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Neighbor's Mill Springfield turns ONE!

Hi everyone, Lauren here. As I sit here in my office it's hard to believe a year has passed. The days were long and sometimes hard, at least in the beginning. After time things smoothed out, but I don't think I can ever say the work that we do is easy. 

What started as a dream, and then a long-term goal, became a reality. I am amazed everyday by this beautiful building that we call ours, the amazing team that we have built, the unbelievable quality of our bread and the loyal and lovely regular customers that we have. We would not be where we are today without these things. THANK YOU - yes, YOU. Thank you for reading, thank you for coming to eat, thank you for supporting us. We hope it will continue for many years to come.

With that said, here are some old photos and a few memories from our journey:

In the summer of 2015 we finally had a concrete pad with some metal beams going up. So excited to see movement -- we were behind schedule from the get-go because of all the heavy rain we had that spring that prevented concrete from being poured. 

In the summer of 2015 we finally had a concrete pad with some metal beams going up. So excited to see movement -- we were behind schedule from the get-go because of all the heavy rain we had that spring that prevented concrete from being poured. 

The space for our walk-in cooler and freezer. Finally had a chance to see, in person, how big this space would be! 

The space for our walk-in cooler and freezer. Finally had a chance to see, in person, how big this space would be! 

Many of you may not know the story behind this brick. It's the original brick from our Harrison store - the entire outside of their building is done with this brick. There was about a pallet left and we thought it would be a neat tribute to use it on a wall inside our store. 

Many of you may not know the story behind this brick. It's the original brick from our Harrison store - the entire outside of their building is done with this brick. There was about a pallet left and we thought it would be a neat tribute to use it on a wall inside our store. 

Our wood wall in the private dining room is one of our absolute favorite features of our building. We know you guys love it, too. It's fun to see all the selfies in front of this wall that pop up on social media. Here's the beginning stages -- our contractors listened to our vision for this wall and then they just nailed it. Also, fun fact: this wood came from the farm owned by our neighbor's just down the sidewalk - Ann (of Ann's Performing Arts Center) and her husband, Dave. 

Our wood wall in the private dining room is one of our absolute favorite features of our building. We know you guys love it, too. It's fun to see all the selfies in front of this wall that pop up on social media. Here's the beginning stages -- our contractors listened to our vision for this wall and then they just nailed it. Also, fun fact: this wood came from the farm owned by our neighbor's just down the sidewalk - Ann (of Ann's Performing Arts Center) and her husband, Dave. 

This is our grain mill - a 20" meal-master from Meadow's Mills - that we had in storage for a few years. The guys from D. Cloud came out to restore it and did the heavy lifting so we didn't have to! 

This is our grain mill - a 20" meal-master from Meadow's Mills - that we had in storage for a few years. The guys from D. Cloud came out to restore it and did the heavy lifting so we didn't have to! 

...and here's the workhorse. Our 30-pan Baxter Oven, that came to us from Michigan. This monster was one of the more stressful parts of opening. The shipping of it kept getting delayed and we only had a small window of time to get it installed and start test-baking in it before we opened. We finally got it on December 30th, 2015 and the amazing team from Ozarks Food Equipment came to install it. It was insane to watch this process happen - the oven was literally built into the space and came in peice by peice through our side door. 

...and here's the workhorse. Our 30-pan Baxter Oven, that came to us from Michigan. This monster was one of the more stressful parts of opening. The shipping of it kept getting delayed and we only had a small window of time to get it installed and start test-baking in it before we opened. We finally got it on December 30th, 2015 and the amazing team from Ozarks Food Equipment came to install it. It was insane to watch this process happen - the oven was literally built into the space and came in peice by peice through our side door. 

The time came to start interviewing and hiring... 

The time came to start interviewing and hiring... 

...so we conducted about 75 interviews on site, while our contractors worked around us, without any heat. It was an experience, that's for sure! 

...so we conducted about 75 interviews on site, while our contractors worked around us, without any heat. It was an experience, that's for sure! 

KY3 came out to do a "progress report" on our building. That was cool - we're grateful to KY3 for giving us lots of good press during our opening. 

