Stringbean Coffee Company
Location: St. Louis, MO
Roast Date: 12/2/2017
Purchase Date: 12/2/2017
Brew Date: 12/4/2017
Coffee Roaster: Stringbean Coffee
Drink: Decaf SWP Costa Rica
Brewing Method: Hario v60 pour over
Live Fast. Play Loud. Drink Decaf?
Many years of coffee drinking has taken me to a plethora of coffee roasters and shops around the United States. I’ve been to outstanding coffee shops located steps from the beach in Florida. I’ve had surprisingly good cups of coffee in small towns in the Upper Midwest. I’ve explored coffee shops in big, bustling cities. Coffee was a staple of my days in Duluth, but it was also a treat while exploring the Hawaiian Islands.
Yet, despite those years of coffee tourism, I’ve never been to a rock ‘n roll coffee shop.
Sure, I’ve been to coffee shops that have great soundtracks. Places that make you sit and extra minute just so you can catch what is coming on the speakers next.
And I’ve been to some coffee shops that exhibit what can best be described as a rock attitude.
But I’ve never been somewhere that used the history of 20th century popular music as a centerpiece of their décor. That is, until I met Peter Cohen and went to his roastery, Stringbean Coffee Company.
Stringbean Coffee is a St. Louis roaster that sells their coffee roasts in numerous grocery stores, at farmer’s markets, and in CSAs throughout the region. Unlike many coffee roasters and coffee shops that we’ve sampled, Stringbean doesn’t have a traditional café where you can sit and sample their drinks at your leisure.
However, on the first Saturday of the month, Stringbean Coffee does open its doors to the public while their roaster, Peter Cohen, hosts a public event featuring one of their coffees.
Walking into Stringbean’s facility is a unique sensory experience. On the one hand, much of the space feels like how I perceive a typical industrial roasting facility, with a large roaster surrounded by bags of unroasted and recently roasted coffee. On the other hand, much of the rest of the space is filled with musical instruments and other music paraphernalia, including an eclectic collection of framed record covers and even a Sun Records door!
We had the opportunity to visit Stringbean Coffee’s roasting facility in December 2017 when we were invited to be part of one of their regularly scheduled Saturday open houses. The theme for this month was decaffeinated coffee, with particular focus on different types of decaf and the beauty of the Swiss Water Process in producing the best decaffeinated coffees.
One of the features of the open house was a chance to taste a special roast, a Swiss Water Decaf Costa Rica. This coffee was specially roasted the morning of the open house for attendees, so naturally we jumped at the chance to take some of it home!
Once we returned home from our quick excursion to STL, we knew that we wanted to brew this coffee as soon as possible so we could relish its freshness. 2 days after we got it (which was also 2 days after it was roasted), we opened this new and novel offering from Stringbean Coffee.
Boy, getting this special roast and brewing it so quickly after its roasting reinforced one of my key tenets of specialty coffee – fresh roasts taste better! After opening the bag of coffee, our kitchen was immediately filled with the rich, luxurious fragrant smell of outstanding coffee. On what was otherwise a dreary winter morning, the fresh bag of coffee quickly woke the senses.
Would it taste as good as it smells?
After getting our v60 system ready and heating up our water, we were ready to brew up a couple of cups to see if my tenet held – that this fresh roast was going to provide a sublime coffee experience.
After what seemed like an eternity, our coffee was ready. On our first drink we were treated to a smooth, light, sweet brew that reflected exactly what we wanted in a good morning coffee. We didn’t find the coffee to be overly strong and lacked a strong acidic aftertaste. And while the flavor could be described as delightfully complex, you don’t taste the smokiness or burn that some other roasters include in their coffee.
In fact, it was such a good cup of decaffeinated coffee that I suggested to Laura that this was the perfect brew for anyone who otherwise thinks that decaf coffee can only taste like paper.
But, given the mantra of Stringbean Coffee, is their decaf edgy, a rock influence coffee?
I don’t know. Can decaf embody a rock spirit? Probably not, since very little of rock n roll has been built on moderation. But, what I do know is that this is still a darn good cup of coffee that you should check out, if you get the chance.
He said: Does drinking decaf fit in a rock n roll lifestyle? Who knows? While I’m well past my rock n roll prime, I now have the privilege of knowing what I like to drink and the comfort of knowing that I don’t care what anyone else thinks of that choice. And after drinking this Decaf SWP Costa Rican from Stringbean Coffee, I know this is a coffee that I like. It’s very drinkable but has a smooth, light flavor that underlies its complexity. If you get a chance, visit Peter as his roasting facility and hope he has some of this special brew!