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Brewing Guide: Bee House

 
How to brew our Nicaragua El Suspiro.

The Bee House is our go-to brewing device here at Messenger, producing a clean and balanced cup that can be brewed quickly with minimal clean-up.
_______________________________________________________________________________
What You’ll Need:

 

 

Bee House Ceramic Single Cup Brewer

Melitta #2 Filter

Burr Grinder

Pouring Kettle (Hot water heated at 202˚)

Digital Gram Scale

Timer

Mug/coffee pitcher


Brew Time:

2:30-3 minutes

 

 

STEP 1


Insert Filter
 
Fold Melitta #2 filter along bottom seams. Insert it into the Bee House Brewer and place it on top of your mug or pitcher.
 
STEP 2

Rinse Filter.
 
Pre-rinse the filter with hot water to rinse out the paper flavor and preheat your brewer and mug. Discard the rinse water.
 
STEP 3

Weigh and Grind Coffee.
 
 
Measure 25g of coffee beans. Grind them to medium fine or about as fine as sea salt.
 
STEP 4

Settle Grounds.
 
Pour the ground coffee into the filter, giving a gentle shake to settle the grounds. Tare to ‘0 grams.’
 
STEP 5

Saturate Grounds.
 
Start the timer before you add hot water (202˚). Saturate the grounds. Coffee degasses or blooms when it’s fresh – the coffee bed should rise up and bubble up a bit. Amount of water should be about 40g.
 
STEP 6
FIll the Brewer.
 
 
Slowly pour with pulses to reach 390g by 2-2:30 minutes. Pour the water evenly in a spiral over the coffee bed, pouring over the dark spots and avoiding the light ones.
 
STEP 7

Serve and Enjoy.
 
Once you hit 2:30-3 minutes, you should have 390g of brewed coffee. Remove and discard the filter and brewed grounds. Drink up and enjoy!
 

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21 April

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Staff Bio: Kiersten Rex

 We think we have a great team here at Messenger and we’d love for you to get to know us!  We’re publishing a few posts featuring each member, and today we want you to get to know our Head Roaster, Kiersten.

 

 Origins

Kiersten grew up in Independence, Missouri. Her first real coffee experience didn’t involve fancy coffee -- in high school she loved mochas. Later, a trip to a Kenyan coffee farm had a profound impact on her perspective of coffee, where she saw the intricacies of the process. Coming back from the trip, she got involved with a local cafe and began her journey from barista to roaster (one of 3 female roasters in Kansas City).

Vision

All these years later she’s a part owner with us in Messenger, and we’re super proud of her work and her level of skill in coffee. Her passion is to see people come together over great coffee, as well as educating about the farmers that make the coffee excellent. She’s the incredibly consistent heart of the company, showing up for long days carefully crafting roasts and helping us carry the quality of the farm to our cafe partners.

Kiersten's Favorites

Favorite coffee brewing method:
Bee House

Favorite place to eat in Kansas City:
Winsteads every time. Except date night - then it’s Westside Local

Fun fact: Kiersten loves hanging out with high schoolers in her neighborhood and loves throwing parties for people. She’s a consummate host and kick ass dancer.

What song gets you on the dance floor: Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

Stay Tuned

We are going to continue featuring the rest of our amazing staff in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled.  

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20 April

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Introducing: The Colombia Lago Bonito

 

We are very excited to release our new coffee from the Huila region of Colombia. The Lago Bonito is an easy to drink washed coffee with a nice floral aroma. In the cup, you’ll find subtle tasting notes of cola and lime.

Where to buy

Purchase online or in partnering cafes.

 

 

 

 

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20 April

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Barista Feature: Jen Scanlon

We want to feature the wonderfully talented baristas amongst our partnering cafes.

Today, we want to introduce you to Jen, kickass coffee professional from Filling Station Coffee on Gilham.

 

Origins

Jen grew up in Springfield, Missouri. She got involved in a local cafe in 2003, and has been working in coffee ever since. Jen has also spent time traveling across the country as a muralist, and her artistic attention to detail in her mural work is a quality she brings to her work in coffee.

 

Where you can find her

You can find Jen slinging tasty Gibraltars (her favorite drink to make) at the Filling Station Coffee Shop throughout the week. If she's choosing music, she's the one who gets the party started with the 90’s post punk and hip hop jams.

