Beautiful Day, take a picture!!,

•April 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

If you were to grab someone from the turn of the century, throw them into a time machine, bring them around here and showed them your phone. What would they make of it?

If you think about it, you’ve got an arsenal in your pocket!!

Your phone is a computer, a phone book, a telephone (allegedly, I wouldn’t know) a post office, a camera, a video camera, a shoddy flashlight, a store, a radio, and a gps/map.

All of that considered, what are you doing to save these precious moments forever?

What I’m saying is this; you have the tools all around you, but you forget them because we take things for granted.

Today is a beautiful day, the trees are all alive now, the flowers are blooming, the air is clean and fresh!! Why not use these fantastic miracles of science/magic and use it to share this beautiful world with friends, family, and generations to come. Here’s what I’m proposing: When you see something beautiful, something funny, something that makes you smile, take a picture!! Send it to a friend, post it on facebook, tweet it, and most importantly SAVE IT!! Put it on an external hard drive or a cloud storage service, and eventually have it printed, or put into a scrap book. If your friend is sick, and it’s a beautiful day out, take a video of something wonderful, then turn the camera to yourself and remind your friend that you love them, then send it to them! If you see a sight so pretty that you want to capture it in words, pull out that fancy iPad of yours and write it down, publish it. The fascinating part about the technological world we live in is that everything you create will exist in one form or another FOREVER!! One hundred years from now, someone could stumble upon a picture you took of a park. 100 years is a long time. What if that park is gone? What if it’s now a Walmart, what if it’s a parking lot? You’ll have captured a moment in time.

When you’re here and we make you a drink that blows your mind, snap a picture!

Why not send them to me when you’re done?

Send me all the beautiful things you find, and I’ll post them here, on facebook, or pass it along to the Internet Archive. Let’s save this moment forever, there’s nothing stopping us, aside from us!!

 

We love you!

 

-Pat

grahamssocial@gmail.com

Advertisements

So far so good, and it’s all thanks to you!!!

•March 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Hey guys!

 

Just wanted to shoot you all a quick note, and I don’t have all of your email addresses…

 

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot more interactive content with you guys, namely the weekly giveaways. They’ve been met with nothing but positive responses and wonderful times, and I’m gonna shoot you straight: I am absolutely loving this.

 

I said from the beginning that I wanted this stuff to be about you, and I’ve done my best to make sure that everything I do, I do with you in mind first. It’s been a pretty good thing so far, so, let’s keep it up, right?

 

Nobody is forcing me to write this entry, this comes from the heart.

Thank you.

Thank you so much.

 

Jeez, I’m getting sentimental just writing this!! You guys have seriously been the best, we’re lucky to have every last one of you. When I first started doing these contests, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting in to, or if there would be any response, and admittedly, my first couple of videos were a bit awkward…My degree is in Broadcasting/Communication with a focus on writing and radio production…I’m not really the sort of guy who hops in front of a camera. You guys have changed that. I have been so heartened and overwhelmed by your responses, that this isn’t just a weekly prize thingy that I give away, it’s a time where we can get together and have a good time, as a part of our Graham’s 318 community.

Thank you all for letting me be silly, and playing along with me. Graham’s 318 would be NOTHING without you guys.

You’re our community.

You’re our friends.

I’ll see you here at Graham’s 318, let me know what you think of the videos (for better or for worse, yikes!), and please, if you have any questions for me, or have any ideas on how to make this stuff even MORE FUN, let me know. My email is grahamssocial@gmail.com, (my personal email is thebadpatryan@gmail.com, if you really need it) use it whenever.

You guys are so much fun, and I can’t wait to do more things for you guys and give fun things away to you guys. Keep coming in, keep enjoying the coffee, and keep being the BEST group of people I’ve ever been lucky enough to meet!!

 

-Pat

(grahamssocial@gmail.com)

The Beauty of Coffee

•March 5, 2012 • 1 Comment

When you think of the beauty of coffee, what does your brain conjure? Is it something like this?

Or, I suppose, if you’re me, it’s this:

Hahah. Awesome.

But there is seriously SO MUCH MORE beauty to your morning cup. Before we cook it, grind it, and pour hot water through it, coffee is a plant. More specifically, it’s a plant from the family Rubiaceae, a family of flowering plants. If you want to boil it down further, it’s called Rubiaceae Coffea. Crazy to think that what you’ve been drinking every morning since your first cup is just another plant, a bean, seed. Well, the fact of the matter is, it’s a flowery little number with bright red cherries (not actually cherries, but you’ll get what I’m saying).

