Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy National Coffee Day!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CC: Three Fish

What does CC mean?

Subject: Three Fish
Location: Ocean City, NJ
Free WiFi ? :yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

As the summer came to a close last week, I finally got around to posting about another summertime coffee venue in lovely Ocean City. Though it will probably be too late for this season, it will hopefully give folks something to look forward to for next summer. 

Three Fish is a coffee stand on the Ocean City Boardwalk on the 1300 block. Taking up the footprint of about 3 photo booths, the place has a beautiful simplicity to it in both name and menu. In chatting with the owner and barista, he mentioned he was just getting started and that he had hopes of improvements.

The coffee is the Avanti Blend from Vista Clara Coffee Roasters and the espresso blend is from Red House Coffee Roasters. The espresso, served in a small paper cup, held notes of bittersweet cocoa, lemon, ginger, salt, sesame seeds, a little spinach and rock candy amidst a brown crema and a short/medium pull. The coffee, though a tad dark, held bitter tobacco, apricot, bran, cinnamon, slight sassafras and a medium body. I did not note any teas.

While I did find the espresso pleasant, I felt the drip was not all that great (the coffee was masked by darker oils) but easily fixable with a quick switch of the beans. Maybe next year will prove better; only time will tell. Stop by Three Fish if they are still open or put them on your agenda for your next NJ beach vacation. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mugged: All Day Light Roast [Deep Cello]


Subject: Deep Cello 
Coffee Mugged: All Day Light Roast
Rating: 4+ [see key
While I love all types of musical implements, few have such a deep effect on me as a well-played cello. One of the few instruments that can weave a harmony so powerfully and so sweetly, it surprises me that there are not more cello players out there (at least in my sphere).

In this way, cellos and coffees share the same scale of prospect. A quality cello played by a masochist is much like a good coffee crop roasted poorly, and visa versa. Deep Cello, a coffee roaster out of Portland, seems to abide by this aspiration of providing well-produced coffees in a well-prepared manner to best equip the public with a quality coffee. I recently tried out they're All Day Light Roast and after sampling it via drip, siphon and french press, here is what I discovered.

The drip wove notes of milk chocolate, wheat, fig, birch and a slight taste of cream. A light-bodied coffee with a nice mellow sweetness. 

The french press was more akin to honey nut cheerios, caramel, wheat, cream and birch, all within a light body with a nice mellow sweelness.

The siphon held similar flavors, with honey nut cheerios, apple and a touch of cream soda all in a light body. 

To put it simply, the easy drinkability and euphoric sweet flavors amidst a smooth body made this a coffee close to a decently-played cello amidst a summer setting sun. Give Deep Cello's All Day Light Roast a chance.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mugged: Guatemala [Rogue Coffee]


Coffee Mugged: Guatemala Finca Bourbon
Rating: 3+ [see key

Oregon is a state that continually fascinates me the more I explore it. Sure, most people (myself included) rave about Portland but as it is with most states, there are tons of curious spots to discover off the beaten path, like south Oregon's Rogue Valley. While I have not been (yet), the place seems like an interesting (mostly) rural area; it boasts a wine country, plenty of outdoor sights and of course, some prospects of good coffee. 

One new-to-me coffee entity to appear on my radar was Rogue Coffee Roasters. As they sent over a bag of their Guatemala Finca Bourbon to try, it not only lead me to explore the coffee, but the area as well (hence above).  

Onto the coffee, I sampled it via the drip, french press and siphon infusions. While I believe the coffee was categorized a light roast, the beans were fairly dark.

The drip emanated notes of oregano and tobacco with an underlying caramel, as well as cinnamon, granola and rye bread amidst a medium body. A dark yet sweet brew.

The french press held stronger notes of caramel and less tobacco, as well as oolong tea, rye, frosted flakes and sweet cream. A much sweeter and lighter bodied cup.

The siphon lent unique flavors of vanilla, cloves, cherry and hazelnut as well as the oolong, frosted flakes and tobacco of the prior infusions. 

