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T / how to get the shakes in chiang mai

There are only two things in Chiang Mai.  Maybe three.  Mostly just two.  This post only focuses on one.

When I arrived in Chiang Mai, I felt like I had been adequately prepared to have myself some good coffee (thank you coffee Yoda!).  And I was with some people who wanted good coffee.  Because there is nothing worse than to be with people who are not willing to have more than three cups of coffee within a 24 hour period when all you want to do is drink coffee.  Because it is literally all around you.  You can drive 100km up a mountain through a national park and still find a decent latte from an Italian machine.  And if Ponganes Coffee Roasters turns out to out to be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, that’s totally cool.  Akha Ama is just a hop and a skip away.  What about brunch? Well, Overstand, The Larder and Rustic & Blue make food their primary objective, but their lattes are still above the norm of what you’d get back home.  Also: see chicken and waffles.  So thanks to the massive list that blogger to the north, Alana, put together, I thought I’d leave you the top three ways you could have your coffee.


Sriracha Maple Syrup Chicken Waffles at Rustic & Blue.

Stay at an Airbnb in Chiang Mai.  For only one reason: you don’t get screwed by a hotel breakfast. Wake up and immediately leave the premises. Don’t be confined to very restrictive breakfast hours.  Walk around any corner and you’ll probably find a really good. Like a latte that’s shares a table with Sriracha Maple Syrup Chicken Waffles at Rustic & Blue, Or The Larder’s Chorizo Breakfast Hot Dog if you’re in the Nimman Haeminda neighbourhood.  Or the damn good breakfast pizza at Overstand in the Old City.  The list is literally endless.


So many delicious, coffee-adjacent cuppas at Graph Table and Graph Cafe.

So many points for innovation, going outside boundaries and being a little nuts here.  Sometimes it’s a little showy (yes, we get you won world’s best latte art), other times you’re thinking “how the heck did you get there?”  And sometimes your coffee winds up tasting like a Christmas chocolate orange.  Whether it’s fancy lattes with equally fancy names at Ristr8tto, or charcoal-laced concoctions at Graph Café and Graph Table, you’re going for something a little outside of the box.

So many coffee adjacent creative things at Graph Table and Graph Cafe.


Really get to know who’s growing your coffee at Akha Ama.

When more than one friend asks you to bring back coffee from Akha Ama, you get yourself a piccolo latte and their signature orange-infused Manee Mana cold brew concoction. The coffee served here is literally single sourced, when families from the Akha tribe in a northern town in Thailand cut out the middle man and began to not only produce, but process the beans themselves, all in a sustainable and ecologically free way (read: reduced use of chemicals).  Inside the cafe, they’re equally proud of what they’re making.  Baristas are coffee nerds to the highest degree. 


All photos by Tiffany Tsang.  Please request permission for use.  Cait+Tiff are not liable for the shakes.


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T / happy monday / coffee please

Photo Credit: Kirstie Van Noort.

Photo Credit: Kirstie Van Noort.

As we all know, mornings are for coffee and contemplation (points if you get the reference!)  And on this Monday morning, I’m needing a lot of coffee.  So in the spirit of high quality, evocative, and sumptuous visuals in motion, here is a gorgeous little video from the folks from one of Cait’s faves (ie. it’s not in Canada or Cambodia): Stumptown Coffee Roasters.  Oh, and it’s to a beat.   Happy Monday!

How to Brew Coffee in a Hario V60 from Stumptown Coffee Roasters on Vimeo.


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T / happy monday / morning cup of kenyan jo

Photo Credit: Christian Watson

Photo Credit: Christian Watson

All is quiet in Phnom Penh. According to Cambodian lore, the gates of hell have opened up and centuries worth of ancestors are floating about.  This means a nearly empty city with everyone returning to their home villages to bring offerings to their temporarily liberated family members of yore.  My partner and I decided to stay in town, and I am luxuriating in this little pause.  But I gotta say, a part of my heart still lies in Kenya.  With each little cup that I brew from my Kenyan beans every morning, I’m taken back there.  So in celebration of this wonderful elixir, I wanted to share this gorgeous little video from Verve Coffee Roasters about where exactly those beans come from.  They are bursting from the soils that lie just beneath Mount Kenya.  And they are delicious.  I hope you get to take a pause in your day and enjoy a wonderful cup of coffee too!

Farmlevel: Kenya from Verve Coffee Roasters on Vimeo.


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C + T + John’s Fancy Booze, No. 3

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Bacon has no season. Pumpkin is all up in your business in October, ramps flood the menus in April, and it’s all corn and peaches in the summer. Seasonal things are amazing, but bacon stays with you through it all. It’s the last thing that you would logically think to eat when you are already sweating like a pig (zing!), and yet its still welcome in all forms. One of those forms is in whiskey.

We got together with our buddy John for another cocktail class this month, and he showed us how to put bacon in booze. (Isn’t this guy great?) This drink tastes like the best parts of breakfast, with flavors of pig, chocolate, pecan, orange, and coffee. It’s basically a balanced meal. Totally fine to trade in your green juice for this one, same thing.

Over to you, John!

Choo Choo, Chrou

Bacon-BourbonThis is sort of a McGuire original, although I borrowed heavily from Jaime Bourdreau’s Raising the Bar segment on fat washing. He provides a fantastic hack for infusing bourbon with fatty flavors, like bacon, which can be tricky because the fat can ruin the texture of the bourbon. You’ll also see I took his idea of pairing bacon with chocolate (okay, not his idea, but I credit him for applying it to cocktails, rightly or not) and ran with it.

