Showing posts with label CA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CA. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Paquebot Cafe

Subject: Paquebot Cafe
Location: Montreal, QC
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Seeking out good coffee has the distinct benefit of exposing one to parts of a city that might not have been on the regular tourist route. More often than not, a good coffeeshop is like a songbird, singing an enticing song to beckon curious travelers to check out a neighborhood and its offerings.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cold Bruer

Iced coffee is all the rage right now, specifically cold brew. While it was pushed from the sun for some years due to the influx of quicker (and many would still argue better) brew methods such as the Japanese style (Counter Culture has a nice tutorial) or similarly, the Aeropress over ice (CoffeeGeek advises here), it seems cold brew has vaulted back into the limelight due to a host of factors. And regardless the reasons for its rise back to power, cold brew coffee can be found on the shelves of supermarkets and minds of more people than ever.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mugged: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Aricha [Artis]

Subject: Artis Coffee
Coffee Mugged: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Aricha
Rating [see key]: 4+

People like having choices and options. We like choosing where we'll have lunch, what program we'll watch that evening or whether we take the long or short way home. With coffee, most folks like to switch up the way they brew, the microlot they're ordering next or the roaster from which they will purchase it. But with the exception of home roasters or people with connections, rarely do people have the option to switch the roast profile of the coffee they got last week. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mugged: Ethiopia, Kenya and Guatemala [Black Oak]

Subject: Black Oak Coffee Roasters
Coffee Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Kenya Kabatha AB 5+
- Ethiopia Konga 5+
- Guatemala San Diego Buena Vista 6+

California wine country is renowned for its many great vineyards, but up until recently, the sea of grapes harbored little else of such high quality. Fortunately the area is growing even more appealing, with quality specialty coffee slowly gaining a stronger foothold in the land of vino. Take Black Oak Coffee Roasters in the town of Ukiah right off the 101; what more could you ask for than a coffee roaster that takes as much care and love in their beans as the best vineyards surrounding put into making their wine?  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mugged: Ethiopia Sidamo and Cat's Pajamas [Compelling and Rich]

Subject: Compelling and Rich Specialty Coffee
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Cat's Pajamas Blend 5+
- Ethiopia Sidamo Bokasso Coop 5+

It's refreshing to see folks with drive, passion AND delicious results. Some people throw around some great rhetoric, but unless it's paired with stellar outcomes (or at least some hardy efforts at those outcomes), it's hard to take a company seriously. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mugged: Ethiopian and El Salvador [Barefoot Coffee]

Subject: Barefoot Coffee Roasters
Coffee Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Yirgacheffe Kochere, Ethiopia 6+
- Finca Villagalicia, El Salvador 6+

California is home to many great roasters, some I've known of for as long as I've cared about great coffee. One such entity is Barefoot Coffee Roasters, an operation now out of Santa Clara that has a delicious rapport for serving up delicious beans. Currently they have a mobile coffee van and 2 independently licensed retail locations, and while I hope to visit each spot soon, I was pleasantly surprised to receive two bags of direct trade coffee to try out in my abode: their Yirgacheffe Kochere, a washed Ethiopian coffee known for its vibrant flavors, as well as their Finca Villagalicia, a fine-looking coffee from an El Salvador farm with past Cup of Excellence wins under its belt. I sampled both coffees via pourover, french press and siphon.

The Kochere led the charge, sampling first in the pourover with notes of strawberry jam, fresh pineapple salsa, triple chocolate brownies, some lemon pepper and pie crust, proving rich, bright and full of flavor. The french press held out a glowing array of chocolate brownie, raspberry, strawberry Jolly Rancher, pastry dough, rose petals and a little lemon rind. The siphon ended on a consistent high note, with wisps of raspberry, chocolate truffle, apple pie, whipped cream and walnut, within a slightly deeper body. In summary, a decadent coffee full of fruity explosions and dessert-y glory.