KY3 came out to do a "progress report" on our building. That was cool - we're grateful to KY3 for giving us lots of good press during our opening. 

Those copper bar tops you see in two spots in our store were brought in in pieces by our contractors. And they were really heavy! This part was a little nerve-wracking. The guys over at Billings did most of our millwork. Shout out to Cory, pictured on the far Right in this photo. 

Those copper bar tops you see in two spots in our store were brought in in pieces by our contractors. And they were really heavy! This part was a little nerve-wracking. The guys over at Billings did most of our millwork. Shout out to Cory, pictured on the far Right in this photo. 

On January 12 we finally passed all of our building inspections and were granted our Certificate of Occupancy. This was one of the biggest waves of relief I've ever felt in my life.

On January 12 we finally passed all of our building inspections and were granted our Certificate of Occupancy. This was one of the biggest waves of relief I've ever felt in my life.

Two of our bakers came in to sand down and refinish our bakers table. This beauty is 10 feet long and weighs right around 1000 lbs. It took 8 guys to carry it into the space. 

Two of our bakers came in to sand down and refinish our bakers table. This beauty is 10 feet long and weighs right around 1000 lbs. It took 8 guys to carry it into the space. 

One of the more amazing parts of this journey has been our team. When we started training we had over 50 new staff who were about to start working in a brand new restaurant. I still think about that now – the leap of faith that our staff took on us. On our concept. On our ability to run a successful restaurant so that they could receive a paycheck. I am in awe even now of the amazing employees we have. We’ve retained a lot of original staff, which is incredible. Some of the most successful business owners and entrepreneurs always have one thing in common - they surround themselves with people who are better and smarter than they are. I think we can safely say the same thing. We're so grateful to have the best staff in town (we might be a little biased but I don't think we're far off!) 

On January 11, 2016 we started training. We had about 55 people train and open with us. This was day one of training - orientation day - and we felt a little crazed to have this amazing group of people ready to work with us.

On January 11, 2016 we started training. We had about 55 people train and open with us. This was day one of training - orientation day - and we felt a little crazed to have this amazing group of people ready to work with us.

At the end of training week we did a "Friends & Family" night so we could test out our chops. We had a great turn-out and, though it was a little hectic, it was the best way to get prepared to open. We donated all our proceeds from the evening to Ozarks Food Harvest. This photo was taken right before opening doors for that event. 

At the end of training week we did a "Friends & Family" night so we could test out our chops. We had a great turn-out and, though it was a little hectic, it was the best way to get prepared to open. We donated all our proceeds from the evening to Ozarks Food Harvest. This photo was taken right before opening doors for that event. 

We had contractors in the store finishing up work up until about an hour before we opened on our first day. That was stressful, to say the least. The day of our soft opening we received a call from our head baker at 4AM. He turned on the grain mill and heard a loud popping sound and then all the electricity went out and even after flipping the breakers the electricity did not turn back on. They were in the dark with bread in ovens that had turned off; our Micros computer system was down, we would eventually lose all that bread because it would overproof before we could get the ovens turned back on… We waited until 6AM and called our contractor. That was probably the hardest I’ve ever prayed. I will never forget laying in bed in the dark at 4AM knowing there was nothing we could do and just pleading for God to be merciful on us and let this be an easy fix, whatever the problem was… We arrived at the restaurant around 6:30AM, our contractor and the electricians shortly after. They narrowed it down to a bad fuse and by around 8AM the electricity was back on. The biggest wave of relief I have ever felt rushed over me. We opened for business at 11AM, as planned. 

On January 18 we had a soft open in which we didn't announce anything, we just unlocked the doors from 11am - 3pm and saw what happened. We actually had quite a few people wander inside and they were pleased to see we were open. My aunt Cindy was very first in line that day and gave us our first dollar bill. 

On January 18 we had a soft open in which we didn't announce anything, we just unlocked the doors from 11am - 3pm and saw what happened. We actually had quite a few people wander inside and they were pleased to see we were open. My aunt Cindy was very first in line that day and gave us our first dollar bill. 

