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Voice of the Borough | November 2017

From coffee, to beer, and tea in between, we explore the borough's best brews


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The

“Give a man a beer, waste and hour; teach a man to brew and waste a lifetime!” –Bill Owen

Press PUBLISHER Dan Mathers dan@thewcpress.com ADVERTISING MANAGER Nick Vecchio nick@thewcpress.com EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Skye McDonald skye@thewcpress.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Nazarena Luzzi Castro nazarenaluzzi.com CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Kate Chadwick kchadwick@thewcpress.com STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Sabina Sister sabinasister@gmail.com CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Amy Tucker amytuckerphotography.com

COLUMNISTS WC Food Co-op wcfoodcoop@thewcpress.com Becca Boyd bboyd@thewcpress.com Jamie Jones jjones@thewcpress.com Andrea Mason amason@thewcpress.com DJ Romeo romeo@thewcpress.com Published By... Mathers Productions 12 E Barnard Street West Chester, PA 19382 mathersproductions.com 610-344-3463 The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit thewcpress.com. For more information about specific distribution locations, visit thewcpress.com/distribution.

Worth

Noting

Our no-nonsense table of contents

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YOUR VIEWS ON BREWS We polled 100 readers about coffee, beer and tea

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THE BUSINESS OF BEER Meet the minds who drive success at Levante Brewing Company

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BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Mixing motherhood and cocktails with Katie DiSimone of Mercato

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CRAFT COFFEE In search of the best beans in the borough

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BUT FIRST, TEA A bit about the ancient elixir and where to get yours

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PHOTO HUNT Find the five differences between the two pictures and win!

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Letter

from the

Editor

Dan Mathers shares some personal insight about this month’s theme

If our survey is to be believed, few of our readers enjoy coffee, tea or beer nearly as much as I love all three. But then, I suppose that’s to be expected, because I consume copious amounts of each. I’d estimate I sip seven cups of tea, around 200 ounces of black coffee, and—don’t tell my doctor—but nearly a case of beer every week. Every. Week. In fact, I love these beverages so much that I’ve ritualized all of them; I have specific ways in which I enjoy my favorite fluids. I’ll indulge in a cup of Irish Breakfast or some Snapple here and there, but the vast majority of my tea consumption comes on weekdays shortly after dinner. I often tend to work late, so even after my evening meal, my mind is racing. I rely on a tea ritual to relax and prepare my mind for sleep. That means throwing a kettle on while doing the dishes, then pouring a cup (or two) of Sleepytime chamomile tea and settling into my corner of the sectional. As for coffee, my girlfriend and I have a 15-minute date every morning before work. Office hours for The WC Press don’t start until 10am, but I feel like more of a grown-up when I’m awake earlier. So, Morgan shakes me from my slumber around 7am Monday through Friday, and together we sip our black cups of coffee-flavored water before she heads off to confront her day. During the warmer months we sit on the patio, caffeinating with my homemade cold brew, and in cooler months Morgan preps a pot of drip coffee, using the aroma to coax me from beneath the comfort of the covers. She’s usually been awake for a while before I open my eyes—showered, dressed and garden watered, she then drags my groggy, half-clad self from beneath the blankets. But, the magical bean juice quickly brings me to life, and I’m wholly human before she says, “Okay, I’ve gotta go, or I’m gonna be late.” And then there's beer. Unless there’s a special occasion, I don’t drink booze during the week. My reasoning is partly to assert a certain element of self control but mostly because I get fat really easily, and beer is enemy number one. And so, I save those sips for Friday at five. I work diligently right up until that hour, but when 5pm rolls around, it’s beer o’clock. Even if I’ve still got work on my plate, I won’t hesitate to crack open a cold one. The weekend tastes like malt and hops. This issue covers all the best beverages. We check in on tea rooms and find out about an importer of Irish goods; we meet the roasters who burn some of your favorite beans; and I chat with the minds behind Levante Brewing. Then there's the aforementioned Fresh Brew survey. One of the questions we asked our readers was a hypothetical: if you could only have one of the following for the rest of your life, and you had to choose between coffee, tea and beer, which would you pick? It's a tough question, one that might be unfair for me to ask our readers, because it’s one I can’t really answer myself. Because, if I was forced to, if I had to give up two of them for the rest of my life, I suppose I’d choose... death. Nah, I’m just kidding. I’d pick coffee. —dan@thewcpress.com

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11/30/17

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11/30/17


Home

Grown

Suzanne Adams shares info on local food and the upcoming West Chester Food Co-op

In the eastern half of the United States, chestnuts were once a common local food. Native Americans so valued them that they practiced a form of silviculture, actively managing forests to enhance chestnut production. The trees were abundant in the east’s hardwood forests and billions of them covered the country from Maine to Florida, as far west as Arkansas. Not a one of them survives today. A bark disease, brought to the US from Asia at the end of the 19th century, devastated the American Chestnut. By 1950, they had had been entirely eliminated by the blight and American chestnuts disappeared from our tables. The American Chestnut Foundation describes the chestnut blight as the greatest ecological disaster to strike the world’s forests in all of history. The species survived for 40 million years and was wiped out in less than 50. Although Asian and European species exist, the American chestnut was considered superior, a faster growing tree with a sweeter nut meat. Sadly, we’ll never get to taste them. Most of the chestnuts sold in the US today are imported. However, American-grown chestnuts are making a comeback using blight-resistance species imported from China. The peak season for American-grown chestnuts is October and November. Properly stored (refrigerated), fresh nuts will keep in the shell for about three months, making them the perfect seasonal treat to incorporate in holiday menus. Roasted chestnuts were immortalized by Nat King Cole in The Christmas Song, and that’s always a good place to start for a simple and delicious preparation. To roast fresh chestnuts, remove them from the refrigerator and allow to dry and ripen for a day, to convert their carbohydrates into sugar. Chestnuts have a high water content, so you need to provide a way for steam to escape. Make a half-inch score in the base of the nut with a sharp knife (there are actually chestnut knives just for this purpose) and roast in a single layer over an open fire or on a grill. A long-handled popcorn popper works great. Roast until the shells curl and scorch at the score and the meat inside turns golden—maybe 30 minutes, depending on the fire. Don’t burn the meat! Alternately, you can roast them in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes. After roasting, wrap them in a clean cloth to keep them soft until they are cool enough to peel and eat. The nuts have an inner brown skin which should be removed when peeling. Chestnuts are low in calories and fat, compared to other nuts. They're rich in minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients and are gluten free. Chestnut flour is a delicious and healthy substitute for those with gluten sensitivities. You can pre-order American-grown, certified-organic chestnuts through the Food Co-op, thewcpress.com/CoopOrders, for pick up through our Local Food Program; deliveries begin 11/7. –wcfoodcoop@thewcpress.com Co-ops are businesses that are owned by and exist to serve the people who use them. West Chester Food Co-op is working to build a member-owned, full-service grocery store in West Chester. Learn more and join the movement at wcfood.coop

