Entries in coffee (9)


Radio Roasters

For the past year, Chip Grabow of Radio Roasters and I have emailed back and forth, always planning to get together for a blog shoot, but for some reason or other, never connecting. Until earlier this week, when we set a date on a Monday morning and I arrived and he was there. Perfect. Now let's have some of that coffee...

Part of the reason it took Chip and I some time to connect was because roasting small batch coffee is not his day job. He's an editor at CNN and does this coffee roasting thing on the side. Except it's not really just a thing- it's a big, ambitious, impressive thing. He does it for the love of coffee and Chip's passion is evident the moment I stepped inside his small roastery in Decatur, Georgia. He doesn't want others to just drink good coffee, he wants them to understand why it's good coffee. As Chip explained, "roasting coffee is an art form."

Coffee, at its origin is a food crop. Like a fine wine, the taste varies based on the soil it is grown in, the care the farmer provides, when it is harvested and how. The farmer who raised the beans now passes the responsibility on to those that roast and ultimately brew those beans. Chip savors the challenge. As he shared, "There are all these flavors locked inside a coffee bean that you don't realize is there."

During my visit, Chip roasted two of six coffee options that he is always rotating, depending what's in season and from where. The first up was Estate PB near Antigua in Guatemala which derives from the small bean known as peaberry-  which, if roasted just right, elicits a full bodied, sweet taste. The other coffee was Banexport from Huila, Colombia which showcases an apple crispness with a sweet, rich body.

It was so nice to have a cup of the Antigua coffee, roasted and brewed by a caregiver's touch. I told Chip, as I work in television studios and sets, I always hide my bad coffee with cream and sugar. But here I had the chance to drink a quality cup and really learn its depth and nuances. It tasted delicious and I learned a thing or two. Mission accomplished for Chip.

I also learned through our time together that Chip was a producer at NPR for 15 years (hence the name of his company). He's a man after my own heart as he loves a good story. And he continues to tell really good stories, whether he knows it or not, with each cup of coffee he serves.

If you live in Atlanta, you can purchase Radio Roasters coffee from Crafted Westside, Sq/ft or in Chip's online shop. As the formula goes, Chip roasts and you brew, so I recommend you check out his brewing tips for crafting a flavorful, quality cup. One that would make him and the farmer proud. 


Images: Whitney Ott, Sweet Peach     Content: Sweet Peach



Bannerproof Your Coffee...

If you're an avid coffee drinker, you may have heard of bulletproofing your coffee by now. It was designed by Dave Asprey and the basic idea is by adding healthy fats to your coffee in the morning, (via unsalted, grass fed butter and coconut oil) you will have more energy, boost your brainpower and curb hunger. So, since I live in Atlanta, which is also home to the incredibly delectable Banner Butter, I figured some taste testing was in order...

The recipe to Bannerproof Your Coffee is quite simple: Take a tablespoon of unsalted Banner Butter, a tablespoon of coconut oil and place in a blender along with your cup of hot coffee. Blend for a few seconds until frothy, then pour into a mug. Top with a sprinkling of cinnamon if you so desire and enjoy...

My niece and I also tried Banner Butter's Cinnamon, Cardamom and Ginger, which goes great with regular coffee as well as Pumpkin Spice coffee- perfect for a chilly, fall day. A sucker for flavored anything, I loved this creamy, spiced version the best. 

Thirdly, we tried a mocha version using locally made Atlanta chocolate, Xocolatl. We melted a couple tablespoons in a double broiler, added that into the blender along with the coffee, butter and coconut oil, then drizzled some extra melted chocolate atop our finished cup. Ultimately, I'm not sure if I had any more energy or brainpower than a normal cup would provide, but I did feel satiated and I did love the taste...especially when there was melted chocolate on top. 

If you're in Atlanta and wish to buy a cup rather than make your own, stop by Caveman Coffee, on the BeltLine, which is offering two versions right now: Butter Coffee (with unsalted Banner Butter) and Autumn Spice Butter Coffee (with Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger Banner Butter, maple syrup, vanilla and almond milk)  Yum. 

And no matter where you live, have Banner Butter delivered to your front door, here. Via Scoutmob...


Images: Sweet Peach, Whitney Ott    Content: Sweet Peach



Bulletproof your coffee...

I have yet to try bulletproofing my coffee but I'm intrigued. This trend has taken off on the west coast and NY and involves combining coffee with two tablespoons of grass fed butter. Tech entrepreneur, Dave Asprey came up with the idea while hiking in Tibet (he found a similar creation there, made with yak butter). Supposedly, the combination of coffee with butter high in Omega 3's and vitamins, is good for you and your brain. Those who partake report a suppression of hunger and a renewed mental clarity. Gotta try... 


image: Maya Visnyei



Culinary Peach Picks: Annette Joseph

When I began this blog three years ago, I didn't realize how much work it would be- how besides writing and curating, I'd at times also be a food and prop stylist. I needed (and still need) a professional like Annette Joseph by my side. For over 20 years, Annette has perfected the art of styling, whether it's tabletop, home decor, cooking or entertaining. Each summer, she leaves the South to hone her culinary skills in a picturesque Italian villa...sigh. Italy is my true love and I was reminded of this every day this past summer as I perused her deliciously good Instagram pics. I'm thrilled that Annette decided to share her top culinary picks for the holiday season with Sweet Peach. Each and every one is perfetto! (especially the last one...) 

