Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

KPBS Midday Edition

Craft-Coffee Culture Brewing In San Diego

Craft-Coffee Culture Brewing In San Diego
GUESTS: Kinsee Morlan, engagement editor and author of the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego Amy Krone, roaster, Modern Times Stephen Freese, general manager, Coffee & Tea Collective

This is midday edition. Starting the day without coffee is unthinkable for many Americans. That does not mean a coffee we drink and carry around with us taste that good. That is something the San Diego craft copy seem once to change. They are trained Jean -- trading or coffee that is served and sprue with fresh locally roasted beans. It is big and San Francisco, Portland, and New York. Is gaining traction here. Joined me is can see Moreland. Sheehan engagement editor. She wrote it all article on San Diego's Craft Coffee seen . Thank you for having me. Amy is a roaster for modern times -- times in North Park. While come. Thank you. Stephen is a manager for the coffee tea and collective? That's what I thought. That is in North Park. Welcome. Your article talks about San Diego's copy seen having a moment. What do you mean? It started with an email from a reader who was looking around and was waiting for that moment to arrive. He realized, we're like New York or part -- Portland. I am so excited. Someone should write about this. It seems like the that -- I was walking through East Village yesterday. I was passing places I've never seen. There popping up everywhere. It is growing. It is exciting. You mentioned New York. I mentioned San Francisco. How big is Craft Coffee compared with the other cities? Back after talking to the experts, I rounded up six people and had them come into a room. We did a discussion. I thought it was big year. Apparently, we are still in our infancy here. We are not close to where Portland is. We are getting there. Next comes more consumers who are interested, I think. That is the next step. Let's wrap our heads around what we are talking about. What is the difference between the coffee you make and the coffee I made this morning in my Mr. Coffee coffee maker. The specialty market, it represents a small amount of coffee that is produced in the world. In US, I think 40% of the copy this drunk is specialty coffee. That requires a lot of attention and detail on where the copy comes from, how it is processed and growing. That is what we do on the backend. A lot of attention to detail and intentionality and the production. I think that is for more thoughtful consumption too. We are getting people excited about this. The coffee you made is no coffee I can buy anywhere except in your store commas that right? Back there is the commodity coffee, which may be the copy that we had an agreement room. That would be your soldiers in the big-budget blends and brands. There just is not emphasis on quality. If you were to taste a copy and evaluate it, and score, it would be a low scoring coffee with a lot of flavors that are not super tasty, or sweet. You are a roaster. Ellis about the science behind roasting coffee beans. Roasting coffee is similar to -- there is the same chemical reaction that happens, it is the same as. Production. We of Browning of a product. We are coffee turns from green to brown, the same thing happens in the brewing process. We have caramelization at the end of the roast. We are bringing out the sugars in the coffee. The roasting of the being has a lot to do with the end product? Absolutely. It has everything to do with the. Whatever flavors can you get out the being? It depends. Of being from Ethiopia, will be very like. It depends on the origin. It depends on the processing, it's what we were talking about earlier. You could dive into the deep end on a product. I'm not sure where to start. Basically, the quickest synopsis, copy being starts as a coffee cherry. Is a tiny half inch round red thing. It has a fruit on the outside. In order to get to the being, you have to take the fruit of. You do that, it will affect the flavors. You can drive to copy and you will get a pretty flavor. You can take that off with the being and drive it by so, that will give you a cleaner that the kind of thing. There is a lot to it. It sounds like a. Why do some people call this the craft coffee, it is the third wave of coffee? These experts noted more than I do. The first way is the stuff my dad drinks, Folgers. The second wave is Starbucks where it is, you are getting -- they roast there's really dark. They almost burned their beans. There is not that much labor. They get one consistent labor than the varieties of labors. The third wave, some people do not like the term, I don't know. It makes it seem a little less approachable that it is. There wondering if they are taking it into a craft or science and bringing out the different labors and playing with where they get their beans or how they roast them and how they make their coffee. Recently read about an $11 cup of coffee in San Diego. Is craft copy expense of? Back it is more expensive than folders. It's because you're buying a higher quality product. You also, a lot of times what to be able to pay the coffee farmer a good amount of money. You want to be fair about the price. Yes. It is more expensive. The $11 cup of coffee is expensive. It is a rare being -- bean. Once you taste it, once you make the switch and you stop lying Folgers -- stop buying folders, it opens your eyes to the different flavors. Why are we buying this cruddy coffee? Let's try different things. We got addicted to a bag from [ Name indiscernable ]. It taste like blueberries her mouth. The difference of labor is astounding. I gather that, sourcing your beans specifically is part of Craft Coffee making. Yes. You have to find the winds who are truly excellent comment that is a big part of what we do. We work with importers to travel to the copy countries. They send us samples of different copies. We are getting a lot of Columbia's from the North and the South. We have about 20 Columbia copies at the shop. Will roast them on a small scale. We will taste them blind. We pick out the copies that have defects and then we find the ones that are truly outstanding. You would be amazed at how many bad copies there