My Coffeemaker and I just became parents of THE sweetest, sassiest, most wonderful puppy dog in the whole coffee-drinking world. It was only right that we named her after one of our favorite coffee roasters here in Austin:
“Scottish legend holds that Houndstooth was one of the first simple plaids. These plaids came to serve as regional identities for the people of Scotland. All were all Scotsman, but each took pride in their specific plaid.”
At the urging of my fab designer friend Jennifer, I made Houndstooth Coffee a priority. Her taste is spot on, so I knew I’d be in for a treat.
I have to reveal that I felt a bit overwhelmed and intimidated upon my first arrival. Nestled between two greats: Taco Deli (yum) and Uchiko (yum times 1000) on N. Lamar, Houndstooth Coffee draws a somewhat varied crowd, but no one could deny that the clientele is that of the artistic, hipster variety. Let’s just say that you couldn’t swing a freshly baked, organic scone in the place and not hit someone with skinny jeans and facial hair. Culture aside, this coffee shop offers to school you in the fine art of coffee crafting. Thankfully, the intimidation factor fades as soon as you step inside and are greeted by exceptionally hip and friendly baristas. Truly, they are so helpful and don’t look down on you when you didn’t realize that you have a choice in espresso roasts for your latte or were totally ignorant to the fantastic “pour over” or “syphoned” coffee techniques. Houndstooth features roasts from several different distributers: Counter Culture, Cuvee & Intelligentsia.
My selections were as follows:
1st visit- french press: really wonderful, velvety taste. (I added a bit of simple syrup and cream)
2nd visit- pour over: really fun to watch them make. Very smooth and naturally sweet. (I added a dab of cream :)
3rd visit- soy latte: Again, wonderful smooth taste, the perfect latte! (no need for any doctoring to this—great as is)
That surely won’t be my last , as my Coffeemaker has yet to come along with me. He’ll love it, this I know for sure.
Houndstooth makes great use of their space and features modern fixtures and seating. If I had a magic lamp, however, I would at minimum, double the size of their coffee finessing environment. Each time I have come for a spell, it is always full. After more than a years worth of dedication to finding and creating the best coffee they can, their shop has become a Central Austin magnet for unprecedented, coffee community. Scotsmen or not, they take great pride in their own version of this classic plaid.
French toast, french fries, french milled soap, french vanilla, french bread, french braids, french knots, french pleats, french kisses ;), french cut bathing suits, french green beans, french dip sandwiches, french manicure, french maids, french onion dip, french poodle, French’s mustard, french pasteries, french roast….AND the one and only: french press!
At first, when I saw these beautiful, coffee contraptions, I was a bit intimidated. I put the coffee where? Pour boiling water over the grounds? No…that can’t be right. I was afraid that it was something you might need special training for, as I had only tasted the rich, velvety outcome at fancy restaurants. I couldn’t possibly achieve such results on my own, could I?
Confession: About a year or more ago, a friend was cleaning out her kitchen. She gave me her french press. It was new and she had never used it. She knew of my coffee love affair and passed it on to me. I just, two weeks back, ventured to brew my first french press coffee! If you have never done it, but love the flavor, get thee to your nearest coffee pot shop and do the right thing. Make the french press yours!
My Coffeemaker and I love to enjoy new venues to experience a creative meal, followed by dessert and yep, coffee. We shared a french press coffee at East side Showroom and he was hooked too! Guess what my Coffeemaker got for Christmas this year, mmm hmm, you guessed right!
In my research, I found some interesting tips and traits of our friend the french press:
- Although the press was first made in France, it was later patented by Milanese designer Attilio Calimani in 1929.
- You use a coarser grind of coffee to achieve best results.
- In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, it is known as a “coffee plunger”. It’s result is then referred to as “plunger coffee”.
I like the french way best. So, back to my initial musings— would this then beg the question: if you add “french” to a word or action, does it make it better?
Here’s a great video I found that guides you through the process and makes it look, well, as easy as it truly is! Enjoy.
Oh, and next I’ll let you in on some of the best places to enjoy french press coffee in Austin.
Remember those coffee stores they used to have in the mall? Bins and bins of varying roasts, countless blends and “gourmet” flavors filled the small shops. It was the early ’90s and I was in college. As if coffee had just been invented, those precious beans that came from near and far, were making us all take notice and I was front and center. That Christmas when my dad asked me for some gift ideas, it was an easy answer: a coffee maker. My roommates loved all the special brews I had to offer each morning.
Years later, I am still devoted to that perfect, bean infusion. I drink at least a cup a day, usually more. These days, however, I’m not making it much. I rely on the myriad of fantastic coffee houses and cafes here in Austin, Texas and my new “coffee maker”. ”Wait”, you might say, “you just said that you don’t make it anymore….” I know, I know. In the last (almost) 5 months I have met my coffee-loving match in the form of the most wonderful man I know. I’ll tell you more about our romantic meeting and dating later, but what I will share now is that he makes me the best coffee.
Now, I thought I loved coffee, but he makes making it an art form: picking out the best roasts at Central Market or Whole Foods, grinding for approximately 7 seconds adding in some healthy shakes of the grinder, heating the cream in a frothing pitcher, stirring in the right amounts of sugar cubes & honey, pouring in the cream and finishing it all off with the perfect amount of cinnamon. No two coffee sessions are the same either. There are some special techniques involved, but I can’t give away all his secrets— it’s only my second post!
My Coffemaker and I not only share the love of coffee, no, we have too many common interests to mention in this post, but we have a special affinity for the series Mad Men. When we first met and began our dating relationship, we started the series from the beginning. Now, we are almost caught up with the current season and digging every minute. We discuss each episode at length, we try to forecast what will happen next… what will become of Joan? Will Peggy ever really come to terms with the son she gave away? And Don….good gracious, will he ever stop cheating/drinking/womanizing/smoking?! We love the genre. The wardrobes and all the set designer’s touches that harken back to those times are familiar and somewhat comforting.
In one of the most recent episodes, Don Draper, the main character of the show is now living on his own in an apartment in New York City. One morning, he is in the kitchen making coffee in a chrome percolator. This fascinated us. My grandmother had the same one and now, my Coffeemaker wanted one too!
First chance we had, we made a beeline for Room Service Vintage. We were barely there for 7 coffee grinding seconds, when we saw it. It was exactly like Don’s. Astonished at our amazing find, we went straight home to make a pot. The result? A bit of a metallic taste at first, but soon within several attempts and “seasoning” the pot with coffee goodness, it makes a really good cup. My Coffeemaker is pleased.
Our next adventure? The ever-intriguing french press!
Like those moments when you are driving past that quaint, little coffee shop and something makes you pull over to see what’s inside. I’m thrilled you found this little spot. You are welcome anytime and as often as you wish. I’m starting here in Austin, my favorite place in the world. We will be Drinking It In together!
- Austin’s finest coffee shop offerings
- The scenes of this exceptional city
- Folks to admire (and steal ideas from)
- …& more coffee
Can’t wait to explore with you, one glorious sip at a time!