The name: Chrou is Khmer for pig. My daughter is a big fan of trains right now and is frequently heard saying “choo choo”.  I guess I had it on the brain.Liquors

  • 1.5oz Bacon-infused Bourbon*
  • .75oz Amer Picon (a bittersweet apertif with a distinctive orange flavor; vaguely similar, though less bitter and with a thicker mouth feel than Campari)
  • 1/2 teaspoon creme de cacao
  • 1-2 dashes Alpher’s coffee-pecan bitters (courtesy of my A&T partner, David; Angostura’s is a fine replacement, but David’s bitters really help make this feel like breakfast in a bottle).

Mix the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until cold. Strain into an old fashioned glass (neat or on one large ice cube; this is a sipping cocktail, so I recommend going with ice) and garnish with a flamed orange twist.

Chrou-Grid


*Bacon-infused BourbonSober-Pig

  1. Cook some bacon. Eat said bacon. Save the fat.
  2. In a wide-mouthed jar, combine bacon fat and bourbon, and let sit for one hour (this is where the flavor is infused into the bourbon);  you can shake if you want, but its not necessary. For every 1 part of fat, add 10 parts bourbon. 1 ounce of fat and 10 oz of bourbon is a good starting point.
  3. After sitting for an hour, put the container in the freezer. Within 1-2 hours, you will see solid fat frozen on top and the liquid bourbon beneath.
  4. Remove container from freezer, break the fat with a spoon, and strain into a container using a fine mesh strainer with 5-7 layers of cheese cloth on top. If you notice fat molecules floating in the bourbon, strain again.
  5. Keep bourbon in an airtight, sealed container. Theoretically bacon fat should not spoil as long as it is kept in a sealed jar and away from direct light, but if there are even tiny bits of bacon meat in the infused bourbon then you do run a risk of spoilage. If you aren’t consuming this in one sitting, best to keep in a fridge and, if its been sitting for more than a few weeks, have a sniff and a small taste before serving.

Thanks again John for the glass of fatty yum! Check out more of John’s Fancy Booze creations here, and his blog for a whole stock more!


All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. And please use caution when imbibing spirits or you may wind up like the pig above.

 


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C + T/ jen green, coffee yoda

Last week, we were lucky enough to sit down with Jen Green, Phnom Penh’s resident coffee consultant. Over a few cappuccinos and a double espresso, we picked her brain on her very cool life and all things coffee. Hope you enjoy! 



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Like a lot of people in this part of the world, Jen Green has had an interesting journey to Phnom Penh. Unlike most people here, Jen’s journey involves a little black drink. She’s a coffee consultant and knows more about coffee, coffee trade, coffee flavors, coffee production, and coffee value chains than Cait knows about Tommy BoyInitially driven by law and an interest in energy trading, Jen started work with a big law firm right out of college, living in New York and then London. A few years down the line, she decided to take a brief sabbatical and travel for a few months.

How long have you been here?

Three and a half years.

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Left, Jen Green

 

After working with a local human rights group in Phnom Penh, Jen took a trip through Mondulkiri, in the northern edges of Cambodia. On the way, she stopped to talk with a coffee farmer and asked where his coffee was sold. He didn’t know.

 “It occurred to me that this was a common problem: people don’t have a sense of the whole supply chain or what’s marketable, of course that means that the value adds happen further down the supply chain and away from the farms.” 

This began her adventure into the coffee world. Her work has taken her all over, and to all the highest corners of South East Asia. She works as a coffee consultant, which (we now know) means she does everything from working with farmers on how they can improve the quality of the coffee at the farm, to working to develop coffee co-ops, to working with cafes and roasters on sourcing beans, to setting up a barista station work flow and training baristas. Her blog, Little Black Drink, is beautiful, full of coffee flavor profiles and a clear, deep appreciation for a delicious little bean.

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If you live in Phnom Penh, you are going to want to read this part. Jen is the mastermind behind the Disappearing Brew Bar . The Brew Bar is a pop up that, um, pops up, every few months. She collaborates with local business owners to use shop or restaurant space to host a brunch with a 3-5 different types of specialty coffees, and options from the SE Asia region. There are always delicious pastries and snacks, but if you hit the Brew Bar on the right day, there are sometimes coffee cocktails. The treats are made by Jen, fresh that day, and though she didn’t mention it in the interview, we know she wakes up at 2am on the day of the Brew Bar so she can make sure the bagel dough rises in the right way, and the chocolate-cayenne dipped bacon is perfectly crispy. (We forgot to mention that her mom is a chef, and we are thrilled those genes are strong.) The food is paired with the coffees and meant to bring out certain flavors in the drink. It’s a wonderful way to wake up on a lazy weekend, and you can find out more about them here!

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The next event is this Saturday, at Common Tiger, and you should go and ask her 345429 questions about coffee, because she will know all the answers. In all honesty, she really does know more about coffee than you could believe, but without an ounce of snob in her body. She is able to look at coffee that some might call “garbage meth drink” and simply see it as a different product. She has a deep appreciation for the flavors in different types of coffee, and for the people that grow it. She has more stories than we can fit into a post, but she did tell us one, about an adventure to Chaing Mai. On a trip to a coffee farm, she was able to roast the beans from 20 feet away and make a cup of coffee for the farmer that grew it, which he had never tasted. Go ask her for the details.

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Seriously. Go to the Brew Bar this weekend, if we were in country we would be there and would totally be hogging the donuts, so get in there while you can. Thank you Jen, for letting us pile on the questions, and for making something awesome and delicious in Phnom Penh.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.

All noises caused by the photos by Tiffany Tsang are made by Caitlin Decker.