This is clearly the busy season for fooding. Too much is going on for any one person to cover it all. And I can’t even give you a reasonable summary of my own personal experiences in just one blog post.
As much fun stuff as I was able at attend, the list of events that I missed out on is even longer.
The pictures of food from the Chefs’ Consortium Bannerman Island benefit looked amazing as usual. I couldn’t make the Washington County Cheese Tour. I only found out about The Carrot Festival an hour before it began, and wasn’t able to change my schedule to attend. And naturally, I couldn’t be at the Hudson Valley Wine & Food festival while I was in Saratoga.
Amazingly I was able to squeeze in a few more things besides simply the two days of the food festival. For example, I found a way to visit kru Coffee. And I popped into the Superior Merchandise & Co anniversary party. That was a hard call, because it meant missing competing event at The Hill at Muza. But I really wanted more coffee.
So given everything that has transpired, how can I give today’s post even a modicum of focus? Well, how does anything come into focus? The answer is coffee. So let’s talk coffee.
Do this now. Look at your calendar and figure out when you can drive up to Exit 15 for a visit to kru Coffee. It’s on the north side of Saratoga Springs, which I guess puts it by Skidmore. What I know for a fact is that this new coffee playground is in the same shopping center as The Fresh Market.
Playground might be the wrong word. Batcave seems wrong too. But you may find yourself wondering, where do they get those wonderful toys?
In the role of Batman, you may find a familiar face in the form of Ryan Miller. He was one of the people responsible for opening up Caffe Vero on Lark Street, and who I credit for ushering in the first wave of great coffee to the Capital Region.
What does he have?
He has not just one Slayer espresso machine, but two. There’s a three-group one up front, and a smaller single-group one in the BRŪBENDER concept bar off to the side. Actually, that’s where a lot of the toys are, including some kind of siphon filter developed in Philadelphia called “The Dragon”. The cold brew is slowly dripping on two Japanese style towers back there too.
At the main bar, beside the ultra precise grinders are a series of steampunk coffee brewers. They look like a cross between a siphon and a french press, and will brew you a cup of any of the in-house roasted beans you fancy.
Yep. Ryan is roasting in-house. Roasting isn’t new for him either. He was roasting up in Lake George for Caffe Vero years ago. What has changed is that now there is a Hawaiian coffee plantation in the family, so the team at kru Coffee in Saratoga has amazing access to beans from farm to cup.
The space is large. There is free wifi. Plenty of parking. And great coffee. The staff knows what they are doing. They are using fantastic ingredients and incredible hardware. Remember how I said you really should leave coffee making up to the professionals? This is exactly what I’m talking about.
Hearing Ryan explain the innovations and level of control the Slayer espresso machine provides, I was jazzed to try a shot. This machine does something really smart. It gently pre-soaks the grinds to coax out more delicate flavors much like you would do when making a pourover. And the espresso it produces is ridiculously silky and rich with oils.
As I mentioned, the large three-group Slayer is at the main bar, but kru also has a single-group Slayer in the adjoining BRŪBENDER concept bar for doing fun experimental things, training new staff, and dialing in the grinds and brew times for new batches of beans. One fun treat made over in the concept bar is a combination of Ethiopian horizon gesha coffee concentrate, unfiltered ginger ale, ginger spice blend, and lime. This is called “Persistently”, and it’s fantastic.
All of that ginger and coffee is especially rejuvenating after you’ve been eating at a food festival all day and have walked off your wine buzz. Man, that hit the spot. The balance of flavors was incredible, and the coffee really shone through. What else is on the concept bar menu? I’m glad you asked. But remember, this will be changing all the time. As will the beans being turned into inky rich espresso.
Here’s the bottom line. Nobody else is doing anything like this in the area. Get there. Get there soon.