Coffee is Not Free: Hitting the ground running with Ben Weiner of Gold Mountain Coffee Growers

by Eli Masem

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The text on my phone at 11:00pm, read, “I’m on my way back to Matagalpa right now. Can you meet me at my office at 7:00 in the morning?”

I had just completed a fun first day of hiking and exploring Matagalpa after a long day of traveling the previous day to get there, from Asheville, NC.  This was my first visit to Nicaragua and I was in town for a day and a night before my host would be back in town.  It was good to have a day to acclimate to a new place.  I was in Nicaragua to spend the week shadowing one of our long time producers, Ben Weiner, of Gold Mountain Coffee Growers.  The goal was to tie together the intricacies of the journey from crop to cup that we have been mutually involved in with for so long with Gold Mountain. We have been buying coffee from his farm, Finca Idealista, for 3 years and while the attention to quality has always been evident, seeing the extent to which Gold Mountain goes to assure this level of quality is both impressive and inspirational.  In my opinion, one of the biggest revelations that can be taken away from traveling to origin is how many ways things can go wrong in the journey from seed to cup and how few ways things can go right.  It may come off as pretentious to not offer free refills of coffee at our shop but I know what this coffee costs, how much work went into it, how much is at stake, and what it’s worth, every step of the way.  It’s undoubtedly more than what we all pay for it.  Great coffee is complex, hard to cultivate, process, transport, and brew properly, and so, deserves more than to be given away for free.

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When I arrived at Gold Mountain’s office right off a busy road on the edge of Matagalpa on the way up to the mountains, I was welcomed to the flurry of activity that is Ben Weiner’s life.  He was answering phone calls from current and prospective customers, furiously texting employees and partner producers, while simultaneously packing his backpack and filling his water bottle to prepare himself for a day running errands that would take us up two separate mountain ranges, a busy market in town, his wet mill, visits to multiple producers, and two separate visits to the dry mill where much of his coffee is dried, sorted, and stored for export.  His office manager, Jaqueline, was typing up receipts for coffee delivered by various partner producers while her 5 year old son, Diego, was playing with possibly the loudest remote control car ever produced.

I dropped off my bags and we immediately got into his truck and headed out.  We had to go to the large and chaotic market in Matagalpa to pick up 30 bags of fertilizer.  The five minutes that the fertilizer was being invoiced to us was probably the only time I saw Ben Weiner sit still in the week I was with him.  The market was a maze of tiny alleys, one way streets, blocked traffic, butchered animals, fresh produce, and kiosks that can get you pretty much any item that money can by, some of it produced and acquired legitimately and some of it from questionable origins. The fertilizer was going to a partner producer who had received a loan from Gold Mountain last harvest and due to various factors hadn’t come through with the expected yield.  Ben wasn’t ready to give up on the producer, so this time around he chose to provide material support in the form of agricultural supplies instead of cash money.  He even did the producer the solid of picking it up himself and dropping it off (thankfully it was already on the way to Ben’s wet mill and to the land of another producer we were picking up coffee from that day).  Lending money and other resources are one of the riskier sides of Gold Mountain’s business model and possibly more altruistic than fiscally responsible.  It puts the needed capital in the hands of producers so they can get what they need to complete their harvests.  Lending is either rare or extremely predatory in Nicaragua and sometimes the helping hand of Gold Mountain can give a producer the leg up to bring in an exceptional crop, that will get a great price, and help a farm grow and prosper.

Immediately after buying the fertilizer, we went into the market to pick up 200 of the large red bags into which all of the producers load their daily lots.  While Ben marched into the labyrinthine market to search the bags out, I was left to guard the fertilizer from theft.  While Nicaragua has a pretty low violent crime rate, it is still an extremely poor country where theft is commonplace, People have been known to jump on the back of the truck, grab what’s not strapped down, and run for it.

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When Ben finally resurfaced, we immediately took off for the mountains, rocketing out of the noise and diesel smoke of Ciudad Matagalpa into the lush green mountainscapes of Las Nubes, surrounding Matagalpa like a protective wall.  After roughly 30 minutes we turned off the well paved highway and started winding up an increasingly steep gravel mountain road past tiny smallholder farms and collections of homes that would be a stretch to call villages.  

