Coffee is community.

We like the hashtag #coffeeiscommunity. You will see it on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We like it because it is so very, very true and it has never seemed so accurate a description as it has in these last few weeks.

You see, one of our beloved coffee professionals, Veronika Parson, suffered an unfortunate accident in late June while doing some urban exploring. In her quest to capture the beauty in what most would shrug off as derelict and in need of demolition, she fell twenty-five feet through a roof, miraculously surviving with lacerations, seven cracked ribs, and a broken leg that required surgery. We say miraculously not to diminish the injuries she sustained but because it could have been so much worse.

With such injuries comes medical bills, not to mention the other costs that are sometimes forgotten -- rent, food, transportation, and the very heavy cost of being unable to work for at least two to four months. Life can be expensive, as all of us know. And in an amazing feat of kindness and generosity, the St. Louis coffee community -- coffee roasters, baristas, our stupendous customers, and all the other folks that make what we do possible -- has come together to support Veronika.

Last night, Blueprint Coffee graciously hosted part one of what has been dubbed The Veronika Cup, a three-part series of latte art throwdowns to benefit Veronika through a celebration of our wonderful community and the camaraderie of making art and coffee. With unforgettable donations of food and drink made by Gioia's Deli, Urban Chestnut, Loafers, as well as prizes from Blueprint and First Crack Coffee, we came together and raised over three thousand dollars. We saw customers, other service professionals, and tons of baristas -- some representing other coffee shops and some not. But more importantly, we saw friends with tremendously kind souls. Thank you, everybody. I am not sure we can adequately express just how thankful we are and how incredibly special it is to have and be a part of a community like this in St. Louis.

Coffee is community. Thank you for being a part of ours.

If you were unable to make it to the event last night and are interested in contributing monetarily, there is a GoFundMe setup that you can reach here. Stay on the lookout for more updates regarding part two of the Veronika Cup, which we are hoping to host at Rise Coffee next month. 

veronikacup

Pi day? PIE WEEK. (Starting March 13...)

Dear Lovely People,

We are terribly sorry that we are terrible at actually writing blog posts here, but we hope you understand that we are very busy people when it comes to making coffees and pastries and all those tasty treats for which you come to visit us.

But! We have exciting news. For the first time in Comet history (and we'll be celebrating our third year this year!), we plan to celebrate Pi Day on a much larger scale. If you think Pi Day (3.14.15) is a fantastic invention, we are upping the ante and bringing you Pi(e) Week! It'll be a work in progress; we'll be learning as we go, but for now, we plan to substitute our usual array of pastries with a variety of sweet and savory pies (quiche will still be available; egg pie and all that). If that doesn't work out, we're flexible! We want this to work as much as we love pie (and we love pie a lot).

So, for the last few weeks, we have been gathering and brainstorming ideas for some wacky and amazing pie ideas and we've narrowed it down to the ones listed below. This isn't a for-sure list and we may even add more depending how things go, but we wanted to give you a heads up in order to prepare yourselves for #ohpiegoodness. Not all of these will necessarily be available every day, so please keep that in mind.

  • Apple Pie
  • Bourbon Pecan Pie (local pecans from Missouri Northern Pecan Growers Association in Nevada, MO)
  • Black Bottom Lemon Pie
  • Black Walnut Pie (local)
  • Chicken Pot Pie (free-range, local chickens from Buttonwood Farms in California, MO)
  • Chili con Carne Pot Pie (100% grass-fed, grass finished from Rain Crow Ranch in Doniphan, MO and chipotles from Paul Krautman in Jefferson County, MO)
  • Chocolate Cream Pie
  • Chess Pie
  • Grapefruit Custard Pie
  • Salted Honey Pie (honey from Jesse Brubaker's Between the Rivers Apiary in Dongola, IL)
  • Various fruit pies (depending on what we find for sale...)

We are super stoked to be able to attempt this pie extravaganza this year and we hope that you'll join us for some delicious and scrumptious pies (for breakfast, lunch, and dessert) -- because pie and coffee is like peas and carrots.

Thanks for being awesome.

