Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

Places to Visit: Steadfast Coffee in Nashville Tennessee

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Interview with Jamie Cunningham of Steadfast Coffee


[photography by Ethan Covey – @ecoveyphoto]

About Steadfast

Steadfast Coffee in Nashville, TN is known for hospitality and quality.

“While we do everything in our power to roast and serve the best coffee possible, coffee itself isn’t actually the core of our company. It’s our guest.”

Jamie started Steadfast with two other founders. The partners met while working for local coffee companies around the city of Nashville, helping these businesses grow and succeed. The trio had a dream of their own, to create a unique coffee culture, different from anything around the city of Nashville. Together they dreamed of creating a new kind of coffee experience and revised details until they had a plan for Steadfast. The team looked for investors because these passionate young adults didn’t have capital to establish a brick and mortar restaurant. Steadfast Coffee opened in April 2015, hiring a new staff and began building what is a now thriving business.


[photography by Elana Staroselsky – @elanastar]

What is your favorite Steadfast drink? It depends on time of day, I may be reaching for something black and hot or iced. After lunch it may be a cappuccino or coffee soda. 

Steadfast is quickly becoming know for their proprietary coffee soda. Matchless coffee soda is brewed in large batches, 500 gallons of coffee at a time, flash chilled, sweetened with demerara sugar, carbonated and kegged. This innovative coffee soda is best served with a sliver of fresh orange peel. The Steadfast team is working towards canning and possibly shipping Matchless coffee soda around the country… I simply can not wait!


[photography by Ethan Covey – @ecoveyphoto]

Jamie and I

Some of my fondest college memories involve Jamie, he really was the best of friends. Together we traveled across the country in a 15 passenger van performing with our theatre troupe, 26 weeks on the road. We attended so many concerts, ate great food and had adventures that will never be forgotten.

Each friend you meet in your life leaves a little mark on your heart. Jamie taught me that is was ok to be me, to be silly, to be different and to be passionate about what I love. He remains to be one of the most dedicated individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing and his passion shines through in his love for coffee and most of all people.

About Jamie

How did you start to cultivate your passion for coffee? I moved to Nashville in 2009. 7 years ago. I enjoyed coffee but didn’t know the difference between what was good or bad. I needed a job and found one working with my two friends, who were similarly excited about coffee. This fueled my passion. I allowed this passion to cultivate and grow as my friends and I brewed lots of coffee and studied coffee together outside of work. It really was about community. 


[photography by Ethan Covey – @ecoveyphoto]

Brewing coffee at Steadfast: Overall, the Fetco company makes commercial brewers called the extractor series and this is what we use in our shop. These machines are highly programmable. In the hands of the right person, these brewers make perfectly extracted coffee EVERY TIME. Most people think it tastes better than coffee from other shops brewed using hand methods. Our machines are programed perfectly, they never mess up, they never get distracted, they never feeling tired or have a bad day. 


[photography by Elana Staroselsky – @elanastar]

Quality coffee in every cup. Steadfast does not use any pour over methods in their shops. However, I wanted to know how Jamie brews coffee at home…

How do you  brew coffee at home? There are so many different types of brewers and types of brands on the market. The Kalita Wave is the pour over type which I believe results in the perfect pour over cup, other brands have flaws. The design of this particular pour over brand makes consistency and great extraction possible.

The only way to brew really good coffee at home is to invest in the right equiptment. If you are not grinding fresh whole bean coffee, you will struggle. The Capresso Infinity is a reasonably priced grinder and a great entry level burr grinder with conical burrs. The rpms of the Capresso are slow enough that it doesn’t heat up the coffee and the grind particle distribution is very consistent.  

Once you have a great grinder you need to look to your recipe. What is the water to coffee ratio? There are all kinds of recipes out there, the ones that work well measure ingredients in grams. I use the Escali kitchen scale to measure coffee and water. The best recipes use a specific ratio, anywhere between 1 to 16 – 1 to 18. For example, for every gram of coffee you need between 16-18 grams of water. At Steadfast we brew at 1 to 16.9 grams, at home rounding to an even 17 grams. These two things alone, grind and recipe, will make your coffee infinitely more better, you will taste the increase in coffee quality. 

Any other at home brewing tips? Yes, temperature control. Electric at home drip coffee brewers rarely heat water hot enough, 195-205 degrees, for proper coffee extraction. If you are brewing by hand and using a kettle, start with water directly off the boil, 212 degrees is boiling. In between pours place your kettle back on the heat to maintain the proper water temperature. 

Whole bean coffee purchasing? I tend to think through two things when purchasing whole bean coffee; first, what kind of values does the company have; where their money is going and two, what kind of quality am I pursuing. It is my goal to purchase the highest quality coffee. There are two major kinds of coffee sold in the world, commodity vs. specialty. Coffee is a commodity traded on the stock market, the second largest only to oil. As well, coffee prices fluctuate similar to oil based on future need, politics, ect. Only a very tiny part of the coffee market is composed of specialty coffee. The lower quality commodity coffees can be found on the shelves of big chain supermarkets. People who are buying specialty coffees are generally local or regional; for example, Counter Culture, Stumptown, and Intelegista. What makes them difference other than how they are farmed produced and bagged… is at the hand of the roaster. A badly roasted coffee can turn even the best quality coffee bad. Once purchased whole beans need specialized hands and plenty of care to provide the best possible products. These kinds of coffee are our best shot as consumers. Taste the subtle nuances of a specialty coffee, roasted to perfection. Check your local or regional grocer to some of these speciality blends. 

