A Krispy Kreme Barista? You Better Believe It

Think that only that coffee company from Seattle and the local café are the only places that have “baristas” to guide your craft coffee needs to new heights? That may be the way that it has always been but the times, they are a-changin’ and that change is being spearheaded by a local original, Krispy Kreme.

What? Krispy Kreme has coffee? Surprise! Krispy Kreme has always had coffee. Since 1937, when the company started in Old Salem, they’ve had coffee to go with those doughnuts. It’s just never been the focus, at least not from the customers’ point of view. Krispy 12642774_1016210518439851_9082411962573681754_nKreme is hoping to change that perception and change it in a big way; unlike anything this area knows of its favorite yeast-based, hometown treat and shops.

There are several Krispy Kreme locations in the Triad, NC area but there’s only one in the region that has baristas and that shop is in Clemmons, NC. In fact, according to Kelley O’Brien (Interactive Media), it’s the only place, at all, company- (and world) wide, other than the Philippines and Korea that has baristas. These baristas are trained how to make the coffee drinks and how to pair them with the various styles of doughnuts and other treats that Krispy Kreme offers. It was at this Clemmons location that I, along with several other food bloggers and media representatives enjoyed a sampling and tasting of the new coffee offerings, along with a pairing of the roasted liquid deliciousness and doughy delights the company has to offer.

Two of the baristas in this shop, Ulanda and Demarcus, came from the big coffee company that is located in the Pacific Northwest and are showing their talents off at Krispy Kreme. This isn’t just plain coffee, either, it’s cappuccino, lattes, mocha, Americano, espresso drinks and so on. It’s like other cafés, except, this café has awesome Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Krispy Kreme understands that to compete with the big boys of coffeedom, they have to bring in some big boys of their own. In this case, they brought in S&D Coffee and Tea out of Concord to roast, condition and supply them with their coffee products. S&D Coffee and Tea are the largest custom roaster in the country, so they know coffee. Sustainability and 12645224_1016211241773112_3385366472348831281_nfair trade are becoming a more and more prominent concern with a wide breadth of commodities. When asked about sustainability, Toby Foreman (Director of Manufacturing for S&D) said that this is part of the ever-evolving focus of the environmental awareness of the company. According to S&D’s website, the company is working very hard eliminating unnecessary waste of energy, water and resources, establishing sustainable supply chains and engaging in the innovation and development of long-range solutions. Another representative (Glen, although I didn’t get his last name) also said that they are working with many growers in various harvesting locations to ensure better fair trade practices.

The head of Global Marketing, Amy Harp, explained that the reason this store was chosen as the “sandbox” or testing grounds. Simply put, it was already being built. And, since the location is merely minutes away from the Krispy Kreme worldwide, corporate headquarters, it’s easy to keep tabs on the progress, trends and circumstances as they happen. It was a matter of halting the plan, adjusting the layout, implementing the changes and voila, a new vision realized. This is the laboratory for what Krispy Kreme sees as the future of their business; not just the coffee but the store model.

So, next time you’re wanting a treat of a different flavor, with coffee that is beyond plain and ordinary, or if you’re looking for that big coffee shop experience with a delicious treat that is unlike any other, you should check out Krispy Kreme, not only in Clemmons but coming soon to your own local shop. The Clemmons shop is located at 2442 Lewisville-Clemmons Rd.


Beautiful BBQ, Bourbon and Bluegrass

by Timothy G. Beeman II

Friday night, October 23, 2015, Old Salem’s Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (known as MESDA) celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary, the completion of a six-year renovation, and the opening of two new self-guided galleries. To commemorate this, they put on a party that included BBQ, bourbon and bluegrass. The event, held in the Horton Meadow, just below, and even under the bridge and walkway of the wooden bridge that crosses Old Salem Road from the Visitor Center to the museum entrance, boasted a showcase of fourteen master distillers from sixteen distilleries, as well as two of the areas’ popular breweries. While all of the distilleries brought some good products, some really stood above the rest of the field.


