Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pour Cleveland





Subject: Pour Cleveland
Location: Cleveland, OH
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Ohio and I did not begin on the best of terms. As a child, my only memories consist of a handful of weary suburbs and local landmarks from when we visited kin. As a young man, I saw the state as but a hurdle on my continental adventures to and fro. Finally in my 30s have I come to slowly appreciate and enjoy the overlooked treasures of the Buckeye State. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Folklore Coffee and Company




Subject: Folklore Coffee and Company
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Dotted throughout the eastern Pennsylvania countryside exist many pleasant towns. Once places of industry, these villages exist now as centers of local culture and gathering hubs for lunch dates. Fortunately many such towns also have a rising occurrence of quality coffee, a fact that makes passing through small town PA a very pleasant journey.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Anthology Coffee




Subject: Anthology Coffee
Location: Detroit, MI
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Ever since I watched Home Improvement as a lad of 10, I have held a subtle curiosity of Detroit and its surrounding settlement. Over the years that interest has been fed by news of bankruptcy, redevelopment and finally, a surging of great coffee.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mugged: Petra Roasting Co.

Subject: Petra Roasting Co.
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Ethiopia Hunkute 6+
- Kenya Githiga AA 6+
- Acme Harman 5+

Nearly every part of the world has a customary way to prepare coffee. Naturally in Istanbul, many citizens still look to a piping hot cup of Turkish coffee using a method that has been honed over the centuries. Prepared in an cezve/ibrik using finely-ground coffee, it's something all coffee drinkers should try at one point. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Java Rock



Subject: Java Rock
Location: Rock Hall, MD
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

For growing up relatively close to the Delmarva peninsula, I have spent surprisingly few moments upon the landmass. Looking to rectify this delinquency, I have recently taken to wandering the Delmarva and have found it to be a place of gorgeous rural scenery, fishing villages and lots of local secrets.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Cafe Volan



Subject: Cafe Volan
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

There are two things all Jersey residents agree upon: a deep loathing for the NJ Turnpike and a noticeable respect for the musical heritage of Asbury Park. Once recognized only as a quiet beach resort, the town now tightly holds a landmark reputation for producing stellar rock acts. Today many triumphant musical acts still frequent its bars, and thankfully a similar thirst for excellence has finally spilled into the local coffee community, specifically at a joint called Cafe Volan.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rowster Coffee



Subject: Rowster Coffee
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Until recently, I did not know that Wealthy was a female first name. Yet it turns out that Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids is named for Wealthy Davis, a woman that was married to Kent County’s first probate judge. Fortunately for Ms. Davis, her namesake avenue is home to some great coffee from local coffee purveyor Rowster Coffee.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

KitchenAid Pour Over Coffee Brewer

SPONSORED POST



No one wants a bad cup of coffee. Every bean drinker loves the euphoria of sipping upon a beautifully-crafted cup of coffee. One of the reasons so many folks end up with sludge or mediocre brew is most people hold that they don't have the time to make it the way a world-class barista would make it. KitchenAid is looking to solve this issue.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Mugged: Goshen Coffee's Secret Stash


Subject: Goshen Coffee
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Adame Gorbota, Ethiopian 6+
- Gedeb, Ethiopia 6+
- Kintamani, Bali 6+
- Pedro Melgar, Honduras 5+
- Toribo Vasquez, Honduras 5+

A lot of great things have come out of Illinois. Abraham Lincoln, Portillo's hot dogs and Home Alone (just the first movie) usually top my list. But over the years, I have found another contender amidst the regulars: Goshen Coffee.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bluebird Coffee Shop



Subject: Bluebird Coffee Shop
Location: Manhattan, NY
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

I never grow tired of discovering new coffee spots in New York. It's the one city that regardless of how often I stop by, there's always a new or rejuvenated shop to hit. It's a never-ceasing coffee adventure.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Neat Coffee



Location: Darien, CT
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Like the gates of Mordor, so stands the George Washington Bridge guarding passage of Interstate 95. Every time I know I must cross, I literally set off in the wee morning hours like a hobbit trying to avoid orc-like traffic. Thus far, I've been fortunate with this method and aside from sacrificing precious sleep, it has had but one major detraction: it takes me past Neat Coffee in Connecticut long before they open up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Madcap Coffee


Subject: Madcap Coffee
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

These days, few coffee companies seem to have as many fans as Madcap Coffee. Whether it's their colorful designs or their excellently-roasted coffee, one usually hears many cheers of affirmation when Madcap is on the table (both topically and literally). 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Mugged: Peruvian [Dean's Beans]