 

Stay Tuned

The coffee community in Kansas City is rich with a talented array of baristas that we will continue featuring, so be on the lookout.

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20 April

Tags:
barista, coffee, messengercoffee

The Importance of the Barista: A Love Story

The dawn of “Fourth Wave” coffee is breathing down our necks. It seems as though every week now there is some breakthrough or some great new thing happening either at the farm level or in the cafe. When these things happen, it can either be celebrated or cause confusion and conversation from coffee companies as they figure out how to play catch up. It’s interesting however, that despite the trends that come and go in coffee there will always be one thing that stays the same, the barista is very important. 

 


 A little over a year ago, Collin Whitacomb wrote an article for the Specialty Coffee Chronicle titled, “Seeking Baristas: A Call to Action for the Coffee Service Professional” In this article, Whitacomb emphasized the importance of quality service in the cafe in order to enhance the overall experience of the customer. Well some time has gone by and that thought is more true now than ever before. Specialty coffee is growing and will continue to grow. As it grows, so will the number of cafes. Which makes the need for great baristas more important now than ever before.


 In cities or towns that have multiple coffee options, I imagine the decision on where to get coffee can be quite troublesome. In Kansas City, there are many great roasters with great coffee offerings - How does one decide where to get coffee? It’s easy when you think about it this way: you need to find where your friends are…

 

Messenger coffee served here

 In the first month of my first barista job with Kaldi’s Coffee, I heard Marcus Boni preach the message of extraordinary customer service. The idea of treating people well made sense to me right away. I learned that as a barista, taking care of customers and making them feel home was just-as, if not more important than, latte art or pulling espresso. I know this is true because around the time that I became a barista, I was becoming obsessed with the show Cheers. In the show, Sam Malone (played by Ted Danson) creates an atmosphere in his bar where “everybody knows your name.” I noticed when I called people by their names, remembered their drinks, or asked about their day the customers would come back day after day to get drinks.


 I don’t say all of that to speak about myself. The point is that the barista is on the front lines of coffee warfare. At Messenger Coffee, a lot of work goes into sourcing the best coffee we can find and roasting it the best way we know how. But there comes a point in the week that coffee leaves our hands and is placed on a shelf in a cafe. When this happens, it’s up to the barista to convey the coffee experience. We try to remind the barista of their importance in the chain of coffee. To help with this, whenever we do barista training at Messenger, we give baristas a rundown of all the steps coffee takes as a cherry; from a shrub in Ethiopia all the way to being placed in an espresso blend sitting in a cafe in the middle of Missouri. The barista then has an opportunity that everyone else on the coffee chain doesn’t get to have: translating the joy of the farmer to the appreciation of the customer.

 

 


That translation must be done at the customer’s level, and that translation comes in many shapes and sizes. Because one thing I am not trying to say is that the barista has to know everything about the coffee. Drinking coffee is an experience and the farmer wants the customer to have a great experience when drinking their coffee. As a roasting company, I want the customer to have a great experience drinking coffee. The barista’s job is to create an atmosphere where coffee beverages are enjoyed. This is their sole duty.


This looks like:

  • saying “Hello!”
  • Stopping by tables to talk to customers about their drinks
  • Knowing how to explain what and why they do things
  • Having a love of coffee
  • Having a love for talking to people
  • Asking questions
  • Smiling
  • CLEANING THE CAFE
  • making people feel welcome
  • saying “goodbye”

 We can crowd our baristas around refractometers and latte art videos but that will never make them great baristas. We need to understand that there are baristas and then there are people who happen to be good at making drinks. Being a barista is loving your community and creating an atmosphere for people to be happy over drinks.


 If you are reading this and you have baristas working for you, tell them that they are important and remind them of their value. If you are a barista, I envy your daily opportunity to make people’s day better. Love people and love coffee, and people and coffee will love you back. (The proof is in the tip jar)

- Montana Rex

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28 March

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Coffee: It's good for you (again)

Why coffee is good for you

It seems like media outlets and their accompanying talking head medical professionals have taken much enjoyment out of telling us alternating stories about why coffee is good for you or why coffee is bad for you. It's one of the great health-knowledge flip flops that never ends. I've always stood by the fact that the cultures who drink the most coffee (Sweden, Swizterland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, etc.) are the happiest and healthiest cultures in the developed world, so it simply must be so that coffee is good for you. Well, it turns out the good infallible folks at NPR have confirmed my spurious assumption. 