January 19 was our official opening date. KY3 came again to do a story on our opening, which was amazing (we've still never seen that story, since we were at the restaurant for about 20 hours that day). 

January 19 was our official opening date. KY3 came again to do a story on our opening, which was amazing (we've still never seen that story, since we were at the restaurant for about 20 hours that day). 

The day of our real opening (January 19) an ice storm was predicted. This is funny only because I actually sarcastically predicted this would happen back in November when we nailed down our opening date. Making the decision to close at 5pm on our first day of being open was super defeating. I went into the bathroom stall and cried (partly from exhaustion, mind you).  Nevertheless, we sent our staff home, closed the doors, went home and got in bed by 8PM. As I sank into my pillow for the first time before midnight in about three weeks I realized this was God, in his infinite kindness, giving us a chance to rest that we wouldn’t have taken had we not been forced. 

After KY3's story aired, the lines started and they didn’t end. We were all running around like chicken’s with our heads cut off (that description has really never been so accurate). We were so grateful for the business while at the same time trying to secretly hide all the issues we were having with equipment. They say it takes a good three months for any new restaurant to get the kinks worked out and BOY is that true. Every day at least three pieces of equipment would break. Our big oven went down two or three times (forcing us to bake bread unconventionally in our deck oven that couldn’t hold nearly as many loaves); our dishwasher literally went down about 18 times; our grain mill; our convection oven; our sinks; our ice maker; our coke machine; our CO2 tank. You name it, we had a problem with it. I am proud of how our staff problem-solved and made things work (in very MacGuyver-ish ways sometimes). 

We are so grateful for our beautiful space that we have called home for a year now. So many amazing people have helped us along the way and we wouldn't be where we are without them. 

We are so grateful for our beautiful space that we have called home for a year now. So many amazing people have helped us along the way and we wouldn't be where we are without them. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for reading and for being part of our story. Thank you for your support, for your patience, for your friendship, for your willingness to help us get better. 

All the best,

Lauren & Clif Brown, Owners 

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Meet our Regulars: Ron Parry

Before we even opened our doors back in January, a future customer wandered inside and asked "what is this place going to be?" We knew right then he would be a great advocate for us and take a vested interest in our business. Ron did not prove us wrong; every morning (and sometimes again in the afternoon) Ron comes in for food and conversation. He knows the names of most of our employees and all of our employees know his name, too. He is part of a group of regulars that meet every morning for breakfast. They pull tables together and make themselves at home, they even bring their own mugs -- we wouldn't have it any other way. 

I asked Ron if we could interview him and this morning he willingly obliged. Here's a little more about one of our favorite regular customers:

Ron Parry has lived in Springfield since 1981. He is a true believer that "Springfield is Utopia." I've heard him say this many times - he truly loves his community. Ron is in the auto business, selling custom wheels and lug nuts for cars. He says his territory is the whole country, but he has worked from home for the past 30 years. Ron is married to a wonderful lady, Karen. They are both very involved in the Springfield Symphony Orchestra as part of the Symphony Guild. Ron says he loves all music, from classical to country to big band. He thinks our Springfield Symphony has something to offer for all music lovers. 

 

At Neighbor's Mill Ron's favorite thing is any grilled sandwich. He believes our bread is the key to our delicious grilled sandwiches, and he particularly enjoys the French Dip and the Queen City. For breakfast he usually gets our peaches & cream brioche, when we bake it, or our Miller's Breakfast sandwich with sausage. And of course, a big cup of coffee in his yellow Mill mug. 

I asked him what he likes about Neighbor's Mill and here's what he had to say: "Good food. Good bread - we buy loaves weekly to take home and we use them at home on sandwiches. The bread is so good. Also, the employees are genuinely friendly. They care about people; they try to learn your name." 

Ron, thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. We love having you as a regular and seeing your smiling face every day. We can set our clocks to your arrival each morning and it's one of our favorite things about being in this business - the many good folks you meet along the way. Thank you for the support, Ron! 

