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306 W Woodlawn Ave
Louisville, KY, 40214
United States

Searching out coffees that prove their potential in the cup and are sourced through responsible and sustainable partnerships is a constant pursuit.  Highlighting origin characteristics and their best development dominates our roasting philosophy.  Sourcing and roasting great coffee is a responsibility that we take seriously and gratefully.

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Coffee Fest New York

Matthew

This past weekend Kenny Smith competed in Coffee Fest's International Latte Art Competition where he brought home second place and $1,000. Congratulations Kenny! If you want to watch him receiving his award you can watch it here. Jesse and Danny spent their time at Coffee Fest working at the Americas Best Coffeehouse competition. Jesse is the event coordinator for it and Danny did all the media coverage. If you want to watch anything from the competition you can re watch any of it at these links Day 1, Day2, and Day3.

Thanks for your continued support and we plan on doing all of this again in Chicago in June.

Home Roasting Class

Matthew

HOME ROASTING WORKSHOP SUCCEEDS.

Our most recent home roasting workshop was simply a blast.  If you missed out, you should know that anyone who takes this class will walk away with the ability to roast coffee with the standard tools in any home kitchen, a pound of green, and other goodies.  Stay tuned for more opportunities for home roasting, home brewing, and cupping workshops. 

If you're the curious type, these are the things we covered: the basics of coffee processing and it's impact on roasting at home, key markers in the roasting process, lots of hands on time with stove-top pan roasting and popcorn popper conversions, as well as a comparative cupping of the various roasts we produced.

A big thanks to everyone who came out.  We trust that you had as much fun as we did.

TNT Louisville

Matthew

Last Thursday Sunergos hosted a TNT; Thursday Night Throwdown. A latte art competition that created a lot of buzz in town about Sunergos, what we do here, and the coffee culture that is burgeoning here in the River City. Check out these great articles about the Latte Art competition and the coffee culture it's creating in Louisville, Ky.


Coffee; Sourcing, Romance, and Education

Matthew

As I grow as a roaster and we as a roastery, I think a lot about coffee origins and varietals. Usually my thoughts focus on cup quality and character and the craft of roasting, but lately I’ve found myself shifting to questions of visiting origin and more importantly the value of doing so.  

What compels small roasters and coffee professionals to invest precious time and resources into taking such trips?  In the vacuum of my own mind, a description I’d like to apply merely to the present topic, I think it really boils down to three motivations; sourcing, romance, and education.

Sourcing great coffees that prove their quality in the cup is ideally a constant pursuit for a passionate roaster. Where do you come up with an ever-shifting always-improving coffee line up? Well, you’ve got to search them out and one way to do this is to go where they’re grown and processed; to go to origin. The problem with this as a model for small business, however, is one of resources. Can you really afford to go trekking around the globe, pith helmet fitted, slurping enough brew, observing enough processing, and visiting enough places to source all the coffees you want to offer? Seriously, if a small roaster is going to origin to make deals and source their coffee, they’re going to need to rely heavily on someone whose done the developmental ground work. The other option is succumb to the pressures of the moment settling for what is available at the sadly few fincas you can afford to visit and likely ending up with a lower quality cup but a high dollar investment; a bad choice on every front.

The second motive for going to origin is romance. Now, when I say romance, I’m thinking about pie-eyed star-crossed love of a place and all the sights, smells, and sounds that will accompany you to your grave. The stories you’ll tell any new friend / victim as though the whole of your life revolves around the gravity of two weeks spent away. The other kind of romance that I’m thinking of is the dirty profit manipulable kind where those same sights, smells, and sounds can be communicated to and experienced by a pie-eyed star-crossed consumer at the low, limited time offer, of cash dollars. Seriously, though, a getaway is a good thing, and a tax deductible one is even better but, in the end, it’s a vacation. Valuable? Yes. A proper tool for sourcing great coffees? No.

So, I come to the last point in view. Education. An origin trip is simply an invaluable tool to educate oneself. We’re not talking here about bringing our expertise to the realm of processing, but rather learning from the experts at origin. We all know the basic processing methods from dry to wet and their innumerable hybrids and how they influence our approach to roasting, but what we can learn at origin helps us move from perceived theory to observed fact. Additionally it gives the opportunity to observe consistencies in processing or in the negative, inconsistencies and therefore an irreplaceable tool in assessing what coffees we source and what sources we choose to offer.

To conclude, then, the compulsion to make origin trips can be many. But truly, the best thing that can be had for a small roaster or coffee related business is not the chance to establish direct trade opportunities, nor marketable romance, but rather the opportunity to get an education. In this way we further equip ourselves to do the job of roasting and offering great coffees from many sources.