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THE BUSINESS OF BEER story DAN MATHERS | SABINA SISTER photos


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A History Lesson... It used to be that a brewery’s key to success was held by its marketing department. The American beer landscape was flat and barren—most beers tasted the same, and the consumer only expected that their beverage would get them drunk. Taste was, arguably, less important than simply having something to do. But then, in the late 1970s, President Jimmy Carter legalized homebrewing, and things began to change. Suddenly beer drinkers had options; suddenly beer had flavor—actually, beer had lots of flavors. A market once flooded with bland lagers and lite pilsners was being infiltrated by pale ales and bold breweries. By the mid-1980s the American craft beer revolution was already in full swing, although it took the average American consumer a couple decades to catch on. In 1980, there were only a few hundred breweries in America. By the late 2000s, there were more than 1,500. If we could define a specific moment when craft beer went mainstream, it

would probably be March 28, 2011. That’s the day that Goose Island Brewery—a successful and respected craft brewery based in Chicago—announced that Anheuser-Busch was buying their company for $38.8 million. Big Bud had seen the turning of the tides and was ready to get their feet wet. Others followed suit.

Suddenly beer drinkers had options; suddenly beer had flavor – actually, beer had lots of flavors. From that point on, America experienced an explosion of breweries. Any homebrewer who could produce a decent IPA dreamed of opening a brewery, and many of them did. The key to success in the ensuing years was simply being available. Breweries opened in cities and small towns across the country, capitalizing on what seemed an insatiable desire by American beer drinkers to try something new.

This expansion had a downside: the money in the industry meant that even breweries producing sub-par products were finding success by cornering local markets. They were able to build businesses on the premise of simply being different. But recently, it seems, beer snobs have caught on. According to the Brewers Association—a trade group representing more than 7,200 businesses in the beer industry—craft beer grew from representing 5.7% of the US beer market in 2011 to 12.2% in 2015. But from 2015 to 2016 it only grew by a 1/10 of a percent. Malt aficionados across the country began to ask, “Have we reached peak beer?” and entrepreneurs began to ask themselves, “What’s the key to success in this new market?” As with every market, there are many important factors that lead to success, but—luckily for beer drinkers—the primary driver in the coming market seems to be quality... and luckily for West Chester upstart Levante Brewing Company, that’s just what they’re offering.

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The Origin Story... Co-founders Tim Floros, and his brother-in-law Eric Santostefano officially opened Levante in February of 2015. While Eric has now taken a backseat, Tim serves as the company’s president and brewmaster. He’s been brewing for years. “I started homebrewing in my college apartment the winter after I turned 21,” he says. “I was obsessed with craft beer and how it was made, and after reading all of the books I could get my hands on, I went to the local homebrew shop and purchased a $100 brewing set.”

PRESIDENT & BREWMASTER TIM FLOROS

For some, consistently producing a quality homebrew might’ve been enough to build a business around, but it was just the beginning for Tim. He spent five years working for Matt Guyer, owner of the The Beer Yard in Wayne, PA, where he learned about the business side of beer. “Matt was a big supporter and mentor of mine in the industry.” Tim says. “I worked for him for five years, and he taught me a ton about how the craft beer distribution world works. He would critique my homebrews and insist that they improve every batch. That was just the kind of coaching I needed as a brewer and a business person.” Matt was also responsible for Tim’s consistent focus on quality. “He always said to me, ‘If the liquid isn’t great, don’t bother opening a brewery,’” Tim recalls. But, learning on the job wasn’t enough. Tim cultivated experience wherever he could find it. “Sam Calagione was probably the biggest brewer to influence me because he’s a passionate, against-the-grain type of entrepreneur. His book, Brewing up a Business, was like my textbook guide through the beginning stages of planning a brewery,” he said. If you’re not getting the picture yet, Tim—simply put—is a bit of a nerd, and that’s meant in the most complimentary way possible. He reads, a lot, has an eclectic taste in music and finds inspiration for beers in literature and podcasts. He’s the kind of guy who might rack up a multi-day win streak on Jeopardy. But he’s also sociable, funny and nice. Now, it often seems there are two ways people with Tim’s intellect turn

“If the liquid isn't great, don’t bother opening a brewery.” out. There’s the type who figure out how to coast by on their intelligence, happy to live an above-average life while putting in minimal effort, and there are those who recognize that, with hard work and determination, there are few limits to what they can achieve. Tim is most certainly the latter. This trait is illustrated by the way in which he and his team went about opening the brewery. Founding mem-

bers at Levante worked other full-time jobs, putting in hours at Levante outside the work week. Director of Brewery Operations Greg Harris, one of Levante’s first employees, regularly arrives at work on brew days as early as 4am. He says the hours are based on a combination of factors: excitement to begin the process, trying to get as much done in a day as possible, and lingering effects of the work ethic that’s stuck with him since the very beginning, back when he and Tim were doing the bulk of the brewing, just the two of them. “It used to be a sort of competition to see who could get in earlier on those days,” Greg said. “I think the earliest was like three o’clock.”

