Showing posts with label Crescent Moon Coffee and Tea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crescent Moon Coffee and Tea. Show all posts

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Ekobrew: Can It Redeem the K-Cup?

Subject: Ekobrew
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Over the past few years, the k-cup phenomenon has been sweeping the land. While these machines utilize non-recyclable pods full of pre-ground coffee that go for almost $1 a piece, people have been buying them up like beanie babies. The selling points seem to be that people find it fun/exciting to brew the pods and that the brewing of said pods is super quick and simple.

Now for these past few years, I have been completely opposed to this rising trend and still today, I 100% oppose the use of the single-use k-cups purely for environmental reasons (it really is needless waste), though the poor coffee aspect is also reason enough to embargo the pods as well. But since these pod coffee machines do not seem to be disappearing, I felt it was high time that I explored reusable k-cups to see if they could put forth a decent cuppa' joe.

Stopping by a coffeehouse in my travels (Crescent Moon Coffee of Sewell, NJ), I noticed a display for Ekobrew, a reusable k-cup that claims to facilitate the brewing of a quality cup of coffee in a k-cup machine using your own coffee. Curious to see if good coffee could be had by such means, I got my hands on an Ekobrew reusable k-cup and borrowed my parents' k-cup coffee machine to try it out.

Taking a look at the methodology of how a (reusable) k-cup works, there are two things that stood out: the necessity for an even grind and that the coffee granule size needed for optimal brewing was going to have a greater effect with the k-cup then in your regular drip or french press infusions. Given the short coffee and water interaction, the coffee grinds need to be even for duplicable and quality results (i.e. you need a burr grinder and not a blade) but also much like espresso, the granule size of the coffee grounds would need to be at the right size for the water utilized; otherwise the coffee will be too weak or two strong.

So using several different coffees, I did a side-by-side comparison between a regular pour-over/drip infusion and the Ekobrew, trying to use as similar ratios of coffee to water as possible. I also fiddled with granule size between coarse and fine, trying to see how it would affect the coffee in both cases.

Overall the results were positive. The Ekobrew produced a fairly decent cup of coffee that tended to have a french press-like body with some occasional fine silt. Compared to the drip/pourover, the Ekobrew produced a lighter coffee even with a fine grind, but a stronger coffee could be made by adding less water to k-cup process. It also seemed that more full-bodied coffees did better in the Ekobrew given the quick time of infusion.

Thus, I would have to say that if you're dead set on keeping your k-cup coffeemaker, at least get a reusable k-cup like the Ekobrew. Not only can you use it to kill less of the environment, you can also utilize fresh, well-roasted, whole bean coffee to make a pretty tasty cup of coffee. But nonetheless, I still hold that there are many better ways to make your coffee. 

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mugged: Los Milagros [Crescent Moon]


What does "Mugged" mean?

Subject: Crescent Moon Coffee & Tea
Coffee Mugged:
El Salvador Los Milagros

Rating: 5+ [see key]

ood coffee produced from a quality farm always hits jolly on the spot. Many times, the desire to do right for the coffee producers and harvesters falls under the tires of horrific roasting (so many coffee companies dedicated to social justice never seem to roast well) and hence, so often the hunt for quality taste overwhelms the quest for coffee traded fairly.

But coffees such as Crescent Moon Coffee & Tea's El Salvador Los Milagros restore my hope that just coffee can be roasted just right. The coffee comes from a woman-owned cooperative that is also USDA organic and bird friendly. I first took notice of it on an Independent Coffee Cooperative flier and made a point to try it out.

Fortunately, I landed a pound and excitedly made my way home to try it out. I had it via french press, vacuum press and drip, each one a bit different but all of them similarly wonderful. The french press proved the most luminous, with a strong taste of honey and hints of flowering grass and apple with a subtle earthiness. The vacuum press and drip also produced similar results, both equally refreshing and lovely.

