Gone Camping with Top Pot’s Camper Blend

Jenni shows us how to camp Top Pot-style.

This post was written by: Jenni Jobe

Summer is not complete in my mind without a camping trip or two–or twelve! One of the essentials of a good camping trip is a good cup of coffee in the morning, which has not always been an easy thing to come by.  But it is possible, especially with Top Pot Coffee Roasters (in house at our 5th Ave café) freshly roasted coffee. Amongst the mountains and trees of the Pacific Northwest, combine our Camper Blend coffee with a trusty brew method, and you can wake up at your morning campfire and enjoy!

Recently I went camping with a big group of friends, and I found the truth in the age-old adage of “if you brew it they will come”. Follow these steps and you too will be loved by your family and friends the whole camping trip. I was deemed the “camping coffee master,” and you can too. All it takes is bringing along a trusty brewer, picking up some Top Pot Coffee on the way outta town, and putting it all together when you reach your campsite. So pack up your gear, fill up a couple coolers, grab the coffee, and put up a “Gone Camping” sign. It’s time to get away from it all and refresh your soul in the great outdoors.

Reasons to bring Top Pot camping:

  • Increase your popularity amongst your friends. Doughnuts make everyone happy and having quality coffee while camping is hard to come by.
  • Keep your weekday morning routine and kick start your day of adventures in the wilderness.
  • Support Top Pot’s Camper Blend.
  • Invent a new type of s’mores with top pot doughnuts.
  • And remember: If you brew it, they will come.

Top Pot Camping Timeline

Friday 3p.m.
Take off from work a bit early, load up your gear and coolers and hit up your local Top Pot Café. Grab a dozen doughnuts, a cold brew coffee for the road and a bag or two of the Camper Blend for coffee provisions through the weekend in the mountains and trees. You can even have your coffee ground at the café.

Friday 6p.m.

Arrive and set up camp! Once the tents and sleeping bags are set for crawling into at a later hour, and dinner is in the works, find out where that box of doughnuts ended up. Ensure you get your favorite before the early bird catches the doughnuts in the morning before you roll out of the tent.

Saturday a.m.

Roll outta the tent and grab a doughnut to tide you over till the rest of breakfast is ready. Get your hot water started so you can get that coffee brewing. If you brew it, they will come.  And you will be loved. For full effect use Top Pot Coffee Roasters Camper Blend.

Sunday a.m.

Repeat steps from Saturday morning. Insider tip–if you train someone on Saturday you can sleep in on Sunday and roll outta your sleeping bag to coffee that’s already made!

Camping Brew Methods:

French Press

Top Pot French Press

The French press is a great way to brew multiple cups at a time and makes a nice full bodied cup of coffee. I recommend grabbing a stainless steel one as they’re more durable and you don’t have to worry about it breaking at the campsite.

  1. For every cup of coffee, put two tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee into the French press. Fill half way with water at about 200 degrees, or just before boiling. Make sure all the grounds are saturated with water.
  2. Brew for 1 minute and 30 seconds to allow the coffee to bloom. Stir and fill the press the rest of the way with hot water, leaving enough room to rest the plunger on top.
  3. Continue brewing for another 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Now you can plunge slowly. Sometimes you’ll feel a little resistance; that’s OK. Don’t force it, you can always pull the press up a little and then continue pressing down. Pour and enjoy!

ChemexTop Pot Chemex brewed coffee

The Chemex will impress your friends and up your hipster game. This hourglass shaped brewer uses a thick paper filter to produce a smooth cup of coffee. This is also a good method for brewing a few cups at a time when you are making coffee for the whole camp site. The Chemex is slightly more technical than the French Press, however it is one of my favorite methods for brewing coffee.

