Are you the sort of person who brings a (shatter-proof) French press into the wilderness? Do you demand decent coffee no matter how wild the setting? Then you’ll want to head to Northeast Minneapolis on Saturday, May 14 to attend Baristas Gone Wild. You’ll join the award-winning roasters of Spyhouse Coffee as they prepare you for a wild summer of camping, canoeing, and coffee brewing.
And you’ll also learn more about Chef Camp, the Sept. 2-4 camp retreat featuring some of Minnesota’s best chefs teaching open-fire cooking.
Baristas Gone Wild will feature demonstrations on coffee roasting and various styles of brewing (with tastings!), and a coffee mixology tutorial with an emphasis on coffee drinks that would be ideal when made and enjoyed in the great outdoors.
Where: Spyhouse Coffee — 945 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis 55413
In the last couple of years, baristas in these parts have been getting crazy with the Cheez Whiz. OK, maybe not Cheez Whiz, but in the Twin Cities’ best coffee shops, you can find drinks with additions like fresh herbs, horchata, root beer extract, sriracha, and gin bitters. These unconventional and (generally) tasty concoctions highlight coffee’s versatility — the brewed bean plays surprisingly well with ingredients that seemingly have no business in a cuppa Joe.
This spirit of experimentation inspired us to organize a cold press lab with the generous underwriting of Peace Coffee. We spent an evening at their roastery unscientifically testing recipes — with the grilling season upon us and the sweltering days of summer just ahead, we decided to focus our energies on the cold stuff.
Along with several of our writers and a couple of photographers, our crew included two highly skilled coffee chemists: Jackson O’Brien, head barista at Peace Coffee’s Wonderland location, and Andy Johnson, Peace alum and current barista at Five Watt.
At the appointed hour, we gathered at Peace Coffee’s new tasting and cupping lab and training room, loaded down with enough ingredients to fill a modestly sized wheelbarrow. Our bounty included everything from marshmallow fluff, savory and sweet herbs, liquid smoke, and sodas from around the world to mango chutney, maple syrup, spicy peppers, an assortment of bitters, and fruit. Yes, it included a durian — a large, roundish, thorny fruit that’s so pungent that at least one country (Singapore) bans it on buses and in public buildings. We procured this wide range of mix-ins because we wanted to explore new (at least to us) flavor and texture combinations — and who doesn’t like slamming a durian on the concrete and stepping on it until the yellowy custard seeps from its thick skin? Great for caffeine-induced aggression!
We had but one rule: the drinks had to taste like coffee. This rule was rather easy to follow because we used Peace’s bottled cold press made from a rich, bold blend aptly named yeti. Given our funky ingredients and free-flowing process, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we produced many, many duds … and a very full dump bucket. On the other hand, we really did think pennywort soda (which tastes of freshly mowed lawn and dirt) would blend well with cold press concentrate. We were wrong.
Through trial, a great deal of error, and even more laughter, we developed a solid lineup of drinks. Without further delay, here are the recipes (aka estimations scribbled with shaky hands after consuming way too much caffeine). We very much encourage readers to add in the comments section recipes for their own refreshing summer coffee creations. Each recipe makes one drink.
Huma Cereza Andy Johnson
This dairy-free concoction tastes of vanilla ice cream, smoked hickory, and chocolate cherries. It brings out the wow!
4 ounces cold press concentrate
2 ounces water
½ ounce vanilla simple syrup
2 drops liquid smoke
2 full droppers cherry-bark bitters
5 drops xocolatl mole bitters
1. Combine ingredients (except mole bitters and cherries) in shaker. Shake and pour into glass.
2. Place 5 drops of mole bitters on top.
3. Garnish drink with halved cherries, and swirl in froth for added color and flavor.
The Firewalker Joshua Page
A refreshing, subtly sweet drink with creeping heat. Molasses brings out the tamarind flavor without overpowering the cold press. Orange juice and peel add brightness.