Blue Bottle Coffee, $19. This is the real deal- probably one of the best brews this side of the ocean. This Roman Espresso does not disappoint. 

John Derian Mug, $135. I'll take one of these exquisite mugs to enjoy my morning ritual. Please and thank you. 

Brass & Walnut Pour Over Coffee Stand, $189. It's obvious that i'm a coffee snob. Truth- this brass coffee pour stand is divine! 

Nespresso Machine, $99. This item has a regular appearance on my gift giving list. Everyone that loves coffee should have one. I personally own four machines. 

Tagine Style Glass Cloche, $50. I bought one of these cloches in Napa a few years ago. It's a great addition to any cheese platter. 

Flavored Olive Oil Set, $86. From Oliviers and Company, these are the best flavored olive oils. When I summer in Italy, I drive over the border to France just to buy them at the shop in Menton- plus the shop keeper is gorgeous, so that doesn't hurt. Lemon is my personal favorite but try a few flavors. It's a perfect gift. 

Nutribullet, $160. I am totally obsessed with The Nutribullet. I use mine every day. It's great for Juice January, which is something I do every year. 

Rosmarino Ligurian Pesto, $12. The Italian region I live in during the summer has the most heavenly pesto...

Paella Pan, $22. I am smitten with Paella, plus everyone needs a Paella pan. 

Teak Measuring Spoons, $30. Beauty and utility all in one from one of my favorite shops in Savannah. 

Copper Measuring Cups, $28. I love copper touches right now. I am thinking seriously about exposed copper pipes all over our villa in Italy when we renovate. Until those are installed, these copper measuring cups will do.

Artisan Sea Salt, $22. I love the new trend in flavored salt. Obviously, the Espresso is one of my favorites. 

Clipping Scissors, $16. One can always use a good set of clipping scissors, or two or three...

Ticking Cafe Apron, $53. I collect aprons and this one works for both men and women. 

Italy Food and Prop Styling Workshop, $2275. Join me for a once in a lifetime creative, photographic retreat on the Italian Riviera in June of 2015. 

 Top Illustration: Rob Wilson of Silas Tom  



Grady's Cold Brew


Although I'm not one of those people that need a cup of coffee everyday, I do enjoy a tasty cold brewed coffee from time to time...

What I like about Grady's Cold Brew is how they get their inspiration from New Orleans. Their special ingredient is chicory, whose origins begin in Egypt but the root has been mixed with coffee in France since the early 19th century. When French colonists established New Orleans in 1718, coffee crops were one of their big exports and contributions to the city. It quickly became an integral part of the local culture.

During the American Civil War, naval blockades cut off the port to New Orleans, hence the locals access to coffee. To stretch their supplies, New Orleanians began mixing their coffee with acorns, beets... or chicory. Chicory coffee was cheap and used in times of coffee shortage or an economic downturn. This surprising combination of flavors in coffee has become a New Orleans tradition as well as chicory in a 'cafe au lait' or hot milk. 

All of this colorful history makes Grady's Cold Brew so much more of a good idea. It can be mixed with water or milk, served over ice or steaming hot. Chicory has a nutty, mellow flavor and when added with milk, tastes like hazelnut. Learn more about Grady's through their site, plus find their recipe for a New Orleans Iced Coffee (and other tasty coffee concoctions), here.


Photos:Grady's Cold Brew; Food 52     Content: Sweet Peach


Slingshot Coffee

During my recent event, the Sweet Peach Revival, the very first item to fly off the shelves was the Slingshot Coffee. Packaged to perfection, this cold brewed coffee is handcrafted in small batches in Raleigh, North Carolina. And it's good...

If you have yet to notice, cold brewed coffee has become quite the trend. Slingshot makes theirs with just two ingredients- organic cofee beans roasted by Counter Culture Coffee in Durham and filtered Raleigh tap water. It is strained into a concentrate and with a little ice, you have a cup of coffee that is less acidic and richer than your typical cup. Refreshing and light may be a good (and unexpected) description. So if you like coffee, it's definitely worth a try. 

The cold brew concentrate is a 1-1 ratio of coffee to water. As they state, "You can make it cold by mixing with cold water, you can make it hot by mixing with boiling water, or mix it 1-1 with milk just shy of a boil or milk from the icebox for a hot or cold latte-like drink." 

The best part is the product's versatility. On the Slingshot site, they list some incredible recipes for adding vodka, tequila, club soda, simple syrups, whiskey, bourbon, bitters...even peanut butter and bananas for a tasty smoothie. It's a good cup 'o joe and so much more. Cheers to that...