Subject: Dean's Beans
Coffee Mugged: Peruvian
Rating [see key]: 4+

I remember vividly my first experience with Dean's Beans. The year was 1999 and a local, progressive coffeehouse began featuring their beans due to the fact that DB believes strongly in using coffee to drive positive change. Sadly despite the altruistic mission of this local cafe, they did not care much for coffee quality and as such they closed down after a few years.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Espresso a Mano



Subject: Espresso a Mano
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Despite its relatively close proximity, I don't make it to Pittsburgh as much as I would like. It's like an old college buddy that has a conflicting social schedule who lives too far away to visit without lodging. Fortunately, when the opportunity knocks to make a stop in the Iron City, I make sure to swoop in like an old chum (suddenly and without warning) for a brief respite.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ugly Mug



Subject: Ugly Mug Cafe and Roastery
Location: Ypsilanti, MI
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

I first heard about the glory of Ypsilanti almost ten years ago. Naturally I speak of a time-tested coffee establishment called the Ugly Mug, a local coffeehouse and roastery that's been around as long as I've been writing this blog. Clearly I do not often travel to Michigan, as it took me almost a decade to get to the Ugly Mug, but when I finally arrived one warm afternoon I felt elated, like a pilgrim finishing a long journey.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mugged: Honduras La Gloria [Joffrey's]


Subject: Joffrey's
Coffee Mugged: Honduras La Gloria
Rating [see key]: 5+

It's quite natural to associate specific food and drink with good times. For years I associated sausage rolls with Christmas (that is until my mom decided she didn't like baking anymore, but that's another tale). Coconuts distinctly remind me of the beach in summertime, and thanks to my Irish grandparents, cashews draw me back to the Ocean City boardwalk.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Courier Coffee Roasters


Subject: Courier Coffee Roasters
Location: Portland, OR
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

There is an inexplicable vibe that comes from walking into a serious coffeehouse. Of course I do not mean "serious" in the sense of mood (though I've been in a few shops where the barista looks like we're about to sort through tax law), but more in the manner of how these pros work, in the dedication and skill they lend to their craft. Courier Coffee Roasters is definitely one of those places.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Filter



Subject: Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar
Location: Washington DC [Dupont Circle shop]
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

There always exist a few coffeehouses that take me forever to reach. Whether it be a conflict of hours or simply an inflexibility in my travel plans, I sometimes wait years to get to some places. It's even more frustrating when such a cafe resides relatively close by amidst the crowded throngs of Washington DC. I speak of a multi-location shop called Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mugged: Screaming Beans





Subject: Screaming Beans
Coffee Mugged: Tanzania Kilamanjaro, Machare Estate
Rating [see key]: 5+

The Dutch have come up a lot in my year recently. In my travels around the USA, I've come across a lot of old Dutch colonies and monuments. In my readings of books and infrequent cinema perusal, the Netherlands (specifically Frisia) have come up noticeably often. And to top it off, a good friend of mine revealed to me that she is 100% Dutch (i.e. born from two 100% Dutch parents), which may not be all that remarkable for some, but in my neck of the woods it's rare to meet someone who comes from a mono-ethnic background. All together, I am cautiously holding my breath that this means that God has a trip to the Netherlands somewhere in my near future.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bluestone Lane



Subject: Bluestone Lane
Location: Manhattan, NY [Bryant Park shop]
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

If there's a continent that seems to burst so much with coffee love that it begins to take over other continents, it's Australia. Having been to both various Aussie operations in the UK as well as in the States, I stand amazed at how much their cup runneth over into foreign lands. And unlike the outposts of many other countries, Australians seems to sincerely love and produce high quality and delicious coffee.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Case Study Coffee




Subject: Case Study Coffee Roasters
Location: Portland, OR [NE Sandy Blvd shop]
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Long, long ago in the pre-smart phone days, I would use the hunt-with-my-eyes method of locating coffeehouses. Essentially I would do minimal research when visiting a new place and wing it, hoping that in wandering the right neighborhoods, I would spot the diamonds in the rough. Clearly an inferior method, I rarely use the tactic primarily anymore, but still from time to time my eyes can't help but scan the horizon for an uncharted gem.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Mugged: 3fe



