November 16, 2016
Teas We Love: Bai Hao Yin Zhen
Recently we shared one of our favorite black teas with you, our Ruby 18, and the response from our tea friends (and coffee friends, frankly) has been really terrific. So we’re continuing with profiles of several remarkable teas on our current menu, including this feature on Bai Hao Yin Zhen, a lovely white tea that’s steeped in China’s tea history.
But first, a little primer on white tea. What is it, exactly? Think of white tea like that leaf collection you made in your seventh grade science class. When you placed your leaf inside a large book, the moisture slowly left the leaf until the leaf became relatively chemically stable. Once you achieved this withered state, you were able to preserve and examine the leaf collection. That’s a dangerously simplistic way to describe white tea, but I think it helps frame the process.
In tea making, once a tea leaf is plucked it begins to wither, and the chemical components inside the leaf break down and come into contact with oxygen – a process we call oxidation. Over the past few hundred years, tea producers have become quite adept at controlling this withering and oxidation process. In white tea production, leaves are allowed to wither for several days before drying, a long process that develops the tea’s flavor and builds an intense fragrance with leaves that are just slightly oxidized.
Our Bai Hao Yin Zhen is produced by tea masters in China’s Fuding county in the Fujian Province, which is the origin of white tea making. Bai Hao Yin Zhen, also known as White Hair Silver Needle, is a prized white tea that is easily identified by its coat of tiny white “hairs,” which are technically trichomes. The strict plucking standard for this tea is only one bud. As opposed to mature leaves, the buds are jam-packed with glucose, giving Bai Hao Yin Zhen a notably sweet quality.
In this March 2016 harvest of Bai Hao Yin Zhen, look for notes of honeydew, freshly sliced cucumber and a silky body with mellow, honey-like sweetness. This tea comes to us from our friends at Jojo Tea.
The following photos were taken by Michael Tucker. More of his work can be found at mchltckr.com.
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November 14, 2016
We’re Hosting a Latte Art Competition November 17
We’re inviting everyone to come out this Thursday night for a special latte art competition at Mammoth Espresso. The competition, known as Thursday Night Throwdown, will pit some of the best baristas in New Orleans head-to-head to test their latte art skills.
It’s a competition, sure, but it’s also celebration of the entire coffee community, so come hang, BYOB and have some fun with us this Thursday, November 17. Signups will begin at 7:30 pm for those competing and the actions starts at 8:30 pm.
Check out this photo recap of our last latte art competition right here: http://mammothespresso.com/mammoth-espresso-latte-art-throwdown/.
We’ll also have the amazing Hot Plate Boyz popping up in our kitchen, so come hungry. A few bucks will get you some of the best grub around, including:
- Candied ham biscuits with candied jalapenos, grilled pineapple and basil
- Pimento mac and cheese with pulled pork and cracklins
- Cornbread dressing with slow roasted turkey and pickled onions
Thursday Night Throwdown is a production of the New Orleans Barista Social Club, of which we’re proud to be a founding supporter. You can learn more about BSC and their events at http://baristasocialclub.com.
Also, a big thanks to our very own Maria Degtiarenko for designing this kick ass galaxy flier.
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November 8, 2016
Teas We Love: Ruby 18
At Mammoth Espresso, we’re big proponents that the same attention to detail and integrity of our coffee program should translate seamlessly to our tea program. We work diligently to bring you the best teas from renown growers the world over, and strive to create a remarkable experience for you in our shop. We love exploring the world of tea and want to share our enthusiasm with you.
One of our favorite teas right now is Ruby 18, a world-class Taiwanese black tea that’s unlike any black tea we’ve ever had. Ruby 18 boasts a complex, cinnamon-like aroma and has a strong depth of flavor with subtle fruit tones and plenty of sweetness. It finishes with a long, cooling mint quality.
Though it’s known as Ruby 18 through much of the west, this tea also goes by Hong Yu, or “Red Jade.” It was pioneered by the Taiwan Tea Research and Extension Station (or, TRES) and can also be found as TRES 18. It was created by crossing a native Taiwan variety with a Burmese strain of Assam tea. Ruby 18 is now grown by some of the most esteemed tea farmers in Taiwan, notably in the Sun Moon Lake region of Nantou County.
Ruby 18 is one of the most interesting and wonderful teas we’ve found, and truly a unique experience for tea lovers.
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October 31, 2016
Introducing Juan Angel
Juan Angel is the latest addition to the Mammoth Espresso coffee lineup, and we’re excited to share this beautiful coffee with you. Named for coffee producer Juan Angel Izaguirre, this coffee comes from the Santa Barbara region of Honduras on Juan Angel’s farm, El Cedral.