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DIRECTOR OF BREWERY OPERATIONS GREG HARRIS

Sudden Success... For a team that anticipated extensive self-funding, working multiple jobs and expecting slow growth, the biggest surprise for Tim has been just how rapidly Levante has caught on. “We honestly didn’t expect the demand for our beers to grow like it did. We were planning for a much steadier growth curve, but we couldn’t be happier with how things are going,” he says. Levante started off just kegging beers and delivering them to select bars during lunch breaks from their regular jobs. Today their taproom always has 20-some beers on draft, they’re still selling kegs to partner bars, and they have queues that loop around their warehouse on days when they release new canned and bottled beers. They’re anticipating a great turnout for their October 26 release, a limited edition beer that’s a collaboration between Levante and Hidden River Brewing Company. Tim describes this particular batch in the way you might expect a biochemist to describe their latest discovery. “This is a New England

IPA with lactose, and a combination of Simcoe, Idaho 7, and Vic Secret Hops,” he says. (If snagging a limited release sounds like something you’d be interested in, keep an eye out for Coffee Shoppe Terminology, a bourbon barrel-aged imperial coffee stout anticipated in late November.)

beer as he used to be, but while he’s been forced to step away a bit, everyone at the brewery still talks about how involved he is. Greg is ostensibly in charge of the brewing these days, but even he says it comes down to Tim, “He finds the inspiration, and we work together to execute the ideas he comes up with, to find the right flavors,” Greg says.

“We honestly didn't expect the demand for our beers to gro w like it did. We were planning for a much steadier gro wth curve, but we couldn't be happier with ho w things are going”

For someone as passionate as Tim, it’s easy to imagine him having difficulty stepping away from micromanaging and focus on the big picture, but he seems to be transitioning into the role. “When I started, I was concerned mostly with the beer and the brand; now I’m working with a team of people to become a better brewery and a better business,” Tim says. “That means team meetings and paperwork, as well as planning with our wholesaler and sales team, going to events at local bars and restaurants who support us, and the like.” But, that doesn’t mean he’s losing any of his excitement for the job. “It helps that I’m just as passionate about entrepreneurship as I am brewing, because it’s a difficult balance,” Tim says.

In addition to constantly rolling out new brews, this year they also launched Levante at the Stables, a beer garden located in Chester Springs. There are picnic tables and fire pits, live music and lawn games, and, of course, beer (and wine). With so much on his plate, Tim doesn’t get to be as hands-on with the

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As much as the Levante Crew, as they call themselves, might genuflect to Tim, he doesn’t hesitate to give praise to his team. He described brewer Tim Batog as doing “an amazing job with our artisanal program,” and said of assistant brewer Joel Sprick, who’s also in charge of quality control, “He’s integral to our ability to produce a consistent product, and he does great work in the lab.” When asked for specifics about a certain beer, he doesn’t hesitate to defer to Greg. This team mentality is reflected in everything they do. “We take a collaborative approach to recipe writing and planning as often as possible,” Tim says. “That’s fun because everyone is involved on a deeper level than just performing tasks. After all, we’re all here because we’re passionate about what we do.”

Recognition... Of all the praise that could be bestowed upon Levante—beyond just complimenting the quality of their product— they most deserve to be commended for their awareness. At a time when other brewers were hastily establishing companies and churning out product, Levante stayed focused on exceptional quality. Growth at Levante hasn’t just been about adding mash tuns and increasing production—they’ve added team members responsible for quality assurance and safety management, facilities and engineering. These days, they’re so meticulous that they measure their yeast under a microscope. That way they know, as precisely as possible, how many organisms are going into a batch and have ultimate control over their product. They’re aware that success isn’t determined by outselling another brewery, but by building relationships and respecting consumers. Their collaborative releases are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to networking. Levante brews a beer specifically for Split Rail Tavern, and they’ve established connections with wineries and distilleries, from whom they’re able to collect spent barrels for aging their artisanal beers. As for the consumers, Tim says, “The local craft beer community has supported us in a huge way. We owe our supporters everything and make it our mission to continue to provide new

AT LEVANTE, THERE'S AN ENTIRE ROOM DEDICATED TO BARREL-AGAING AND ARTISANAL BEERS

and interesting brews, as well as a great experience when they come to visit.” Finally, the minds behind Levante are aware that building community is just as important to the process as producing high-caliber ales. Of their choice to start the business in West Chester, Tim says, “We’re residents of Chester County and knew that we wanted the business to be in our own community. West Chester is bright, vibrant, and growing and seemed like the perfect fit for a brewery like ours.” When asked about the business’ biggest success, he says, “It’s the ability to give back to the community that supports us, through holding and sponsoring events for charitable causes for first responders, fighting hunger, raising funds for cancer research, and helping the SPCA find homes for our four-legged friends.” (Yes, Levante is dog-friendly; your critters just have to stay on-leash, out on the patio.)

Some hop heads may continue to argue that we’ve reached peak beer. There are those who still think that craft beer is just a phase, and others who insist that if craft breweries continue to sellout to Big Beer, they’re going to kill the craze. But really, those opinions are contradictory—Big Beer is buying up breweries because they know it’s a lot more than just a phase. That’s why the owners of Corona paid $1 billion for Ballast Point Brewing Company. The argument can easily be made that, even if craft beer has peaked, that peaking will be good for the industry. As the American beer drinker’s palate matures, the breweries that thrive will be those who understand the keys to success are investing in their community, building strong relationships, and focusing on quality. In other words, breweries like Levante.

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Near and Far

Jamie Jones of Whirlaway Travel explores some travel options abroad and highlights their local counterparts