(photo © Susan Jones)

Both versions of the Limoncello (regular and jalapeno-infused) from Seventy-Eight ºC Spirits (Raleigh) were not only good, but the spicier-flavored of the two was a true standout; not hot but flavorful. From Asheville Distilling Company (Asheville), the Blonde Whiskey is one of my favorites, overall. It was smooth and full-flavored. Trey Herring’s Carolina Bourbon (Charleston, SC) had a more robust and earthy, yet still pleasant flavor and aroma. You certainly can’t forget local up-and-comers, Sutler’s Spirits from Winston-Salem. Distiller Tim Nolan was on hand to promote the brand.

The highlight of the tasting table, however, was the Krupnikas, a Lithuanian style honey liqueur from The Brothers Vilgalys Spirits (Durham). The sweet of the honey ends with a spiced flourish. Beyond the tasting table was a special Reserve from an NC distillery that I’ll not mention by name because the booze was in a hidden stash under the table. I was lucky enough to try it and it was possibly some of the most smooth tasting whiskey I’ve ever tried. The rep told me to wait until the tasting cup was empty and smell it. The aroma of tobacco swelled as the cup dried. Minutes later that aroma was even stronger. When this special reserve gets released, I’ll certainly purchase some of that.

Area celebrity bartender, Lele Nguyen, was the “guru-in-the-know” for the evening, dispensing the goodies at the tasting table and she was very detailed with the descriptions of all the various liquors, no matter the style. The true superstar of the “bourbon” part of the event was the resident mixologist and co-owner of The Tavern in Old Salem, North Carolina’s oldest tavern, Jordan Keiper. Keiper designed a bar program for this event that highlights the new generation of Southern craft distillers, creating a variety of signature cocktails featuring the four spirits that made the early South “wet:” bourbon, rum, gin, and moonshine, especially moonshine. There’s a push to show North Carolina’s distillers are more than just moonshine; so much more.

This event was also more than booze. There was Eastern style North Carolina barbecue and fried chicken from the Barbecue Lodge in Raleigh. Eastern style is my preference in the “Carolina barbecue” realm. I don’t mind Lexington style, but I prefer the strong vinegar taste over the ketchup heavy, if I have my choice. A white barbecue slaw that tastes like the “red” stuff we have here and hush puppies. The fried chicken was absolutely delicious. Just the right amount of seasoning and the inside was juicy and perfect. In fact, I had two breasts. I liked it that much. And let’s not forget to mention the banana pudding. That, too, was delicious.

In addition to the liquors and delicious food, both Gibbs Hundred Brewing Company and Hoots Beer Company had two brews each available. Gibbs Hundred had The Guilty Party ESB and Blind Man’s Holiday GPA (Greensboro Pale Ale). They were both quite tasty with the ESB (one of my favorite styles of beer) being my favorite of those two. Hoots had their Oktoberfest and a wheat on tap. Stephanie had the wheat and I, the Oktoberfest. Hoots is always solid and this was no exception. These beers made fine companions to the rest of the festivities. I feel the same is to be said of the breweries. The theme of the event, a celebration of southern arts, was represented well by the brewing artists at these two breweries.

If there was anything that I can say that was less than optimal was that the bluegrass band, Carolina Tradition Bluegrass Band was set up right beside the tasting station. They were a fine band, indeed, but the music was loud under that bridge and it was hard to hear what Lele was saying about the various libations. Again, it wasn’t the band, it was the positioning. However, if that was the worst part, that just goes to show how good this event was.

To Jordan Keiper, to MESDA, to Old Salem, many kudos for putting on such a spectacular event. Keiper himself said that he’s hoping that this will put Winston-Salem, North Carolina on the map. Not only the Southern map, no. The American distillers map. Not necessarily for the distilleries themselves, although those certainly don’t hurt, but for the city as a distillers’ event location. I can’t wait for the “second annual” version of the event. It has the potential to get support and attendance numbers of a wine festival and this town knows wine festivals. This was a bold undertaking on everyone’s part, but the event was a rousing success and was a complete sell out. Great news for the city, the museum, the distillers and the attendees. An honor to attend, indeed.