1/10/2013 - Coffee Coffee has had a busy year. The independent-roaster coffee shop and bakery, which opened in February 2012 in Salem, has become a popular spot for open mikes, Scrabble tourneys and coffee tastings.
“Coffee is the common denominator. It brings people together, in out of the cold,” said Barry Goldman, who owns the shop with his wife, Lynn.
Each Friday, beginning at 7 p.m., Coffee Coffee holds formal coffee tastings. The Goldmans roast on site and share small samples of different varietals to compare and discuss. Because their coffee is so unique, Goldman said, it’s not just a tasting but a master class on coffee.
“We have such a unique process for roasting and brewing, it’s exciting for newcomers and keeps regulars coming back to try more,” he said.
Scrabble nights, on Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m., draw a lot of families to Coffee Coffee to play each other and meet new friends. Wednesdays are the open mike nights, beginning at 6 p.m. They have been steadily drawing a group of regulars, Goldman said, especially since winter began. Last Wednesday, a group with a drum set, keyboards, guitar accordion and trumpet banded together.
“It’s great to see people get less and less afraid to try out their music here. We get some older, more experienced musicians who will even tutor the younger ones,” he said.
Out of their bakery, the shop also offers cupcake decorating classes. The next one, on Jan. 22, is “Winter Wonderland” themed. Participants will get two gourmet cupcakes to decorate and supplies to do so. Coffee Coffee’s baker-decorator coaches the art projects. The classes are $35 and begin at 7 p.m., running to about 9:30 p.m.
“It’s a great way to be involved in the community, and we love having people in the store. It’s important to treat them individually, and, if they want to learn, show them new methods of making and tasting coffee,” Goldman said.
Sitting behind the counter of Coffee Coffee is a souped-up version of a standard, factory-model roaster. Goldman said the process of very slow roasting wasn’t possible with the original model, so he made some improvements.
“We converted the orifices, put on a new chimney and the pipes went from three inches to 12 inches. We also made a window for more visibility into the roaster,” he said. “The reason people don’t do things like this is it voids the warranty, plus it’s expensive to do. [But] I wanted more quality control for the roasts.”
Flavorings in the clean, organic grounds benefit from caramelizing the starches. Goldman said those starches aren’t being developed during larger roasting operations built for efficiency. Coffee Coffee can do two roasts every hour — the slower, the less burnt the flavor. He makes very dark coffee too, but it isn’t bitter.
“You can drink it on its own, no matter how dark. Same thing with the hot cocoa,” he said.
Goldman also brews using an AeroPress, which, quite the opposite of the upgraded traditional roaster, has a 30-second brewing process. Grounds are put in a plastic cylinder filtered at one end, then boiling water is poured on top. The lot steeps and is finally manually forced through the filter into the cup below with a syringe.
Behind the counter, for a real rush, the more grandiose Bunn Trifecta machine uses similar air-infusion technology. The forced-air method in both machines creates a stronger concentration of coffee.
The store website showcases the different varietals they have in stock that can be sampled and purchased at the store, though Goldman is also planning to launch an online store in the near future.