We pulled up to Gold Mountain’s wet mill where Ben checked in with his workers to make sure they were sorting out defect coffee properly and in a timely manner.  His wet mill where he processes his coffee is small, but truly a thing to behold.  It has the standard tanks and chutes for fermenting and washing coffees, not to mention the obligatory depulping equipment necessary for sloughing the meat and skin off the coffee cherry to get to the roastable and drinkable treasure inside. He also has an extensive system of water filtering tanks filled with volcanic stone to filter the used water from these processes back into the land without contaminating it and the surrounding natural water sources.  Also, by expanding his production of natural and honey processed coffees, he has greatly diminished his need for the amount of water needed if he was only producing washed coffees.  The tiny plot of land behind the wet mill also doubles as a coffee variety museum where you can find all variety of different coffee plants from around the region and around the world to see if they hold up to the conditions of that area for possible future cultivation at Finca Idealista or the farm of a partner producer.

We went from there up to the house of the producer needing fertilizer.  As we arrived they were getting the road, much of it a muddy wreck from recent rains, ready to accept our truck full of fertilizer.  After a slow and precarious climb to the top of the road to his small house where he lives with his wife and 10 children, we dropped the fertilizer off and drove to the next producer’s farm (Ronald) just a couple miles away.  This time it was a pick up, and we drove away with roughly 10 bags of parchment and a huge bag of oranges which we devoured for the entire week I was there.  

Now it was time to drive all the way back into town to bring the coffee to the dry mill.  If you are producing a lot of coffee from a lot of different farmers you need somewhere to finish drying and sorting it.  A dry mill has the space and expensive sorting machinery that is preferable, if not necessary, when producing coffee for export.  Unfortunately, many mills are owned by large companies and/or groups of investors, so sometimes focus on quantity over quality can be evident if you walk around their properties.  Coffee is dried on large concrete patios as opposed to raised beds which encourage more airflow and more even drying.  Coffee is often stored outside in the elements, stacked up tall in bags, getting rained on which then causes mold along with other very avoidable defects that bring down the quality and price potential for this coffee.

Gold Mountain needs the space and some of the machinery the mill provides but found the quality of oversight and processing lacking for what they were trying to produce.  Every time a coffee is brought through the gates of the mill, the first stop is at the scales.  The coffee is weighed and then a small sample is taken by the mill to give it a estimated percentage of how many defects there are in the overall lot.  All coffees will have a certain amount of defects but this will let you know approximately how much sorting and care was given to the coffee before it reached the mill.  At this point in the process, Gold Mountain veers away from standard operating procedure and dives headlong into their own hyper focused quality control program at the mill.  The coffee is driven from the scales by Ben’s own vehicles, to his own section he rents at the mill where all or most of the coffee is placed in raised beds to dry.  You can tell where Gold Mountain’s area starts and the mill’s are ends as Ben’s area is the only one with raised drying beds, with more raised beds constantly being built to meet the demand.  As mentioned before, the raised beds deliver better airflow and more consistent even drying which shows in the cupping quality of these coffees.  He even has his own employees stationed at the mill everyday to make sure his coffees are being taken care of as opposed to leaving it up to the mill’s employees.  Where most others drying their coffee at the mill store it in bags outside for long periods of time, he has his own specific rented spaces in the warehouse to store his coffee and keep it out of the elements and separated from less stringently produced coffees.  The mill has large machinery that is very useful for sorting the coffee by density, and a laser sorter that mimics the human eye to further pick out defects.  And yet, at the end of all this, Ben goes above and beyond and has his own workers in a room with black lights and conveyer belts further sorting the coffees by hand to get the coffees as close to perfection as possible before export.   

This oversight and attention to detail doesn’t begin at the mill as it is even more focused in the picking at the farms.  We stopped by the local all in one store (think a small Nicaraguan Walmart) and picked up a camping cot, a cook stove, and some cooking implements.  We then went back up to the mountains to pick up a person this time, not coffee.  We needed to pick up and drop off a member of what Gold Mountain calls their ripeness team at a partner producers farm for harvest.  These are Gold Mountain employees that stay on site (24 hours a day) at a partner producer’s farm during an entire harvest to make sure the farmer and the farmer’s pickers are only choosing the ripest coffee cherries. The seasonal pickers at farms are often paid based on volume picked so having someone on sight who will police what is getting picked is crucial so they don’t throw in under ripe coffee cherries that can bring down the cupping score, the taste, and ultimately the price of the coffee.  They coach the pickers and walk around with them as they are picking, testing the coffee cherries for sweetness/sugar content with Brix meters (refractometers), which are widely used in the wine industry for testing sugar content of grapes.  They also hand out ripeness bracelets to all pickers that are the exact color of ripe coffee cherries so they always have a point of reference when harvesting.  Imposing the presence of this third party inspector on another farmer’s property can sometimes be a hard nut to swallow for the producer but will result, long term, in higher quality coffee and will help curtail the shortcuts that can be taken in the name of fiscal necessity or fear by a producer.

