Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

XO Coffee Shop



Subject: XO Coffee Shop
Location: Kissimmeee, FL
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

There exist many combinations of services I have seen with a coffee shop, but a tattoo parlor would be a first for me. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Foxtail Coffee


Subject: Foxtail Coffee
Location visited: Hunter's Creek in Orlando, FL
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

About 10 or so years ago, it always shocked me how much the Orlando area lacked great coffee. I then chalked it up to high real estate prices or people not wanting hot beverages, but despite whatever the hurdles, good coffee is far more plentiful now amidst the area strip malls. One particular contributor to the coffee scene is the many locations of one particular coffee enterprise called Foxtail Coffee. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Vespr



Subject: Vespr
Location: Orlando, FL
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

It seems like every time I visit Orlando, the coffee scene gets better and better. My latest trip south took me to a shop in East Orlando that had quickly accrued a reputation for great coffee, a decently-sized establishment called Vespr.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Does Disney World Have Good Coffee?


Some years ago, in my haughty college days of grand enlightenment, I remember making the statement that Disney World was a lazy man's repeat vacation. Sure I saw the sense in getting there once, mainly to experience the magic firsthand and see what the hullabaloo is about. But after maybe a return visit a decade later, why burn your precious vacation dollars going to the same place over and over like so many people do?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Mugged: Brazil, Colombia and Kenya [Bold Bean]




Subject: Bold Bean Coffee Roasters
Coffee Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Canaan Estate, Carmo de Minas, Minas Gerais, Brazil 5+
- Finca Buenavista, Cundinamarca, Colombia 5+ 
- Kwamangu Estate, Kiambu, Kenya 6+


Florida is a state I tend to forget about during the warmer summer months, so it's always nice to hear of good things going on in the area's coffee realm. One of the state's more substantial coffee operations runs out of Jacksonville and goes by the name of Bold Bean Coffee Roasters. Opened in 2007, this coffee roaster caught my eye at a Coffee Fest ABC Coffeehouse Competition back in 2013 with good coffee and a solid presence.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Mugged: Bali Kintamani [Convive]



Subject: Convive Coffee Roastery
Coffee Mugged: Bali Kintamani
Rating [see key]: 4+


I like surprises once in a while, especially ones that blossom into a joyous outcome from a vine of gloomy expectation. Even though they come infrequently, much like dark winters create a love for the harvest, periods of normalcy make (pleasant) surprises that are much more gratifying.

Recently, the fine personnel of Convive Coffee Roastery sent me out a coffee from Indonesia, specifically from the region of Kintamani in Bali. While many coffees from this part of the Pacific, especially Sumatra, have a reputation for being overtly deep and earthy, this one seemed to be the Napoleon Dynamite of its peers, with reputed notes of fruit and flowers. Not sure what to expect, I went to the lab and tried out the beans via pourover, french press or siphon. 

And just like that, I was happy to find the rumor true. The pourover doled out some powerful notes of sweet berry along with accents of toasted sesame seed, carrot, peppercorn, cream and minor wheat. A solidly bright cup up front with a deep and peppery follow-through. 

The french press proved a bit heavier, but still full of berry, cane sugar, pound cake, romaine lettuce and peppercorns.

The siphon conversely was the lightest brew, with practically no bite, full of raspberry, blueberry, dandelion greens, pound cake and slight pepper, making for the best of the three infusions.

In the end, I found this coffee a stupendous example of the complexity and quality an Indonesian coffee can embody. I would be curious to see how this coffee fared at a lighter roast profile, as the darker qualities only pulled this coffee down in my opinion. But if you like a coffee that delivers a fruity punch followed by an uppercut of peppercorn, check out this Bali Kintamani from Convive.


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

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Mugged: Kenya AA [Convive]


Subject: Convive Coffee Roastery
Coffee Mugged: Kenya AA Organic Kia-Ora Estate
Rating [see key]: 4+

Like any fan of history, I am a prolific memorizer of random knowledge that only comes in handy during games of trivia. And with knowledge comes a desire to see or experience the facts firsthand. Being home to the oldest permanent European settlement in the United States, St. Augustine has almost as long been on my list of places to visit. Sadly, my purposes never lead me to the warm sands of the city, but sure enough it will happen soon.

