coffee’s origin story

from @EmpirepodUK on Twitter

I am not usually a podcast listener, but have recently been hooked by the Empire podcast, where historians tell the story of the rise and fall of some of history’s most important, well, empires.

In an episode released in January, the subject is the history of coffee, particularly its impact in the Ottoman Empire, spread through Europe, and development in England. The hosts are William Dalrymple, a Scot who has lived most of his adult life in India and written many terrific books, and Anita Anand, a British journalist and historian of Punjabi descent. They are joined for this episode by Harvard professor Cemal Kafadar, who has written of coffee in early modern Istanbul.

I realize this description has been less than enthralling, but give it a try. The podcast is available on Apple podcasts and on Spotify.

The Matty Macchiato 5th Annual Holiday Gift Guide – Part II

photo: iStock/Svetlana_nsk, via The Wirecutter/NY Times

Part I of this year’s guide focused on branded swag. Today we’ll try for most everything else.

Here are suggestions on what to get for the person who……..

Wants to make better coffee at home, by any method

I could wax poetically about coffee demigod James Hoffmann and his new book, How to Make the Best Coffee at Home, ($19.99 – available from all major book retailers, though it would be nice of you to support your local independent bookstore), but better to let the man himself tell you all about it.

If you are interested in coffee at all, Hoffmann’s YouTube channel is an absolute treasure ($FREE).

Continue reading

The Matty Macchiato 5th Annual Holiday Gift Guide: Part I

So two weeks before Christmas may be a little late to be much help. Remember, if something doesn’t arrive in time you can always print a picture and let them know their present is on the way! Or start normalizing New Year’s gifts.

If for some reason you’d prefer well-written professional writing and images – can’t imagine why – many quality coffee roasters have added holiday gift guides to their websites. You should also check out Counter Culture Coffee’s staff recommendations page for recommendations on the best gear for making great coffee at home.

Many of these are repeats from past guides, but I’ve tried as much as possible to find new/different/improved versions. Okay, let’s go.

Swag ’em up
Everybody loves swag, whether it represents their favorite sports team, beer, or coffee roaster/café. Our beloved Little Red Fox tee is no longer available, but here are some awesome pieces of branded merch from coffee world.

Verve Coffee Roasters Fuego Pocket Tee, regularly $25, currently on sale for $13(!)
The mullet of coffee tees: all business in the front and all party in the back.

Continue reading

fussy & pretentious man, myth, legend

The New York Times‘ occasional Culinary Arts animated feature recently took on British coffee genius and YouTube star James Hoffmann. It was an interesting and visually arresting look into Hoffmann’s appeal and his path to coffee stardom.

One panel caught my eye, as it included Hoffmann’s French press recipe.

Continue reading