Zagat GOOGLE INC Travel & Local

Free App on Google Play

View

Q&A

5 Coffee Myths Debunked

By Rina Rapuano
February 25, 2014

Chris Vigilante, owner of DC-based Vigilante Coffee Co., fully admits that he originally got into coffee as a way to avoid the real world and elude the dreaded cubicle job. But what started as a long stretch of slackerdom while surfing in Hawaii has turned him into something of a java superstar among those who know coffee in DC.

Since returning to the area in 2011, Vigilante has spearheaded three coffeehouse pop-ups, his most current one at Hogo in Shaw. He intends to keep that one running until he can move into his permanent space in the upcoming restaurant/clothing store/coffee shop combo scheduled to open at 1351 H St. NE later this year. (Maketto, a project by Toki Underground chef-owner Erik Bruner-Yang, will also be under that roof.) 

“It’s a great time to be in coffee and have people appreciate it,” says Vigilante. “We’ve never had access to great coffee like we do now. It’s pretty damn similar to pot, wine or beer.”

Here are five myths and misunderstandings surrounding coffee that Vigilante would like to see debunked once and for all:

1. The freezer is best: “Everyone thinks they should store it in the freezer. It’s actually kind of the opposite. You can grow mold on the coffee if moisture builds up - and you don’t want to be drinking mold.”

2. Dark roast = more caffeine = more flavor: “Everyone thinks dark-roasted coffee has more caffeine. It’s the opposite - you actually roast out the caffeine when you heat it. The higher the temperature, the more you’re burning out the caffeine. I think people associate the stronger taste of the coffee with the higher caffeine content.”

3. Espresso is a bean: “It’s a process, not a type of coffee. You can make any coffee bean into espresso [by grinding it finely and brewing it in the style of espresso]. Some beans are roasted specifically to be brewed into espresso, but there’s no espresso bean.”

4. Coffee should be cheap: “Coffee is a commodity that's already undervalued, as far as I’m concerned. A lot of times farmers can’t make ends meet with the market price of coffee. Vigilante pays well above the market price for our raw green beans, and we pay based on quality - but it shows up in the cup. Consumers are used to paying low dollar, but that’s unsustainable. We’re eventually not going to grow enough coffee to supply everyone.”

5. Italians rule the coffee scene: “Everyone thinks Italians are the top dogs in coffee, and that’s not the case anymore. For Vigilante Coffee, we look to Japan, Australia and New Zealand for examples in the coffee industry. If you go to Japan or Australia, it will really blow your mind where they’ve taken the level of their coffee culture. The culture of Italy is more about quantity.”

Places Mentioned

Toki Underground

Asian • Atlas District/H Street Corridor

Food26 Decor22 Service24 Cost$22
 
 
 
 
Stay in-the-know with our weekly National newsletter.
 

Explore related content:

comments powered by Disqus