 

 

 

Cool, right? Not only that, but it gets even cooler. Coffee plants are where butterflies put their larvae (admittedly not that most delightful of words, but c’mon…BUTTERFLIES!!). As for the plant itself, it’s not just a pretty face, it packs a major punch!! Did you know that the caffeine that’s in coffee is actually used as a way to get rid of many native plant-eating critters?? It gives them an upset tummy…also death.

 

Now that we see how wonderful the plant is, let’s take a step back. Coffee is grown in mostly tropical locations, where I’m sure we’d all rather be during the work week. They are on huge plantations, and are harvested BY HAND by folks.

Serene, right? Especially that one with a porch. I kinda wanna grab a stack of comics, a big mug of fresh coffee and lose myself. Gorgeous. From there, coffee is purchased (in the case of many places, like the ones we brew) DIRECTLY from these farms. They are shipped raw, in bulk, all over the world. If you haven’t guessed it, aside from water, coffee is THE MOST consumed beverage in the world, so you can imagine all the fantastical places these little beans are going to be shipped to.

After what I imagine to be an incredibly long flight, these little beans are brought to a roaster. If may be someplace that does small batch roasts, or it could even be as common as the stuff you see on the shelves at the grocery store. The beans that we brew go to Chicago, where our good friends over at Metropolis Coffee live!! (Seriously, we love those folks, they’re so much fun) Their roasters look something like this:

In here they are heated at just the right temperature for just the right amount of time, depending on the type of bean and the type of roast they are looking to achieve.

 

That’s when they find themselves here:

Home, sweet home!! Another beautiful place. Friends, family, and even some folks you don’t even know yet!! I don’t want to spoil the ending of this little story-book style blog post, but the real happy ending is at the bottom of your cup.

Hopefully this has shed some light on coffee, and all the wonder that goes into it becoming the world’s most drunk drink. From plant to cup, coffee is one of our world’s many beauties: Enjoy it.

 

Hope you guys have a fantastic week!!

 

-Pat

(grahamssocial@gmail.com)

The Sort of Free Coffee Apps Every Coffee Geek Needs

•February 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

If you’re like me, your phone is an extension of your very self. It’s like something out of Blade Runner, they are these tiny computers that we keep with us that hold all of our information, we can buy stuff, learn stuff, and apparently make phone calls with them. Who knew!?

Now, I use Android (yes, I’m one of THOSE geeks), but I also just picked Ian’s pocket, and he has an iPhone. So I’m gonna download a bunch of stuff on his phone, too, and see what the best apps are for both platforms…Sorry WindowsPhone users.

Ok, now, on the Android platform, apps are a bit more sparse, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be an expert in coffee while using one.

Again, we’re looking only for stuff that’s free…Yes, I have a few paid coffee apps, and they’re great, but you guys don’t need the nitty-gritty nonsense I do. You can do pretty much everything that the paid apps can do on the free apps, TRUST me. So, put away your wallet, big spender.

ANDROID APPS

  • Barista Me

This one is really helpful for the casual drink orderer. It’s something that, if you work in a coffeeshop, you’d wish you had from day one. It has a breakdown of drink names, ingredients, and a visual representation of the drink itself.

If you’re someone who isn’t the most familiar with the names that drinks have (yeah, I know, there’s like a million), this is a fantastic way to not only know what to call them, but to truly understand what you have in your cup when we hand it to you. This isn’t really much if you know all there is to know about everything involving coffee drinks, but if you’re an average Joe, this app is a perfect addition to your phone. I currently have this one on my phone and I use it when people ask about what is in each drink, the little picture representations work wonders.

  • Coffee Roaster

This one is for the Power User!! Do you roast your own coffee and espresso at home? Are you thinking about it? I know some of our customers are trying to get into that, we’ve probably even talked about this app. It’s FREE, which is fantastic, and it’s also great for documenting your progress: what works, what doesn’t. You adjust the app for what kind of roaster you’re using, what kind of bean, and from there you can mark down the temp you’re using, the roaster type, at what point the beans start cracking, and so on. I’ve suggested this one to a few of my pals that are working on doing this sort of thing, and it’s been a great help. It’s got a really great user interface, and it gets regular updates. This one is a BIG recommend for the coffee geek.

