Kopi House Blend Coffee
By cafekopi42667224, Jul 21 2017 04:42AM
We got a comment card not too long ago that asked why we use the brewed coffee we do, instead of getting a well-known premium blend. It was like, “Really enjoy the atmosphere of the café, but you should use Intelligensia or Quills coffee.” And I had to chuckle at this. At the end of the day, customers like what they like, and I’ve learned to accept it. Perhaps this customer just didn’t care for our house blend coffee, which is fine. But the comment sounded more in favor of an established name, like, “Why do you wear that shirt when you could wear this Calvin Klein shirt?”
To be fair, Intelligensia (served locally by Caffe Paradiso, Art Mart, maybe others) has built quite a name for themselves, and they mostly roast out of Chicago, so the proximity doesn’t make delivery time and freshness a huge issue. Until Hammerhead Coffee opened near campus, I’d be impressed if anybody had heard of Quills coffee, from Louisville. Flying Machine Coffee in Urbana I believe gets their beans from Dark Matter (Chicago) and some from 30/30 Coffee in Peoria, both high-quality roasters gaining deserved reputations.
At Kopi, we have gotten most of our coffee from Columbia Street Roastery for over 15 years. They roast beans about three blocks from us—I can smell it when I walk to my car—so you can’t knock the freshness. Of the many blends they offer, we chose to modify their popular Black Velvet to our liking, a mixture of five beans, roasted to dark Italian, a couple shades lighter than the burnt roast of our national competitor. Our digital brewing system (Bunn) measures the amount of coffee to grind immediately before brewing, and the lab people at Columbia Street have calibrated the equipment to brew the proper volume of coffee (in parts-per-million) to the specifications of the SCAA, called Gold Cup certification.
On the rare occasion that I have friends to my house and coffee is requested, I honestly struggle with the whole process. Naturally, the guests are excited to partake of a preparation by someone in the industry, but I simply don’t have the same technology available at home that I do at work, nor do I practice it. (I usually transport cold-brew from work to drink the next morning, which is a separate blog entry.) I certainly don’t dismiss the economy or convenience of brewing your own coffee, but it’s hard to touch the quality of commercial brewing. So when this reviewer suggested we source some national brand of beans, they were really just saying they don’t care for our blend, and that’s a matter of taste. Why would we replace fresh-roasted beans from our neighborhood roaster who obviously have science and experience on their side?
Columbia Street Roastery has a storefront at 55 E. Columbia in Champaign. Please call 352-9713 for their retail hours.