It’s that time of year again. The time when we regret all the decisions of the last 364 days and vow to be better people in the coming year. Whether you’re trying to cut down on the ho hos or promising to call your grandmother more often, you’ve got at least one resolution for the new year.
Before we get to ours, let’s contemplate 2015. It was, truth be told, an outstanding year. Here are our top 3 favorite things that happened:
7pm is the new 6pm, not just because of Daylight Savings. Starting in November, in honor of the holidays and general all around busy-ness, we will be staying open one hour later! (And possibly more near Thanksgiving and Christmas, follow us on Social Media to stay in the know.)
OUR NEW HOURS ARE:
Mon-Sat: 6:45am – 7pm 6pm
Sun: 7:45am – 6pm
So… one more precious hour to grab some caffeination before your evening shift, whether it be parenting, working out or pulling an all-nighter.
Baristas are standing by.
(EDIT: 10JAN2016. We are back to regular hours: 6:45am – 6pm, Sunday hours still the same)
I’m writing to you on a warm November day but yesterday was cold and rainy Portland weather. I’m not sure what’s happening to the planet, but what I do know is this: in the months ahead, we are going to be drinking more and more coffee. If you’re like me, coffee will be by your side, whether you’re sitting in front of the fire brushing your cat’s fur, eating Sunday morning pancakes, or poking around the Internet trying to find out why your Pixelworks stock is falling.
People ask us all the time about how to make a good cup of coffee at home. The truth is, extraction methods, coffee ratios, water temperature and more, can conspire to make this a complicated affair. Some might say, oh f*$% it, I’m just going to head over to RoosRoast and have these people make it for me:
We love you, but let’s face it, one of these days, you’re going to have to learn how to make a good cup of coffee at home. You’re car may get a flat or maybe you’re not this man, willing to bike ride through sleet and snow:
So, here are THREE FACTORS that can quickly and easily improve your brewed (not expresso, that’s another conversation) coffee-at-home experience:
1. Buy fresh beans.
This may seem obvious, but if your beans have been sitting on the shelves of Kroger for god-knows-how-long, they’re not going to elicit that Zang, that High, that Mouthful that you’ve grown to love and expect from a local roaster like, say, RoosRoast. Roasted coffee gets stale. How fast depends on the next factor.
note- Speaking of Roast Date, however- here’s an aside: people come into the shop looking for coffee fresh out of the roaster. Each coffee is different but most beans need a good couple days, if not a whole week, to settle down and come into its own. We’ve tasted great coffee from beans roasted a month back, if stored properly.
2. Store your beans properly.
If you’re the type of person who does NOT go through your beans in a week or two, you need to consider storage. Do you store them in the freezer? No! Freezing adds the uncertainty of moisture into the equation. It’s Air that’s the enemy! Just keep them away from air or light. Consider buying one of these super sealed Airscapes to keep your beans fresh.
The Airscape is perfect for keeping your coffee sealed, actually sealed, from air and light. They will extend the life of your beans dramatically!
Although this is no.3 this is probably no.1 in importance. The SINGLE BEST WAY to improve your at-home experience is to buy WHOLE BEAN coffee and grind your beans right before brewing! After roasting, coffee beans are fragile little things. These precious nuts begin to lose their flavor the moment they’re ground. Remember the air thing? Pre-ground means more exposure to air, breaking down the flavor.
Here’s the deal…you can geek out about grinding – hand grinding, burr grinding, stepless grinding, ceramic, metal, weigh grinding. But let’s say you’re new to this and don’t want to spend $1500 on a top of the line burr grinder.
At the VERY VERY minimum, get one of these:
A blade grinder.
We carry these Bodum Bistro grinders in the shop and online. They are relatively portable (good for your office stash), easy to use, small in counter space and will VASTLY improve your coffee experience in one $30 or so move.
Real coffee geeks complain that the blade grinders won’t grind your beans consistently- it’s actually being cut by the blade, not ground. It’s true, you may end up with uneven grounds which means some beans might over extract or under extract. THIS IS GEEKY, though. We maintain, you can still get a good cup of coffee from these things and we STILL recommend it as an entry level grinder, if you’re unsure about your commitment to home brewing. Try the shake and grind method to help even out your result and of course, be careful not to over grind and heat up your beans while you’re grinding. If you decide to move up in the grinding world, you can always convert your blade grinder into a spice grinder. (By the way, what’s the best way to improve the deep flavor of your cooking? Roast and grind your spices at home!)
4. Okay, there’s a 4th Thing.
Let’s talk about blades a little bit longer. Remember, these grinders have revolving blades, similar to the blades on your blender. Actually, they don’t grind your beans at all, they cut it into smaller and smaller bits. Coffee geeks complain that blade grinders won’t grind your beans consistently and you end up with uneven grounds which means some beans might over extract or under extract.
