Monday, March 03, 2008

CC: Bonte

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Location visited: Philadelphia, PA
[visited 922 and 1315 Walnut]

Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]

When waffles hit my eye (not literally), I usually think breakfast. Sure there's the occasional late night craving for chocolate chip waffles covered with whipped cream, but I can count on one hand the times I've yielded to such gastro-hankerings. So aside from a trip to Brussels, where else would you go to get a Belgian waffle around dinnertime? Well, if you live in Philadelphia or other select PA or NJ towns, you can head to Bonte.

Bonte is primarily a wafflerie but what caught my eye is that they also professed to serve quality and locally roasted coffee. So over the years, I've stopped in a couple times to try out the chain. The place displays a very optically sensual experience with some really beautiful color coordination and nice interior design (they like blue and brown).

One of the odd things is that they espouse to use "locally roasted" coffee and yet they serve Counter Culture coffee which to my knowledge is roasted deep in North Carolina (maybe they consider East Coast local?).

Regardless, I was a bit excited to get my coffee as Counter Culture has a pretty good reputation. And yet, I was somewhat disappointed. The coffee in my experience is decent yet most recently, the brew was definitely stale (too long in the pot). The espresso is generally mediocre; my shot of late was pulled fairly well and had a nice sweet acidity, but conversely possessed a noticeable hint of cardboard.

Being that their real passion is waffles, I decided in my most recent visit to give one a whirl. I had a blueberry waffle to go (wrapped up like a pretzel) that proved to be a tremendously tasty treat. How close it comes to a true Belgian waffle, I couldn't tell you.

As an overall chain, it seems that Bonte could use a little refinement with their espresso and coffee practices across the board. With a little bit more hard work and a freak movement of American waffle infatuation, the place could really take off.

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