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…