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    Make Your Own Flavored Syrups

    Create Your Favorite Flavors!

    In our previous blog on starting a hobby in home brewing, we mentioned making your own flavored syrups at home and here we are! Maybe you can't make it into your flagship cafe today and you still want that vanilla flavor in your coffee or latte.

    Having a few homemade syrups on hand solves this problem perfectly. You can use these syrups for other things as well: Homemade Italian sodas, cocktails and more! Below, you'll find the recipes for the syrups and some things you can create from them.

    Creating the Syrup

    Most flavored syrups are based around the appropriately named simple syrup. This is just equal parts water and granulated sugar heated up until the sugar dissolves. This makes the sugar easily mixable for both hot and iced drinks (but especially iced). With that base recipe, you can add almost any flavor you want to make vanilla, hazelnut and even ginger syrups!

    Vanilla Simple Syrup

    *We'll start with the most basic recipe and then an alternative one if you want to be a little more fancy.

    • 1 Cup Water
    • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
    • 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

    Instructions:

    1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix together water, sugar and vanilla.
    2. Mix until sugar is completely dissolved.
    3. Allow to cool and store in a covered glass jar in the fridge.  

    Alternative Recipe:

    • 1 3/4 Cups Water
    • 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
    • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
    • 1 Vanilla Bean, split in half
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract

    Instructions:

    1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix together water, sugars and vanilla bean.
    2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
    3. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, turn off heat and add the vanilla extract.
    4. Once it has cooled, remove the vanilla bean and pour into a glass jar. Store in the fridge.

    Caramel Simple Syrup

    *This one is a little more involved with the instructions, but is more or less the same and simple!

    • 3/4 Cup Sugar
    • 1 1/2 Cups Water (divided)
    • 1 tsp Caramel Flavored Extract

    Instructions:

    1. Combine sugar and 3/4 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat.
    2. Reduce heat to medium once the mixture comes to a boil. Do not stir.
    3. Let the syrup continue to boil until it turns a light golden color. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Be careful to keep an eye on the syrup the entire time since it can burn quickly after turning light golden.
    4. While waiting for syrup to carmelize to the light golden color, heat up remaining 3/4 cup of water and set aside.
    5. Immediately remove the syrup from heat as soon as it turns light golden color.
    6. Quickly stir in remaining 3/4 cup of water and caramel flavor. Be careful as hot syrup may splatter when water is added. If any of the syrup hardens, return the saucepan to the stove over low heat, stirring until harden syrup turns back to liquid.
    7. Let the caramel syrup cool and then pour into a container.

    Conclusion

    To wrap things up on flavored syrups, they're quite simple to make and are useful to have on hand! You can alter and perfect these recipes however you want. Want ginger syrup? Use some shredded ginger! Want a raspberry syrup? Add a cup of fresh raspberries and strain! There's so much you can do to step up your at home creations whether you're making coffee, cocktails or soda!

    Cheers!

    Starting a Hobby in Coffee

    This is the Year to Step Up Your At-Home Brewing

    So you've stumbled upon coffee; maybe you've been drinking coffee for years and maybe you just stumbled into a cafe that makes your favorite pistachio lattes. Perhaps you're used to your drip brewer every morning or stopping twice a day at your favorite spot! However you've been enjoying coffee, I'm sure you'd like to learn a little more about it and maybe even discover a new hobby this year!

    There is a wide world of coffee out there and it can be complicated. Similar to health and fitness, there's so much information out there it can be hard to pair it down to the information that YOU need to get started. Don't get overwhelmed! Learning about coffee and brewing at home can become a very natural learning process and this blog can be a trampoline for you to spring forward into a new coffee obsession!

    The Beginning of a Caffeinated Journey

    I've been drinking coffee since I was quite young (maybe too young) starting with sips of strong dark roast at my grandparents. Then it became a habit to go to local cafes in the area and get a sugar-loaded iced latte with the works. I still had no clue about what could go into brewing and perfecting coffee. Then I started working with coffee in the cafes I had previously frequented. This is where it really began: I learned about pour-overs and grind size and how coffee is roasted. From then on I was hooked. But ladies and gentleman, you don't have to work in coffee for it to be a hobby or to learn about it. So here are some ways you could build up a hobby in caffeinated goodness.

    Where to Start

    So where in the world should you start? It seems obvious, but start by experiencing the finished product! Go to cafes and try their coffee and espresso, maybe even a pour over. Try the coffees black or with a very little bit of cream, just for now so you can differentiate the natural flavors of the coffee (We'll be coming out with a blog on making your own flavored syrups at home soon!). After this, Figure out which brewing method might be best for you. This will depend on how much time you want to dedicate to your morning cup, but also see which method you like best from different cafes. Try Aeropress, a Chemex pour-over and french press (Espresso can get really expensive to start out with). Now, see what you would need to start brewing this way at home! Our brewtorials are a wonderful place to learn about materials needed and the process of brewing.  

    Exploring The World of Coffee

    You've started brewing at home, you can make some great tasting coffee, but you want to learn even more. Where do you go now? Keep exploring! Start by looking into tasting notes in coffee, then in grind size and what kind of grinders are the best. Ask your local barista about anything you might want to learn about brewing or roasting as well! Most of us are always wanting to share and educate and we have quite a bit of knowledge.

    Conclusion

    I could go on and on about coffee. It's a complicated and deep subject! Ultimately, don't try to learn everything at once, you might get overwhelmed and give up! Learn a little at a time and discover new ways to enjoy this wonderful beverage (you might even end up saving money from brewing at home!). Brewing coffee can be a lovely morning ritual, and the more you learn the better your ritual will be. Don't forget, we have all the brewing equipment you need to begin on our website! Enjoy the process my friends,

    Cheers!

