From EatDrinkJax.com: Urban Bean Coffeehouse Cafe, Talking coffee with owner Pam Hegel.
Cheese and Cracker Plate
8. Do you offer gluten free items?
Yes, we offer gluten free bread and are working on offering some pre-packaged items in the near future.
9. Will you host events at the Urban Bean?
Yes, we're presently hosting a nine week workshop for a group on Thursday evenings entitled "Why Work?”. We've hosted a book signing, and invited our first musicians (two great jazz guitarists) in last week. We've have many people contact us for various events and we are so excited to be a gathering place to bring people together for a wide variety of special happenings in our area.
10. Will you have a drive thru?
Yes, we have a drive-thru which we are working on opening very soon. We expect a lot of morning traffic with our location and we are working hard to prepare for that. It is a bit of a challenge because people expect 'quick'. We will definitely do our utmost to serve people very efficiently, but we are not 'fast food' and we have no 'super automatic espresso machines'. Maintaining our integrity of hand-crafted food and beverages is something we won't waver on, so we are working hard at the moment to make sure we have an efficient system in place before we open. We hope people will appreciate the convenience of the drive-thru and at the same time not expect the same speed as other fast food places.
LaMarzocco GB5 Espresso machine
11. Who's the audience for the Urban Bean?
One of the basic tenants for creating a business is that you can not be ALL things to ALL people but in our typical go-against-the-flow natures we truly believe that we have such a great venue and varied offerings on the menu, that everyone will be able to enjoy The Urban Bean.
Crabby Apple Sandwich, with ham
12. Can you tell us more about your coffee? Will you roast your own beans?
We very briefly considered roasting our own beans. It sounds cool to do that and it’s definitely less expensive. However, as we began looking into it, we soon learned what an incredible skill it is to do it correctly and consistently. It takes years to develop the skill and experience to gain the quality that we wanted. It was much more important to us to be able to serve our customers the very best coffee available. We spent 8 months searching for the best coffee - the coffee that would 'wow' us. We visited roasters throughout Florida and Georgia before discovering Counter Culture Coffee in Atlanta. Let me just say that tears flowed during my first sip as I knew we had found what we were looking for! Counter Culture has been on the forefront of the specialty coffee movement and has been a pioneer in establishing direct trade standards for sustainability, fairness, quality, and transparency in the coffee chain. Each batch is roasted to our order, bagged and shipped the same day. Our customers are receiving the very freshest and highest quality coffee available in every cup.
13. How do you select your beans?
We have taste tested each bean to determine our favorites for each style of brew. Counter Culture has a motto of 'any bean any brew' and all their coffees are really delicious, but we definitely have our favorites. We have chosen two very different offerings for daily brewed coffee but we always have some very interesting and delicious single origin seasonal coffees available for our various hand brewing methods such as pour overs and French press. We are very excited about the bean we use for our espresso. It has notes of caramel, nuttiness, and dark chocolate and makes some of the best espresso we have every tasted and it pairs beautifully with steamed milk as well. We have amazing decaffeinated beans which is very exciting to us because both my husband and I have to avoid caffeine past about 3:00 in the afternoon. Finding a good tasting decaffeinated coffee is a huge challenge. Unfortunately, decaffeinated coffees have been relegated to secondary status by most coffee roasters, who use low-quality coffees and cheap chemical processes to create their decafs. Counter Culture instead buys the highest quality coffees and uses the much more expensive and natural Swiss water process to meet their demand for quality. The Swiss water process is certified organic, kosher, and 100% chemical-free and you will not be able to tell it’s decaffeinated. In fact, one of Counter Culture's baristas won the national barista championships using a decaf bean, of course without telling anyone at first!
14. You have some pretty amazing technology in-house. Can you tell us about it?
We are super excited about our espresso machines. Our main machine is a three group Victoria Arduino Adonis. It is both super elegant and ergonomic. The push/pull steam levers and the cool wand increase barista safety. It has a high efficiency extraction system with PID thermal stability. It is also one of the only machines on the market that has an auto wash feature which simplifies the cleaning and sanitation process. The Adonis is also equipped with LED barista lights, which is very helpful, and the LED lighting across the back just looks really cool. To our knowledge, there is only one other Adonis in the Southeastern U.S. It’s an absolutely stunningly beautiful machine. The other machine we have, which will service our drive-thru, is the very iconic LaMarzocco GB5. It is also a three group machine. We were pretty stoked to find this particular machine as it is the 77th one made. Although it is an older machine it was only used for one year and we love the vintage look it provides. The GB5 is a dual boiler system with saturated groups and also has PID thermal stability. It is simply one of the best and most reliable workhorse machines around!
Espresso pour from the very exotic Victoria Arduino Adonis
We do pour overs in a Kalita Wave brewer as well as the more traditional Bonmac. Each brings out a little different nuance in the coffee and we’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with these. We have press pots for one or two so that somebody can share a French press at their table. Our press pots are made of double wall insulated stainless steel, which will keep the coffee hot for a very long time, especially compared to glass presses which cool down way too quickly. Our press pots also have a very unique double microfilter system so that you still get that deep earthy textured body that French press lovers love but without the over-extracted bitterness and grit of the typical French press filter.
We have two styles of cold brewing. We have a Yama brewer which is just an exquisite piece of art along with making amazing cold brewed coffee. It is a drip system which is made from ice melting and passing through the ground coffee one drip at a time. It takes about 12 hours to brew one gallon of concentrated coffee. We also have a Filtron Pro System which is an immersion cold brewing system, meaning that the coffee grounds sit in the cold water for 12 hours. Both methods are far superior to brewing hot coffee and then icing it as cold brewing produces a very nicely balanced flavor, increases sweetness and eliminates the acids and bitterness.
Cold Brewed Coffee using the Yama brewer
The other really cool new ‘techie’ item we are using is our Nuova Simonelli Mythos Clima Pro 1 espresso grinder. It is brand new to the market and is the only grinder with temperature regulation of the beans. One of the biggest problems in grinding beans is the creation of heat. After grinders run for an extended period of time, they tend to heat up, which in turn, will heat the bean. This can dramatically taint the flavor profile of the espresso shot. With the Clima Pro 1, there is a fan which cools the grinding burrs and beans as the temperature rises.
Finally, one other tech thing I’d like to mention is how robust our free WiFi is. We have a separate WiFi account for our customers instead of sharing our in-house WiFi system. This will give our customers a much greater WiFi experience!