Tuesday, September 26, 2006

CC: Cafe Ole

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Cafe Ole' (no website)
Location visited: Philadelphia, PA (3rd St close to Race)
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]



Old City Philadelphia boasts a great deal of substance and history. One aspect of Old City that I think (or so it seems) is overlooked is the area North of Market St between Front and 5th. The locale includes many art galleries and small antique shops as well as some long-lasting businesses. There's also First Friday which provides a rare chance to catch the art scene in Philadelphia, complete with street performers and lay-the-blanket-on-the-sidewalk vendors.

This area of Philly is where I found Cafe Ole', about 3-4 years ago when when searching for silk screen emulsion. Though I've known of it for some time, I didn't really get a good glimpse until about a year or so ago. The place is fairly cozy, with some small tables and a couch or two (I think) to recline in. I really dug the "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks" on the back wall (I have one myself).

The coffee is La Colombe, so as predicted, the coffee was nothing to write home about. The espresso was pretty good, but as the bean is half (if not more) of the taste, it also wasn't too amazing. The baristas did seem fairly skilled though, so a "fancier" drink might better complement the espresso and/or coffee.

I did not catch the brand of tea but I do remember that they had vats of lemonade that were pretty popular (not that tea and lemonade are comparable, just more of consolation observation). The chai also did not catch my eye...

In the end, I wasn't floored but I was still somewhat impressed with the operation. So do stop in, as there is much worse business nearby that needs no patronage. I would especially encourage you to stop in if you are in the area for First Friday or other business.


image credited to www.philadelphiaweekly.com


Monday, September 18, 2006

CC: Teepee Espresso Place

What's a Coffee Commentary?


Subject: Teepee Espresso Place
Location visited: Browning, MT
Free WiFi ? : maybe
Rating: 2+ [see key]


A
s I was driving through snowy northern Montana (this was this past weekend) on my way to Glacier National Park, I ran across a coffee place that really caught my eye. It was one of those coffee places you drive up to and you know the coffee will be mediocre, but the sheer fact that this one had a teepee for a building reassured me that it was worth the try.

To put it simply, the place was not on the top ten of most amazing places I've been to but it was at least good. I didn't catch any information (as I was in a hurry) but I did notice that the barista/owner was very skilled. My americano was pretty good and the long line of people seemed to confirm the place was at least a bit decent.

And for you adventurous
entrepreneurs out there, it's for sale including equipment. Try the yellowpages for contact info...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

NY Times, right on the $


T
his almost made me jump out of my knickers with elation. A NY Times article that not only proclaims the good news of the booming attention to espresso but also correctly uses terms and analogies like a pro.

My favorite quotes:


"Most espresso drinks in this country are made with over-roasted blends on “super automatic” machines that leave little control to the person operating them and turn out anonymous brews."

"J. D. Merget, the owner of Oslo, explained: “It {roasting an espresso blend} is like grilling meat; if you char it but don’t burn it, you get to taste both the meat and the char. If you burn it all the way through, you’re just tasting char.”

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Website of Note: Good Coffee


In my coffee searches months ago, I stumbled across a New Zealand site called Good Coffee. Being interested in this website concept and layout, I had inquired if they had a US version. Now they do ( Good Coffee USA ), so make sure to stop by and either enter in or rate your favorite coffee places.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

CC: Rockford Coffee

What's a Coffee Commentary?



Subject:
Rockford Coffee
Location visited: Bozeman, MT (7th and Main)
Free WiFi ? : yes
Hours: observe here
Rating: 5+ [see key]



*Update 9/28/07

As I first entered Bozeman through Main St, Rockford was one of the three coffee places to catch my eye (the other two were Rocky Mt. Roasters and Leaf and Bean). One of the relatively new coffee places on the block, Rockford definitely seems to be pretty wise in the ways of coffee preparation.

The decor is minimalist yet appeasing. Light woods and eye-catching art resonate the entire space, with ample seating. A nice aspect common to Rockford and many coffee places in Bozeman is that they have computers free to customers (for a 1/2 hr, which is generous), an oddity all too rare in the Philly region.

The coffee is Caffe Vita, a small batch roaster out of Seattle (10 hrs away) which apparently does their roasting in vintage German roasters from the 1930s (I have no idea why that's a plus, it just sounds fascinating). The coffee at Rockford tastes pretty good, though I've only had their medium roast (they also do a french roast, but darker roasts usually don't catch my taste buds in a flattering manner). The funny thing about their coffee is that not once have they espoused what the name of the coffee was outside of "medium." Not a big deal really, as long as the java is decent.

The espresso also tastes delightful, with a very full and robust kick to it. The one time I had it, the taste really preserved, all the way to the bottom of my 16 oz americano. Another oddity/unique aspect is that they only serve iced americanos, never iced coffee (there could be several reasons, but I still like an iced coffee occasionally).

The tea was Harney and Sons, a tea company out of NY which looks interesting (it's on the list of things to try). The chai, once again, was overlooked.

During my time here in Bozeman, I've grown an appreciation for Rockford. If you're zipping East on Main, it's a good place to stop (if you're going west, take precaution as it's a hard turnaround to master). Overall, well done.

Update 9/28/07
I realized that I based their espresso on an americano when I wrote this. Having been in Rockford many times, their shots are very good. Just wanted to clarify :).