Is Your Latte Art Good Enough for Coffee Fest St. Louis?

Categories: Java Enabled

Latte art at Sump Coffee. | Mabel Suen

Coffee Fest, a java-centric trade show, is coming to the Cervantes Convention Center at America's Center at the end of May. There's a big opportunity for Gateway baristas -- a latte art competition. Instagram and artisan coffeehouses have encouraged the rise of so-called "latte art," which are the designs in the top of your coffee created with milk foam. Think yours is good enough to win big time?

See also: The 10 Best Coffee Shops in St. Louis

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Kaldi's and Mississippi Mud House Give Breakfast to Bikers

Categories: Java Enabled

A scone and financiers at Mississippi Mud House. | Jennifer Silverberg

In this seemingly endless winter, biking to school or work hasn't been an option -- unless you're super hardcore. Spring weather means we can all get outside, and Trailnet is encouraging cycling as transportation with its Breakfast for Bikers program, which kicks off April 18.

See also: The Five Best Breakfast Spots in St. Louis

"Biking for transportation can be filled with a lot of questions, so it's a good way for people to meet each other," says Trailnet's TravelGreen coordinator Molly Pearson. "It's also a good way for people to learn about Trailnet and the programs we have in place."

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Kopi Luwak Made From Civet Poop Now Available at Cafe di Organo

Categories: Java Enabled

Kopi luwak beans. | McKay Savage

It's 7 a.m., you're still groggy, and you run into your favorite coffee shop to get a big, steaming cup of the good stuff. More than likely the barista can tell you just where those beans came from. But we bet a civet's poop wasn't the answer you were looking for. That's exactly what kopi luwak, or civet coffee, is. and it's now available at Cafe di Organo (1221 Locust Street; 314-678-2000).

See also: A Bite with Bitcoins: Local Food Businesses That Accept the Online Currency

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Sump Coffee Expands Hours to Try Experimental Brews

       Scott Carey at work. | Crystal Rolfe

Sump Coffee (3700 South Jefferson Avenue; 917-412-5670) has been one of the most celebrated coffee shops in St. Louis ever since it opened in late 2011, and two years later, owner Scott Carey isn't done pushing the envelope with his artisanal beans. Sump is usually closed on Mondays, but for six weeks beginning February 21, it'll be open for experimental brews only.

See also: Sump Coffee Brings Third Wave Coffee to South City

"Just like any growing company, you can have the day to day, but you also think about the tomorrow. No one wants to always do the same thing," Carey tells Gut Check. "We talk about how we can change things and hopefully make them better."

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Flying Saucer Starbucks Lifts Off in Midtown [Photos]

Ian Froeb
The new Starbucks in the Flying Saucer in Midtown.
When the Del Taco at 212 South Grand Boulevard in Midtown closed in the summer of 2011, a grassroots coalition of urban preservationists and locals who just like cool things, damn it, banded together to save the iconic midcentury-modern "flying saucer" building from demolition. The result of their efforts: The developer agreed to renovate the building for its new tenants, which would split the space: Starbucks and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

The Starbucks opened this morning.

See Also:

- "Del Taco Leaves St. Louis"
- "South Grand Del Taco: Scenes from the Closing"
- "Mayor Slay Has Del Taco Building's Back"
- "Del Taco Spaceship Will Now Serve Coffee & Burritos"

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Comet Coffee Opens in Highlands Plaza Today

via Facebook
Comet Coffee opened this morning at 5708 Oakland Avenue in the Highlands Plaza Two building in the city's Cheltenham neighborhood. The address was previously the home of Sabu's Coffee, which shuttered in April of this year.

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Tidbits from Five Guys, Goshen Coffee Company

Kelly Hogan
Well, it certainly hasn't been a dull week for restaurant news in St. Louis. Here are a couple of additional items from the past day or so:

- Joe Bonwich of the Post-Dispatch, who has a pretty impeccable source when it comes to matters involving Five Guys Burgers and Fries, reports that the chain's very first area location at 1070 Town & Country Crossing in Town & Country closed Wednesday.

- Sauce reports that Matt Herren has sold Edwardsville, Illinois-based Goshen Coffee Company to real-estate investor Jay Beard. Herren will remain with the company and focus on the sourcing and roasting of the coffee.

If Your Single-Serve Coffee Maker Isn't Trying to Burn You, It's Definitely Ripping You Off

Categories: Java Enabled

Image via
The single-serve coffee maker: Incredible convenience, or threat to life, limb and pocketbook? If the news this week is any indication, the latter seems more likely than the former.

First, the New York Times looked at how much you're actually paying when you buy those pods that these single-serve coffee makers use.

...the Nespresso Arpeggio costs $5.70 for 10 espresso capsules, while the Folgers Black Silk blend for a K-Cup brewed-coffee machine is $10.69 for 12 pods. But that Nespresso capsule contains 5 grams of coffee, so it costs about $51 a pound. And the Folgers, with 8 grams per capsule, works out to more than $50 a pound.

As the Times article points out, all but the most exclusive varities of coffee will run you less than $20 a pound -- and in Gut Check's admittedly limited experience, the stuff that comes out of those pods is far closer to those giant cans of cheap coffee than $20-a-pound gourmet beans.

Is the convenience still worth the extra dollars per pound to you? What if we told you there was a risk of being scalded.

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Write a Starbucks "Blonde" Joke, Win Gift Certificates! [Updated with Winner!]

Oh, Starbucks, sometimes you make it too easy.

The java behemoth has introduced a new series of light-roast coffee blends called Blonde. Not really that interesting, unless you're one of the seven people left in America who hasn't formed an opinion about Starbucks coffee.

Except! From the main Starbucks gossip website -- yes, such a thing exists -- (via Gawker) comes reports of Starbucks managers forbidding employees, on the threat of written sanctions, from making Blonde jokes in front of customers.

A Blonde joke? Like: What do you call a Blonde roast standing on its head?

A dark roast!

Can you top that? Leave your best Blonde joke in the comments over the three-day weekend. Gut Check will judge the entries on Tuesday morning, and the winner will receive gift certificates to La Tejana Taqueria and Taqueria Durango.

Rules: To be eligible, you must leave a valid e-mail address (or Twitter handle or Facebook profile URL) in the comment-entry field. One guess per e-mail address. Employees of the restaurant in question and Riverfront Times are not eligible.

WINNER: After furious debate here at Gut Check International Headquarters, the winner is...Fendi Hotdogbun. We'll be in touch. An honorable mention to Bunny, whose joke didn't have anything to do with coffee, but made us laugh. Thanks to everyone who played!

Sump Coffee Brings Third Wave Coffee to South City

Last fall, Ian reported on a new coffeehouse coming to south city, Sump Coffee. Gut Check followed up after the opening to get a closer look into the cafe's offerings.

Mabel Suen
Scott Carey, the man behind the plan at Sump Coffee, with a Kyoto drip brewer.
Scott Carey says he just might be obsessed with coffee; however, his fascination isn't that of the typical everyday caffeine junkie. At Sump Coffee (3700 South Jefferson Avenue; 917-412-5670), which opened last month in south city, he represents what's known as the "third-wave"coffee movement: artisanal beans, exacting brewing methods and an appreciation for the subtleties in each coffee experience.

Inspired by java mantras in New York City, where he resided for a dozen years working as a patent attorney, Carey sought to build a space in his hometown of St. Louis where coffee is treated like wine or a high-end single-origin chocolate, rather than merely as a caffeine-dosing mechanism. He strives to showcase different coffee varietals and origins through a number of brew methods.

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