Back in January, we resolved to help you increase your appreciation of coffee. That's why we're declaring this week to be Coffee Kind Coffee Appreciation Week, with a lineup of activities to help you see coffee in a different light.
Break Out of Your Coffee Routine
We like to think of our relationship with coffee as a romance. Relationship counselors tell you that one of the quickest ways to kill a romance is to become mired in routine. If you've fallen into a routine -- coffee first thing in the morning, a cup of coffee after dinner, the same coffee at the same time each day -- it's time to break out of your rut and get adventurous. Here's how we're breaking our coffee routine this week. Here's how we're laying out our calendar for the rest of the week.
Coffee Appreciation Week Calendar
Monday: Visit a New-to-You Coffee Shop
Specialty coffee shops are among the fastest growing segments of the coffee industry. It almost seems like there's a new coffee spot opening every week. We know you love your regular cafe, but there's a lot to be said for being a little bit disloyal. In fact, last month, a handful of indie coffee bars in D.C. kicked off their own Disloyalty Program
to encourage their regulars to branch out and experiment. You don't have to wait for local coffee shops to follow suit. Start your week off with a little disloyalty of your own. Skip the chains and get to know the baristas at a new coffee bar, just for the fun of it.
Tuesday: Drink Coffee at a Different Time
Are you enjoying that morning cup of coffee as much as you could? If you've been trying to fit in your morning java somewhere between your shower and your subway ride, it can be difficult to really savor those subtle -- or not so subtle -- flavors and aromas. Step outside your usual schedule and consciously set aside 20 minutes or so to make a cup of coffee and just enjoy it. When you break your typical routine, you set your mind up to notice things that normally get lost in the daily grind. And while you're at it, why not take your mug into the other room for a change of view, too.
Wednesday: Try a Different Brewing Method
The way you brew your coffee makes a huge difference in the flavors and aromas you coax from the beans. Today, get a different take on your usual coffee by brewing it by a different method. We get that it's easier for some folks than others -- we've got a variety of brewers on hand, for example -- but there are lots of ways to brew coffee without having to buy extra coffee equipment. One of our favorite methods uses nothing more than a saucepan and filter of some sort. Bring water just to a boil in the saucepan and take it off the heat. Add a measured amount of coarsely ground coffee, stir it in well, and let it steep for about 3 minutes. Pour it through a coffee filter into a mug and enjoy as is, or add an equal amount of warmed milk.
Thursday: Take Notes on Your Coffee
This morning, stop and smell the coffee. No, we mean REALLY smell the coffee. Grab a pad of paper and a pen so you can write down your impression - what you smell, what you taste, how it feels in your mouth. Don't rush things. The best coffees offer different flavor profiles as the cup cools, so take the time to enjoy and explore every sip. Once you start paying attention to the different flavors, aromas and mouth sensations, you'll find yourself noticing and appreciating the many variables in your coffee more and more.
Friday: Share Your Appreciation with a Vertical Tasting
Coffee is always better when you share it with friends, and a vertical coffee tasting is a way to introduce your friends to the complexities of the noble bean. Unlike coffee cupping, which can be a little off-putting to the typical coffee drinker, a vertical tasting doesn't involve odd rituals like breaking the crust of coffee grounds on top of your cup. It also doesn't require several different coffees to taste. Instead, you just make the same coffee by two or more brewing methods and taste to appreciate the difference. Check back with us on Wednesday for more detailed instructions on how to hold your own vertical coffee tasting.
We're pleased to share our favorite coffees with you, and hope you'll join us on our journey of appreciation this week. Don't forget to check our weekly coffee specials to help you put together a tasting menu for your own coffee appreciation week.
Read on for the next post: How to Host Your Own Vertical Coffee Tasting