Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Behind the Scenes - Satellite Coffee and Flying Star Cafe

Blogging has afforded me some unique opportunities that I would never have expected when I first fired up my little site over six years ago. The most recent experiences that pop out were interviewing James Cunningham (host of Cooking Channel's Eat St.) and guest blogging for the New York City Food Truck Association. More importantly, I've made some great friends along the way and made memories all over the map.

Recently, blogging opened up the doors to one of my favorite local companies. Two weeks ago I was invited to check out the behind the scenes action of Rio Chan Foods, the commissary for Flying Star Cafe and Satellite Coffee.

As someone who has enjoyed more than his fair share of Black Velvets from Satellite and Flying Star's mac and cheese, I was more than curious to get a glimpse into all of the inner workings.

I started off by meeting Juan, the man behind the coffee. If you've ever sipped the brew of the day at Satellite, it was likely roasted and packed up by this man. All of the coffee runs through the Probat roaster while he monitors the temperature and gets the beans to his desired level of doneness, performing quality checks periodically. He starts at 5 a.m. and regularly packages over 100 bags of coffee a day.

He has about a decade on the job as a roaster for Rio Chan, but a lifetime of experience going back to his roots growing up on a coffee farm in Costa Rica.

As we finished up our leg of the tour, we split a cup of coffee he ground up fresh and brewed in his French press, then I was whisked off to see the commissary.

When I got there, it was already buzzing with action. Chefs, cooks, and bakers were out in full force, producing massive amounts of all sorts of food.

I watched as they assembled cakes and pastries, I shivered inside the walk-in freezer, I was tempted to reach in and scoop of chocolate ganache with my hand. Before I could build up enough confidence to snag myself a quick taste of something, I was whisked away to a new station.

The commisary produces between 8,000 and 10,000 items a day. My camera couldn't snap pictures fast enough to capture all the activity going on. I couldn't imagine coordinating all the operations happening in the facility. It's insane. In fact, I think I'll stick to enjoying the end product the next time I'm at Flying Star Cafe or Satellite Coffee. I suggest you do the same.


Oceana Coffee said...

A coffee shop stands to you not only with their yummy coffee it also to you with healthy breakfast and lunch items.

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