Monday, February 27, 2012

CC: Quixotic Coffee

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

A good name is all too important when you first dub your coffee business. While some go for simple ("town's name coffee") or pun-ny ("sir ippee coffee"), something that projects a good mental concept is what I find to be best. Few places have done a better job in setting my mind ablaze with visual imagery then Quixotic Coffee.

Fortunately, finding and interacting with Quixotic Coffee was anything but quixotic. I found their location in a nice strip of shops near the Mississippi River with large open windows. Within, the place is a bit dark, with rich red walls, a black ceiling and a very minimalistic layout complete with a conference room in the back. 

Moving on to the coffee, I ordered two drinks that utilized Mad Cap Coffee (though they also rotate in other roasters): a drip of their Santa Lucia Costa Rican and an espresso of their 3rd coast blend. The espresso, pulled short with dark tan crema, demonstrated black berry jam amidst a creamy texture, with hints of coriander, sesame and light salt (a delicious and skillful pull). The Costa Rican came out blazing with bullets of cherry, hefeweizen, coca cola, cascara, black tea and a little fig amidst a medium body; also a tasty cup of coffee all too pleasant.

Unlike Don Quixote, I found exactly what I was hoping to find in Quixotic Coffee. Definitely give them a go if you're in the Twin Cities. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mugged: Ethiopian Yirgi [Peter Asher]

Mugged: Ethiopian Yirgi
Rating: 4+ [see key]

The second of the coffees I have had the pleasure of trying out from Peter Asher Coffee and Tea was their Ethiopian Yirgi (short for Yirgacheffe). It was summarized as a great coffee for one's morning cup and being a big fan of a good coffee in the AM, I girded my loins and poured myself a cup via the usual three different methods of drip, french press and siphon.

The drip rolled out notes of cranberry juice, chocolate, candied walnut, molasses, pork chop and a bit of cumin amidst a light/medium body. A sweet brew with a tiny bite.

The french press held out a similar cup, with notes of blackberry, bittersweet chocolate, honey, molasses, sage and cornflakes. A slightly piquant brew with decent balance.

The vacuum press delivered chocolate, blackberry, a little wheat, cheerios, honey and cornflakes amidst a medium body. Sweet with ample notes of grain.

While I can't say that this Yirgacheffe was the best I've had, it definitely ranks as a coffee that I would dub as a well-suited companion for the traditional light American breakfast (cereal, pastry, etc). If you're looking for a light, sweet-noted Ethiopian, give Peter Asher's a swirl.

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

Thanks to my current sponsors!

I would simply like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to my sponsors. Their partnership with the Pure Coffee Blog helps keep the blog going and me better able to create better content. 

Hamilton Beach Coffee Makers

Monday, February 13, 2012

CC: Cafe Del Mundo

Location: Anchorage, AK
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

When I had first heard of Anchorage coffee a decade ago, the two cafes that were mentioned to me were Cafe Del Mundo and the Kaladi Brothers. Then a little under a year ago, Kaladi purchased Cafe Del Mundo, though the pledge was to keep the two separate, aiming to keep Cafe Del Mundo the same as it has always been.

With this in mind, I strode through the doors of Anchorage's oldest coffee roaster-and-retail shop, not caring so much as to whether the coffee was still true to the del Mundo ways as I hoped for a solid coffee experience. The cafe itself stood arrayed in a calm,1980s-wood-and-soft-lights manner, with a counter stretching the length of the store and plenty of hearty wooden chairs for patrons to utilize. 

Before I found a seat near two European posters, I ordered myself a drip of their Papua New Guinea and an espresso of their Espresso Blend. The espresso, pulled to a medium volume with blonde crema, held notes of milk chocolate, cream soda, cookie dough as well as some cayenne, notes of basil and a slight burnt character. The shots weren't the best but still offered a respectably balanced and tasty spro. 

Moving on to the Papua New Guinea, the coffee relayed qualities of nuts, grass, honey, slight minestrone with celery, a pinch of sage and raw sugar. A refreshingly delicious brew that proved smooth and easy to savor.

Having later tried Kaladi Brothers (that review will come soon), I can vouch that Cafe Del Mundo is still noticeably different then it's new owner. While I felt the skill in preparation of my coffee was slightly lacking (mainly, the espresso could have been better pulled), I can say that I enjoyed my experience. Give Cafe Del Mundo a visit when you're in town. 

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Mugged: Better Morning Blend [Kifu]

Mugged: Better Morning Blend
Rating: 3+ [see key]

If there's two types of coffee blends you can find at most coffee roasters, it's an espresso blend and a morning blend. The espresso blend serves a function (it's the blend we use for our espresso) but the morning blend seems to be something carried over from early 20th century advertising that really serves no concrete purpose except that it's usually a light or medium roast coffee that typically goes swimmingly with pancakes.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sample Kifu Coffee's Better Morning Blend, a light/medium coffee that appeared to have good potential for the post-breakfast coffee market. I put my pancakes aside and tried it out via my french press, siphon and drip apparatus. 

The drip produced a cup flowing with grilled steak, blackberry, curry, birch, some baked apple and a fairly heavy body. An intriguing compilation to say the least with the bright notes coupled with the steak and curry.

The french press offered similar notes of steak, cilantro, buttermilk, birch, baked apple and corn amidst a medium to heavy body. A smoother cup though still a bit off with the taste of steak.

The siphon had the sweetest cup, with the flavors of molasses, corn, bran, biscuit, maple syrup and birch amidst a medium/heavy body. 

While I did find Kifu's Better Morning Blend a decent coffee amongst morning blends, there were certain aspects to it that held it back in my book (such as the grilled steak and the heavy body). But then again, if you're looking for a coffee to go well with a heavy breakfast, this coffee might be a perfect fit (if you do give it a try, let me know).

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