Carrboro Coffee Roasters held a special event at the aptly-titled Open Eye Cafe (101 S. Greensboro Street, Carrboro) on Thursday, 11/21 to introduce two new products created in conjunction with other local businesses. The La Providencia Oatmeal Stout (produced by Steel String Brewery) and La Providencia Coffee Ice Cream (created by Tar Heel Creamery) are made with Carrboro Coffee Roasters’ direct relationship coffee from the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. Both the beer and ice cream are awesome deviations from stereotypical coffee-flavored options, bucking the trend of overpowering flavors for a subtle enhancement of an already delicious product.
Upon walking into Open Eye Cafe, I was directed to the training room to taste some of the coffee-based items Carrboro Coffee Roasters have produced with these local partners. Since I was expecting to see a classroom or break room set-up, the array of professional grinders, digital scales, and espresso machines next to chemistry lab components made me feel just as likely to see Walter White as Juan Valdez.
The direct buying relationship allows Carrboro Coffee Roasters to give their growers a fair price in an otherwise loosely-regulated situation, and the beans they get in return are exceptional. Lighter and brighter in body and flavor, Lake Atitlan beans are a deviation from normal full-bodied, bitter coffees.
Steel String Brewery put together an oatmeal stout offering with the La Providencia coffee, and the resulting brew is great. Instead of a fake, nutty sweetness found in most coffee-based brews, the fruity notes found in this beer are organic and naturally pleasing. Less is more in this case, and tasting some coffee notes as opposed to a mouthful of beans was refreshing.
Will Isley, Carrboro Coffee Roasters’ Brewing Czar, explained the multiple-stage infusing and filtering that results in such quality, and hinted to this and other collaborations being more widely available in the near future.
Tar Heel Creamery’s coffee ice cream offering did not disappoint, either. Gelato-like elasticity and coffee influences highlight the vanilla-based ice cream produced only miles away. Typical coffee-flavored ice cream can be slightly over-powering, but this particular version is rich and flavorful without dominating the palate.
After explaining more of the roasting process to wide-eyed listeners, Scott Conary, president of Carrboro Coffee Roasters, put together the oatmeal stout with a scoop of the ice cream to create the “Triple Threat Float”. The ice-cold stout and the rich ice cream creates a thick, foamy top like a root beer float but have the balanced tastes to satisfy an adult sweet tooth.
Finishing the Triple Threat with a shot of espresso, I was in a caffeine-induced frenzy when I departed the Open Eye Cafe. The resulting products created by Carrboro Coffee Roasters and their collaborators are individual successes, and the Triple Threat is a one-of-a-kind adult treat. Keep your eyes peeled for more from Carrboro Coffee Roasters and their partners at a coffee shop near you.
Tar Heel Creamery’s Coffee Ice Cream available in spring 2014, and look for more coffee-infused brew offerings from Steel String Brewery in the coming weeks.