are. We definitely taste all of the bad coffee. There is an importer on the first floor of my office building. I stepped in there and women are coffee room. They have this room. They do alike winetasting. You take a sip and spit it out. It is just like wine. I was impressed with the scrutiny that the copy gets. It is a big process. You are evaluating the copy, the aroma, the acidity and the flavor in the flavor as a cold. Semi coming in, some people come in and he might be expecting to offer a -- order a Grahn day latte. How do you serve the coffee after you have found the beans and the flavor technique that is working well. How do you serve the coffee? We put emphasis on brewing by the cup. You're able to get a fresh ground fresh brewed cup of coffee. The process of repairing the cup is easy. It is more, it is the time that we put in it. We have reverse osmosis water. We have taken the time I use a friend common or to find the dissolved solids in the coffee so we can have control over that and product and create consistency. You will see we have these laid out to the exact gram amounts. We have the servers on scales. We are timing the brew of everything. I am seeing $11. It is respecting the process. She was talking about growing coffee, it takes three years break copy to produce mature fruit. If you think about the whole thing, the extra few minutes is not a lot of time. The way that you taste coffee, if you will make a decision like you have to about whether or not it is a good copy or event copy and you want to before, is there also something that consumers should do differently when a taste Craft Coffee as opposed to chugging down your normal cup of Joe? No. I do not think so. Maybe they could skip the milk and sugar. Sure. Think about the flavors of the coffee. I will try and associate labor. I will think is his blueberry? It is the same thing with craft beer. Sometimes it is fascinating to see people who are diehard beer geeks who know nothing about coffee, sit down and drink a cup of coffee and think about it. Before you know it, you have us as coffee geeks. I've seen it so many times. Want to ask you the same question. You have been on this journey. Europe come from the green room coffee to being something of a coffee connoisseur. What is the process like? You have to get a good grinder. You need in okay grinder. They can be thousands of dollars. You do not have to do poor averse. I am not doing a poor over with two young kids. You can make it okay cup of coffee with your drip maker. I still put milk in my coffee. I like the flavor. I like to mellow it out. I like the lube area and Ethiopian. I started buying other bags them what I was always buying. I have tried to our course and modern times. I've been going -- I making a concerted effort to go out and dried beans or other parts of the world and from other cafés. You can do it at home. Just try to be adventurous -- adventurous. Talk to the people there. You want to put milk in your coffee. It is about how you enjoy it. If you like milk with your blueberries, that is just fine. Will have to explain poor over. It is what it sounds like. You were pouring water over coffee. Generally, you are talking about Bruin it by hand. We have a cattle and your pouring coffee over a cone shaped vessel or some type of flat bottomed vessel or Brewer. How long does it have to -- About three or five minutes. There are different ways to do it. You are usually using specific kettles that has a finer tip. You can control how the water actually hits the coffee grounds. We use scales and timers. We start a timer when we start brewing. We do pulse brewing. We try to keep the water level low so we can extract everything that we can whatever copy we are brewing. The time that you are engaging in brewing is a few minutes. It should prove through in no more than five minutes. Another part of the article article -- another part of the article, some of the hurdles that roasters are running up against, tell us about that. The biggest one would be the afterburner, which is a jet engine that burns off smoke and organic matter that comes off of coffee roasting. They are expensive. It is a different government entity, the air quality control you had to deal with. It can be slow. There is a lot of misinformation about air quality control about what an afterburner is and how it is used. There could be some improvements on that in. As far as getting your health permits, that is standard. You also made a point that while there is a big promotion, there is a civic promotion of craft beer, Craft Coffee has not has -- have that pushed. There is tax incentives. It's on a civic level, there is handling too. If you are opening up a brewery, do you know how many we have? Viewer oh bringing a brewery, there is a lot of help out there. That does not exist for craft coffee yet. Maybe this talk will open some eyes and someone will be willing to embrace it. As you said, it is in its infancy in San Diego. Right. Maybe the tourism board, instead of an awkward seaward promotion, maybe there could be a giant being and we promote that side of San Diego. I think there is potential. What do you say to someone who is hearing you and saying okay. This sounds like a hipster tran. I am not hip. I am intimidated about the idea of coming into a store and I don't know what to ask for. I do not know. Are you going to help us with newbies come in and we want to begin on this? Absolutely. That is half the battle, right? We are breaking down the conceptions that Craft Coffee is only for the young people. It is not. It is about enjoying something you are drinking and thinking about it critically. I will help you. [ laughter ] Stephen, will you help us. We are nicer then you think we are. We will extend a helping hand, brochure. That is a struggle, getting people to get in the door -- There is a concerted effort now. That was true, a couple of years ago where it was insider he and imitating. There were -- the reputation comes from somewhere. It is rooted in some history. I honestly think now is the time. San Diego is coming up at a time where there is more focus on consumers. We are in a good spot. It sounds very intriguing. Thank you for coming.'s back thank you for having us. Let's go drink some coffee.