Download this great coffee book for more information on the process.

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New 5th St Location, Discounts, and Free Coffee

Matthew

New 5th St Location, Discounts, and Free Coffee

There’s a new bright yellow sign atop a 5th street storefront displaying our signature elephant, tortoise, and hare trio, mirrored across the street by Louisville City Hall. Inside the doors of our newest location you will find the familiar smell of fresh-roasted coffee and walls adorned with our olive green paint, what you will not find is the creating great spread of vintage tables and chairs. We are doing something a little different at our downtown shop, other than removing chairs from the equation; we would love to tell you a little more about it!

This new location is small, we mean really small, around 200 square feet. This provides the shop with a comfortable, Italian-style espresso bar feel that inspires the layout. Our desire is to break down the barrier between barista and customer so that dialogue freely flows. We also hope to demystify the behind-the-scenes work that we do and allow you to feel welcomed into something we’re super excited about; espresso.

As our Twitter and Facebook posts have made known, we are thrilled to have the Slayer, our chosen tool for creating espresso at 5th Street. Inside of the machine are multiple PiD-controlled brew tanks, flow-adjusting needle valves, independently controlled saturated brew groups, and manually controlled actuators with wood surround; this is coffee nerd talk for “this machine allows us to make amazing espresso!” This isn’t simply a refining of caffeine-concentrate; we are crafting a beverage with the complexity and esteem of fine bourbon, a drink to savor and enjoy.

We invite you to come and experience for yourself our newest venture into coffee-making at 231 S. 5th Street. You will find our usual offering of whole bean coffee, brewing tools, and of course Slayer espresso shots!

15% off coupon online!

Now through September 8th we are offering 15% your entire coffee order when you order online. Just enter the code "coffeefocheap" at checkout to get the discount. Remember the offer is only valid through september 8th.

Free Double Shot or Americano at 5th St!

Click this link to download the coupon and bring it to the 5th St location for a free double shot or americano. Only good for one week! Coupon expires August 14th. Limit one coupon per customer

Check out what other people are saying about our new shop on 5th St.


Prima Coffee
Louisville.com
Consuming Louisville

Monkey Mocha Fantastique & Latte Art Competition

Matthew

Sunergos Coffee will be hosting the premiere of Monkey Mocha Fantastique, a comedic short film written by Timothy Strader and directed by William Wallace II.  In celebration of this coffee centric film, we'll also be hosting an open latte art competition with some great prizes.  Check out the details below:Saturday, April 14th 6:30 - 9:30 PM

Sunergos Coffee

306 W. Woodlawn Ave.

Louisville, KY 40214

Written by: Timothy Strader Directed by: William Wallace II Cost: free Coffee sampling and demos

-AND-

Open Latte Art Competition $7.00 entry fee, all proceeds to cover Film Festival costs. All competitors will receive Astoria wares plus amazing prizes!

Over $800.00 in prizes including: Baratza Preciso, Reg Barber Tamper, Hand Crafted Tamper, Bonavita Electric Kettle, Roasting Session or Green Coffee of choice, Doc Crows gift certificate, Cake Flour goodies, Baxter Avenue Theater Tickets, and more!

(Prize sponsors include Sunergos Coffee, Prima Coffee, Baratza, Astoria, Reg Barber, Baxter Ave. Theater, Cake Flower, Doc Crows)

 

Ethiopian Tchembe, a 90+ Coffee project

Matthew

currently available in-store only Cupping notes:

 

Aroma: Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffin (seriously!)

Flavor: Candied Strawberries & Cinnamon

Body: Medium and Coating

Finish: Sweet Rum & Clean

Roast Level: Lite (city)

Processing: N2 Natural

 

Why so special:

 

Really, what this Ethiopia Tchembe represents is possibly a ground shaking game changer in the world of coffee.  The paradigm for years in our little geeked-out niche of the coffee world is a question of hunting down great coffee by focusing on origin, varietal, elevation, climate, and processing all validated by cup quality.  Everything is nice and neat until Ninety Plus Coffee shows up.  90+ is not just an importer but also farm owner and processor of coffees in Ethiopia and now South America and they may be on the verge of changing our coffee world.  Here’s how:

 

Processing. . . that’s right, processing.  From the moment a coffee cherry is removed from its tree until the instant that it is bagged and ready for roasting it is in processing.  For all of recorded history (hyperbole intended), processing has been understood to influence the final cup but has been focused on getting the coffee out of its fruit as efficiently as possible to avoid tainting (focus on the word tainting) the final product.  90+ has basically turned the issue on its head by moving the question from ‘What can be done to avoid tainting a coffee?’ to ‘What can be done to enhance it through processing?’ The result is what they call Profile Processing.  Profile Processing is basically a meticulous approach to varied fruit removal and systematic drying that seeks to objectify their effects on cup character.  In other words, they profile their processing like we at Sunergos profile our roasting shifting our world a little further from the slightly myopic perspective of coffee hunting to a more nuanced perspective of coffee making.

