your user testing process?
We created many different prototypes and had several cafés around the Bay Area use the product in the café behind bar. This was really important because wanted them to use Eddy in the same workflow they would during normal service hours. After every new production round, we’d bring the new, more polished version of Eddy back to our test cafés and start the process all over again. In addition to café use, we interviewed many different barista champ competitors via Skype and also had them send pictures of how they hold their current steaming pitchers. I have a file on my desktop with dozens of close-up photos of people’s hands holding different pitchers. It’s a little creepy to be honest.

How did Eddy’s design morph after giving the different prototypes to baristas?
Every feature of Eddy was impacted by user testing but the ribbon handle, measurement aids, and stainless steel thickness stand out the most in my mind. We kept hearing over and over again that milk waste was a really big concern for small specialty cafés. To help mitigate waste, we added measurement aids inside of Eddy to ensure precise milk pours. We also got feedback from a bunch of different baristas about the importance of thickness for a steaming pitcher. They wanted to be able to easily gauge how hot the milk was inside of the pitcher. These conversations directly impacted Eddy’s thickness. Lastly, and probably most importantly, our user testing lead us to our ribbon handle. When we first started making this pitcher, our goal was to make the end all, be all handle. This was going to be the best handle that you could ever dream of. What we quickly realized is that how baristas hold a steaming pitcher is pretty personal. It’s like how you hold a pencil or paintbrush. So instead of taking a hard stance on the perfect handle, we did a complete 180 and switched our stance to making a universal handle that would be flexible for all pouring styles. With the open-ended ribbon handle, Eddy can be manipulated and held anyway the barista chooses.

Eddy Steaming Pitcher Ribbon HandleAny hiccups during the design process?
So it turns out that when metal is cylindrical, it doesn’t like to bend into a sharp crease. It took many, many versions of the product samples to be able to have front crease without the pitcher literally splitting in half.  This becomes even harder to do when you are trying to make thousands of consistent creases.

It was also a challenge to figure out a way to make the ribbon handle as consistent as possible, as we wanted the handle distance from the body to be a very specific measurement based on feedback from users.

Do you think Eddy will be showing up in a barista champs competition near you?
Definitely. I think the fun part about latte art and milk-based drinks is that baristas are always coming up with incredible new techniques and cool new ways to perfect the process. Eddy is another tool to help push the boundaries on what baristas can do. Really, at the end of the day, it’s about having fun and taking pride in your coffee craft and Eddy helps support that.


Eddy Steaming Pitcher is available in graphite and polished steel and in 12 oz and 18 oz sizes. Grab one for your collection!

Fellow February Featured Roasters

Stole Our Hearts | February Featured Roasters

By | Coffee, Featured Roaster

I mean, the title says it all, doesn’t it? It’s no secret that we here at Fellow crush hard on some of our favorite coffee purveyors. And when, if not February, could be better to spill our hearts? We’re spellbound by the synthesis of time, relationships, heart, dedication, and skill these roasters have lovingly put into their craft, and we want to shout it to the world!

All month long we’ll be featuring coffee from the following heartthrobs:

BLIND TIGER COFFEE ROASTERS
Philadelphia, PA | Founded in 2013 by Charlie Biando
Fun Fact: Charlie is also an accomplished breadmaker and offers his homemade bread at his coffee pop-ups.

Blind Tiger Fellow Featured RoasterCoffee/Origin: “Flowers Vol. 2” (Ecuador)
Variety: Caturra, Typica, Yellow Catimor
Process: Washed
Notes: Sweet magnolia, jasmine, cherrywine

“Finca Angamaza is located in Conganama, Loja, Ecuador and run by Angel Capa Carrion. The farm sits at an elevation of approximately 2,080 m.a.s.l. and consists of 19 hectares in total, 2 currently in coffee with plans to plant another 2 hectares. Of those 2 hectares currently in production, 25% are planted with Caturra, 10% Typica, 40% in San Salvador and 25% in Yellow Catimore. Upon arriving at the wet-mill, the coffee is fermented for 36 hours and after washing, the coffee is dried from anywhere between 8-10 days, depending on the weather conditions. Around that time, a local association of growers was formed to help market and find buyers for their coffees; they even brought in agronomists and technical assistance as offered by the local municipality. This was a huge factor in motivating Angel to produce higher quality coffees. He succeeded and is now receiving higher prices for his lots. for buyers who value and appreciate his efforts.” – @blindtigercoffee

Shop this coffee!

