A Story about Coffee

Each morning, I like to start the day with what my friend and I have dubbed a west coast macchiato. It’s really the only espresso drink I know how to make, so if you come over between 9 and noon, and I offer you a coffee, it’s likely what I will hand you a few minutes later.

A west coast macchiato is a tweener drink. A true macchiato is a healthy shot of espresso with just a tiny kiss of steamed milk or foam. It’s a proper, European kiss. Light and respectful. Just a little friendly hello. My kiss is a little more than that. It’s a Haight-Ashbury free love kind of a kiss. It’s not the full on French kiss that you find in a cafe au lait. But it’s loose and friendly and just a bit on the indulgent side. It’s also a bit of a mystery because the steamed milk pour (always tapped flat) fills the cup regardless of the size of the pull… some mornings are more milky than others.

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Which all is a long way to introduce you to a Bainbridge Island coffee roasting company called Storyville that I recently discovered. I received an email from Ryan several weeks ago asking me if I’d be interested in trying their beans and if I liked coffee. I giggled to myself a little, and responded that yes, I do indeed like coffee and that usually I even roast my own beans. A few mails went back and forth, and then he asked me if I had a French Press. Oh, I thought, he means coffee as in the drink and not the beans. As in not espresso. Hmm. I’d have to think about that. I have my drink, you see, and I’m quite attached to it.

But then, the next day, an enormous box showed up on my front porch that contained a bit more than the beans I was expecting.

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Not only did Ryan send me a lovely bag of their Prologue blend, but he also sent along everything I could need to get started with the whole coffee-the-drink thing. Let me tell you, if you have a friend or colleague that is interested in coffee and you are looking for a gift, this will impress the heck out of them. I immediately grabbed my camera and put the kettle on.

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Before I tell you how it tastes, I should tell you a bit about Storyville’s philosophy on roasting coffee. Or, maybe better, just go watch their mockumentary on the subject of “Big Coffee” and burning the beans. Storyville makes just one blend of coffee and you can get it with or without caffeine. And they don’t roast the beans to death. There is a fine line between lovely carmelization and char and a lot of coffee out there crosses that line. When I roast at home, I tend to stay on the light side, so these beans are right up my alley.

But the big thing about Storyville is that they are all about getting you the freshest beans possible, and recommend always brewing the beans between 3 & 12 days of roasting (again one of the reasons I homeroast… I can make very small batches frequently and always be drinking fresh beans. The other reason I home roast is that it makes it easier to get Fairtrade and organic beans). If you don’t have a local roasting company just up the hill from you (and in Seattle, you very well may), and don’t want to bother roasting your own, Storyville makes it pretty compelling to replace the beans you buy on the market shelf that have probably been sitting there a while with regularly delivered fresh beans. You can just sign up, and the beans are roasted to your schedule and shipped to you each week (or two weeks) fresh, right when you need them.

Anyway… how it tastes. If I say it tastes like really good coffee, that doesn’t sound like much does it? But, for me, that actually means a lot. 99% of the coffee-the-drink I try doesn’t, so my “good” bar is ridiculously high (just ask Cam on this one… he’ll confirm). But between the freshness of the beans and using a French Press instead of a coffee maker, this coffee has some legs to it. It has a mouth-feel that was just the right side of smooth and miles away from watery. This is coffee I really enjoyed. It is coffee I’d be happy to serve you if you were to come over between 9 and noon.

But, I’ll also let you in on a little secret… those Prologue beans? They make a heck of a good west coast macchiato too…

  • http://www.sevenspoons.net tara

    That must be some darn good coffee! What an elegant presentation and a fabulous gift.

    I too am a macchiato girl; I particularly loved this “But itโ€™s loose and friendly and just a bit on the indulgent side.” I’d (almost) wear that line on a t-shirt!

  • http://squirrelbread.wordpress.com heather

    what a delightful gift! i’d be beaming! i was originally an americano-only girl, but have gotten into lattes of late. no frother, though, so i make “poor man’s lattes” – heat milk in a saucepan until it froths up and pour over hot espresso; OR pour milk into a cup, rub a small whisk back and forth in between your hands to froth [minimally, unfortunately], and then pour over hot espresso.

    i read about Storyville before i went to the NW, but sadly did not get a chance to make it out there, even if to just peek around. sounds fabulous!

    great post!



  • http://dimbulb.org Jason

    Woo Hooo! this trip is gonna be fun! We are all excited to see you guys!