Gold Mountain Coffee Grower’s Job is one that starts at sunrise and stops for a slight pause long after sunset. This doesn’t even include the time personally transporting the coffee with armed escorts to port in Honduras or the fact that when the coffee shows up at the warehouse in the U.S. on the other side, Ben is present to break the seal on the container to personally make sure the coffee comes off the boat exactly as it went on.

Gold Mountain is a lender of money, church of quality, champion of improvement, and arbiter of social and environmental change.  The labor, time, thought, and focus on the details, are what you are tasting when you have a cup of Finca Idealista or one their many partner producers.

Simply put, the vast effort put into producing an amazing cup is why coffee is not free.

Biscuit & Coffee Love

A special pop-up by the Farm Cart at 1000 Faces Coffee in support of the ACLU.

  • Filter coffee, not people!
  • Eat a delicious Farm Cart biscuit!
  • Drink some tasty coffee!
  • Support a critical cause!
  • Get fonky with DJ Osmose!

Why? 1000 Faces is proud to participate in a nationwide push to raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union, which is America's non-partisan champion of civil liberty. The ACLU has been defending our civil rights as outlined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights since 1920. They have no political affiliation or ideological component to their mission. Today they’re defending innocent refugee and immigrant families impacted by the recent executive orders—tomorrow they could be defending you, because they are committed to defending all of us.

From Friday through Sunday, 10% of your purchases at this event, online, at the roaster, at the Freedom Farmers Market, and even sales through our wonderful wholesale partners, will go to supporting the ACLU.

use these hashtags!!
#1000facescoffee
#yesequal
#refugeeswelcome
#filtercoffeenotpeople

Riding The Waves

by Chris Silvestro

Coffee has been on a journey since us consumers in the US began drinking this funny, magical brown beverage. Generally, it is common to see coffee classified into three distinct “waves” which describe methodologies, eras, and to some extent, quality.

First Wave

The First Wave began in the early 20th Century (est. 1920’s) and, sadly, remains today. In The First Wave, coffee is treated as a commodity with no connection to the producer, and rarely even, to the country of origin. Coffee is just a drink, nothing more. Generally, it is a dark, bitter, often watery drink with a little bit of hot sludge at the end of the cup. No flavor nuances whatsoever. Convenience is emphasized over quality. Definitely not related to “Specialty Coffee”. Commonly associated with canned grocery coffee and gas station Styrofoam cups served from glass carafes on hot plates. The First Wave introduced vacuum packaging and instant coffee. Folgers, Maxwell House, and Mr. Coffee are common First Wave brands. In summary, The First Wave was about making coffee available to the masses.

There was no transparency with the farmers/producers like there is today.

Second Wave

The Second Wave began in the 1960’s (est. 1966) with the increase in presence of the espresso machine in US cafes, predominantly on the West and East coast. Italian espresso machine makers such as Pavoni, Gaggia, and La Marzocco were pioneers in the US adaptation of espresso and espresso based drinks, and it is in fact the espresso café culture of Italy that spurred the massive retail expansion of chains like Starbucks. The Second Wave is the precursor to today’s “specialty coffee”, and took coffee to a new level i.e. “artisanal” or “hand crafted”. This is when we begin to see the introduction to lattes, cappuccinos, and even the now common french press. We also begin to see more focus on country of origin and even region within the country of origin. Starbucks, Peet’s, Seattle’s Best, and Caribou Coffee are common 2nd wave brands, still alive and well in today’s coffee marketplace.  In summary, The Second Wave was about better coffee through the marketing of the experience.

Quality improved thanks to carefully roasted coffee and drinks made on the espresso machine.

