Cold Brew at Tempe's Crepe Bar: Enjoy on Location or Grab a Bottle to Go
Jake Adler and Shelby Moore
The things you find out about your barista.
Shelby Moore of south Tempe's hub for stuffed goodness, Crepe Bar, is a journalism student (full disclosure: he once interned for Chow Bella). When he isn't busy hitting the books, he can be found in the restaurant whipping up tasty coffee drinks that pair nicely with owner Jeff Kraus's sweet and savory crepes, or make the restaurant equally inviting if it's simply a java fix that you desire. Though, we have to say, it takes some Herculean strength to walk out of there crepe-less.
Crepe Bar's Bottled Cold Brew
Geeking out about coffee these days often involves the inclusion of two words: cold brew. The somewhat self-explanatory method involves developing coffee without utilizing a heat source. Crepe Bar is no stranger to this process, doing its in what Moore calls "the old-fashioned way."
He continues, "We grind the coffee into a porous bag and steep it in an airtight, large container of water, storing it in the fridge for a day," he says. "A little agitation, avoiding oxidation, and quality water go a long way. We filter for a clean, bright, and flavorful end product which pairs quite well with Jeff's food." You can almost see two little gleaming beans in Shelby's eyes as he pleasantly and knowledgeably discusses their method; insightful and educational without the know-it-all snobbery that often, and annoyingly, permeates coffee culture.
Moore isn't locked into any particular type of roast for Crepe Bar's cold brew. The only constant is using a coffee of choice which comes from >Heart Coffee Roasters of Portland, Oregon. He says that all of Heart's coffees are of a light Scandinavian roast profile and are not loaded with "ash-y" or "roast-y" flavors.
"It allows all the other great flavors of the soil and coffee variety to come through," he shares. "That adds to it being good straight from the bottle without any cream or sugar necessary."
They like to highlight one of type of Heart's coffee per batch. Recently, it was the Kenya Gichatha-ini with flavor notes including red grapes and caramel. Another time it was the Ethiopian Guji that highlights a blend of figs, rooibos, and lime. If you like Moore's suggestion of enjoying it straight out of the bottle, that's an option that Crepe Bar took beyond the concept stage. The deep brews with their mingling notes of flavor are bottled up and sold onsite. Shelby knows they weren't the first to do it, maybe just the first to do it locally, and he sees the act as a natural progression for many more locals. No worries, you can also get it in a regular ol' cup.
Thoughtful experimentation abounds at Crepe Bar. We were privy to one great way to enjoy the coffee that isn't a menu fixture currently -- Kraus made a macaroon using chickpeas that sandwiched a piece of salted chocolate. The cookie, atop a tiny beaker, encouraged a crunchy bite washed down by a shot of the hearty brew. Not only a dreamy experience for the taste buds, check out the pic that easily answers the questions, "What's cuter than a miniature beaker?"
Five fun facts about Crepe Bar's Shelby Moore:
1. He's a journalism student who could get used to being interviewed.
2. Most of his adventures are culinary.
3. His British accent is polished and quite lethal.
4. He spent a summer in Portland and appreciated Phoenix more for it -- this made him realize that anything is possible.
5. He is always ready for some pick-up basketball.
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