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Monday, August 10, 2015

Five must have NYC Cold Brews! First stop: Champion Coffee


My interest in coffee began when I moved to New York 4 years ago.  I began trying any coffee shop I came upon (because they are everywhere!) and began to form opinions and thoughts on each cup.   After 4 years in this city, I definitely have some favorites and would love to share them with you over the next month.  I will be visiting 5 Coffee shops that I (and the Foods of NY staff) enjoy.  These shops are in the areas we tour so you will know just  where to go and what to order when you visit!  I will be focusing on the #1 seller for summer (Cold Brew) along with some other brew methods for the next few weeks and will be sending out some great information on each shops brew.

A little bit about me and my passion for Coffee:

So, after I figured out all of my favorite places to drink coffee, my interest continued to grow.  This is when I decided to become a Barista at Toby’s Estate in Brooklyn, NY.  I first found Toby’s when I moved to Brooklyn and realized that they offer a $10 Cupping class to learn about coffee.  A Cupping is where you will experience just what kind of complexity goes into a great cup of coffee.  While tasting the coffee, you will learn that there are many different aspects that make up a good cup of coffee such as fragrance, aroma, break, brightness and flavor.

After taking this class, I was hooked.  I had to continue my coffee education.   And so the learning began.  I began working at Toby’s with weekly classes teaching me how to create the perfect grind, the perfect pour and the perfect weight depending on what sort of machine you were using to brew coffee.  I was learning about each single origin blend we sold and roasted (in house) including how to pour a V60 – Pour over which was used with all single origin beans. ** “Single Origin” is a single blend of beans from a specific country. (Examples – Ethiopian, Guatemalan, Columbian and Rwandan).  I enjoyed tasting each Country's cup of coffee and discovering what I liked about each.  From the tasting notes, which brings flavor, to the fragrance, each coffee portrayed a certain something special.  From this I grew to understand and differentiate what I liked and wanted in my own cup of coffee.

After working on the pour of a V60 pour over for some time, I began to study the art of Latte art and was instantly intrigued.  Soon enough, I was in training to learn how to steam and pour a beautiful cup of coffee.  There are many beautiful combinations you can create in latte art such as a heart, rosetta, swan and wave tulip.  Appreciating latte-art is one thing, but actually pouring the beautifully steamed milk into a fancy creation is beyond exciting.  I also had training in Espresso brewing and learned the complexity that goes into creating a perfect espresso shot.  Espresso drinks include – an espresso shot, machiatto, cortado, flat white, cappuccino, mocha, Café au lait and latte to just name a few.   All of which can include single or double shots, iced or hot and of course the milk of your choice.  Just remember when it comes down to it, creating the perfect cup of coffee with whatever machine you use, timing, weight and grind are the most important aspects to focus on.

Follow me for the next month as I explore six completely different Coffee shops!  I will explore what makes each shop unique, the beans they use, shop history, prices, favorites and much more!

Lets get started with my first stop at Champion Coffee!

Champion Coffee

My first stop is at Champion Coffee in Gansevoort Market in the Meatpacking District.  I chose Champion Coffee, because during our Chelsea Market Meatpacking Tour, we taste in the Gansevoort Market and explore the Meatpacking district. Champion is a great place to quickly pop into for a coffee on the go or to take a seat and grab something to eat within the market.  I was interested in learning more about the Company, so I decided to meet with owner, Talitha.



Talitha grew up in Seattle, Washington, the worlds coffee Capital.  Seattle is full of coffee enthusiasts and well known for their coffee culture.  So, it was there in Seattle where Talitha’s passion for coffee took bloom.  From a young age Talitha began working in a café.  After high school she moved to New York where she progressively began to gain more coffee knowledge, which led her to opening her own shop.  Not only did her knowledge of coffee bring her to opening her own shop, but the fact that where she was living at the time– Long island City, Queens, did not have a decent cup of coffee.   Talitha had to change this, and so she did.

Talitha opened her first coffee shop in Long Island City 12 years ago.  The shop was called Ten63.   After a short period of time, the building was being shut down and destroyed.  Talitha had to think of relocating.  From a new start in rising above and surviving the shut down of Ten63, Talitha named her new coffee shop and brand – “Champion.”  Champion Coffee opened in Greenpoint, Brooklyn 9 years ago.  The second location is now in Gansevoort Market in the Meatpacking District and she says they are thinking of adding a third location somewhere else in Brooklyn.



Talitha has always loved a full body/medium roast coffee.  She started out with creating what she thought was the perfect Americano.   In creating this Americano and the assortment of drinks offered, Champion Coffee partners with El Dorado Coffee Roasters to get the beautiful but quite simple roast Talitha prefers for her espresso, drip and decaf coffee.   El Dorado Coffee roasters are located in in Masbeth, NY, which is just a short trip away.  Champion also uses Battenkill Valley Creamery milk for their coffee.  Battenkill doesn't keep as long as your mainstream milk, but has a certain natural sweetness and thickness to it that pairs perfectly with your cup of coffee without loosing the coffee flavor.  You can taste the freshness of their milk with each sip you take.  The high quality of Battenkill milk complements Champions brew in a wonderful, yet tasteful way.



This past year, 2015, Talitha introduced Champions first Cold Brew.  The Cold brew blend used is a mix of Ethiopian beans and Sumatra, which brings out a chocolaty, slightly berry taste leaving you happy and refreshed.  Talitha’s cold brew process takes 48 hours to sit for extra extraction of the bean and a full body/equally concentrated cup of coffee.  I very much prefer a green / clean cup of coffee, which the Ethiopian beans brings out.  The bright yet fruity taste the cold brew portrays is just the right amount of sweet with a slightly mellow undertone.



When touring Gansevoort Market on our Chelsea Market Meatpacking Tour, we pass by Champion Coffee.  Even though we do not stop and taste here, you know now that there is a good reason to go back to Gansevoort Market; for the food of course, but also Champion Coffee.

Also, looking for something completely different than your normal cup of coffee or cold brew?  A hidden secret that's not on the menu?  Try Champions iced Coconut water/Americano for a rich, flavor filled cup of coffee.  The Coconut water/Americano costs $5 and is well worth the price.  If you are in the mood for something a bit sweeter, extremely refreshing, but with an added touch of energy, go for this!  The coconut water really brings out the unique flavor of the espresso beans, without overpowering or diminishing the taste of the coffee.  The bright and fruity flavor of the Ethiopian bean is complemented with the texture and sweetness of the coconut water.   Highly Recommended!

If you aren’t on the run, take a stroll down the high line with your cold brew or drink of choice.  What better than a refreshing cup of coffee on a morning or afternoon walk?

If you really have the time, head on out to Greenpoint, BK to the original shop.  The Brooklyn based shop offers plenty of space inside and out.  Yes I said outside!  They have a quaint little back patio with seating.  Champion coffee also sells an assortment of pastries and other small breakfast items along with being a WIFI connected store.  You could probably hangout there all day!

Champion sells their 16oz cold brew for $5 and accepts credit and debit cards.  Their Espresso blend, Decaf and Drip blends are sold in the Market as well, just in case you like to make coffee at home!



Check out the rest of our "FIVE MUST HAVE NYC COLD BREWS" Blogs:

#2 Bubby's High Line

#3 Porto Rico Importing Company

#4 Jack's Stir Brew Coffee


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