As a Korean-American foodie who resides in West Oakland, I’m lucky that there’s a slew of fine eateries not too far from our home all along Telegraph Avenue in Temescal.
Azahar is a coffee company doing something that no one else is–or probably ever has. Their coffee is “Farm Fresh” from Colombia; they roast their beans only two weeks to two months off the farm, versus other companies, whose beans are up to a year old before they are roasted. Azahar’s focus on quality and freshness is combined with a sustainable business practice (economic, social, and environmental) that also happens to be incredibly beneficial to the farmers with whom they work.
Last spring, my friend Pamela Palma and I organized a big group bicycle ride that visited several of our favorite coffee shops and cafes in San Francisco. For our second annual event, we created an East Bay edition comprised of six stops spread throughout Oakland and Berkeley.
The Bay Area has been at the forefront of a coffee renaissance in recent years, and local boutique companies like Blue Bottle, Ritual and Four Barrel are now spreading their roasting philosophy — and their coffee beans — across the country. KQED’s Forum talks to some of the entrepreneurs behind the so-called “third-wave” coffee movement.
Author Daniel Handler (who often uses the pen name of Lemony Snicket) and his wife author/illustrator Lisa Brown live with their young son in the same upper Haight neighborhood as Mayor Gavin Newsom. The duo is active in the arts community, and Handler is on the Board of Advisors for LitPAC, which uses noteworthy authors and lit events to support Democratic causes and politicians. Here are the food favorites of the literary power couple.
So last week, when my family and I were in Kauai, I tried to seek out some food love on the Garden Island, Yelping, Chowhounding and asking around to find some alternate food opportunities that would allow me to feed my kids (and myself) a variety of local and fresh food that didn’t break the bank. View a list of my top finds.
San Francisco and San Jose are two of the top 20 caffeinated cities in America, according to The Daily Beast’s online survey. This week, Leslie Sbrocco and her guests discuss the regions’ growing number of small specialty coffee roasters. Guests: James Freeman, owner of Blue Bottle Coffee and Denise Santoro Lincoln, Bay Area Bites blogger.
And, although you can still enjoy those rich dark roasts provided by Caffé Trieste and Peet’s today, the Bay Area is once again at the forefront of coffee roasting in the U.S., this time to a new generation of roasters who are myopically focused on finding the finest single-origin coffees, paying a more than fair price for the beans, and then roasting them for their own unique qualities.
Last week I was lucky enough to go on a tour at the Peet’s Coffee & Tea Roastery (their roasting and packaging facility in Alameda). As someone who drinks Peet’s Italian Roast every morning, I was excited to see how this home-grown Bay Area company handled and roasted their coffee beans and so jumped at the chance to get a peek inside.
In his recent piece for Time Magazine, Josh Ozersky details where we find ourselves today, the “Third wave” of coffee: buying prized lots of single-origin beans and roasting them less frequently, treating coffee as seasonal, and paying attention to slight nuances in bean selection and roasting technique. Essentially, the artisan roasters I’m about to discuss have left Starbucks in the dust.
I set out researching some free Wi-Fi which brought me to the following neighborhood gems in the NOPA/Western Addition neighborhood. While the free Wi-Fi is what initially attracted me to these coffee shops, I love each for different reasons and still go frequently despite the fact that the wireless is up and kickin’ at home.
See these Greek coffee grounds? They just told me my future.
I am sitting here, wired and edgy from two cups of the stuff, trying to let my mind become open to what the residue left behind is trying to tell me.
And I am not entirely sure what to make of it.
Of course, there are a lot of people who might not know what I’m talking about, since I have encountered a hell of a lot of people who don’t even know what Greek coffee is, let alone what Greek coffee can tell a person.
Like espresso, Vietnamese coffee is deep and rich, and a little goes a long way. What makes it really stand out though is its incredible buttery aroma and flavor. Add a generous drizzle of sweetened condensed milk and you have a habit that will be hard to shake.