-Lauren 

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springfield, missouri progress report #2

guess what, guys? construction is never finished when you think it will be. everyone knows that, of course, but we're here to officially set the record straight in case there was any lingering doubt. the verdict is in and the answer is unanimous: construction (especially from the ground up) is a long and arduous (but fun!) process. 

since it's been a while since we updated, we thought we'd share some photos. things are really taking shape and the interior walls give so much depth and perspective to what the final product will look like.

here is a panoramic of the space:

our parking lot has been paved and striped (crazy!) and our exterior is almost complete. we have glass in our windows and our exterior sign will be going up soon at the top of the building facade. 

since there are so many codes and permits that must be acquired and lots of hands are involved at this stage, things just take more time than you think. it's like a set of dominos and they must all be set into motion well in advance for everything to finish up on time. it is not as easy as saying "build that wall." of course, it's always nice to know that a building is being constructed properly - architects and contractors have very important jobs and we want to make sure our building is made safely. we're glad that there are procedures in place to make that happen but sometimes, man, they can sure get in the way. 

all this being said, we're most likely looking at a January 2016 opening. it's a little crushing because our goal has always been to get this sucker opened in calendar year of 2015. but the holidays complicate things and there's a small window of time we'd have to hit in order to open before the holiday rush. we're not sure we'll be there in time and so the wisest decision feels like january. most new restaurants don't open in january; that's a hard time of year - post-holidays, bad weather and all - but you know what? we're going rogue! forget what most people do, we're doing things the Neighbor's Mill way and sometimes that means you take a big leap of faith and just jump and hope for the best. having a good, strong staff to help push you in the right direction never hurts either. 

well, that's about all from us for now. we can't wait to show you more when it's completed. send us lots of good thoughts and vibes if you think about it!

-lauren 








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DOORS GALORE!

In an effort to share more about the process of opening our second location in Springfield, we thought it would be fun to write about our trip north to St. Clair, MO to pick up about 1,300 lbs. worth of antique doors...

We knew we wanted to use old doors in our building, both for our actual doors and also for the front of our counters. If you've been to our store in Harrison you might have noticed that our counter facades are all antique doors turned on their side. It's pretty awesome and we wanted the same aesthetic in our new location. We told our architect to plan for this and then, well, we promptly moved on to one of the other million projects we're currently juggling. Then, our contractor called and said "where are your doors?" and we were like "oh, right...doors!" 

In a fortuitous way, we already had a contact for these doors. As you may well know, thanks in part to Pinterest, the interest in antique doors has SKYROCKETED since our original location was built in 2000. Initially, we had a hard time tracking these down but one day we were in Bentonville, AR and we drove by a little garage-type building and someone in the car shouted "OLDE WORLD DOOR" and then we made a U-Turn in the road and found this guy's amazing workshop. Adrian, the owner, helped us secure two, incredible 125-year-old Cypress wood doors that we'll be using as our bathroom entrances. He also gave us his contact for a man named Harry up in St. Clair.

After the panicked called from our contractor, we decided we had to go see Harry the next day. Armed with an address and a grainy photo of the 5000 sq. foot warehouse full of doors in St. Clair, we took off with a huge trailer in tow. 

 

It was a hot, hot day at the end of summer - the Sunday before Labor Day, actually. We were all pretty anxious about securing the doors we needed; our contractor was waiting on us to deliver everything the next day. We also had to drive this huge trailer down I-44 and we were, to be frank, not overly excited about that. 

Hours later we arrived, took one look around this warehouse full of buried treasure and were off to the races. You're thinking, wouldn't it be easy to find what you needed? Not exactly. See, we're limited by the dimensions of the doors by ADA codes. Of course, we're happy to oblige, but it made finding doors that would work quite a bit more difficult. 100-year-old doors were just smaller because people were smaller back then. Most of the ones we found were either too narrow or too short. 

Finally, with Harry's help, we landed on some gorgeous ones that would work. The one we secured for our bakery entrance dates back to 1890 and came from an old home in East St. Louis! We know approx. how old it is because it was a pocket-door (that means it was a sliding door that was on a track and when you opened it it slid into the wall) that has little wheels on the bottom of it. Harry explained that around the turn of the century they stopped making the pocket doors with wheels on bottom and started using the ceiling-tracks instead. This door has gorgeous details and is painted a unique color of yellow. 

