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Too Many Cooks

Posts tagged: coffee

Roast House releases Congolese coffee

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Roast House coffee has released new coffee from the Democratic Republic of Congo that has local coffee lovers talking.

The coffee was grown by members of a cooperative of farmers called SOPACDI in the highlands of Congo near Lake Kivu. Years of conflict and civil war nearly destroyed the local coffee business and many growers were killed as they tried to protect their farms or smuggle coffee out of the country. The group supports the widows of men killed in the conflict and smuggling coffee with a premium price for their crops.

It is the first time coffee from the fair-trade cooperative was offered in the United States. Buyers grabbed it in less than 24 hours. Roast House, owner Deborah Di Bernardo, who had been looking for ways to support women who grow coffee and their families, is excited about the new coffee. They got just two bags, or about 280 pounds, of green coffee. But it's not just a good cause. The coffee is delicious, too. It features notes of tangerine and chai-like spices.

This promotional video was made by C3M Productions as Roast House released the coffee to their business partners. C3M shared it with us.

Roast House Congolese coffee is available in limited quantities and is only available as pour-over coffee, Chemex or French press because it is a delicate coffee bean and a light roast. The coffee is more expensive due to its limited availability.

Several coffee shops and restaurants began offering the Roast House Congolese coffee on Monday. Most shops are charging about $3 per 12-ounce cup.

Atticus Coffee & Gifts, 222 N. Howard St., (509) 747-0336

Boots Bakery & Lounge, 24 W. Main Ave., (509) 703-7223

Cannon Coffee and Cone, 1925 W. Fourth Ave., (509) 413-1898

Chairs Coffee, 113 W. Indiana Ave., (509) 340-8787

Manito Tap House, 3011 S. Grand Boulevard, (509) 279-2671

The Mason Jar, 101 F St., Cheney, (509) 359-8052

The Scoop, 1001 W. 25th Ave., (509) 535-7171

The Wandering Table, a traveling monthly dinner, www.thewanderingtable.com

Roast House will take telephone and email requests for the Congolese coffee and roast it to order, as long as it lasts. It sells for $15 per pound. Reach Roast House at (509) 995-6500 or orders@roasthouse.net. The microroastery is located at 423 E. Cleveland Ave., Suite C, in Spokane.

Boots Bakery & Lounge getting ready

Need a little pick-me-up? Head to Boots Bakery & Lounge in the former home of Rocket Bakery, 24 W. Main Ave.

Alison Collins, the former bartender at Mizuna's wine bar (and the genius behind their vegan carrot cake) has opened the new coffee shop, deli and lounge. The joint is open everyday at 6 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday. From Wednesday through Saturday it is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The place is still a work in progress, but renovations and painting have brought more light into the space. Those familiar with building owner Dan Spaulding's ecclectic style will notice his influence, especially in the inverted blender lights that hang above the bar. (Which he also assembled from collected pieces.)

Two murals are on the walls, one that is new and the other is actually an advertisement uncovered when plaster was removed. The giant bull was part of a billboard for smoking tobacco. Employees said the wall was once the exterior wall of an adjacent building that has since been demolished.

Collins invited local residents and artists to help design the booths in the bakery and lounge, so the seating is an array of brightly painted and adorned tables and high-back booths.

Collins said help from friends who have just been willing to just jump in and volunteer has been essential to the early sucess. While we talked last week, a friend was in the kitchen baking.

Perhaps Boots' specialty is the vegan baked goods, but there is plenty of vegan and vegetarian lunch fare in the case. Collins makes the dishes as inspiration strikes and depending on the foods she has available each day. Local farmer Brian Estes brings a weekly community-supported agriculture box from his garden that Collins uses in the kitchen.

Collins said many are asking for the same dishes to be made each day, but she said she is refusing to succumb to that request.

I tried both the “Tuno” noodle salad with mushroom sauce and the spicy barbecue tofu topped with espresso barbecue sauce. I didn't exactly get tuna from the first dish, but it was delicious nonetheless. I've been recommending the tofu to friends and plan to go back for more soon.

Collins said they're still filling in the space with more seating and finishing artwork and painting. Since I visitied, there has been quite a bit of progress on the new front deck. There's a large community table near the kitchen that groups have been using for meetings and book groups, Collins said. Call ahead to ensure the table will be open for your group and Collins can also make an array of small bites and snacks for you.

Oh, yeah! Cocktails. I guess I'll have to make a return visit.

Boots Bakery & Lounge is planning an early August grand opening. Reach them at (509) 703-7223.

Thursday Night Throwdown tonight at Indaba

Latte lovers: Drop what you're doing tonight and head to Indaba Coffee, 1425 W. Broadway Ave., for the second Thursday Night Throwdown Inland Northwest.
 
Thursday Night Throwdown is a friendly competition to see who can make the best latte art - whether you're a home barista or a coffee professional. The events started as an informal way for coffee pros to show what they were doing in their own shops and cafes, but has grown into a phenomenon in cities across the country.
 
TNTINW was started by Aaron Monheim and Bobby Enslow of Indaba Coffee in West Central Spokane. Baratza, Equator Coffees and Teas, DOMA Coffee Roasting Company and Victrola Coffee have also helped contribute to TNT, making it possible to host the event through sponsorships.
 
Spokane's Keaton Violet, of Madeleine's Cafe and Patisserie in downtown Spokane, won last month's head-to-head competition. He'll defend the title tonight.
 
“It is judged by the people who show up,” said Monheim. “It's really by a show of hands.”
 
He said they didn't publicize the first TNTINW. “It was supposed to be a dry run,” he said. But more than 35 people showed up for the event and 16 people competed.
 
They hope to have 24 people compete tonight. Qualifying rounds begin at 7 p.m. and the throwdown begins at 7:30 p.m. They'll also have an Aeropress competition tonight.
 
Monheim, who recently moved to Spokane, said he went to a Thursday Night Throwdown event in Seattle and thought it would be a great way to expand the coffee culture in Spokane.
 
They're planning the next TNTINW at the Doma Coffee headquarters in Post Falls. In July, it will be at Evans Brothers Coffee in Sandpoint and at Barracuda Coffee in the Tri-Cities in August.

There are more details about this at tntinw.wordpress.com or reach Monheim, who is the director of coffee education at Indaba Coffee, aaron@indabacoffee.com.

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