BRANDYWINE COFFEE ROASTERS
Wilmington, DE | Founded in 2013 by Todd Purse
Fun Fact: All of Brandywine’s bags are stamped and screen printed by hand with original designs by Todd himself!

Brandywine Fellow Featured RoasterCoffee/Origin: “Romance Coffee” (Ethiopia)
Variety: Heirloom
Process: Natural and Washed Blend
Notes: Green gummy bear, mango, bing cherry, and milk chocolate

“Romance Coffee is a limited release blend paying homage to the artists of the romance comics of the ’50s and ’60s. This sweet blend of Ethiopian coffee brings out a silky smooth body and flavors of strawberry that you can’t get enough of!” –@brandywinecoffeeroasters

Shop this coffee!

GARDELLI SPECIALTY COFFEES
Forli, Italy | Founded in 2014 by Rubens Gardelli
Fun Fact: Rubens is a consistent heavy-hitter in the Italian coffee competition scene and even placed 2nd in the World Brewers Cup in 2014!

Gardelli Specialty Coffees February Featured RoasterCoffee/Origin: Uganda Mzungu Project
Variety: SL 14, Nyanzaland
Process: Natural
Notes: Cherry, prune, blueberry, dark chocolate, kiwi, and rum

“Competition leads to innovation and this coffee is the fruit of that labor. 2 and 1⁄2 years after his pioneering World Brewers Cup single tree lot, Rubens Gardelli is proud to present this unique coffee from Uganda. Forging close links with the farmer Alex and forming an export company with close friend Dison has allowed complete traceability and control from tree to cup. Originally a small competition lot, this project grew to encompass all of five small farmers production. A natural processed coffee, intensely sweet, with lots of dark chocolate and cherry — it’s a delicious and an amazing representative of Ugandan specialty coffee. The indigenous nyanzaland varietal and SL14 are grown at 1900 masl and processed using a proprietary natural method which is completely new and unique to Uganda. This coffee was presented for the first time by Rubens Gardelli during the 2017 Italy Brewers Cup and it was brewed by Michael Manhart, where they won first place!” – @gardellicoffees

Shop this coffee!

HEART COFFEE ROASTERS
Portland, OR | Founded in 2009 by Wille and Rebekah Yli-Luoma
Fun Fact: Before moving from Finland to the US and starting Heart, Wille was a professional snowboarder!

Heart Coffee Roasters Fellow Featured RoasterCoffee/Origin: Ethiopia Halo
Variety: Heirloom
Process: Washed
Notes: Honeysuckle, jasmine, sugarcane

“This is Heart’s second year purchasing Halo and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome it back. We received this sample and it was reminiscent of all the things we loved about this coffee in 2017 and we’re sure you all will love it too! It’s florally and sweetness can only be topped by the fact that it is such a wonderful contrast to other Ethiopian coffees on our menu. The Halo Bariti co-op was founded in 2012 by former members of the work co-op. Halo is located in the southern part of Ethiopia’s Gedeo Zone. This remote, wild, part of the country has been mostly untouched by modern development. Members of the Halo co-op bring coffee to the washing station from land as high as 7550 feet above sea level. This extremely high altitude produces some of the most amazing coffees in the world.” – @heartroasters

Shop this coffee!

PASSION HOUSE COFFEE ROASTERS
Chicago, IL | Founded in 2011 by Joshua Millman
Fun Fact: Besides specialty coffee, Joshua is also deeply passionate about music and attempts to weave this into operations at Passion House wherever he can. Sometimes he will let an employee create a playlist to accompany a particular coffee offering, and then sell it with a thumb drive of the music!