Subject: 3fe Coffee
Coffee Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Nicaragua Finca La Escondida: Perla Negra Red Catuai 5+
- Bolivia Finca David Vilca: Yellow Honey Caturra 6+

Long have I yearned to visit the ancient streets of Dublin. Possessing both rich Irish ancestry and an ardent love of European history, a visit to the Emerald Isle has remained out of my grasp. In the meantime while I plan my foray across the pond, I was recently able to experience the next best thing: fresh, whole bean coffee from one of Ireland's better roasters, 3fe Coffee.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Endgrain Coffee Bar



Subject: Endgrain Coffee Bar
Location: Pitman, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

It's no secret that small towns on the east coast have a devastatingly small amount of great coffee. Chalk it up to the high cost of real estate, or to the low patronage from the give-me-drive-thru-or-give-me-death majority. Whatever the cause, it remains a daunting task to find a quality brew outside of major city limits.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lineage Coffee Roasting




Subject: Lineage Coffee Roasting
Location: Orlando, FL
WiFi?: the East End Market has it I believe
Rating: 6+ [see key]

In my early life, indoor markets were a constant presence. Always a deal seeker, my mother would drag my siblings and me to a local mart known for its lackluster decor and bottom dollar prices. Needless to say, this impressed upon me that such bazaars were doomed to be poorly lit, suspicious spots where cheap goods were peddled and greasy sandwiches were hocked. But the older I grew, the more I have come across a greater diversity of indoor markets that actually offer superb products in increasingly beautiful spaces.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Torque Coffee



Subject: Torque Coffee
Location: Vancouver, WA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

No matter how long I'm in the area of Portland, I always make time for a stop in lovely Vancouver. Sitting pretty along the Columbia River, and but a pebbles skip from the expanses of Portland, this border city of Washington has a lot of gems definitely worth mining.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Mugged: Driftaway Coffee



Subject: Driftaway Coffee
Coffee Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Profile 1 (Fruity): Rwanda Gitesi 6+
- Profile 2 (Classic): Brazil Fazenda do Serrado 4+
- Profile 3 ( Balanced): Nicaragua Las Nubes Co-op 5+
- Profile 4 (Bold): Honduras San Vicente 4+

It's no secret that there are different types of coffee drinkers. Some like the beautiful nuance and vibrant flavors of a lightly roasted African coffee, brimming with fruit and luscious chocolate. Others like their coffee a bit stiffer and thicker, a brew with a mellow sweetness and smatterings of different flavors. And then there's some folks who like their coffee to bathe their tongue in bitterness and smoke, favoring the dark roasts bearing European country names. 

Monday, July 06, 2015

United By Blue


Subject: United By Blue
Location: Philadelphia, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Early autumn mornings around a youth group campfire taught me the necessity of good coffee amidst outdoor excursions. While some nights yield a perfect nights sleep under the starry sky, others are met with surprises (such as bears or torrential rain) that cause for a less fulfilling slumber. When you wake up cold, wet and/or exhausted from bear hide-and-seek, who wants to face the upcoming day with a cup of sludge? No one.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Coffeehouse-Five



Subject: Coffeehouse-Five
Location: Portland, OR
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Saturday mornings are the best time to get out and experience a city. It's one of the few windows in the week where many businesses are open, yet the crowds are mostly sleeping off their prior late-night adventures. Especially if I'm traveling, I can usually get in a full four hours before the streets get crowded with the brunch hordes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Viora Lid


As I have learned in the past years, there are legions of coffee lids out there for your paper cups. Back in my early coffee days where I cared more for the caffeine than the flavor, I recall life with the crummy fold-the-lip-back flat lids that more often than not proved one tear away from an epic spill. Then when I began frequenting quality establishments, I graduated somewhat exclusively to the Solo Traveler, a fine top that offered more drink stability, though it took some time to master little things like not positioning the spout at the cup seam, and how to use your tongue tip to control flow.

