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All Coffee Is Not Created Equally

To prove it, we invited Ally, a.k.a. @FTLauderdaleFoodies to Next Door for a blind taste testing with Dan Franklin of @BrewUrbanCafe.

For those of you who are not aware of the distinction between Next Door at C&I and Brew Urban Cafe, know this…

Next Door at C&I is the space, the culture, the well-known colorful bookshelf, the glass bay doors overlooking the train tracks… basically, Next Door is the atmosphere. We collaborate with BREW from 7 AM – 7 PM to bring our guests the best of specialty coffee before the bar opens for business at 5 PM for Happy Hour.

Since the beginning, we have focused our strengths on everything Fort Lauderdale, so partnering with BREW was a no-brainer.

It’s also why we host a diverse range of community events centered around local artists, live original music, and the Monday blues all leading up to the monthly FATVillage Artwalk on the last Saturday of the month.

Now, back to business…

Specialty Coffee in Fort Lauderdale

The Blind Taste Test with @FTLauderdaleFoodies

Ally was on the hunt for a local spot where she could enjoy specialty coffees, fresh, quality bites and the occasional artisan cocktail, so we invited her to Next Door to sample the goods… with a twist.

We couldn’t just offer up the best of what Next Door has to offer without putting her to the test.

During her visit, we set up three coffees without telling her which one was BREW’s and which were the imposters.

Two of the coffees were there to test her palate.

Turns out, @FTLauderdaleFoodies does indeed have a well-developed palate… and no shame when it comes to criticizing something she doesn’t like.

She easily narrowed down the imposters, summing up options one and two as watered down caffeine and burnt muddiness respectively. The third option [from BREW] she liked the most, describing the complexity of the roast and the unique nutty flavors that stood out in each sip.

Phew, that would have been a disaster. 😉

Specialty Coffee in Fort Lauderdale

After guessing correctly, Dan shed some light on how the flavor profile and complexity of our specialty coffees elevate the guest experience.

“When it comes to specialty coffee it seems like every new coffeehouse touts the superiority of their products,” he started. “But… the quality of the product is only half of the equation.”

The secret to top-quality specialty coffee in every cup comes down to the baristas preparing it daily.

Dan compared it to baking cookies. Timing is everything. The ingredients could be assembled perfectly, but if you screw up the baking process you screw up the end result.

That’s what it all comes down to: timing.

Since each roast is different [literally every batch], the barista’s knowledge of the coffee’s origin really comes into play. Knowing the product dictates the most important steps in the brewing process.

Just as wine sommeliers need to maintain comprehensive knowledge of different varietals, their regions, the soil, and so on, so does a masterful barista need to know the farm where the coffee was grown, the recommended grind size for the coffee bean, the richness of the roast, the best ratio of water to coffee bean and how all of those minute details can be balanced in the brewing process.

It’s not like the baristas at BREW get in a new batch of Ethiopian beans, brew it that same day and hope for the best. Dan experiments with timing until the ratio is exact.

That’s why @FTLauderdaleFoodies could taste the difference between our specialty coffees and the imposters without second-guessing.

Specialty Coffee in Fort Lauderdale

After guessing correctly and proving her foodie superiority, it was time to treat Ally to our top selling sandwiches and the cocktail of her choosing.

The Avocado, Egg & Cheese – Though Ally doesn’t prefer eggs, she enjoyed this sandwich. Her one recommendation: add bacon. We’re sure we can all agree to that!

The Avocado Toast – According to @FTLauderdaleFoodies, “This is a really delicious guacamole spread!” Need we say more?

Specialty Coffee in Fort Lauderdale
Specialty Coffee in Fort Lauderdale

While snacking, Ally tried the Maya Angelou [Gosling’s black seal rum, ginger beer, and lime]. Though the conversation shifted to planning an event for her followers [possibly at Next Door] before we could get her feedback, the glass was empty by the time she left.

Since our kitchen is so new, we’re giving our regulars a say in what goes and what stays… with @FTLauderdaleFoodies being our first major culinary guide.

Our focus is on creating delicious food that is healthy and balanced yet filling. We strive to keep calorie counts low and nutrition high. It’s also one of the reasons we focus on providing quality breakfast options.

We also want to continue supporting local! We currently serve bread fresh from Gran Forno on Las Olas. As our menu develops, we’d like to incorporate more local goods, so if you have any recommendations don’t hesitate to let us know! Who knows, we may even name our next signature dish after you as we did with our favorite lunch salad The Cordell.

Specialty Coffee in Fort Lauderdale

If you’ve yet to order from our new food menu or try our new signature cocktails, no hard feelings. We haven’t always been a cafe, eatery, and bar.

We integrated a fresh kitchen and opened up the bar full time to give all of you awesome people a place to make your own — regardless of the time of day, or day of the week.

If you’re feeling productive? Grab a latte.

Craving a savory sandwich? Treat yourself to an Avocado, Bacon, Egg & Cheese.

Thinking of unwinding at Happy Hour? Take a page from Ally’s book and order the Maya Angelou.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, there’s always a seat for you at Next Door!

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