  1. Place a cone-shaped paper filter in the top of the Chemex. Make three folds on one side of the filter and one fold on the opposite side to create a cone shape. Arrange the three fold side toward the front spout and one fold toward the back.
  2. Dampen the filter with warm water to preheat the brewer and rinse out the filter, pour the water out of the spout to discard.
  3. Use two tablespoons of medium-course ground coffee per cup. Place coffee into the deepest part of the filter.
  4. Heat your water to about 200 degrees or just before boiling. Pour enough water to wet all of the grounds and let sit for 30 seconds to allow the coffee to bloom.
  5. Pour your hot water in an even circular motion leaving about ¼-inch of room at the top of the brewer. Once the water filters through the coffee, repeat this step with a second pour to complete the brew.
  6. Remove filter once all the water has brewed through and discard into compost. Pour and enjoy!

Aeropress

The Aeropress is perfect for brewing single cups of coffee relatively quickly, and it’s small so it is a convenient space saver, especially if you’re backpacking to a campsite. It is also great when people are rolling out of their tents at varying times.

  1. Place a filter in the cap and fit the cap onto the chamber. Set the chamber onto a steady mug and put one scoop of finely ground coffee into the chamber. Give it a little shake to level out the coffee.
  2. Pour 200 degree, or just before boiling, water into the chamber up to the number 2.
  3. Stir the coffee for 10 seconds. Insert plunger at an angle and pull up slightly to create a seal. Press down gently for 20 to 60 seconds until you hear the hiss of the escaping air.
  4. Remove the chamber from your cup and add 6 ounces of water for one cup of coffee.

You can adjust the amount of water based on your preference; the less you use the stronger the coffee will be. To clean, remove the cap and push over the grounds. The coffee puck will pop right off, ready for compost! Rinse with water.

The History of Cold Brew Coffee

The history of summer’s favorite drink.

With summer in full swing, many coffee drinkers turn to cold brew coffee to get their morning fix. Delicious, thirst-quenching, and packed with caffeine, cold brew coffee is more popular than ever. But how did this powerful drink come to be? The answer is more complex than you might expect.

Coffee–Kyoto Style

The Japanese have been cold-brewing their coffee since the 1600s. Some people believe that the practice was passed on to the Japanese by Dutch traders who cold brewed their coffee to store on their ships. It was an easy way to keep large quantities to reheat later.

Whatever way the Japanese first discovered the cold brew method, it became immensely popular. The Kyoto style of cold brew may have changed over the years, but the current method is beautiful to watch. Water is dispensed, one drop at a time, through the coffee grounds and into a lower collection chamber. This brewing style creates coffee that is very aromatic with a light body, which is especially nice on a hot day.

Toddy—It’s All in the Name

Have you ever wondered why some people called their cold brew “toddy?” I did too.

In 1964, Todd Simpson, a chemical engineering student from Cornell, was introduced to a Peruvian-style of coffee extraction. It wasn’t long before inspiration struck. Simpson created and patented The Toddy. The system was first created with the same goal as the Dutch, to cold-brew coffee which would then be heated up before consumption. This would reduce the coffee’s acidity. Sensitive stomachs around the world rejoiced!

It wasn’t long before Simpson’s discovery was being used to create both hot and cold brewed coffee. Thus the modern era of cold brew coffee was born.

Re-discovery

The history of cold brew coffee is a circuitous journey filled with lots of re-discovery. As far as I can tell, different groups of people created this delicious beverage at different times, each thinking that they had been the first to discover it.

For example, a section in Scientific American reported the cold brew concept as early as 1847. They called it “essence of coffee” and deemed it “genuine stuff.” It seems that it was even bottled and available for purchase.

All of these stories of re-discovery have lead me to one conclusion: cold brew is a globally loved beverage. No matter what the reason, as a society, we will never be without our cold brewed coffee.

Cold Brew—What Top Pot Makes Today
Top Pot’s practice for making cold brewed coffee is called the immersion method. We combine coarse ground Guatemalan coffee and water, carefully monitoring the PH levels while steeping the mixture in a refrigerated environment at a consistent temperature for 24 hours.

