April 22, 2014 · 6:05 am
This is a huge week for the US specialty coffee industry and of course the Triangle is right in the thick of it. Tim Jones of Jubala Village Coffee in Raleigh and Jonathan Bonchak of Counter Culture Coffee in Durham head to Seattle this week to compete among the nation’s best baristas and coffee professionals in the 2014 US Coffee Championships (USCC). Scott Conary, President of Carrboro Coffee and Chair of the SCAA Competitions Committee is will also be attending the USCC on the other side of the counter with the competition judges.
Tim is putting his skills to the test in the US Barista Championship, while Jonathan is competing in the US Brewers Cup. These two gentlemen have been working tirelessly over the past few months to prepare to go up against the nation’s best. Please join me in wishing them both good luck as they wrap up their final week of planning. If you would like to follow along this weekend the event will be streamed live online here starting on Thursday. You can also track the action via twitter coverage provided by @SprudgeLive. Visit the event website for the complete schedule of events.
Tim Jones of Jubala Village Coffee
US Barista Championship Explained (From the Official Website)
“The United States Barista Championship (USBC) is a platform for baristas to enhance their espresso beverage making skills through an exciting and challenging competition. In 15 minutes, the barista must prepare and serve espressos, cappuccinos, and a personally designed signature beverage for four sensory judges; all while being assessed on their preparation abilities by two technical judges. The USBC is more than a competition; it’s a place to develop community and meet other coffee lovers from across the US. Throughout the year, baristas from all across the country compete in six regional competitions to qualify for this national event and the winner of the USBC will go on to represent the United States in the World Barista Championship.”
Jonathan Bonchak of Counter Culture Coffee
US Brewers Cup Explained (From the Official Website)
“The United States Brewers Cup is an exciting competition that highlights and celebrates the fine art of manual brewing. Competitors are judged in two rounds by skilled coffee tasters. The first round is a blind tasting, the competitors all brew the same coffee on their chosen manual deceives. Those who advance to the second round will brew and present their chosen coffee to the judges’ panel. The winner of the US Brewers Cup will represent the United States in the World Brewers Cup Championship.”
US Coffee Championships – Seattle, Washington April 24-27
To learn more about the US Coffee Championships visit their official website here: http://uscoffeechampionships.org
Filed under Coffee, Events
Tagged as Brewers Cup, Carrboro Coffee, Coffee, Coffee Competition, Counter Culture Coffee, Espresso, Jubala Village Coffee, Us Barista Championship, US Coffee Championship, USBC, USCC
November 25, 2013 · 11:49 am
If you’re like me, sometimes you need to get out of the house or find refuge after braving the grocery store one last time on Thanksgiving Day. That’s why I like to keep a list of local coffee shops that will be open on Thanksgiving, usually with limited hours, that provide such an escape. Here is a quick list of local coffee shops I have confirmed will be open this Thursday:
Caffe Bellezza is a NEW solar powered, mobile coffee bar serving locally roasted Carrboro Coffee and tea. On Thursday they will be set up at Wakefield High School in North Raleigh for the Annual Skinny Turkey Half Marathon. Location: 2200 Wakefield Pines Dr, Raleigh, NC.
Caffee Driade and Open Eye Cafe will have pastries and coffee to go in case you are looking for coffee or desert items to pick up to bring to your Thanksgiving Dinner
Joule Coffee will also be offering pastries and light fare in addition to coffee. They will also have to-go boxes of coffee & pastries available in case you need to grab some goodies for the family at home.
Sola Coffee will also be offering their usual breakfast food menu which of course includes their famous mini donuts!
Hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
Filed under Coffee
Tagged as Annual Skinny Turkey Half Marathon, Caffe Bellezza, Caffe Driade, Carrboro Coffee, Coffee Shops, Cup A Joe, Deja Brew, Joule Coffee, Open Eye Cafe, Rise, Sola Coffee & Cafe, Thanksgiving, Triangle Coffee Shops Open Thanksgiving Day, Wake Forest Coffee Company
May 19, 2013 · 7:14 am
Jitters Coffee ~ Cary, NC
Update: Jitters is now closed. The owners have opened up a coffee shop at a new location called Racin Java in Fuquay Varina. Visit their facebook page here.
I love to explore locally owned coffee shops in the Triangle and recently my coffee adventures took me to a unique little drive thru coffee shop in Cary called Jitters Coffee. Jitters is located in the entrance to the Food Lion shopping center parking lot off Kildaire Farm road just outside of downtown Cary. There are two things that make this little coffee shop so unique. The first is that it is a drive-thru coffee business that operates out of what I would describe as a coffee “hut”. You pull up to Jitters in your car and a friendly barista takes your order, creates your drink and hands it to you through a window. The second thing is Jitters is the only place in Cary that serves locally roasted Carrboro Coffee.
Jitters Latte made with Carrboro Coffee
Don’t let the small size of Jitters fool you. They offer a full selection of coffee and espresso drinks that rivals the menu of any larger coffee shop. They even have fruit smoothies and a host of flavored shots to add to your favorite hot or cold beverage and offer various seasonal specialty drinks throughout the year. Their menu even features a frozen espresso drink called a “Granita” which is similar to a frappe but has a lot less calories. I had a sample of their Granita on my first visit and it was delicious. Of course my two favorite coffee drinks are lattes and cortados, and on this occasion I had a perfectly crafted latte (pictured above) and it even had some cool latte art action going on.
