Coffee World

Quills News: Coffee Quality Up and so is the Cost

Dear loyal Quills customers,

As the cost of coffee and distribution continues to rise, Quills will soon be raising prices. On the bright side, we will be taking this opportunity to refresh a few menu items to prepare for the legendary Kentucky summer (whew).

Thank you so much for all of your support and for allowing us to stay a part of this great city's coffee culture.

Your opinion is important to us! If you have any comments or suggestions please don't hesitate to let us know.

Contact: Ginger Goss, General Manager,

Quills News: Fresh Roasted Coffee for Here or To Go


Quills has some new stock on the shelves this week. One of which being our fancy new travel mugs, equipped with our logo and quirky quip that you will come to love. The mugs are high grade plastic and have the classy look of a real life To-Go Cup. They are $10.99 and come with a free cup of coffee upon purchase and then 10% off every drink you purchase to go in the cup from here on out. All your friends will be jealous. 

The most exciting addition to our retail stock is our very own roasted coffee!! Starting this week, our roaster John Letoto has been getting those green beans fired up ready for you to drink. We have a Guatemala SHB and Burundi Kayanza in whole bean for purchase and on French Press or Pour-Over to sip. Quills Coffee Emporium is on its way...

Quills Tools: Mahlkoenig Grinder

Quills is excited to announce we have procured a new grinder! It is the Tanzania model made by Mahlkoenig, a German company that is renowned for their high quality professional products. So fancy in fact they are the official grinder company for the World Barista Championship.

What is great about the Tanzania is its range of settings. It has the capacity to grind as course as needed for French Press, or to grind as fine for Espresso. The burrs (or blades) on the grinder are concave, unlike many grinders where the blades are flat, allowing for a more even grinding of the beans.

It is also exciting for us that we are officially Mahlkoenig reps. There are only a select few in the U.S. Of course it is a little out of reach for home coffee needs, but when you want to add a coffee bar to your new business, let us know.

Quills Tools: Chris King Tamper

Of course we understand the buzz about coffee these days, we are obviously in love. But it is awesome to see when professionals of different fields become coffee enthusiasts. Biker extraordinaire, Chris King, has expanded his passion to the coffee world by designing and manufacturing his very own tamper.

Quills was lucky enough to be gifted one of these fancy tampers by our local bike enthusiast, Drew Hartman of On Your Left Cycles. A Quills regular, Hartman discovered King’s tamper and was delighted to share the cross-over product with us. King hasn’t given up bikes he is simply expanding his love for making tools and parts to his new love of coffee.

The tamper is an essential part of making espresso. All manual and semi-manual machines require the espresso grounds to be packed down tightly with a tamper before the portafilter (where the espresso goes) is inserted into the group head on the machine. This packing is an important part of the espresso process, the pressure added with human inflection helps determine the rate of extraction (speed the water goes through) of the espresso.

King’s tamper comes in varying weights, preference of which is determined by the barista. Often heavier tampers are useful for those with a lighter tamp, or the weight becomes a feeling of solid quality.

Needless to say we are delighted to have the new King tamper in our tool kit for making fine espresso. Thanks Drew! You’re tops.

Quills Featured in Imbibe Magazine

Quills is privileged to be featured in the March/April issue of Imbibe magazine as one of the top place in the South to get caffeinated. We are among a select few of the tasty food and beverage establishments in Louisville to be featured. Due to this excitement the Courier-Journal penned an article detailing what an honor it is to be featured in this national magazine.

You can read the Courier-Journal article by Dana McMahon here:

The insider information says that the process of selection was highly investigative and hands on. Due to the buzz on the web from our loving customers and the time and attention our dedicated baristas give to each cup, Quills is fulfilling its hopes of being recognized as a top quality coffee shop.

We don’t take such adorations lightly and would like to thank Imbibe magazine for the selection and our appreciative customers for keeping our doors open so we can do what we love and do it well.

See the article upclose here or pick up one of the remaining few at the shop!

Quills' Own Competes in National Competition

One of Quills own fine baristas, Philip Revell, will be representing Louisville at the Coffee Fest Free Pour Latté Art Championship in Chicago, IL. Quills’ patrons are familiar with Philip’s beautiful designs, making tulips and Rosettas in lattés and macchiatos every chance he gets. We are so proud/impressed/elated/pumped he has been selected to compete in this national competition.

One of the nation’s largest gatherings of coffee geeks meets in different cities throughout the year. Chicago will be hosting Coffee Fest from February 18-20, a perfect opportunity to highlight all the wonderful coffee happenings in the Windy City and the Midwest region.

Coffee Fest is home to the who’s who of coffee, roasters, distributers and geeks alike. Being a part of the coffee world at large is part of Philip’s excitement. “It’s neat to think about this being a part of the coffee scene at-large, to be a part of that, competing against some of the best baristas.”

The competition will be held over three days, with four rounds including semi-finals and finals. Set up tournament style, entrants will go head-to-head, winners of each round then competing against one another. The first and second place winners will receive some hefty cash prizes, enough to make anyone get practicing on the steam wand.

Philip will be going up against sixty-three other competitors, selected from a photographic portfolio of design submissions. “Because it’s such a big competition, I thought I would get in. But then I saw the bracket and I was like ‘Wow, this is a big deal’,” Philip said of his acceptance. Sixty-four competitors may seem like a lot compared to the fifteen or twenty that are in the local competitions, but considering Coffee Fest draws thousands of people, to be part of this selection process says a lot about the skill Philip brings to the table.