The El Salvador also came out with top honors. The pourover trumpeted out notes of salted caramel, chocolate truffle, sourdough, gala apple, slight celery and a touch of nutmeg within a balanced, medium body. The french press presented chocolate, salted caramel, heavy cream, apple, celery and slight sourdough. The siphon was the final rocket red glare, with chocolate, nougat, sourdough, apple and slight sage blaring out of the medium body. A fine coffee with lots of sweet and deliciously tart flavors deftly intertwined this smooth coffee.

At the risk of sounding overly positive, these coffees were hands down some of the best I've had in past months. If you seek some great coffee from skilled hands, seek out the fine beans of Barefoot.

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mugged: Los Altos Micro-Lot, Fincas Mierisch [Handsome Coffee]

Subject: Handsome Coffee Roasters
Coffee Mugged: Los Altos Micro-Lot, Fincas Mierisch, Laguna Verde, Jinotega, Nicaragua
Rating [see key]: 6+

A great coffee is truly a work of art; there are a lot of steps in the process that need to be done well in order to get a great final product. And like any crop, the magic of a great coffee is partly thanks to the hard work of the farm that produced it. This large role is a credit that much of the world has only begun to concede to the coffee producers of the world. For many hundreds of years, the consumer looked at their coffee as just something simple and ubiquitous, like a caffeinated version of sugar cane. It wasn't until the past decade or so that people have started to understand that coffee farming is extremely complex and multifaceted.

With the growing appreciation of the craft that goes into growing and processing coffee crops, trips to origin have become increasingly popular. No longer just a business trip for coffee importers, a jaunt to coffee regions and farms has emerged as a new type of tourism.

One touring outfit set on socially-responsible and coffee-specific tours is a company called Detour. They have two trips to Nicaragua coming up and to raise some awareness of the region they're heading out to, they sent me out a bag of Handsome Coffee Roaster's Los Altos Micro-Lot Fincas Mierisch to take for an objective spin. I tried out the coffee via pourover, french press and siphon.

The pourover yielded some intense honey, caramel and molasses right off the bat, followed with some cumin, spiny melon and shredded wheat. A syrupy, sweet brew with a medium body.

The french press continued the trend, blasting out honey, heavy caramel, brown sugared oatmeal, spiny melon and some wheat in a medium body.

The siphon came through sweetly again, with notes of honey, caramel, shredded wheat and apple, proving slightly piquant with a luscious mellow sweetness.

I can say with confidence that if the coffee on this upcoming Nicaragua tour is going to be this tasty, I'd be happy with that alone. Fortunately, it seems like the trip Detour has arranged holds beaches, lots of sights and some time in the coffee fields during the height of their harvest. But if you can't get away for what looks like a great trip, seek out some coffee from Fincas Mierisch and/or Handsome Coffee Roasters.

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

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mugged: Washed Yirgacheffe [Bird Rock]

Subject: Bird Rock Coffee Roasters
Coffee Mugged: Washed Yirgacheffe
Rating [see key]: 6+

Of all the coffee roasters in the nation, few exist in a climate as pleasant as Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. Gorgeous San Diego is one of the few places in the nation that I made it to long ago, prior to Bird Rock's inception in fact, and for years I've watched and yearned for the beautiful weather and delicious coffee of SoCal.

Recently I was blessed with getting Bird Rock's coffee sent east to my coffee station. The beans were their Washed Yirgacheffee, sourced from the Kochere region of Ethiopia (currently a highly-praised geography). I sampled the beans via pourover, french press and siphon.

The pourover trumpeted out emphatic notes of chocolate, sweet honeydew, Twix, fresh corn, a bit of wheat cracker and tickle of lettuce within a light/medium body.

The french press sang a similar tune, with flavors of rich chocolate chip cookie, caramel, corn on the cob, wheat and a bit of blackberry all in a smooth, luscious infusion.

The siphon finished out strong, showing up with chocolate, caramel, blueberry, lemon cake and touch of fig in a voluptuous body.