We also found two matching doors for our main entrance. These, too, date back to around 1890-1900. They are a matching pair and their stain is just beautiful when in the sunlight. These 6-panel doors are pretty rare. We will have a few of the top panels removed from these doors and glass will be installed. They just don't make doors like this anymore... 

We also picked up 9 massive 5-panel doors that we will flip on side, cut and use for our counter fronts. Every single one of these doors came out of St. Louis so we think that's pretty cool, too! 

After hours of being in the warehouse (with no A.C. might I add) we loaded up the trailer. Harry offered us Cherry Pepsi and we were like "sure, why not?" The gentlemen in the group then spent at least an hour strapping everything down. I was mostly getting impatient and sweating like a maniac, but I guess it's a good thing we strapped everything down really well. We didn't lose any doors on the interstate, and for that,  I am grateful. 

A few hours later we made it back to Springfield and dropped off all our doors at a storage unit we have. Our contractors came by the next morning to survey the damage and start the process of framing them. When we unloaded we had a chance to stand everything up and take photos. I was giddy about everything we found. Even though it was a long, hard, hot, somewhat-stressful day - we have our antique doors. They are beautiful and will add so much character to our building. Be sure to look out for them when you enter once we open later this year. 

 

Thanks for reading!

Lauren 

Olde World Door - Bentonville, AR - http://www.oldeworlddoor.com/

Henderson's Antiques - St. Clair, MO - no website, contact/map here Story about his warehouse HERE   

we also sourced a few other antique doors from Cross Creek Artifacts in Springfield, MO

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On Saturday, August 15th in the year 2015 we are celebrating our 15th Anniversary! We are so excited and since all the numbers are aligning we thought we'd have a special day filled with events, giveaways and live music. 

Also, we'll be donating 15% of our total proceeds for the day to House of Hope in Harrison. HoH is a homeless day-shelter where those in our community who are homeless can be connected with services necessary to help them become housing-stable while also providing them with immediate basic needs. 

We're thrilled to be able to give back to the community that has supported our business for so many years. Stay tuned for the announcement of events but please mark your calendars and make sure to join us on 8/15/15 at Neighbor's Mill in Harrison! 

#breakbreadwithneighbors

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springfield, missouri progress report

You've probably heard by now that we're expanding. We're moving north to Springfield, Missouri and we can't wait. We wanted to give you an update on what's happening with our property...

We're under construction! 

Our site is located at the corner of Fremont and Independence on the south side of Springfield. We'll be part of a small development called Paige Reese Plaza. Here's what the development looked like just after they broke ground: 

Here's what it looks like today: 

FAQ's about our site: 

1. Will it be as big as your store in Harrison? It will actually be BIGGER! Our dining room will be slightly larger but we're really expanding our back of house facilities. We'll have more room for our bakers, a larger oven and expanded food prep area. All of these additions will make it easier to serve you better and provide the type of products & service that you, as our customer, deserve! 

2. Will it look like a Mill? No, it will certainly have a different look and feel than the store in Harrison. Because we aren't building a stand-alone building we had to have a look that would be more aligned with the rest of the development we're part of. However, it's going to look awesome! Lots of large windows and an inviting outside patio will make our building stand out. Inside we will use a lot of textures and elements that we have in the Harrison store, including some of the original brick that was used on the outside of the Harrison building. Our goal was to blend many of the elements of the original store with new elements to make it feel modern and unique. 

3. When will you be open? Our tentative opening date is the beginning of November 2015. As with all new construction, we've had some delays and expect more to happen before the store is complete. We'll be sure to share our grand opening date when we know it -- see you there!

4. Is this store going to have its own bakers? Yes! That's one of the defining elements of our store so we will certainly have our own bakery and dedicated baking team. Everything will be baked fresh and ON SITE; that's very important to us. You will have the same look/feel/smell as the Harrison store and we'll be offering the same breads and muffins that we bake in Harrison. 