Philip will be hailing Louisville along with Sunergos baristas Kenny Smith and Jessie Harriot and local native Ryan Soeder. This cadre of coffee aficionados will be helping to put Louisville on the coffee coinsure map.  

Even though the competition is serious and entrants are obviously going to win, the Louisville coffee scene has been a place of learning and growth and that extends to the competition. “Everyone is really excited about going. They’ve been supportive of me,” Philip said of the encouragement he received from the other Louisville baristas.

The coffee culture in Louisville has been growing dramatically over the last two years and this influx of baristas into Coffee Fest is a mark to the level of skill and commitment to coffee happening in our home city. 

More about Coffee Fest:

More Latté Art:

Coffee Names: The Ins and Outs

When consuming coffee at Quills you may often be struck with the question of ‘Why does this *insert delicious coffee* have this name? What does it all mean?’ A common question, be sure. But the answer is not so easy. Coffee names are often a conglomeration of terms indicating the region, farm name, tree varietal, grading terms, or awards achieved. Woah, that’s a lot. But really it just means that a lot of information can be in the name of the coffee. Asking the informed barista of what the names mean can be the answer, but here are some of the terms often used in the naming process to give you a heads up.
Some of the terms involved in naming come from the type of bean. Whether it is smaller or larger or harder. The terms Peaberry, SHB or “Strictly Hard Bean,” AA or AB are indications of size or type. The peaberry is a result of a coffee cherry producing a single, rather than a double bean.  The bean is smaller, with a crevice splitting down the middle.  Peaberry coffees have some different characteristics to their normal bean counterparts.  Peaberries are usually brighter, more complex in aroma, and lighter in body.
SHB is short for “strictly hard bean”, which is the highest grade designation in Costa Rica, based on growing altitude. AA is an indication of bean size—AA is the largest size grown in Kenya. AB is a size down. These grades are not indicative of the quality of the coffee. An AB coffee can be just as good as an AA coffee.  Coffees simply labeled Kenya AA hardly reflect the quality contained in the cup, they merely indicate the size of the bean.  The quality of a Kenya coffee is determined by proper growing conditions, and meticulous harvesting and and processing, just like any other great coffee grown around the world.
Other parts important terms in the coffee names come from the region or farm they are grow in or awards they have received. A Co-op, or cooperative is a group of farmers who each maintain smaller sections of a large farm.  This allows for greater attention to detail, as each farmer can focus more attentively on a smaller amount of land. Using the Co-op name in a coffee draws attention to the farm and allows people to become familiar with the conditions the coffee is grown and be able to discern the Co-ops they prefer.
Awards are always important. Especially if you win one! When a coffee wins an award, like the coveted Cup of Excellence it is undeniable that growers and sellers want to show that off. The process in which the coffee is harvested can also be used as part of the name. A coffee that  says ‘wet-process’ means that the bean has been fully washed after harvesting, in contrast to a dry-processed coffee, where the coffee is left in the sun to dry.  
Here are some examples how that all works to name our tasty coffees. Here's a simple one.  We carry a coffee called "Nicaragua La Gloria". It's from Nicaragua, from a farm called "La Gloria".  Simple enough. Now let's take "El Salvador Cup of Excellence La Montanita Pacamara." El Salvador is the country of origin. Cup of Excellence is a national competition held in many coffee growing countries, recognizing and awarding the top coffee farms in the country each year.  La Montanita is the name of the farm where the coffee is grown. Pacamara is the varietal of the coffee trees harvested.  "Varietal" is a designation that is more precise than "species" or "sub-species", concerning trees.  
Of course you don’t need to know all that to enjoy coffee, but it does help to know where what you love comes from in order to find more and enhance your coffee experience. Taste and knowledge. Win.
For more fun terms and what not:


Behind the Curtain of Quills Coffee Standards

Down at the Quills coffee ranch we are always striving for better. But who decides what is best in the coffee world? We get inspiration from many pros in the coffee industry, roasters, baristas, and reps alike. As specialty coffee culture is growing in America and across the globe a standard is being set.
One of the primary associations to set this standard is the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). The SCAA is based out of Long Beach, CA but serves as a resource and network for coffee industry professionals all over the US. Among being smart and cool, the SCAA organizes and regulates the United States Barista Competition (USBC).
In addition to being a big deal among baristas, this competition helps to establish the standard of coffee brewing and barista stylings. The competitors must make a single espresso, a single cappuccino and a specialty espresso drink for each Judge. Within their fifteen minute barista presentation, they present each beverage in the order of their choice. Baristas are judged on taste, aesthetic, creativity and presentation. Unlike Latte Art Competitions, the barista is graded on taste and use of their imagination in their specialty drink. The winner of the USBC then goes on to compete in the World Barista Competition (WBC), which is a really big deal. The regulation established by the SCAA in these competitions has influenced the standards we hold at Quills.
This process may sound similar to the presentation Chris DeFerio gave at the Prima Barista Bash Quills hosted last spring. DeFerio, a winner of multiple Barista Championships, detailed the process of the barista competition and wowed the mock judges with his smoked milk and orange espresso drink. No wonder he is a winner.  
Who knew being a barista was such a big deal? Well it definitely is, and we aren’t the only ones that think so. There are competitions all over the country. Coffee Fest is also a convergence of coffee enthusiasts that influence Quills. Holding fests allover the country, even Hawaii, this meeting of hundreds of growers, roasters, baristas, equipment reps and every kind coffee lover under the sun come together to talk coffee. Hosting workshops and competitions, the goals is consistently learning and improvement.
Coming into coffee full force has led Quills into the path of such prominent and important coffee folks and we hope their standards keep raising, so ours do to.