Meet the Venezolano, a sugary shot of espresso.
IT entrepreneur, author, sommelier and, now, restaurant owner, Michael Biddick fulfills his coffee fantasies at the new Blend 111 in Vienna.
“I was really curious about what makes coffee fresh. What makes coffee good?” says Biddick. From there, he built a gas roaster, taught himself how to roast coffee and began experimenting, something he’s been thinking about for the last 15 years.
Now, he roasts on-site with organic beans sourced sustainably from countries like Honduras, Ethiopia and Peru. Here are five things to know about the wine bar’s coffee program.
1. Espresso turns sweet
Noticing people adding sugar to their espressos while traveling in Venezuela, Biddick decided to sweeten the shot during the brewing process. The Venezolano, a drink of Biddick’s own creation, is a cane sugar-infused espresso, whereby sugar is added to the grinds before pulling a shot.
2. Oat milk is the standard
Instead of falling in line with most cafes that typically levy an extra fee for non-dairy options, Biddick’s team automatically makes espresso-based drinks with oat milk (Minor Figures brand). It’s a nod to Blend 111’s commitment to running a carbon-neutral business.
3. You’re going to have to wait
If you’re looking to grab a cup of coffee in fifteen seconds or less, this may not be the place for you. Biddick’s coffee program is by-the-cup brewing only. Each drink is ground to order and single cups are made by a Wilbur Curtis Brewer, a machine designed to eliminate human error in the pour-over process.
4. The new coffee-and-doughnuts pairing
With your coffee, grab a housemade pastry, like a mandocas, a Venezuelan plantain doughnut or an espresso-infused brownie. Confections rotate often, and brunch is served on the weekend.
5. The espresso machine goes into hiding
Instead of displaying a bulky espresso machine, he installed a Modbar, where the back-end machinery is hidden under the counter. This way, there’s a clear view into the technical aspects of milk steaming and brewing espresso. “There’s a lot of transparency in what happens in the drink preparation,” Biddick says. “The guest can see what happens. That it’s just the purity of beans, the oat milk, whatever’s going into the drink.”
The same goes for roasting. Don’t be surprised if you see Biddick at his machine, roasting in the middle of the restaurant. // Blend 111: 111 Church St., NW, Vienna
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