HOW MUCH THIS BOTHERS YOU DEPENDS ON YOUR GEEK FACTOR.
We maintain, you can still get a good cup of coffee from these things and we STILL recommend it as an entry level grinder, especially if you’re on a budget or unsure about your commitment to home brewing.
If you decide to move up in the grinding world, you can always convert your blade grinder into a spice grinder. (By the way, what’s the best way to improve the deep flavor of your cooking? Roast and grind your spices at home!)
Here are some tips for getting the most out of your blade grinder:
Try the “shake and grind” method to help even out your result. (Grind, give it a shake. Repeat.) And of course, be careful not to over grind and heat up your beans while you’re grinding.
But if you’ve become a hopeless coffee snob, you need to think Burr Grinder. Burr Grinders evenly grind the beans between two rapidly revolving abrasive surfaces called burrs. You can control the space between the burrs and thus control your grind.
We carry the Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder in the shop right now. It’s an entry level conical burr grinder that come in cute colors. Here’s how it works:
But! There’s only eleven left in stock. Count em 11! So if you’re in the market, get it now.
It’s true. We have an addition to the family here at RoosRoast. Her name is The Loring* (or Loretta if you will) and she is a beautiful silver masterpiece.
*Not to be confused with The Lorax, although they have similar ideological values.
We just replaced our Dietrich roaster with a spectacular state-of-the-art machine called The Loring Smart Roaster™. We respect you guys and want to keep you informed. So, here’s the skinny:
And here’s the longer more scientific explanation of why you should care:
1. It’s GREEN! Get this: Loring roasters reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%, making them the most ecologically friendly roasters on the planet! The smoke from the roast is burnt up in a cyclone burner before going out the stack. So we are not kicking out clouds of smoke to all of SouthTown any more.
Most roaster of this size require an “after burner” which burns the smoke right before it goes out the stack mounted inside the building right at the ceiling. They consume mass quantities of gas burning at 800,000 btus and put out a lot of heat.
2. It Makes Even More Delicious Coffee
The Loring uses a closed-loop, Flavor-Lock Roasting Process™ to roast the green beans, eliminating the effects that weather and humidity can have on the roasting process. So the roast is more consistent and even. Smoke and chafe are removed from the roast and each is directed into separate areas so the taste of burning smoke and chafe is not included in the coffee taste. (“cleaner taste”)
The Loring roasting drum is super insulated and sealed for a controlled roasting environment. The coffee is tossed with paddles inside this atmospherically sealed chamber so there is very little chance of tipping or burning which is caused when coffee beans sit against the hot steel drum of a conventional roaster. The results are a very even roast which happens from the inside out. The coffee is unbelievably delicious.
3. It’s Fast and Efficient
Once we dial in a roast profile we can reproduce the roast time and time again using the roast profiling program which is part of the brain of the Loring. It will roast three times the amount of coffee as our last roaster, in half the time. This means we’ll have more time for taking care of our accounts and you, our amazing customers!
4. Contact with the Loring Cures a Variety of Ailments
Including, but the limited to boils, leprosy, Type II Diabetes and Nasty Inlaws.
There is no scientific evidence for the last point. But what is true is this : we couldn’t have made this move without the support and love of people like you!
Read more about our decision in this great MLive articleby Jessica Webster.
Join the event on Facebook. And thanks for drinking RoosRoast Coffee. Now, proudly… sustainably-roasted!
Let’s face it, people like their coffee hot. To some, the idea of iced coffee is like cold scrambled eggs and limp toast. Why? And… No.
Frankly, we agree. But when it’s 90• at 9am and you’re dragging yourself out of a drippy sleep because you’re trying to save the environment by not using the air conditioner and everything in the house seems fat and wet like that large man with the tiny towel you sat next to in the sauna that one time….You want something cold. You want your coffee…cold.
Enter Cold Brew. Cold brew is MUCH MORE than a watered down version of hot coffee. Think demi-glace. Think ganache. Cold brew coffee is rich and creamy. It’s a smooth chocolate-y extract made to be served over LOTS of ice. Miraculously, it’s easy on the stomach, high on buzz and perfect for livening up tepid picnics and listless croquet games.
What is cold brew?
Cold brew is created by soaking coarsely ground beans in filtered cold water for 12-24 hours. No heat ever touches these beans! It’s truly…cold.
It requires a little patience to make and yes, we can do it for you- (cold brew is available at all RoosRoast locations)- but just in case your bike has a flat tire or, god forbid, you’re stranded in Iowa: here are some tips for making this stuff at home. You’ll need nothing more than a mason jar, a sieve and some (clean) panty hose.
