24 December 2009

$250 WINNER!

A big merry Christmas to Paul Parnell, who won Thunderbird Manor's $250 gift certificate this month! Paul is a screenwriter and T-bird regular who lives and works here in Austin. He LOVES our $1 Lone Stars and French press coffee. He's made a ton of friends at Thunderbird and sources say that he's a pretty solid basketball player. Congratulations, Paul! Sign up for our e-mail list today, and YOU could be next!

This photograph was taken by Ida Fehrenbach! Ida is part of the Tremendous Family art collective. Ida and the rest of the Tremendous Family are showing their artwork at Thunderbird on Koenig for the entire month of January. Come check out their opening party on January 2 starting at 8 p.m.! See you there! (For more of their work, check out thetremendousfamilyblog.blogspot.com)

08 December 2009

Finals hours update

A quick update on our hours for finals week, December 7-11:

Thunderbird on MANOR will continue to be open 24 hours this week!

Thunderbird on Koenig will stay open until 12 midnight to accommodate our late-night Brentwood/Crestview peeps. :D

Coffee posters

Check out these beautiful limited-edition coffee posters from LMTL75!

07 December 2009

24-Hour Party People

BOTH Thunderbird locations will be open 24 hours during December 7-11, finals week! We can't wait to see you!

Might as well try one of these to get your brain going . . .

14 November 2009

07 November 2009


Our menu is now on the Internets! Check it out here (or via our website) and let us know if you have any questions!

15 September 2009


What's Rodeo Beer?

Through an agreement with our beer distributors, we have the opportunity to offer lots of quality craft beers for an extremely cheap price. Every Friday at Thunderbird Manor we're offering RODEO BEERS for $2.50 each.

What's the catch? The catch is that you never know what you're going to get. But it'll always be good! Here's just a few of what'll be in the Rodeo bin this Friday:

- Pyramid Thunderhead IPA
- La Fin Du Monde (9% ABV)
- Left Hand Haystack Wheat

Why "rodeo"? It sounds cool, we're in Texas, and much like riding a bull--you never know what you're going to get. Come out and enjoy one while listening to Da Bluez Preacher, Dave Clucas, and Joseph Green, LIVE!

09 September 2009

Big news!

Starting today, Clementine Coffee Bar will now be known as Thunderbird Coffee! What? What?! What's going on here? Why the change? What's going to happen? Are condo developers going to take over and turn your coffee shop into a 22-story luxury living space? IT'S TIME FOR SOME ANSWERS!

A rose by any other name . . .

Would smell as sweet--right? In this case, it'll smell even sweeter! Here's what to expect:

SAME great coffee, food, and amazing beer and wine selection! (Most taps on the east side!!!)

SAME friendly baristas and managers!

SAME commitment to the Cherrywood/Eastside community!

NEW name. Why? We want you to know that you can get great coffee, great hospitality, and a great experience at both of our locations--whether you're over in north-central Austin, or on the east side. We may have taken it for granted that people knew that Thunderbird and Clementine were owned and managed by the same folks, but it turns out that many people didn't!

NEW and improved environment! You'll notice some changes taking place in the next few weeks--starting with our new beer garden fence! Stay tuned . . .

On a serious note . . .

Believe me, making this change was a big decision for us, and we did not take it lightly. Here's one question we asked ourselves that we absolutely had to satisfy before making this decision:

"Can a business open multiple locations and still have heart?"

We believe the answer is, without a doubt, yes. What great local businesses can you think of that bring their unique vision to multiple locations? Alamo Drafthouse, I Luv Video, Amy's Ice Cream, Caffe Medici, Thundercloud Subs, Trudy's, Chuy's, Vivo, Hoover's, Hyde Park Grill, El Chile--these are all businesses that help make Austin what it is, and we're humbled by the opportunity to follow in their footsteps.

We're on your side!

But we understand change isn't easy, and we value your feedback. If you have a question about this change--or anything else--please let us know: thunderbirdcoffees@gmail.com

Thank you for your continued support!

Ryan McElroy and Chris Cusack, owners, Thunderbird Coffee

24 August 2009

But what really challenges me to get up and go to work every day . . . is my deep conviction about the intense human drive to provide and receive hospitality--well beyond the world of restaurants. Within moments of being born, most babies find themselves receiving the first four gifts of life: eye contact, a smile, a hug, and some food. We receive many other gifts in a lifetime, but few can ever surpass those first four. That first time may be the purest "hospitality transaction" we'll ever have, and it's not much of a surprise that we'll crave those gifts for the rest of our lives. I know I do.
(Danny Myer, Setting the Table, p. 2)

09 July 2009

Secrets of the macchiato

Ah, the macchiato. One of my favorite espresso drinks. As good as it is, there is a lot of controversy over the macchiato.