Passion House Fellow Featured RoasterCoffee/Origin: “Cafe con Amor” (Costa Rica)
Variety: Caturra, Villa Sarchi
Process: Honey
Notes: Honey, Sweet Cream, Milk Chocolate

“Café Con Amor is a high-altitude farm in the mountains of Naranjo, Costa Rica. The volcanic soil is perfect for growing Caturra and Villa Sarchi varieties of specialty coffee. Growing under the shade of orange, mango, níspero, guaba, lemon, guayaba and sweet plantain, these tropical trees add rich organic material that transfer to the aroma, complexity and citrus notes of this amazing coffee. Café Con Amor is a high-altitude farm in the mountains of Costa Rica, grown in rich soil under the share of many tropical trees. The volcanic soil is perfect for growing Caturra and Villa Sarchi varieties of specialty coffee. Orange, mango, níspero, guaba, lemon, guayaba and sweet plantains add rich organic material that transfer to the aroma, complexity and rich notes of this specialty coffee. The final product is a clean cup with a smooth honey sweetness, citrus tones, and balanced acidity” – @passionhousecoffee

Shop Passion House’s coffees!


February is a busy month in the Playground! Check out what’s coming down the pipeline here and make sure to follow us on Instagram for real-time updates.

Stagg pour-over system

The Golden Ratio For Brewing Coffee

By | Coffee
Ahh yes, the Golden Ratio. The perfect balance between coffee and water for brewing that perfect cup.

One of the biggest barriers to entry we hear when talking to home brewing beginners is knowing the right coffee-to-water ratio. Especially if you’re leaving the world of Keurig (bless your soul) or trying to cut back on purchasing your daily cup of coffee, learning a new brew method and experimenting with the right recipe seems daunting – and even a waste of good coffee. So let’s break down everything you need to know for the perfect coffee-to-water brew ratio.

Read More

Monty Milk Art Cup for latte art by Fellow

Picasso Your Pour: Why Parabolic Slopes Are Better For Latte Art

By | Coffee, Design

A cousin to our Joey Mug, Monty Milk Art Cup is our newest double-wall ceramic drinkware. While Monty can absolutely be home to brewed coffee—our [X] and [XF] Drippers fit perfectly on top of the latte and cappuccino sizes—the design features were specifically engineered for pouring beautiful espresso drinks. So what’s Monty’s secret? A hidden parabolic slope which helps you Picasso your pour by lifting crema to the top without disruption.

First, let’s breakdown the difference between a parabolic slope and a non-parabolic slope. Think back to your algebra days. The slope that’s hidden inside of Monty is similar to the graph created by a quadratic function. The U shape is a welcoming, gentle home for your freshly frothed milk. A cup or a mug with a non-parabolic slope often has sharp 90° or 45° angles. The care put into your milk is instantly mitigated by the hard bottom.

Parabolic slope vs non parabolic slope for pouring latte artNow, let’s talk about the pour. Good latte art has strong definition with bright white milk and dark brown crema. Not so good latte art is often described by baristas as “blown out” because the white and brown mix together to form a lazy tan. To achieve this necessary definition, crema needs to be to lifted to the surface fully intact. This provides a solid canvas to draw on with your milk. The key to getting great contrast is steering clear of turbulence. If you’re pouring milk into a squared, non-parabolic bottom, the milk will inevitably crash into a wall or corner creating turbulence and disrupting the crema. However, if you’re pouring milk into Monty’s parabolic slope, the rounded bottom helps maintain surface tension until you are ready to break it up and start the lines for that beautiful inverted swan with a triple tulip head that everyone loves so much.

Apart from the parabolic slope, our product team kept cafés and baristas top of mind throughout the entire design process. The sizes—latte, cappuccino, cortado, and demitasse—were chosen specifically for espresso-based drinks. We also specifically designed these cups to be square on the outside for convenient stacking in cafés or on an espresso machine. The latte size stacks with the cappuccino size while the cortado stacks with the demitasse. Also, unlike our Joey mug, Monty is dishwasher safe.

Monty Milk Art Cup for pouring latte art by Fellow

Thanks to the very important parabolic slope, Monty is your canvas to Monet your milk. We want to see you van Gogh to town with beautiful latte art. Share your photos on Instagram and tag us for a chance to be featured!


Shop the Monty Milk Art Cup family here!