5. What can I do to help spread the word? Tell everyone you know! Do you have friends, family, work colleagues in Springfield? Let them know about us. Tweet, Instagram and Facebook about us using the hashtag #breakbreadwithneighbors. Feel free to drive by the site at 1435 E. Independence and keep up with our construction progress by following us on social media sites (Instagram HERE or Facebook HERE). 

 

Thanks for your support. We can't wait to serve you and break bread together in Springfield, MO!

-Lauren & Clif 



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death before decaf.

At Neighbor’s Mill, we strive for the highest quality in all that we do, including our coffee program. Our goal is to brew and serve up some of the best coffee in the region and provide a bit of coffee education along the way.  Speaking of, did you know that all of our coffee is roasted weekly and comes to us from Fayetteville (Mama Carmen’s) and Eureka Springs (Mountain Bird)? We are very thankful for our relationships with both of these incredible local roasters and I encourage you to check them out if you haven’t already.

So, let’s talk coffee. First, let’s discuss a few items that are necessary in order to be consistent every time you brew coffee:

  • Digital Gram Scale: We’ve all used a scoop to measure our coffee beans but just as it is in baking, everyone’s scoop size and technique is different. Weighing our beans to the exact amount puts us on the path to consistent results every. single. time. Measuring by weight tells you exactly how much of an ingredient there is. Measuring by volume (aka scooping) accounts for everything in the scoop, whether firmly or loosely packed, coarse or fine grain, and air pockets. The ratio of coffee : water should be between 1.6 - 2 grams of coffee to 28 grams of water.

  • Manual or Electric Burr Grinder: I love coffee. I love the process of making coffee and will tell you that grinding your beans fresh before each batch will change how you taste coffee. As soon as beans are ground, the quality control clock begins to tick and can affect the flavor, aroma, and body of whichever kind of coffee you are brewing. So think twice before buying an entire pound of pre-ground coffee. I recommend a burr grinder for a consistent grind particle size but pulsing the beans in a clean spice grinder will work in a pinch, too. Just weigh out the amount of coffee you want to brew and grind only that amount. Keep your whole beans stored in an air-tight container out of direct sunlight.

  • Clean, Filtered Water: Did you know that your cup of coffee is 99% water? Needless to say, the quality of your water will make a HUGE difference in how it tastes. We could dedicate an entire blog post to water quality (perhaps soon!) but I will not get into that here. A Brita or any other carbon filter will point you in the right direction for water that is partially particle-free and has no chlorine aftertaste. When brewing hot coffee, you’ll want to use water that is just “off-the-boil,” ideally 195-205 degrees F. This temp will allow you to extract the right amount of flavor from your beans; anything hotter can potentially scald your coffee and affect taste.

my set-up at home 

my set-up at home 

At Neighbor’s Mill, we use a ratio of 1.8 grams of coffee for every 28 grams of water for our drip coffee. Batch brewing a pot of coffee in a commercial drip coffee maker is the best way to produce a large quantity of coffee without compromising consistency and quality. Unfortunately, home drip coffee makers can often produce an inconsistent cup due to the water temperature falling below the 195F degree threshold resulting in under extracted coffee. Also, the hot plate on which the pot sits heats the coffee over the course of several hours (or however long it takes someone to drink the coffee) and can cause the coffee to burn resulting in a bitter, unsatisfying cup. If you’re brewing with this method then I highly recommend removing the pot of coffee from the hotplate as soon as the coffee is finished brewing and only brewing an amount that will be readily imbibed.

However, if you’re interested in another method of brewing a delicious, clean cup of coffee at home, perhaps a single cup method, then keep reading…

Have you ever tossed around a frisbee with friends? Maybe one that looks like a big rubber ring about a foot in diameter and can be thrown down the length of a football field with the flick of a wrist? It’s called an Aerobie frisbee and the guy who invented it, Stanford professor Alan Adler, also invented a single cup coffee method that has become hugely successful and taken the world by storm. Frisbees and coffee...what could be better?