Single Origin Coffee, a short justification

Matthew

In our own little coffee universe, it's pretty much an assumed that single origin coffee is superior to a blend.  We realize however, that this is probably not the majority opinion or in fact a relevant topic to the world at large.  So, here's a short justification for why we choose it as an emphasis or why it's even relevant.  

People have been blending coffees for centuries and for a host of reasons.  Usually this is driven by the idea that blending coffees offers the opportunity to create cup qualities that are not available in any single origin.  This is in fact true and can be a science or art unto itself.  It's also commonly driven by the need to cover up flaws, sometimes for certain extraction methods, or even marketing purposes; not all bad reasons.  We do a few blends, but our overall philosophy moves us in a different direction.

 

What really gets us excited is the chance to take a coffee from a unique or not so unique region where intense attention has been given to cultivation and processing (proven ultimately by cup quality) and run it through a series of roast profiles until we hit the perfect roast.  In our opinion, the perfect roast isn't necessarily a secret roasting technique or even one that sets the roaster apart from another but rather one that best displays the unique qualities of that specific coffee.  It seems simple enough but is a never ending pursuit governed by varietal, processing method, and a general respect for the green and the expert hands that have handled it before us.

 

In the end, we expect that the coffees we present should stand alone giving the partaker the chance to enjoy it for what it is and where it has come from, and the preparers (farmer, roaster, and barista) the chance to be proud of their craft.

Chemex Coffee Maker Brewing Instructions

Matthew

 

1 Liter (or approximately 32 fluid ounces)

PREPARATION

Buy some fresh, locally roasted coffee beans.

Setup your Chemex with the thickest side of the filter cone facing the spout and find a timer to track your total brew time.

Measure out 60 grams of whole bean coffee. No gram scale? Equivalent measurements are 0.13 pounds or 2.11 ounces. If you don't have a scale, you can use tablespoons. Each tablespoon equals 5 grams of whole bean coffee. So if you are using the tablespoon measurement, use 12 scoops.

Grind the coffee at a coarse setting, a little finer than French Press setting. We prefer to use burr grinders, Baratza grinders or Hario ceramic mill grinders at home.

Using a stovetop or electric kettle, boil at least 32 ounces of filtered water. Pour this water through Chemex filter and Chemex to rinse the filter and preheat the Chemex. Dump the rinse water. Then get 32 ounces of filtered water ready for brewing with your kettle.

Pour ground coffee into wet filter, settle the grounds evenly.

BREW

Filtered brewing water should be at 200-205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal brewing.

Quickly wet the surface of the coffee grounds to completely saturate and preinfuse the coffee with about 2 ounces of water. At the same time, start a timer to track your total brew time.

Allow the water to saturate coffee grounds for 30 seconds.

Then begin pouring slowly into the center of the grounds and evenly pour on top of the coffee bed as it expands. Avoid pouring water at the edge where the filter and coffee grounds meet.

Continue pouring at a steady, even pace until the remaining 30 ounces of water is gone. Watch the timer to track your brew progress.

At 3:45-4:00 time, the brew should finish. If there is still water dripping through the grounds when timer reaches 4:00, pull the Chemex filter at this time to prevent overextraction. It's best to pull the filter off near your sink or other drain.

ENJOY THE FRUIT OF YOUR LABOR

THE AFTERMATH

The Chemex filter should slide right out with spent coffee grounds still in it. Use a mild detergent to clean your Chemex and rinse with plenty of water. Place the Chemex upside down to dry.

Coffee Basics: Espresso, Origins, and Progress

Kenny Smith

I have been looking forward to writing this short series for quite some time. The purpose is to provide some insight into the very basics of coffee history and preparation. At Sunergos, it is easy to take for granted the joy that we have in our work. Learning daily is simply a part of the process of being a barista who is passionate about coffee as a craft. My goal here is to impart some of this knowledge that we use on a day-to-day basis and, hopefully, demystify the world of coffee a bit.  

