The People's Perk Joins Vida Pour Tea for Tea & Coffee Service at Triad Local First's Community Table

An excellent dinner for a good cause calls for excellent tea and coffee to cap it off. This year, The People’s Perk will join Vida Pour Tea to offer our products to attendees at the 2018 6° of Southern Community Table, the annual fundraiser for Triad Local First (TLF). The dinner brings together great local chefs, farmers and food vendors for a unique culinary experience.

TLF is a non-profit consortium of local, independent businesses in the Winston-Salem - Greensboro - High Point area in North Carolina. This year’s event will be held Sunday, Sept. 30 at the Double Oaks Bed and Breakfast at 204 N. Mendenhall St. in Historic College Hill (right down the street from us here at The Perk!).

Vida Pour Tea has been The People’s Perk’s tea supplier and partner for five years, so we are thrilled to have another opportunity to work with Greensboro’s best tea crafter. Special note: You can now buy bags of whole bean People’s Perk custom House Blend coffee at Vida’s shop on State Street.

Fb-Live-Sarah-Vida.jpg

Sarah’s First Facebook Live Video at Vida Pour Tea

We had big fun recently doing a Facebook Live video during our visit with Sarah, owner of Vida Pour Tea, while dropping off some bags of whole bean People’s Perk House Blend coffee (on sale now at Vida Pour Tea’s State Street shop!) and announcing the Vida/Perk tea and coffee service at Triad Local First’s Community Table fundraising event.

Small Batch Coffee Roasting Can Mean Big Flavor in Your Cup: Micro Roaster Fireweed Coffee Partners with The People's Perk

The People’s Perk now has a third coffee partner: Fireweed Coffee, a new micro roaster in Greensboro, NC. The Perk will have 2-3 Fireweed coffees on hand for customers to enjoy brewed French Press style. Roasting tiny batches of coffee are Firewood’s specialty, so it was a perfect fit to add this roaster as our French press coffee supplier. Wess Daniels started Fireweed after many years of roasting coffee just for himself. Read more about how he got started and what he has to say about how to fill your cup with good java.

Wess Daniels of Fireweed Coffee with People’s Perk Owner Karen.

Wess Daniels of Fireweed Coffee with People’s Perk Owner Karen.

Coffee Talk (CT): When did you start roasting your own coffee and why did you start roasting?

Wess Daniels, Fireweed Coffee (WD) -- I started roasting in 2011 when we were living in the Pacific Northwest because well, if you’re gonna learn how to roast your own coffee, that’s the place to do it. But the big reason why is that I’ve been on a journey with coffee since at least college. I had to work to put myself through school, so I worked at my stepdad’s family’s donut shop. I was glad to have had a job, but it’s probably not the best job for a college student. I’d go to bed at 1 a.m. and get up and go to work at 3 a.m. So coffee became a necessity. My first coffee was heavily loaded down with sugar and cream. Over time, I grew to like just coffee more and more. It was in Washington State where I had my first cup of Stumptown coffee during our first visit there. That was a revelation. This will sound so ridiculous, but I almost had tears of joy in my eyes the coffee was so good. I will never forget that first cup of coffee. That really set me on this quest of finding and sharing good coffee with people I love.

CT: How do you choose your beans?

WD: Up until this summer, I have been roasting coffee mostly for my wife and myself, so selecting beans was based very much on our preferences. Light to medium roasted batches of Costa Rican, Guatemalan, and Ethiopian beans tend to be my go to because I like their flavor profiles. Since I started Fireweed this summer, I’ve had to start branching out. Some people like darker roasts, others like coffees from places I don’t usually buy from, and some people like blends of different types of beans. So right now, I’m roasting coffees I know and love, and doing roasting that pushes me in terms of my own preferences and experiences. That’s actually part of the fun of this coffee roasting journey; putting myself out there has pushed me to learn, grow, and change. I love that.

CT: What do you tell people about coffee prep or buying coffee beans to help them brew a delicious cup of coffee at home?

