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We interview Jed Grieve of Cook Culture · Saturday July 24, 2021 by colin newell


Talking food culture with Jed Grieve

or download the audio here – Jed-Grieve-Cook-Culture.mp3

Jed Grieve - Cook Culture

Owner and creator of Cook Culture, Jed Grieve talks and gestures as if powered by some underground green energy power-plant. Which is to say, he is tireless, passionate and largely unstoppable. A strong advocate for conscious and responsible living, Jed feels that we all need to think and act based on the needs of the greater good, the planet and its fragile eco-system and mindfully act as an advocate and ambassador for our Planet Earth.

It’s a fine line to walk as a successful food culture businessperson and educator. One could have any random set of priorities on the road to financial freedom. The desire for quick profit without a thought of truth or consequences might be one such random set. But for Jed, well, he is more thought and consequences first as a top priority. And this means: “I could sell finite life products indefinitely in an ever broadening circle and that would suit the average business person for a lifetime… But, I’d rather supply you with a product or knowledge that will serve you for a lifetime.”

As you wander the Cook Culture stores in Victoria and Vancouver, you are immediately impressed with the longevity-forward approach, embracing the culture and passion of the West Coast multi-cultural food scene, and the education potential of their in store kitchens.

The knife selection, as one example, establishes clearly, that you are not buying a product until the next better product comes along… or until this product wears out. No. You are beginning a relationship with a kitchen utensil that may be with you for life. And this philosophy does fly in the face of the “endless growth – endless consumption” model of buy for a year and toss into the landfill!

Jed talks buoyantly about the joys of cooking pans. Hey, let’s face it. We all use pans in our kitchens. In the 20th and 21st Century, non-stick pans have been miracle kitchen conveniences – but not without a huge environmental and health consequence. In short, and in Jed’s words, “Cooking pans for life!…” Ok, that is more a celebratory phrase, but you get the point.

Need to know more? Jed’s YouTube channel is a testament to the sustainable approaches and choices that you are free to make – in your life and the life of your family.
His short videos are fun, informative and at times sobering.

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Sourdough Focaccia bread - anytime is a good time · Saturday February 29, 2020 by colin newell

Bread making – I grew up with it and it is an activity that has been in my DNA forever. Not only that, bread was something that sustained me through some lean times. My mom made 4 to 6 loaves a week of yeast based breads — and very little natural yeast (sourdough) to the best of my knowledge.

I like introducing people to bread making for a variety of reasons. One of which, it is not rocket science. With a natural yeast starter, bread is little to no more than flour, water and salt. That’s it. It has been done this way for thousands of years. Beer, in fact, is an off shoot of bread making. But let’s keep it simple for a bit.

As noted above, I think focaccia is a perfect sourdough-bread-baking starting point. It will teach you the fundamentals of working with sourdough without the potentially troublesome steps of shaping, scoring, and baking with Dutch ovens, bread pans and other vessels. The recipe below also can be baked in a loaf pan or a cookie sheet, another great option if you do not want to deal with the skillset and artistry that you will, no doubt, acquire over time.

Picture below – what your dough looks like after proofing overnight!

Let’s go! We assume from this point that you have an activated, fed and feisty sourdough starter. I know I should cover off this, most important, factor — but for now, let’s just go with the theory that you have a starter – and we are good to go.

Here is a tip – Your sourdough starter is good to go if you take a tablespoon of it and drop it in water and it floats!

1.) Grab a bowl that will holder at least 1/2 kg of dough – that is 500G – so something medium sized.

2.) Add 100g of your starter to the bowl.

3.) Add 10g of kosher salt – great salt can effect the flavour so don’t cheap out on this critical ingredient.
  • tech note * – Salt is a fermentation inhibitor – it slows the process down — and that is a good thing.

4.) Add 360g of warm water (not hot water!) 35 to 45 degrees © or 110 degrees (F) is probably OK but not more than that.

5.) Mix the water, salt and starter well.

6.) Add 512g of bread flour. Mix to form a sticky ball.

7.) You can let this all rise overnight (6 to 12 hours) or slow it down by putting it in the fridge. Fermentation keeps moving along even when your dough is tucked away in a cool area – it changes the flavour some but does not harm. For keeping the focaccia “feisty” I tend to keep it out in the kitchen and work around its schedule.