3 ounces cold press concentrate
⅓ fresh habanero pepper
½ bottle Jarritos tamarind soda
1 teaspoon molasses
1 tablespoon orange juice
1. Chop habanero and mix with 3 ounces Jarritos. Let sit for 7 to 10 minutes. Strain out peppers.
2. Mix molasses with 1 ounce Jarritos. Set aside.
3. Combine pepper and molasses mixtures with cold press and orange juice. Pour over ice.
4. Rub orange peel on rim of glass, and add peel to the drink.
The Java Nut James Norton
The mellow, earthy flavors of roasted coconut and cold press coffee join forces to create a mellow, nutty base. Cardamom-coriander bitters provide pizzazz.
3 ounces roasted coconut juice (available at United Noodles)
3 ounces cold press concentrate
2 ounces half-and-half
3 drops cardamom-coriander bitters
1. Combine ingredients in a shaker. Shake and pour.
Nashville Slammer Jackson O’Brien
Basil gives a light and fresh tone to the cold press (they play off each other in much the same way chocolate and mint do). Lime and sparkling water add brightness.
1. Tear basil leaves, and muddle pineapple with simple syrup.
2. Add cold press and ice.
3. Garnish with a sprig of basil.
Durian Shake Becca Dilley
The durian and coffee support each other with their earthy notes. Horchata’s dusty-but-sweet flavor melds with and moderates the funky kick of the durian, giving the drink a pleasantly sweet edge. The mint garnish masks the smell of the durian.
2 tablespoons durian (available frozen at United Noodles)
1 ounce cold press concentrate
1 ounce milk
1 tablespoon Klass horchata drink mix
Sprig of mint
1. Combine ingredients (except mint) in shaker. Shake, and pour into glass.
“With the momentum we have at Calhoun Square, we will be opening another shop,” says Greg Hoyt, owner of the newly opened Dogwood Coffee Co., which features state-of-the-art equipment and competition-level baristas. The November 4th opening of his first retail store inside Rustica Bakery was the catalyst that led Hoyt to sell Bull Run Roasting Company and enter into the new direct-to-consumer coffee company.
“Dogwood was borne from the baristas that were present at the beginning of the Rustica shop,” says Hoyt. Relying on key people like Stephanie Ratanas, formerly of Metropolis Coffee Company, Hoyt and his partner Dan Anderson have been able to provide a coffee experience that can only be found at high-end, quality-focused shops like Black Sheep Coffee Cafe or Kopplin’s Coffee.
Competition-level baristas combined with high-quality green beans and progressive roasting techniques have created the high-end specialty coffee that is Dogwood Coffee Co. Baristas brew regular coffee on a Clover — the most expensive coffee brewer in the world — and make espresso drinks using a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia. The Aurelia is the official espresso machine of the World Barista Championship, giving Dogwood Coffee Co. baristas the opportunity to hone their skills on the same machine that they will use in competition.
Drinks created at Dogwood are made with extra care as the beans used are sourced from high-end importers like Ninety Plus Coffee and Exclusive Coffees. A premium is paid for these beans due to the care that is taken at the origin and in the transportation of the beans. Espresso brewed from this top-notch coffee is served with side of sparkling water drawn from a tap in the counter. The sparkling water is meant to cleanse your palate, allowing you to taste the intricate flavors and nuances. The espresso ($2) has a heavy and syrupy body with a bright caramel and floral taste.
The coffee is roasted light, a technique used by progressive specialty roasters to allow the natural taste of the coffee to come out in the cup rather than the taste of the roast. The Ethiopia Nekisse brewed on the Clover has a clean taste — the sweet fruit and chamomile flavors that are natural to the cup are prominent and easily recognizable. From the Sidamo region of Ethiopia, the Nekisse is a coffee that is dried naturally under the supervision of Ninety Plus Coffee, one of the premier green bean importers in the country. The natural processing allows the skins of the coffee cherries to dry on the bean before being removed, causing the tastes of the fruit to be transferred to the bean and, inevitably, into the cup.
The altitude, soil type, and green bean storage method are also included under a small description of the coffee. For Hoyt this isn’t meant to overwhelm his customers, but rather to encourage them to ask questions and to look deeper into the coffee they are drinking. With restaurants like Heartland, Alma, and Corner Table now carrying Dogwood coffee, there is no question that Hoyt has started a discussion about coffee that is on the cutting edge.