First and foremost you need fresh beans. Unfortunately, most of the stuff you can buy at the grocery store is often too old. In my opinion, coffee is a lot like bread. Yes, you can purchase wonder bread, but it doesn’t taste anything like the stuff a baker makes. Please don’t buy coffee because it's cheap or organic and direct trade. That’s all well and good but get something that is organic, direct trade AND fresh. That usually means your best bet is to buy from a local roaster. I think coffee is best in between day 3 and 8 of when it was roasted.

Second, learn more about how you’re brewing your coffee. There are a lot of different ways to make great coffee, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages - so just learn about how to do it using the method you have and/or like. Check out a site like www.brewmethods.com and read up on it. An excellent place to start brewing is with a French press. It’s pretty easy to use, inexpensive, not particularly finicky, and it gives you a lot of control. If you look on my Instagram page, I have some instructions there for how to brew a great cup of coffee with a French press.

Third, the more control you have over the brewing process, the better. Here are the things that make for a good cup of coffee: fresh beans, grind right before you brew, proper grind size for your brewing method (fine, medium, coarse), temperature of water (usually between 195–200 degrees), and how long the water and the beans are in contact with one another (no longer than six minutes). The more control you have over each step of the process, the better your cup of coffee is going to taste.

CT: What’s your favorite way to make coffee at home and why?

WD: Generally speaking, we make drip coffee at home with OXO Barista Brain that I found on super clearance last year on my birthday. It involves almost no effort on my part and takes into account all the different aspects of control I shared above. My other favorite is a lot more fun, and that’s the Aeropress: it’s portable, made out of heavy duty plastic, you control all the aspects of the brewing process, the coffee tastes great, it has tons of different recipes, and it’s easy to clean.

CT: What else do you want people to know about you or Fireweed Coffee?

WD: Good, local coffee is a lot like other local items, it may cost a little more, but I think you’ll find it’s worth it in the end. And try different kinds of coffees; think of your coffee drinking as an experiment and find the roasts, origins, and brew methods you like best. There are infinite possibilities.

How do you like to make coffee at home? We love Coffee Talk @ The People’s Perk! Come try some Fireweed Coffee here at the shop and enjoy some micro roasting goodness! CLICK THE POST HEADLINE TO LEAVE A COMMENT

Karen ArchiaComment
Drinking Habits, Decrease in Disease and Drones: Fun Facts About Coffee

Do Americans lead the world in coffee consumption? Yes and no. Who exports the most coffee? I bet you know which country is first, but do you know which is second?

I'm constantly researching coffee facts, news and java drinking habits, so here's five things I've discovered about the who, what, when and where of coffee.

1. Finland drinks the most coffee per person. BY FAR. In fact, the Nordic countries hold down all of the top six spots, except the #5 spot held by The Netherlands (which is still in the same region, i.e. where it gets really cold.) Italy, home of the much sought after and classic espresso comes in, surprisingly, at 13th place. But hey, those espresso shots are really small. We in the U.S. each have some catching up to do: we rank 26th in per person consumption. But apparently, we are upping our coffee game:  Coffee drinking has been steadily on the rise since 2012. And when you look at the statistics of overall consumption as a country, then yes, The U.S. overall does lead the world in coffee consumption.

2. It's not surprising that the U.S. leads the world in the most coffee consumed since our nation has the 2nd highest number of branches of that corporate coffee giant with the green and white logo which shall remain nameless.  Hmmm...I'll refrain from adding too much commentary on this issue, except to say that my coffee is better! You knew that was coming...But luckily, the statistics on independently-owned coffee shops are promising, with customization and specialty drinks helping us carve out our niches (did someone say People's Perk Drink of the Month?). The People's Perk hometown of Greensboro ranked as one of the top five cities in the U.S. to open a coffee shop, which makes us even luckier to already be part of this great city (People's Perk five-year anniversary this October 2018!).

3. A big surprise comes in coffee exportation. Brazil ranks #1  -- no, no that's not the surprise. That country has held the lead for 150 years, although their portion of the entire market has shrunk. The big jaw-dropper? Vietnam ranks SECOND. The nation went from having .1 percent of the coffee export market to 20 percent in 30 years. The rapid rise has brought challenges and riches to the nation, which is grappling with what it means to be a coffee giant, including its environmental effects. Interestingly, Vietnam has made its mark in the industry growing the lesser known "Robusta" coffee bean. It has a higher caffeine content, but is also more bitter than the more popularly grown "Arabica" bean variety (which is most likely what you are drinking right now). Hence, most instant coffee is made up of the cheaper, hardier Robusta.