It takes trial and error to find the perfect water-to-coffee ratio. Most experts say to start with 3/4 cup coffee beans for every 4 cups of water.

This process may seem time consuming, but it’s a small price to pay to create the delicious coffee you’ve come to consider your go-to summer drink.


When did you first discover cold brew coffee? What’s your favorite way to get your summer coffee fix? Let us know in the comments below.

We love making cold brew coffee, and we want to share that love with you. Make sure to check back in on the blog for details on an exciting cold brew happy hour coming soon to all cafes!

Top 5 Iced Drinks to Beat the Heat

Here are our picks for the top 5 iced drinks to keep you cool this summer.

The days are long, the sun is out, and everyone is looking for a way to beat the heat. It must be mid-summer. One sure-fire way to cool down on a hot day is with a delicious iced beverage. Here are our picks for the top 5 iced drinks to keep you cool this summer.

Italian Soda

Made with soda water, flavored syrup, and the optional cream and whipped cream, Italian sodas are more than just a good way to stay cool. These delicious handmade sodas are a work of art. The swirls of brightly colored flavor mixed with crystal clear soda water and fluffy white cream bring to mind something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Whether you’re in the mood for the sweet-but-tart zing of raspberry, or more of a creamy vanilla vibe, Italian sodas will always be a great choice.

Iced Ovaline Latte

The Ovaltine latte is a Top Pot specialty. We’ve been mixing up a combination of espresso and milk combined with Ovaltine’s delicious chocolate malt powder for years. Although it’s a regular drink for many of our customers, it’s sometimes over-looked as an iced drink.

Pro tip: Try it blended for an even cooler drink!

Sproda

Ah, the sproda. This popular drink can raise a few eyebrows due to its interesting name. Part espresso, part soda, the sproda is a carbonated beverage with espresso. It follows the same basic principles as an Italian soda. Carbonated water and espresso are a must, but flavored syrup, cream, and whipped cream are definitely suggested. As one customer said to me after his first taste of the sproda, “that is weird and amazing.”

Smoothies

It goes without saying that smoothies are always a great choice for summer. With endless flavor combinations and a base of healthy fruits and vegetables, what’s not to love? Any flavors can work well for a tasty smoothie, but you can really add bang for your buck by adding ground flax seeds, avocado, or even coconut oil to your drink. These additional ingredients will keep you feeling full even longer.

Cold Brew

When it comes to the perfect iced drink, nothing hits the spot quite like cold brewed coffee. Brewed in cold water for 12 hours, this thirst-quenching drink is packed with caffeine and will get your day started off on the right foot.

Pro tip: If you have a sweet tooth, add a little condensed milk to your cold brew to liven things up!

What’s your favorite iced drink for a summer day? Is there something we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

5 Reasons to Bring Your Work to a Coffee Shop

“I usually bring what I’m working on to coffee shops because, with as many puns as you can imagine are intended, it helps the bundle of ideas in my head percolate and drip by drip their way to life.” –– Tom Robbins

This post was written by Josh Zinn.

J.K. Rowling does it. So did Gertrude Stein, Franz Kafka, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Heck, even unabashed tea-drinkers like Stephen King have, most certainly, done it from time to time. All across the world, in fact, people are doing it right now and, in all probability, you have too. Whether it’s the next Great American Novel being wrought out or a clever spin on tomorrow’s investment report, there’s no denying coffee shops have long served as a prime location for folks to get their creative juices flowing and hungers––not to mention caffeine fixes––satiated.

Why is this? What is it about the environment of our neighborhood coffee purveyors that directs our minds to a level of productivity which our offices and cubicles cannot? Is there something in the water? Perhaps in the doughnuts and assorted pastries we nibble on? Or is it simply a combination of comfort, familiarity, and delight that can only come from a place many consider to be their home away from home?

In addition to whichever reasons works for you, here are five more reasons coffee shops are fantastic places to bring work to and to get work done.