8.) Assuming you are doing this overnight, in the morning pull out the dough and give it a few pulls and folds – consult the YouTube video below for some technique-tips (way easier than me trying to explain it!)

Picture above After raising overnight – should look like the above picture.

9.) Get the slightly deflated dough into a bowl with some olive oil (on top and on the bottom…) – it inhibits sticking.

10.) Let rise for 4 – 6 hours. Get out a cookie sheet or deep dish pizza pan (the square of rectangular type…)
11.) Oil the pan “generously” – you need a good continuous coating on the bottom of the pan.
12. ) Transfer the dough into the pan. Cover and “2nd rise” for 4 to 6 hours.

Picture Below – What your 2nd-Raised dough should like before tossing into the oven.

Tip You know the dough has been proofed enough when you press it with your finger and it kind of bounces back by about 75%.

13.) Prior to putting the proofed bread into the oven, garnish with fresh rosemary and a good drizzle of olive oil and artisanal salt – even coarse kosher salt is fine.

14.) Bake for 24 minutes at 450 degrees (F) or until delightfully brown on top. Turn onto drying rack for, at least, 30 minutes or more before cutting — I know, it is tempting to try cutting it when it is right out of the oven. Don’t!

*Reveal! – This bread is perfect with any meal – it does not need butter as it is infused with olive oil.

It is crunchy, chewy, nutritious and tasty.

Let it cool before cutting!*


Talking Sourdough

SourDoughBreadmaking-Audio-MP3.mp3


Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and long time coffee expert – writing on the subject of coffee for over 20 years! His dissertation on this subject can be found over on www.coffeecrew.com

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It's National Coffee Day (almost) and what's up with that? · Thursday September 26, 2019 by colin newell

The rich stats on coffee through the year

I was talking with Brad Plothow, VP of communications at Womply.com in Lehi, Utah this morning.

Womply, in its simplest terms, is a company that analyses market trends based on transactional commerce data – you know, credit card and debit transactions – who’s making them and what they are buying or selling.

And do they know coffee! At least who drinking what, when and how much.
And some of that information surprised even me! As a coffee drinker who sips the same amount of coffee, year around, it was interesting to look into the lens for more granular data on consumption trends.

  • Which are the busiest days of the week at your average cafe.
  • What is the busiest time of the year for cafes.
  • What is the average amount of sales for the average cafe in North America

Not surprising, coffee house consumption tends to swing upwards later on in the week – and you guessed it, Friday is the busiest day at the campus, urban or office cafe when folks are rewarding themselves for a week well done!

Ironically, while Christmas shopping season in North America may be the busiest of any season year around, coffee drinking drops significantly in January (as resolutions kick in…) and then consumption slowly returns to “normal” in February!

You can read the entire article over here

My take-away: Womply.com is a creator of small business software that provide valuable market data and trends on consumption based on meta data from credit card transactions – very fascinating stuff.

National Coffee Day – without too much of a dig-down, I am assuming that the industry has created this date to “pay back” their valued clients with a free cuppa Joe. Me, I like to pay for my fancy coffees and I think in a city like Victoria, Vancouver, Portland or Seattle, you might be hard pressed to get a free serving of the good stuff. Dunno. Results may vary.
Meantime, enjoy a great cup of coffee every day of the year!


Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and coffee expert who has been writing about cafe culture for 25+ years – now that’s a lot of coffee!

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Instant pot living Mushroom Risotto · Tuesday February 5, 2019 by colin newell

Authentic and brilliant Mushroom Risotto in less than 25 minutes from start to finish? Oh yes!

This recipe produces creamy, perfect risotto every time.

This is best served right out of your Instant Pot to experience the best silky texture of the risotto.

Reheating with a little extra water and pad of butter helps recreate the creamy original texture, for you leftover lovers.

read more of the article

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The Ten Best Cities for Coffee in the United States of America · Thursday January 10, 2019 by colin newell

Living on the West Coast of North America in an area dominated by coffee culture, I cannot imagine not having the best of cafe culture within an easy walking distance. And in my 25 years of writing about the bean scene in Canada, I have traveled from the West Coast to the East Coast, with many stops along the way, looking for the best of the best in the brewed cup of joe.

read more of the article

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