Showing posts with label Anchorage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anchorage. Show all posts

Saturday, May 12, 2012

CC: Kaladi Brothers

Location: Anchorage, AK
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

If any coffee spot commands attention with the citizens of Anchorage, it seems Kaladi Brothers is king. With ten locations in Anchorage (as well as 4 outside the city limits), I am impressed with the amount of loyalty they have accrued to keep that many coffee locations working. 

Suffice it to say that my trip to Anchorage would remain incomplete without a stop at by one of their shops. While I had a coffee in passing at the New Sagaya coffee stand and a fair espresso at Cafe Ristretto (a cafe that utilizes Kaladi Bros beans), I made for the downtown location for a full evaluative experience. The outside happens to be bit stark (it's a round brick office building), but the inside was quite well decorated and laid out, with an assortment of colors, crystal chandeliers and all kinds of seating amidst the unique interior layout.

From the research I had done, Kaladi as a coffee roaster seems to stick to the older ways ("2nd wave"), aiming for darker roasts, not to mention has a curious method of storing their whole bean coffee in a fridge (at least downtown they do). For my beverages, I ordered an espresso (I did not catch the blend's name) and a drip of their Rwandan. The espresso, pulled medium with brown crema, displayed notes of tobacco, bitter cocoa, cabbage, oak, a little sugar and a wee bit of rhubarb; alas, it was a noticeably burnt and bitter with a heavy potency, but still fairly good. The Rwandan, labeled as a lighter roast, tasted more like a medium-dark roast with flavors of sweet oats, blackberry jam, vanilla, pear and slight almond in a medium-to-heavy body. As for a medium/dark roast, it was also fairly tasty. 

Given the roast level of both the espresso and the coffee, Kaladi did deliver a decent coffee experience (i.e. neither tasted that poorly despite the darkness). If you're into darker roasts or you just want to see what all the Anchorage-ians are drinking, give Kaladi Brothers a visit.

Monday, February 13, 2012

CC: Cafe Del Mundo

Location: Anchorage, AK
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

When I had first heard of Anchorage coffee a decade ago, the two cafes that were mentioned to me were Cafe Del Mundo and the Kaladi Brothers. Then a little under a year ago, Kaladi purchased Cafe Del Mundo, though the pledge was to keep the two separate, aiming to keep Cafe Del Mundo the same as it has always been.

With this in mind, I strode through the doors of Anchorage's oldest coffee roaster-and-retail shop, not caring so much as to whether the coffee was still true to the del Mundo ways as I hoped for a solid coffee experience. The cafe itself stood arrayed in a calm,1980s-wood-and-soft-lights manner, with a counter stretching the length of the store and plenty of hearty wooden chairs for patrons to utilize. 

Before I found a seat near two European posters, I ordered myself a drip of their Papua New Guinea and an espresso of their Espresso Blend. The espresso, pulled to a medium volume with blonde crema, held notes of milk chocolate, cream soda, cookie dough as well as some cayenne, notes of basil and a slight burnt character. The shots weren't the best but still offered a respectably balanced and tasty spro. 

Moving on to the Papua New Guinea, the coffee relayed qualities of nuts, grass, honey, slight minestrone with celery, a pinch of sage and raw sugar. A refreshingly delicious brew that proved smooth and easy to savor.

Having later tried Kaladi Brothers (that review will come soon), I can vouch that Cafe Del Mundo is still noticeably different then it's new owner. While I felt the skill in preparation of my coffee was slightly lacking (mainly, the espresso could have been better pulled), I can say that I enjoyed my experience. Give Cafe Del Mundo a visit when you're in town. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

CC: SteamDot

Subject: SteamDot
Location: Anchorage, AK
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

While ambiance is not everything, it's always welcome, especially when not expected.

One of my earlier stops in Alaska was a place in the southern portion of Anchorage called SteamDot. A coffee roaster that popped up in some of my initial searches, SteamDot appeared to be a good stop. My arrival at their sharply decorated store, a cafe full of large windows, bright colors and snazzy furniture, seemed to re-convey confidence that this coffeehouse was no dud (albeit purely based on the notion that if you have a stellar design, you must have amazing coffee to pay for it).

Moving onto the coffee, I ordered an espresso of their Single Origin Brazil and a pourover of the Nicaragua. Watching the process of concocting my drinks, they really seemed to know their away around their classy-looking pourovers and the espresso machine, another sign that usually the coffee has promise.

But in tasting my drinks, I found both coffees to be a little too dark to be truly pleasant. The espresso, pulled short with a blond crema, tasted of vanilla, ginger and a little nut, yet all amidst a noticeable bitterness like overly steeped black tea as well as a noticeable burnt flavor. The pourover of the Nicaraguan held notes of a darker coffee, with tobacco and bitter cocoa being prominent over the other flavors of cherry, walnut, sugar and grass. The tea is free leaf.

Thus, it seems that either SteamDot believes in a darker roast spectrum or I hit their shop on an off day. Yet despite my darker-then-expected drinks, don't write off SteamDot; the cafe is gorgeous and it has the tools to be a superb place. Give it a try if you're in town.

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.