Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Boxcar Coffee: Roasting to Perfection

Boxcar Coffee: Roasting to Perfection

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If you are in the mile-high city and on the hunt for coffee, look no further than Boxcar Coffee. The grounds are steeped at 203 degrees to perfectly infuse the coffee into the hot water.

Originally from Boulder, Colorado, the roasters recently added in the Denver location. The inviting, clean, and open space is the type of environment I look for in coffee shops. Not to mention, the staff is always friendly, and very knowledgeable of their field.

Open seven days a week, the only excuse you have not to stop by is not being able to find the building. Located on Rigsby Court, there are no signs pointing to Boxcar Coffee.

Coffee beans are seeds matured in coffee cherry. They are then processed and dried to coffee beans. Before roasting, coffee beans are green in color and have a beany and grassy aroma. Actually, green coffee beans do not smell like coffee at all. When we roast coffee, we develop 800 to 1000 different aroma compounds. These compounds make the flavour of the coffee. With roast profiling, we can affect the existence of these aroma compounds in coffee and also determine the flavour of the coffee.


We get it. You’re skeptical. Try it now and sip for yourself.

Fast, delicious, and just the right amount of perk, Alpine Start Premium Instant Coffee is the perfect cup for the first up.

Made from 100% high-altitude Colombian Arabica beans for rich flavor.

Add hot or cold water and go!
It’s that easy.

120 mg of caffeine per serving.

Here’s to early risers!

We aren't trying to kill your pour over.

We love our pour over too. And our Aeropress. And our local coffee shop (shout-out to Boxcar Coffee Roasters). Like you, we like mornings that are slow and contemplative.

That said, we’re busy people with crazy schedules full of work, kids, workouts, family, and general craziness. Alpine Start is about those mornings that you barely have time to get out the door, when you’re trying to squeeze things in on your calendar and need a quick cup. LEARN MORE

Why Should You Brew Light & Dark Roasts Differently?

A good cup of coffee depends on having the correct extraction levels. When you introduce coffee beans to water, it extracts a number of their chemical compounds. The compounds responsible for fruity notes and acidity are extracted first. It then extracts sugars to produce sweet flavours, and then the compounds that create bitterness. Underextracted coffee can taste sour because the sugars haven’t yet extracted, and overextracted coffee can be bitter. This will impact your brew recipe.

Because light roasts are less porous than darker ones, their compounds extract more slowly. It’s why light roasts are often brewed slowly using a pour over – the beans have more time in the water than in a quick brewing method such as espresso. It also means that if you use the same brew recipe and coffee but two different roast profiles, you’d experience different flavours and mouthfeel.

Sam Koh is a barista and the founder of Kaffiend Brews, a coffee shop in Singapore. She tells me that “a light roasted coffee gives you more intricate notes, and these can be best accentuated through a slower brew such as a pour over. A darker roast may not shine through a slower brew due to its extraction rate, creating more acrid or bitter notes.”

Roasted beans in a cup.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 pounds chuck roast
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt to taste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cups brewed coffee
  • 2 cups canned mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the roast and sear on all sides until well browned set aside.

In the same saucepan, melt the remaining butter, add the salt and onions and saute for 5 minutes. Return the meat to the saucepan and pour in the coffee and the mushrooms.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 hours, turning meat over halfway through cooking time.

To make gravy: Remove a cup of the coffee mixture from the saucepan, combine with the cornstarch, stirring until smooth, and return to the simmering pan. Mix well, remove from heat and serve.

A working persons coffee shop

Calling Bellwether just another coffee shop is rather a misnomer. There is Ruckus clothing, a men’s barber shop in the back, and to top it off, whiskey. Bellwether of Denver CO is whiskey, fashion and a coffee shop, wrapped up in one perfect package.

Of course I will focus on the coffee aspect of Bellwether, which just opened up in Denver a little over a month ago, and they have already established a loyal fan base of coffee lovers. The espresso is served up very professionally, and done to perfection. If you are a fan of Boxcar coffee this is the place to get it done right, I had a cappuccino that was made just right, and I could taste the very distinctive trade taste of Boxcar, sweet cherry notes with caramel, and chocolate undertones, all in a small shot of espresso and steamed milk.

The lobby of Bellwether is roomy and done in very simple white, black and grey colors, that work well together, making it surprisingly cozy, creating a space a that invites lively conversation, and shopping. The staff there is very relaxed and easy going, but most importantly, they were very attentive to the customers that walked in the door, making everyone feel welcomed.

Over all I found Bellwether a very cool, and hip coffee shop to be in, I did not feel too old or out of place at Bellwether, but rather, I found a new place I could easily call my second home, as I see many people do. Bellwether is working to be a hub of community activity, and they are off to a very good start. When I am in Denver, you will most certainly find me there, doing what I love and do best, drinking coffee.

Friday, May 28, 2010

JW steaks out London

Steakhouses are iconic American concepts, rivaled only by the global appeal of that other American classic, the burger joint. We have over 40 steakhouses around the globe, but the one I am most excited about is the new JW Steakhouse, just opened at the historic Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel on Park Lane, London.