  1. Community: Coffee shops have become the modern-day town meeting hall. Where else can you count on seeing friends and neighbors on a daily basis, taking a break from their busy lives? Maybe you’re working on your thesis and need a little bit of friendly inspiration and encouragement to finish those last few pages? Maybe you’re in need of a babysitter so you can go out and celebrate having finally finished those last few pages? Chances are you’ll be able to find both––and a little friendly gossip––at the coffee shop.
  1. Caffeine: Yeah, it’s a need. Don’t deny it and don’t deny your overworked brain the pleasure (and relief) it provides too. When the day is looking dark, you need to wake up, and even your yawns are yawning, that triple-Americano you just ordered will work better than any buzzing alarm clock––just try not to hit its snooze button.
  1. Fewer Distractions: Sure, your neighbors are here, and you’re getting the 411 on what’s happening in the community garden, but chances are your boss or professor isn’t and that can often make a HUGE difference when you need to finish something without someone gawking over your shoulder. Bringing your work to the coffee shop still shows you’re getting out of bed and getting things done, but, gosh darn it, you’re doing it on your terms and with a coffee by your side.
  1. Ambiance: There’s something to be said for the sound of coffee grinding and the hiss of milk steaming. Take a hint from Goldilocks: When the din of TV or radio is too much to bear and the sound of silence is something best left to Simon and Garfunkel, the lulling, dulcimer tones of the coffee shop can provide just the right amount of background noise to get your mind a’movin’.
  1. Delicious Food: Let’s face it, sometimes we all need a treat––especially when we’re knee-deep in a project and have no clue where to go or what to say next. Though by no means a scientific study, I’d wager to say there’s a direct correlation between the smile that comes from that first bite of an old-fashioned doughnut and the congratulations you receive at the office for a job well done. Coffee shops stock themselves with all the tasty things we aren’t likely to find in the break room and you, me, and we are all the better for it.

Needless to say, there are a myriad of reasons why coffee shops have long been trusted with not only our bellies, but our brains too. Did you recognize some of your own here? If not, what are some of your favorite reasons for working on stuff in a coffee shop?

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have an essay to write and a cappuccino to sip.

How to Host a Top Pot-Inspired 4th of July Party

It’s almost time for the big midsummer celebration. That’s right, can you believe it’s the 4th of July already? The 4th has always been one of my favorite holidays; the weather is warm, the days are long, and there is a feeling of celebration in the air.

Here are some Top Pot inspired ways to spice up your Independence Day. Almost all of these items are available at our cafes, but all can be replicated at home! Feel free to drop by the stores for the supplies you need, or try your hand at them in your own backyard.

Raspberry, White, and Blue

There’s nothing like a refreshing Italian soda on a warm summer day. These thirst-quenchers can easily be made into a perfect celebratory drink. Use raspberry, vanilla, and blackberry syrups in soda water to create a patriotic treat. Or, layer these flavors to create a flag in each cup. Start by pouring the raspberry syrup, then slowly pour blackberry syrup on top. Vanilla can be added after that, or can be substituted with a little splash of half and half.

As American As Apple Fritters

Top Pot Doughnuts Blueberry Fritter

Blueberry fritters are one of Top Pot’s featured summer doughnuts, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Serve a mix of our apple and blueberry fritters as a sweet appetizer or as a pairing with your after-dinner coffee.

Espresso Topped Ice Cream

There are lots of amazing recipes out there for espresso ice cream toppings (I have a whole list I want to try). The easiest way is to melt one tablespoon of espresso powder in four tablespoons of hot water. Once dissolved, pour over vanilla ice cream and serve.

If you really want to liven things up, add one tablespoon of Ovaltine powder to the espresso powder before melting. This will transform your plain old vanilla ice cream into a dessert version of Top Pot’s classic ovaltine latte.

Cold Brews for a Hot Day

Cold Brew Coffee Top Pot Doughnuts

Spending a day out in the sun can be exhausting. Serving a cold brewed coffee is a great way to jump start your second wind. Cold brew is made by steeping coarse-ground coffee beans in water for an extended period of time–usually 12 hours or more! Serve this super caffeinated drink as the sun sets and the fireworks begin.

