Quills Hosts Famed Guest Barista Cabell Tice

The following post was written by Michael Butterworth (Thanks to Joanna Miller for photos.)

One of the best parts about going to coffee competitions across the country is meeting the other baristas. When I first met Cabell Tice, he was a fellow first time competitor at CoffeeFest NYC. The unknown barista competing out of Boston shocked a lot of people when he took home first place- a feat he's since repeated twice. But Cabell is not just good at drawing pictures with milk. Cabell is a gifted photographer and has managed an extremely high-volume cafe called The Thinking Cup. 

Cabell has now packed up and taken his talents from Boston to the Pacific Northwest and we were lucky enough that he took a several hundred mile detour to work a guest shift at Quills Cardinal Towne. When I say that Cabell is an ace barista, I don't just mean the symmetry and contrast of his latte art.  His attention to detail, efficient work flow, and ability to connect personally with customers are the true marks of a skilled barista. Many people who came in during his shift had no idea that Cabell was a guest barista because he seamlessly adapted to our context and service style. Hopefully it's not the last time we see Cabell behind the bar in Derby City. 

Best of luck in Oregon Cabell! 


Sopacdi, Congo: Quality Coffee for Quality of Life

The Sopacdi cooperative is one of the most forward-thinking groups with which our importer has worked. This group of 5600 farmers found specialty coffee to be a way forward out of conflict and civil war. Through the production of some of the highest quality coffee in their region, the group has been able to fund numerous projects for their community- from land renovation to women’s programs- and see the overall well being of their community rise. The quality of their coffee is the primary reason for their success, as the first since 1967 to achieve the top national grade. This particular lot is no exception, and represents one of the most exciting African coffees we have seen since we began roasting 3 years ago.


 

This is Bill

  This is Bill. Bill rides his bike from downtown Louisville to our New Albany store for a cup of coffee or a coke weekly. He is a cycling crusader and won't rest until we are all on board to ride with him. Last Friday, Bill took off with a friend to take a tour out west- on their bikes alone, bare necessities. He'll be gone for a couple of months and we want the details of the stars, the winds, the rains, the trials and joys... Bill didn't pack a journal and so we bought him one of our Quills Field Note packs-small enough to easily carry along- so he can record. Can't wait to read the stories!! Wonder where Bill and his friend are right now......

 

This is Bill. Bill rides his bike from downtown Louisville to our New Albany store for a cup of coffee or a coke weekly. He is a cycling crusader and won't rest until we are all on board to ride with him. Last Friday, Bill took off with a friend to take a tour out west- on their bikes alone, bare necessities. He'll be gone for a couple of months and we want the details of the stars, the winds, the rains, the trials and joys... Bill didn't pack a journal and so we bought him one of our Quills Field Note packs-small enough to easily carry along- so he can record. Can't wait to read the stories!! Wonder where Bill and his friend are right now......

Quills Coffee Sodas: Letting our Inner Kid Loose

As Quills takes very seriously their mission to create and share experiences with this community we love, we've been pretty darn hyped as we've worked to invent some exclusive mixed beverages -always including our carefully crafted coffees. We get an extra buzz when these experiences are tied to something classic or nostalgic. So naturally we allowed that inclination to influence the creation of our three Quills Coffee Sodas. Our aim has been to devise a new and unique way to experience coffee by pulling from widely familiar old-time beverages. In this post we will walk you through each of the three Quills Coffee Sodas: the inspiration behind each recipe and what to expect when you take your first sips… or gulps.   

The Original 

The Original finds its inspiration in what is perhaps the quintessential soda: an old-fashioned cola. We're not talking about the commercial cola that you'll find bottled on your grocery store shelves. We're talking about the kind of head-to-toe-tingling intoxicant kids saved their hard-earned pennies for weeks for - served by the soda jerk on a hot day in the1940s. Please understand we're not attempting to recreate cola, rather re-imagine it. Coffee Cola. We looked to cola as inspiration from which we pulled flavors like sorghum, molasses and vanilla. Then we combined it with coffee and added a touch of lemon to brighten up the aroma and give it a little zing. This drink is a great place to start if you're curious about what all this Coffee Soda stuff is about. 

The Shrub

If you're feeling a little adventurous check out The Shrub. This one finds its roots fittingly in shrub soda. Shrub sodas were very popular in colonial America and in their simplest forms are vinegars infused with fruits or herbs. This creates a sweet-n-sour syrup that is then used to flavor soda water resulting in a drink that is both bright and refreshing. In sipping on The Shrub you will find a sweetness like molasses, a complex spicy clove finish, a brightness toeing the line with sour, and a beautiful orange aroma & relish. The Shrub is very bright and effervescent.

Derby Cream Soda

If The Shrub is at one end of the palate's spectrum, the Derby Cream Soda is on the clear opposite. While the former is sharp and bubbly, the Derby Cream Soda is deep and rich. We like to describe it as rich and creamy like a root beer float with indulgent flavors inspired by Derby Pie. Who can say no to that?

Michael Butterworth - Why La Palma?

As many of you are aware, we are sending our Michael Butterworth back into the trenches. After placing fifth in the Southeast region of the Barista Competition, Michael qualified for the U.S. National Coffee Championship in Seattle April 24 - 27. Michael has chosen to compete with the Colombian La Palma and below he tells us exactly why...

Quills is committed to roasting only the highest quality coffees at all times. But sometimes we come across a coffee that’s so remarkably delicious, even we’re surprised. La Palma from Tolima, Colombia is one of those coffees.

La Palma comes to us from producer Leonor Gonzales through Cafe Import’s Aces Program. The coffees in this program scored an impossibly high 90+ points on cupping table, which means professional quality graders were especially impressed with this coffee’s flavor, body, and sweetness. The farmers in this program are rewarded with higher premiums for their produce- on average more than double the rate Fair Trade and other organizations pay.

