Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Preparing for the Rittenhouse Grand Opening!

After the months and months and months of planning, organizing, and doing, the OFFICIAL grand opening of Saxbys Coffee Rittenhouse is finally here! 

The Grand Opening that everyone is invited to, will take place all day tomorrow (Thursday, April 28th starting at 6am) and a sneak peek for VIP friends and family is occurring tonight (Wednesday, April 27th). 

A quick visit to the shop yesterday-- the day before the VIP festivities-- showed that as expected, a whole latte of changes had taken place in only one week's time...

 Lo and behold... tiled floors complete with inlaid hard-wood, a completed coffee bar, and tables and chairs? 

I think we've got ourselves a coffee shop! 

With a computer nook...
 Flat screen TVs have been mounted onto the walls, the laptops and printers are set-up... now the place is just in need of the final 
technological finishing touches (such as the table-mounted iPads).

 The 2011 business version of French windows have all been installed, 
easily opening up to let in all the beautiful 
Rittenhouse outdoor air, sun, and sights. 
 
Although everything on the inside has been falling into place, complications have kept the new Saxbys signage from being installed. 

Will the glorious new Saxbys Coffee signs be in place for the opening...? 
Only one way to find out. :) 

FYI: Some fun facts about our Grand Opening
  • 5% of all proceeds on the opening week will go to benefit our local chapter of Big Brother Big Sister.
  • We are currently looking for local artists to display their art (photography, pictures, etc.) 
  • There are still some barista positions available :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We've come a long way, baby

An exotic grocer previously stood on the corner of Walnut and 20th, and upon my first visit to the future Rittenhouse Saxbys Coffee, this is what I saw....

The store-front of Saxbys Coffee Rittenhouse (to begin with).
 The soon-to-be main sitting area. 
(Note the unfinished everything; floor, walls, ceiling..!)
 An old pink bathroom stood square in the middle of the future coffee bar. 
(This is the far back of the main dining area.)
This hall-way (under construction) that will lead to the new rest-rooms.

The exposed beams, blue-prints and hard-hat wearing construction crew made it clear that a "latte" of work was going to be taking place before the Saxbys Coffee Rittenhouse that I'd heard the owners talk so excitedly about --resplendent with iPads, computer stations, shiny hard-wood floors and big french doors that opened onto the outdoors-- was going to be a reality.

Every week after that first visit, I dutifully stopped by to photograph the progress, and at the time-- it was sometimes hard to appreciate the changes that were taking place. (After a weeks time, it's easy to forget that the white walls in front of you were previously metal bars, and that the back door that looks like it's always been there... wasn't.)

Due to a soft-spot for home make-over shows, I was expecting massive changes to take place immediately. 
Instead, there was this:

 A vestibule being built around the front-entrance...
And the beginnings of the main coffee bar against the far end of the main sitting area. (At the time of this picture taking, it didn't even register that the previous bathroom was gone.)

The following week, there was this:

 There was a flurry of people and activity during this visit, but to my eye-- the biggest change seemed to the newly laid flag-stone flooring laid in the front vestibule...
And most exciting to me-- a "Now hiring" sign hung in the window. 

If it was time to start looking for employees, surely the end had to be in near sight. 
Right? 

 The appearance of the main sitting area, 
as viewed from inside the front vestibule.
 Main sitting area...
 Directly in front of the future coffee-bar.
 The future behind-the-scenes, kitchen area.
 A glimpse of the coffee bar, from inside the kitchen area.
 Newly constructed doorways, one to the kitchen area, and one to a new restroom.
The front part of the main sitting room, that faces the 
corner of Walnut and 20th.

Upon viewing the seeming chaotic state pictured above, it seemed that construction was one of those processes where things had to get worse before they could get better...
Then, I stopped by last week, and oh.my.goodness.
Finally, I could see all the pieces coming together!
The view to the right, while standing in the front vestibule. 
This is to be the site of the future computer lab area.
 
 At last! The coffee bar can clearly be seen! The hard-wood floors, although saw-dust covered, look glorious! The walls are painted, and the ceiling is covered! I know you can't see the ceiling clearly in this picture, so you're just going to have to take my word for it. :)
Ta-da! A back-door in a place where no door was before...
The kitchen is beginning to look like a kitchen...
Granite slabs that will soon be counter-tops... 
 ...and the sweetest thing of all? The FroYo machine is here!

