Tag Archives: Peregrine Espresso

Bean Counting: Idido Natural Sun-dried – Counter Culture

Roaster: Counter Culture
Place of Purchase: Peregrine Espresso (14th St. NW Location)
Preferred Brew Method: Paper Filter Drip (pour over)
Excerpt From Counter Culture Describing Coffee:

Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
Organic • Shade Grown
The community of Idido, just outside the town of Yirgacheffe, has once again produced the quintessential Ethiopian Natural Sundried coffee. One of the cleanest and most refined naturals we have tasted in years, Idido offers notes of strawberry, blueberry, and orange zest with a balanced, chocolate-like sweetness.

Cafe Hound Review:   Generally, Counter Culture got this one right. This coffee cups clean, though it has  enough of what I call, “berry funk” to entertain your palate. I cycled through several of the Counter Culture coffees this year, with the Central Americans admittedly disappointing after a VERY strong showing in 2009, and a decent showing in 2010. In 2010 my favorite growing region of the world ended up being Kenya, though the Cafe Hound annual blend at the end of 2009 included a fair amount of sun-dried Ethiopian coffee from the Amaro region. (washed version for sale at Novo now). Right now, this Yirgacheffe is rocking my world. I admit that as the weather cools here in the Nation’s Capital, I’m leaning towards more bold and fruity coffees – though I enjoy a clean cup so much that I rarely venture to the extremes of many Indonesian grown coffees (Sumatra). Though, it is all a matter of taste and I encourage you to post your comments letting us know what your preferences are this year! Happy Hounding!

info@cafehound.com

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Ano Novo Blend & Universal Education

Ano Novo Blend: Give the Gift that Keeps on Giving

The first custom Cafe Hound blend of 2010 is already receiving raving reviews from its first consumers!  As we continue to sell out our limited stock we are closely approaching our goal of having enough money to send a charitable donation to the Barefoot Foundation (Pies Descalzos) down in Colombia.  Below are some success stories from the English version of their website.

All content from the Barefoot Foundation website is the property of the Barefoot Foundation.

Source: http://www.barefootfoundation.com/index_en.php

Success Stories

The stories from the communities we serve inspire us to continue working for those who need us most. These comments from our students and their families describe the changes in their communities. For each success story, there are thousands more children who we hope to serve soon.

Ferley’s Story

Ferley didn’t think he’d ever get to go to school. His thin frame is shrunken by congenital rickets, making him look closer to six than to his eleven years. His mother Clarisa said, “I was afraid that if I let him go to school, the other kids would call him names and make fun of him, and that he would be a burden on the teachers.” Clarisa Rentería and her five children are refugees who fled the violence of Colombia’s civil conflict, eventually settling in Quibdó, a western Colombian city. She explains, “I arrived here in 1999. It was heartbreaking to lose it all and be left with nothing.” The family struggled to survive and could not afford a wheelchair for Ferley. Without a wheelchair, Ferley could not get around the rocky streets.

However, Ferley didn’t want to stay confined to the house. He begged to go to school and longingly studied his siblings’ homework. Pies Descalzos visited Ferley’s house and talked to his mother, convincing her that her son would be well taken care of. When Clarisa saw the desire and determination in her son’s eyes, she agreed. Pies Descalzos bought Ferley a wheelchair and he enrolled in the Pies Descalzos School.

Four years later, Ferley is a happy, popular student who always has a smile on his face. He and his best friend Bryan are inseparable and they dream of continuing their studies. “I like to go to school because I learn a lot and because I like to share with my friends.” Ferley loves math, social science, reading and dreams of becoming a professional singer of Vallenato, a Colombian folk music style.


Ferley with Shakira

To teacher Absalón Asprilla Gómez, Ferley is a special student. “When I face something difficult, I don’t complain, instead, I think about his situation. He is one of the best students in the school, with a permanent smile, despite it all. For me, this is very meaningful. It has helped me grow a lot as a person.”

Pies Descalzos hasn’t just changed Ferley’s life; it has changed his whole family. Clarisa earns extra money for her family by preparing breakfast and lunch for the Pies Descalzos Foundation school as part of the “If I eat better, I will learn more” program. “We prepare lunch for the students and we help with the breakfast, so that they have food and they can study with full stomachs,” says Clarisa proudly. The meals they prepare are supervised by a nutritionist and made possible through Pies Descalzos and the Instituto Colombian Bienestar Familiar. This program helps make sure that the malnutrition that affected Ferley doesn’t affect other children.