Overall, I savored every cup of Los Milagros and am glad to see such a tremendous coffee offered all over Philadelphia. If you're looking for a good sustainable Central American coffee, give Crescent Moon's Los Milagros a try.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don't Forget the Thanksgiving Coffee!

As the great American holiday rounds the corner, don't forget to grab a pound or two of great coffee for whatever events you plan to host or attend.

With that said, here's a few coffees (alphabetically-listed) that I've either heard a lot of good things about or I've had the pleasure of tasting myself. If you're really in a rough spot (you know of no good coffee nearby), shoot me an email as I would not wish such a fate on anyone.

Crescent Moon's Brazil Daterra Sunrise
Received a 92 from Coffee Review recently and from what I hear, this year's crop produced a tremendous coffee. On a direct recommendation, one of my recent favorites is the Raccoon Creek Blend as it was recently reworked and has become even more glorious.

Gimme Coffee's Nicaragua Linda Vista Cup of Excellence
While any Cup of Excellence Coffee is a good choice, Gimme usually has a tremendous track record in my experience of great CoEs.

PTs Coffee's Ethiopia Limu - Gomma Organic
An amazing light coffee I've had the distinct pleasure of imbibing, give this or a number of PT's other coffees a whirl.

And here's a few holiday blends (I've heard nothing on these but it sure is good marketing):
Counter Culture Coffee's Holiday Blend
Intelligentsia's Celebration Blend

If you have any others, feel free to leave them in a comment below.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Valentines Coffee

Many of us out there struggle special occasion to special occasion to come up with something creative and original to do for the one we love. Any more, the individual that shows up with a box of chocolates and a dozen roses is better off to come a calling with a crazed badger in tow and a rusty rake in hand (the badger and the rake will at least generate a story).

To alleviate such stress, I personally try to keep my thinker (brain) running year-round so to generate some random ideas for such occasions as the upcoming February the 14th. But since my wife sparingly sips from the tankard of coffee (she's more into tea), I decided I'd post a couple ideas for Valentines Day involving coffee that would otherwise go to waste.

One obvious similarity in all of the points is that you use quality coffee (I will make some specific suggestions but if you're at a loss for a substitution/similarity, hopefully you're not to far from a coffee-wise peddler). Remember, thoughts count but don't ever try to woo with something pre-ground out of a can...

Anyways, here's what I got:

1. The age-old breakfast in bed, but take it up a notch. Read up on some food blogs on how to make a good omelette, where to get the right berries to top some waffles, and of course concoct some good coffee. Depending on tastes, I'd go with a full-bodied medium coffee (Crescent Moon in Mullica Hill has an Ethiopian Amaro Gayo that has a beautiful fusion of strong flavor and beautiful berry tones that would make an excellent morning brew).

2. If you're in charge of the dinner plans that evening and you decide you're staying in, try your hand at coffee pairing. Many coffees mesh beautifully with different foods (this past edition of Imbibe had a very enlightening article on the subject) so why not pair some homemade treats with a cup of exquisite coffee? If you have a french press or vacuum press, make sure to utilize it; the ensuing coffee will hold flavors that otherwise would have been left behind. Also note that it's always safer to pair coffee with desserts then with non-desserts, so unless you're feeling confident don't do coffee and dinner (experiment with pairing at a time of less pressure).

3. Surprise him/her at work with a thermos of coffee you just brewed moments ago or with a cup from their favorite place that's nowhere near work. Heads up: if you work at the same time, you will need to figure out how you're escaping from work in order to do this.

4. If you have a significant other that only likes the smell of coffee, grind up some coffee and place it around your domicile in small bowls
right before they arrive.

5. Try cooking a meal with coffee as the common ingredient. I stumbled across this free e-book (in this case over 100 coffee recipes in a pdf) though I've seen plenty more recipes out there (depends where you look and what blogs you read).

6. If you're sweetie is a huge coffee snob, why not go with him/her to a coffee cupping? Chances are you're near a coffee roaster that cups every Friday (Crescent Moon, Gimme!, Counter Culture, etc). For a longer list, try the Coffee Geek World Regional Forums.

