Coffee. Incredible how one simple word can cause such happiness. And one small Rhode Island company is certainly making people smile with their one-of-a-kind creations. We’ve been long-time fans of Dave’s Coffee–in fact, their coffee syrup is always a big hit at our pop-up events and we’ve even featured their shop before. We caught up with Dave Lanning, CEO of Dave’s Coffee, to find out what all the buzz is about when it comes to running a coffee company, making the easiest Tiramisu, and creating a tipsy coffee milk recipe. -Kate
Why do you make food? What makes you get up early or stay up late to do what is generally considered to be some of the hardest work out there?
For me, the ritual of making coffee represents the quiet morning hours. From boiling the water to grinding coffee, the smells associated with this ritual elicit a quiet feeling. This is the way I have always started my day, taking a half hour to enjoy a good cup of coffee. This is the only time of the day where my wife, Sandra, and I can sit uninterrupted and enjoy our coffee while talking about the day ahead.
What’s been the greatest struggle in becoming a professional maker?
As CEO of a coffee company and roastery, the challenge of keeping small while trying to grow is the biggest struggle. Since our focus is small-batch and hand-roasted, as demand grows it is tough to keep up with while maintaining that philosophy.
What makes your food product shine?
With our coffee beans, our sourcing of green beans from small, family-owned farms is an integral part of our brand and who we are. Supporting small farmers and bringing in micro lots not only give our customers access to rare coffees but is an important part of who we are.
What do you eat when no one is looking?
When traveling, I always search for small, independent coffee and espresso bars. This includes when no one is looking.
What’s the best homemade food gift you’ve ever received?
A customer once gifted us a jar of Aquidneck Island hot honey. It is this amazing pepper-infused local honey that adds a kick to anything from artisanal cheese to chicken on the grill.
Tell us about your prize kitchen tool.
In our kitchen, the hand-blown Chemex (which is made in Massachusetts!) is our prize possession. This manual pour-over brewer has been around since the 1960’s and has recently made a come back with coffee aficionados. This produces a cup of coffee that is perfectly balanced and aromatic.
Share a little tip to inspire a home cook.
Prepare ahead of time and make sure you have all the ingredients you need. Aside from preparation, I always recommend to never grind coffee ahead of time. Instead wait until you’re just about to brew it, this will maximize the flavor and guest enjoyment.
White Rhody & Easiest Tiramisu
Ingredients:For the White Rhody
- 1 ounce Dave’s Coffee Syrup
- 1 ounce vodka
- Ice, to serve
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 (3.5 ounces) boxes crisp lady fingers, preferably Savoiardi (you may have a few extra to snack on)
- 1/2 cup Dave’s Coffee Syrup
- 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
- 8 ounces mascarpone
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Cocoa powder, for dusting
Directions:For the white rhody
- Mix Dave’s Coffee Syrup along with the vodka in a serving glass.
- Add a handful of ice cubes.
- Pour in the milk and stir until thoroughly mixed.
- In a shallow 1.5 quart pan (mine was roughly 10x7x2 inches) make a tight, neat layer of lady fingers, breaking them if need be to fit in the pan.
- Stir together Dave’s Coffee Syrup with the brewed coffee. Pour half of the mixture evenly over the lady fingers.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the mascarpone and heavy cream until you have soft peaks.
- Dollop half of the cream mixture over the soaked lady fingers and spread to make an even layer of cream.
- Place a second tight layer of lady fingers on the cream. Evenly pour the remaining coffee mixture over the lady fingers.
- Spread the remaining cream over the lady fingers and swirl to create a decorative top.
- Sprinkle generously with cocoa powder.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
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