Apple iOS Apps (or “Stuff Ian Doesn’t Know That I Installed on his Phone)

  • Has Bean

Wow!! Talk about a WONDERFUL app!! This thing has it all. It’s made by a UK company of the same name, and this app is pretty much all you need. It’s got recipes, methods, explanations of all kinds, and most amazingly, REALLY great instructional videos for preparing different types of single-cup brewing methods! The videos are fun, funny, and full of endearing quirks. The production value is that of something you’d see on TV, if not better. It also has timers, facts, tweets, articles and maps to the nearest coffeeshop.

At the price of FREE, there is no reason to not have this installed on your iOS device.

  • Pour Over

Alright, this one isn’t free. It’s $.99 on the AppStore. What Ian’s credit card doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Remind me to give him a buck…Ha! I’m kidding, I’m never paying him back. In fact, I think I’m putting this iPhone on eBay once I’m done with this blog.

This is a really helpful app if you’re someone who loves pour over coffee or any single-serve brewing method. It’s got a kind of messy user interface, and it doesn’t have the greatest flow to it, especially considering the iPhone’s processor and the stuff I know it’s capable of…But that’s less of an issue of the phone and more of an issue of shotty programming. Still, it’s worth the buck for what it’s used for, it has pre-programmed timers depending on the type of brew you’re making. It’ll even hold your hand through the prep, when to add what, and how to finish it up.

 

 

Well, that’s what I’ve got for apps. If you’ve got one you think I should be showing off, or if you’ve written one that you want me to spotlight, shoot me a line on here, tweet at me @grahams318 or just email me directly at grahamssocial@gmail.com .

 

Also, I changed Ian’s background. He’s gonna love this. Who doesn’t want a picture of me on their phone?!

Haha. Awesome.

Enjoy!

-Pat

grahamssocial@gmail.com

MORE Single-Cup Things for Your Ever-Expanding Brain!!

•February 9, 2012 • 4 Comments

Pour Over was a lot of fun. I’m getting into the swing of this whole “Revealing all of my trade secrets to you” thing. So, let’s keep it rolling. Today I’m going to help you get your learn on to some French Press. French Press is nothing new, in fact, this might be old hat to some of you. But to those of you who haven’t used one, don’t own one, but love small batches of bodacious coffee, put your learning caps on. If you don’t have a learning cap, take a normal hat, and write “Learning” on it with a Sharpie. Aaaaand let’s begin:

Quick history lesson, friends: The French Press, or Coffee Plunger (that’s not a joke, in countries like New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, it’s called a Coffee Plunger!) as it’s known today came into existence around 1929 when a dude named Attilio Calimani patented something close to what you see in stores and coffee houses these days…well…It was modded a bit by a guy named Faliero Bondanini, who messed with it until it looked like what I’m using today. He got a patent for this design in 1958, so by most standards, this is a pretty new way of making coffee. Aside from drip coffee, many would argue that this is the most popular.

Alright alright…No more history. Time to get our hands dirty.

For starters, you’re going to want to take about 25 grams of coffee and grind it down. Use a coarse setting on the grinder, and if you don’t have a grinder at your house, whoever grinds it for you will know what to do. I’ve even seen grinders in grocery stores that have different settings.

Pretty, isn’t it? Now that you’ve got them all ground up, take a deep breath. Fresh ground coffee is simply intoxicating. That isn’t gonna help you brew your cup any faster, but sometimes you need to stop and smell the rose–er–coffee grounds.

What kind of coffee should you be using?? Well…Almost anything! I prefer to use espresso beans (as mentioned in the previous post), but you can use light roast, dark roast, decaf, it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t recommend using stuff you get in a can for $4 at the grocery store. We can sell you Metropolis stuff, and grind it for you!!

Now, dump all the grounds into the glass beaker, if some get on the sides, worry not, dear reader! Between the water you’re going to pour in and the plunger, any and all grounds will be scraped from the sides by the plunger (also a perk of a coarse grind, easy to clean).

Start stirring in some water, just under the boiling point, into the glass beaker. Stir while pouring. How much, you ask?

410 Grams, exactly. Yes, I AM that good. If you can’t find a scale that is this precise, just eyeball it. It should be abouta half inch from the top metal ring thingy. Just look at the rest of the pictures and guesstimate.

Press down the plunger. NOT ALL THE WAY!!! Press it down until the mesh of the plunger is just touching the foamy stuff on top of the brew, no further. Then, start up your time for 4 minutes. No timer? Pull out your phone or MP3  Player and play one of these songs:

  • David Bowie – Alabama Song
  • Tom Waits – Good Old World
  • Elton John – Your Song
  • Queen and David Bowie – Under Pressure
  • Electric Light Orchestra – Livin’ Thing
  • Anamanaguchi – Airbrushed

That wasn’t so bad! Time seemed to just fly by. Now that it’s all brewed up, slowly press down the plunger until until you’ve hit bottom.

