Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mugged: Ethiopian [Old Soul]

What does Mugged mean?

Subject: Old Soul Co.
Coffee Mugged: Ethiopian Aleta Wondo Co-op
Rating: 5+ [see key]

While a lot of people seem to appreciate pairing coffee with chocolate or similar sweets, there exists a lot more flavors that go wonderfully with coffee. One of my favorites happens to be fruits, a recently popular but wonderful companion to a bright coffee like a quality Ethiopian.

Often extolled for their lovely acidity, Ethiopian and other East African coffees rank as some of my favorite coffee. One recent addition to my list of quality African coffees was Old Soul's Ethiopian. From the Aleta Wondo Co-op, this coffee I had the pleasure of sampling in the brews of drip, siphon and french press. 

The drip coffee relayed bright blueberry, chocolate, oak barrel, a bit of mint, nuts, dandelion greens and cracker. The body was light to medium and it had a nice, crisp taste to it.

The french press had similar power in the blueberry and mint, but this brew had more of a nougat-like taste along with cilantro and a hint of yerba matte. 

The siphon was the sweetest of the three, holding strong blueberry, chocolate and mint along with oak barrel, buttery cracker and dandelion green all amidst a medium body. 

Overall, Old Soul's Ethiopian proved delicious and would do well to compliment a nice berry tart or chocolate covered strawberry. Give this coffee a try if you're looking for a smooth, bright coffee. 

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Congrats to our Coffee Winner!

Congrats to Cindy Wang, the winner of the Pure Coffee Survey contest. She shall receive a free pound of coffee from the fantastic folks at Old Queens Coffee!

Keep your eye(s) peeled for future contests and giveaways!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CC: Locals Coffee and Smoothies

Subject: Locals Coffee and Smoothies
Location: Ocean City, NJ
Free WiFi ? : no
Rating: 5+ [see key]

The family resort town of Ocean City has been a frequent facet of my life for as long as I can remember. For various reasons, my family loved the place and I can often recall having summer vacations in town or nearby.

These days, the town still holds a lot of great memories but it still lacks a few things. Until recently, one of them was a stellar coffee operation. Sure, there was the Ocean City Coffee Company (local roaster and purveyor of coffee) but in years past, they never really impressed me (granted, my 2006 review needs serious redoing as some of my early posts were a little rusty). But this year, there opened up a small coffee bar in the arcade next to the 7th Street Surf Shop; a coffee bar that local food sage Craig LaBan gave a thumbs up to; a place dubbed Locals Coffee and Smoothies.

Walking the boardwalk, it was plainly located between 6th and 7th Streets in the front right corner of an arcade. The tiki bar with a few bar stools gave a decent summer vibe though it was not nearly enough to counter the not-so-soothing sounds of video games. The coffee comes from Rojo's Roastery all the way from Lambertville (first wholesale account I’ve seen of theirs).

Inquiring of their drip coffee, they informed me that they offer their house blend called Midwive’s Moonshine, a “bold” coffee more akin to a dark roast. As there were no other drip options aside from decaf (I tend to defer on dark roasts; not many are pleasant), I ordered a cup of the moonshine and an espresso. To my chagrin, the house blend actually turned out pleasant. While the coffee was more darkly roasted then most specialty coffees, it was still well below the threshold of most dark roasts, demonstrating notes of strawberry, shortbread, spinach, cracker, bran and honey amidst a medium-bodied coffee with only minor bitterness.

The espresso also boded well, despite receiving it in a paper cup after thrice articulating to the barista that I would drink the espresso there. The ‘spro embodied notes of lemon, sweet cocoa, a strong saltiness and a little nutmeg amidst a short/medium pull with lackluster crema (it was greatly disturbed in the transfer from shot glass to paper cup).I did not note the tea.

While I think some of their practices (paper cups for espresso) and philosophies (having a dark roast as your house) could improve, Locals Coffee and Smoothies definitely made good on their claim to be the best coffee on the boardwalk. If you happen to be in the vicinity, give the place a visit.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mugged: Colombia [Old Soul]


What does Mugged mean?

