Sunday, November 25, 2012

CC: Panadero Bakery

Subject: Panadero Bakery
Location: Burlington, VT
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Every town should have a great bakery. While I'm sure many dieticians would disagree, in my opinion a local operation that makes quality baked goods is a must for any enclave. And of course you can't have a great cookie/muffin/croissant/bear claw without a great cup of coffee. It's that simple folks: great baked goods and great coffee.

Sadly, few towns have what I would call a great bakery. But when I do happen upon one in my travels, I get worked up like a little kid on Christmas morning. Such was the case as I giddily trekked from downtown Burlington to the off-the-beaten-path and well-reputed Panadero Bakery. The building is impossible to miss with it's mustard yellow exterior accented by a patriotic red and blue. Inside, the interior is much less loud, with a demure collection of woods, soft colors and a vast parade of available pastries.

Looking to their coffee, they offer Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea Co. and that fine day I ordered an espresso (blend unspecified) and a Sumatra Gayo via drip. The espresso, with a medium pull and marbled crema, extolled lemon, apple, buttermilk biscuit, cocoa and a velvety texture with a tingle of salt mixed in with the sweetness. The drip delivered notes of honey, maple syrup, traditional Italian bread, Dr. Pepper and some malt, providing a sweet with a few deep notes.

Overall, both infusions proved utterly delectable and well worth the visit. And while the quality of a venue's baked goods really doesn't factor into my rating, the cherry on the proverbial cake was their pastries, which gave the final confirmation that Panadero is indeed a great bakery. If you happen to be in town, definitely stop by.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Slight Renovation

We're restructuring the blog. What you see now is phase 1 of several phases in the coming days.

I love hearing from ye, so if you have any feedback or questions, please email .

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mugged: Craft Coffee

Subject: Craft Coffee
- Ethiopia Teklu Dembel of Lone Pine Coffee Roasters

- Guatemala Xeucalvitz of Coava Coffee Roasters
- El Salvador Manzano Natural Process of Topeca Coffee
Rating: 5+ for all [see key]

One of the larger growing trends this past year has been the concept of the 3rd party coffee subscription. The concept of having sommeliers send out top coffees to your door each month appears alluring, but the questions that nagged me were queries of freshness, trust and value. 

Of course the only way to be satisfied in my curiosity was to try out some subscriptions and the folks over at Craft Coffee were splendid enough to kick it off by sending out their October disbursement a few weeks back ( October). Within the box were three coffees: Lone Pine Coffee Roasters' Ethiopia Teklu Dembel, Coava Coffee Roasters' Guatemala Xeucalvitz and Topeca Coffee's El Salvador Manzano Natural Process. Since each coffee comes in 4 oz. disbursements, I was only able to try each out via pourover and french press. 

The pourover of El Salvador from Topeca imprinted flavors of cocoa, pink lemonade, blueberry, maple, malt, muffin and a dash of oregano. The french press held similar bright flavors of blueberry, pink lemonade, maple, corn muffin, cocoa and oregano. A delicious coffee with bright, sweet notes.

The Ethiopian of Lone Pine also demonstrated a beautiful juicy succulence. The pourover blasted notes of blueberry, pancake, black tea, a little vanilla and gingerbread within a light body and smooth texture. The french press held very similar notes, with a slight nuance resembling soy sauce.

Coava's Guatemalan finished the series strong. The pourover blasted the flavors of sassafras, biscuit, corn, brazil nut and pear amidst a medium body. The french press proved similar, with more of a cashew quality that complimented the sassafras and corn well. A nutty and sweet brew.

With three fine coffees with little to dislike, I would have to say that Craft Coffee offers a great service for the money, especially if you're someone always on the hunt for a new coffee. Give Craft a go.

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

Thursday, November 15, 2012

CC: Rival Bros

Subject: Rival Bros
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

As I've remarked many times before, I sure love a good coffee truck. There's nothing like a vehicle completely outfitted with top-level coffee equipment, quality beans and an able barista, able to go where the wind (and city permits) allow. 

Taking the usual coffee truck operation to the next level by roasting their own beans, Rival Bros came onto the Philadelphia scene recently with strong promise of stupendous, locally-roasted coffee straight out of a mobile joy machine.

