On the Right Path with a Great Cup O’Joe

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Katy Morris

“I love coffee…I really, really do!” exclaimed Johnny Steverson, one of the creators of PATH Coffee Roasters, as he was brewing a delicious espresso blend.  And it shows. In fact, after spending an exclusive “bloggers’ night” hosted by PATH, I love their coffee too!

Last week, we were treated to a personal tour of the Port Chester-based roasting facility by Johnny and his partner, Jason Richter, followed by a quick cupping lesson and fresh tastings of their 100% vegan and Star-K certified kosher coffee. They strive to create the most satiating cup’o’joe and their enthusiastic attitudes, proved both contagious and appropriately pumped up.

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The invigorating aroma permeated the air, instantly perking me up for the stimulating evening ahead. Our first stop on the tour was to learn about how they source and then store their beans. How the beans are harvested and where exactly they come from is extremely important at PATH.

Since they focus on seasonality, the origins of the various burlap sacks brimming with beans will vary depending on the time of year. By tasting hundreds of samples provided to them by the various farmers throughout the world, they are able to sift through and select only the very best. By hand roasting in small batches, they have worked to produce coffee that embodies the very region it came from.

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Then, the best part came…

We sat around a circular “cupping” table and observed as Jason artfully brewed us fresh cups of their newest delicious coffee, made from beans from La Camiseta, Panama. This was the first time I had ever seen a cup brewed using the “pour over method.”  Jason prefers and highly recommends this method, as he believes it enhances one’s ability to control every variable in the brewing process so that you can create the perfect cup that highlights the unique character of the coffee.

It’s also kind of fun to watch.

The key is to use fresh, high quality beans, grind them evenly, choose the best kind of filter, pour the water correctly and carefully, using just the right amount and temperature of water. Phew. Sounds complicated, but Jason showed us how to do it effortlessly.

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From there, Johnny, the enthusiastic and dedicated Director of Specialty Coffee at PATH, walked us through how their large Deidrich roasting machine works.  His understanding of the complexities of the coffee bean chemistry and deep knowledge of how to roast to perfection was impressive. We then went upstairs to the “lab” to roast a small batch of beans and we watched as they gradually transformed from a pistachio green to the familiar java brown.

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The steaming hot cup he brewed for me boasted a distinct sweetness that was intricately balanced with floral notes and a subtle, toasted nutty flavor. No cream or sugar needed – straight up pure and black is how this coffee should be enjoyed to fully appreciate the beautifully structured treat. I savored every last drop.

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Luckily, the tasting didn’t stop there. Next was an overview of espresso blends. We were treated to a tasting of their favorite “Feather In A Cap” espresso, a delicious and delightful combination of beans from South America, Africa, and Indonesia.

I opted for the cappuccino whipped up by Johnny that came out perfectly frothy and smooth and had just the right balance of rich, flavorful espresso. With each sip, the light creaminess of the milk complimented the flavors of maple syrup, fresh berries, and a hint of brown sugar of the espresso blend, teasing up an old jingle that played in my head, something about “that heavenly coffee…”

The PATH creators produced their first cup in April of this year, and since then, business has taken off. On Sunday, September 22, they attended the SoWe (Southern Westchester) Food & Wine Festival that turned out to be a huge success.

If you missed them there, you can grab a cup of their specialty coffee at either Local Seasonal Kitchen in Ramsey, NJ, or Hastings Station Café in Hudson, NY. Not in your area? Check out their website, where you can order 12 ounce bags for about $15 directly online.

Are you a coffee enthusiast like me? Or do you have a coffee lover in your life?

Take advantage of Path Coffee Roasters’ unique brewing classes, appropriately called “Brewing Awesome Coffee” where Johnny will walk you through how to make the perfect cup. You will even head home with not only a renewed appreciation for your java, but will also become a proud owner of some PATH specialty coffee and a pour-over brewer.

The next class is Thursday, Oct. 10 at Path Coffee Lab

7-9 PM; $45.00

Click here for full description of class and address.

As I am sitting here writing this post and feel the cool and crisp fall New England weather encroach, I am enjoying a steaming hot mug of the Panama coffee I went home with and happily pairing it with a left over Honey Oat Tehina Cookie!

Photos: Katy Morris

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