Oh, the difference that a great cup of coffee can make. Growing up I was told that drinking coffee would stunt my growth, false. I bought into the idea that the best part of waking up was Folger’s in my cup, false.
The Des Moines area is blessed with a number of great coffee shops. The kinds of places that take coffee seriously. They roast their beans themselves because they want to maintain as much control over the finished product as possible. They want to leave their fingerprint on their craft and not risk commoditization. Of these, Zanzibar stands proudly among them.
The beans they roast are from all around the world. I wanted to try something new for myself. So I scanned their list of options and my eye was immediately caught by their Indian Monsooned Malabar coffee. At the time, I had no clue that Monsooned Malabar was a well established way of processing beans. Thanks to trusty Wikipedia, I discovered that Monsooned Malabar is the process of exposing the beans to the monsoon winds and rains of the Southwestern Indian Coast for 3-4 months, during which time the pH level neutralizes. This produces a smooth flavor.
I’ve fallen in love with the French Press method for brewing coffee. It allows for a more intimate experience. It’s a deliberate method, rather than the traditional drip method of flipping a switch. It results in a coffee that is smoother, richer, and bolder.
They blend their own half and half using the finest milk and cream from Sheeder Cloverleaf Dairy out of Gutherie Center, Iowa. Their half and half has a butter like quality to it. I mixed it with my coffee and was able to skip adding sugar it was that good.
Zanzibar is located on Ingersoll, directly across the street from Bistro Montage, one of my favorite Des Moines restaurants, and one I plan to review as soon as I can. There’s a number of great restaurants in the neighborhood. The building is older but they’ve done a nice job of preserving the best aspects of the building while infusing a nice new interpretation of modern offerings. Their large Diedrich roaster is easily visible while ordering at the counter.
My wife ordered their Grizzly Bear, a blended coffee drink using cold press coffee, cream, chocolate, a shot of espresso and ice. Does it get much better than being cooled down on a hot night by some ice cold coffee? As my wife describes it, it had a milkshake quality to it. It was very smooth, rather than icy like many blended iced coffee drinks are.
Zanzibar is an example of a place that respects the coffee craft and is pure to itself. Their prime directive is to share with and share in this passion with their patrons. If you want a pure coffee experience, stop by and enjoy a cup.