All that’s left now is to pour it out, add cream and sugar if you need it (which you don’t, this tastes fantastic black), and enjoy!!

If you have any questions about how to do this process, feel free to call us, or ask us, or whatever you need to. All of us here know how to do it, and we’d love to help put you on the right track.

Ok, that’s all I’ve got for you today, Graham’s friends. If you’re Facebook friends with us, send us pics of you making your own single-cup stuff! We love seeing our amazing pals doing what they love. And if you’re more of a Twitter person, you can follow us at @grahams318. Stay in touch!

We love you!!

-Pat

(grahamssocial@gmail.com)

Brain Expanding Blog Post!! Pour-Over Bootcamp!!

•February 3, 2012 • 1 Comment

Alright, so you know how I posted that big thingy about single cup brewing methods? I figured I should follow up on it and show you a couple of ways that we provide you with a really fantastic single-cup experience.

Pour Over

The pour over is a really great method of brewing coffee in to two small 8oz cups, or one 16oz serving. You don’t have to share, we’re not here to judge.

-We start from humble beginnings. Measure out 35 grams of your favorite coffee; I usually choose a dark roast, or if I’m feeling like a REAL treat, I grind up some espresso beans!! (It makes a great cup!)

Now, grind that up! We can grind coffee for you here, or you can pick up a pretty cheap grinder at whatever housewares store you like. I think I got mine for $20

Next up, you’ll want to throw a filter into the pour over thing-a-ma-bob, and prime it with a bit of hot water. It doesn’t have to be boiling for this stage, but I usually make sure it’s hot to kinda pre-heat the cups. Always pre-heat things, trust me.

Now, toss in those grinds!! Try to keep ’em all close to the center of the filter, it’ll help you later in this process.

Now, once you’ve got all of that jazz in order, it’s time to get the water heated up. Now, in order to extract the perfect cup of coffee, you need to get your water at just the right temperature. I use an induction burner, because I’m really impatient, but you can just throw a kettle on the burner, or heat it up in the microwave until it’s just about boiling. If you’re playing at home, it should be somewhere around 514Grams of water!!

Now, once I’ve got that kettle a-cookin’ I’m gonna toss in the thermometer and heat it up to around 205degrees Fahrenheit, I’d say we’re getting pretty close here…

Now that we’re all set with the hot water and the primed filter filled with finely ground coffee grounds, we’re ready to start the show. Take your super-hot water and slowly begin to pour it into the grounds in a circular motion.

Ok, now, when you’re pouring it in a circular motion, you’ll probably be thinking it should turn into a bit of a whirlpool, but that’s not what you want. First off, the water shouldn’t be flowing through the filter quickly enough for that effect, secondly, you’re not trying to rush the water through, you’re trying to evenly distribute the hot water evenly through the grounds.

Don’t just keep dumping water in. You want a nice, steady flow of steamy water flowing through your grounds. The more even, the better. You’re aiming for perfection, not speed. The wait is never too long if you’re trying to make a perfect cup of coffee.

What are those bubbles, you ask? Simple answer, friends: GAS!! Bubbles of gas are going to escape from this swampy brew. That means you’re doing awesome. The release of gas is a telltale sign that all of the richness, flavors and oils are escaping into your cup.

It should be a dark brown from the get-go. Ok, sure, the first couple of drips are going to be lighter, but once it’s all flowing evenly, you should be getting a dark, oily drip of coffee coming out. It’s most wise to have some sort of larger container under the drip. Even if you plan on sharing it, it’s best to let everything flow together so you get a smooth, evenly distributed batch of coffee!

Once you’ve finished pouring out the water from your pitcher (or whatever you’re using to pour from), take a small spoon and lightly scrape it along the edges. This is just another way to make sure everything is distributed properly.

Go ahead and pause to admire your handywork. This is some really pretty looking drip coffee, isn’t it?!

Aaaand just like that, it’s all pretty much gone. You should still see a bit of sheen from the oils released, but the main event is in your cup:

Black as night, smooth, buttery and oily in flavor and mouth-feel. Nice work, friends, you’ve just made some fantastic pour-over coffee!! Add some milk! Bring a friend! Keep it to yourself and drink it alone in your secret lair! Either way, you’ve just hammered out one of the most delicate ways to brew coffee on your own. Now, pass it on!! I showed you a totally amazing skill, why not show a friend?

