So, it’s October and everyone’s talking about beer. But you won’t make it to happy hour without your cup (or in my case, CUPS) of morning (and afternoon) joe. For those who savor a tasty brew of the caffeinated variety, Path Coffee Roasters, a new small-batch roaster in Port Chester has exactly what you’ve been craving.
Path was launched in April by Jason Richter and Johnny Steverson – two twenty-something foodies with a passion for coffee. Jason Richter’s family has been roasting coffee for decades and he had worked in the family biz for several years. Johnny Steverson, began his professional culinary career in the specialty tea category and previously conceptualized the coffee and tea program at the famed Stone Barns at Blue Hill. These enterprising young men teamed up to start their own company that takes an artisan approach to roasting seasonal, single origin beans. The result of each batch (they only roast 30 pounds of beans at a time) is a micro-brew of epic proportions. Each batch is tested and re-tested to find the point of caramelization that draws out the unique flavors of the beans.
“With our sample roasts, we find the peak flavor for that particular bean,” explains Steverson. “You want to be able to taste the region that it comes from,” he says.
That attention to detail, along with their expertise, gives Path an edge in the marketplace – creating specialty coffees that makes those of us who have become accustomed to mass market blends want to rejoice.
In addition to creating a superior product, a large part of their focus is education – both on a consumer and professional level. While there are any number of classes dedicated to the art of wine tasting, there are a surprising few that teach the art of brewing and tasting coffee. Their signature, “How to Brew Awesome Coffee” classes are held monthly at their roasting and brewing facility in Port Chester.
I had the opportunity to attend their class last week and was amazed by what I learned about one of my favorite beverages! During the two-hour class, Richter and Steverson explained the process of sourcing beans from producers around the globe, and demonstrated the roasting process in a cast iron test roaster. They were eager to answer any questions while the aroma of roasting coffee beans perfumed the air. Students observed the caramelization process – watching the beans turn from pale green, to tawny, and finally, to a rich brown.
Those beans were set aside to cool while Richter explained the benefits of his favorite brewing method, the pour-over method, using a Chemex coffee maker.
The Chemex is an elegant, one piece vessel made of high quality, heat-resistant glass. Richter ground the cooled beans and placed a precise 42 grams of ground La Camesta coffee from Panama into the top of the vessel, then he poured filtered hot water over the grinds. This simple method, along with Path’s superior product, produced a smooth delicious cup. The La Camesta is sweet and rich with notes of almond and caramel – requiring no sugar or milk – even for those who typically like theirs “light and sweet”.
Next, Steverson showed off his expertise as a barista pulling cups of espresso crafted with their (aptly named) Feather In Cap blend. Creating a blend, Steverson said is, “All about balance. We put a lot of time and effort into perfecting it. It takes 50 or 60 shots before we’re happy with the flavor profile.”
At the end of the night, attendees receive a Chemex and bags of Path coffee so they can replicate the process at home…Steverson will even give you a lesson in latte art so you can impress your friends at your next party! Check their website for class dates and times.
Currently, Path coffees are available online and at select restaurants, but they’ll be at the Greenwich Wine + Food show on Saturday…stop by for a shot of amazing espresso or a cappuccino!