Friday, June 23, 2017


Location: Chantilly, VA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

While strip malls are typically not the most coveted locations to drop a coffeehouse, they tend to be the only affordable/realistic place to host one in the midst of suburbia. Fortunately, not all strip malls are created identical, so some offer space far better suited to hosting a third space brimming with excellent coffee.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Metric Coffee

Subject: Metric Coffee
Location visited: Chicago, IL
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Growing up in the American school system, I always wondered why I had to learn two systems of measurement. It took up precious daylight and to this day I struggle to convert calories to joules (btw it's 1 kilocalorie = 4184 joules).

Friday, June 09, 2017


Subject: Cultivar
Location visited: East Dallas, TX
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

I am told supermarkets made their rise primarily because they made many stops into one. Instead of hitting the butcher, the farmers market and the dry goods emporium, folks could get it all in one shot. While I am a strong advocate of shopping at specialty vendors (ie I love going to a butcher), in practice I absolutely see the value in convenience, so when quality small businesses team up to share a location, my heart soars.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mugged: Anodyne Coffee

Subject: Anodyne Coffee
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gelena Abaya 6+
- Colombia Tolima ASOPAP 6+

Certain North American regions are definitely under-appreciated, one of them being Wisconsin. Full of beautiful landscapes and interesting cities, most people (at least the ones I run into) seem to overlook Chicago's northern neighbor. The same tends to go for Wisconsin coffee, as America's Dairyland is home to quite a few great roasters such as Kickapoo, Colectivo and the subject of today's post, Anodyne.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fill in the Coffee Map - 2017 Edition

After a long run on the last Fill in the Coffee Map leg, the series will launch a third go! As one can observe from the many quality coffee establishments already mapped, there have been many places visited but still so many more places to herald.

Like the the past efforts, I will definitely need the aid of sponsors. To clearly designate their assistance, you will see their banners highlighted on the side bars of the blog and at the bottom of each post. These banners highlight their aid in helping fund the costs of acquiring/producing this content but never any influence on the content tone. As usual, I fully assure you that my posts are still 100% my own and remains completely uninfluenced by anyone. The sponsors only help me get to these coffeehouses, and no sponsor had any knowledge of or input on any content whatsoever (I say all of this as I am a huge proponent of transparency, and thus I wanted to emphasize the role of my sponsors and that the Pure Coffee Blog still only operates in the realm of objectivity).

Thus, if you are interested in coming on as a sponsor in the coming weeks, please let me know by shooting me a quick email at and stay tuned for new shops to add to the map!

Heritage Outpost

Subject: Heritage Outpost
Location visited: West Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Early in my adult life I found an apartment across the street from what looked like a decent coffeehouse. The place hadn't opened yet but due to strange designs, it was set to open its doors about the same time as my move-in date. Unfortunately, rampant delay and poor decisions foiled my dream of living mere steps from a decent coffeehouse, as the shop turned out to be a dud and the business closed down a shortly after I moved out. To this day I am leery to let local amenities influence my real estate decisions.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits

Subject: Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits
Location: Waco, TX
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Prior to 2017, I am not sure if I ever passed through Waco. I distinctly remember driving through Texas with my family well over a decade ago and seeing a sign that said something to the effect of "Entering Waco City Limits." But then again, in tracing past family road trips on a map, I don't recall ever passing close to Waco. Since it's not something that keeps me up at night, I am content to leave it all a mystery (though I would like to figure it out one day).

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Factory Fuel Co.

Subject: Factory Fuel Co.
Location: Flemington, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Growing up in NJ, I have come to appreciate interstates and large highways. Sure some lack aesthetic beauty (especially in the northeast corner, near NYC), but with the amount of volume pumping through the veins and arteries of the state, I have become less concerned with the natural vistas when I am trying to get from Bordentown to Rahway in under an hour.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Damn Fine Coffee Bar

Subject: Damn Fine Coffee Bar
Location: Chicago, IL
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

The first time I heard the words "damn fine" were in the King's English in a CS Lewis book (technically "dem fine"). The Magician's Nephew, still my most loved of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, features an eccentric uncle who refers to the short-tempered Queen Jadis as a "dem fine woman." At the time when I first read this, I took this as scandal, as I was 11 and didn't read books with "sentence enhancers." But years later, after learning all 13 bad words and then banishing them from my lips (as fancy sophisticates should not stain their lips with cursing), I have personally sought to find more creative vocabulary. And so, even though I really don't see the word "damn" as a foul word (unless you use it as a verb, and then you are telling the person/thing to go to H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS, which is kinda bad if you believe in hell (and I do)), it's a word I just don't use casually any more just to play it safe.

Monday, April 24, 2017


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


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


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.