The Art of Coffee
With sustainably sourced beans and beautiful presentation of unique brews, owner of Anthology is on a mission to help people discover good java
Pulling up to Ponyride for the first time, you’ll see a classic, modern-day Detroit building — an old, formerly abandoned warehouse that’s been cleaned up and transformed. In this case, the warehouse is a local cooperative workspace for entrepreneurs.
It’s also where Anthology Coffee calls home. On the sidewalk out front there’s a sign that simply says “coffee” with an arrow that points to the right. Follow that sidewalk and you’ll find yourself inside a coffee shop known for its beautiful presentation of unique coffee varietals.
Anthology used to be a little tricky to find, with its location behind a graffiti wall in its early days (2013), but the shop has quickly built a reputation as a place to get a perfect pour of coffee. It does get crowded, but it’s still a quiet, not-yet-fully discovered, inspiring space to hide away.
“We get people that drive down from the suburbs that grab a coffee and pick up a couple bags for the week, we have people that walk over from the neighborhood, and we have working professionals from downtown and upstairs,” says owner Josh Longsdorf.
Entering the shop, you’ll find cement floors, minimalist décor, and a barista station in the center of the room. Pour over, espresso, and espresso with milk are available, as is cream and sugar.
Anthology houses sustainably sourced beans brought in from all over the world. Each one is put into a container for you to smell and choose, from a full spectrum of light and delicate coffees to full-bodied and sweeter options. A barista can help you pick the perfect match. Ardi from Ethiopia is one of the most popular offerings.
“One of the things that makes us unique is we actually don’t have any blends — we focus on single fruit varietal coffees. I personally feel the more you strip things back the more complex they become,” Longsdorf says.
Coffee is served in beautiful glass pitchers, and there’s no artificial flavors or syrups to be found. Prices are driven by the amount paid to the farmer, and quality drives Longsdorf’s buying process.
“We’ve established a great reputation now because we have a unique buying practice where we don’t ask for a price before we decide we want to buy a coffee, and we only ask for it after so that we’re not buying coffee based on price,” he says. “Currently we have a coffee where only seven bags of it was produced in the world, and we were asked to buy it specifically.”
Other places like Detroit Institute of Bagels, Trinosophes, Astro Coffee, Selden Standard, and more sell Anthology’s hand-roasted coffees.
Longsdorf talks about coffee like a sommelier would talk about wine, connecting the scents, tastes, and textures to the soils, climates, and plantations the beans come from. He tells stories about coffee being such a commodity in countries like Guatemala, security is needed to prevent people known as “coyotes” from stealing the beans.
Anthology is all about letting a roast speak for itself, Longsdorf says. “When you smell a green coffee bean before it’s been roasted, that should reflect the quality and taste you experience after the coffee’s been brewed too.”
Longsdorf is a coffee roasting expert who’s worked for nearly 15 years at coffee roasters from Portland to the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s also worked at places closer to home like Flint and Detroit, and started the roasting program at Commonwealth in Birmingham.
It takes 12 minutes for Anthology to roast its coffee beans, and Longsdorf does it all himself.
“There is a bit of an artisan approach to it, but to me it’s more of a scientific approach ... we are collecting data from three points while we roast: the actual temperature of the beans ... the air coming off through the roaster and onto the beans, and air entering the chamber where the beans are.”
The main mission is to help people discover good coffee. “One of the things we focus on in the café is education, so people can take coffee home and enjoy good coffee every day,” Longsdorf says. “I like coffee that makes you question what coffee is, where even the most layman person understands it’s more than just coffee.”
1401 Vermont St., Detroit; 313-355-4040; anthologycoffee.com
Cool Beans: Check out these 5 metro Detroit Spots
Chazzano Coffee Roasters
1737 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale
300 Hamilton Row, Birmingham
Germack Pistachio Company
2517 Russell St., Detroit
660 Woodward Ave., Detroit
Great Lakes Coffee
3965 Woodward Ave., Detroit
With slower, older coffee brewing methods increasing in popularity, skip the electric, single-serve coffee brewing machines like Keurig this year and try gifting a manual coffee-making system. You’ll get more control (and satisfaction) over the brewing process, which allows you to create a cup suited to your specific preferences.
French press is an easy method to brew great tasting coffee at home. Coarse coffee grounds work best for this method. A bolder flavor is bound to come through with this technique since the water steeps in the grounds instead of passing through. After four minutes, press down slowly with the plunger for the perfect pour.
What You'll Need
Freshly roasted coffee. Use 2 rounded tablespoons of coffee for every 8 ounces of water.
Tea pot or vessel to heat water
A French press coffee pot
(1) Measure and grind appropriate amount of coffee just before brewing.
(2) Wet all of your grounds with the hot water and fill the carafe about halfway. Stir the grounds to increase extraction — this helps to release carbon dioxide, also known
as the bloom.
(3) Add the remaining water, pouring evenly to the top.
(4) Place the plunger lid back on the press. Press down just enough to create a seal, and let the coffee brew for about 4 minutes.
(5) At about 4 minutes, the coffee is ready to press. Press down slowly. Align the spout so it’s ready to pour.
Serve and enjoy!
Pour-over is just as simple as the French press method, only with different equipment. This is an easy, elegant way to brew coffee that’s popular among professional coffee brewers and home brewers alike. Finer coffee grounds with the texture of smooth sand work best for this method. Stop by Anthology for a tutorial or follow these steps:
What You'll Need
Paper or metallic fiber filter
Brew basket or cone
Cup or thermal carafe
Freshly roasted coffee
Measuring spoon or scale
(1) Place paper or metallic fiber filter into brew basket. Use a small amount of hot water to pre-wet paper filters to get rid of any paper taste. Dispose of water used for pre-wetting.
(2) Place brew basket above cup
(3) Grind beans coarsely to roughly the size of granulated table salt. Grind in short bursts and give the grinder a few firm shakes between grinds. Add ground coffee to filter.
(4) With a gentle pour, saturate the grounds with water, allowing the coffee to bloom. Try to add only enough water to saturate the grounds; stop before coffee starts to flow from bottom of filter.
(5) Carefully pour remaining water and control brewing time (3-4 minutes) by slowing or stopping the pour as needed. Keep the water level in the cone between ½ and ¾ full for optimum brewing.
(6) Brewing is complete when the drip becomes irregular instead of a steady flow. Serve immediately and enjoy. —Casey Nesterowich