Friday, May 18, 2018

Amity Coffee Roasters




Subject: Amity Coffee Roasters
Location: Greenwood, DE
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

In my travels, rural northeast towns are some of the hardest spots in which to locate good coffee. I do love driving, but there remains only so much distance I can convince my passengers to detour for a decent cup of coffee. Thankfully, the regional prospects are getting better and fewer trips exists where a good, local shop is completely out of reach.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Evermore Coffee Roasters




Subject: Evermore Coffee Roasters
Location: Burlington, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

The city of Burlington sits a few River Line train stops below Trenton and arguably holds some of the finest architectural charm in the area. It's a town that has a beautiful view of the Delaware River, and even though Burlington has had a share of tough goings through the years with a declining business district, there are signs that the area could be on an uptick.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Adagio Tea



Subject: Adagio Tea
Tea Mugged [pictured above from left to right]:
- Golden Spring
- Ooooh Darjeeling
- Thai Chai

While coffee is my favorite drink, tea is certainly a close second. Especially in the past decade, it seems like the tea options have exploded, with a larger variety of teas becoming more easily available to the tea drinking public, not to mention a higher popularity of tea-based beverages entering the menu at local cafes (think match lattes and london fogs).

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Bird in Hand




Subject: Bird in Hand Coffee and Books
Location: Baltimore, MD
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Some of my favorite memories involve drinking coffee while perusing through a bookstore. Though some booksellers sadly refuse to embrace the calling of serving excellent coffee, there have been many establishments that do a wonderful job weaving the written word and the well-roasted bean. One such literary oasis new one to my eyes emerged during a recent trip to Baltimore, when I found that Artifact Coffee and The Ivy Bookshop had created a beautiful space adjacent to Johns Hopkins campus in Charles Village called Bird in Hand.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Ohmies




Subject: Ohmies Coffee Bar + Yoga Studio
Location: Roselle, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Coffee pairs well with a lot of things in life. Chocolate, cake, long nature walks, mornings, chocolate cake, late nights and fruit are all things I think go well with a quality cup of coffee. Thus why not exercise? Aside from the risks of vigorous movement with a hot beverage, the coupling makes sense, especially since many people have come to accept black coffee as a delicious, healthy drink. Thus when I found a coffee bar and yoga studio in my travels through Roselle, I was surprised that I had not found such a place sooner.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Germantown Espresso Bar




Subject: Germantowan Espresso Bar
Location visited: Philadelphia, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Two decades ago, I would argue that Philadelphia really only had a handful of neighborhoods worth traversing. Now in 2018, there exists so many vibrant parts of Philly and yet, many breathtaking portions of the city are still overlooked or missed by most people. One such area is Germantown, a neighborhood as old as the Revolution (the site of the Battle of Germantown in 1777) and full of charming architecture and beautiful homes. Currently riding a rejuvenating wave of local improvements, there are many reasons to detour out to Germantown to sample the changes.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Coffee Bar



Subject: The Coffee Bar
Location visited: 1201 South St NW, Washington DC
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

While seasonal rain is welcome for purposes of irrigation and staving off drought, downpours during a day in the city sure make the day a little more challenging. Fortunately when recently I ran into this dilemma in DC, I had planned a visit to the African American Civil War Memorial Museum and a highly-reputed coffee stop nearby called The Coffee Bar.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hotel RL + Victrola Coffee

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Many people expect a decent cup of coffee in the morning when they stay at a reputable hotel. Is it too much to ask for a hot cup of joe that doesn't taste like old cigarettes? Experience would echo with a resounding "yes." Sadly the expectation for good hotel coffee has been eroded over time, with tons of mediocre (at best) coffee experiences regularly tarnishing the mornings of coffee lovers across the globe.