The Barefoot Foundation helps hundreds of families like Clarisa and Ferley’s. The Pies Descalzos schools are open to everyone and serve as a center for community development. Parents, neighbors and grandparents learn sewing, artisan skills and literacy while teens engage in micro-businesses, sports leagues, and leadership development activities. This neighborhood is changing and growing thanks to the community, and the Barefoot Foundation and the Pies Descalzos Foundation.

The Story of El Minuto de Dios School, Altos de Cazucá

Elementary school teacher Consuelo Pachón barely recognizes her school, El Minuto de Dios, anymore. She teaches in Soacha an area south of Bogotá that was once a booming mining town. Today, its hills have been stripped of their natural resources, the mines left behind environmental damage and the jobs disappeared. The vacuum left by the mines has been filled with desperately poor people and internal refugees from Colombia’s civil conflict. Thousands flood in each year with nothing but their lives. Fifty-three percent are younger than 14 years old and many children have missed years of school while fleeing.

Before Pies Descalzos Foundation, El Minuto de Dios was in shambles. “At the start it was very hard. The school room walls were made of spare wood, the same kind they use to make fruit crates. The stairs were carved out of mud and, whenever it rained, the children slipped and fell. There weren’t bathrooms, just a latrine. “But now, the conditions have changed tremendously” she commented, raising her eyes to the ceiling in thanks.

The Pies Descalzos Foundation rebuilt the school; they installed sturdy buildings, libraries, computer rooms and safe bathrooms. Pies Descalzos, in alliance with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the government, and Secretary of Education of Soacha, the Minuto de Dios University and the Educational Alliance, support two schools in Altos de Cazucá. In each, they provide nutritious meals, extra programs for troubled kids, recreational and leadership programs, while supporting parent cooperative that help families leave poverty. The community and the children have a safe, supported place to develop. As Ana, one of the school’s parents said “they now have the possibility to imagine a tomorrow filled with human and professional possibilities in this society.”

Jhonathan’s story

Jhonathan wants to clean up Altos de Cazucá. The 17 year old environmental biology major at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University knows only too well the pollution that plagues this poor area south of Bogotá. He moved to Altos de Cazucá as a baby with his mother and siblings. The family struggled to eke out a living, but his mother wanted more for her children so she enrolled them in the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Institute, one of the Pies Descalzos schools.

“The Foundation radically changed my life,” says Jhonathan.  “It taught me to relate to other people and that material things aren’t the only things that count. It helped me realize what my life’s project should be.”  With Pies Descalzos’ support, Jhonathan scored among the highest students in the country on the high school exit exams. He and other top Pies Descalzos students received university scholarships from Pies Descalzos to pursue their dreams.

“The University is an enormous responsibility, not only for myself and my family, but to help the rest of my community,” says Jhonathan. He and another student, Maicol, are using their education to create a recycling business that will provide much needed jobs and help clean up the local environment. Jhonathan also returns to his old neighborhood to tutor kids in school and help them imagine their true potential. “We use games to make learning fun and to expand their interest in school” says Jhonathan.

He loves learning and is eager to continue studying. He would like to pursue a master’s degree in systems engineering and learn French and Portuguese. But, no matter how far he goes, he will never forget the Pies Descalzos Foundation, the Barefoot Foundation and the lessons they taught him about service and believing in his own potential.

Give the Gift that Keeps on Giving and contact Cafe Hound today at maher@cafehound.com or krislert@cafehound.com OR give directly to the Barefoot Foundation by following this link.  Thank you for your time and for relationship with Cafe Hound.  Happy 2010!

Cafe Hounding: Chinatown Coffee Co. – DC

Chinatown Coffee Company
475 H Street, NW
(between N 4St & 5
th St)
Washington, DC 20001

http://chinatowncoffee.com/blog/

After roughly two weeks of trying, I finally made it to Chinatown Coffee Company (CCC) at the outskirts of Chinatown in Northwest DC.  I went on a Sunday afternoon with a friend of mine who was a bit curious about my passion for specialty coffee.  It wasn’t very busy when I arrived but nearly every seat in the place was taken by people using laptops (free wifi) or staying out of the blistering DC heat/humidity.  It was nice and cool inside and had a nice gritty feel to the ambiance that gave the impression that the focus was over at the coffee bar.