Mugged: Coffee Boys



Subject: Coffee Boys
Coffee Mugged: Not Actually Sure
Rating [see key]: 4+

There are a ton of coffee delivery services out there these days, and it's harder and harder for new cats to distinguish themselves from the pride. Some companies market themselves as having an extensive variety of roasters and beans new each month, while others trumpet their staunch consistency to the same beans forever. A handful of folks focus solely on gorgeous, effective branding; some champion the coffee quality above all; and a precious few do both well. In general, no matter the approach it seems that whatever your style, there's a coffee subscription for you.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Vespr



Subject: Vespr
Location: Orlando, FL
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

It seems like every time I visit Orlando, the coffee scene gets better and better. My latest trip south took me to a shop in East Orlando that had quickly accrued a reputation for great coffee, a decently-sized establishment called Vespr.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Ristretto Roasters



Subject: Ristretto Roasters
Location: Portland [Couch St]
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

I love visiting coffeehouses at night. There's a certain charm to most establishments that one does not capture in the waking hours when people are starting the buzzings of a busy day. Come late-afternoon, most places tend to thin out and cool down a little, owing to the fact that many folks will have switched to alcoholic aspirations and that numerous others simply hang up their caffeine habit post-afternoon coffee break. With few exceptions, the vibe of a coffeehouse around supper time rarely matches the feel of the AM rush.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cold Bruer


Iced coffee is all the rage right now, specifically cold brew. While it was pushed from the sun for some years due to the influx of quicker (and many would still argue better) brew methods such as the Japanese style (Counter Culture has a nice tutorial) or similarly, the Aeropress over ice (CoffeeGeek advises here), it seems cold brew has vaulted back into the limelight due to a host of factors. And regardless the reasons for its rise back to power, cold brew coffee can be found on the shelves of supermarkets and minds of more people than ever.

Mugged: Colombia Luminosa [Peet's]



Subject: Peet's Coffee and Tea
Coffee Mugged: Colombia Luminosa
Rating [see key]: 3+

While Peet's has long preferred to roast darker, they now are beginning to wander into the realms of light roasts. With the recent release of their Colombia Luminosa, their sole light roast, they're diversifying their offerings to a growing love of lighter roasts. While at first glance, the beans do not really look like a light roast (definitely more medium), the beans are indeed a good deal lighter than some of Peet's more regular offerings.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cartel Coffee Lab



Subject: Cartel Coffee Lab
Location: Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, Terminal 4
WiFi?: No
Rating: 5+ [see key]

If I've said it once, I'll say it ten trillion times: every major airport should have a solid coffee presence. Some cities get it, awarding space to high-quality coffee establishments able to provide weary and gastro-curious travelers with a delicious cup of coffee. Other cities, like my home airport of PHL, don't seem to see the opportunity to make their coffee options memorable and delicious, but are more content to settle upon tired and typical outlets.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Either/Or



Subject: Either/Or
Location: Portland, OR
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

One of Portland's many charms is its numerous, extremely-livable neighborhoods. While cities further east often have tight city lanes where space and parking are at a significant premium, in a place like Portland many neighborhoods offer the peace and parking of suburbs with the proximity of city life. 

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Mugged: Beachcomber Coffee Co


Subject: Beachcomber Coffee Co
Coffee Mugged: self-titled
Rating [see key]: 3+

While I've only been to Vancouver, BC once, it remains one of my favorite Canadian cities. The climate was pleasant, the people friendly and the coffee abundantly delicious. Thus, it nearly always pulls my interest to hear of new coffee coming from the Canadian west.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tamp and Tap



Subject: Tamp and Tap
Location: Memphis, TN
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

One of my first major road trips back when I was first in college was a whirlwind 32-hour road trip to and from Memphis. Two friends and I decided one weekend we wanted to visit some other friends going to school down yonder, so we alternated shifts and arrived lickety-split to spend one day roaming Memphis, only to turn around and head back to Philadelphia the next morning. Ironically, not having learned from the first trip, we did practically the same trip a year later, spending only one day at our west Tennessee destination.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Peddler Coffee



Subject: Peddler Coffee
Location: Philadelphia, PA
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

For as long as I've been drinking coffee, I've been a firm believer in imbibing while learning. Clearly any academic or scholarly venue becomes better ten fold with a cup of good coffee in hand. This applied firmly to classes in college, small group Bible discussion, all-night cramming and by far the most pleasant, museum visits. Especially with Philadelphia institutions, I would always make an out-of-the-way stop for some great coffee before wandering the Academy of Natural Sciences or the Franklin Institute.