It has truly been a long time coming, and with the Grand Opening right around the corner (set in stone: 6am on April 28th, 2011!) I cannot wait to see what the place is going to look like during this week's visit. 

Stay tuned!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Want to be smarter in 15 minutes?

Bradley Cooper's latest movie "Limitless" is a fictional story about a pill that improves brain functionality... with mortal consequences. 
Fortunately, a chemical that boosts brain power does exist, with a significantly less cataclysmic after-affect. 
To increase the effectiveness of your brain functionality, all you have to do is drink some caffeine! 
A cup of coffee or tea is all it takes-- studies show that caffeine increases production of the hormone norepinephrine, which acts like adrenaline for your brain. By revving up your central nervous system, the consumption of caffeine improves your attention span and problem solving abilities.
The only peril to avoid with coffee? Make sure to cap yourself at about 2 cups... caffeine induced jitters can ruin that newly achieved focus!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cranking out the beans, and the smells, on-site in Conshohocken

One of the super cool things about Saxbys Coffee (obviously this post is completely unbiased) is that they have their own roasting facility located right in Conshohocken, PA. This is key for the Rittenhouse location, as the beans are roasted per order-- which means unbelievably fresh beans are constantly being transported to our Rittenhouse shop.

Located within the depths of Saxbys Coffee's roasting facilities are huge monstrosities of machines. Humongous and noisy, these things crank out as much aroma as freshly roasted beans. The entire Saxbys premises sits inside an almost palpable cloud of coffee fumes, and barely any signage is needed as a person's nose could deliver them right to the location... and yes, it is heavenly.)

Once the roasting process has been completed within the machine, the beans are poured out into a metal kiddie-pool sized container. Mechanized arms sweep through the beans, while cool air blows in from underneath in order to stop the beans from roasting anymore. The video below shows approximately 5 million pounds of coffee beans during the cooling process. (Ok, so maybe not quite 5 million, but it's definitely a lot of beans!)
Keep your eyes peeled for the quick shot of the coffee beans that are going to be roasted next-- they're literally green! 

If only all machines created delicious smelling emissions...

video

Monday, April 11, 2011

Do you think you know how to make Iced Coffee?

Finally! After a long, lingering winter, at last it is 80 degrees and sunny in our wonderful city of Brotherly Love. 
With the impending warmer weather comes some coffee concern; such as-- it's just not nearly as lovely to imbibe a hot cup of coffee when it's hot outside. 

Ingesting burning hot liquid, although delicious and energizing, only serves to raise your core-temperature... which is pretty much the opposite of what you want to do when it is hot outside.

The most elegant solution? Cold coffee. 
Now, creating tasty, cold coffee is is not quite as easy it seems. In order to give you the best working knowledge on the topic, here is a quick crash course on the science behind creating a delectable Iced Coffee, at home:

How to NOT make Iced Coffee

Some common mistakes:
Pouring hot coffee over ice: This just yields weak, watered-down coffee that isn't very cold.
    Adding sugar after it's cold: Sugar won't dissolve in cold water, so you get occasional sips full of crunchy sugar granules and otherwise unsweetened coffee.

    Adding flavor syrups without adequately mixing:
    By just dumping in some flavored syrup, your first sip will be sickeningly sweet because it's all syrup, then all subsequent sips are bland.  

    How TO make Iced Coffee

    Begin with strong coffee:
    The addition of ice will significantly dilute your final product, so you need to begin with strong coffee to get a good flavor. 

    Add sweetener: While the freshly made coffee is still hot, stir in your preferred amount of sweetener. (Sweeten slightly more than usual, per dilution factor described above.)

    Chill overnight: Do not add ice, just put the entire batch in the fridge to uniformly cool.

    When ready to drink, pour over ice: Serve over a lot of ice, and if you like, you can add some cream. Mix very well.

    Wait... then enjoy: Let the coffee and ice [and cream] sit for a minute to allow the ice to chill the coffee further and melt slightly. Then give it a final stir, and enjoy!

    So you want MORE flavor?
      Unlike sugar, flavored syrups mix just as well in cold liquids as they do in warm liquids. Feel free to experiment with flavored syrups, and add to the above recipe at the same time ice enters the mix. (Flavored syrups can be found in most grocery stores.) 

      Please feel free to let us know how your versions turn out, or share any Iced Coffee tips with us!