All in all, I had my doubts at first as to whether this dark coffee would be a decent coffee but whether it needed a day to mature between the drip and french press infusions or some other factor changed, this coffee got better as I went along. Still, it was a little too dark (especially if it is truly a light roast) and I think I would have liked it more if it were lighter. 

Whether you're in the area or on the opposite coast, give Rogue's Guatemala a try if you're out for a smoky and sweet coffee.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CC: Social House


Subject: Social House
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Free WiFi ? :yes 
Rating: 6+ [see key

Vegas is definitely a land of where appetites fare strongly. Between the buffets, endless oceans of gambling and the various shows, there's plenty to take in. 

Yet for all of their indulgent opportunities, Las Vegas is but beginning to blossom with their quality coffee scene. As I mentioned in other posts, only years ago there was not one decent place to grab a well-prepared coffee. But slowly, different places are opening up. 

In my online perusals, I had heard of a sushi place serving great siphoned coffee called the Social House, located all to conveniently at the Crystals on the Strip. The unfortunate part was that as an upscale sushi venue, they did not open until 5 pm and so it took a pre-dinner miracle to make it over for some coffee. 

Walking in, I confirmed that it's clearly a restaurant aiming more for customers seeking a classy night scene versus a park-with-your-laptop coffeehouse. Amidst the suave Asain decor, the coffee bar was located off to the one side unmanned. Fearing they weren't serving coffee, I approached the hostess and asked how I would go about obtaining some coffee, to which she said she would need to track down a specific gentleman (I don't recall his name) and sure enough 5 minutes later he arrived and the adventure began.

I admit that when I had heard that the Social House made a good siphoned coffee, I was hesitant as I had been to Asian restaurants that served siphon coffee to keep with cultural trends. But after examining their choice of beans (True Beans Coffee Roasters), their expensive halogen/siphon set-up similar to the one that had made a big splash in CA in 08 and the barista's knowledge/performance, I quickly began seeing a lot more potential in this unassuming coffee bar.

I ordered their Ethiopian Harrar via siphon and a doubleshot of the True Espresso blend. The barista navigated the siphon operation smoothly and poured a cup smacking of wheat, blueberry, caramel, almond, cocoa (which increased as it cooled) and a touch of grass within a medium body (scrumptious). The espresso, pulled well with a marbled crema, displayed notes of bright chocolate-covered cherries, ginger and jasmine, all in a nice balance (a surprisingly good spro). They serve also a vast assortment of teas. 

Leave it to an upscale sushi joint with no morning hours to be the coffee star of the Strip. If you happen to be near the Crystals and in the mood for a great evening coffee, stop by the Social House.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

CC: Kopplin's Coffee


Location: St. Paul, MN
Free WiFi ? :yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Fortune favors the prepared. But in my recent trip to the Twin Cities, my research did not prepare me for one of my coffee stops to be closed due to a sudden emergency. Fortunately, the shop was only closed for a few hours and after a delicious breakfast (and later lunch) at the Copper Dome (oh potato pancakes, how you make me swoon) as well as some other minor tourism, I made my way to my original coffee destination, Kopplin's Coffee.

Praises of Kopplin's put it high on my list and their choice of coffee (they used Terroir Coffee for my order) confirmed at least decent beverages awaited. Their cafe is a small store front across the street from a high school with a cozy, green-walled interior with a nice wood floor, white-tiled ceiling and red chairs providing a fair amount of room.

Onto my order, from the uber-friendly barista I requested an espresso of Terroir's Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and a Clover-crafted cup of Costa Rica La Minita. The Costa Rican rolled out flavors of straw, almond, cream, apple and a little tootsie roll amidst a light body and a smooth profile (delicious, even if "straw" doesn't sound it). The espresso, pulled short on a nice lever Mirage, resounded whiskey, deep cocoa, nutmeg and lemon with a dark brown crema (a splendid espresso). The tea is free leaf.

Few high schools can boast to have such a fine coffee purveyor so conveniently placed. If you're in St. Paul, go out of your way to sample Kopplin's Coffee.