Our roasting partner, Madcap Coffee Co., has purchased coffee from this farm since 2014, the first time Juan Angel sold directly to a buyer. Since then, Juan Angel has invested in quality and production improvements and grown his capacity. The relationship with Madcap has also grown, and they are now the sold buyer of Juan Angel’s coffee.
On our cupping table, Juan Angel performed exceedingly well. The aroma is reminiscent of freshly baked chocolate cake and chocolate covered cherries. This coffee is clean with a slight cocoa sweetness and a lingering hint of cola. It’s excellent as a hot or iced coffee, and we’ll soon pull it as espresso. And while supplies last we’ve got 12 ounce retail bags for your home brewing needs.
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October 24, 2016
Staying Out Past Our Bedtime for a Good Cause
Who says early birds can’t also be night owls? Last Thursday the staff of Mammoth Espresso ventured out into the evening for A Dark and Stormy Night, a ghoulish party with fantastic costumes, cocktails, food and music. It was all part of the annual fundraising event for Big Class, and we were honored to be part of the food and beverage partners who donated time and services for a worthy cause.
Big Class is a New Orleans-based nonprofit that provides innovative writing programs free-of-charge for under-resourced students. The program allows students, ages 6 through 18, to explore their creativity, improve their writing skills, grow their confidence and discover their voice. In 2015-2016 alone, Big Class served more than 1,200 young people and produced 34 publications featuring their writing. You can read more about their current programs at http://bigclass.org/current-programs/.
While many of New Orleans’ hottest cocktail bars and restaurants were serving haunting drinks and delectable foods, Mammoth Espresso fueled the party with a complimentary cold brew station. It was awesome to be part of such a fun event, and provide support for the work Big Class is doing in our community. Big Class aims to open a youth writing center in New Orleans’ 7th Ward in spring 2017. Donor contributions and ticket sales during this event are key fundraising opportunities for this major project.
Learn more about Big Class and its programs online at http://bigclass.org, where you can also find ways to contribute or purchase incredible books from young New Orleans authors. Our favorite is Do You Like Groceries and Crunchy Things?, a delightful collection of food reviews from first-grade foodies.
All photos taken by Maria Degtiarenko, barista and photographer
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October 3, 2016
Introducing El Pilar
The history of El Pilar is traced back to the 1800s, well before coffee production had become an important part of Guatemala’s economy in the 1850s. El Pilar is located in the high mountains of San Juan Sacatepequez with elevations between 1,500-2,000 meters above sea level. The farm has changed ownership over the years, but current owner Juan Chen has preserved the original varieties grown on El Pilar, typica and bourbon. Many of the coffee trees on this farm have been growing for more than 70 years, and some of the taller trees require a ladder for coffee to be harvested.
We like the warm, sweet tea-like qualities of El Pilar, and the subtle floral and citrus notes. As always, this coffee comes to us from our partners at Madcap Coffee Co.
Tasting notes: Floral, sweet tea, citrus and spice
Producer: Juan Chen
Region: San Juan Sacatepequez
Altitude: 1,500-2000 meters
Processing: Washed and patio dried
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September 26, 2016
Hunkute just might be our favorite Ethiopian coffee of the year, and we’ve had some great ones. With a bright lemonade quality and floral and tangerine notes, Hunkute is a delightful hot or iced coffee. As espresso, Hunkute is like a mouthwatering, juicy-sweet taffy candy (think Starburst fruit chews), and when incorporated with steamed milk is reminiscent of freshly baked glazed lemon cookies.
This coffee, roasted by our partners at Madcap Coffee Co., comes from an organic cooperative in Wonsho, Sidama, in Ethiopia. The Hunkute Cooperative is comprised of roughly 2,000 small farmers who grow their coffee nearby. Hunkute falls under the umbrella of the much larger Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative, which provides support to more than 70,000 farmers at 47 cooperatives throughout Sidama. While this is a limited release coffee, we plan on keeping it in our lineup as long as we can.
Tasting notes: Lemonade, floral, bright, tangerine
Producer: Hunkute Cooperative
Region: Wonsho, Sidama
Altitude: 1950 meters
Processing: Washed and dried on raised beds
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September 12, 2016
Current Mammoth Coffee Lineup
Here at Mammoth Espresso, we take a lot of pride in serving you the freshest possible coffee. You won’t find a giant urn of anything. In fact, no coffee is made until you’ve ordered it, allowing us to serve you a cup of coffee at the peak of its flavor.
