Showing posts with label Austin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Austin. Show all posts

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Mugged: Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate [Kohana]

Subject: Kohana Coffee
Coffee Mugged: Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
Rating [see key]: 4+

In light of cold brew growing in popularity, it seems like the greatest hurdle for true expansion is creating a shelf stable product. Lots of companies grow through it but it seems few come out on the other side with a drinkable product that can survive long out of the fridge (check out this great Atlantic piece on Blue Bottle).

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Mugged: Chania Estate and Mirador Finca La Bolsa [Tweed Coffee]

Subject: Tweed Coffee
Coffee Mugged: Guatemala Mirador Finca La Bolsa and Kenya Chania Estate
Rating [see key]: Guatemala 4+ and Kenya 5+

One of the great facets of the current coffee world is the many choices one has in coffee roasters. Gone are the days where you had a few choices as to where one obtained good beans; now, like wine and other beverages, quality variety has become extensive.

Many of the new faces in roasting have come from the expansion of coffeehouses into microroasters. It almost seems to be an inevitable progression, that if a shop excels at slinging spectacular coffee, eventually the siren call of roasting will be but too strong to resist. One of the more recent to take up the mantle of roasting is Tweed Coffee Roasters, the relatively new roasting operation calved from Houndstooth Coffee of Texas fame. I was fortunate enough to receive a package from them some weeks ago with two coffees to try out: their Kenya Chania Estate, a dry processed coffee from the area of Thika, and their Mirador Finca La Bolsa from Guatemala. Each I sampled via pourover, french press and siphon.

Starting with the Kenya pourover, the coffee demonstrated a medium-bodied brew of fuji apple, sea salt, unsweetened cocoa, rosemary, chicken broth and a bit of black tea. The french press proved less salty and richer in flavor, with strong notes of apple juice, pie crust, vanilla, white chocolate and snap peas. The siphon drew out salty caramel, fuji apple, white chocolate, snap peas and some malt. All together, a rich coffee with lots of sweet and sumptuous flavors, only proving just a tad salty.

The Guatemalan proved a touch heavier and heartier. The pourover doled out notes of berries, croissant, chorizo, apple cider, whole milk and cinnamon. The french press held croissant, apple cider, whole milk, wheat and a touch of cinnamon, all together proving lighter and sweeter but still a little spicy. The siphon proved the deepest, with notes of raisin, apple, cola, cream and nutmeg within a medium body. A sweet and deep coffee with some nice flavors and noticeable spice.

Thus Tweed arrives on the scene with some great beans and many years to further hone their craft. Check out their website to order a bag or if you happen to be in Texas, swing by one their Houndstooth affiliates.

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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mugged: Cafe de Chiapas Medium Roast [Chiapas Farms]


What does "Mugged" mean?

Chiapas Farms
Coffee Mugged:
Cafe de Chiapas Medium Roast

Rating: 4+
[see key]

exico always seems to be cast in a negative light. You hear about drug overlords, poverty and illegal immigration but rarely do you hear of positives.

Recently, I received a pound of organic coffee from Mexican farm company Chiapas Farms. At first I thought it was just a small operation, with a couple families offering coffee but it turns out that the outfit is quite mammoth and aside from coffee, they offer a plethora of produce as well. For their coffee, they claim to buy directly from a cooperative of Mexican farmers (direct trade) and if it is so, that's at least a step into the positive.

As for the coffee I received, it had bits of a bean sheen and an overall dark brown color (a little dark for a medium roast). I brewed up the coffee in the usual three methods: drip, siphon and french press.

The drip held notes of almond, nougat, caramel, cream, a little rhubarb and a smidgen of squash and prune. The coffee was smooth and had less bite then I expected for the roast level.

The french press gave a stronger coffee, with a darker cocoa, potent almond, cherry, lemon pepper, saltines and a little bit of grass and caramel on the end. A more potent brew for sure.

