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Our Thoughts, Ideas, & Inspiration

Top Three Reasons Why We Love the Aeropress

Nick Brehany
AeroPress
Nick Brehany

1. The Aeropress coffee brewer is  the most unique and exciting method of manually brewing coffee The Aeropress blends several methods of coffee-brewing together to create one simple unique experience. Like the French Press, the Aeropress utalizes the full immersion method of brewing. Basically, the coffee grounds are completely immersed in water for several minutes to extract flavor. This being said, the Aeropress not only acts like a full immersion brewer, but it also can reflect aspects of pourover brewing as well. When making a pourover gravity pulls water through the grounds to seperate the brewed coffee from the coffee grinds. Depending on the method used, the Aeropress can easily do this as well. The beauty of the Aeropress is its ability to replicate so many diverse brewing methods and techniques while remaining completely distinctive. Depending on how the pieces are configured, you can completely control how you want the coffee to taste. […]

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Spiced Cold Brew Old Fashioned Recipe

Nick Brehany
Utopian Coffee - Cold Brew Old Fashioned
Nick Brehany

Sit down at any bar in America and ask for an Old Fashioned. What you will most likely end up with is something along the lines of whisky, bitters, sugar, ice, and citrus garnish. While stylistically, this drink is very similar to the “first” Old Fashioneds being served in the early 18th  century, the history of this cocktail is anything but simple. The first time the Old Fashioned is mentioned can be found in a 1806 article which mentions a mysterious cocktail containg spirits, water, bitters, and sugar. Naturally, this cocktail began to take upon many different expressions, some choosing gin and rum instead of whisky. By the end of the century, the Old Fashioned was commonly the cocktail of choice for a curious experiment. Liquors such as Curaçao and Absinthe were added to even further change what the Old Fashioned could be. Though the peripheral aspects of the old Fashioned […]

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Choosing the Best Beans

Nick Brehany
Ashley Cupping 2
Nick Brehany

According to the International Coffee Organization, 71.93 million bags of Arabica coffee were exported from approximately 70 coffee producing countries around the world in 2016. This is a baffling number, but considering the average consumption per capita is nearly equivalent to 1 cup per person, the United States alone consumes around 325 million cups of coffee each day. As a roasting company, our main goal is to provide fantastic coffees to our customers. At each level, we are working to break down the barrier between delicious coffee and the consumer, but this is no simple task. In essence, part of what Utopian does is filter through innumerable coffees to find what’s best and bring it to you. This past week, the Utopian team cupped about 50 different coffees to hopefully find new offerings for our customers. We would like to share a bit of this process and hopefully give you […]

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Get to Know Us: Nick Brehany

Nick Brehany
Nick Brehany

Nick is an avid record collector, armchair philosopher, and coffee wizard currently roasting for Utopian. What was your first experience with coffee? I’ve had many “firsts experiences” with coffee. When I was a kid, my parents always had a pot of coffee brewing. This really made me think of coffee as a “life-sustaining” substance, specifically for the working person. You could say I was captured by the mystery behind this beverage. Unfortunately, this was before specialty coffee had really taken off, so my first experiences drinking coffee were quite terrible. Because of this I had no interest in drinking coffee. My first time really experiencing specialty coffee was at a cafe in my hometown of Warsaw. The cafe manager made me a pour-over and I immediately dumped a bunch of sugar in it because I thought this was the only way to drink coffee. He stopped me and said, “That’s […]

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5 Tips To Taste Coffee Like a Pro

Nick Brehany
Taste Coffee
Nick Brehany

One of the most challenging parts of enjoying coffee is understanding what you’re tasting! Trying to put into words the flavors we all taste in coffee can be a huge feat. As a professional, part of my job is to come up with “tasting notes” that reflect the coffee, and sometimes even I am at a loss for words for what I’m tasting. This can be even more difficult for a person who wants to learn how to taste coffee at home! Luckily, the skills necessary for developing a palate for coffee is available to anyone. Here I’ve listed five completely practical steps that will help you learn how to taste coffee like a professional! Eat diverse foods! Tasting coffee is all about building up memory reserves where you can recall flavors you’ve tasted before. Imagine if all you ever ate was french fries. You would only be able to […]

