Coffee Perfection at Valentine Coffee
Joe (l) and Robb of Valentine Coffee (click the pic for the full gallery)
There's something magical about talking to someone about their passion. You know if you ask a Mom about her kids or your co-worker about his golf game you better get comfortable. For Valentine Coffee's Robb Kashevarof and Joe Gilsdorf they love to talk coffee. For years, the two friends have been experimenting with taste palettes in everything from cooking to wine. They turned their curious obsession toward coffee and along with Marshall Harting they built Valentine Coffee into the finest coffee in town.
Valentine began a few years ago with the guys heading to local farmer's markets to display their roasts. Busy guests at the farmer's markets were surprised to see their brewing method. When you get a cup of Valentine Coffee they don't turn around to a vat of freeze dried stew that was brewed 4 hours ago. Each cup, even at the farmer's market, is ground and brewed individually. They still visit farmer's markets and they have also earned local distribution in select local restaurants and retail.
New this year Valentine opened a tasting room at 5918 W Vliet, Milwaukee. They've been roasting in the back of this building for a while and just recently added the tasting room. The room isn't what we've come to expect from a coffee shop. Sure, there is space to chat up a friend or read the paper. But, there isn't the cranked up music that screams "look at us, we're so independent and unique that we play music you've never heard of. 50's JAZZ MEANS WE'RE INDEPENDENT AND AUTHENTIC!!!" There also isn't something for sale on every flat surface. Their tasting room is a chill place that emphasizes great coffee and conversation.
When you order your cup of coffee, the baristas actually talk with you about the coffee, the process, the weather, whatever. They seemed to ask everyone about their day and they genuinely cared. The room was very modern but warm. Almost educational. Robb related the tasting room to that of a wine tasting where the customers are encouraged to try new roasts and talk about what they saw, smelled and tasted. Robb excitedly offered me a "Cortado," and quipped that he was experimenting with how many he could drink in a day. The 1/2 espresso, 1/2 steamed milk drink was an eye opener but very smooth and not bitter at all. Delicious.
The Valentine Coffee brewing process is more of an artistic science experiment than the assembly line you are used to seeing at the high volume chain stores. Joe explained that the ingredients are weighed instead of measured for accuracy. The single cup "pour over" method featured water exactly at 206 degrees with 22 grams of coffee and 330 grams of water. The finished product drips into a beaker. Yes, a beaker like we used in chemistry class. The fanatacism around the process definitely conjured the image of Walter White. It took about 2 1/2 minutes for the barista to complete the coffee. It tastes like no other coffee I've ever had. Amazing.
Joe and Robb seem like guys who were put on this earth simply to make a great cup of coffee. They're happy to tell you all about it but you better find a seat first.
Make sure to breeze by the tasting room. Hours: 6am-2pm M-Saturday.
Cheers to Valentine Coffee! The Fun Blog will be back!