Showing posts with label NC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NC. Show all posts

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Blackbeard Coffee Roasters


Subject: Blackbeard Coffee Roasters
Location: Greenville, NC
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Never really having the chance to explore North Carolina outside the Triangle, I was excited to check off some other cities. One sunny afternoon, I had the opportunity to stop in Greenville and make a long-overdue coffee stop at Blackbeard Coffee Roasters.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Hatchet Coffee Roasters


Subject: Hatchet Coffee Roasters
Location: Boone, NC
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

The mountains of North Carolina have long called to me though it has been tough to visit them. But just recently, I was able to make a quick visit to the area and make a few deliberate stops, one of which was to the city of Boone and a coffee establishment known as Hatchet Coffee Roasters.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Boxo



Subject: Boxo
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Joe Van Gogh: Nicaragua Selva Negra 5
- Larry's Coffee: Colombia Fonco Paez 5

Sleuthing out great coffee is something I really enjoy. Much like Indiana Jones thrives on risking his life to unearth forgotten or really-hard-to-find artifacts, I love seeking out great coffees from great roasters. And while much of my social circle does not share this passion, it seems I have a few kindred spirits in the folks behind the subscription coffee service Boxo.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Aces and Ates Coffee Stout


When the average Homo Sapien thinks of the predominant flavor in coffee, most would say “bitter.” A mournful vestige of the commonality of dark roasts, it’s the single facet of coffee that most coffee geeks would gladly see forgotten. And while many battle the bitter stigma with the news of coffee’s great flavors, there still remains strongholds, especially in other culinary venues.

One particular arena with a strong love affair of coffee’s bitterness is the beer world, particularly in the coffee stout. Over the years, I’ve had many tasty coffee-flavored beers, but most breweries only seem to include coffee to add a bite to their dark ales. Thankfully, brewers are discovering the other qualities of coffee that can add metaphorical jazz hands to their beer.

Take Big Boss Brewing Company out of Raleigh, NC and their Aces and Ates Coffee Stout. Utilizing a specific cold brew concoction of Larry’s Beans, which became the Aces and Ates Blend, they strive to make a beer that couples the complexity of great coffee with the wondrous attributes of a stout.

Recently, Big Boss and Larry sent me out a few bottles of the coffee stout and a bag of the coffee to take around the block. Naturally I tried the coffee first, as it stands the beverage I feel most experienced in assessing. Through several brews, the coffee consistently doled out notes of deep cocoa, cola, oats, a bit of cherry, slight pepper and tobacco, fig and corn chip within a medium body; a sweet coffee with a deep and slightly peppery notes. 

Comparably, the stout was pretty similar. A black brew with minimal head, the beer resounded notes of chocolate, fig, roast beef and caramel with a slight bitter, hoppy back end. Thick and sweet, this was definitely a full-bodied beer with lots of flavor, greatly utilized as a stand alone beverage or as a dessert beer.

Thus, if you happen to be on the lookout for a coffee beer that offers more than a bitter kick, check out Big Boss Brewing Company and their Aces and Ates Coffee Stout.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

CC: Crema Coffee Roaster



Subject: Crema Coffee Roaster
Location: Cary, NC
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]


One early AM, I found myself wandering amidst the area around Raleigh looking for a small coffee operation entitled Crema Coffee Roaster. They had made my list of places in the area to visit and one dreary morning, I found them situated in the Cornerstone Plaza in an elevated shop.

Walking through the door, the first thing I noticed were the many eyes of tribal masks staring at me from the wall. But after the initial feeling of being watched faded, I began to take in the pleasant ambiance of the tan walls, rich tile floors and the figurative warmth from the fireplace (I say figurative because I think fireplaces whether empty or full of fire give off a subconscious warmth). 

As for my coffee chosen, I settled on a drip of their Indonesian Sulawesi and an espresso of their Espresso Blend. The drip held notes of maple syrup, strawberry, black currant, whole wheat and mild caramel, proving overall deliciously smooth, sweet and tender. The espresso, pulled short with brown crema, embodied notes of chocolate, black pepper, salt, mango (mostly on the end) and a noticeable sourness throughout the cup, though despite the flavors named, together the espresso proved tasty for the most part.

