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BARISTA NEWS

America’s Best!

For the second year in a row, PT’s at College Hill has been named one of America’s Best Coffee Shops by The Daily Meal.

While there are many “Best Of” lists to be had, we are especially proud to place highly here. Curated by some of the best and brightest in our industry, they have compiled a group of high quality shops that represent talented staff, artisan roasters, and the best of the specialty coffee supply chain. Our industry is in the middle of a renaissance and it’s only getting better. With hard work and an eye towards the future, we strive to be the best and to give our customers and community the coffee experience they deserve. Congratulations to our entire staff, especially to our roasters and Retail Manager Forrest Wright.

 

The Daily Meal - America’s 50 Best Coffee Shops

The Daily Meal Top 50

What is it about the perfect cup of coffee that gets us out of our homes and into our favorite local coffee shop? Is it the artisanal, hand-roasted beans? Perfectly balanced lattes prepared by trained professionals? Maybe it’s just the comfy atmosphere of a great coffee shop that keeps us coming back for more.

America’s 50 Best Coffee Shops (Slideshow)

A truly great coffee shop has to feel special: some are like a cozy home away from home, others ideally sparse, like a clean blank slate in which you can revitalize. A place to recharge with a good book and a steaming drink or to chat up a friend over that perfect pastry you’re definitely going to stop eating after one more bite. The best spots have a bit of magic to them: ambiance with no pretense, friendly baristas, and of course, delicious coffee. Choosing your perfect shop takes time and patience, but once you’ve found it, you’re set for life.

Luckily, we’ve done some of the legwork for you with our latest list of the top spots for coffee in America in 2014. We scoured the nation from Portland to Florida looking for truly remarkable spots to pop into for a little cup of heaven. We measured the spots based on a wide range of criteria. First off, of course, we evaluated the coffee. The shops on this list use high quality beans and have close relationships with their roasters — or are the roasters themselves. Next, we evaluated the culture of the shop. What’s the point of going out for coffee if the space is dreadful? The shops on our list have created great coffee cultures, and even if they have multiple locations, each one feels like a unique, tight-knit community space. We also took the baristas into consideration. Preparing and serving complicated coffee concoctions is an art form, and on our list, we’ve included some of the best-trained, most knowledgeable baristas around. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the food! Although we didn’t weight the food as heavily as the coffee, we certainly paid attention to it. You’ll find coffee shops serving up James Beard Award-winning snacks along with some of the prettiest pastries around. A great coffee shop always leaves its customers eager for a return visit, and our list includes some exciting up-and-comers as well as established trend-makers too good for coffee lovers to miss.

To help us determine which shops around the country really stand out as spectacular, we asked a panel of experts to help us cull through all of the excellent submissions. Sarah Allen, editor and co-founder of Barista Magazine, weighs in on the process:

“I love and also hate nominating my favorite cafés in the United States — there are so many amazing ones to choose from, way more than ever fit onto one list. But really, this is a pretty great problem to have. The level of quality in both product and service in coffeehouses in the U.S. has put our country at the forefront of the specialty-coffee community worldwide. From micro-roasters with a fierce commitment to remaining completely hands-on from farm-to-cup, like Coava Coffee in Portland, Ore.; Verve Coffee in Santa Cruz, Calif.; and Colectivo Coffee in Milwaukee, Wis., to name a few; to the old guard that’s been succeeding at the specialty game for more than 20 years like PT’s Coffee out of Topeka, Kan.; to cafés that don’t roast their own coffee but insist on the very best from the brands they carry — I’m talking about you, BARISTA in Portland, Ore. — we have the kind of leaders in specialty coffee that other industries envy. They are smart and driven, insightful and humble, and passionate to the nth degree. I’m honored every day to walk among them.”