[ My suggestion is that you grab a pound of Steadfast coffee for yourself! Whole bean Steadfast coffee can be purchased at]


[photography by Ethan Covey – @ecoveyphoto]

Tips on Flavoring your coffee at home?  Stay away from flavored creamers and syrups from the grocery stores because the people making them don’t care about you. Make your own simple syrups at home. Coffee is complex and tastes really great with anything you could imagine, take your blinders off and have fun! Even if a particular flavor sounds crazy, it could taste incredible. Home made syrups will be infinitely better than what you purchase at store. Most things tastes good with coffee, sometimes you have to tinker and get a bit creative. In the past we have held competitions in the shop to create new, innovative flavors. One flavor that most surprised me was a cucumber simple syrup, it was simple and delicious. Another time, inspired by Thanksgiving, I made ginger and sage simple syrup with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Believe it or not, I have even made a cheese syrup, throwing in the rind of a hard cheese like parmesan, into the mix… just the right amount in a cortado is magical. 

Even at Steadfast we steer clear of mass produced vanilla syrup. We us demerara, which is a single origin sugar that has lots of vanilla notes in it. Quality products make all the difference.


[photography by Kenzie Maroney – @kenzie.maroney]

Friends, if you are in the Nashville area, stop by Steadfast Coffee for a one of a kind experience. Great coffee. Great food. Even better people!

Pumpkin & Spice Simple Syrup

Monday, September 29th, 2014

There is something comforting about falling leaves in autumn. Soon it will be cold and my usually cup of coffee will be my warmth on chilly mornings. And as the fall rushes in pumpkin treats are a top priority. This pumpkin & spice simple syrup combines sweet pumpkin, brown sugar and fall spices and is perfect in coffee or morning oatmeal. A pumpkiny sweet fall treat to welcome in the fall.

By the way, Happy National Coffee Day!

Pumpkin & Spice Simple Syrup

2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbs. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup pumpkin purée

In a saucepan bring water and brown sugar to a boil. Add pumpkin purée, vanilla and spice and reduce heat to low. Simmer syrup for 10 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove any pulp. Store refrigerated.

As for that Pumpkin Pie Spice…

3 tbs. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. clove

1 tsp. all spice

Combine ingredients and whisk well.


Con Panna (Espresso with Cream)

Thursday, September 4th, 2014


Con panna in Italian means “with cream.” A con panna is made by topping a single or doppio espresso with a dollop of sweet whipped cream.

Every time I drink a con panna, memories of my grandma fill my heart and mind. She would often whip up cold fresh cream, sweeten it with vanilla, confectioners sugar and let me stick my finger directly into the mixing bowl for a taste. She loved whipped cream in her coffee and often she grated fresh nutmeg over the top. What a decadent way to enjoy your morning coffee! She certainty had a way of making even the most simple things in life, special. Beginning my day with a con panna, is a great way to start a morning with happy thoughts. I love to sprinkle a few raw sugar crystals on top of mine to add a little crunch and extra sweetness.



Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbs. confectioners (powdered) sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine cold cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, hand mixer or whisk to beat the cream until stiff peaks are formed. If you are whipping the cream by hand… you will need to be patient. Do not over whip your cream, which should be light and fluffy. Over beating causes the cream to become lumpy, thick and butter like. Fresh whipped cream can be made in minutes and tastes best when used just after preparation or within a few hours.

Serve a couple heaping spoonfuls of whipped cream in your espresso or favorite morning brew.


Czech Linden tea

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014


The Lime or Linden tree is the Czech national tree. Linden Trees grow abundantly throughout Europe, as well as in North America. These beautiful trees produce pale yellow flowers often called, lime flowers. Upon arriving in the Czech Republic, I met my friends picking lime flowers in blossom. My Czech friends use the flowers for tea which are dried before steeping. This wonderfully sweet tea has several heath benefits;  helping with digestion, to treat cold and flu symptom, used to reduce fevers and also to calm anxiety. As a farewell gift my friends surprised me with a large paper sack filled with dried Linden flowers to take home to my family.



Small town streets and Czech highways are lined with fruit trees. Travelers are encourages to stop and pick fruit to snack on along their journey. I love the idea of picking and enjoying food as a community. Never wasting even the littlest tea leaf.



Linden tea can commonly be found in your local drug store and online.

To brew, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tsp. of linden leaves. I used a metal tea infuser. Allow the tea to steep for 10 minutes.

Grab a good book and enjoy this relaxing and subtly sweet tea!

What is your favorite tea?

Flying Paper Airplanes