This little gadget is called an Aeropress and essentially combines the French Press method (immersing and steeping coffee grounds in water) and the Clover method (a combination of immersion and vacuum brewing). You can pick one up on Amazon.com or at some Bed, Bath, and Beyond locations for around $30. (Additional bonus: it all breaks down into an easy-to-store bag and is great for traveling!)

To use the Aeropress, you will need the following:

  • Gram Scale

  • Grinder (Burr or Spice)

  • 300 grams of water heated between 195 - 205 degrees F

  • 15 grams of freshly ground coffee that are ground finer than coffee used for a drip machine *see our note at bottom of post for grind size guidelines

  • Aeropress

Step by Step Directions for Making a Cup of Coffee with the AeroPress!

  1. Assemble the Aeropress by placing the plunger into the cylinder only about a quarter of an inch. Flip the Aeropress so the plunger is standing on the counter and the open end of the Aeropress cylinder is facing up. You should now be able to put your grounds into the open end of the Aeropress cylinder.

2. Begin heating 300 grams of water

3. Grind 15 grams of coffee to the appropriate grind size and pour into Aeropress cylinder.

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4. Once water is between 195 - 205 degrees F, “pre-heat” your coffee cup/mug by wetting the paper filter into the cup/mug you'll be drinking from. This will prepare the filter so you do not get any paper taste during the brewing process. It will also warm your mug up so that your coffee stays hot longer (make sure you dump the water out before you begin to brew your coffee into the cup, of course). 

5. Place Aeropress on scale and tare to zero. Begin pouring water and stop once you’ve poured 60 grams. Take the stirrer that is included with your Aeropress and give the coffee/water mixture 8 turbulent stirs. Continue pouring until you reach 240 grams of water.

6. Place wet paper filter and filter cap on Aeropress. Using your ninja-like reflexes, flip the Aeropress over and place on top of your mug.

7. GENTLY PRESS the plunger down to begin the filtering and extraction process. Give yourself 30 - 45 seconds to finish the press.

 

8. Remove the filter cap and pop out the used coffee “puck”, rinse with water OR ENJOY YOUR COFFEE FIRST AND SAVE THE WASHING FOR LATER!

With warmer weather here, iced coffee is probably at the top of every coffee lover’s mind. A quick internet search will show there are lots of ways to brew iced coffee. However, here are two easy methods that would work great at home.

  1. Brew your cup of hot coffee just the way you normally would, except brew it over ice (this has become known as the Japanese Iced Coffee method). For example, if you use your AreoPress, just fill your cup with ice and press your coffee right over it. This method will allow you to lock in the flavors that you get with your hot cup of coffee. Just keep in mind that your ice will begin to melt immediately and it will water down your coffee slightly. To get the right ratio of coffee to water you will want to cut your water quantity in half (think: half of my “water” ratio should be in ice; the other half of the water ratio in actual water).

  2. Cold brew: this method means that you’re soaking coffee grounds in water for an extended period of time. This is our method at Neighbor’s Mill! We use a nice medium-bodied coffee with a coarse grind. The ideal ratio is anywhere between 4 ½ :1 - 10:1 water to coffee. The grinds will just sit in the water and soak at a minimum of 8 hours. At that point you'll want to use a large coffee filter or cheese cloth with a mesh strainer to separate your coffee from the grounds. The result should be a smooth cup of cold-brew coffee! You’ll want to play with both the water to coffee ratio and the soak time since everyone’s flavor palate and taste preferences are different.

The main thing to keep in mind with all iced coffee’s is that your ice will be diluting the coffee (either immediately or over time) so you want to account for that additional water by brewing a stronger coffee to begin with.

*A very brief note on grind size: there is no straightforward guideline on particle size of your grinds but a good way to think about the difference between a coarse grind and a fine grind is to think about rocks vs. sand. Does water run through a pile of rocks quicker than a pile of sand? Of course. So a courser grind will extract less flavor since the water will run through it faster. As a general rule of thumb, the quicker the method of brewing, the finer the grind size should be (AeroPress = fine; French Press = coarse). The quickest brew method of all is espresso; the espresso machine extracts a shot in as quick as 20-30 seconds so the espresso grind is typically the finest grind size so that you’re getting as much flavor from your coffee as possible in that short amount of time.