Photos: Slingshot Coffee Co.      Content: Sweet Peach



The Coffee Wizard

When I expressed interest in coffee, my good friend Em, of Emily G's told me I had to talk to Jason Dominy, the Coffee Wizard, to learn how to brew the perfect cup. Turns out Jason is the Director of Outreach and Wholesale Support for the reputable Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters, based in Atlanta and Olympia, Washington. 

The special aspect to Batdorf & Bronson is that all their coffee is certified fair trade, certified organic or bought directly from the farm. Jason, "We roast with 100% renewable energy and recycle 80-90% of everything that comes in. They've become so successful in their methodology, here in Atlanta they roast coffee beans for the entire East coast-  from Chicago to the Virgin Islands. 

Jason favors the Clever Dripper process to make his perfect cup. Jason, "It's a hybrid of a French press and a pour over and allows for a rich, full body with a clean, sweet taste." He recommends a burr grinder for an even extraction and highly recommends buying whole beans to ground just before making your coffee. This will ensure the freshest cup of coffee with the deepest aroma and flavor.  

So here's how to make the perfect cup. First, rinse the coffee filter, then add freshly ground beans. Start a timer at zero and saturate grounds with 200 degree water. The formula is 24 grams of coffee to 340 grams of water, just off boil. (This will make 2 coffee cups worth, or 12 oz.) 

Jason likes to do a quick whisk on the very top to push the grounds into the water. 

When the timer reaches 2:30, set the dripper on a large coffee mug or decanter to fill. Then serve and appreciate. 

And if you see the pretty blue cup at a coffee shop, it means they're offering a high quality coffee roast from Batdorf & Bronson. Here in Atlanta, you can get a fresh cup at Dancing Goats. A perfect cup o' joe...tastes incredible and it's stylish. Thank you Coffee Wizard. 


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach


Gift Ideas, for her...

Voluspa Candle Vermeil Collection, Authentique Home in Atlanta or Anthropologie, $24; Aristide Traywall Art, $125; Colette Bream pillows, $89-$118; Felted Acorns by Feltjar, $12; I Love You art by Sugarboo Designs, $85; Bench x60, $199 with promo code 'SWEET50';  

Bike basket, $79; Kristi Baker hancrafted journal, $30; Simple Pear Vase, $17.50; Imogene + Willie custom blend coffee, $15.00; Emily G's jams, $8.50 each; Fort Remington handcrafted wooden spoons, $7-$29; Bexar Goods tote bag, $215.

Jeanette Zeis mixing bowl, $42; Sydney Hale's Blue Spruce and Spearmint candle, $28; Pomegranate Farm's crochet coasters, $10.50; Pony & Poppy tea towels, $44. 

Setting bowls, $56; La Pera Poster, $550; Becca Stadtlander's Strawberries print, $22; Cities 2013 Calendar, $30

Who needs diamonds or fancy cars when you could be lucky enough to own either of these scrumptious bags from Peter Nappi in Nashville? ($395, $675)

My personal favorite gift for gals this year are the individually made Wobbly Plates, sold at the indie-pendent in Atlanta, or here. Handcrafted by Brigitte Bouquet, they range in price from $15-$27 each. They're amazing textural pieces, made prettier stacked together or placed in various colors atop your dinner table...



Apropos Roasters

If a man in your life loves coffee, Apropos Roasters of Richmond, Virginia offers a variety of the best flavors throughout the world- From Costa Rica, Columbia, Guatemala to Brazil. Each carefully selected batch of coffee beans is roasted to order, then simply packaged with recycable brown paper, hand stamped and tied with a piece of twine. 

Jennie-Mae Skinnger has been roasting coffee for over ten years and admits she has "a shameless obsession with packaging and a deep concern with sustainability." She works hard to avoid plastics and instead favors environmentally friendly packaging that has a simple, stylish appeal. A girl after my own heart...

Jennie-Mae offers a coffee of the month club. Each month, the recipient would receive a freshly roasted bag of beans mailed out the same day it was packaged. Each single origin bean (no blends) has been hand selected by Jennie-Mae for its unique flavor profile. She currently loves the Colombia Magdelena. As she shared with me, "It's farmed by the Kogis, who have been growing coffee in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria area since the 70's. It's bright and citric with a full caramely body." 

When I asked Jennie-Mae about the variety of flavors from each coffee, she explained, "Coffee is similar to wine in that each farm is different and each year the crop itself, off of that farm, is different. Like a bottle of '07 vs. a bottle of '09 from the same wine maker." Each crop, no matter the year, will yield its own individual flavor profile. 

If you have specific questions about the coffee, you can just email Jennie-Mae on her Etsy site. In the meantime, start thinking about sending some coffee to a manly friend or loved one. It's such a great gift that I believe would be most appreciated, and savored...


Photos: Apropos Roasters   Content: Sweet Peach