Filling the space of a former Bistro, the JW Steakhouse brings a true American steakhouse to London with a design that is comfortable and modern. The bar features small batch Bourbons, the most extensive list in London in fact. Though I generally stick with martinis, the Kentucky Bourbon Mint Julep is outstanding and already a winner in the cocktail loving city of London.  The bar itself is a great place to linger, with high communal tables to perch and take in all that this space has to offer.

The real stars here are the steaks and the searing accomplished by a grill firing away at 650 degrees C. Featuring US Beef, including

Want to develop your recipe further?


Temperature means the temperature of the brew water.

Temperature shouldn’t be first on your list but it is definitely something to consider if your espressos don’t seem to hit the sweet spot. Higher temperature makes extraction easier so then you will extract faster. Increasing temperature might be wise with lighter roasts if you feel like you are not able to extract enough in 30 seconds. It’s because espresso brews start to channel almost always in the end of the brew and if you haven’t extracted enough before the channelling happens it will lead to under-extraction. Increasing temperature will extract more in the start of the brew and this way increase overall extraction.

Pressure profiling

Brewing espresso requires pressure. Pressure profiling means that the pressure used to brew the espresso is different during different stages of the brew.

To pressure profile, you will need a specific espresso machine such as Synesso, Modbar or Slayer. Pressure increases extraction so for lighter roasts it might be wise to use lower pressure in the start of the brew so that you will extract less acidity. Lower pressure in the start will also decrease channelling which will lead to higher extraction.

Even extraction – avoid channelling

Even extraction means that the brew water runs through the coffee puck evenly and no segment of the puck gives more flavour than the others. Even extraction should always the aim for a barista.

You can read more about the steps to make perfect espresso from my previous blog. Using proper routines will help avoiding channelling and will always lead to a better tasting espresso. Try to be like a machine when making espresso!

Just Another Buzzword?

So, if there’s no concrete definition: is it just another one of the many buzzwords used day-in, day-out by specialty coffee professionals? Is it just marketing?

Tony draws parallels between “hand roasting” and the concept of “craft coffee”, a phrase often associated with smaller, independent roasters and cafés. “Certainly in the US specialty coffee sector, I don’t see either term meaning that much any more,” Tony says. “It’s what smaller businesses do to show that they’re special.”

He raises another important point: hand roasting implies that there’s a degree of human involvement in the practice, more so than usual. In this case, while the personal touch might be appealing to some, any additional level of manual control means consistency can be an issue.

“Consistency in coffee marks the skill of the roaster. You should be able to come in, buy a bag of coffee, come in again the week after and have a similar experience with that coffee.

“Whenever I see the terms ‘hand roasted’ or ‘small batch’, [I wonder if] this increases the amount of variables and ultimately decreases consistency.”

Joe adds: “I think that a lot of people in the specialty market believe that busywork adds something to craftsmanship. But that is not necessarily the case. Just because something requires more levers and literal hands-on work to control the process does not mean that it is ‘more craft’ or better quality.”

Coffee Rubbed Sirloin Tip Roast

First things first though. After having purchased a roast, you’ll need to mix up a batch of this coffee rub which we will use to crust the sirloin tip roast. If you have a well stocked pantry with essential spices, you’ll have everything you need to make this coffee rub recipe.

The Coffee Rub Recipe

A straight forward spice rub, this coffee rub blends a mix of spices with finely ground coffee to ensure a smooth caffeine infused flavor to your roast.

  • 6 tbsp finely ground coffee
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 1.5 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp finely ground black pepper

Mix all the spices together in a bowl, and reserve for later use.

Step-by-Step Coffee Crusted Sirloin Tip Roast

For this sirloin roast recipe you will need:

  • 1 x 4lb sirloin tip roast, tied with butchers twine
  • 1 spanish onion roughly julienned
  • a roasting tray
  • a digital oven proof thermometer (optional but recommended)


  1. Once you have the roast at home, give it a rinse to wash of any blood, then pat it dry.
  2. Lightly season the roast with sprinkling of salt, and if dry rubbing overnight, liberally coat the entire roast with the coffee rub mix. If not dry rubbing overnight, simply continue the recipe and skip this step.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400F and place the roast on a baking sheet. I like to rest it on a bed of roughly chopped onion, as the onion will help flavor the juice that collects in the pan. They will also prevent the bottom of the roast from burning on the sheet pan.
  4. Cook the roast in the pre heated oven, uncovered for 15 minutes, then drop the temperature to 325F and cook for 20 minutes per pound of roast. Make sure to calculate the initial 15 minutes into this calculation. So for a 4 lb roast the roast would be in the oven for 1 hour and twenty minutes total. This will result in a medium rare to medium done roast.
  5. Once the cooking time is up, remove the roast from the oven and let it rest covered with tinfoil for at lest 10 minutes.

By letting the roast rest before slicing, you allow the juices to settle inside the meat. This will prevent them from running out when you do slice the roast for serving. I recommend covering the roast with a piece of tinfoil or a large dish to keep it warm as it rests on the counter.

As the roast rests, pour off any juices that have collected in the roasting pan. You can use this juice to add flavor to a homemade pan gravy, or add a little stock to it and then thicken it with a thickening agent.

Once you are ready to slice the sirloin tip roast, simply remove the cover and slice the beef as you would normally. You’ll see the center is nice and pink, yet you don’t have a bunch of juice running everywhere as you cut! Serves it with your pan gravy, and your favorite sides!

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