"In our study, we found people who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had about a 15 percent lower [risk of premature] mortality compared to people who didn't drink coffee," says one of the study authors, nutrition researcher Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Drink To Your Health: Study Links Daily Coffee Habit To Longevity (npr.org)

I'll take it! Cheers to coffee, and have a great week. Psssst, check out our dope Kenyan coffee and get 15% off with promo code itsgoodforyou

 

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17 November

Tags:
coffee, health

Espresso: It's time to think outside the scale

Espresso machine

"This was a liberation for me and for those I trained - a revolt to all my third wave barista friends who were chained to scales and timers. It was crazy and it worked."

This November marks my two years of being in the coffee industry. Thinking about my career and the things i've learned it's kind of interesting to see my pattern of growth. I have worked for three companies in the course of two years (which makes me sound like a loser) but in doing that I’ve seen so many ways of doing things that it has helped me rid myself of the “barista god complex”. By that I mean -- you will not likely hear me say there is only one way of doing anything.

My first gig was at the first KC location of Kaldi’s Coffee (formerly Latte Land). In my first two weeks I would be making smoothies and handing out cookies and occasionally look over at the trained baristas with longing as they pulled shots and steamed milk. I had been a coffee “fan” for years and saw the working of an espresso machine as this heroic task that only the most noble were able to achieve. One day, my trainer carefully decided to walk me through the art of pulling a shot. It involved a lot of scales and watches and it was narrowed down to a clockwork system that was controlled and calculated. And I bought into it.

About 8 months later I was helping out at a friend’s coffee bar at a church and was weighing and measuring out everything. This friend of mine (s/o Aaron Duckworth) had been in the coffee industry for maybe 15 years at least. Seattle native. Old school to say the least. This friend covered up the timer on the espresso machine. I panicked. “How can I know when to stop it?”, I stuttered out. He explained why he did that and we spent maybe the next thirty minutes dissecting the sensory approach to pulling espresso. The next day at Kaldi’s I hopped on bar like a newly resurrected hero, ready to enlighten the world on how to pull espresso shots. I smelled and examined the grounds, studied the extraction colors and movements, and I took time to understand what a good shot looked and smelled like and then I tasted it all without a timer or scale. This was a liberation for me and for those I trained - a revolt to all my third wave barista friends who were chained to scales and timers. It was crazy and it worked.

Extraction

For me to explain how to do this would be like explaining how to paint or sing. Unless you and I pull shots together I might never be able to explain to you the beauty of not using scales in a scientific fashion. I believe it was the kind folks at Blue Bottle who said, “There is nothing mysterious about espresso, it's just really really hard.”

Consider this a call to action in two forms:

1) A Barista is a craftsman, who should trust their skills.
2) Don't be so dogmatic when it comes to measurements.

I often times get frustrated around some friends of mine who are gifted and learned painters. They criticize and analyze paintings, whereas I just know what looks good to me. I might not be able to argue for a paintings’ worth, but I know what I like. I know what paintings I like because I have two eyes and a heart. You should treat espresso the same way. You have two eyes, a perfectly adequate olfactory sense complete with one odor receptor, and a tongue with more taste buds than you can count. Your body is truly made and formed to know if things taste good or bad so why not use it? I understand you put 21 grams into the portafilter and 36 grams came out at 30 seconds and I’m sure you’re really proud of that. Did you taste it? Are you giving your customers something that you would drink yourself?

On the flip side of the coin, you can't build a house without tools. Once you begin pulling shots that taste good, you should (if time allows) measure out the perimeters of your shots. This does help you give yourself a “frame of reference” of where the shots “kind of” need to be...

Bear with me when I say, I question the true skill of a barista if the success or failure of an espresso shot is dependent upon the measurements and TDS reports.

Espresso at cafe

 

At the end of the day you can only do what works best for you. You know the philosophy of your cafe and the drinks that go with that. But isn't it so fun to challenge yourself? I think about when I was a kid, at the neighborhood pool, one day I decided to go off the high dive instead of the four foot diving board. As hard as going off that high dive was it was so rewarding when I popped up out of the water. Never be content with where your skills are at as a barista. You can always make better drinks. Just trust your senses, you have more knowledge of extraction than you think.