This was a tremendous coffee with really rich sweet notes and a pleasant brightneess all held up solidly throughout. And to top it off, this is a coffee that one could sip while watching a Padre's game, as Bird Rock is one of the few quality operations to actually have a presence in a MLB stadium. All in all, whether you're in lovely San Diego or to the far east, give Bird Rock a go.

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mugged: Colombia [Handsome, via Moustache]

Subject: Handsome Coffee Roasters
via Moustache Coffee Club
Coffees Mugged: La Plata, Huila Colombia
Rating [see key]: 5+

I remember back in the day about ten years ago when LA was a byword in the coffee world, with little as far as places offering great coffee. Now, the fortunate opposite is true with so many great shops and roasters swelling in numbers every day.

One newer coffee entity out of the fair land of So Cal is the Moustache Coffee Club, a coffee curator service that sends its customers coffee in 6 or 12 ounce quantities at various chosen frequencies. Recently, I had the fortune of trying out a great Moustached shipment from the LA coffee powerhouse Handsome Coffee Roasters, specifically their offering from La Plata, Huila, Colombia. Taking it to task, I sampled it via pourover, Espro Press and siphon.

The pourover doled a delicious array of raisin, unsweetened cocoa, rosemary, whipping cream, birch root, some gala apple and a pinch of habenero. A great tasting coffee with a medium body and a dry finish.

The Espro Press delivered an even richer infusion bordering on syrupy-sweet, with notes of raisin, dark chocolate, mead, lily florals, caramel, oatmeal w/ brown sugar and a little wheat, all within medium body.

The siphon I decided to brew a little lighter to see what it would do to the profile and I was tickled with the result. Tasty qualities of cornflakes, caramel, honey, oatmeal w/brown sugar and a little wheat emerged amidst a lighter-bodied coffee that would be a perfect addition to any breakfast table.

All together, if all of the Moustache Coffee Club's offerings are this delicious, I would give a hearty huzzah to any bloke looking for such a wonderful service. If you need beans, give Moustache, or Handsome for that matter, your money.

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

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Espro Press

Everyone remembers their first french press. For most of us, it was something we stumbled upon, a refreshing alternative to our drip coffee. The process was so much more hands on, so much more raw; no on/off switch, no need to bring electricity into the equation (remember, this was prior to the pourover craze, back when it was largely mechanized drip). And the coffee, oh the coffee, how it was so different with its oily mouth feel and heavy body.

But alas, the honeymoon only lasted a spell and the downsides began to rear their hydra heads. Sadly, the typical french press required a bit of disassembling and detailed cleaning to keep it working well. And there's the problem with sediment: grind too fine and you'll be sifting silt through your teeth (that is if you hadn't broken your press in pushing down the filter), whereas if you grind too course you end up with a weak cup. But even if you ground the coffee within microns of perfection, sediment was just a constant you had to deal with (i.e. never drink the last half ounce).

And then along came Espro Press, a Canadian-made, stainless steel french press with a sleek look and a promise of simple cleaning and greatly decreased sediment. I had the luxury of trying out their 8 ounce model back in 2011, to which I was greatly impressed. One of the only critical things I remember thinking was "...if only it was a bit bigger."

Fortunately they read minds in Vancouver, and they rolled out their 18 ounce model this year, which I recently had the pleasure of trying out. Like the earlier models, the Espro Press has microfilters which do a pretty great job of holding back the sediment. The coffee that comes out is cleaner then a typical french press, with only minor debris materializing on the bottom of the cup. The only downside to the microfilters is that they seem to hold back about 2 ounces of coffee in the initial pour, which can be released by a series of back-and-forth pouring motions.

Aside from the stellar filtering, the Esro Press is pretty easy to clean. I find that there was little need for more then a good rinsing with some soap to keep it fresh. My only warning would be to never accidentally leave the filter submerged in old coffee grounds for two months in the midst of moving and then try to clean out the many microbial entourages; you shall not get far (this was the fate of my 8 ounce press...).