But fortunately, some hotels are exceeding expectations in terms of coffee excellence. Take the Hotel RL, who not only offers great coffee from Seattle juggernaut Victrola Coffee Roasters but they have actually gone as far as to build a legit coffee bar in many of their lobbies. Having the opportunity to stay at their Baltimore location this past weekend, I was able to experience this hotel rarity firsthand.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Pretty Bird Coffee Roasters



Subject: Pretty Bird Coffee Roasters
Location: Yardley, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

I once knew a somewhat unpleasant fella from Yardley. It wasn't that he tried to be off-putting, he just never had anything to contribute except woe and headaches. Sadly, due to the fact that he was the only constant association with Yardley, I subconsciously allowed my love for this river village of Pennsylvania to grow cold over the years. Thankfully news of a decent coffee roaster surfacing on the main drag sparked a return one afternoon to sip some coffee and give Yardley a new chance.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Mugged: The Barn



Subject: The Barn
Coffees Mugged (coffees were not rated on the normal scale due to small amount mugged) [see key]:
- Nano Challa, Gera, Ethiopia
- Amaca - Los Anayes, Cauca Colombia
- La Isla, Naranjo, Costa Rica
- La Montana, Narino, Colombia
- Fazenda Um, Minas Gerais, Brazil
- Nguguini AB, Kirinyaga, Kenya
- El Diamante, Intibuca, Honduras

Lots of coffee roasters extend across the continent of Europe, but only a handful have a strong reputation internationally. One of these roasters is The Barn Coffee Roasters in Berlin, a German roaster that has been growing in reputation since their inception in 2010. Sadly I have not set foot in Europe during the past 8 years, so my interactions with their coffee have been fleeting and subject to luck in finding them here in North America.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Black Swan Espresso




Subject: Black Swan Espresso
Location: Newark, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Having driven through Newark hundreds of times this past decade, it has been a constant pang of grief that the city possessed little (if any) in the way of great coffee. Yet despite my fruitless searches, I never gave up searching for a long-lost caffeinated diamond in the rough, and finally after ten years of combing the internet, I found Black Swan Espresso.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sawhorse Cafe


Subject: Sawhorse Cafe
Location: Williamsport, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Some towns have all the luck. While I am not one to let envy overtake me, I definitely get a little green in the eyes when I find a town has more than one great coffeehouse. With most towns operating with zero quality shops, it is truly great fortune when a small geographic area gets two (or more!) great coffee operations.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Backyard Beans




Subject: Backyard Beans Coffee Company
Location visited: Lansdale, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

While I hold firmly to the opinion that turnpikes ruin road trips, I have come to embrace their necessity. Sure, tolls effectively suck the fun and loose change out of life, making a carefree drive into a financial balancing act, but having driven much of the United States I have come to terms that toll roads are a fair compromise until flying cars become a reality.  

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Loma Coffee



Subject: Loma Coffee
Location visited: Wilmington, DE
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Many people often overlook tax-free Delaware when it comes time to plan an outing, but the more I visit state the more I find new reasons to return. One particular area of interest is the region's blossoming cafe culture, with a once arid coffee landscape becoming an increasingly lush place to find good beans. One of the oases I've encountered as of late resides in Wilmington on a beautifully walkable stretch of Lower Market Street (aka LoMa), a shop thus aptly named Loma Coffee.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Mugged: Ferris Coffee

Subject: Ferris Coffee and Nut
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Costa Rica Sumava 5+
- Guatemala San Sebastian 6+
- Ethiopia Misty Valley 6+

Most coffee roasters older than disco do not produce coffee worth coffee drinking. Whether one attributes it to a fear of change or the stubborn fortitude of old habits, most coffee purveyors that predate Alfred Peet still usually purvey subpar coffee. Thus in light of the disappointing odds for old coffee roasting operations, it's pretty amazing that Ferris Coffee and Nut, having been around for nearly a century, delivers some pretty amazing coffee.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

e-shot Cafe



Subject: e-shot Cafe
Location visited: Larchmont, NY
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Even though I am a huge fan of the automobile, trains are still my favorite way to get around a metropolitan area. Sadly when those trains get out into the suburbs, most towns do not possess a complimentary infrastructure, with the train station often being far from shops and cafes (usually to accommodate parking). Thus, to find a decent coffeehouse near a train station appears as rarely as an open seat during the morning commute. 

Monday, January 08, 2018

The Wydown




Subject: The Wydown
Location visited: 14th St, Washington DC
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Long weekends on the road often make coffeeshops the perfect oasis for some leg stretching and refueling. Recently after spending some time relaxing with friends in Crystal City, my family was heading north towards NJ, when a (typical) major traffic upset sent us on an odd detour through the middle of DC. While driving through our nation's capital can be an inconvenience, in this case it actually made for a perfect opportunity to hit a coffee establishment that's been on my list for some time: the Wydown.