At only 5 hectares, La Palma is tiny. By comparison, Brazil’s famed coffee farm Daterra is 3,200 hectares. But at 5,500 feet above sea level, La Palma has the perfect environmental conditions for growing exceptional coffee. Coffees from Tolima are known for their vibrant acidity and La Palma is no exception. Sweet flavors of tangerine and plum gave way to tangy rhubarb. My favorite part of this coffee, however, is the mouthfeel. Brewed with a V60 or pulled as an espresso, this coffee has a velvety tactile session that makes for some very pleasant sipping. A cane syrup sweetness lingers on the palate and leaves this barista wanting another sip.

Next week I’m excited and honored to use La Palma to represent Quills at the United States Barista Championship in Seattle. It’s a nerve-wracking endeavor to compete against 35 of the best baristas in the nation, but I’m positive that La Palma is on par with any other coffee that will be served. Now it’s just up to me as a barista to serve it in a manner that pays proper homage to Leonor Gonzales, Cafe Imports, my coworkers at Quills, and the city of Louisville!


Colombian Triple Crown

They say that the best things come in small packages. And we say what could be better than multiple small packages grouped together into one big awesome package?!!

In this land where coffee flows like wild horses (sound familiar)? It's flowing proudly now as we gear up for the Kentucky Derby - the first and the favorite of the annual Triple Crown of horse racing.

In celebration we are now offering our own grand Triple Crown. And ours consists of some of the finest tasting coffees the world has to offer - roasted with the utmost care, attention, love and goodwill by yours truly.

The Colombian Triple Crown
La Palma   Pradera   Nariño

Each bag will contain 4 oz. of each roast - packaged together - all three for $21

La Palma

We've been raving about this one for the short time we've had it - specifically that it's a part of Cafe Import's Aces Program which rewards farmers for extra exceptional coffees. This one scored super high on the cupping table (more on that very soon when Michael Butterworth tells us why it's the coffee he'll be competing with in the US Barista Competition in Seattle). It's thick and juicy with plum, tangerine and strawberry rhubarb. We've served up a lot of it lately through the V60 and Chemex - with ecstatic reviews. 

La Pradera

This coffee is one of the 20 finalists from a regional competition in Huila -which you can read about HERE  It's a full-bodied coffee that exemplifies a mellow, luxurious Colombian profile. Soft and creamy with white grape, chocolate and caramel. 

And our newest addition...

Excelso Nariño

This coffee comes to us from an exciting new program for our importer called “Regional Selects”. Highlighting four distinct growing regions- or departments- within Colombia, this program blends coffees from each area to showcase the unique flavor profiles inherent to each.

More from our importer, Cafe Imports, on this program: “We think that the terroir…sun, weather and placement on the planet contribute largely to the flavor of these coffees when picked ripe and handled properly. These coffees are selected by cup and then blended together like a Rhone wine or a local honey that comes (from) many fields in a four mile radius.”

This regional select -from the Nariño department- shows its regional characteristics well. Nariño generally tends to produce coffees that are floral and perfumed, with bright and intense citric acidity. This coffee in particular is tangy, bright and juicy with a velvety body and chocolate-orange overtones. It’s been a dynamic contributor to our Inkwell house blend for a few months now, and we’re excited to bring it to the forefront as a single origin offering in conjunction with the other stellar Colombian coffees in our lineup right now. 

Quills Coffee and Louisville's Stoneware

Quills Coffee is elated to once again be partnering with a proudly local maker of top-class, quality goods. And this time it's one that's earned the respect and prestige of nearly 200 years of fine crafting. 

Louisville's well-known Stoneware Art Factory is one of the oldest stoneware manufacturers in the United States! It was established in 1815 and only grows in its commitment to and expertise in the transformation of clay into functional art for the home, kitchen and garden. 

Located at 731 Brent Street, the factory celebrated its largest renovation in over 20 years this past Thursday unveiling new collections and products.

So what does Quills have to do with this besides being huge fans? 

Well all you lucky folks embarking on tours of the new operations will be served cups of yours truly as you peruse. Our coffee will also be available for retail sale there and we are working to develop a line of Stoneware's specialty cups for Quills cafes to sell.

It's all very exciting. and we had a blast at the opening so we thought we'd share a few pictures from the day... 

Quills Welcomes Josh McGee

 

Quills would like to introduce you to our latest superstar: Wholesale Accounts Representative Josh McGee 

                                              Super hip, close-up photo; Beard: 12% 

                                              Super hip, close-up photo; Beard: 12% 

It's super exciting to be growing so much, so far, so wide, we have need of cool titles like this. It's also super exciting to invite yet more passionate and fun people on board our ship coffee.

So we'll just let the boy introduce himself to ya and you just try, (we dare you) just try not to like him. 

Josh McGee from Knoxville, TN. I am a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a huge Vols fan. My motto in life is TCB (Take Care of Business). I have been in the restaurant industry for over 13 years and I have a passion for food and drink. I joined Quills because I believe in the culture, the coffee, and the brand. I want everyone to know the importance of buying local and support local businesses. I grew up as a Punk Rock/Hardcore kid so the DIY (Do It Yourself) lifestyle has been in my blood. Local business embodies DIY and that is a great thing. People need to know all over the country and world that Quills has kick-ass coffee. We take pride in the process, show our craftsmanship, and embrace the fruit or our labors. My job is to take those ideals and make it known to Louisville, the nation, and the world.
    Still pretty unavoidably hip candid photo geeking out with the roasters;      Beard 83% (depending on who you ask)

    Still pretty unavoidably hip candid photo geeking out with the roasters; 
    Beard 83% (depending on who you ask)