Subject: Old Soul Co.
Coffee Mugged: Colombia Suarez Estates
Rating: 4+ [see key]

Sacramento proved to me a surprisingly great city when I visited several years ago. An interesting old town area, downtown and of course, lots of good coffee made for a great place to visit (and I'm sure its a hoot to live in). From what I've heard, there's been improvements with the city and its coffee, with places like Old Soul Co., a once small-scale wholesaler turning into a multi-location coffee establishment and bakery in the past five years.

Never having tasted their wares, I was truly intrigued when they sent me out a few different coffees to review. The first up of these coffees was their Colombia Suarez Estates, sampled via french press, drip and siphon.

The drip demonstrated notes of nuttiness, apple, grass, biscuit, bits of pepper, wheat toast and a little tobacco. A good and somewhat mellow cup though the notes of pepper and tobacco proved a little too potent in the profile.

The french press had a similar make-up, with the apple, nuttiness, grass and toast standing alike. But this cup held also unsweetened cocoa, broth and standout curry. A medium bodied, good coffee with a little fleck of pungent bitterness.

The siphon was the least exciting, with the notes of nuttiness, biscuit, wheat toast, tobacco and only a little apple and honey. Not bland but not a trumpeting cup either.

In a nutshell, Old Soul's Colombia proved to be a good coffee but proving a little lackluster with certain prominent flavors such as tobacco and curry. No matter, if you're out for a good Colombian, give Old Soul a go.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Give Feedback, Win Free Coffee

Tell us your thoughts on the Pure Coffee Blog and you could win a free pound of coffee (of your choice!) from Old Queens Coffee.

Simply put, over the past five years much has changed and I rely on quality feedback to keep the Pure Coffee Blog up to speed.

To make it easy for us all, I put together this short, anonymous survey that should take no longer than ten minutes to verbosely complete.

And to make it worth your time, the generous folks at Old Queens Coffee have offered to give a free pound of coffee to one lucky survey taker (once you win, you pick it out and it should be in the mail soon after). To be registered for the drawing, you must leave your email address on question 10 (I promise that your email will not be used in coordination with the rest of the survey).

Make sure not to put this opportunity on the shelf; the survey will only be live until July 21st or until the survey reaches surveyor capacity (whichever comes first)!

The survey link is

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

CC: Terra Bella

What does CC mean?

Subject: Terra Bella
Location: Anchorage, AK

Free WiFi ? : yes

Rating: 5+ [
see key]

Before making my trip to Anchorage, I had received little encouragement that I would find any good coffee in town. A friend of mine who lives in the area said she had given up on finding a decent coffeehouse. Those who had preceded me seemed to also offer little hope, saying that mediocre is all that I would find.

Yet hope prevailed. While I can’t say I found anything that one would set as an industry standard (as some would term, “third wave”), I did find a few places in town that came dangerously close.

The best spot in my opinion was an organic coffeehouse called Terra Bella. Having its prime location in South Anchorage and a drive-thru kiosk in Midtown, Terra Bella had received some acclaim from some locals as serving up good coffee and espresso. I made my way to the southern location one overcast afternoon to find a warmly arrayed coffeehouse with palate of orange and earthy colors surrounding a spacious venue with plenty of seats and lots of art.

Choosing from their many self-roasted coffees (might I jovially add they had not one over-roasted bean in sight; an AK rarity), I ordered an espresso and a drip of their Nicaragua Segovia. The espresso, pulled of a short/medium volume with a medium brown crema, sent notes of sugar, chocolate, lemon tonic and salt lick; a potently varied yet good espresso. The drip held flavors of spiced rum, a little wheat, rock candy, sassafras, cocoa and arugula (an odd, yet delicious combination with a smooth body). The tea is free leaf.

If I had to move to Anchorage, I would surely be back to Terra Bella for a regular cup of coffee. If you happen to be in town or passing through, give Terra Bella a whirl.