Sadly, in all of their existence I've only been able to reach their encampment twice; once on First Friday (when I snapped the shot above) and the most recent, a week or so ago at 33rd and Arch on the Drexel University campus.

Pulling up to the intersection near the Buckley Green, there was plenty of meter parking for those looking to pull over for a nice respite (though I'm sure more of their patronage arrives on foot). I approached and ordered a pourover of the Ethiopia Aylele – YCFCU and an espresso of their Whistle and Cuss blend. The pourover of Ethiopian roused even the dead amongst my taste buds, with notes of Stella D'oro breakfast biscuits, succulent steak, fuji apple, honey and roasted red pepper, proving to be a beautifully savory and sweet coffee with a nice medium body. The espresso, pulled short with a brown crema, greeted with an uppercut of lemon, cocoa, ginger soda, red bean paste roll, a touch of salt and a nice milkiness. Both drinks proved to be worthy of an exaggerated curtsey. 

While Rival Bros is definitely not a truck found on the same routine every week, they're easy enough to find via their twitter. Thus, when you're in Philadelphia, hunt down the likes of the Rival Bros. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mugged: Diner and Peru [Booskerdoo]

Subject: Booskerdoo Coffee
Mugged: Jersey Diner and FTO Peru SO
Rating: 4+ for Diner, 3+ for Peru [see key]

Until this past year, it seemed that NJ would never have a high concentration of decent coffee operations. For as long as I have sipped coffee, shops that were able to dole out fresh, not-disgusting beans were spaced out usually too far to go from one to the other without making it a small road trip.

But in traversing the central Jersey beach area, it seems more and more good coffee options are appearing. One such place is Booskerdoo Coffee of Monmouth Beach. Having never been, I was intrigued to receive two pounds of their coffee one recent day; their Jersey Diner-style Blend and FTO Peru. I sampled each via pourover, french press and siphon.

For the Jersey Diner-style, the drip produced notes of buttered toast, apple, Corn Pops, a little lemongrass and cola, capping off a medium-bodied coffee with sweet, wheaty notes. The french press held a similar body and notes of granny smith apples, toast, sweet corn and a little cola. The siphon had a more wheaty kick, with notes of graham cracker, toast, apple, cola and a little sweet corn within a medium body. 

The Peru drip delivered flavors of french toast, maple, cloves and unsweetened cocoa within a heavier body, that overall, while flavorful, was a little too dark. The french press produced a similar profile, with notes of cloves, unsweetened cocoa, maple syrup and a heavy body that seemed almost espresso-esque. The siphon proved a tad sweeter, with chococlate, maple syrup, cloves and oatmeal within a heavy body.

Overall, both coffees sampled decently. While I thought the Jersey Diner blend was better, as it embodied a flavorful brew that I would covet with a nice breakfast, I found the FTO Peru not bad for a darker coffee but little too bitter for a light roast.

If you're in the area or you're looking to try out one of Jersey's coffee roasters, give Booskerdoo a try. 

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

Sunday, November 04, 2012

CC: Happy Coffee

Subject: Happy Coffee
Location: Denver, CO
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

If I were to move away from the ocean, it would be to a place like Denver. Somehow, the balance of mountains and dozens of great coffee spots easily compensates for the distance from a true oceanic shoreline. 

One coffeehouse that would add to my enticement is Happy Coffee. A local establishment that sits pretty on a corner location on Broadway, they provide great coffee from various coffee roasters like Four Barrel and Heart. One sunny morning, my entourage (the family, an old friend and I) made our way over to the coffeehouse early enough to beat the crowds and have the place to ourselves. The windows gave a spacious feel amidst the minimalist yet warm interior, with the coffee bar smack in the middle giving an air of performance, with the array of seating surrounding as a chic gladiator arena.

As for my coffee, I ordered an espresso of Four Barrel's Friendo Blendo and a pourover of a Heart Guatemalan (a Palencia I believe). The espresso, pulled short with a brown swirled crema, spoke of lemon, sugar, salt, cream and dark cocoa, all harmoniously dancing together to form a delicious alliance. The pourover also rocked, giving notes of wheat, apple juice, cascara, curried broth and vanilla; a pleasantly juicy and complex cup great for AM sipping. 

At the risk of sounding cliche', Happy Coffee deftly lived up to its name. If you happen to be in Denver or close by, stroll down for a great coffee experience.