—Sarah Allen, editor & co-founder, Barista Magazine

Several of our panelists wished to remain anonymous, but we are pleased to acknowledge the invaluable help received from the following authorities in the field:

Sarah Allen, editor & co-founder, Barista Magazine

Park Brannen, Northeast Barista Champion

Pete Licata, World Champion Barista

Bill Walsh of The Pure Coffee Blog

9. PT’s at College Hill — Topeka, Kan.

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Kansas’ most well-known roaster-turned-coffee-shop is a standard for coffee in the area, thanks to the dedication of the owners, Fred Polzin and Jeff Taylor. After opening PT’s Caffe Espresso in 1993, the two quickly learned what it meant to serve great coffee, not mediocre coffee, which is why the duo soon began roasting their own coffee.

“We could have sold our small business many times and retired or launched another career that would have probably made us more money,” Taylor has written about PT’s. “But that’s not what we’re about. We are here to make great coffee and help our friends do the same.”

Their dedication has paid off with some much-praised roasts (including an award for 2009 Roaster of the Year from Roast Magazine), as well as PT’s at College Hill. The coffee bar serves Flying Monkey espresso as the standard for its stand-alone espressos, lattes, and other drinks, as well as its drip coffees in Chemex, French press, Trifecta, and pour-over. All that, plus a food menu that will make you drool (hello, Flying Monkey chef salad), and a rotating craft beer tap and cocktail menu. PT’s at College Hill puts Topeka, Kan., on the coffee map.

Earlier Articles

PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. is 21 years old this year and along the road there have been many changes. With an eye towards the future and an appreciation for the past, we are making changes to our lineup of Signature Blends. While continuing to strengthen old and make new Direct Trade partnerships, we have been redeveloping… Continue Reading

PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. will be closed Wednesday, January 1st in observance of the holiday but we will return on Thursday, ready to take on 2014! In celebration of the New Year, we are offering FREE SHIPPING to all retail customers* who order from our website during the month of January! No promo code required.… Continue Reading

Artisan Coffee Event!

PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. has teamed up with Espro and Williams-Sonoma for an exclusive Artisan Coffee Tasting! This Saturday, November 9th, from noon to 4pm, our baristas will be available in-store, brewing our coffee with the Espro Press at select Williams-Sonoma locations for this special event. We will be featuring our Kenya Ndaroini and El… Continue Reading

Tops in the Nation!

Thrillist has named us one of the Top 11 Roasters in the Nation. We are so pleased and honored to be included alongside such great company, especially when the list is curated by such respected individuals within our industry: Bill Walsh (Pure Coffee Blog), Jordan Michelman (Sprudge.com), Brian Jones (Dear Coffee I Love You), Kelly… Continue Reading

New Season, New Stuff

The leaves are quickening, the breeze has turned cold, and the days are getting shorter. For us here at PT’s Coffee Roasting Co., that means it’s time to gear up for the holidays. Some of our most anticipated Direct Trade lots will soon be on their way, including coffees from Finca Kilimanjaro, Finca Las Mercedes,… Continue Reading

End of Summer

It’s back to school time and the weather seems to already be thinking about Labor Day. It’s been cloudy and cool here as we mark the end of summer and anticipate the arrival of many new things with the change of season. Over at our cafe, PT’s at College Hill, we’ve been busy greeting the… Continue Reading

Congratulations PT’s!

When I first met Jeff Taylor on-site at our roasting operations facility I had no idea how much a simple and excited conversation with the man would change my life. Fresh from a summer of travels and language study throughout Italy, my impressions of coffee culture were turned completely on their head as I discovered… Continue Reading

Winter Storm and Current Offerings Update

Just as the sun was beginning to rise on Thursday, Winter Storm Q (as the Weather Channel likes to call it) came roaring into town. In the two hours between 6:30am and 8:30am, Topeka received 7 inches of snow and it continued to snow for several more hours, leaving us blanketed under nearly a foot… Continue Reading

UPDATE – THE BIG CENTRAL BARISTA COMPETITION

We are proud to announce that we will be co-hosting the North Central & South Central Regional Barista Competitions with Kaldi’s Coffee. The United States Barista competition was established in 2003 and is highly regarded in the specialty coffee industry. Each competitor is challenged by giving a 15-minute presentation where they must prepare 4 espressos,… Continue Reading

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