1. Measure. Start with a ratio of 3 to 1 water to coffee. 1 cup of ground coffee (we recommend a medium high roast like Lobster Butter Love) to 3 cups of cold filtered water. The ratio is important- you want to be making a strong extract that can withstand a nice ice infusion and not end up a watery, tasteless mess.
2. Grind: We recommend a course grind, a la French Press. If you grind too fine, your brew will be over extracted and bitter. Plus it may give your brew a silty feel unless you have the right filter. But try some different grinds out to get it just right for your taste buds and patience levels.
3. Soak. Add cold filtered water to your ground beans and stir. Next, you’ll be letting this mixture soak at room temperature for 12-18 hours. Stir occasionally.
Do not let your child lick the spoon.
4. Filter. Grab a fine mesh sieve and any kind of filter such as a paper filter, cheesecloth, panty hose and filter out your grounds. (Or, you could just use the sieve on its own and let the fine grounds settle before drinking.) Depending on your grind, this could take some time.
5. Drink Up: Add ice and be careful driving! (Cold brew can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks for grab and go pleasure.)
First off I wanted to thank our IT guy, Joe, for this keyboard, which makes typing so fast and easy. The great thing about this espresso buzz I have right now is that I’m perfectly flying. It’s like space, it’s like time, it’s like time and space. The music, the vibe, I’m in the company of lots of good customers, great crew, the solid smell of coffee, and I’m writing. Nice shot Grant. (but make sure you pick up all your snack food wrappers when you leave the office. Work to code! ) Mlive.com (our local online news source) recently featured a picture of the RoosCrew in a story about Ann Arbor’s hip-culture. Thanks for the props Mlive! And the vote of hipster confidence. Traction, mileage, customers, crazy times and life in Ann Arbor. We love it..
As hip as our culture here at RoosRoast, we are a neighborhood destination, and our customer base is a great range of really interesting people who love our relationship with coffee and how we do it.
If you’ve never been to RoosRoast, this is my invitation to stop in.
If you’re a customer thanks for drinking RoosRoast. See you soon!
With the news of being voted the #2 coffee shop in the great state of Michigan, RoosRoast is officially on the map. And so is our little known street right off South Industrial, called Rosewood. (We even have a rose bush in front of our shop when the ice melts.) We are in the heart of what we call SouthTown (there are bumper stickers that prove it). In the summer we have a patio where you can sit in the sun in front of our south facing shop. There is also a picnic table in the shade of a small Silver Maple tree. I’m not saying it’s nirvana…..but it is. I’m saying it.
The front of the building is our cafe and the back is our roasting production side of things. There is ample parking.
Customers love to pick up a bag of fresh roasted RoosRoast coffee beans and a cup of coffee. (And, did you know that if you buy 2 bags of RR you get a free cup?!) We sell whole bean and we are able to grind coffee to order.
We also have tons of coffee related gifts and gift cards. Check our our fetish mug collection.
Our specialty drinks here at RoosRoast are made with our amazing espresso and Calder Dairy Milk, half and half and skim. We offer almond or soy options at no extra cost. The focus here is simple house-made drinks (ginger lemon with honey or our spicy Rooschai) without the use of powders, syrupy flavorings, mixes of any kind or anything with tons of sugar.
I’m so proud of this RoosRoast crew. #RoosCrew and all the great staff who have worked here in the past. Hard work pays off. Many thanks to all our coffee fans far and wide. So many people are responsible for our success in so many ways!
The special Tuesday started off slow. Mother nature blasted thru with every patron who swung the door. Steam wands hissed, tampers tamped, the intoxicating smell of Roos being roast, ground, dosed and brewed gave way to a packed house. Banter, chatter fingers tapping and sliding on slippery pads.
The espresso was creamy and steam built on the windows. People were talking in elevated levels. The Rebirth Jazz Band set the tone. That’s when we found out we were in the running for mlive’s best coffee shop in Michigan.
Who knew? (thank you fans!)
New customers, Wifi, Spotify, electrify, Roosify! (this coffee is powerful stuff) We were actually moving up the polls, photographers snapping photos, lines out the door, we saw our building on the internet, and our picture in an online article.
Still, Zack Harlow and Kaitlin kept turning out the finest roasts and packaging these special beans. Byron kept on delivering and demoing. Lily kept on screen-printing, Zach “CH” and Sofia, handled the bar, Grant and Anna kept music apropriate and latte artistic. Katie got it right, blasting out serious social media.