The Drive-Thru Window at Jitters
Jitters has been serving the faithful coffee crowd in Cary for several years now but is under new Management as of October 2012. That’s when local residents Jennifer Vaaler and Brett Coleman took over the business. Since taking the reigns, Jennifer & Brett have brought new inspiration to Jitters by offering locally roasted Carrboro Coffee, which is one of my favorite coffee roasters – their espresso is amazing! They have also been updating the landscaping around the coffee hut by planting a cool little garden out front surrounding the larger than life coffee mug fountain. They even added some cool tropical banana plants along the backside of the hut making Jitters feel and look like a little coffee oasis.
Jitters ~ A Coffee Oasis!
When it comes to great coffee spots, it is the little things the count. For example, while I was at Jitters taking pictures I saw several regulars pull up, Jenn & Brett knew them by name and began making them their “usual” drinks without even having to be asked. A neat little finishing touch on each hot drink is an easy to remove lady bug sticker on the “to go” cup lid to keep the steam in and the coffee warm. I highly recommend local coffee fans check out Jitters if you are looking for a new place to grab your coffee on the go or just want to try something new. I think you will be glad you did!
(Jitters is open 6:30am until 4pm Monday through Friday, 8am-3pm Saturday, and closed Sundays.)
920 Kildaire Farm Road
Cary, NC 27511
October 8, 2012 · 10:52 am
Respite Cafe in Durham, NC
This month my tour of the great local coffee scene takes me to Durham for a visit to Respite Cafe. Respite is a relatively new coffee shop in downtown Durham owned and operated by local resident and Duke alumnus Courtney Brown. The Cafe is conveniently located along Duke Street just around the Corner from Brightleaf Square (map).
I have had Respite on my radar for a while now and was fortunate enough to pay several visits over the past few months. I find the cafe’ to be a great place to relax and recharge whenever I am over in Durham exploring downtown.
Respite is housed in a building constructed back in 1929 and its interior is a little different than what you typically see in other local coffee shops, with its blue and white painted walls and original black & white checkerboard tile floor. However, the style fits the building perfectly and breathes new life into its space by creating a cafe with a 1920’s vibe infused with a modern touch. I find the interior calming and relaxing making it a great spot for catching up on work while enjoying my coffee.
Comfy Seating Options
There are several different seating options in the cafe, ranging from large tables that seat 4-5 people to cozy table tops, and comfy couches for relaxing along the window and in a smaller more private alcove in the back of the cafe. Their is even a small meeting room in the back that can be reserved for study groups or business meetings. On my more recent visits I’ve noticed Respite is a popular destination for Duke students . However, although it is a great place for studying it is also a great place for relaxing and conversation, lending the space more towards a community “living room” vibe in general which I like.
Respite serves locally roasted Carrboro Coffee which is one of my favorite local coffee roasters. Their high quality beans make for incredible espresso drinks that I find to be rich and well balanced. The organic homeland creamery milk Respite uses to make their lattes, my favorite drink, gives them a silky smooth texture that I love. Respite offers a full line of coffee and specialty espresso drinks. You can purchase coffees prepared via various different methods including traditional pour-overs and the Chemex method. In addition to great coffee, they also serve an extensive offering of 20+ different organic teas from Rishi Tea.
Incredible Baked Goods from Local Vendors
Complimenting the great coffee and tea at Respite are the abundant local food products they sell. This is one of the great highlights of the shop. Their pastry shelves are always filled with offerings from local and regional bakers including some amazing deserts from the people at Crumb in Raleigh that can be best described as edible works of art. Other baked goods featured are Kelly G’s cupcakes from Carrboro and Kismet artisan crackers from Durham. I’ve also recently learned that respite now also offers gluten free vegan baked goods from Zen Cat Bakery, cookies from Kukia’s Cookies, and gourmet popcorn from Durham’s own Mad Popper. Offerings vary weekly but there are always lots of great food options to pair with your drink. You can view a full list of their locally sourced products on their website here.
Lots of Natural Lighting Provided by Windows
I enjoy coffee shops that feature a lot of natural lighting and love all the windows at Respite that look out along the sidewalk and Duke Street. It allows for natural sunlight to pour into the shop giving it warm feel that helps create a nice transition from the quite interior to the hustle and bustle of the outside world. On my visits I often found myself staring out the window daydreaming as I watched the world pass by as people make their way to work and class. This is exactly why I like spending time in a coffee shop like this. It isn’t just about getting in and out with a great cup of coffee, it is also about the experience and taking time to enjoy your surroundings.
I think Respite is a great addition to the blossoming local coffee scene in the Triangle and look forward to visiting them again the next time I explore Durham. Respite’s Falls/Winter hours are 8am-8pm Monday through Saturday. For more information about Respite check out their website and facebook page or follow them on twitter at @Respite Cafe.
Filed under Coffee, Durham, Restaurant Reviews
Tagged as Cafe, Carrboro Coffee, Coffee, Coffee Shop, Crumb, Downtown Durham, Duke Street, Durham, Espresso, Gluten Free, Homeland Creamery, Kelly G's Cupckaes, Kismet, Kukia's Cookies, Latte, Mad Popper, Respite Cafe, Vegan, Zan Cat Bakery