Sunday, July 28, 2013

CC: Axum Coffee

Subject: Axum Coffee
Location: Winter Garden, FL
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

When it comes to theme parks, there seems that there's no rival to Disney World. Even for the folks who have never been, there are few people (especially in the States) who cannot describe the wonders of the kingdom. I personally have been fortunate enough to have visited at least five times in my life, with three of them occurring after the time I became particular about my coffee. And while this might seem like an odd (or obvious) thing to say, it is important to note that despite places in the park (like Epcot) having great cuisine, it's still incredibly hard to get a good cup of coffee in or around the parks.

Thus, if you were foolish enough not to come packing or you just like driving, you will end up venturing out to seek out good coffee in the surrounding areas. One place of promise that came up in my research was Axum Coffee in Winter Garden, about 25 minutes north of Disney and 25 minutes west of downtown Orlando. One early morning apart from the entourage, I made my way over with hopes of finding delicious results.

Pulling into the lovely downtown of Winter Garden, I quickly found Axum Coffee's inviting storefront, with its open windows and vastness of outside seating in the adjoining alley (though it was far to nice to deserve the name 'alley'). Inside the decor was warm and inviting, with splashes of bright colors and chic furniture, all pulling together the open space nicely.

Of course the main reason I was drawn to this place was it's coffee, having numerous offerings from Batdorf and Bronson out of Atlanta. Since a dreamy experience at B&B's Decatur cafe Dancing Goats back in the day, I was stoked to try out this distant Florida outpost. I ordered the Dancing Goats espresso and a pourover of an Ethiopian Harrar. The espresso, pulled to a medium volume with swirled brown crema (and infused a tad too hot), demonstrated notes of dark cocoa, birch, anise, vanilla wafer and cola within a heavy body, all in all seeming to more closely emulate a traditional Italian-style espresso, leaning a bit bitter, though in totality not a bad pull. The pourover of Ethiopian seemed to also have a bit of a dark bite, as the coffee had glorious notes of blueberry, walnut, mild banana, shredded wheat and arugula but there was a powerful quality of basil as well as some bitter characteristics that seemed to overshadow the natural positives. It should be noted that the water quality of Winter Gardens is quite sulfur-y, and thus the tasting notes of the above coffees could have been influenced by said criteria (i.e. if there was no water filtration, the water definitely played a huge role).

Alas, my experience at Axum proved less grand than I had hoped, being that the coffees I sampled came out a little less optimal than I had expected. Nonetheless, it did seem like Axum had their proverbial ducks in a row (good roaster, seemingly well-trained baristas, etc.), so in this case it might have been an anomaly. Thus if you're in the neighborhood of Winter Garden, roll by Axum Coffee to try them for yourself.


Holiday Paintings Guy said...

Great review, sorry it didn't turn out as you quite expected, but it still looks worth a visit!

Element46 said...

A great insight. Appreciate you sharing your experiences with us good or bad!
Keep up the good work.