Tuesday, May 27, 2014

CC: Nolita Mart

Subject: Nolita Mart and Espresso Bar
Location: Manhattan, NYC
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Sadly when many people think of a "convenience store" the concept only conjures up images of a Kwik-E-Mart, complete with the beef jerky, sub-par coffee and various unhealthy munchables to sate the general needs of the average consumer. By no means do I detest the existence of this variety of one-stop shops, as they absolutely serve their purpose (where else will you get a wrinkly hot dog and a gallon of milk at 3 AM?), but I more detest that by and large, there are few small-scale markets that take it to another level.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Overnighted Coffee

I am a humongous fan of outside-of-the-box PR. And of course, that's no avante garde statement; everyone loves a creative approach. Yet for all of the love for ingenuity, it always seems that people stick to the tried and true. Is it a fear of failure, a fear that the cost will outweigh the worth or just a failure to pony up when it's your turn to ride the proverbial mechanical bull?

Mugged: Whittard Teas

Subject: Whittard Teas
Teas Mugged and Rating [see key]:
Whittard Original 4+
Russian Caravan 4+
Darjeeling 5+

As a red-blooded American, when someone ask me what words I associate with the UK, one of them has always been tea. Having visited London I know their is a great love for coffee and espresso, evident by great coffee roasters and coffeehouses alike, but their is something unshakably British about tea. Thus, it was my pleasure to objectively sample three teas from Whittard of Chelsea, a tea purveyor since the late 19th century that is still going strong. They sent out to me three of their staples: Whittard Original, Russian Caravan and Darjeeling, each of which I sampled according to the steeping directions upon the box.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

CC: Steap and Grind

Subject: Steap and Grind
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

I am greatly refreshed in watching the Fishtown area of Frankford Avenue grow and improve. Where few great establishments have existed in the past, many now flourish. Where there wasn't a decent cup of coffee for blocks, there is now a fount.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Mugged: Bali Kintamani [Convive]

Subject: Convive Coffee Roastery
Coffee Mugged: Bali Kintamani
Rating [see key]: 4+

I like surprises once in a while, especially ones that blossom into a joyous outcome from a vine of gloomy expectation. Even though they come infrequently, much like dark winters create a love for the harvest, periods of normalcy make (pleasant) surprises that are much more gratifying.

Recently, the fine personnel of Convive Coffee Roastery sent me out a coffee from Indonesia, specifically from the region of Kintamani in Bali. While many coffees from this part of the Pacific, especially Sumatra, have a reputation for being overtly deep and earthy, this one seemed to be the Napoleon Dynamite of its peers, with reputed notes of fruit and flowers. Not sure what to expect, I went to the lab and tried out the beans via pourover, french press or siphon. 

And just like that, I was happy to find the rumor true. The pourover doled out some powerful notes of sweet berry along with accents of toasted sesame seed, carrot, peppercorn, cream and minor wheat. A solidly bright cup up front with a deep and peppery follow-through. 

The french press proved a bit heavier, but still full of berry, cane sugar, pound cake, romaine lettuce and peppercorns.

The siphon conversely was the lightest brew, with practically no bite, full of raspberry, blueberry, dandelion greens, pound cake and slight pepper, making for the best of the three infusions.

In the end, I found this coffee a stupendous example of the complexity and quality an Indonesian coffee can embody. I would be curious to see how this coffee fared at a lighter roast profile, as the darker qualities only pulled this coffee down in my opinion. But if you like a coffee that delivers a fruity punch followed by an uppercut of peppercorn, check out this Bali Kintamani from Convive.

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