This month marks the two-year anniversary of my father's passing. Jeff Jefferis was a legacy in West Chester, an assertion supported by the receiving line that nearly circled the town on the eve of his memorial service. I recently came across a Facebook memory of one of the first Uptown! Entertainment Alliance fundraisers. That evening my mom, dad, husband and I danced the night away. I dug up a video I took of my mom and dad tearing up the dance floor and emotions came rushing back to me, not of sorrow, but appreciation that I was able to witness a marriage filled with love, devotion, and tons of fun. My dad and I had an incredible relationship. When he died I felt guilty that I was not grief-ridden, but I later realized that I was one of the most fortunate people on this earth to have known and been loved by him. We could talk to each other without speaking; we had the same dry and dirty sense of humor; we both have an affinity for a good drink. My dad taught me that the only way to drink coffee is black. He introduced me to Stella Artois while most American's were still drinking light lager, and he introduced his love of scotch to my husband, much to my bank account’s dismay. I love this town for many reasons but, most of all, for the memories of time spent with my dad. When I joined WhirlAway my dad and I would have Wednesday lunches at Side Bar, where we talked business over a few glasses of Stella. If my mom and I disagreed about something, he would go home and magically she would agree with me the next day. I remember seeing his truck parked in the Wawa lot early in the morning to get his daily caffeine fix (I prefer Fenn’s and think he would have, too) and loved tailgating at the Brandywine Hills Point to Point Races where my dad would sip scotch, joke with friends and walk back and forth to the paddock to take a look at the horses running in each race. My favorite memory was coming home one day to my first apartment on Hemlock Alley to find that my empty fridge was fully stocked with good beer, curtesy of my dear old dad. I have memories from far away as well: a power weekend to Paris as a teenager where my dad allowed me to take advantage of the non-existent drinking age. I sipped from a beer mug larger than my head at an outdoor café on a side street off Champs-Elysees; dancing to the Barefoot Man steel drums band at a beach bar in Grand Cayman while sipping Red Stripes and rum runners; and sadly, while he was fighting for his life, planning a tour of Scotland so he could teach me the art of drinking scotch. As the holidays fast approach and families get together, take the opportunity to plan something somewhere near or far. Experience the big world and our little town for all that they have to offer. Every block in this town holds a memory, a moment that I will never get back with my dad, but that I can cherish for the rest of my life. —jjones@thewcpress.com

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Bartender of the

Month

PHOTO Sabina Sister INTERVIEW Skye McDonald

Chatting about how you mix motherhood and quality cocktails with Katie DiSimone from Mercato Ristorante & Bar How did you get started at Mercato? My father-in-law is the owner’s accountant, and they needed someone to work a party. So did that and then ended up here a few nights a week. I’d been doing a lot of bartending previously for about 10 years, but I stopped working when I had my children, and I had been out of the business for about five years. This was a perfect fit to get back into the business. What do you enjoy most? I like how social and fast-paced it is. And I have little kids, so after I’m with them for the

earlier part of the day, I come in here. It’s like combining a night out and work at the same time. Do you think that becoming a mother has helped you behind the bar? At this point in my life, I’m more mature. Working here and being a mother, I think I am a naturally-caring person, even with the staff. There are all sorts of people here to look after. How do you maintain your energy? That’s just the way I am. I’m not suited for sitting. I do enjoy that I’m on my feet and moving around. Welcoming people as guests here is a part of my personality. What do you love most about interacting with people across the bar? I like hearing different people’s stories. Just making sure that everyone has an enjoyable experience here and catering to their individual needs is fun and challenging. What're your favorite drinks on the menu? I like the classic cocktails, but our most popular cocktail is the Blood Orange Cosmopolitan. It’s a traditional Cosmo, but it has blood orange purée. It’s a beautiful color and tastes great. We also have a Mercato Bellini, which

is like a Peach Bellini with blood orange purée, St-Germain, Prosecco, and amarena cherries. It’s a wonderful combination of flavors. Do you feel there's more freedom here than at an office job? Absolutely. It’s so flexible. I enjoy this work, but it also just works really well with my life and who I am. I like to be physical and flexible. I’m home with my kids most of the time, so I don’t have to make sacrifices with them. The same energy with looking after my children carries over to the bar. I really like it. A lot of people might think that it’s something you do before you have kids, but it just works right now. Every part of your life should always be like, “Wow, this is the best right now!” Whatever I'm doing in five years, I should still think, "This is the best." What're you most proud of in this gig? Being Bartender of the Month, of course! I’m going to cut this out and hang it on my refrigerator! Before I worked at Mercato, I was always just “Mommy,” but now everyone around me has brought me back to finally feeling like myself.

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CRAFT COFFEE in search of the best beans in the borough

Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, we can all appreciate that first sip of coffee. Don’t spoil the experience by settling for mass-produced garbage—West Chester has a few fantastic, fresh coffee roasters to satisfy your palate. We made it our mission to seek out the borough’s best roasters. —STORY BY SKYE McDONALD—

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Golden Valley Farms & Morning Star Roasters These two roasters were separate companies until this past January when Golden Valley incorporated Morning Star. Now, they are two valuable gears in the coffee-processing machine. The business includes a large, whirring Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roaster and packaging and processing units, wafting their coffees’ distinct aromas throughout the building. On a chilly, autumn morning Maryann Baldassare, principal of Golden Valley Farms, offered up a cup of 100% Colombian coffee as she explained what differentiates Golden Valley Farms from Morning Star: the type of beans they source. Golden Valley Farms focuses on organic coffee, while Morning Star is specialty and non-organic. “But with both of the brands, we source very high-quality beans,” Maryann said. “And we small-batch roast them in order to pull out the attributes of each different varietal.” These attributes, according to Maryann, can only reach their true flavor potentials by creating blends. Golden Valley Farms likes to experiment with different blends to achieve unique flavor profiles. “We roast all of our coffees and blend them. That’s what makes us different,” she said. “We postblend so that each varietal is roasted to its perfection. We believe that we’re chefs in the coffee world.” One of Golden Valley’s most popular blends is Wild Tiger, a dark-roasted South American and Indonesian blend with a smoky flavor. And their newest blend, Three Kings, combines three rare, organic Tanzanian, Congan, and Ugandan coffees, which Maryann described as a “knock your socks off coffee that’s earthy and robust.” When asked what makes their coffee so savory, Maryann replied, “The foundation of our companies is high-quality coffee made for West Chester. If it’s not good, then what’s the point? Our goal is for our clients to have an amazing experience.” After 31 years working at Golden Valley Farms with Maryann’s family, that love for coffee roasting hasn’t diminished at all. Golden Valley has constantly strived to expand their consumer market; that’s why they acquired the Artisan Exchange in 2012 and later incorporated Morning Star in 2017. “They’re all equally as important.

Maryann Baldassare in Golden Valley’s offices, with a photoSkye McDonald few of the coffees they roast.