The moment of ordering truth

The moment of ordering truth

I took the engineer designed ‘hint’ and wandered up to the bar to order two double shot espressos that were to be made with the Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso blend.  The menu appeared simple enough, but with plenty of variety for above average prices for people unacquainted with specialty coffee (i.e. Intelligentsia prices).  The espresso was produced on a beautiful Victoria Arduino Adonis WBC edition machine with a sleek white gloss design.

Espresso

Victoria Arduino Adonis WBC edition (sexy!)

I’m not sure if the humidity was a major factor, but I suspect it was, but the espresso was rather flat and left much to be desired.  I wasn’t willing to give up because the baristas were very nice and the quality of all of the inputs was undoubtedly of the highest quality.  I encountered similar problems with humidity when training baristas at a warehouse in Nicaragua in 2008.  The incredibly muggy rainy season led to a plethora of quality control problems with the resource constraints we were facing.    Nevertheless, CCC  is surely not getting a bad review for espresso – it just wasn’t the best day.

I followed up the espresso order with a cortado since my friend claims half-Cuban heritage yet she was not familiar with the famous Versailles Restaurant(s) in Miami, Florida…meaning she had never sampled their delicious cortadito drinks.  Luckily for me, with a little sugar this little drink saved the visit for my friend who admittedly does not like espresso much regardless of the quality.  The establishment is pretty proud of the fact that is chooses to break the DC paradigm of mostly sourcing strictly Counter Culture coffee (roasted down in North Carolina and shipped up the eastern seaboard) in favor of Intelligentsia.

A CCC take on the Cortado

A CCC take on the Cortado

Another major plus was that the baristas were not only proud of the around town competition helping put DC on the specialty coffee map but enlightened me to shops that I have never even heard of.  I also was fast to learn that the very helpful and pleasant David Flynn of Peregrine Espresso was in the building diligently working on his laptop.  Talk about cross-town support.  Furthermore, my barista informed me that he was indeed David’s roommate – I somehow doubt cut-throat competition between Peregrine and CCC.  I guess coffee geeks like me like to surround themselves with other coffee geeks.

Shortly after sampling the aromas of all of the whole bean coffee that they were carrying for retail sale I decided to go with the Guatemala.  I’m sort of ashamed since the competition included El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.  I felt some allegiance to the Estelí region of Nicaragua after having spent considerable time meeting producers and exporters from throughout the country in 2008 but, at the end of the day, went with what my nose told me.  I have nothing but positive experiences with Guatemalan coffee in the past and after brewing this up today, it is no different.

Specifically the coffee I purchased was 12 oz and cost me US$12 plus tax.  It was the Itzamna, Guatemala: La Soledad.

Intelli’s description is as follows:

“Surrounded by peaches and inherently sweet with an animated acidity. Finca La Soledad finishes with vanilla, yet sails with its zesty nature.”

I would agree with the sweet acidity and moderately agree with the vanilla finish.  I would add that it has a modest fruity taste (apparently that’s the peach) but it’s barely there.  Overall it’s a mild coffee with less ‘animation’ and ‘zest’ than it claims. It’s very pleasant though, and a great coffee for pour over brew.  Blending it with something that has a bit more flowery flare, such as an Ethiopia Sidamo or a Rwanda Burundi, would really balance it off well. This is similar to what Kris and I decided to do with the first edition of  Kris/Maher Blend using 80% Guatemala and 20% Ethiopia. Again, that is just a matter of taste preference.

I’ll be returning in the near future to talk with the owners and get some more coffee.  Thanks for stopping by and leave any thoughts you may have.