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Get to Know Us: Gabby Myrice

Nick Brehany
Nick Brehany

Gabby is an employee of Utopian Coffee, a recent graduate of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, and an avid comic book connoisseur.  What was your first awesome experience with coffee? When I was in England I went to the London Coffee Festival with a friend who was much more acquainted with coffee than I was. There was a lot more technology than I ever thought there could be! A group from a local college was testing sensory perception using different frequencies! What coffee do you recommend from Utopian right now? The Ethiopian! Every time I open a bucket or a bag of it, it smells like strawberries, which is just awesome! There’s more flavors going on in one bag of the Ethiopian than almost any coffee you can buy anywhere. It’s definitely a coffee that makes you think while your drinking it. What kind of stuff do you do […]

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Winter Blend 2017

Nick Brehany
Nick Brehany

The winter season, unlike any other, profoundly influences the coffee experience. As the seasons change and we awake to a frost blanket coating the earth, we naturally begin to gravitate inward toward warmer, cozier spaces. Let’s be honest, nothing sounds better than a comfortable couch situated near the fireplace on a cold winter day. Homeostasis is the body’s response to change. In a physiological sense, homeostasis is the body trying to keep things running as they should amidst internal and external fluctuation. When changes occur, our body responds and attempts to return to a state of stability. This could easily explain why on a cold day we seek the warmth of the indoors, or why a huge home-cooked meal never sounds as good as it does when the first snow of the season falls, but I’d like to think homeostasis is a lot more than a mere physical response. Unlike […]

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Pourover – Making the Best Cup of Coffee at Home

Nick Brehany
Nick Brehany

To many of us, coffee signifies the beginning of our day. We carefully integrate coffee into our morning, afternoon, and evening routines. We cherish the moments when we can take a step back from our busy schedules and take a moment to sip our life-generating brews. For some, coffee is an absolute necessity to any productive day. With something so integral to our daily routine, one would think the coffee brewing experience would be just as important as the end result. More often than not, the brewing process of coffee is completely overlooked, and as a result our coffee tastes less than ideal. Luckily, there is a way to brew delectable cafe-quality coffee at home. Using the pourover brew method will give you coffee that tastes outstanding. To Start… Imagine the classic coffee brewer: you wake up, flip a button, and coffee is brewed and ready in a few minutes. Unfortunately, […]

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Utopian Coffee Fall Blend

Nick Brehany
Nick Brehany

As the weather begins to cool and the leaves begin to turn bright shades of orange and red, we all start to think about the fantastic autumn season. To some, this season signals time for the various holidays, as well as an excuse for eating too much candy and turkey. To others, this season is all about comfy sweaters, overindulging in Netflix, and everything pumpkin spice flavored. Here at Utopian Coffee, we’ve been planning to release something special to all our customers. We roasted and tasted multiple coffees, and created a delicious blend that fits what this time of year is all about. Our Autumn Blend is a delightful mixture of two coffees we’re quite fond of. The first is a naturally processed El Salvadorian coffee that brings mouthwatering fruits and deep cocoa notes to the mix. The other is a Mexican Chiapas Regional Select, which bursts with notes of […]

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The “Right” Roast

Nick Brehany
Nick Brehany

Coffee is one of the most complex and intriguing drinks anywhere in the world. During coffee roasting, a series of chemical reactions that occur within the coffee bean facilitates the development of distinct flavors, aromas, and color. When brewing coffee, these flavors within the bean are extracted, and we end up with a fresh cup of our favorite morning brew. Coffee, quite like wine, is greatly affected by the terroir, which is the crop’s context. This includes climate, soil, and other environmental factors that impact the coffee’s flavor profile. Because of this, the flavor profile of a coffee from Sulawesi, an island in Indonesia, differs greatly from Colombian coffee grown in Latin America.

