Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Chocolate Moose Coffee




Subject: Chocolate Moose
Location: Beckley, WV
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

For as much as I love mini golf, I am surprised that more serious coffee shops do not abut them. When I have seen such golf-and-coffee combos, a good marriage between two complimentary businesses seems to thrive, especially if they put little tables or cup holders at each hole so walking around with a latte is not a feat of dexterity.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Ironclad Coffee Roasters



Subject: Ironclad Coffee Roasters
Location: Richmond, VA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

As much as I love new structures hot off the architectural presses, there is nothing more rapturous than a repurposed antiquated structure into a beautiful coffee shop. I don't know about the average joe, but joy quickly fills my heart at seeing the old bones of a 17th century haberdashery turned into a high-end cafe or a Victorian London toilet made into a hip coffee joint.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Rise Coffee House



Subject: Rise Coffee House
Location: St. Louis, MO
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Everyone wants a good coffeehouse somewhere in their morning routine, whether they know it or not. There's something transcendently better about grabbing a cup of freshly-made quality drip coffee with an egg-laden buttermilk biscuit from a local coffee purveyor, versus making it at home or work. Fortunately for the folks of The Grove in St. Louis, Rise Coffee House exists to make such AM dreams a reality.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Exo Roast Co.




Subject: Exo Roast Co.
Location: Tucson, AZ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

While I quite enjoy the eastern side of the USA, the sudden burst of heavy humidity every year around June makes me pine for drier regions. That's probably one reason I took such a quick fancy to Tucson. Even in the summer, its beautiful landscapes and agreeable climate made it a nice respite from the constant moisture that is the East Coast.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Alchemy Coffee




Subject: Alchemy Coffee and Bake House
Location: Lawrence, KS
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Thanks to the great work of several professionals and a handful of coffee establishments, I have come to hold Kansas in high esteem when it comes to specialty coffee. Sure it might be a less-populated state, but through the past decade it seems that Kansas has been continually blessed with a good sampling of excellent coffee. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Dirtbean




Subject: Dirtbean
Location: Marlinton, WV
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

Sometimes local roads are the only way to see the country. I know far too many people that cling to the interstate highway, choosing travel expediency over more scenic routes, yet it's often this misguided prioritization that leaves local gems undiscovered and unique beauty overlooked.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Firecreek Coffee Company




Subject: Firecreek Coffee Company
Location visited: Flagstaff, AZ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

My first trip through Flagstaff was a whirlwind detour during my first cross-country road trip back in 2004. Sadly, my entourage had no interest in stopping and thus the city lay unexplored for 15 more years before I could return.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Comet Coffee



Subject: Comet Coffee
Location visited: St. Louis, MO
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Coffee, croissants and ice cream create a trio that has few equals. Sure, many cafes can boast at least two of those things, but to forge all three in-house with well-crafted results is a sight one beholds in but a handful of establishments.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Rise 'N Grind Cafe




Subject: Rise 'N Grind Cafe
Location: Rising Sun, MD
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

It always amazes me how most folks don't explore their regional backyards. Whether it's ignoring local tourist sights or avoiding scenic detours, few people seem to fully drink in what their area has to offer.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Taylor Books Cafe



Subject: Taylor Books Cafe
Location: Charleston, WV
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Local bookstores have largely vanished from the landscape, becoming a rare sight in most lands. Gone are the days of literary emporiums being ubiquitous with regular life, with only libraries really remaining as the final bastions of casual literary perusal. Whether it was a place to kill some time looking at new titles or a rendezvous for learning and coffee, such book havens are too few indeed.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Provision Coffee




Subject: Provision Coffee
Location visited: Phoenix, AZ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

New construction is often the realm of giant coffee chains, but every now and then a local coffee establishment creates a new space and raises the bar a notch.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Eurasia Coffee & Tea




Subject: Eurasia Coffee and Tea
Location: Springfield, MO
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Many times when looking for a place to crash for a few days, I hope to find affordable-yet-swanky lodging that either offers excellent coffee or has good coffee within a short walk. Often such El Dorados are hard to come by, but every now and then one materializes out of nowhere.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Peixoto Coffee Roasters



Subject: Peixoto Coffee Roasters
Location: Chandler, AZ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

With a strong push towards improving the profit due to the coffee farmer, there has been a number of approaches concocted to better accomplish sustainable living wages for the very folks making coffee a reality. Practices like 'Direct Trade' and 'Relationship Coffees' have (partly) given rise to roasters and importers making stronger ties with farmers and the regions from where they import, thus not only establishing better prices, but a better model for return business.