 Hopefully I’ll be able to taste these wild and free shots of yours one day.

 -- Montana

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09 November

Tags:
coffee, espresso, shots shots shots

Roast Ratings - El Salvador Dia Siguiente

We're not much for talking about ourselves (check out how empty our blog is), but it's not everyday that our coffee gets reviewed by a World Barista Champion.

Pete Licata reviewed our latest El Salvador offering and gave it 4.5/5 stars. Woohoo!

He says, "A fruit forward El Salvador coffee from Messenger Coffee in Kansas City, MO. Bright, Round, and Chocolatey."

http://www.roastratings.com/review/el-salvador-dia-siguiente-from-messenger-coffee/

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24 June

Tags:
coffee, el salvador, review

How We Brew #1 - Matt Matsch




This is the first post of our "How We Brew" series, which will highlight different members of the Messenger crew and one of the ways that person likes to make their coffee. We're big on the idea that great coffee can happen wherever someone knows how to make great coffee. Welcome to knowing, today from Matt Matsch:


For me, using different brewing devices is as fun as trying different coffees. You can take the same coffee and play around with the nuances of its flavor character and body. One of my favorite ways to brew coffee at home is with a Bee House. I live alone and drink a lot of coffee throughout the day, so the small output and easy brewing of the Bee House is perfect. The Bee House, having a slightly thinner paper filter than a Chemex, produces a “juicier”, medium bodied coffee that still has enough clarity to expose a delicate acidity. The low walls allow for great brewing control, while its two drip holes provide a more forgiving extraction. 

A quick Spring/Summer tip for a cold beverage: Try over-loading your Bee House with 46 grams of coffee for iced pour-overs. Use a 1-15 ratio of coffee to water/ice (2/3 water and 1/3 ice) with a 4:30 brew time for a rich and delicious cup that maintains complexity. 

Try a Bee House with our Guatemala Waykan. Free shipping to your door and take 10% off with promo code howmattbrews

Tune in next week for another riveting hot tip on how to make coffee! 

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TEDxWomen + Messenger Coffee at Nelson-Atkins on May 30

We're excited to be working with the Nelson and TEDxWomen to serve coffee at their broadcast of Momentum, which "will explore how change begins: with innovative thinkers who share big ideas and catalyze action toward them."

More from TED: 

At TEDWomen 2015, we’ll explore the bold ideas that create momentum in how we think, live and work.

To reveal the spark that inspires innovation...
to surface the challenges that come with social change, discovery and exploration...
to seduce with strategies, solutions, and new ways of seeing and believing...
to understand how global leaders sustain their work for lasting impact...
to shift the view, the debate, the competition...
to share the stories that connect us and strengthen communities...

The event takes place in Monterey, Calif., and the Nelson-Atkins museum is hosting a video stream of the event.

How is Messenger involved? Well, our coffee wizards will be serving up the best coffee we know how to serve to thirsty broadcast watchers.

If you're a woman, or if you're addicted to TED talks, or if you're a woman who is addicted to TED talks or if you're a man or anyone else from any walk of life who enjoys an occasional TED talk -- you should be there.

Buy tickets and find out more: https://peo.nelson-atkins.org/show.asp?shcode=1594

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08 May

Tags:
events, museum, nelson-atkins, TED, women

Recent Articles:

Brewing Guide: Bee House

  How to brew our Nicaragua El Suspiro. The Bee House is our go-to brewing device here at Messenger, producing a clean and balanced cup that can ... Read More

Staff Bio: Kiersten Rex

 We think we have a great team here at Messenger and we’d love for you to get to know us!  We’re publishing a few posts featuring each member, an... Read More

Introducing: The Colombia Lago Bonito

  We are very excited to release our new coffee from the Huila region of Colombia. The Lago Bonito is an easy to drink washed coffee with a nice... Read More

Barista Feature: Jen Scanlon

We want to feature the wonderfully talented baristas amongst our partnering cafes. Today, we want to introduce you to Jen, kickass coffee professi... Read More

The Importance of the Barista: A Love Story

The dawn of “Fourth Wave” coffee is breathing down our necks. It seems as though every week now there is some breakthrough or some great new thing ... Read More

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