Doughnut Dessert

patriotic sprinkled doughnuts

No 4th of July party would be complete without dessert. This year, why not mix up the traditional dessert offerings and create a doughnut cake by stacking Top Pot’s vanilla cake doughnuts on your serving tray. These doughnuts have a patriotic theme and require less clean up than sheet cakes or pies.

What are some of your favorite Independence Day foods? Let us know in the comments below.

Father’s Day Special at Top Pot

Father’s Day is coming up and we want to honor all you dads out there with a Father’s Day gift card special.

Starting Monday, June 13, a $10 gift card can be purchased for only $5. Take dad out for his favorite doughnut and coffee and still have enough to get something for yourself. It’s our way of saying thank you for making your family part of Top Pot’s family.

This offer will run through Father’s Day, Sunday, June 19, and is available at all locations.


In the spirit of the holiday, I asked some of our younger patrons to tell me what they thought was their father’s favorite doughnut. Here are some of the answers:

“…I’m not sure what would be my dad’s favorite doughnut. I’m probably pretty sure he likes them all.” – Daniel, age 6

“Umm…I don’t know. I only know the ones that I like.” – Olivia, age 10

“My dad doesn’t eat doughnuts, he just drinks the… [whispers to dad] …the expresso” – Matt, age 8

“I eat the top and my dad eats the rest.” – Jackson, age 5

“If I had to guess, I’d say my dad is a cinnamon sugar old fashioned.” Katelyn, age 16

“Glazed because he’s big like the glazed doughnut.” Madison, age 8

Happy Father’s Day from all of us at Top Pot Doughnuts!

5 Things to Know About Top Pot Coffee

When you think of Top Pot, you probably think about hand-forged maple bars and delicious old fashioned doughnuts. What you may not know is that we’re also coffee roasters. Our passion for quality extends beyond our doughnuts and is reflected in every aspect of the roasting process.

Here are the five things to know about Top Pot coffee.

100% Arabica

There are many different varieties of coffee bean, but Top Pot’s coffee is made from 100% specialty grade Arabica coffees.

Arabicas have a wide taste range, but tend to be sweet and fruity in flavor. In comparison to Robusta (another commonly used type of coffee), these beans have almost double the concentration of sugars. They grow slowly, taking several years to mature. One tree can produce anywhere from one to twelve pounds of coffee a year.

From Latin America to Africa, our coffee is sourced from the best co-ops and estates in the world.

Small Batch Roasting

Top Pot coffee is roasted in small batches, by hand, on our traditional cast iron coffee roaster.

Small batch roasting means that we can pay attention to every detail of the roasting process. With our concentration so tightly focused, we’re able to respond to each batch’s needs and make sure every bean is the highest quality.

Over Ten Years of Hand-Roasting

Top Pot has been hand-roasting since 2002. All of our coffee is made in downtown Seattle at our 5th Avenue location.

A Wide Selection of Coffee

Top Pot is proud to offer 5 proprietary blends:

  • Diplomat (Drip)
  • El Presidente (Espresso)
  • Decaf (Drip and Espresso)
  • Federale (Drip and Espresso)
  • French Roast (Drip)

We also have a variety of single origin coffees and seasonal blends. Come by any of our cafes to check out the selection.

Our Philosophy

At Top Pot we believe that coffee should be allowed to speak for itself! That’s why we roast on the lighter side of the roast spectrum to let the subtle nuances of our coffee really come through in the cup. Most of our blends are a full city roast, which leaves the coffee at its sweetest. This allows the coffee’s distinct flavors to come through.

Stop by any Top Pot cafe and get a free 12 ounce cup of drip. Simply show the barista this blog post and bam! You’ll be caffeinated in no time. It’s just our way of saying, “Thanks for reading!” This offer is good through Sunday, May 29, 2016.