Friday mornings at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC - Page 4

Talk about your favorite cafes, local barista events, or plan your own get-together.
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HB (original poster)

#31: Post by HB (original poster) »

Reminder to those in the Triangle area that we'll be at Counter Culture's training center tomorrow morning. Come hang with cool espresso enthusiasts!

Bob, Ken, and Brian given thumbs up to recent get-together

We pulled shots of Baroida SOE and Espresso Toscano. I believe that Rustico will be on tap tomorrow.

Click here for more photos
Dan Kehn


#32: Post by Nuprin »

Hey folks,

This week's Friday morning starting at 8:00am, the espresso meet-up will be at New World Coffee House instead of Counter Culture. The address is 4112 Pleasant Valley Rd Suite 124 Raleigh, NC 27612 located in the Village of TownRidge.

I have been experimenting with different local and national brand organic and non organic milk these past few weeks to produce the best flavor, sweetness and texture so I thought we could have a cappuccino/latte taste shoot-out. Brands will include the following whole locally available milk:

Horizon DHA Omega 3
Maple View Farms
Homestead Farms
Organic Pride with DHA Omega 3
Whole Foods 360
Homestead Farms

Dan should be sending out an email to the locals but anyone in the area this Friday is welcome to come!

Supporter ♡

#33: Post by jamori »

The milk taste-off was really quite interesting, I'd never done a comparative tasting of milk -- thanks for hosting, Mike!

We tried the milks several different ways -- straight cold, then tried some of the favorites both as cappuccinos and straight microfoamed.

Cold, we did a 2-by-2 shootout and voted for our favorite of each pairing by stacking our paper tasting cups. My favorites were Maple View (#1), Simple Truth (Kroger's organic brand), and Horizon. I didn't really like Homestead (seemed thin/watery to me, though IIRC some of the group liked its sweetness). The Whole Foods 365 was fine but didn't stand out to me.

We then tried the Whole Foods 365, Simple Truth, and Horizon as cappuccinos (I think that's the subset that we tried?). After the capps, we decided tasting with espresso added too many variables and went to just tasting microfoamed milk (all steamed milk applications were prepped by Mike).

The Simple Truth and Horizon are both ultra-pasturized with DHA added and I had to focus to taste the difference. Between the two, I preferred the Simple Truth capp but the Horizon as straight microfoam, though I think my capp preference was mostly due to small differences in how the shot came out.

Tasting side-by-side, I recall being able to easily differentiate the 365 from the other two, but couldn't easily express a preference between the 365 and the other two.

We also briefly discussed milk pricing at the end -- IIRC, the two from local-ish creameries in glass bottles (Maple View and Homestead) are around $4/half gallon, the two ultra-pasturized (Horizon & Simple Truth) around $3/half gallon, and the Whole Foods 365 something like $3.50/full gallon.

My personal takeaway with pricing info was that, if I drank a lot of milk (or you know .. if I owned a coffee shop like Mike :wink:), the 365 is close enough in taste that it would be my go-to choice at almost half the price of the others, and maybe splurge occasionally on the fancier stuff. One side note: at home, we don't drink much milk and we typically have been buying the Simple Truth half gallons. We've found that the ultra-pasturized milk stays fresh much longer than 'regular' milks -- probably about twice as long?

Anyway I'm not usually a milk drink person and someone else's preferences may be totally different, but this was certainly an enlightening experience!

da gino

#34: Post by da gino »

I've always wondered if the biggest difference would be ultra pasteurized (I think Horizon's fits this category) vs just standard pasteurized (365, for example). I always assumed that there would be some adverse effect on taste resulting from the extra processing that leads to the much longer shelf life. It sounds like you might have found just the opposite. Were there any observations about this way of looking at milk? (Perhaps the milk from one brand to another, is just far more different than the processing techniques).

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HB (original poster)

#35: Post by HB (original poster) »

FYI, Nathan says they'll have USBC-winning YCFCU coffees at this Friday's get-together in Durham. I will definitely be there. :D
Dan Kehn

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#36: Post by doubleOsoul »

I don't know how this thread got by me but what a great story line. I wish I was there! I've tried everything to get something going here on Vancouver Island but I can't get the interest. I have enough equipment and space for a couple of cafes so all I need are bodies.

Some of those shots look amazing.

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HB (original poster)

#37: Post by HB (original poster) »

jamori wrote:The milk taste-off was really quite interesting, I'd never done a comparative tasting of milk -- thanks for hosting, Mike!
Indeed, it was interesting... I had only tried 2 of the 5 brands of milk before; it turns out one from a local Kroger was my favorite due the sweetness/texture:

Mike Zhu demonstrates his latte art skills

We started by comparing them straight up and then as cappuccinos. Served cold, they all tasted quite good. There was only one from Whole Foods that stood out as iffy. That's one of my pet peeves -- improper storage.

Taste-test to pick two milks for cappuccino shootout

My favorite cappuccino of the bunch was made with Simple Truth (Kroger's organic brand). My least favorite was Whole Food 365. Nathan took other photos; they're in this album.
Dan Kehn


#38: Post by Alan »

I came upon this post looking for info about my problems steaming Whole Foods 365 organic milk. We occasionally get the 2% of this. Normally we get 2% Horizon organic which I've been able to steam just fine for years to decent microfoam, but when I try the 365 organic I get something that initially looks like microfoam, but then when it sits there it sort of separates back into milk and 1/16" bubbles. Like there's some kind of phase change that takes place, and it all flashes into soap bubbles.

Did you guys see problems with any of the milks you tried like this?


#39: Post by Nuprin »


Yes, I noticed this problem with certain milks as well. It occurred with the regular Horizon Whole Milk - without DHA Omega 3 as well as a few others. No matter what how it was steamed (tried various ways), I always got those bubbles that floated to the top.

Can anyone give a scientific explanation for this? Jim?

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#40: Post by shadowfax »

I have no scientific explanations, but I would definitely add that the Organic Valley 2% milk is the most 'magical' 2% milk I've ever tried-it's hard to differentiate it from most other whole milks other than the Organic Valley whole milk. It's definitely worth the rather eye-popping premium if you're trying to deprive yourself of delicious, amazing milk fat.
Nicholas Lundgaard