Third Wave

The Third Wave began in the early 2000’s (est. 2002). Trish Rothgeb of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters first wrote about The Third Wave of coffee in a November 2002 article of The Flamekeeper (Roaster’s Guild Newsletter). At its roots, The Third Wave is about making coffee shops about the coffee and allowing the coffee to speak for itself. This means a bridging of the gap between consumer, who drinks the coffee, and the producer, who grows the coffee. It is taking the focus away from the roast flavor and instead highlighting the origins and unique characteristics of the coffee with a lighter roast, thereby potting the focus squarely on the producer of the coffee. While higher quality green coffee and higher prices are often correlated with The Third Wave, it is critical to note that this does not necessarily guarantee a high quality product. By the same token, this means that Third Wave coffee is not necessarily “specialty coffee”, which narrowly refers to coffees which score above 80pts on the 100pt Specialty Coffee Association official score sheet. The Third Wave is a category of coffee businesses with similar ideals and methodologies, whereas “specialty coffee” speaks to an empirical metric of quality. Yours truly - 1000 Faces Coffee, Counter Culture Coffee, Intelligentsia, and Stumptown are common Third Wave coffee brands. In summary, The Third Wave is about working towards better coffee through the product itself; ideally with coffee quality as the main focus. 

Quality has improved even further through cuppings and testing extraction.

Don Luis Pedro Zelaya

by Eli Masem

“Have you seen the mill?”

This is what Don Luis Pedro Zelaya asked as we exited his cafe, Bella Vista Coffee, after a fun evening of coffee sampling with professionals from around the area. It was 11:00pm, but he insisted we get in his truck and drive to see his wet mill and dry mill in action because it was in full swing at that time of night. As we drove through the gates of Finca Bella Vista, opened by armed guards, and past a long line of farmers’ trucks lined up to sell their coffee, he smiled and muttered something under his breath about the ridiculous amount of money that is spent on security in Guatemala. The country is on the rise both economically and culturally since the end of its 36 year civil war but still has a long way to go. He smiled when he said this.

Don Luis Pedro Zelaya and Eli Masem

Don Luis Pedro Zelaya and Eli Masem

He always smiles. It is the slightly fatigued but proud smile of someone who is living the life and expending the energy of 5 people and who has to pace himself, but truly likes what he does. What he has going on is not a sprint, but a marathon. He is managing farms, managing his cafe, managing a washing station, entertaining a never ending cycle of international guests (including myself) and exporting coffee all over the world. On that note, Don Luis likes to hang! I kept thinking this amiable 42 year old family man had better things to do then drive me around places late at night, or go out to lunch with me, or take me to multiple farms, or go drinking at a cold brew infused cocktail event, or even check in on my safety at various points in my Guatemalan travels after I left Antigua. He’s a hell of a host.

It would be an understatement to refer to Don Luis as a coffee farmer, which is an honorable and multifaceted profession all by itself. Not only is he a 4th generation Coffee farmer, jumping right into the family business at an early age, but an agronomist, an exporter, cafe owner, and an obsessive when it comes to quality control. He owns farms, manages many others, and buys coffee from legions of small coffee growers in the region whose cherries are then processed at his beautiful washing station within sight of an extremely active volcano.

His name is synonymous with quality. He is meticulous about this quality and with transparency. He only accepts lots that have a certain high percentage of ripe cherry which he then separates by a large list of factors including, region, farm, elevation, varietal, and date harvested, just to name a few. His little piece of the empire that is Guatemalan coffee is centered in Antigua, an almost 500 year old city that was once Guatemala’s Capital. It is surrounded by 3 huge volcanoes, Agua, the aforementioned fuego , and Acatenango, whose rich volcanic soils play a huge part in producing the sweet, bright coffees that this region is known for.

Sort sort sort sort, is the mantra I walked away from Don Luis saying to myself after seeing his mill in action. After the cherries are delivered by the farmer, the sorting begins. Machine and human sorting of coffee to pick out defects and unripe cherries, very carefully regulated fermentation of the coffee in tanks, even more carefully regulated drying of the coffee on raised beds and patios, and then computerized sorting of the dried coffee by size and color. It’s like sifting through mud, pyrite, and other minerals to get to the gold at the bottom of the stream. What comes out the other side of this intense filtering is what 1000 Faces is offering up in the form of the Hunapu lots.

