dsmWeekly: September 28, 2021
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September 28, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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Writer: Karla Walsh

Coffee is one buzzy beverage. Americans drink more of it than any other drink besides tap water—about 89 gallons per person per year. More than 6 in 10 of us drink the beverage every day. Whether the pandemic inspired you to invest in a Chemex glass vessel or you’ve been going the DIY route for years, chances are these pro tips will help elevate your java experience.

Know your beans. “Flavor profiles, location of origin and processing method can make a huge difference in the end product,” says Ryan Osborn, barista and operations manager at Mars Cafe. Beans marked “single origin” are produced from one specific region of harvest and will have a specialized flavor. Ethiopian beans, for example, tend to taste fruity.

Beans marked “blend” may include two or more beans from different sources. “So you might experience a mix of Ethiopian [fruity] flavors and Colombian [nutty or chocolatey],” he explains. “Sample blends and single origins, plus notice the processing methods, elevation and certifications of your beans to discover which you like best.”

Grind it fresh. “You know the amazing smell of fresh ground coffee? That’s the flavor escaping your cup,” says Nate Kempers, owner and barista at the Coffeesmith in Waukee, who recommends grinding your coffee moments before you brew it. “A good burr grinder will ensure a consistent flavor.”

Measure and weigh. Osborn suggests investing in a waterproof scale, which he says will increase the consistency of your cup. Aim for 1 gram for every 15 to 16 grams of water. “This also comes in handy for ice coffee,” he says. “When making an at-home pour-over, add half the total water weight in ice to your cup.”

Rinse your filter. Before starting your brew, pre-wet the filter with hot water, advises Nam Ho, co-owner of Horizon Line Coffee. Simply pour a bit of hot water over the filter, allow the water to drip into the vessel, then dump it out before continuing with the brewing process. This not only warms up the pot but also “washes any impurities from the filter that may be present from the manufacturing process,” Ho says. “This will provide a cleaner, less papery-tasting cup.”

Water wisely. “The water quality and temperature are just as important as the quality of the coffee,” Kempers says. “If your water tastes bad, your coffee will taste bad.” Ideally, he adds, use filtered water heated between 195 and 205 degrees, just off the boil.
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More than a dozen Asian cultures will be represented this weekend, including Cambodia, seen above.


Enjoy a slice of Asian life this weekend at Western Gateway Park. The CelebrAsian Festival will feature live music, dancing, food and family-friendly activities—all authentic to various Asian cultures.

More than a dozen villages will be set up around the park, each representing a country or culture, like Filipino, Hmong, Chinese or Vietnamese, among others. The main stage, located on the east side of Western Gateway Park, will have live performances throughout Friday and Saturday. Acts include Larry Berenguel Jr.—a Filipino known for his folk guitar style—and Bollywood Dance, performing dances native to northern India.

CelebrAsian runs from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is free, and there is parking on the south side of the grounds at the Nationwide Insurance ramp. Find more information here.
"Lilac Dreams," a painting from Chuck Hipsher, will be on display at Moberg Gallery starting Friday. Photo: Moberg Gallery


Moberg Gallery will open a new exhibition by artist Chuck Hipsher on Friday evening. "The Healing" includes 25 new works painted over the last 18 months, all with Hipsher's abstract style of emulating gestures of movement and the act of creating.

A University of Iowa graduate, Hipsher uses his "mind and mood" to drive his artwork, "determining color, scale, composition, and ultimately, the finished state," organizers say. The opening reception is from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the gallery.
Spacious new townhomes and apartments put you in the heart of Des Moines’ iconic Beaverdale neighborhood, less than a block from locally-owned shopping, dining and services... Read more »
Comedian David Gborie will perform at Teehee's Comedy Club at 9 p.m. Friday.


Formerly the Beast Village Comedy Festival, this weekend's Des Comedie Festival—pronounced "da comedy festival"—will feature dozens of local and national stand-up comedians at a handful of venues.

Three national comedians will be in town to headline their own shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Ali Sultan, who has made appearances on Comedy Central, will take the stage at Teehee's Comedy Club at 9 p.m. Thursday. David Gborie, also of Comedy Central fame, will follow him at 9 p.m. Friday at Teehee's. James Adomian, host of "The Underculture" podcast, will perform at Temple Theater at 7 p.m. Saturday.

There will also be several local comedy shows, starting with the Walnut Street Showcase at 7 p.m. Thursday at Teehee's. Ticket prices vary. Find more information online.
Reid Forgrave (pictured right) has written for GQ, New York Times Magazine and Mother Jones, among others.


Reid Forgrave, award-winning author of "Love, Zac," a book documenting the life and tragedy of Iowa native Zac Easter, will stop at Franklin High School for a talk and meet-and-greet at 6 p.m. on Oct. 6. The event, hosted by Beaverdale Books, is free.

"Love, Zac: Small Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy" tells the story of Easter, who took his own life in 2015 after suffering from traumatic brain injuries sustained in high school football. He was 24. Forgrave got a glimpse into Easter's life through Easter's own diaries, family members, friends and coaches. He also interviewed leading brain scientists, psychologists and sports historians to raise the awareness of brain injuries in sports.

Forgrave, a former writer for the Des Moines Register, will be joined by Dr. Shawn Spooner, an Iowa State graduate and sports medicine physician with experience in concussion rehabilitation and treatment.
Find more information here.
Ellen Yee (left) and Jennifer Abraham-White (right) are two people helping reduce food waste in Iowa.


Writer: Andrea Love

It seems implausible that a country could struggle simultaneously with food insecurity and a surplus of food waste. Yet about 40% of the food produced in the U.S. is wasted, while 1 in 8 citizens struggle with hunger. The Food Recovery Network, a national movement to fight food waste and end hunger through engaging college students, is working to change that.

Started by four students in 2011 at the University of Maryland, the Food Recovery Network now has 230 campus chapters across the U.S., including Drake, Iowa State and Graceland universities in Iowa.

“In the U.S., food waste has increased about 50% per capita since 1974,” says Ellen Yee, professor of law and director of international programs at Drake. She adds that major sources of waste include farms, stores, restaurants and homes—“all the way through the food chain.”

Read the rest of this story from our recent issue here.

Iowa Stops Hunger is a Business Publications Corp. initiative to bring awareness and action to food insecurity in Iowa.

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