What I want to discuss here is Espresso (Ess-press-oh). To start, let’s discuss some common misconceptions. Espresso is not a particular type of coffee bean or a certain way of roasting coffee. Espresso is simply a way of brewing coffee. Most coffee drinkers can tell a difference between coffee brewed in a home drip machine versus something like a French press. In much the same way, espresso has distinct characteristics that separate it from other methods of brewing coffee. For reference, a working definition of espresso is: roughly 14-20 grams of coffee, ground fine, and brewed under 9bar (144 PSI) of pressure over a period of 20-30 seconds with a yield of about 2 ounces of concentrated coffee.

The beginning of our modern concept of espresso dates back to 1885. Angelo Moriondo created a machine that only somewhat resembled our current crop of espresso machines. It wasn’t until 1905 that Desiderio Pavoni (Founder of the company ‘La Pavoni’) began producing espresso machines commercially at a rate of 1 per day. In 1938 lever based machines were introduced, which eliminated the burnt taste that early espresso machines were notorious for due to the water used for brewing being too hot. These lever based espresso machines revolutionized the quality of espresso that could be produced, eventually leading to the pump-driven machines that are most common today.

Stunning lever

A beautiful lever espresso machine.

So how is espresso actually made? It begins with the grind. Espresso grinders work very similarly to any coffee grinder, their job is to provide a consistent and even particle size. Where espresso grinders differ is in the range of settings and how those settings are used. In a standard grinder, the goal is to provide settings that range from a very coarse grind to a powder-fine grind. The steps between each setting are generally large to be capable of such a vast range. Espresso however is always ground fine, slightly finer than the consistency of sand. The goal is to have tiny adjustments to have a high level of control within this very-fine range.

After grinding, the coffee is poured into the Portafilter, the small, handled, brewing basket of an espresso machine. The coffee is then settled into the metal basket (which can be compared in some ways to a paper filter in other brewing methods). After settling, a device called a Tamper is used to apply pressure to the coffee in order to create a compressed puck. This compression is used so that there is resistance when water is passing through the coffee; this attributes to the heavy mouthfeel and intensity of flavor that espresso has.

An example of proper tamping and insertion of the portafilter.

When tamping is done, the portafilter is ready to be locked into the espresso machine. There is a rubber gasket that seals the rim of the metal basket to the Grouphead, which is the spout from which water pours. At this point, the barista activates the brew cycle which forces water at a pressure of 9 bar (about 144 PSI) through the compressed puck. Since the coffee is providing resistance, it takes around 20-30 seconds for 2 ounces of water to pass through. While the water is coming through the coffee it extracts oils, sugars, CO2, and lots of other solids within the coffee.

High caliber espresso requires great attention to detail; temperature, amount of coffee, consistency of tamping, and time of extraction all play an important role in the brewing process. If any of these factors are changed, the flavor, mouthfeel, sweetness, and balance are all affected. You will undoubtedly find a huge variety of opinions about proper temperatures and all of the other variables that go into espresso extraction.

An example of 2 opinions are the traditional, Italian methods of producing espresso versus what many American coffee shops are doing. A hypothetical Italian recipe for espresso could consist of: a dark roasted blend of several coffees, exactly 14 grams measured out into a basket, a very fine espresso grind with a light tamp, a temperature of 196F, and an extraction time of around 40 seconds. An American barista may use a recipe such as: a light roasted single origin espresso, 20 grams of coffee, a coarser espresso grind, a hard tamp (40lbs or so), a temperature of 203F, and an extraction time of 28 seconds. While both of these baristas are producing espresso, the resulting brews will be very different. The Italian espresso will likely have a smoky flavor (due to darker roasting), a light body (less total coffee used), and a great deal of balance (due to blending of coffees). In contrast, the American espresso will have a citric or bright flavor (due to lighter roasting), a heavy body (greater amount of coffee used), and more emphasis on the flavors to be found within the single coffee used (single origin as opposed to blend). This variety of opinion stems from the inherent subjectivity of tasting in general. Also, despite the knowledge had by coffee professionals and enthusiasts, there is much to still learn about espresso on a scientific level. As a whole, the coffee community at large is seeking to understand and experiment more and more with this elusive brewing method.

In the future we may discuss how each parameter affects flavor components directly and other more in-depth ideas. My parting request is that you would keep an open mind when it comes to espresso and coffee in general. There is plenty of room for preference and it really is all about what tastes good… which is of course completely subjective.