And if all that wasn't cool enough, it also looks pretty spiffy and for those of you not liking skin burns, the press exterior remains fairly cool to the touch when filled with boiling water.

Thus, I continue my applause of the Espro Press, as it is one of the few means of pressing coffee that I find alluring. You can preorder yours here if you would like to get a crack at the first mass launch.

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

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Mugged: El Salvador Orange Bourbon [Klatch]

Subject: Klatch Coffee
Mugged: El Salvador Orange Bourbon
Rating [see key]: 5+

Continuing from my prior post of Klatch's Kenya Kagumoini are my thoughts on the second coffee sent out, their El Salvador Orange Bourbon. The name constitutes the coffee's original origin off Madagascar (present-day Reunion, onced named Bourbon) and also for this coffee cherry's orange color (you can read more up on Bourbon's here). Designated as a single origin espresso, I was curious to see if the tasting notes on the bag rang true for my infusions that consisted of a pourover, french press and siphon.

The pourover produced a cup with surprisingly little fruit but instead a cup brimming with honey, wheat, granulated sugar, caramel and nougat, all within a smooth and sweet body with practically no bite. Bright but in a surprisingly dessert-ish way.

The french press delivered much more of a complex cup, full of notes of sassafras, wheat, nougat, orange and the tiniest touch of cayenne pepper and sage on the end. A deeper coffee with pleasant range of flavors.

The siphon continued with a complexity and body similar to the french press. The cup sang of Corn Pops, birch beer, raisins, walnuts and caramel, standing as the brightest of the three infusions.

While I was a big fan of the coffee, I really was surprised I didn't uncover nearly as much juice as Klatch and others had spoken of. Nonetheless, if you're looking for a great bourbon coffee, hopefully Klatch will bring back the Orange Bourbon next season.

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mugged: Kenya Kagumoini [Klatch]

Subject: Klatch Coffee
Mugged: Kenya Kagumoini Mugaga Cooperative
Rating [see key]: 5+

As an ardent fan of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, I found it most excellent (years ago) to find out that San Dimas, CA was home to a highly reputed coffeehouse and roaster named Klatch Coffee. Over the years, while I could never seem to secure an actual visit to the city, I have had interactions with their coffee in other spots (such as Las Vegas, Seattle's 2012 Coffee Fest and at home), all of them quite scrumptious.

Of course, until I can get to the home of the Wyld Stallyns, I shall continue to check out Klatch's coffee from time to time from far away. Most recently, they were generous enough to send out two coffees for review, the first being their Kenya Kagumoini. A coffee coming from the Mugaga Cooperative, grown around 5,249 ft up, I tend to be a lover of East Africa coffees and took this coffee to town via my pourover, french press and siphon.

The pourover produced a cup brimming with rich cocoa, blackberry, wheat, some grapefruit and a little vanilla wafer. A vibrant and bright coffee with a beautiful complexity.

The french press took the brightness up a notch, with heavy smatterings of pineapple balanced with caramel cookie, nutmeg and chocolate milk, overall making it deeper and brighter.

The siphon was more akin to the drip, with notes of cocoa, blackberry, peach, vanilla wafer, Sprite and a little molasses. While the end note was a bit deeper, twas overall a bright and sweet coffee.

Needless to say, this Kenyan coffee was most triumphant in all it touched and would be a great coffee for any breakfast or late night study session at the Circle K. Give Klatch's Kenya Kagumoini a try if you seek a bright, sweet and fruity coffee.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback. note also that I do not apologize for the gratuitous Bill and Ted references, though I am sure such references cause Klatch occasionally to regret their location.

Monday, September 03, 2012

CC: Outerlands

Subject: Outerlands
Location: San Francisco, CA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

There are few earthly delights that compare to a nice Sunday brunch with the sea air in your nostrils and a good cup of coffee in your hand. Years ago, this could prove to be a tall order purely based on the minimal use of good coffee at brunch spots but slowly, great eateries, both coastal and land-locked are coming round.