These newest Guatemalan coffees, Hunapu Lots numbers 4 & 7 are endemic of the great coffees that come out of Guatemala (sweetness, acidity, and body). Hunapu is both the name of the small group of farmers who produced these lots and the traditional Mayan name for Volcano Agua near to where they are all located just outside of Antigua. These two lots, #4 and #7, are from the same grouping of farmers, of the same caturra varietal, harvested on different days but are very different in their taste profiles. We hope you will enjoy them as much as we do.

Barista Mixology Series: The Leeloo

Recipe by Ben Bowdoin, Photography by Caitlin LeMoine

The Leeloo

(served in a gibraltar)

Like coffee, the Negroni is a combination of many intense, complex, and perhaps even competing flavors. When harnessed properly, acidity, sweetness, and bitterness come together to please the palate.  This beautiful harmony is precisely why the drink is both balanced and delicious - much like a properly roasted and brewed cup of coffee. This cocktail is inspired by the corollary between the beverages. It's a match made in flavor heaven. 

Early versions of the drink were a stunning shade of pinkish red, which we found reminiscent of the character Leeloo - the fiery, powerful siren of the movie Fifth Element

This recipe was developed by our own Benjamin Bowdoin and recently won Coffee ATL's Liquid Ambition coffee cocktail competition.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

  • 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Campari
  • 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 oz cold brew coffee

HOW TO

1. Choose high quality liquors. This makes a big difference! Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. 

2. Give it a quick, hard shake to mix it well and froth things up but without diluting with ice too much.  

3. Strain into a glass.  Serve up in a gibraltar. 

4. Garnish with a citrus twist (but make sure to peel the fruit without getting pith!). In this version with our the cold brew, we recommend an orange twist as an homage to the classic negroni.  Lightly squeeze to release citrus oils, rub the rim of the glass, and drop in the drink.  

5. Enjoy!

GET REAL FANCY WITH IT

1. Infuse your Campari with cascara, which is the dried fruit of the coffee cherry.  This cuts the bitterness and adds a subtle floral sweetness that will pair perfectly with an already floral gin..  No cascara?  Try some hibiscus - should yield some very similar results.  Infuse at a ratio of 1 part solids (cascara or hibiscus) to 5 parts liquid (Campari) for 48 hours and strain.

2. Prepare an iced pour over for the coffee portion of the recipe. This keeps the beverage a little lighter and brighter.  Try to choose a coffee with a bright citrus acidity!  

3. Finally, we recommend using a citrus twist based on the flavor notes from the coffee to really tie everything together.

SPARKLE! The basics of acidity and coffee

by Juli Bierwirth // Cold Brew Manager // 1000 Faces Coffee

Sourness, acidity, and brightness are all terms that touch on the same concept in coffee: pH.

Acids and bases are chemicals that break apart to release an ion (a positively or negatively charged molecule) when dissolved in water. These charged molecules are very reactive and can cause a lot of good or a lot of trouble, depending on the dose.

The reason we can detect sourness at all is so that we can gauge the acidity of the food we are eating. If you take a shot of vinegar, for example, your mouth will pucker, and potentially form a few choice words in the process.  At the same time, your tooth enamel will wear and the skin of your esophagus take some damage. Your body is pretty good at disliking things that will do you harm.

For less offensive foods, the reaction is less universal and becomes a matter of personal preference. Some people (myself included) really enjoy a light-roasted Ethiopian in all of its delicious sparkle and brightness. Others feel that the acidity distracts from other flavors, or else they have negative side-effects like heartburn associated with the sourness.

If your coffee is under-extracted or left out too long it might be called ‘sour’ - which is how coffee folks talk about acidity in a negative way.  

If you buy a light roasted coffee, or one harvested at a higher altitude, your cup might be ‘bright’ - the term we use for vibrant favorable acidity.

A few of the main and tasty acids in coffee include citric acid (think lemons and raspberries), acetic acid (think vinegar), and malic acid (think grapes and apples). The level of these acids present in your finished cup depends on a lot of factors.  Here are just a few:

FACTORS YIELDING MORE ACIDITY

  • Grown at higher altitude
  • Higher soil mineralization
  • Washed processing post-harvest
  • Lighter roast
  • Finer grind
  • Hot brewing
  • Less brew time*

FACTORS YIELDING LESS ACIDITY

  • Grown at lower altitudes
  • Lower soil mineralization
  • Natural processing post-harvest
  • Darker roast
  • Coarser grind
  • Cold brewing
  • More brew time*

*Brew time and acidity is tricky.  Acids are fairly easy to extract from coffee, and for the most part the brew time has little effect on the true quantity of acid in the cup, but short brew times generally result in the perception of a sour cup.  This may be because the other flavor elements of the coffee have not yet extracted, so the acidity seems out of balance with the rest of the coffee.