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Pour Over

Landon Porter
Landon Porter

Brewing coffee at home can often be a challenge for people; a challenge that leaves them wondering why they can’t get it to be as good as the coffee shop. A lot of that is due to the tools (equipment) the specialty coffee shops are using and we’re going to talk about a way that you can make a great cup of coffee with a pretty simple method. Grinding fresh and using an accurate amount of specialty coffee and water makes a huge difference! However, there is a final step you may choose to take if you wish to greatly elevate your personal coffee experience. This final step is the manual brew method, such as the French press or pour over. The reason most people switch to the manual methods is that you have more control over water temperature and water flow; a few of the manageable variables that make […]

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Top 10 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds

Allie Vanhyfte
Allie Vanhyfte

The average American consumes over 3 cups of coffee a day. That’s a lot of used coffee grounds going down the drain! Here are a few uses for those leftover grinds: Steep grinds in hot water to dye fabrics or paper for an “antique” look. Use grinds on a damp rag to remove grease and grime from tools or dishware. If you have a scratch on a dark wood piece of furniture, take a cotton ball and soak it in steeped coffee grounds to cover up the mark. To create blue hydrangeas, work coffee grounds into the soil. The coffee will increase the acidity level and help the shrub to absorb aluminum, which will give you blue hydrangeas! Place leftover, dried grinds in the fridge to remove unpleasant odors. This can last up to two weeks! Leftover coffee will also attract cockroaches. Create a trap for them by putting a […]

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My Time at the Rwanda Hingakawa Co-Op, Part 2

Brendon Maxwell
fair trade, fresh roasted coffee 3
Brendon Maxwell

I recently wrote about my time at the Hingakawa co-op, a female-owned and operated coffee initiative that has brought opportunity and restoration to a community devastated by violence and war in the 1990’s. Part of what makes the chance to work with these women so special is that they are innovators, they are survivors, and they are hard workers. When we get to know our partner farmers, we care for them. When I say we care for them, that doesn’t mean that we only care about the quality of the production of their specialty coffee, but we truly care of their goals and their mission. When we heard about their goal to build and create a center for sewing, we were excited to see and learn more.  Not only would this provide a source for extra income between coffee harvests, but it would allow for younger women to learn a new trade, a […]

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My Time at the Rwanda Hingakawa Co-Op

Brendon Maxwell
Rwanda - Direct Trade relationship
Brendon Maxwell

As I sat in the restaurant surrounded by green and yellow painted concrete walls, I was hit by this wave of feeling. It was a combination of excitement and optimism. I had the pleasure of eating with Corette Nakabonye, the 61-yr-old female president of the Hingakawa coffee cooperative. Her coffee story and that of Hingakawa is not a simple one, but it is certainly a powerful one. There is a lot of history that sets the stage for this unfolding play, and this blog post cannot do it justice, so I will simply talk about why Hingakawa was formed and how it is transforming lives. The Hingakawa co-op, set in the hills about an hour outside of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, is a beautiful place. And the physical beauty is just a small piece of what makes this so incredible. The real story is the redemption that has resulted […]

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Summertime Coffee: Tips for Making Cold Brew Coffee

Aly Curtis
Aly Curtis

At Utopian, we are always striving to generate new ways for our customers to connect with coffee, and this year we decided to create an awesome new blend to highlight one of our favorite coffee drinks: Cold Brew. Cold brew is a method for brewing coffee that produces a smooth and refreshing cup of coffee totally ready to drink on a balmy, summer day! Similar to making a French Press, cold brew utilizes a full-immersion method, which means the coffee grounds will be completely saturated in water. The difference is you will not need hot water, but you will need nearly an entire day to allow the coffee to allow the brewing to take place! Our blend is created using an heirloom Ethiopian which brings forth notes of subtle fruits and chocolate, while hearty Colombian beans bring a smooth mouthfeel and hints of lime. The result is a full-bodied and […]