January Fellow Featured Roasters

Instant Hits | January Featured Roasters

By | Coffee, Featured Roaster

Since the beginning of the 20th century, caffeine lovers have been tinkering and tasting in the pursuit of making coffee completely soluble, delicious, and convenient. In other words, “instant.” Let’s admit it, the results have never really lived up to the real thing. At least, until now…

Ladies and gentlemen, this month at Fellow, we’re excited to share with you the crème de la crème of the latest and tastiest developments in the instant coffee game! For January, we’re offering coffee from some of our finest domestic roasteries, who not only bring us delicious beans but have also teamed up with the most innovative minds out there who have taken instant coffee to the next level.

Stop in and see how far instant coffee has come (or just grab your usually delicious bag of beans)!

CAT & CLOUD + STEEPED COFFEE

Cat & Cloud Coffee and Steeped Coffee for Fellow Featured Roasters

Whole Bean Coffee
Who: Cat & Cloud in Santa Cruz, CA
Coffee/Origin: El Salvador San Nicholas
Variety: Pacamara
Process: Honey
Notes: Orange Juice, Pineapple, Almond Biscotti

“We love buying coffee at auctions – they’re fun, the producers get a great price, and we bring home delicious coffee for our customers. For example, we bought this coffee for about 500% over FairTrade prices, and for us it’s worth it (don’t worry, we won’t mark it up that high for you). This coffee was purchased from the El Salvador Chalate Best Cup Auction. Scoring in the Top 10, this coffee is a honey-processed Pacamara from Finca San Nicholas that is citrusy, sweet, and all around delicious. It has a little bit of complexity while being a coffee that we’d love to drink every morning.”

[Shop this coffee!]

Instant Coffee Pairing
Partner: Steeped Coffee in Santa Cruz, CA
What: Freshly ground and nitro-seeled inside of compostable packaging
How: Steeps like a tea bag in 8 oz of hot water for ~5 minutes
Coffee/Origin: Colombia, Brazil, Ethiopia

Variety: Caturra, Yellow Bourbon, Heirloom
Process: Natural, Washed
Notes: Caramel, Berries, Chocolate

[Shop this coffee!]

CANYON COFFEE + SWIFT CUP COFFEE

Canyon Coffee and Swift Cup Fellow Featured Roasters

Whole Bean Coffee
Who: Canyon Coffee in Los Angeles, CA
Coffee/Origin: Ethiopia Limu Kosa

Variety: Heirloom
Process: Washed
Notes: Jasmine, Peaches, Molasses

“We’re big fans of bringing out the chocolate and caramel in the coffees we source. And Limu Kosa is no different. In the specialty coffee world, Ethiopian beans are commonly roasted lightly and are known for and revered for the resulting bright acidity, strong floral and fruit notes and near tea-like consistency cups. We think these kinds of coffees and roasts are amazing—but it’s not the style of coffee we really love drinking every morning, black.

For that reason, we let Limu Kosa cook a little longer in the roaster, allowing its natural sugars to develop and caramelize. The result is a bean that carries that smooth chocolatey body we love about coffee, with super tasty expressive notes on top. As your cup of Limu cools, notice how the flavors develop over 20 minutes! We’ve tasted it evolve from caramel to peach to jasmine flower to honey. It’s really a beautiful coffee!”

[Shop this coffee!]

Instant Coffee Pairing
Partner: Swift Cup Coffee in Lancaster, PA
What: Using a proprietary process, Swift Cup Coffee carefully brews the coffee to a very flavorful concentrate before slowly dehydrating the coffee through freeze drying
How: Mix with 8-10 oz of filtered water
Coffee/Origin: Celinga Village, Bangua District, Ethiopia
Elevation: 1780-1860 Meters
Process: Washed
Tasting Notes: Cacao Nib and Peach

[Shop this instant!]

CIRQUE  + VOILÁ
Cirque Coffee and Voila Fellow Featured Roasters

Whole Bean Coffee
Who: Cirque Coffee Roasters in Tulsa, OK
Coffee/Origin: Brazil Benedito

Variety: Yellow Bourbon
Process: Natural
Notes: Strawberry, Rhubarb, Glazed Puff Pastry

“Rancho Sao Benedito is located in the rolling mountains of South Minas just outside the small rural town of Carmo de Minas. The region has quite recently become renowned for its award-winning quality, producing some of the finest lots Brazil has to offer. The farm as an average elevation of 1200 masl. The estate was found in 1954 and is now run by Marcio Heleo de Carcalho Junqueira, his three siblings and a team of 20 staff. Benedito has long been recognized for impeccable quality and has placed as a finalist in the Brazilian Cup of Excellence 7 times since 2002!”