Greg worked the numbers, answered emails, picked up the phone and deciphered my handwritten notes.
Joy’s hair was perfect as she contentedly calculated keeping us in the black for another week.
Molly made careful preparations for the Ann Arbor Farmers Market calculating coffee amounts, freeze points, and pump pot dynamics for Fetco brewing.
Together we were all so excited to have so much warmth from the local spotlight directed our way.
Thanks to all of YOU for making our work possible.
Keep driving the votes. (HERE’S HOW!) (It’s the longest election process in the history of the first world but it’s for the good of the coffee and the caffeination of the community.)
The other day, while jamming out at the Farmer’s Market, a friend came up to us and said, “man, guys. I’ve been so down in the dumps lately. I found myself just standing in my kitchen the other day, staring at the floor. I felt like I had no energy…”
[pause for dramatic effect]
“And then I had a cup of RoosRoast!”
He went on to tell us about he’d been feeling lethargic and unmotivated for days, but after a quick cup of jo, felt noticeably more energetic and ready to take on the day.
Isn’t that how we’ve all been feeling for weeks now? Winter had been dragging on, like it always does (thanks a LOT, Michigan), and then that snowstorm. Out of the blue! (Maybe not if you’re a weather-person, but we’re assuming you’re not.) Time to bring out your real winter boots and those shovels that have been collecting dust in the shed for the last five months. Now it’s February, and we’re exhausted by the commercialism that takes our happy relationships and turns them into marketing strategies. The snow has turned to brown slush and it seems like spring will never come.
This isn’t an unfamiliar feeling. Many of us have lived in Michigan – some Ann Arbor – our whole lives! We’re used to this sudden onset of drowsiness, dreariness, down-right depression. Even now, as I write this, it’s 8:10 a.m. on a Sunday and I’m feeling a little down. My cat woke me up this morning at 5:30 AM by obsessively licking my hair (wtf), I tripped over my boots and knocked my head on my dresser, AND my Superman underwear are dirty. So. You get the picture. And all this before 7:00 a.m.
The point is, I got to Roos this morning, turned on some tunes, and poured myself a cup of coffee. I’m halfway through it now, and I’m already feeling better! There are dust bunnies to tackle! There is snow to pulverize and orders to fill! It’s been 43 minutes since I got here and my outlook on life has already improved.
Coffee – good, organic, properly brewed, fresh coffee – gives us that extra little push we need this time of year. So wash out that French Press. Clean out your porta filters. Hell, even plug in that Mr. Coffee – I don’t judge! It’s gonna help you get through that last exam of the year, get you to call your mother like you’ve been saying for days (sorry, mom), get a head start on spring cleaning. You’ll feel better, I promise.
Here at RoosRoast, shit gets REAL on the daily. Just this week we’ve dealt with…
All the cafes around us closing shop, a team of internet hackers plotting to destroy us (the reason why our Comcast was so slow), our boss, who opened up a can of WHOOP-ASS on a crew of DTE “green dot card” fraud-sters trying to steal our money, studies in the chemistry of milk steaming, steam wands which were all salty this morning, and some crazy lady, distraught because she couldn’t log onto our wifi, who almost ran into a semi-truck last week as she peeled out of our driveway.
I am not kidding. Want some more? Oh, I’ve got more.
Our head roaster now channels his inner Matt Damon on a regular basis. You can catch him exhibiting his ninja like reflexes a la Jason Bourne or constantly outsmarting the higher educated culture of the city he lives in, a la Will Hunting. We now hold regular Good Will Hunting scene synopses in the back of our shop – Boston accents and all.
Our boss is quickly losing what is left of his mind. He can usually be seen running – yes, running – around the shop saying “hey babe! HEY! BABE! What do you need? What can I get for you?” or speeding around town in the RoosRoast van, delivering coffee to the under-slept and unmotivated people of Ann Arbor.
The other day I made someone a salted caramel mocha. Like, seriously, WHO AM I?!
This is not Starbucks, people.
THIS IS REAL LIFE. We are not faking it. This isn’t Hungry Jack mashed potatoes from a box, kids. This is real russets from Idaho. Hand-mashed and mixed with butter, garlic and salt for your pleasure. Yum yum.
Bottom line? We are the real deal. We’re real humans with real personalities. We want to get to know you, make you a drink, call you our friend. (Have I mentioned lately how much the RoosRoast staff enjoys making friends?) If you’re looking for a robot-barista who takes your order, makes you a half-assed drink with a frown, and throws it on the counter, then you’re out of luck. If you’re looking for a group of interesting individuals who chat you up behind the counter, make you kickass beverages and truly care about their jobs and the quality of the drinks they serve, then you’ve come to the right place.