The siphon demonstrated more like the drip, with caramel, cashew, a faint grass, toasted wheat, apple, mead and a bit of cream. A mellow brew that was much akin to the drip.

While I can't vouch for their dark roast, Chiapas Farms medium roast held some decent flavors and was pretty solid. If you need a cup of direct trade, organic coffee from Mexico, give Chiapas Farms a whirl.

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

Sunday, April 06, 2008

CC: Kick Butt Coffee

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Kick Butt Coffee
Location visited: Austin, TX
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

Updated 4.16.08

or as much as I love some spontaneity in life, I really don't like hunting for hotels, especially when looking for a reasonable room amidst a basketball game in Austin. But after three hours of hunting and finally nailing down an overpriced Super 8 room (with no WIFI!), it was time for an overdue dinner.

Looking to stay cheap, my wife and I made our way to a nearby Wendy's anticipating a greasy dinner and quick return to our well-furnished hole-in-the-wall. But as we exited the parking lot, my wife spotted a coffee place across the highway that actually looked open. So even though neither one of us were really in the mood for coffee, we went to check it out to see if it was worth a morning trip.

As we roll closer, we notice the name is Kick Butt Coffee with a karate-kicking gent on the logo. Thinking it just a clever logo implying the caffeinated effects of their coffee, I was proven wrong after moving past their outside seating. Inside was a coffeehouse decorated in a dojo fashion complete with weapons on the wall and a Wii area in the back (what dojo doesn't have a Wii?). The place looked very new as little of the varied seating had much wear.

Kick Butt serves Republica Coffee Roasters, which upon some web research apparently seems to be located in Australia ( I later found out, as seen below in the update, that I was mistaken).
As it was evening, I decided just to have espresso, which was pulled fairly well with hight sweet notes and a nice acidity though it was a bit silty in composition. My wife and I did end up coming back the next morning, where I grabbed a cup of their Ethiopian Harrar that displayed smooth and full-bodied. I didn't catch the tea (I think it was free leaf); they also serve beer and wine.

Kick Butt's creative approach to the coffee business and decent product seem to be good signs for this budding business. While I am unsure of the Aussie coffee (how do they get it to Texas while still fresh), I would definitely encourage a stop by if you're in Austin.

Updated 4.16.08
Turns out that Republica Coffee Roasters is actually in Austin, TX! Thanks to a helpful comment, I did a more exhaustive search that turned up the simple one-page site. My bad!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

CC: JP's Java

What's a Coffee Commentary?

JP's Java
Location visited: Austin, TX
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

I might have missed something, but I really found Austin to not be all that great. I had looked at the University of Texas for graduate school and I had heard from many people that Austin was where it was at, but after making a visit to 6th St and the arboretum I was out of things to do.

But what made the whole trip not so bad was a stop by JP's Java, a coffee establishment nestled in what appears to be an old auto garage with a cute (very small but aesthetically pleasing) parking lot. The exterior is accented by their big owlish logo (derived apparently from a Mayan calendar symbol) and amplified by the beautiful outside patio juxtaposed against a pair of beautifully converted garage doors. Walking inside there are multiple seating areas ranging from a small outcove to a large open room with lots of table space.

JP's serves Zoka Coffee all the way out of Seattle (which it seems they deliver twice a week just around the third day after roasting to ensure quality). They boast a brace of Clovers which was definitely a welcome and pleasant sign. I sampled a Rwandan coffee which was a sweet and earthy brew seemingly devoid of bitterness. The espresso also impressed, as it had a velvety texture that led to a chocolaty sweetness and bright tang, not to mention that it was pulled very well. The tea looked to be free leaf and of a decent variety.

I really enjoyed my visit to JP's and wish I could have hung out a little longer, as I really don't expect to be back in Austin anytime soon. But if you happen to be in town for business or pleasure (good luck on the latter), make sure to make a swing by JP's for the coffee.