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The Best In-Home Coffee Grinders

Aly Curtis
beans, grinder
Aly Curtis

There’s nothing like a cup of freshly ground coffee in the morning. If you’re one of those people that orders fresh roasted coffee beans and grinds them in your home, odds are you’ve experienced the struggle to find the perfect coffee grinder. Not only does your grinder need to give your gourmet coffee beans a quality grind, but it should be easy to use. And since you’ll be operating it before your morning caffeine fix? A grinder that isn’t crazy loud would be nice too. We’ve done our research to bring you the best in-home coffee grinders on the market. 1. Baratza Encore We don’t believe in saving the best for last, so we’ll start with our favorite, the Baratza Encore. Not only is it the least expensive in Baratza’s line of grinders, but it has a gram-at-a-pulse feature that makes it easy for the less experienced coffee makers to make a […]

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Water Quality Matters in Your Cup of Gourmet Coffee

Aly Curtis
Aly Curtis

It sounds obvious when you say it out loud, but most people don’t know that the quality of the water used for brewing affects their coffee’s taste. According to The Telegraph, researchers have concluded that, “The perfect cup of fresh roasted coffee should be made with water high in magnesium and low in bicarbonate.” When they examined the water’s effects closely, high magnesium ion levels improved the process of extracting the gourmet coffee flavor from the bean while high bicarbonate levels slowed the process down. That same study showed that water with high sodium levels, like water treated with water softeners or most bottled water, also prevented the more complex flavors from the coffee bean from being extracted. Chemist Christopher Hendon, who is currently writing a book on brewing the perfect cup of fresh roasted coffee, says that while there is no “perfect composition” for the water, “magnesium-rich water is better […]

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Decaf

Landon Porter
Landon Porter

Decaf. Usually this word is associated with poor tasting coffee. But despite its reputation I have good news for the coffee lovers who are unable to have caffeine or the coffee addicts (like me) who desire a fresh brew at 1 a.m. We here at UTOPIAN roast up some tasty decaf! Whenever I brew some of our decaf for friends or family who cannot have caffeine they immediately ask me after the first sip, “Are you sure this is decaf? Because it doesn’t taste like decaf!” As they enjoy their delicious coffee I briefly explain to them what I’d like to share with you. Here at UTOPIAN COFFEE CO. we buy decaf coffee that has been decaffeinated using a natural water process. By using a water-based solution, it is ensured that no chemicals come in contact with the coffee and this help maintain the coffee’s natural taste. Once we receive […]

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Iced Coffee

Landon Porter
Landon Porter

With the hot months of Summer coming up, I thought it would be helpful to share some thoughts on how to make some great iced coffee. I’ll offer two different recipes: A quick and easy recipe and then a more technical one for my fellow coffee nerds. The easiest way to make some great iced coffee is to simply double the amount of coffee grounds you are using for the given amount of water. The extra coffee gounds will ensure you brew a strong coffee concentrate that won’t be diluted when it melts with the with ice. Once you have your grounds and water ready to go, add some ice to your coffee pot’s carafe. I fill the ice to the same line on the carafe that I used to measure water. So if I did 8 cups of water I would fill ice to the 8 cup line. Make […]

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New Coffee: Colombia Pitalito

Landon Porter
Landon Porter

We are excited to release our Direct Trade Colombia Pitalito! This offering is from the Huila region of Colombia, which happens to be my favorite region due to the amazing coffee that comes out of there. The name Pitalito refers to the town right next to where this coffee is grown. The Pitalito is an exceptional coffee with notes of caramel, molasses, and red fruit. It has a medium body and a muted brightness…very smooth. There is a pleasant dryness to the finish, and the overall experience reminds us of enjoying a fruit preserve. This offering had a higher price at origin, so it will just be $2 more than our regular coffees. However, for our coffee subscription members, we will be including this coffee at no extra cost!

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