A growing number of San Diegans are trading their Folgers and Starbucks for a cup of coffee that's brewed with fresh, locally roasted beans and is exquisitely served.

The craft-coffee scene is big in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and New York. And it's gaining traction in San Diego.


Kinsee Morlan, the author of Voice of San Diego's Culture Report, recently held a roundtable discussion with five of San Diego's "coffee geeks." They said the craft-coffee scene is in its infancy in San Diego.

"We're still not anywhere close to where, maybe Portland is, but we're getting there. Next comes more consumers who are interested in it," Morlan said on KPBS Midday Edition Monday.

Amy Krone, a roaster at Modern Times brewery in San Diego, was one of the "coffee geeks" that took part in the roundtable discussion. She said craft coffee could be considered coffee's third wave.

First-wave coffee is the stuff you get in a can — Folgers, for example.

Second-wave coffee is a better quality coffee created from dark roasted beans, like Starbucks or Peet's.


"Third wave are these people here, who are really taking it in to a craft and in to a science. And really bringing out all these different flavors and playing with where they get their beans, how they roast their beans and then how they make their coffee," Morlan said.

Krone said the same kind of chemical reactions happen in coffee roasting and beer production — the Maillard reaction, which is the non-enzymatic browning of a product, and caramelization. In the case of coffee, it turns from green to brown during the Maillard reaction and caramelization brings out the sugars of the coffee at the end of a roast, Krone said.

She said the flavors you get out of a bean depends on the origin of the bean — a bean from Ethiopia is berry-like and fruity, while a bean from Sumatra is more earthy.

Krone advised people that want to experience the craft-coffee scene to think about the flavors of the coffee you are tasting and associate the flavors with other tastes.

"It's about enjoying something that you're drinking and thinking about it critically," Krone said.