Out by San Francisco's western limits near the sea sits a couple of establishments by the shore, one of them aptly called Outerlands. Specializing in sustainable and organic local fare, their menu has received accolades and the crowds one Sunday afternoon reinforced said claim. There's a bustling counter amidst the inside and outside seating where folks can gaze at much of the menu, and if you can only stay for a spell, there's options for a quick bite as well. 

Sadly, I was not able to stay for brunch that day (they had stopped seating folks when I arrived) and since the only non-espresso coffee they offered was via large chemex for dine-in customers, I had to settle for (just) an espresso of Sightglass' Owl Howl. The shots were pulled short, held a brown crema and exuded flavors of 5 spice, lime, kalamata olive and thick black tea. The drink proved delicious and heavy, with a nice balance. The chemex coffee was also Sightglass.

Thus, the only reason Outerlands gets a 5+ is because of my circumstances in not being able to try the a chemex of their non-espresso coffee. Believe me that everything points to a 6+ and I feel a bit silly holding it back but, even though my observation of them brewing and serving it to a nearby table leads me to postulate that they certainly do a bang up job, I must leave them at a 5+ until I have tasted it with my own tongue. 

But please, by all means, give Outerlands a try as they seem to have the full-blown midas touch. If you get coffee, let me know how it is in the comments below. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

CC: Trouble Coffee

Subject: Trouble Coffee
Location: San Francisco, CA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

When you do a bit of research on coffeehouses, usually the first place you look is their website. Most have pictures of the establishment as well as the usual "About Us" and "Menu" pages, both with occasional useful information about what they really offer and what to expect. 

And a very small percentage of the time, you get a website that makes you curious as to the establishment purely by its odd nature. Take Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club, a small coffeehouse on the far west side of San Francisco that seems to defy convention, but at the same time seems to provide the necessary information if you're willing to seek it out. It did it's job on me, as I added it to my list of places to visit even though it was somewhat out of the way of my travels. 

Sporting an outside seating area complete with flower boxes and a large log, I knew I had found Trouble long before I stepped inside. The interior, while very cozy, maintained an intimate and welcoming feel amidst an array of stimuli. As for coffee, they brew Ecco Caffe, specifically blends called Elbow Grease and the Hammer, the former offered as drip coffee and the latter as espresso. The shots of the Hammer were short with brown crema, smacking of vanilla, peanut, ginger, caramel, cola and lemon; a tart yet balanced spro. The Elbow Grease drip proved (surprisingly at the time) dark, with notes of well-done steak, cigar, white bread, sugar cookies and spinach. I found out later that Elbow Grease is an attempt at a non-bitter French Roast, to which it certainly achieved a great taste compared to a typical French Roast, but I personally found it too dark to be very pleasant. 

In walking away, I can say that the only thing I would have changed would have been the Elbow Grease. Otherwise, Trouble Coffee seems like a great local hangout where folks come to commune over good coffee and toast. If you happen to be on the western edge of San Francisco, make your way over to Trouble Coffee.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

CC: Four Barrel

Subject: Four Barrel Coffee 
Location: San Francisco, CA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

The first time I toured San Francisco in '07, the coffee scene appeared strong, touting such giants as Ritual and Blue Bottle. Yet looking back, it was not nearly as rampant as it is today so during my most recent expedition, I came with a small book full of places to hit. Close to the top of the list was Four Barrel, an establishment that had garnered much praise for their skill in roasting and attention to detail behind the coffee bar.

I made my way to their Valencia St location one afternoon. Doing an initial drive past to make sure I had the right spot, I was surprised to find the parking spaces out front outfitted with an iron-framed seating area, consisting of a wooden bar that faces the cars whizzing by (a style of outside seating that you would rarely see on the East Coast). After parking, I backpedaled to a very popular Four Barrel. The interior appeared voluminous despite the masses, with wood everywhere (rafters, bar, tables, etc) and plenty of artistic elements (like stuffed boar heads) to tie it together. 