A macchiato, by the standards of today's pros, is a small drink made with equal parts of espresso and velvety, textured milk. If you drink it with a great espresso, like our Meritage blend, it's really amazing.

Probably the most confusing element of the debate is the introduction of the Starbucks Caramel Macchiato. The Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is, in fact, a vanilla latte with caramel sauce on top. That's it. Nothing about it makes it a "traditional" macchiato. But it is a cool-sounding name, and Starbucks sells a lot of those drinks, so I guess it works for them.

The second issue that muddies the waters on the topic of the macchiato is the texture of the milk in the macchiato. Should it be a spoonful of large, frothy bubbles on top of the espresso? Should you pour the milk first and "mark" the milk with the espresso? What is the best way to make this drink? This debate still goes on in many coffee shops around the world, and intelligent people can disagree on what works best.

As for me, the espresso experts at Cuvee Coffee, and the baristas at Thunderbird, we've found that the best macchiato is one made with smooth, velvety, "microfoam" bubbles, with equal parts espresso and equal parts milk. It's basically a mini latte. And it's amazing.

06 July 2009

July Music at Thunderbird

That's our music booker Savannah on the flier. Contact her for booking at savvysoundsbooking (at) gmail (dot) com.

22 June 2009

Meritage blend

Thunderbird uses Cuvee Coffee Roasting Company's Meritage blend. Here's the breakdown:
50% Brazil Ipanema Dulce Pulped Natural
20% Ethiopian Sidamo Special Prep Natural
10% Brazil Moreninha Formosa Pulped Natural
10% El Salvador Cerro Las Ranas Pulped Natural
10% El Salvador Matalapa Washed

I friggin' love it.

Holy cappuccino!

My favorite drink--at Thunderbird or any other coffee joint--is a traditional cappuccino. What is a cappuccino? What makes it different from a latte? These are reasonable questions for the average coffee drinker. Luckily for us, there are answers.

We've been trained by most American coffee retailers that a cappuccino is an espresso with a whole bunch of foamy milk, and a latte is espresso with a little bit of foamy milk. You can certainly order these drinks this way, and you very well may enjoy them. But the Specialty Coffee Association of America, judges of the US Barista Championship, and other specialty coffee aficionados see espresso-and-milk beverages in terms of their coffee-to-milk ratio rather than how the milk is steamed. In fact, the experts say that milk should be steamed exactly the same way in a macchiato, a cappuccino, and a latte.

What ratio of milk, foam, and espresso is appropriate for a traditional cappuccino? The Italians (and all the other folks I referred to in the previous paragraph) define a cappuccino--by law, no less--as one-third espresso and two-thirds textured milk. By contrast, lattes have more textured milk than a cappuccino, and macchiatos have about a one-to-one ratio of espresso to textured milk.

Why steam the milk the same way? In short, because it tastes better. A great barista will steam the milk with small, tight bubbles which creates a smooth, velvety texture which releases milk proteins in the most tasty way possible and highlights the taste of the espresso. It's also the ideal milk texture for creating latte art!

For me the most important thing is that the 8 oz. cappuccino at Thunderbird highlights the delicious flavor of our Meritage blend espresso. (As an aside, the blend breakdown of the Meritage espresso is here.) It's the perfect combination of coffee and milk.

So what about those who have gotten used to their drinks in a different way? Here's some terminology that might help:

- Dry: This is a beverage (usually a latte) that has milk steamed with more foam.
- Wet: This is a beverage (usually a latte) that has milk steamed with very little to no foam.

For example, if you want espresso, steamed milk, and a lot of foam, you might order a 12-oz latte, dry.

This is all important to you, the brilliant and attractive Thunderbird customer, because--technically speaking--Thunderbird only serves a cappuccino in our traditional 8-oz. size. If you order a 12-oz or 16-oz cappuccino, the barista will more than likely inquire as to whether you like your cappuccinos dry or wet, or suggest an 8-oz size.

So now you know! Feel free to discuss this and many other relevant and interesting questions with our baristas next time you're in the shop!

[For discussions of this topic in the zeitgeist, click here and here.]