Brew Coffee > Spro, or Brew Coffee < Spro ..

Posted in Uncategorized on March 6, 2011 by Chris Dodson

If you were to ask me a year ago what my favorite preparation of coffee is, I wouldn’t have hesitated one bit, and said “ESPRESSO. DUH.” I would probably start to passionately talk to you about the intricacies of every little aspect of pulling just one shot of espresso. I probably would start to talk to you about how one little change in grind, different tamp pressure, different water temperature all makes a massive difference in how a shot pulls blah blah blah blah… It’s easy to talk espresso. It really is..

The truth is, I always get jaded by espresso because of the inclusion of pouring latte art, and that I don’t have a La Marzocco parked in my kitchen. I get hot and bothered about espresso, because it’s (generally) where Baristas get to flex their muscles. Let’s face it, the preparation, and everything around espresso is just more attractive than with brew coffee – you have espresso machines that are worth more than most cars, shiny milk that makes sexy latte art and lots of little tools baristas use to make the espresso. Espresso really takes the spotlight over brew coffee.

I’ll tell you what though.. It’s really something to meet a barista who can hold up a conversation about coffees that aren’t available in their shop. I really do love it when I meet a barista who’s knowledgeable about the coffees available in his/her shop. I get truly impressed when folks start talking about roasters, and equipment other than what’s within the walls of one cafe. I tend to ask folks what they brew at home with, and where they like to buy their coffee. It’s really sad, but most of the time I hear “I don’t brew at home. I just drink coffee from my shop and other shops I visit.”

I can speak from a good bit of personal experience on the matter, it really makes you a better barista if you’re brewing coffees at home. When you brew coffee at home, you can take your sweet time to be intimately attached to the magic of turning bean into beverage.


Just a thought..


My Clever Dripper Recipe

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17, 2010 by Chris Dodson

Hope you enjoy it!



Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 8, 2010 by Chris Dodson

I have a secret for you =)

I am alive

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2010 by Chris Dodson

If you don’t have anything nice to post, don’t post at all! I’ve learned that lesson recently.

Along side that comment, I don’t have much to say!

I’m going to Seattle on May 5th!!!! Stumptown, Vivace, Victrola…

Aeropress Picture

Posted in 1 on April 9, 2010 by Chris Dodson

I just thought it was a cool picture.

Couple New Shops in DC

Posted in 1 on April 9, 2010 by Chris Dodson

I haven’t really spent a lot of time in front of my computer in the last couple of days. I did however, make an awesome trip to D.C. with a couple friends!

We started off with a trip to Northside Social in Arlington. We wanted to enjoy the weather, so we parked a little ways away. As we were walking, I was staring at my iPhone, finding out which way to go to get there. Despite all of the 15 Tweets I saw from people raving about Northside Social, nobody mentioned it was in Murky’s old building! I would’ve walked right past it, had it not been for the new red paint job. I must say, whoever opened Northside Social, clearly had a look in mind. Everything was very clean, and bright in the main room. The counter tops were all nice chunks of raw(ish) wood, and the upstairs was absolutely beautiful! We were fortunate enough to score some capps from a trainee there, who did an absolute BEAUTIFUL job. I am however, a little sick of seeing Counter Culture everywhere. It’s no dis against CCC – there’s a reason so many shops use their coffee.. Though, my wish for something different was granted when we ended up at Filter, in Dupont Circle.. They’re serving coffee from Caffe Pronto, which is a roaster in Annapolis Maryland. They wouldn’t tell me what was in the espresso blend, but it was epic – I didn’t know a espresso could be so syrupy! It Pronto product was extremely thick, very berry-forward, and smooth as can be. I am very happy for all of Dupont Circle!

Oh, and we also went on the obligatory trip to 2Amy’s Pizza. =) Duh.

Mazzers at Northside Social

Front counter @ Northside

Bar upstairs @ Northside

No more capps @ Northside

Pretty self-explanatory

Pizza Margherita

La Marzocco FB/80 at Filter in Dupont

Bar setup at Fiter


Peregrine, of course.

Pitango Gelato!

3 City Tour

Posted in General on April 7, 2010 by Chris Dodson

I first visited Ultimo Coffee in October of last year. I remember really enjoying the capps Ultimo’s barista crafted, so I was excited to return. This visit was the first time I got to introduce myself to Aaron Ultimo – the mastermind behind the machine! I couldn’t believe how nice the dude was. He was really polite at the cash register, and provided great conversation whilst making capps & shots for my brother and I. Aaron really encouraged me with my passion for coffee. Not many people in specialty coffee have taken the time to do so. So, if you ever read this, Aaron – thanks so much!

I was already happy when I didn’t have to park 3 blocks away just to go to Ultimo.. I was REALLY happy when I got half way through the capp Aaron made me. I’m don’t remember where he sources his milk from, but it’s certainly the most balanced, sweetest milk I’ve ever had. Aaron Ultimo wasn’t done impressing my brother and I simply with the capps. After we finished our drinks, Aaron pulled some shots of a Kenyan coffee that Novo roasted. It was ironic that a Kenyan coffee was the guest espresso, because I have been on a massive Kenya binge as of late. It was rather priceless drinking my shot, knowing what the expression would be on my brothers face when he took HIS first sip. I’ve been drinking espresso for a lot longer than my brother, so I can handle brightness a bit better than him. The boy was doing everything in his power to not pucker up and chug a glass of water! The Kenyan shots were extremely balanced, but intense as hell.. Buttery, yet unforgiving. Notes of cherry, black currant, and (Aaron’s note) stewed tomatoes created the flavor profile of the espresso.

After Ultimo, we headed North to visit the girls of Spruce Street Espresso. I was surprised to see what a small space they have! I stalked them on Flickr before, and from the photos, assumed they had a massive shop.. It’s funny how you can get an idea in your head about a physical location you’ve never been to. It didn’t matter much since their location is absolutely amazing. It’s right on the corner where a nice line can form out the door. My brother and I ordered spro, capps, and macchiatos (caffeine buzz. Yes.) I was really happy to enjoy their craft It’s cool to see some barista girls kick some ass!

On what I thought was my last visit to Ultimo, Aaron convinced me to stop by on my way home. It was quiet in the shop that morning, so I was able to relax before embarking on a very long drive home..

..I really opened a can of worms on myself when I realized that I-95 goes past Philly, Baltimore and D.C.

I sat in Ultimo fighting the urge to do a 3 city tour… Damn you, Aaron Ultimo.
Along with convincing me to visit again (absolutely no regrets there), he eventually convinced me to go check out the new Spro location in Baltimore.

So, I set off! Trekking down I-95 South. Eventually I arrived at the new Spro location, with a light heart, and a hunger for some SPRO. The two girls at behind the counter were very polite and willing to make sure I had the best experience possible. I ordered an Aeropress of some Peru, and an espresso from Origins Roasters (no idea what it was). I was very excited to see how they are able to achieve every brew method a coffee geek could dream of. It was really cool to see a twist off a traditional espresso bar!
I was bummed to not meet Jay, but I wasn’t about to complain – the girls at Spro were awesome!

Next was a drive further down I-95 to get to my personal spro capitol, Washington D.C.!! I was kind of coffee’d out at that point, but I was eager to catch up with the crew at Peregrine Espresso. I arrived in D.C. to be greeted warmly by Jeremy, and Randy at Peregrine. I don’t feel like I have to advertise Peregrine any more than I already do.. Everybody who knows me, knows I’m a die-hard Peregrine fan-tard. As usual, the spro and pastries I got at Peregrine were stunning!

Sorry I didn’t get more detailed shots..