When it came time to order, I ordered an espresso and a french press of a Kenyan. Not remembering to ask when I ordered and being deterred by a heavy volume of orders, I did not get the espresso's name, but the mystery did not detract from its pleasant flavors. The espresso was pulled short, displaying a nice brown crema and held out notes of sea salt, bourbon, balsamic vinegar, fig, au jus and croissant. The Kenyan spoke of Cream of Wheat, hazelnut, a bit of raspberry and iced tea amidst a smooth body; a refreshing coffee through and through.

At the risk of sounding obvious, Four Barrel proved well worth the stop. If you live in or pass by the city of San Francisco, make sure to make landfall at 375 Valencia St.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

CC: Matching Half Cafe

Location: San Francisco, CA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

As many folks of the Bay Area espouse, despite the small land mass there sure is a vast variability in climate. It can be foggy five blocks from someone lying out in full sun. Do people exaggerate? Sure. Did I experience this weather weirdness? Absolutely. 

One sunny (then foggy, then cloud choked & then sunny again) morning, I took a trip over to Matching Half Cafe for a visit. Rumor had it that they were pulling skilled shots with great coffee over in the Western Addition, using local Sightglass Coffee and also providing good food, beer & wine. Finding a parking spot downhill, I hiked up to a corner building with a red wood exterior, a heavy section of outside seating and nice open windows peering into the muted space within, complete with a fair amount of inside seating and metallic blue walls. 

As for my coffee, I ordered an espresso of Owl's Howl and a Sightglass El Salvador via Chemex. The 'spro, pulled short with brown crema, tasted of chocolate, lemon, cane sugar, vanilla icing, salt and cilantro; a delicious infusion with a nice body. The El Salvador smacked of honey, melon, rye toast, caramel, a subtle earthiness, hefeweizen and cream, gladdening my tongue with the nuances of a smooth and sweet coffee. 

To put it plain, Matching Half ponied up a whole lot of excellent coffee. If you happen to be in the Bay Area, make a stop by. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mugged: Vista Alegre [Henry's]

Mugged: Vista Alegre (Brazil)
Rating: 3+ [see key]

When I get coffee, I like to look up the origin if the specific location is given. With the second coffee I had from Henry’s House of Coffee, I looked up the locale of Vista Alegre on the webs to try to get an idea where it hails from (Henry's site didn't have specifics). According to Coffee Review, there happens to be one estate of that name that has made it's name as an operation that dry processes their cherries by leaving them on the trees to dry (instead of drying post-harvest).

Curious as to whether Henry's Vista Alegre was such a coffee, I was interested to see what qualities the coffee would hold. Preparing it in the usual three methods of drip, french press and siphon, I commenced sipping.

The drip birthed a cup brimming full of tobacco with cloves, all spice, tootsie roll, rye, a little vanilla and a hint of lime; a smoky yet sweet coffee with a medium body.

The french press also held notes of cloves, tootsie roll and vanilla as well as a little sesame seed. While a little thicker, it was still sweet and tobacco-esque.

The siphon achieved higher levels of vanilla and a mellower profile, with smoother flavors of cloves, cocoa and vanilla.

Given that this coffee was roasted a bit dark, it was not surprising that there existed a cloves-centric presence, but fortunately it was decently balanced with the sweet aspects. The coffee didn't really produce the round fruitiness I would associate with dry processed coffee, but then again, maybe it's a different coffee if roasted lighter. Not my favorite Brazilian coffee but by no means my least. Give Henry’s Brazil a go if you’re looking for a darker coffee with nice compliments of sweet and smoky. 

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

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Mugged: Colombia [Henry's]

Mugged: Colombia Lite Roast
Rating: 4+ [see key]

While San Francisco is currently brimming with lots of new coffee talent, local coffee roasting is something that has been with the city for some time. Sure you have Peet's Coffee that originally launched in Berkeley many decades ago but there is also other roast operations such as Henry Kalebjian, who has been roasting in SF since 1965. 

