Monday, April 24, 2017

Rally




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

It always brings me joy when a quality-driven shop opens up in a beautiful space that had been abandoned by a long-closed predecessor. Such was the case with Rally, a multifaceted coffee-based institution that offers services ranging from aid with your business ventures to catering and space for private events.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Behmor 1600 Plus and Should You Roast at Home?


Home roasting is a trend that seems to pick up more steam every year. For some, it's the science that draws them. For others, it's the creative nuance. For most, I would venture it's (initially) to save some money on their overall coffee consumption (which does not always hold true, but we can get to that later). Whatever the reason, home roasting is certainly a hobby that isn't going anywhere.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Mugged: Great Circle



Subject: Great Circle Coffee
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]
- Ichamara Kenya 5+
- Pixcaya Guatemala 5+

It was not long ago that a quality cup of coffee in Miami would be something one would be hard-pressed to locate, especially at a trusted shop in the area. But over the last 7 years, the coffee scene has taken hold in southeast Florida and the number of excellent purveyors of coffee in the region has steadily increased. One roaster to recently cross my path is an establishment called Great Circle out of Miami, and while I have not visited them in person yet, I was recently sent out two of their coffees to take for a spin at home through pourover, french press and siphon.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

La p'tite Brulerie




Subject: La p'tite Brulerie
Location: Deschambault, QC
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

While living in Montana and Syracuse, I really began to appreciate the offerings of small villages. Not only are they typically rich in history, but the retail establishments tend to be more authentic and unique. This trend held true along the St. Lawrence river, with numerous quaint settlements bordering the riverfront. One particular village of Deschambault yielded my favorite find of the lot, a coffee roaster called La p'tite Brulerie.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Blacksmith


Subject: Blacksmith
Location: Houston, TX
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

In Texas, the only thing that exists in a diminutive state is winter's chill. Especially the further south one travels, temperatures seem to stay above 50 F most of winter. But naturally when visiting the brand new Marriott at the George R Brown convention center complete with Texas-shaped pool, I found the temperature well below freezing, mirroring the icy Philadelphia I had just left.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pikolo Espresso




Subject: Pikolo Espresso Bar
Location: Montreal, QC
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

When I travel, rarely do my overnight accommodations and coffeehouse aspirations line up near one another. Whether that's a reflection of my cheap lodging budget or a subliminal aversion to convenience, I usually end up driving out of my way to find quality coffee in distant lands. Yet ever so rarely, my fortunes prevail and I am blessed with a great cafe within a few hot steps of my front door.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Nektar Cafeologue




Subject: Nektar Cafeologue
Location visited: Quebec City, QC (Rue Saint-Joseph Est)
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

There are precious few North American cities that have incorporated long stairways right into the urban landscape, yet if I had to pick one of my favorites, it would be Quebec City. During a visit when temperatures were mild and above freezing, I found each set of stairs unique and full of personality, though sometimes a few steps longer than my lungs would have liked.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cup and Spoon




Subject: Cup and Spoon
Location: Chicago, IL
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

A Chicago winter certainly demands plenty of cafes in which to warm up and enjoy a mug of well-brewed coffee. Fortunately on a recent trip to the windy city, I found such a place to sip and relax at a local haven called Cup and Spoon.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Différance




Subject: Cafe Différance
Location: Montreal, QC
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

A coffeehouse with a line is usually a great sign. I say "usually" because there exist some cafes that will make questionably poor choices that cause customer waits, like a lone barista operation pouring exclusively pourover during the morning rush or the cue being held up by someone who ordered 15 creme brûlée lattes for the office. But when a hefty line forms despite four employees moving like a Swiss clock, I take solace in the fact that the wait is almost definitely worth it. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Passenger Coffee




Subject: Passenger Coffee
Location: Lancaster, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Lancaster continues to be a wondrous bastion of continuing bean progress. I recall some years ago hunting fruitlessly for a great cup of coffee and today, it's nearly impossible to not find a decent shop with walking distance.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Cafe Frida





Subject: Cafe Frida
Location: Trois-Rivières, QC
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

While the pickings are often slimmer, I greatly love finding good coffeehouses outside the city limits of a major metropolitan area. Sure, most cafes of merit exist in the urban jungles of the world, but there's something extra special when I come across a reputable coffee bar in a small town or in the midst of suburbia.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Paquebot Cafe


Subject: Paquebot Cafe
Location: Montreal, QC
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Seeking out good coffee has the distinct benefit of exposing one to parts of a city that might not have been on the regular tourist route. More often than not, a good coffeeshop is like a songbird, singing an enticing song to beckon curious travelers to check out a neighborhood and its offerings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Groundswell Coffee Roasters




Subject: Groundswell Coffee Roasters
Location Visited: 4839 N. Damen Ave, Chicago IL
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

While Chicago usually bequeaths a tough winter fit for a caribou, the occasional mild days make walking the city streets a fairly pleasant jaunt. Naturally, when I take such an outing, one of Chicago's many excellent coffeehouses will be on my route. Always on the hunt for new-to-me establishments, I found myself out for a stroll one morning that ended at the doorstep of Groundswell Coffee's North Damen outpost.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Stacks Espresso




Subject: Stacks Espresso
Location Visited: 260 Lark St, Albany, NY
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Though Albany has been the crossroads for many trips, it has not always been a dependable area for great coffee. Fortunately, the city is growing its cafe culture and establishments of repute have taken root in the capital city. One such business is Stacks Espresso, a shop with two locations in the city, one of which happened to be not far out of my way on a trip going north.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Buck 15




Subject: Buck 15 Espresso Bar
Location: Montreal, QC
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Husband and wife duos make some of the best businesses. True, some couples do best to keep their day jobs apart, but sometimes a business of great worth comes from the combined dreams of two people.