Archive for April, 2010

Coffee Nerd Talk

April 28, 2010

So for a cafe which aspires to win next years Best of Baltimore award for Best Cup of Coffee and Best Coffee Shop, there has been very little coffee talk here on our little blog. This ends today!

While we at Charmington’s will be very focused on offering you the best cup of coffee that Baltimore (and one day, the World) has to offer, please do not mistake us for your typical elitist shop forcing our ideals of “good” coffee on everyone unexpectedly stumbling through our doors. We want to be a center of coffee education for those interested parties who would like to learn more about this substance that so many of us obsessively consume daily. At the same time, we want to be the place where you can order a coffee simply by saying “coffee, please” rather than reciting a scientific formula.

As much as we would love for you to buy all of your coffee drinks from us, we also want to educate you on how to brew great coffee in the confines of your own home with the equipment you already own because lets face it, supporting a habit such as this can get pretty pricey.

Cara has already given you readers a quick run down on the roaster we plan to use (Counter Culture Coffee), and why we plan to use them (because they are awesome). Coffee is much like wine in the sense that if it is prepared correctly you can taste the different characteristics and flavors which it inherently possesses. Picking up on all of the flavors that a wine or coffee may have takes a well trained palette, but there are a lot that can be picked up easily. Please do not confuse these flavors with flavored coffee, for these are not chemicals sprayed on inferior beans but rather traits centered around the origin of the coffee plant. A well roasted and brewed coffee bean will both taste like great coffee and at the same time possess notes of other flavors such as caramel, chocolate, and even strawberry or blueberry (remember, coffee beans are the seeds of the fruit found on coffee trees).

The coffees that will be provided by Counter Culture will all have detailed descriptions which will refer its flavors and characteristics . If you happen to get a cup and do not taste all of them, do not fret! Most of us don’t taste all of the flavors either. The most important thing is that you taste a great cup of coffee.

I will leave you with the link to a video from Counter Culture going through the cupping of one of their espresso blends, Espresso Toscano, which was apparently blended to taste similar to a Snickers bar…how awesome is that?!


Treats, indulgences, and malevolent elves

April 20, 2010

I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been glued to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.  Well, sort of lightly glued, as (wait for it!) I Don’t Own a TV*, so I catch it on Hulu, which depends on me having free time, a decent internet connection, and nothing else to come along and claim my attention.

Still, I’ve managed to mostly-watch every episode so far.  I’ve seen the truck of lard, and the kids who couldn’t use a knife and fork, and the school officials who patiently explain over and over again that their jobs depend on straight-facedly calling French fries a vegetable.

It’s interesting on a personal level, because like I mentioned a few posts back, some vicious elves (or maybe sprites: not sure about the taxonomy on this one) have been tightening my pants, and I’m trying to fight them.   I hear they hate vegetables and sweat, so that’s what I’ve been using to ward them off.

It’s gotten me thinking, though, about cafe offerings.  I know, for example, that we’re not going to be serving ultra-jumbo muffins.  It is because we don’t have any giant muffin pans.  I know we’re going to do our best to incorporate in some local food, some organic food, and above all some fresh food, but I know that the bananas in the vegan banana bread probably aren’t coming from a local garden patch.

I know, too, that when I want a muffin, or a cookie, or some other indulgent treat, I kind of want the real deal.  I’d rather sub out my bagel for a salad sometimes than spread it with a thin layer of lite cream cheese, and sometimes, I want that bagel to be made of sparkling white processed flour, with no flecks of stuff. And, I’d rather have the occasional whole milk latte and drink black coffee the rest of the time (even though skim milk foams better, if we’re being frank.)

But, I also want Charmington’s patrons to feel at home there, and eat there on a regular basis.  I don’t want to enforce my all-or-nothing snack views on a defenseless populous.  I’d feel like a spectral Jamie Oliver was about to bust in and dump a truck of lard in my parking lot. So I must ask: what’s you favorite semi-healthy, semi-indulgent snack?  Or entirely healthy snack that feels like an indulgence to you?

*I watch a lot of TV for someone who DOATV, FYI, BFFs.

“When do you open?”

April 6, 2010

Recently, Team Charm had a tasting party to show off some potential menu items to our friends and families, as well as to recruit some investors.  I’ll post more about it when we get some photos coming in.   Anyway, the party was quite successful.  We thought we completely over prepared and made way too much food, but then guests started arriving and hitting the buffet table, and the phrase “Plague of locusts” sprang to mind.

In a good way.  Great plague, locusts!  Stay insatiable!  No, I mean, it was great to see so many of our friends and supporters enjoying the food and going back for more.

Of course,  one thing people kept asking was, “When do you open,” which is a natural question, but a tough one to answer.  Our exact opening date depends on the vagaries of contractors and the health department, so we are planning on doing a very soft opening.  I’ll tell you all about it here, and if you live or work in Miller’s Court, you’ll probably catch on pretty quick.

Right now, though, know that we’re working hard to get the doors open as soon as we can, and we do, it’s going to be phenomenal.

Also, watch this space for information at an upcoming event at our neighbor, the Ottobar!