Speaking of friends, whose handsome hands were doing all the brewing while I was snapping the pictures?! Why, it’s our handsome and talented barista, IAN!!!

A big, BIG, thanks to Ian for doing all the heavy lifting while I stood by snapping pictures like a lazy slug. And an even bigger thanks to YOU!!! I love being able to show you guys cool stuff, and I love that you read it.

Next up, I’m gonna show you cool kids how to brew a French Press. This is a quick, easy way to brew yourself a strong cup of coffee, and it looks really fancy, too, so your friends will talk about how awesome and savvy you are. I can’t wait to show you all!

You won’t want to miss this.

We love you!!

-Pat

(grahamssocial@gmail.com)

A Press Release About Single-Cup Serving!!

•January 31, 2012 • 2 Comments

Hey Friends!!

Check it, I stole this from the National Coffee Association of the USA:

http://tinyurl.com/85rso6a

” New York (August 25, 2011) – The National Coffee Association (NCA) has published an original market research report, The Single Serve Format: Changing Perspectives Growing Opportunities, the latest in its National Coffee Drinking Trends series. A deep dive into consumer attitudes and behaviors on the single-cup format, the report uncovers significant inroads in consumer acceptance and adoption since 2005.

“Consumers are clearly warming up to the single-cup format,” said Robert F. Nelson, NCA president & CEO. “Notable changes in behaviors and attitudes suggest adoption potential that could support long-awaited opportunities and promise for the segment.”

Single-cup Adoption
Among report findings, awareness of single-cup brewing systems has increased to 73% in 2011 from 55% in 2007. Ownership has jumped to 7% of consumers in 2011 from just 1% when first polled in 2005. Those who have bought a system within the last six months grew to 35% this year from 29% in 2007.

Perceptions of the single-cup systems are becoming more favorable as well. Those who rated the systems as excellent or very good jumped to 45% this year from 26% in 2007.Positive responses to “I have heard positive comments about this viewer from friends and family” increased to 46% this year versus 33% in 2007.

Consumers also reported strong interest in single-cup preparation via stick packs. Twenty-one percent indicated that they have tried instant coffee from a stick pack, although only 2% buy them regularly. These data suggest a ripe opportunity for turning interest into sales growth.

Deep Dive
In addition to these findings, other detailed analyses of consumer behaviors include:

  • age group, gender, family setting and income
  • geographic location
  • likelihood of purchase
  • gifting intent
  • types of coffee brewed
  • time of day
  • share of cups
  • frequency of use
  • place of usage, and
  • share of usage versus other brewing formats

Among the other attitudinal analyses provided are:

  • ease of use
  • retail availability
  • taste perceptions
  • price level attitudes, and
  • shared word-of-mouth messages

National Coffee Drinking Trends
NCA’s National Coffee Drinking Trends study has been conducted annually by NCA since 1950. It is the longest available statistical series of consumer drinking patterns in the U.S. The study engages a nationally representative sample of 2,826 people 18 and older. Respondents are randomly selected from an online panel and complete the survey online. Data collection was completed mid-January through mid-February 2011 with a daily quota to ensure a balanced mix of days of the week.

About the National Coffee Association
The National Coffee Association of U.S.A, Inc. (NCA), established in 1911, is the leading trade organization for the coffee industry in the United States. NCA is the only trade association that serves all segments of the U.S. coffee industry, including traditional and specialty companies. A majority of NCA membership, which accounts for over 90% of U.S. coffee commerce, is comprised of small and mid-sized companies and includes growers, roasters, retailers, importer/exporters, wholesaler/suppliers and allied industry businesses. NCA offers a wide array of services, focusing on market and scientific research, domestic and international government relations, issues management and public relations, and education. The NCA’s core purpose is to champion the well-being of the U.S. coffee industry within the context of the world coffee community. ”

Single-Cup brewing is on the rise, and, being a store on the cutting edge, we’ve been doing single cup brews for a while now. We’ve got a bundle of French Presses and a single cup brewer thingy that will blow your mind. Thursday, Ian and I are going to show you how to do this on your own, and even where to buy a French Press for your home, as well as some other single cup methods!! We’re giving you the VIP on our high end brewing methods!! So, meet us back here this Thursday…We think you’re gonna love it!!!

See you then…

We love you!

-Pat

grahamssocial@gmail.com