4. Coffee is good for you. That's worth saying again: Coffee is good for you! It's not just my opinion, recent studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association have shown coffee consumption not only decreases your risks of stroke and type 2 diabetes, but also increases longevity. Turns out coffee's rep suffered because so many people who drank coffee were also very likely to smoke cigarettes.  Researchers finally figured out it was the smoking that was the problem, not the coffee. Even decaf gives you the health benefits since coffee is rich in phyto-nutrients and anti-oxidants, and has anti carcinogenic effects. Enjoy your coffee, folks. A plethora of research sings its praises.

5. File this tidbit under the possible dystopian future of coffee (or utopian, depending on how you feel about your coffee flying at you out of nowhere).  IBM has patented a coffee drone that would fly around public spaces delivering coffee to people, and will even predict when people need a caffeine pick me up. Need I say more? No, I will not drone on...

Got any fun coffee facts? Come by and see me for a cup of josephine, an espresso or a specialty latte. Let's have some Coffee Talk. CLICK THE POST HEADLINE TO LIKE POST OR LEAVE A COMMENT.

Additional Sources/Further Reading:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/countries-that-drink-the-most-coffee/

https://www.dw.com/en/vietnams-quiet-coffee-revolution/a-43797565

A Customer Called Me A "Mad Scientist..."

I'm always mixing up new drinks at The People's Perk in my effort to surprise and delight my customers, hence that comment about being a "mad scientist." Lest you think I am here at The People's Perk with bubbling beakers and oddly colored potions, I will happily take on the moniker because I took it to mean this customer was excited at the idea of wondering, "What new drink will Karen come up with next?"

I feature a Drink of the Month every month,  usually some concoction of coffee, espresso, milk and flavored syrups. For July and August, I 've featured iced teas. I mean, it's been SO HOT. I figured y'all would want a cool, lighter, refreshing option during the dog days of Summer. And luckily for me, you did! July's drink was The Strawberry Fields Iced Tea, a fruity, sweet-tart blend created by Vida Pour Tea, Greensboro's best tea crafter. It mixes hibiscus leaf, strawberry, apple, and cherry flavors, and I served it with a shot of raspberry syrup for extra complexity and sweetness. It was also a bright red beauty of a drink! I like making my drinks tasty and nice to look at.

For August, I've been serving up  The Island Life Iced Tea. I confess I made up this drink in my mind and didn't actually taste it before I served it. Risky, I know. But guess what? After my customers starting telling me how good it was, I made one for myself -- I knocked my own socks off. Once again, I took a delicious Vida Pour Tea blend, a green tea with lemon verbana and added an award-winning Hawaiian Island syrup from Monin. The syrup added flavors of guava, passion fruit and orange and a little sweetness. So, what I ended up with was a fruity, herbaceous, tropical, tart, pleasantly sweet iced delight. I love it when a plan comes together....

What's next? Stay tuned to my facebook page or Instagram feed for announcements on new Drinks of the Month. Want to sample a new drink during the development process? Stop by the shop and ask about what drinks I'm working on. Have ideas for a drink? Let me know. CLICK THE POST HEADLINE TO LIKE POST OR LEAVE A COMMENT.

You are always welcome @ The People's Perk

Greetings from the Historic College Hill neighborhood in Greensboro, NC! This October will mark five years that The People's Perk has been open, but we feel like we've always been here!

Our neighbors - businesses, long-time residents, students, staff and faculty of UNCG, Guilford College, Greensboro College and NC A & T, as well as the College Hill Neighborhood Association - have all made The People's Perk feel very welcome and appreciated.

We hope to continue to serve this community and greater Greensboro for many years to come. If you are in the area, stop by for a cup of coffee, espresso and snack and a little chat with owner-operator Karen. Contribute a note or drawing to our community art journal, draw self portrait for our People's Perk Portrait Gallery and just enjoy yourself. You are always welcome here.

 

 

Karen Archia