Yet of all the existing practices, family trade transcends it all.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Mea Cuppa Coffeebar




Subject: Mea Cuppa Coffeebar
Location visited: Capitol Market, Charleston, WV
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Every city needs a good local market. Philly has the Reading Terminal, Seattle has Pike Place and Charleston, West Virginia has the Capitol Market. Located in an old railroad terminal, the Capitol Market has been providing excellent food, produce and general good stuff to West Virginia since the late 1990s.

Friday, March 15, 2019

High Voltage Cafe




Subject: High Voltage Cafe
Location visited: (Downtown) Asbury Park, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

It was about twelve years ago that I made my first visit to Asbury Park. Given the occasion, it was more of a truncated stop than a true visit, and until a few years ago I really never made it back.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

McLain's Market




Subject: McLain's Market
Location visited: Lawrence, KS
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Gorgeous, local markets and quality coffee shops bordering universities are two of my favorite things to visit, so when they're combined into one establishment, my ears perk up and a small pilgrimage usually ensues. Fortunately, my latest encounter with such a rare mash-up found me while traversing the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Having not known about this gem prior to my arrival in town, I stumbled upon a place called McLain's Market one early morning, housed in resplendent glory within the old KU bookstore.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Regroup Coffee and Bicycles



Subject: Regroup Coffee + Bicycles
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

While I love a good bike ride, I have never been able to fully get into regular bicycling. Maybe it's the fickle NJ winters coupled with the lack of safe roads in my region, or maybe it's that I tend to drive a lot and when I get home I don't feel like navigating the byways any longer. But I tend to think that if I were to move to a warmer climate with a little more open road, I would lean closer to regular riding.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Quantum Bean Coffee



Subject: Quantum Bean Coffee
Location: Morgantown, WV
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

One of my favorite types of coffeehouses are ones blooming deep in residential neighborhoods. There's something oddly appropriate about quality shops nestled in the thick of family dwellings; in my opinion, it puts the coffee in community.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Quay Coffee




Subject: Quay Coffee
Location visited: Delaware St, Kansas City, MO
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

My first visit to Kansas City turned out far shorter than I had hoped, lasting but mere minutes. Flying in for a wedding back in 2006, I arrived in KC with family and a few conflicting views on how to best spend the time prior to the nuptials. Unfortunately, going into the city to get a real cup of coffee did not make the cut, and I drove away from the city forlorn and destitute of espresso.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Cafe Brio




Subject: Cafe Brio
Location: Hillsborough, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

New Jersey might be small in size but much like the small intestines or a thrift shop packed with treasure, there's a lot going on crammed into a tiny area. I am often reminded of this fact when I pass through towns and find brand new-to-me stuff overlooked in past travels.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Presta Coffee Roasters




Subject: Presta Coffee Roasters
Location Visited: 1st Ave, Tucson, AZ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

One thing that often drops my jaw when I traverse the west is the number of aesthetically gorgeous coffee shops. Whether it's a reclaimed wood shop in Oregon or a coffee bar exquisitely situated inside a shipping container in San Francisco, it astounds me how relatively boring the east coast is by comparison.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Moxxee Coffee




Subject: Moxxee Coffee
Location: Charleston, WV
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Everyone remembers their first interaction with West Virginia coffee (right?). For me, it was at a specialty coffee expo booth sampling some coffee for some forgotten reason, but realizing that the roaster was from the West Virginian capital, a place then completely uncharted on my map. It was that day I made the acquaintance of Moxxee Coffee and Charleston became a destination in my world.

Friday, January 11, 2019

PT's Coffee




Subject: PT's Coffee Roasting Co
Location Reviewed: Topeka, KS
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

I remember when I first got into quality coffee around 2006 that there were a few names well-known across the nation. One of those roasters of renown was PT's Coffee out of Kansas, a roaster I first sipped (and later reviewed) all the way back in 2008. Through the past decade, PT's has continuously impressed me with their excellent coffees yet a visit to Kansas to try them out on their home turf continuously eluded me.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Press Coffee Roasters


Subject: Press Coffee Roasters
Location Reviewed: Tempe, in Nexa Apartments
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

It takes a lot of hard work to get legitimate national repute for excellent coffee. While there are tons of criteria that set great roasters apart from good roasters, I would cite two factors as most important: an adherence to consistent quality and an adaptable ingenuity that rolls and develops where opportunity allows. Having a good eye for design also helps (people do like books with nice covers).