- Jules

Our Take on the Origins of St. Louis Third Wave Coffee

In recent years, there has been an accelerating interest and growth in Third Wave coffee culture in St. Louis. In this blog post we'll examine what is meant by 'Third Wave', why it is a good thing, and its origins in the St. Louis area.

 

From one of the coiners of the term, Nick Cho of Wrecking Ball Coffee:

"Simply put: 

1st wave = coffee to consume (freeze-dried, commodity, lots of cream & sugar, 'acquired taste,' morning pick-me-up, etc.) *Author's note: John Arbuckle's 1865 Ariosa Coffee is the first instance of this wave*

2nd wave = coffee to enjoy (espresso-drinks, beginning to identify and prefer certain coffee regions, frappuccino, flavored lattes, etc.) *Author's note: Alfred Peet's establishment of Peet's Coffee & Tea in 1966 and Howard Schultz's establishment of Il Giornale espresso bars in 1985 are both hallmark moments for this wave*

3rd wave = coffee to appreciate (like wine/music/art appreciation, terroir, desire for seed-to-cup knowledge, etc.)" 

 

While there are many actors and voices involved in the movement, the central pioneer of the Third Wave of coffee is George Howell of Boston's Coffee Connection, established in 1975 (acquired in 1994 by Starbucks, in large part for rights to the Frappucino). In contrast to Alfred Peet's focus on developing flavor only through roast, George Howell believed that coffee's flavor should arise from the seed's inherent flavor. What this means is that the farmer, processing rigor, and bean cultivar/variety become the central elements of the cup of coffee and not the person roasting them. Since the bean becomes the central element rather than the roasting, the farmer whose life's work is growing and improving these coffees becomes the star rather than the company toasting them for a few minutes. This, in turn, results in more money making its way into the pocket of these farmers--the people doing the real work to make your exceptional cup of coffee possible.

 

Unfortunately, our local media focuses mainly on the preparation method as the differentiating factor of Third Wave coffee. Hand brews are not what make Third Wave coffee what it is. As an example, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, one of the big 3 roasters defining the Third Wave coffee movement (with Intelligentsia in Chicago and Counter Culture in Durham, NC), touts the Fetco Extractor (coffee maker) as its preferred brew method for cafes carrying their coffee due to customizability and consistency. This batch brew method is an excellent way to present a coffee in a high-volume environment when a batch can be re-brewed every 30 minutes but limits the variety of coffees that can be offered. So, the hand brew arises when you either have a very low sales volume, a wide variety of offerings, or an offering that is prohibitively expensive to brew in a large quantity. While Kaldi's did offer hand brews a little earlier, Half & Half's opening in Clayton in June of 2011 gave hand brews their first stage under the guidance of (former Kaldi's barista) Mike Marquard.

 

The beginning of this movement in St. Louis can be traced back to 2007 when Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Co. direct sourced its first coffee -- from Helsar di Zarcero in Costa Rica. Kaldi's continued this trend by developing a relationship with a farmer in Brazil whose son interned at the roaster for a stint. These were then integrated into a World Tour program which Kaldi's used to introduce and educate customers about terroir's role in the cup. 

 

In addition to featuring the farmers, Kaldi's has a tradition of strong focus on barista education with many of their coffee jockeys dominating in the regional Barista Championship. One notable former Kaldi's barista, Joe Marrocco (also 2011 winner of the Regional USBC Championship), is now the Director of Education at Café Imports -- the US's top specialty-grade coffee importer. Also, a side note, Joe was the first person to introduce me to the concept of extracting espresso by weighing the ground coffee and extracted fluid rather than relying on dosing timers and shot volumes. This education and many of the baristas that have benefited from it is one of the true driving forces of Third Wave coffee growth in St. Louis.  When the people roasting and brewing the coffee become the logo rather than the many talented and hardworking people that actually create the coffee, I feel that we have moved away from the spirit of the Third Wave and more into the realm of the pitchman.

Happy Birthday!

Today's the day, folks. August 15th marks the one-year anniversary of our opening and what a wondrous first year it has been. Several of you have been with us from the start and others are just joining us and we couldn't be happier to have you all.

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Salutations!

Jules here. We have finally decided to implement a blog into our website, and while we can't promise consistent updates, we do hope we'll be able to entertain and offer some interesting topics and more transparency for our geeky, geeky selves. 

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