Fill in the Coffee Map - Next Leg


With the great response to the last Fill in the Coffee Map leg, the series is making its second go. We'll be heading out to new places and giving quality coffee establishments lots of limelight, adding bright, shiny pins to the coffee map.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Arbor Lodge





Subject: The Arbor Lodge
Location: Portland, OR
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Not every city neighborhood has a name that also works perfectly as a coffeehouse name. But Arbor Lodge, Portland is such a neighborhood with such a coffeehouse.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Mugged: The Coffee Dispatch


Coffee Subscription Service: The Coffee Dispatch
Roasters / Coffees / Rating [see key]:
- Messenger Coffee Co: Papua New Guinea Waghi Valley 5+
- Thou Mayest: Ethiopia Kochere 5+
- Broadway Roasting Co: Ethiopia Sidamo 5+
- City Market Coffee Roasters: A Brewed Awakening 4+
- Parisi Coffee - omitted (see below)
- The Roasterie - omitted (see below)

Kansas City is the one Missourian city I have not had a chance to tour. Due to family and Missouri's central location, I've been to the other major metropolitan centers of the Show Me State, some of them multiple times. Yet even though I've flown into Kansas City, I still anticipate the day when I can roam her streets and sample her wares firsthand.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Mud House




Subject: The Mud House
Location: St. Louis, MO
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Every neighborhood should aspire to have a great eatery that issues forth great food and tremendous coffee. So often the equation is split (at best) in most towns, with a great coffeehouse offering a decent bagel and soup menu, while down the street you have a restaurant churning wondrous culinary feats paired with lackluster coffee. Yet in the few instances when you put a talented chef and a skilled barista together (even in the same person), you get a force akin to collecting all of the dragon balls.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hebrews Coffee



Subject: Hebrews Coffee
Location: Springfield, MO
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

I am a tremendous fan of the noble pun. What better to insert into a conversation than a clever exploitation of different uses of similar sounding words? I trace my fervent love of witty word play to my days in Montana when I studied under a man who greatly regarded them as the highest form of communication. Forever my eyes have been o-punned.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mugged: Peru La Convencion [Caffe Vita]


Subject: Caffe Vita
Coffee Mugged: Peru La Convencion
Rating [see key]: 4+

For a brief time in my life, I lived walking distance from a good coffeehouse called Rockford Coffee. Ironically it was also the poorest time in my life, so regular visits were not as regular as I would have liked, but when I could justify it, this coffeehouse was a pleasant haven for quality coffee and enjoying some downtime. Rockford was also my first exposure to Caffe Vita, and in the almost ten years since I first sipped a Vita coffee, I've always had my eye on company developments such as new locations (in 5 cities now) as well as their ever-evolving list of coffees.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Modcup Coffee Co




Subject: Modcup Coffee Co
Location: Jersey City, NJ
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

If you've ever sought a beautiful vista of the Manhattan skyline, Jersey City Heights is the place to get it. And while many a bustling NYC tourist won't go out of their way just for a photo opportunity, now one can completely legitimize the stop since Modcup Coffee sits nearly a stones throw from the edge of the palisade.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Coava Coffee Roasters



Subject: Coava Coffee Roasters
Location: Portland, OR [Grand Ave location]
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]


While Portland has tons of coffee establishments worthy of a visit, there are a few that have come to embody the city's coffee scene, not only for the quality coffee but also due to the beauty of their abode. Coava Coffee Roasters is one of those spots.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Crema Coffee Roasters


Subject: Crema Coffee Roasters
Location: Nashville, TN
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

One thing I really love to find in a coffeehouse is a feeling of camaraderie. A simple atmosphere of common bonds and good vibrations really makes the difference. Whether it exists as tight bonds between staff, customers or simply everyone who walks in, it is that unified harmony that makes the experience better ten fold.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mugged: Kenya Kiruga [Evocation]


Subject: Evocation Coffee Roasters
Coffee Mugged: Kenya Kiruga via My Coffee Pub
Rating [see key]: 6+

In my visits to Texas, I've only traversed the panhandle once, and that expedition was but a quick drive that only allowed for a single gas stop prior to Amarillo. I remember the spot well, right off the highway at a gas station without prices. Seeing that I was running on fumes, I didn't care to risk looking for a second option, so I pulled in and counted my cash to make sure I had enough to pay for a little more than usual. The lady did ending up charging me (what I thought was) too much, but since I was in a hurry and in little position to argue, I paid, hopped back in my car and raced on through Amarillo into New Mexico.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Does Disney World Have Good Coffee?


Some years ago, in my haughty college days of grand enlightenment, I remember making the statement that Disney World was a lazy man's repeat vacation. Sure I saw the sense in getting there once, mainly to experience the magic firsthand and see what the hullabaloo is about. But after maybe a return visit a decade later, why burn your precious vacation dollars going to the same place over and over like so many people do?