[Shop this coffee!]

Instant Coffee Pairing
Partner: Voilá in Bend, OR
What: The best specialty coffees around the world in pre-extracted soluble form
How: Add coffee to an empty cup, add 8-10 oz of water at preferred drinking temperature, stir & voilá
Coffee/Origin: Colombia Las Araucarias
Notes: Black Currant, Cacao, Allspice

[Shop this instant!]

INTELLIGENTSIA + SUDDEN COFFEEIntelligentsia and Sudden Coffee Fellow Featured RoastersWhole Bean Coffee
Who: Intelligentsia in Chicago, IL
Coffee/Origin: Kenya Kunga Maitu Estate
Variety: SL28, SL34
Process: Washed
Notes: Lemon, Nectarine, Watermelon

“This year we have introduced the Kungu Maitu Estate line of coffees from single farms on which growers process their own coffee and control every variable that affects quality. The second farm in this year’s Kungu Maitu Estate lineup is the Wangera farm of Njeri Kagio. Njeri is 79 years old. She owns a car, but prefers to walking five kilometers to and from her farm each and every day. There, she roves up and down the steep hillsides pruning trees, spreading manure, applying nutrients, and picking and sorting coffee cherries. The trees, some of which Njeri planted more 50 years ago, are aligned in perfectly manicured rows. Their full, healthy boughs stand in such stark contrast to the neighboring farms that even a first-time visitor can immediately tell which trees belong to the Wangera farm. Her eighth of 10 children, Stephen Kagio, returned to the farm a few years ago to help his maitu introduce a few technological improvements and other small adjustments to produce truly spectacular coffee. We had the great good fortune to meet Stephen and Njeri last year, and are thrilled to introduce their coffee to our lineup. Her resilience and youthful spirit and his fine-tuning are both reflected inWangera’s coffee, which was good enough to earn the best newcomer award for the farm at our second annual Extraordinary Coffee Workshop in 2018. We have no reason to doubt that our new 79-year-old partner, her son, and their Wangera farm will continue to bring beautiful things into the world for years to come.”

[Shop this coffee!]

Instant Coffee Pairing
Partner: Sudden Coffee in San Francisco, CA
What: Single-origin beans brewed with a revolutionary secret method and then freeze-dried in small batches
How: Add to 8 oz of hot or cold water and stir
Coffee/Origin: Flecha Roja, Costa Rica

Process: Washed
Notes: Citrus, Stone Fruit, and Molasses

[Shop this instant!]

REANIMATOR + SWIFT CUP COFFEE
ReAnimator Coffee and Swift Cup Fellow Featured Roasters

Whole Bean Coffee
Who: ReAnimator Coffee Roasters in Philadelphia, PA
Coffee/Origin: Peru Satipo

Variety: Caturra, Bourbon
Process: Washed
Notes: Marzipan, white grape, and rose

“This is our second year purchasing and roasting coffees from the Pangoa Cooperative in the Junin region of Peru, which we visited for the first time last year with Aleco Chigounis of Red Fox Coffee Merchants. Aleco and his team have been doing more work in Peru than any other coffee importers, and investing in regions and producers that had been previously unknown in the specialty world. While the coop once had nearly 1,700 members, warfare in the 1980s and 1990s reduced that number drastically. It has now stabilized around 680-700 members, who are all producing some of the best coffee in the country. We appreciate the coffees coming from Pangoa for their clarity and unique sweetness. They tend to be more refreshing and light on their feet than coffees from other growing regions in Peru, and that holds true with this lot. We’re tasting refreshing white grape, with a marzipan sweetness, and floral rose character. It’s a really special, fresh, and delicious coffee.”

[Shop this coffee!]

Instant Coffee Pairing
Partner: Swift Cup Coffee in Lancaster, PA
What: Using a proprietary process, Swift Cup Coffee carefully brews the coffee to a very flavorful concentrate before slowly dehydrating the coffee through freeze drying
How: Mix with 8-10 oz of filtered water
Coffee/Origin: Ethiopia Duromina
Process: Washed
Tasting Notes: Lemon, Cocoa, and Sandalwood

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