Plus, there are so many synergies between these companies,” Maryann said. The synergies have increased overall business, and the public is continually committed to supporting them. “Our communities need to feel that the entrepreneurship that the town used to have — and that they used to gravitate towards — isn’t lost. We want to keep the money within the community,” Maryann stated. “People really want to be treated well. That’s what we do for our customers.” Coffee is super important to Maryann because it’s an industry that she and her family have built a career out of and have dedicated their lives to. “Coffee is my life,” she told me. “It connects with people on so many levels. It’s our livelihood, and our family is very much committed to providing the highest quality service.” “And it’s amazingly versatile,” she continued. “It’s very similar to wine in that it has many different flavor compounds from different regions, and we treat our coffees like a vineyard may treat their wines.”

WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT:  Plenty of options for organic and non-organic, straight and blended coffees.  100% Arabica beans, the best quality.  Always experimenting with new blends. WHERE YOU CAN BUY IT:  208 Carter Drive, Suite 13B  Artisan Exchange (Saturdays 10-2pm)  goldenvalleyfarms.com

Tally Ho Coffee Tally Ho Coffee, which has been roasting coffee since 2008, sells a large variety of blended and straight coffees, both online with a free delivery service or at the West Chester Growers Market. Don Ervine, the roaster’s owner, is also a member of the market, which is open every Saturday from 9am to 1pm. You’ll be able to recognize him—he’s the one smiling as he mans the stall alone and talks eagerly to the local customers. And of course, the cute, fox logo on every green, Tally Ho bag is distinguishable. The market provides him the opportunity to gain company publicity. “I love

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Don Ervine says his best selling roast replicates the style that William Penn would have sipped. photo Skye McDonald

dealing with the customers and the public in that setting,” he said. “It’s funny, in the market, everyone always seems to be in a good mood. We see a lot of regulars. They’re the backbone of any business, and I’ve always enjoyed community outreach.” Tally Ho Coffee receives the highest grade of green coffees from regions like South America, Africa, and Indonesia. As a craft roaster, Tally Ho roasts in small batches per season and sell these products to people throughout West Chester. Out of all of Tally Ho’s available brews, none are more prominent than the William Penn blend. “I love the William Penn, which is a lighter-roasted coffee,” Don described. “We did research at the Chester County Historical Society and we found out that William Penn — when he was here twice to sign treaties — imported his green coffee with him and roasted it himself. This is what we believe from the

writings is the same coffee that William Penn drank.” The connection to history is intriguing, and reason enough on its own to sample the brew—it's just a bonus that William Penn happened to drink excellent coffee. Don hadn’t always foreseen for himself a future in the coffee-roasting industry. It wasn’t until after he left a sales position in Washington, DC that he happened to stumble into coffee. “I had worked selling espresso equipment and coffee. But I would stand and talk to the roasters for hours and watch what they did. I learned as much as I could visually about the roasters,” he said. “My family is made up of entrepreneurs, so it was a natural thing for me to start my own business,” which he did in 2008. The one aspect of the coffee business Don loves most of all is how he and his customers are unified by their love of the second-largest import in the world. “I like seeing the emotional connection that coffee brings people,” he said. “I’m

WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT:  Drink the same coffee that William Penn drank centuries before.  Free delivery for online orders  Don is a one-man band — he roasts and distributes the coffee himself. WHERE YOU CAN BUY IT:  210 Carter Drive, Suite 7A  West Chester Growers Market  tallyhocoffee.com very proud of the relationships I’ve had with people over the years.” “It’s a very small world,” he continued. “You need to have connections with a lot of people. The world is slowly shrinking.” If there’s one element of this local coffee business that is most prominent, it’s its unique name, Tally Ho. Don grew up in Westtown in the 1970s, and he would often see people fox hunting in the adjacent farmland. “I would wake up on Sunday mornings and there would be horses and dogs in my backyard,” he said. “So the fox hunting theme reminds me of how West Chester was once pri-

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marily farmland.” Tally Ho was a phrase once used by fox hunters centuries ago. When they saw a fox, they would shout “tally ho!” and the chase would begin. The exhilaration of the hunt reminds Don of his coffee. “I think Tally Ho and the fox hunt ties more to the Chester County area than coffee because there’s a bit of freedom with fox hunting,” Don said. “It was never really about catching the fox, but about that freedom of going out and having a good time. You don’t always have to get that specific thing done, you can relax. And that’s what you can do with coffee. You can just enjoy the experience.”

Lamont Coffee and Tea & Turk’s Head Coffee Roasters There aren’t too many businesses who can say their history is as rich as their coffee. Dating back to 1956 in Glenolden, Pa. Lamont Coffee & Tea Company found its roots after Joe Lamont Sr. bought the company from his friend. Lamont has had four generations of

workers and recently developed the Turk’s Head Coffee brand. The company is now run by Joe III and Jim Lamont, who were happy to talk about their family business. “Lamont coffees are mostly blends,” Joe explained, “and Turk’s Head are usually micro-roasted, single-origin coffees. These tend to be pricier, but people are willing to pay for high quality.” Inside the Lamont building, which is nestled in a round alcove of a driveway off of Phoenixville Pike, there was a kitchen filled with freshly-brewed coffee, the droning of machines, and a warehouse, jam-packed with everything Lamont and Turk’s Head, from coffees, to equipment, to K-Cups. It’s amazing that within the past five months, Turk’s Head coffees had filled up a good portion of the space. Incorporating the Turk’s Head brand was a venture that the two brothers hadn’t before considered, but it was brought to their attention by Jim’s sons, Tom, Mike, and Andrew, and Joe’s son, Sean.