– Maher Hound

Cafe Hounding: Peregrine Espresso – DC

Peregrine Espresso – Eastern Market

660 Pennsylvania Ave SE (between S. 6th St & S. 7th St)
Washington, DC 20003
Phone: (202) 629-4381

peregrineentrance

The illustrious Peregrine Espresso was my first real impressive specialty coffee experience in the Washington, D.C. area. It was quite a weekend for Cafe Hounding.  Upon my first visit to this Eastern Market located shop I was admittedly distracted by catching up with an old friend currently working at Commerce but I was quickly brought back into focus when I entered this fine establishment and saw the fresh roasted bags of coffee sitting at the entrance.

The ambiance is a pretty straight forward hipster look with chopped up doors hung on the wall for decor.  The lighting is good and it was packed with people taking up all of the available seating with their laptops (and there is a pretty decent amount of seating too!).  Granted, this was a Saturday at Eastern Market in the summer so this is probably about as crowded as it gets.

Peregrine Menu

The menu selection was very limited — a positive for me meaning that they do COFFEE here.

Latte Art at Peregrine Espresso

Latte Art at Peregrine Espresso

Let me emphasize the quality of the coffee here.  I entered and was able to choose between my very own personally drip brewed coffee from either Papa New Guinea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya or Honduras.  All of these were roasted within the previous few days by Counter Culture down in NC and shipped same day up to DC.  I can attest that the quality control in that process seemed superb to me. One, because the Kenya AA that I drank in the store went down pretty good although not as delicious as the Kenya AA that Caribou carries (sorry guys :-/).  I’ll make a separate post on my experience with Kenya AA’s since it is probably one of my favorite single origins so I’ve tasted a lot over the years.

I also sampled an espresso to get my palate around their custom blend of espresso.  I must say, both the preparation of the espresso and the blend were sort of underwhelming on this visit.  I have heard so much good about Peregrine Espresso AND I was very happy that the baristas were both very knowledgeable of the entire industry and of competitive barismo  AND unpretentious.

They have free wifi and a decent amount of indoor and outdoor seating.  This is a great area of DC and thus, I’m sure they’ll do well for quite some time.  It’s a must check out if you’re passing through The District.  Thanks to David Flynn for his time and conversation while I picked his brain about specialty coffee.  Flynn came in 3rd this past Feb 2009 in the Mid-Atlantic Barista Competition along with other local area talent.  Peregine just opened in late 2008 and looks to have a lot of room to grow and prosper in the region.

Overall Rating: 3.4

Coffee Quality: 4.3, Cafe Ambiance: 3.6, Food: 1.8

–Maher Hound

Chinatown Coffee Co. Opens This Week!

UPDATE: Chinatown Coffee Co. set to open Monday July 27th!  After emailing with Max Brown (he and his wife will manage the store with Nick’s help) and stopping by in my car today (Sunday, July 26th), I came up with the news.  Friendly competition among Chinatown Coffee Co. (CCC) and Peregrine Espresso will ensue.

I talked to David Flynn of Peregrine on Saturday to hear what he knows about specialty coffee out here on the East Coast and he’s as excited about CCC as the rest of us.

My only worry is the location.  It seems a bit out of the way for most people and if I am correct (which I may not be), there was a Juan Valdez on E Street not too far from the CCC location that couldn’t hack it.

Chinatown Coffee Co. (CCC)

Chinatown Coffee Co. (CCC)

The back story:  For those of you who didn’t know the coffee experience of Murky Coffee (formerly located in Clarendon and in DC), owner Nick Cho had a great thing going.  But, like so many amazing people who are head-over-heels passionate about people and coffee, they don’t fully appreciate the importance of cash flow management in this business (won’t mention any names but even the true pioneers of this entire industry are guilty of this).  That said, those who are knowledgeable, passionate and determined often survive.  This is the story behind Chinatown Coffee Co. set to open this week in the Penn Quarter of Washington, D.C.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickcho/sets/72157608469379875/

Above is a link to some photos that track the development of the place.  If all of the buzz of local residents, the Washington Post and Yelp have anything to say, the coffee looks to be as amazing as ever.  The ambiance appears to slightly mimic a combination of Blue Bottle (off of Mint in San Francisco) and the Espressamente Illy located at the Palazzo in Las Vegas.

I’m looking forward to checking it out by the end of this week and hopefully get to at least chat a bit with Nick Cho before I write up a review.

I’ve never explored the specialty coffee scene in DC and now have a great excuse to do so.

Stay tuned!

– Maher Hound