7. If you know/have access to a coffee roaster or if you/your honey home roasts, name a coffee blend (make sure it's good) after him/her. And for the love of donuts, give it a good name too; something that incorporates your snookie wookums (for example, if you affectionately refer to your better half as "Helga", try a name like "Helga's Hair Straightener").

8. If you have an espresso machine and you know how to do latte art, make him/her a latte or cappuccino with a cute heart atop.

9. Coffee beans make great decor and accent pieces. Make a coffee heart on the table or accent your chocolate-laced parfait with a crush coffee bean topping. If throwing coffee beans on your furniture is all you have planned for the coffee you buy, you can go with the cheap stuff (avoid oily dark roasts though; lots and lots of residue).

If you have any of your own, feel free to post them in a comment.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

CC: Crescent Moon Coffee & Tea

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Crescent Moon Coffee and Tea
Location visited: Mullica Hill
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Updated 11/14/17 (at bottom)

It's very rare to see a gem like Crescent Moon in the Philadelphia area. This coffee house I ran across about a year ago and ever since I've been in love.

One good sign of a promising coffee house is the vision behind it. Not only members of the SCAA and various coffee/espresso task groups, they eat, sleep, and breathe quality in coffee and tea. From what I've seen, the employees have been extensively trained in many aspects of coffee and tea, especially in coffee roasting and quality espresso preparation.

The owners encourage their employees to be the best of the best in the business and will do what it takes to get them there. As a result they have some of the most dedicated employees. Not only did one of their baristas win the Mid-Atlantic Barista Championships (with another placing in the top eight) but they also have employees specializing in roasting and making a life-long career out of it.

As far as the coffee goes, I dare say it's unmatched. The emphasis on quality, variety, and consistency amazes me.

The espresso also hits the spot superbly. The espresso blend holds such a full body, the baristas know how to pull a perfect shot, and the drinks are created well.

For cocoa fans, I highly reccomend the hot chocolate (made from blocks of imported Ecuadorian cocoa).

The tea is Republic of Tea, nothing too original or off-the-charts but usually proves to be a good cup.

A final area of commendation is the attention to socially responsible commerce (such as fair trade, relationship coffees, etc.) but not at the expense of quality. Most organics or fair trades I have tried have come out stale or bitter (of course it's rarely the farm's fault, more the roaster or the coffeehouse) but all the organics and fair trades I've had at CM taste no different then the others.

Overall, I can easily expound CM exceeds most coffeehouses. This kind of quality isn't found much in the Philadelphia area and as it can be seen in local media and coffee circles, this place is going places. If you haven't stopped by, make sure to do so.

Update 11/26/07
Over the past couple of years, Crescent Moon have seemingly undergone a lot of changes. It seems they've taken a step back from barista competition and has sought instead to go wholesale with their beans. Now you can get their coffee in most NJ and Philly Whole Foods locations.

As far as the coffeehouse goes, seems like everything is still pretty superb in quality.

Update 5/29/09

To further streamline all of my earlier posts to match my current criteria of a review, I would like to elaborate on my many experiences with Crescent Moon. The coffee has routinely knocked my socks off, as their consistent roasting excellence always impresses me. My current favorite is the Raccoon Creek (wonderfully bright and sweet) and the Guatemalan Chajul (nice spicy, chocolate flavors). The espresso has maintained a decent quality through the years, as the Breakneck proves to often have a rounded bittersweet taste with a nice hang on in the aftertaste.

Update 5/18/11
Added long overdue second location in Sewell to map and this review. Same great products in a little smaller of a store.

Update 11/14/17
A long overdue update. The Sewell location is out of the picture, but Mullica Hill is still going strong. Much of the coffee now swings to the darker roast level of medium, with no real light roasts to speak of anymore. Nonetheless, they do a fairly bang-up job of delivering good coffee to the masses. Still worth a stop!