    Our Roaster Select Coffees: Why They're Special

    Our Specially Selected Coffees

    Introduction

    Today We'll be covering a topic you may or may not be aware of: Our Roaster Select Series of coffee! First off, what is our roaster select series? This is a rotating selection of different specialty coffees from around the world. They are roasted in limited, small batches and are typically roasted light to medium to bring out the more complex flavors in the coffee. In this blog we'll be talking about why we have these coffees as a separate selection and what makes the coffee unique.

    Why a Separate Roast Selection?

    You might be asking yourself, "why do they need a separate selection? Why don't they just add these to their regular coffees?" That's a great question! The reason is because these coffees are of a higher quality, specially sourced and slightly more expensive for the above reasons. Take for example our previous Kenya Nguvu AA rated selection: the term AA is used to indicate a larger than normal bean size which also infers a correlation between bean size and higher quality (with exceptions). Our newest selection is the Ethiopia Misty Valley: a softer coffee similar to our Brazil, with tasting notes much like our Ethiopia Yirgacheffe and Costa Rica. We're very excited to bring another selection to you as always!  

    What Makes The Coffee Unique

    What makes this coffee different from our normal selection? The coffee we consistently keep in our stores are typically more medium to dark roasted coffees, offering fabulous but more standard flavor notes (chocolate, tobacco, hazelnut). Our roaster select coffees are roasted lighter to medium light, which offers a unique variety of flavor notes (fruity, tea-like, citrus) that we don't normally offer in our other selections. This is not to say that one is better than the other, simply that our roaster select series offers a more adventurous and unique flavor experience for the coffee drinker.

    Conclusion

    To wrap things up on our Roaster Select Series, to anyone looking to branch out from typical coffee for a unique, complex coffee experience, these coffees are for you! Once again, these are limited coffees for our stores so grab them when you can and let us know your favorites! Don't worry, when we run out of one, another great coffee will take its place!


    *Bonus: Recommended brew method!

    These coffees will taste wonderful with any brew method, but to unlock their true flavor potential, here are some recommendations on how to brew.

    • Chemex: A pour over brew method that filters impurities to give you the cleanest and most flavorful cup possible!
    • Aeropress: A steep and press method similar to a french press on a smaller scale, providing a strong, espresso-like cup with full-flavor and strength.  

    *Discount code for $1 off roaster select: SPECIALTY

    Dark Adirondack Chocolate Mocha Cookie

    Introduction

    During the holidays, everyone needs a great cookie recipe to bring to parties and Christmas gatherings. But we're sure you want to stand out from the crowd of Snowballs and Sugar cookies, so why not spice things up with some Utica Coffee in your cookie baking?

    These dark and deliciously decedant cookies will stand out anywhere, whether you're having a night in or out. The cafe mocha is a staple around the world, so why not put it in a cookie? These simple-to-make cookies take about 15 minutes to make and yield about 12-15 depending on how big you want them! It's fairly simple to double the batch as well if needed.

    The Recipe

    • ½ cup All-purpose flour
    • ½ cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ¼ cup Sugar, +1 tbsp
    • ¼ cup Brown sugar, +1 tbsp
    • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
    • 1 tbsp Dark Adirondack Coffee (Turkish Ground)
    • 3 tbsp salted Butter, melted
    • ¼ tsp Baking soda
    • 1 Egg white
    • ½ cup Sugar

    * Optional: Add a tsp of peppermint extract to make them peppermint mocha cookies!

    Instructions

    1. In a mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, ground coffee, salt and baking soda. Mix all these ingredients and keep aside.
    2. In another mixing bowl, add butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg white and vanilla extract (add peppermint here if desired). Mix everything until you have a rough and chunky mixture.
    3. Add the sifted flour mixture into the wet ingredients.
    4. Mix everything until you have a crumbly mixture.
    5. At this point, stop the mixer and knead the mixture with your hands into a ball of dough. If the dough is still a little dry and crumbly, add some milk or water (1 tsp at a time) to the dough and knead again.
    6. Take portions of the dough and make little balls.
    7. Roll them in a plate full of granulated sugar.
    8. Place the cookie balls on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or until the sides are slightly crispy.
    9. Let these cookies cool down on a cookie tray. Enjoy!

    Our Dark Adirondack is perfect match for these mocha cookies with its molasses and dark chocolate tasting notes. It adds the lovely flavors of rich coffee flavor and bitterness, making the cookies wonderfully balanced!

    Conclusion

    This is a great cookie recipe for any occasion! A holiday party, after dinner desert, or a decedant midnight snack. There are so many ways you could add or alter these cookies as well! Peppermint extract for the holidays, mini chocolate chips for even more chocolate, maybe even some of our Saratoga Peanut Butter for a peanut butter mocha cookie. Enjoy them however you want!

    2021 Holiday Gift Guide

    The Official Utica Coffee Gift Guide!

    Have a coffee lover in your life but aren't sure what to get them? Look no further than this definitive guide of gifts for all things Utica Coffee!  

    For the Coffee Lover

    For those who are more particular in their daily coffee drinking, here are some higher end gift selections!

    For the Utican

    For the Utica local or lover, here are some of the local favorites from around our store!

    The Flavor Fanatic

    For your loved one who is partial to our flavored coffee selection, here are some special suggestions.

    The Traveler

    For the folks who are always on the move or love travel, we have the perfect selection of brewers and mugs!

    The Coffee Newbie

    If you have a loved one who is new to the coffee scene, but wants to learn more, here are some of our offers to get them started!

    Conclusion

    If you weren't sure what to get your coffee lover for the holidays before, we sure hope you know now! We're happy to help your gift shopping as stress-free as possible. Happy Holidays!