Since there are many distinct types of acids present in coffee, the perception of  bad and good acidity can come from different chemicals altogether. Acidity can develop after a cup of coffee is left on a table unconsumed for more than 30 minutes. This isn’t acidity that was extracted from the beans, this is a chemical breakdown as the coffee cools. This may be due to the development of high levels of quinic acid - not any of the tasty acids that that were in the bean at the start.

Here’s the take away: if you truly hate acidic coffee, go for an Central or South American-origin natural process cold brew.  If you, like me, love bright, sparkling, fruity coffees, it’s a shot of washed Ethiopian espresso all the way. No matter what, be sure that your coffee is freshly roasted and freshly brewed.

Barista Mixology Series: Sweet Bombay

Recipe by Eli Masem, Photography by Jonathan Mora

Sweet Bombay

(serve in a cappuccino cup)

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

  • 1.5-2oz of Espresso
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cardamom extract
  • 2 cups raw sugar
  • Whole Milk
  • Pistachio (Ground to a sea salt coarseness either in a spice grinder or with a small food processor)


HOW TO

  1. Make vanilla cardamom simple syrup by bringing to a boil two cups of raw sugar and two cups of water, mixing until all sugar dissolves. Add one tablespoon of vanilla extract and less than a teaspoon of cardamom extract and there you have it. This can be stored up to 2 weeks in the fridge and is also great in cocktails or poured over ice cream.
  2. Brew 1.5 to 2 ounces of espresso into cappuccino cup.
  3. Steam whole milk as your would for a cappuccino.
  4. Mix espresso and 0.5oz vanilla cardamom simple syrup in cup.
  5. Pour milk into cup.
  6. Dust with ground pistachio.

The sweet bombay is my espresso drink take on the Indian dessert, Kulfi. It's a bit like ice cream inundated with some exotic flavors (in this case vanilla and cardamom) and rolled in pistachio. I decided to tone down the sweet (Indian desserts tend toward the cloyingly sweet). Using a minimal amount of vanilla cardamom syrup and a final dusting of pistachio to close, the end result is rich and creamy but not overbearingly large or sweet.

Barista Mixology Series: Thai Eye-Opener

Recipe by Eli Masem, Photography by Jonathan Mora

Thai Eye-Opener

 (vegan, makes one 8–10 oz beverage)

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

• 1.5-2 oz. of Single Origin Espresso (preferably Ethiopian)
• ½ oz Lemongrass Simple Syrup
• 2.5 oz. Coconut Milk

HOW TO

1. Brew 1.5–2 oz. of single origin espresso. 
2. Measure out and combine ½ oz. lemongrass simple syrup and 2.5 oz. of coconut milk.
3. In a martini shaker ½ filled with ice, combine espresso and milk/syrup mixture.
4. Shake thoroughly and serve over ice.

To make the Lemongrass simple syrup, just chop up 3–4 stalks of lemongrass into 2–3 inch segments after peeling off the dirty outer layers. Crack the stalks so that they open up a little and bring to boil in a pot filled with 1 liter of sugar and 1 liter of water. When the mix comes to a boil and all of the sugar has been dissolved (stir well), turn off the heat and let cool. Typically you can find lemongrass at any asian market or specialty grocery store. I prefer slightly diluted coconut cream (equal parts coconut cream and water) because of its thick consistency but any coconut milk will be sufficient. The reason I recommend using a SOE from Ethiopia is that its fruity and floral brightness mixes well with the other tropical ingredients that make up the drink. 

I was looking for a way of combining some of the elements of my favorite things in the world: coffee and southeast Asian food/drink, and dreamt up the Thai-eye opener. I wanted an espresso drink that was cold, refreshing, creamy with coconut milk, and with a light tartness and sweetness, without losing the quality of the espresso. This drink is nice because it lets the customer play with some flavors that might be out of their comfort zone. It makes me think of steaming hot nights in Bangkok, Thailand, a city that seems to be equally busy day or night, anytime of the year. It's what I would want to drink while zooming around the streets in a Tuk Tuk (3-wheeled moto rickshaw) from one spicy food stall to the next until sunrise.