Turk’s Head is the new artisanal brand launched by Lamont Coffee and Tea. photo Jeremiah Kane

“They pushed us in the Turk’s Head direction, so we could be more with the times by micro-roasting,” Joe said. “It helps us to move ahead because we could easily get lost with how things had been. We’re good with the past, but we also have to keep in mind what’s ahead of us in the future. We’re very excited about Turk’s Head. The best is yet to come with them.” Joe remarked on how much West Chester and the whole of Chester County have changed since they have been living in the area for over 50 years. He said when people from out of state try Turk’s Head coffees at the restaurants here, they now have the ability to bring that quality coffee with them when they return home by ordering online. “That’s why we chose the name Turk’s Head for this coffee,” Joe said. “It’s West Chester’s original name.” Although the Turk’s Head beans come with a premium price tag, it hasn't

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deterred their fan base from buying, as their organic, fair-trade Mexican coffee is one of the most popular— but most costly —coffees they sell. However, Joe conceded that it’s often difficult to keep track of popular coffees because their stock depends on what’s in season and which micro-batches they have. But what is it about coffee that makes it last four generations in a family? “It’s just in your blood,” Jim replied after some deliberation. “We know a lot of people in this industry who also have generational workers. But it’s not an easy business to get started in.” “I think it’s the challenge of the business that keeps you here,” Joe added. “You’re always actively involved.” And Joe and Jim have always been up for the challenge, like when they first incorporated espresso coffees and machines into the Lamont brand. “Jim didn’t like it at first,” Joe said. “But I did! I was drinking 14 double shots a day! I feel like I didn’t sleep for several weeks.” But what Joe and Jim are most proud of during their long reign at Lamont and Turk’s Head is their commitment to people-oriented service. “You have to have a real interest in the customers and I think it’s passed down to the next generation too,” Jim said. “I think that’s what’s missing in today’s society.” “It’s how we grew up,” Joe added. “Businesses have become so impersonal that we stand with our personal touch among our customers.” “And we’re very proud of how far we’ve come,” Joe continued. “Our father and grandfather would be very proud that we have a fourth generation in this business. Our customers can count on us for quality coffee.” “Exactly!” Jim jumped in. “We can’t afford to have complaints for sub-standard products.” Ultimately, Joe and Jim aspire to apply their love, hard work, and dedication that has been channeled into the Lamont name for over 50 years and now want to treat Turk’s Head with the same reverence and care. “We find that our customers are wanting to brew their own coffees in their own homes,” Joe said. “We want to see our Turk’s Head coffees in homes all over the country.”

Joe and Jim Lamont keep the family business alive and continue innovating. photo Skye McDonald Lamont’s coffees are always available in cool, classic containers photo Andrew Hutchins

Next time you’re out shopping for coffee, consider support your nearby businesses. West Chester’s local and family-oriented coffee roasters — Golden Valley Farms & Morning Star Coffee, Tally Ho Coffee, and Lamont & Turk’s Head Coffee — will remind you that many, high-quality products are right in your backyard. Don’t settle for mediocrity — contribute to your neighborhood roasters.

WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT:  Lamont is celebrating 60+ years and is still going strong.  Turk’s Head was named to honor our borough’s.  Joe and Jim are still actively involved in the business and make personal connections with their customers. WHERE YOU CAN BUY IT:  1139 Phoenixville Pike  Local non-profits like Chester County Historical Society  lamontcoffee.com

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Design Dilemmas Andrea Mason of Perceptions Interiors is a professional interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space

With fall already here and winter around the corner our houses stay darker longer. To get us through these cold days ahead, warm up the feeling inside of your home by brightening up your rooms. Below is a list of simple suggestions that you can implement to stave off the winter weather. I suggest making adjustments to your wall treatments, lighting, furniture and accessories, but there are so many ways to do this! Oh, and all of these ideas are tools that your home will also benefit from in the warmer months as well, because a bright and cheery home can be appreciated year round. Wall Treatments: A house with minimal natural light will look so much brighter with light-colored walls. And, while plain white can feel a bit dull, you’ve got options for some great light tones that have a little more life. My favorite whites are Benjamin Moore White Dove, used to bring out warmer tones, and Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace to help bring out cooler colors. You can also use bright colors or bright patterns on the walls with wallpaper or wall decals. Steer away from darker hues or muddy undertones. Another great idea is putting lacquer on your walls; this creates a shiny surface that will reflect light and look fabulous. Lighting: This one may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked. Overhead lighting—such as pendants, chandeliers, flushmounts, and recessed lighting—is the the most influential in a space. These lights produce widespread illumination and light up an entire room. If you do not have electrical in your ceilings, then think about using your outlets for light sources such as floor lamps, table lamps or wall sconces. Furniture: Declutter and get rid of anthing unnecessary. Having less furniture makes the room seem less cluttered, and therefore lighter and brighter. Similar to the wall treatments concept, think about color when choosing your furniture. White or very light furniture will make a darker room look bigger and brighter. Vivid, brilliant colored furniture will also help to make the room cheery. Accessories: The best accessories to use in a room that is lacking brilliance are those that reflect light. Metallics—like silver, gold, and copper—will help cast light into your room. Mirrors are also a fantastic accessory that reflect light into a space. Place a mirror directly across from a window to boost your natural light—it’s like adding another window. If you have dark floors, consider getting a bright or light-colored rug. Don’t let these dark and dreary months define your home. Try these helpful tips and tricks and make your house look as bright as those summer days we once knew. If you need help implementing any these styles, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for help! —amason@thewcpress.com

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Home

Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking on her blog at homebeccanomics.com

Beccanomics

Two chilly weather recipes for you this month—one (the beans) that will elevate a simple side dish to Turkey Day stardom, and a second that is light but surprisingly filling; just the sort of comfort food that makes you look forward to dinner whilst keeping your waistline trim throughout holiday feasting. Isn’t balance what it’s all about? Happy Thanksgiving—enjoy being thankful for our countless blessings, not the least of which is Autumn’s bounty –bboyd@thewcpress.com

Caramelized Pecan Green Beans serves 8–10 2 lb. French green beans 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar 1/2 c. pecans 1 tsp. kosher salt 4 tbsp. unsalted butter 1/2 tsp. black pepper 1/2 c. finely chopped shallot

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 1 tsp. salt. Add green

beans and cook about 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Drain and place in a large bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well and dry on kitchen towels. 2. Meanwhile, toast pecans on a large dry skillet over medium low heat, about 5 minutes or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Let cool and chop. 3. In the same large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add shallot and let cook about 5 minutes or until tender. 4. Add brown sugar and stir to combine. Let cook 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. 5. Add chopped pecans and stir. Let cook about 2 minutes. 6. Add beans, salt (1 tsp.) and pepper. Toss with tongs.