  • http://noblepig.com/ noble pig

    OMG your description in the first paragraph of the coffee-milk-kiss…just bravo…seriously.

  • Mary Lamb

    Delightful! I must send this to our coffee enthusiast daughter Barbara. (Her record company is “Lots of Coffee Records.) She may even show up at your house between 9 and 12 the next time she is in Seattle.

  • Nick

    I got the same nice Storyville gift. The darn thing has turned a seldom coffee drinker into a fanaitical everyday coffee drinker.

  • http://whatilikenyc.blogspot.com Laura [What I Like]

    Wow this sounds fabulous! I’ve got a cupboard full of ancient vacuum packed Gevalia (it wasn’t my idea, I promise) that you’ve inspired me to throw out and replace with some Storyville product!

  • http://www.aspoonfulofsugar.net/wp/ Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar

    This sounds incredible! Such amazingly enticing pictures, too. I am so tempted to start making my own coffee again—stopped a few months ago after getting slightly addicted :)

  • http://coffeegrounded.wordpress.com Margie

    I am so green with envy that I can’t even comment…well, maybe I can, but only to tell you how very jealous I am, and I am…very, very, very jealous!


  • http://culinarycory.com Culinary Cory

    Your photos are amazing. I can smell the fresh brew now.

  • http://junglefrog-cooking.com Simone (junglefrog)

    Sorry… no time. Gotta go and drink a good cup of coffee now! :) Love your post!

  • http://themodernapron.blogspot.com TD

    I live on Bainbridge and we LOVE Storyville! I get my husband a bag for his birthday/Christmas/our anniversary/Flag Day/fill in holiday excuse to buy coffee here!

    For those who make it out to BI, and want to add to the experience, check out Bay Hay & Feed which brews Storyville in their (tiny but excellent) cafe, sells the beans in their store, and also has a really neat gift shop/nursery for poking around. If you’re coming to the island and want to check out either Storyville or BH&F, you’ll either have to drive on or take a taxi–neither is within walking distance of the ferry dock.


  • http://confessionsoftart.blogspot.com Irene

    Beautiful! Love the espresso kissed with milk, what a perfect description! I am giggling as I imagine that some mornings, it’s a nice “cousinly” kiss and some mornings it’s full on knock-your-socks-off tonguing. :)

  • Newfguy

    What make of espresso machine do you have? That crema is very impressive!

  • http://www.lovinglocalfood.com Lacey

    My husband and I recently bought a french press… ’tis already used and abused. We only brew the good stuff in it; after reading your post, we’ll have to give Storyville a try! A nice excuse to hop on the ferry for a day trip to Bainbridge Island on a coffee-finding adventure.

  • http://meandtheblueskies.blogspot.com Preston

    The coffee sounds wonderful. I am a big fan of the French Press; however, I received a Keurig coffee maker for Christmas and, alas, my poor French Press hasn’t seen the light of day since!

  • http://www.steamykitchen.com jaden

    hey girl! i have a love affair with storyville too – aren’t they just the best?

    my iRoast and big 20# of green beans from Sweet Marias has been untouched for 3 months.

    btw, comin’ to Seattle – will finally get to meet you as I’m speaking at the food blogger conf next month!


  • Phillip

    Great stuff! I signed up for Storyville several months back and it is impossible to enjoy a cup of anything else. Although I drink a lot of coffee I don’t consider myself a coffee connoisseur, so that is saying something coming from me.

  • http://www.foodista.com Alisa@Foodista

    The photo and the story is amazing! What a great gift! I can almost smell the coffee :)

  • http://www.realepicurean.com Scott at Realepicurean

    Can’t say as I’ve ever thought about coffee quite like that before; perhaps I’m just too shallow.

    Still, looks great.

  • http://graceliving.com grace

    I am wondering what size cup you have as I can’t tell in the photos. Macchiatos at my local are in a normal small sized espresso cup but yours look to be in normal sized cups that, say, a flat white would come in.
    Nice looking cups, like paper cups but ceramic or china?

  • http://www.cookandeat.com/ L

    Hi Grace – the cups with the macchiatos are small espresso cups. I believe they are 4 oz cups, and yes, they are modeled after paper cups, but made of ceramic. They are the perfect size!

  • Brenda

    I’m signing up for the Private Reserve introductory offer today! Maybe these beans will replace the Allegro beans we frequently have in the house. Still – no one makes a better drip coffee than Stumptown.