(I will also quickly say that the AeroPress is just one method of many that we like for a single-cup. At home I switch between the AeroPress, a Hario v-60 pour-over cone and a French Press. There's also the Chemex & Clover methods. I encourage you to check these out and make sure to do your own research in regards to coffee:water ratio and grind size for each method.) 

We hope this is helpful. For more coffee facts & hidden gems of knowledge, check out these sites below that we love. Good luck & bring on the java!

-Clif

(for questions or to geek out over coffee together, email me at clifton@neighborsmill.com)

 

Coffee sites we love:

counterculturecoffee.com

bluebottlecoffee.com

scaa.org

sprudge.com

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mean-muggin'

If you've been at our bakery counter at all you've probably seen our mugs that look like this:

Aside from looking cool and being hand-thrown, there's a neat story behind these guys. 

Mike & Karin Nabors have long been entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry; in 1989 they opened a bed & breakfast on Gaither Mountain called Mountain Pines Cabin. The cabin was actually a pre-civil war barn structure that was taken down piece by piece, moved to a new site and reconstructed into a cabin by Mike Nabors, Mike Beuterbal and a crew of men. In the early 90's it was one of the most sought-after B&B's in the area and they were booked almost year round. In the fall of 1989, Mike & Karin went to an inn-keeper's convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico and met Peter Deneen from Deneen Pottery. They were still a fairly new pottery studio out of St. Paul, Minnesota and were at the convention to find new businesses. Mike & Karin loved the look and feel of these hand-crafted mugs and put in an order. In fact, they were one of Deneen's very first clients!

Here's a look at the original mug from Mountain Pines Cabin made by Deneen Pottery in 1990. 

Fast forward 15 years as Neighbor's Mill grew. At a restaurant convention in Chicago Mike & Karin once again ran into Deneen Pottery (in fact, it was Peter's son Niles they met this time who reminded the Nabors that they were an original customer of Deneen's) and rekindled their business relationship. They placed a new order for mugs with the Neighbor's Mill logo and the hand-crafted, uniquely shaped and brightly colored mugs became an instant hit with our customers. 

We've been seeing Deneen Pottery mugs all over this area lately at different restaurants and coffee shops and it's been awesome to watch this amazing company grow and expand their reach across the nation. It's neat to think that the Nabors' family has been a small part of their history.

Next time you're in the store, be sure to look at the mugs we have featured. They're always for sale, each piece is hand-crafted, and they make excellent gifts! You can visit their website and learn more about their story here: http://deneenpottery.com/

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New store opening, new website; our 15th year!

WELCOME! We're super excited to launch our new and improved website. We hope you'll find it user-friendly with helpful information about our breads, cafe menu, locations, hours and much more. If there's anything you can't find easily or wish we had on the site, please leave a comment to let us know. Our MAIN GOAL is to make this website a place that's both pleasing to look at and helpful for our customers so if we don't achieve this, give us a shout! 

This August we will celebrate Neighbor's Mill's FIFTEENTH YEAR of being in business. WOW! We're thrilled that we've been so successful and so embraced by our community. We've been blessed in our business and it's so much in part to our wonderful customers who keep coming back for more. 

Our original logo, created in 1999. How we've evolved!

Our original logo, created in 1999. How we've evolved!

We're also really, really pumped to announce that we'll be opening our SECOND LOCATION of Neighbor's Mill this fall in Springfield, Missouri. We've been looking to expand for a while now and the time is finally right. We'll be located at the northeast corner of Fremont and Independence on the south side of Springfield. We'll be very near Cox Hospital (south campus) and just one block away from all the busyness of National Ave. If you're a 417-er, we look forward to welcoming you to our newest location soon. 

All for now, but check back often. We hope to really utilize this blog to share helpful information and interesting stories. See you soon and don't forget to Break Bread with Neighbor's! 

Lauren 

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