Butternut Squash Soup w/ Chicken, White Beans & Spinach serves 6 4 tbsp. unsalted butter 6 c. chicken broth 1 lg onion, diced 2 (15 oz) cans white beans, 3 clove garlic, minced drained and rinsed 1 tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari 2 large chicken breasts, cooked 1/2 tsp. dried thyme and shredded or chopped 1/4 tsp. black pepper 6 oz. fresh baby spinach 1 tbsp. tomato paste 1 tsp. white wine vinegar 2 lb. cubed butternut squash 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1. Heat butter over medium heat in a soup pot. 2. Add onion and saute until softened and golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

3. Add garlic, soy sauce/Tamari, thyme and black pepper. Stir. 4. Add tomato paste and stir constantly, about 2 minutes. 5. Add squash and broth and turn heat to high. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes or until squash is tender. Blend with a stick blender or transfer to blender/food processor. Blend until smooth or leave slightly chunky. 6. Add beans, chicken, spinach, vinegar, and salt. Stir to heat through and let cook until spinach is wilted. Salt for taste.

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but first, tea A bit about the ancient elixir, and where to get yours in West Chester story Kate Chadwick, photos Amy Tucker

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T

ea is certainly not the new kid on the block. Often referred to as the world’s oldest prepared beverage, tea originated in China in 2737 B.C. It’s said, like many great discoveries, that the first cup of tea was an accident. According to legend, tea was first brewed when leaves fell from a nearby tree into a pot of boiling water. Fast–forward several millennia, and the first iced tea in the U.S. was also served by accident, at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, where a purveyor was offering free samples of his hot drink when soaring temperatures forced him to improvise. Iced tea is now ubiquitous, and the drink of choice in the South. It cannot be denied that Americans have a love affair with coffee. The average consumer downs roughtly three cups per day, or 23 gallons a year. But just as there are “dog people” and “cat people” among animal lovers, there are “coffee people” and “tea people” among beverage consumers (or like some of us, equal opportunity lovers). While coffee has always been in the forefront, tea has quietly staged a coup for the American beverage palate. And,

crucially, tea is gaining ground with a key demo—according to Forbes, younger Americans are ditching coffee in favor of tea, with the most recent statistics showing a dead heat (42% tea, 42% coffee) among 18–29 year olds. Tea is also closing in on the 30–44 demographic, with a 35% tea, to 50% coffee split. While coffee is still the beverage of choice for the 45–and– over set, tea consumption has grown by 20% since the turn of the century. The bump in tea consumption is apparent right here in West Chester, home to multiple tea rooms and purveyors. So, we thought it was fitting that, for the Fresh Brew issue, we explore the state of the oldest brewed beverage in the borough. Tranquilitea Temple on Church Street also found its place by chance. The tea shop, which opened for business in June, is run by Tracey Wang Stuligross. “We had a gift shop in the King of Prussia Mall for eight years, but a few years ago, the health department regulations changed, and we could no longer sell loose–leaf tea without a three–bin sink, which would have been impossible at our location,” she says.

“We were able to find an ideal home in West Chester, where we can not only sell loose–leaf teas, but also prepare hot, iced, or bubble tea drinks” says Tracey Wang Stuligross, owner of Tranquilitea Temple, pictured with her husband John. Tranquilitea Temple currently offers more than 40 varieties of loose–leaf teas, including black, green, and herbal tea blends, along with tea–related accessories and gift items. “We were able to find an ideal home in West Chester, where we can not only sell loose–leaf teas, but also prepare hot, iced, or bubble tea drinks, and we still offer many of the Feng Shui and Zen gift items we had at King of Prussia.” Tracey has noticed that coffee shops are getting on the tea bandwagon, but she’s confident they can’t compete. “We have a much greater selection, and much higher quality loose–leaf teas than you can get at a coffee shop, and everything is brewed fresh,” she says. An added benefit? “At a tea house, you can also get much more information from the knowledgeable staff.”

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Many novice tea drinkers, according to Tracey, are used to a highly sweetened tea. “Each of our teas has a small sample for the customers to smell and get an idea of its taste, and we prepare samples for them to try, so they can learn what they like. We’ve been able to show people that a freshly brewed, high–quality tea does not need much (if any) sugar to be delicious.” During the summer months, the bubble teas—a drink made with iced tea, milk and fruit, with added “bubbles” of tapioca balls, all served with a straw large enough to suck up the bubbles—were the big sellers. But, as the weather has cooled, more traditional teas have picked up, with the most popular often being whatever variety Tranquilitea has prepared as a sample that day. “We have two teas that are neck and neck for our best sellers,” Tracey says. “Fruit Festival is a black tea blend with peach, papaya, and apricot, and Relaxing on the Water is an herbal blend with rooibos, peppermint, spearmint and rosehips as the major ingredients.” Tranquilitea also offers a small menu of Asian snacks to enjoy with your tea. And then there is the Zen factor at Tranquilitea, and in drinking tea in general. “Tea drinking and practicing Zen both originated from China, and the two were married together from the very beginning by Zen masters in ancient China,” Tracey said. “Brewing and drinking tea is not just to quench your thirst; it is to clear the chaos from your mind and enjoy the moment, mindfully, right here and right now.” We need look no further than Market Street to find an illustration of the coffee– giving–way–to–tea phenomenon. Housed in the lower level of the historic Lincoln Building is where you’ll find The Lincoln Room, a cozy, elegant spot for lunch or tea time. “We’ve been here just over three years,” says owner Amy Eisinger Hamlet. “And prior to being a tea room, it was a coffee house.” While Tranquilitea pays homage to the ancient origins of enjoying tea, The Lincoln Room is more of a nod to the genteel tea–and–scone culture that developed in—and has become synonymous with—the United Kingdom. Here, you can get your pot of tea with quiche or tea sandwiches. Customer favorites are the Tea for Two (or Three), which features various types of tea sandwiches, including classic cucumber, freshly

“You can always just grab a cup of coffee on the run, but tea. Well, tea is an experience,” says Amy Eisinger Hamlet (seated), owner of The Lincoln Room, pictured with server Abbey Ellis. made chicken salad, and a rotating selection of brie and artichoke, and several other varieties. “A dessert plate is part of the Tea for Two,” Amy says. “It always includes a scone to share, something chocolate, and another treat that changes regularly.” House–made scones come in both sweet and savory varieties, along with seasonal favorites like apricot and white chocolate, cranberry, cheddar chive, and of course, plain. Scones are served with whipped butter, Devonshire Cream and house–made lemon curd, just like back in the old sod. Soup, specialty salads and two quiche selections are offered daily, including a gluten–free version.

