Jay Caragay takes the notion of coffee geekdom to an entirely new level. The daily menu at his Hampden shop, Spro Coffee (851 W. 36th St., 410-243-1262), lists five to eight varieties of beans, each brewed to order with one of seven methods—including the AeroPress, an immersion technique, and the Vac Pot, a two-chamber contraption that looks like it belongs in a science lab. His baristas receive more than 100 hours of training, learning about matching beans to brewing methods by sitting down for “cuppings” (coffee talk for tastings). Prices range from $2-4 for a 12-cup brew, depending on the type of coffee, but can be as much as $13 per cup for special blends. Espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos are also available. Caragay began his odyssey by adding coffee to the menu of his Hawaiian-style Jay’s Shave Ice in Timonium. In 2006, he installed a coffee venue in the Towson Library, and the Hampden store opened in the spring. “So many variables are at play. It’s the orchestration that makes great coffee possible,” Caragay says. “We seek growers, roasters, and baristas who are zealous in their commitment.”
Hampden coffee shop perks up serious brews.
Issue date: October, 2010