Recently, his House of Coffee sent me out some coffee to sample, one of them their Colombia Lite Roast. I sampled it through drip, french press and siphon infusions. 

The drip delivered notes of milk chocolate,corn, raspberry, au jus, spinach, milky and a little wheat. A fairly tasty brew with a medium body.

The french press held flavors of corn, milk, cocoa, little wheat, romaine, fig and apple. Not as bright as the first cup but a little sweeter.

The siphon delivered corn, milk, cocoa, raspberry, au jus and spinach. This cup was good, though much more meaty with a little hint of iron.

Of the Colombians I've consumed, Henry roasts a pretty decent one with some delightful flavors. Give it a go, whether you're in town or ordering online.

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

Sunday, April 01, 2012

CC: Stable Cafe

Subject: Stable Cafe 
Location: San Francisco, CA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

As you walk through a city, it's interesting to see how some businesses cooperate to make the most of a space. Granted, it's rare but sometimes, you see a well-executed set-up where two or three businesses share a common space and make it work beautifully.

In my time in San Francisco, I happened upon Stable Cafe, a coffeehouse and eatery that was reputed to serve some superb infusions of De La Paz coffee. When I arrived, I discovered that the space was home to several businesses, including an architect, bike courier and the Three Babes pie counter (their salty honey walnut pie set my tongue a-dancing).

But pie and bikes aside, I was really there for the coffee. The place was designed most appealingly, with a black exterior, large windows and an adjoining patio area. Inside, the cafe is two levels, with exposed wood rafters and an effective capitalization of space for seating.

I ordered an espresso of the Oscillations blend and a drip of the El Sana Morello. The drip produced notes of honey, corn, sassafras, vanilla, maple and a smidgen of beef broth; a tasty cup with a mellow sweetness. The espresso, pulled to a medium volume and with light brown crema, gave off the flavors of dark cocoa, basil, lemon torte, sesame seeds and bran. Both the coffee and espresso were prepared well and aside from minor imperfections, were both delicious.

If you are looking for an inspiring space to grab some good coffee and possibly get some other things done through stellar local businesses, give Stable Cafe a visit. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

CC: De La Paz

Location: San Francisco, CA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

There have been countless times when my travel plans and coffeehouse hours have not lined up. Usually late afternoons, nights and holidays play the culprit, though it always seems to be a weird mix of factors (the owners are getting married on a Wednesday). But sometimes I wander into a blessed form of a Bermuda Triangle where all the factors line up and the timing becomes perfect.

Such it was with De La Paz Coffee Roasters. I managed to find some time to show up during the small window of Friday between 8 AM - 1 PM, the only time this roaster's soon-to-be-coffee-bar serves up coffee and espresso to the masses. The space would be hard to spot from the street were it not for the street sign, but since they seem to want to move in the direction of a speak-easy-like bar setting (one that serves amazing coffee and espresso), it seemed fitting. 

Inside the atmosphere was basic, more utilitarian then it was inviting (it's under construction), but the mood of the De La Paz-ians more then compensated. Few places held such a jovial nature; there were folks from Sightglass (literally, the coffee roaster around the corner) hanging out and shooting the breeze with their "competition" (a beautiful instance of comradery rarely seen in most industries). I was quickly greeted upon my entering in a friendly manner, though also given my space to peruse and acclimate.

I finally settled on their Oscillations blend for some espresso and a pourover of La Violeta, a micro lot from Costa Rica's  Finca El Llano in Tarrazu. The Violeta proved delicious, with notes of lager, peanut, caramel, a little hyacinth, spinach and pinch of lemon zest amidst a medium body. The espresso also gave a stand up performance, with the flavors of almond, butter, tangerine, wheat thins and sage performing amidst a short pull with brown crema.

Apparently their new digs are due to open up in February, so if you happen to live in the Bay area or you plan to visit, keep your Friday AM open if you go pre-opening.