Japan: Rosettas for Relief

Matthew

 
Time
Friday, May 20 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm

Location

Sunergos Coffee

306 W. Woodlawn Ave.
Louisville, KY

Created By

More Info

100% of evening's fundraising will go to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and money will be raised through the following:

Latte Art Competition - Winning prizes of Baratza Preciso, Reg Barber Tamper (custom-made for the event), Barista Magazine subscription, coffee from local and national roasters, cappucino & espresso cup sets from Astoria, and much more $10- competition fee

Silent Auctions - local art, music, gift certifi...cates and much more including: Sunergos Gift Cards, Brooks Ritter music cd, Louisville Bats Tickets, Ted Lee Natanson art, Liberty Tattoo & Art Parlor, Tyler Deebs graphic prints, Tacky Pourover Station, custom event t-shirts, local restaurant gift certificates, Zanzabar gift certificate, and more donations coming in every day...we will be updating as we go along

Roastery Tours - in-depth tour of roastery including live roasting and q&a session with roasters $10 - tour fee

Latte Auction - many competition lattes will be auctioned off on the spot

Also, there will be live music and free pour over coffee for the event. . Come out, show some love, and get a latte in one hand and some auction-winning swag in the other. Let’s raise some money for Japan!

More important information:

With the March 11th 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, there are now 160,000 people in shelters, over 12,000 dead and more than 15,000 missing. Through involvement and participation in international latte art competitions over the years, many Louisville baristas have gotten to know the wonderfully talented, kind, and honorable baristas of Japan. Our hearts go out to Japan, and we are compelled to take action.

Rosettas for Relief is a gathering of baristas from local and regional coffee shops who come together for the purpose of raising money for a good cause. Rosettas For Relief is about more than coffee. It’s about helping people whose lives have been devastated.

French Press Home Brewing Guide

Matthew

Six Simple Steps 

1. Measure out 60 grams (0.13 pounds or 2.11 ounces) and grind the pre-measured coffee.

8 scoops (or tbsp.) = 60 grams for 32 oz. 8 cup French Press 3 scoops (or tbsp.) = 22 grams for 12oz. 3 cup French Press

2. Use roughly 30 ounces of hot water to preheat the French Press

3. Pour ground coffee into French Press and add 32 ounces of water

4. Let bloom on top of coffee develop for 30 seconds and start timer for total brew time of 4 minutes.

5. After 30 seconds, stir coffee bloom down into water and put the top on the French Press and push plunger down until its level with the top of the water.

6. At 4 minutes, push plunger down slowly and evenly, then serve.

Chemex Home Brewing Guide

Matthew

1 Liter (or approximately 32 fluid ounces)

PREPARATION

Buy some fresh, locally roasted coffee beans.

Setup your Chemex with the thickest side of the filter cone facing the spout and find a timer to track your total brew time.

Measure out 60 grams of whole bean coffee. No gram scale? Equivalent measurements are 0.13 pounds or 2.11 ounces.  If you don't have a scale, you can use tablespoons. Each tablespoon equals 5 grams of whole bean coffee.  So if you are using the tablespoon measurement, use 12 scoops.

Grind the coffee at a coarse setting, a little finer than French Press setting.  We prefer to use burr grinders, Baratza grinders or Hario ceramic mill grinders at home.

Using a stovetop or electric kettle, boil at least 32 ounces of filtered water.   Pour this water through Chemex filter and Chemex to rinse the filter and preheat the Chemex.  Dump the rinse water.  Then get 32 ounces of filtered water ready for brewing with your kettle.

Pour ground coffee into wet filter, settle the grounds evenly.

BREW

Filtered brewing water should be at 200-205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal brewing.

Quickly wet the surface of the coffee grounds to completely saturate and preinfuse the coffee with about 2 ounces of water.  At the same time, start a timer to track your total brew time.

Allow the water to saturate coffee grounds for 30 seconds.

Then begin pouring slowly into the center of the grounds  and evenly pour on top of the coffee bed as it expands.  Avoid pouring water at the edge where the filter and coffee grounds meet.

Continue pouring at a steady, even pace until the remaining 30 ounces of water is gone.  Watch the timer to track your brew progress.

At 3:45-4:00 time, the brew should finish.  If there is still water dripping through the grounds when timer reaches 4:00, pull the Chemex filter at this time to prevent overextraction.  It's best to pull the filter off near your sink or other drain.

ENJOY THE FRUIT OF YOUR LABOR

THE AFTERMATH

The Chemex filter should slide right out with spent coffee grounds still in it.  Use a mild detergent to clean your Chemex and rinse with plenty of water.  Place the Chemex upside down to dry.