Amy has also noticed the general consumer shift towards tea. “Tea’s become much more popular in America over the last several years; more specialty shops are selling teas from different parts of the world,” She feels that the wide variety of teas available, coupled with the easy ability to sample, are leading to the growing trend. “Tea can be purchased in small bags of only an ounce, giving people the chance to try different teas to see what they like.” The Lincoln Room offers a number of teas, from a simple Ceylon to more complex blends. Iced tea is always available, with fruit–blend iced teas particularly popular in summer. “One customer favorite is a tea called Paris: a fruity black tea with vanilla caramel flavors that contains a hint of lemony Bergamot,” Amy said. Heading into fall, their hot cinnamon spice tea takes center stage. Hot, in this case, refers to spicy, not just temperature. “It’s an assertive blend of black teas,

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Bewley’s is the oldest tea company in Ireland, and their product is brought stateside by West Chester–based Bewley Irish Imports three types of cinnamon, orange peel and sweet cloves,” Amy says. And don’t forget: Christmas is right around the corner. For the holiday season, they offer a Holiday Tea, which is a black tea spiced with citrus, almond, clove and cinnamon. Also very popular is White Christmas: a hand– picked white tea blended with almonds, vanilla, and cardamom, accented with white chamomile flowers. None of the Lincoln Room’s teas are sweetened and are served with lemon, sugar cubes and cream on the side, allowing the customer to add what they like. The Lincoln Room has limited hours of availability, so pay attention before popping in. They’re open Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 3pm. Additionally, The Lincoln Room is available on Sundays to host private events. “A tea shop is a wonderful place for a birthday party—young girls enjoy their own individual pot of tea (or hot chocolate or lemonade), tea sandwich spreads that they get to choose, and other accompaniments,” Amy said. It’s also a hotspot for bridal and baby showers, where their Celebration Tea is one of the most–requested flavors. “A tea room should be an experience, a time to relax and enjoy time with friends, or an afternoon out,” Amy said. So is tea just… better than coffee? Not necessarily.

“You can always just grab a cup of coffee on the run, but tea. Well, tea is an experience.” Here’s a thing about the Irish: they love their tea, and they love it a lot. Three out of four Irish people are what you’d call “steady” tea drinkers. And that doesn’t just mean a cup to start and/or end the day; that means between four and six cups per day, on average. So who better to take your tea cues from than the Irish? To that end, we’d like to direct your attention to Bewley Irish Imports. Established in 1982, the company has been importing Irish goods—including food and beverages—to American fans of the Emerald Isle, and Irish expats alike. And hovering near the top of the list of best sellers for the company is tea. In fact, we couldn’t help but notice the phrase “tea and coffee” on their website as opposed to the more commonly used “coffee and tea.” According to Bewley’s Pat Renzulli, there’s a reason for that. While the company offers such Irish staples as oatmeal, honey, bread mixes and preserves, “Tea is simply our retail customer’s most requested product,” Pat said. “Ireland is one of the largest consumers of tea in the world, and people simply want the tea they had when they lived in Ireland. And when a visitor to the Emerald Isle returns to the

United States, they are going to look for that good tea they enjoyed in Ireland.” And that “good tea” that they enjoyed in Ireland was most likely Bewley’s, the oldest tea company on the island. Founded in 1840 in Dublin, it remains that country’s leading purveyor of coffee and tea as its reach has spread across the globe. As for the best–selling of those good teas, according to Pat, that would be the Bewley’s Irish Breakfast Tea—it was a Gold Medal Award Winner at the Great Taste Awards. For those unfamiliar with the competition, earning a gold medal at the Great Taste Awards is like the U.K. equivalent of winning an Oscar for food. It’s a strong, invigorating tea with a malty taste and a pleasant aftertaste. When we asked Pat about her thoughts on the coffee–versus–tea battle for the American consumer, she replied, “They are different animals, really. To quote Bewley’s Master Blender, “People drink coffee on the go, but you take a moment for tea.” So if you are one of the countless Americans involved in a love affair with coffee, consider exploring tea’s exotic and enchanting options. Whether you’re venturing out for it or having it sent right to your front door from across the globe, take some time for tea.

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Spot the five differences between these images from inside a brewery, then send your answer to contests@thewcpress.com for your chance to win a Barnaby’s gift certificate. Congrats to October winner Martina Martin who identified all our cupcake changes.

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November Playlist DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be enjoying all month long The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months. You’ll soon know them by heart and play them ‘til they’re tired. But, good news: you can download them first and look like the cool musical genius to all of your friends. djromeo@thewcpress.com

www.djromeo.fm | @DJRomeo24

Beck – “Up All Night” Taylor Swift – “Gorgeous” Kygo ft. The Night Games – “Kids In Love” Blake Shelton – “I’ll Name the Dogs” NF – “Let You Down” Gary Clark Jr. – “Come Together” Lorde ft. Khalid, Post Malone & SZA – “Homemade Dynamite” Thomas Rhett – “Life Changes” Kelly Clarkson – “Meaning Of Life” Kris Wu ft. Travis Scott – “Deserve” Liam Payne – “Bedroom Floor” Calvin Harris ft. Kehlani & Lil Yachty – “Faking It” Maroon 5 ft. A$AP Rocky – “Whiskey” Niall Horan – “Flicker” Sleeping With Sirens – “Legends” Charlie Puth – “How Long” MAGIC! – “Darts In The Dark” Nick Jonas – “Home” Rita Ora – “Anywhere” Jordan Feliz – “Witness” Weezer – “Happy Hour” Chris Stapleton – “Millionaire” P!nk ft. Eminem – “Revenge” Morgan Wallen ft. Florida Georgia Line – “Up Down” DJ Snake (with Lauv) – “A Different Way” G–Eazy ft. A$AP Rocky & Cardi B – “No Limit” Fifth Harmony – “He Like That” Mumford & Sons – “Unfinished Business” Alex Lahey – “Every Day’s The Weekend” Fall Out Boy – “The Last Of The Real Ones”

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Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press Fresh Brew Issue - November 2017  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Fresh Brew Issue - November 2017  

Voice of the Borough