And while by-the-cup brewing promotes freshness, it also gives us incredible flexibility in the variety of coffees we can prepare for you. Walk in right now and you’ll find five carefully curated coffees that can be brewed to order. What’s more, those five coffees can also be iced coffee, each brewed on demand in about three minutes.
If you’ve visited us on a few occasions, you may have noticed our coffee lineup changes with some regularity. This is, in part, to keep our offering interesting and to expose coffee seekers to wonderful coffees from all around the world. But it’s also due to seasonality. Since coffee is an agricultural product, it’s harvested at different times throughout the year. Our lineup reflects those changes in seasonality so you’re always enjoying it in its prime.
So with that in mind, here is our current lineup of coffees, all expertly roasted by our partners Madcap Coffee Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to our pour over bar, we give all coffees a rotation as our featured guest espresso. We encourage exploration in coffee, and we love questions.
Chocolate, creamy and berries
Variety: Bourbon, Caturra and Cataui
Citrus, melon and fruit punch
Variety: SL 28
Tropical and citrus, sparkling acidity, jasmine
Region: Thika Distric
Variety: SL 28 and SL 34
Elefante (El Salvador) **Limited Release**
Peach, tea, berries, floral and lime
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September 12, 2016
Karinga is a beautiful Kenyan coffee with big aroma, subtle tropical flavors, citrus and notes of jasmine. It boasts a sparkling acidity and a clean, lingering aftertaste, and performs equally well as hot or iced coffee.
In Kenya, many farmers are what is known as “smallholders,” meaning they produce a relatively small amount of coffee (sometimes as little as a few bags) and deliver their coffee cherries to a cooperative. The cooperative, often referred to as the “factory,” is charged with processing, sorting, marketing and selling the coffee produced by hundreds of nearby smallholders.
In this instance, the Karinga Factory, located in the Thika district just north of Nairobi, represents nearly 1,000 members. Coffee grown in the area is almost exclusively SL-28 and SL-34 varieties, with a small amount of Ruiri 11. In addition to processing and selling the coffee, the Karinga Factory provides training and assistance to farmers via its field committee, which includes an agronomist who makes regular farm visits to ensure a high standard of quality. When members deliver their coffee cherries to the factory they are paid a base price, and at the end of the season after the coffee has been sold, 90% of the profits are evenly returned.
The Karinga Factory and all of its member farms are situated at 1900 meters above sea level, where coffee is grown in rich, red soil ideal for the varieties being produced. The air here is cooler in the evenings and the sun is plentiful during the day, perfect conditions for fermentation, washing, soaking and drying the coffee.
Karinga was roasted by our partners at Madcap Coffee Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We hope you enjoy this coffee as much as we do.
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September 7, 2016
Acalli Chocolate: Bean-to-Bar in New Orleans
The coffee business shares many similarities with that of chocolate. In each, the subject at hand is the seed of a tropical fruit that is carefully harvested, fermented, dried and roasted. They’re even grown in similar regions, and, in some cases, by the exact same people.
At Mammoth Espresso, we’re fortunate to work with the folks at Acalli Chocolate, a New Orleans chocolate maker producing world-class, bean-to-bar chocolate. This bean-to-bar process means owner Carol Morse and her small team work with farmers at origin to build relationships and directly source cacao. She then uses a roaster to separate the inner beans from their husks, and grinds it in a stone wheel grinder for days before tempering the chocolate to perfection. This all happens in Carol’s workshop in Gretna, before the chocolate is hand delivered to her retail partners throughout New Orleans.
We’ve carried Acalli Chocolate bars since opening in March of this year. New Orleans residents and visitors alike have responded positively to the quality of Acalli’s bars, and also their unique story delivering bean-to-bar chocolate right here in New Orleans. We’re now excited to offer a new bar from Acalli that is available immediately in our shop: the Barataria Blend, which is available with or without cacao nibs and sea salt.
The Barataria is a blend of El Platanal and Norandino Tumbes cacao from Peru. It is a dark, 81% chocolate blend with a deep, fudgy profile with subtle red berry notes. With cacao nibs and sea salt, the Barataria has a pleasing crunch and added complexity. The Barataria is made from organic cacao, Louisiana cane sugar and sea salt.
These new bars are available in a smaller size than what we’ve offered previously in the shop, and also at a lower price point, so you can enjoy a quick chocolate snack along with your coffee or tea. We absolutely love them and we know you will too.