And though I know much of the city of St. Augustine, I knew of few great coffee options in the area until a friend of mine mentioned a friend of hers had a roasting operation in town. The name of the roaster was Convive Coffee Roastery, a small coffee business that just this past year dove into the the adventure of entrepreneurship. Sending out a bag of their Kenya AA Organic Kia-Ora Estate, I was able to try out their beans via pourover, french press and siphon.

The pourover dealt out chocolate, prune, rye, oatmeal stout and a little blackberry, with the profile proving deep and sweet. The french press extended out notes of savory herbs, cream, nougat, stout, buttered bread and a little berry. The siphon belted out flavors of cream, chocolate, oregano,  blackberry and buttered toast. 

Throughout, this was a coffee of varying heaviness, though consistent in it's sweetness and depth of flavor. Thus if you're looking for a sweet and girth-y Kenyan, give Convive a whirl either by stopping by at their location in Dos Coffee. Wine or order a bag online. 



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

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Mugged: Kenya Lenana AA [Barnie's Coffee Kitchen]



Subject:Barnie's Coffee Kitchen
Coffee Mugged: Kenya Lenana AA
Rating [see key]: 4+

Orlando, Florida used to be a place fairly devoid of great coffee, whether you sought a coffeehouse or even just a roaster located in the area. Fortunately that all seems to be changing, with a growing presence of coffee establishments who seem to be taking more and more care of their coffee quality.

One long-standing coffee entity that's held a spot in Orlando since 1980 is a place now called Barnie's Coffee Kitchen. Going through some evolution along the way, Barnie's is a place where you can grab a cup of coffee and a quality meal. Not having been there myself, I was fortunate to have them send me out their Kenya Lenana AA to try out in my home laboratory, specifically through pourover, french press and siphon.

The pourover doled out notes of malt, pretzel, pear, pepper, romaine hearts and walnut amidst a medium/heavy body.

The french press proved a bit lighter and sweeter, with notes of chocolate, lemon grass, malt, pretzel, walnut and a little nutmeg.

The siphon tasted of pretzel, almond cookie, chili, seaweed, tootsie pop and slight corn accents, proving hearty and heavy.

All in all, the coffee proved pleasant as a heavier and full-bodied African coffee. I do wish the juicy qualities had been a tad more prominent and that there had been a little less malt, but the sweetness proved to be this coffees saving grace. Seek out this Kenyan if you're looking for a sweet and deep coffee with juicy accents.


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

Sunday, September 29, 2013

CC: Downtown Credo



Subject: Downtown Credo
Location: Orlando, FL
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

While the coffee world is gradually becoming more altruistic in its dealing, to find a coffeehouse working as a "donations only" operation is a rare sight. Yet Downtown Credo is such a coffeehouse in downtown Orlando serving direct trade coffee with the goal to not only provide coffee farmers a good price for their coffee, but also to invest into local charities and causes.

Wandering over one rainy afternoon, I found Credo in a cute yellow brick building with a large black sign perched above the entrance. Stepping inside, I found a lovely space with a nice mixture of furniture, white walls and large front windows. As for my coffee, I ordered an espresso and a pourover of their Guatemala Cafe de la Esperanza. The espresso, pulled long with a light brown crema, smacked of nougat, vanilla waifer, a little beef and light pepper, proving a bit over-extracted but still a tasty infusion. The pourover alternately smacked more of honey, milk chocolate, cherry and a slight hefeweizen, proving much lighter and more rich.

All in all I thought Credo a great concept with tremendous potential. If you pass through Orlando, give Downtown Credo a moment of your time.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

CC: Axum Coffee



Subject: Axum Coffee
Location: Winter Garden, FL
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

When it comes to theme parks, there seems that there's no rival to Disney World. Even for the folks who have never been, there are few people (especially in the States) who cannot describe the wonders of the kingdom. I personally have been fortunate enough to have visited at least five times in my life, with three of them occurring after the time I became particular about my coffee. And while this might seem like an odd (or obvious) thing to say, it is important to note that despite places in the park (like Epcot) having great cuisine, it's still incredibly hard to get a good cup of coffee in or around the parks.

Thus, if you were foolish enough not to come packing or you just like driving, you will end up venturing out to seek out good coffee in the surrounding areas. One place of promise that came up in my research was Axum Coffee in Winter Garden, about 25 minutes north of Disney and 25 minutes west of downtown Orlando. One early morning apart from the entourage, I made my way over with hopes of finding delicious results.

Pulling into the lovely downtown of Winter Garden, I quickly found Axum Coffee's inviting storefront, with its open windows and vastness of outside seating in the adjoining alley (though it was far to nice to deserve the name 'alley'). Inside the decor was warm and inviting, with splashes of bright colors and chic furniture, all pulling together the open space nicely.

Of course the main reason I was drawn to this place was it's coffee, having numerous offerings from Batdorf and Bronson out of Atlanta. Since a dreamy experience at B&B's Decatur cafe Dancing Goats back in the day, I was stoked to try out this distant Florida outpost. I ordered the Dancing Goats espresso and a pourover of an Ethiopian Harrar. The espresso, pulled to a medium volume with swirled brown crema (and infused a tad too hot), demonstrated notes of dark cocoa, birch, anise, vanilla wafer and cola within a heavy body, all in all seeming to more closely emulate a traditional Italian-style espresso, leaning a bit bitter, though in totality not a bad pull. The pourover of Ethiopian seemed to also have a bit of a dark bite, as the coffee had glorious notes of blueberry, walnut, mild banana, shredded wheat and arugula but there was a powerful quality of basil as well as some bitter characteristics that seemed to overshadow the natural positives. It should be noted that the water quality of Winter Gardens is quite sulfur-y, and thus the tasting notes of the above coffees could have been influenced by said criteria (i.e. if there was no water filtration, the water definitely played a huge role).

Alas, my experience at Axum proved less grand than I had hoped, being that the coffees I sampled came out a little less optimal than I had expected. Nonetheless, it did seem like Axum had their proverbial ducks in a row (good roaster, seemingly well-trained baristas, etc.), so in this case it might have been an anomaly. Thus if you're in the neighborhood of Winter Garden, roll by Axum Coffee to try them for yourself.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

CC: Brew Urban Cafe

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What's does "CC" mean?
Location visited: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating:
5+ [
see key]



Winter both excites and disheartens me. I love the holidays, the extreme sports (polar bearing!) and the occasional snow-scape. Yet, despite the fun of it all, I sure miss the greenery of the other three seasons. Of course that could be resolved with a trip south between December and April, but alas, the opportunities usually fall during the nicer months.

One such untimely foray south would be a previous business trip to Florida during some of the nicest weather in the northeast. Though the timing was not the greatest, I made the most of it with some beach visitation and a trip to Fort Lauderdale's lovely downtown for good coffee.

The cafe visited was called Brew Urban Cafe, one of the only coffeehouses of rumored repute in all of Florida. Arriving one warm morning, I discovered convenient parking in front and took in the beauty of the surrounding area. Eventually I found my way through their doors and found a great cafe, with one of the nicest pieces of wall art I've ever seen, dark wood furniture and beautiful lighting.

Serving up Intelligentsia, I ordered a cup of the Brew's house blend via drip and an espresso of Black Cat. The drip, though a little stale, delivered notes of chocolate milk, cloves, fig, minestrone and a little chili powder; a decent coffee overall. The espresso, pulled of a medium volume with marbled crema, held bits of sugar cane, dark cocoa, lemon, a little cinnamon and some coriander (good showing of Black Cat). The tea is Intelligentsia and Island Rose.

After my visit, I now know exactly where in Florida I will go when I get the chance to winter there in the future. Make a stop at Brew Urban Cafe if you happen to be nearby.