While I wasn't in love with my espresso, I found the overall Crema experience quite fitting. Thus if you happen to be in the vicinity, stop over at Crema Coffee Roaster.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

CC: Cafe Helios



Subject: Cafe Helios
Location: Raleigh, NC
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]


While I recognize the need for volume to make the difference in a business, there's something beautiful about a popular cafe momentarily uncrowded. Such was the case when I stopped by Raleigh's well-known Cafe Helios to sample their wares. It was a gloomy weekday morning and due to some fortune on my part I wandered into their bright and jubilant interior right after a good number had left. 

Wasting little time in my coffee order (as hordes come as swiftly as they leave), I ordered for myself an espresso of Counter Culture's Rustico and a drip infusion of their Ecuador El Gavilan. The espresso, pulled short with brown crema, emanated deep cocoa, lemon, sea salt, au jus and a little minestrone, proving to be a hearty yet chocolatey brew with a nice balance. The Ecuador coffee sang of delicious milk chocolate, milk, a bit of portabello, buttered biscuit, wheaty ale and raisin within a medium body; a deep coffee with lots of bright and light highlights.

Thanfully, I had a nice chunk of solitary time in order to delight in the calm before the customers started to flow back in. But all things considered, with hand-crafted delicious coffee and a spiffy look, who really cares how many people you share a coffeehouse with? If you're in Raleigh, stop by Cafe Helios for great coffee.


Monday, January 14, 2013

CC: Scratch Bakery



Subject: Scratch Bakery
Location: Durham, NC
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]


In the culinary arena, few food mediums tickle my digestive system more than pies. Savory or sweet, I think I could eat pie at almost any meal (save Thanksgiving dinner; a turkey pie could never replace the bird). Naturally, when I was in the area of Durham, I penciled into my itinerary a bakery with multiple pie accolades from publications like Food & Wine and Bon Appetit. But when I found out they purveyed great coffee too, it became a must on my short trot around town.

Stopping en route one morning on my way to some business, I located the bakery bustling but not overtly crowded at its side street location. A quick glance foretold of an enticing venue, with its glass front that leads the patron into their brightly arrayed space, with a chic, modern array of furniture to seat the visiting masses.

Ordering coffee before pie (a necessity), I decided on an espresso of Intelligentsia's Black Cat and a drip of an Intelly-concocted House Blend. The espresso, pulled short with brown crema, reverberated unsweetened cocoa, spinach, lime, nutmeg, fig, thyme and lemongrass, all together holding a nice measure of acidity and spice. The drip of the House smacked of almond, croissant, carrot, root beer, milk and some cashew in a brothy yet sweet cup of coffee.

After my coffee, I dug gleefully into two different pies (any bakery listed in the top 10 pie places in the nation deserves 2 slices of pie), all to find a confirmed haven of great pie accompanied by great coffee. If you're close, scratch deep the surface of Scratch.


Thursday, December 06, 2012

CC: Caffe Driade



Subject: Caffe Driade
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]


When wandering the woods like an avid jogger or naturalist, it's not typical to find a coffee house on the side of a hill along the trail. While it sounds like something out of the script of Hoodwinked or a a Dr. Suess story, it's indeed a reality in Chapel Hill. Of all the coffeehouses I've visited, none of them have been hedged into the forest as nicely as Caffe Driade.

Of course, the first time visitor finds them (if they can spot it) off the side of a major roadway, not easily visible in the back of their shared gravel parking lot. But after finding a spot, you walk into the pleasant jungle of their large patio system that surrounds the cafe on multiple levels (the bottom level leading to the Bolin Creek Trail). The ambiance is somewhat swanky and somewhat treehouse, with lots of vegetation looming in on every side of nice patio furniture. Compared to the patios, the actual building itself is comparatively small, with only enough interior room to sit a handful of patrons. But they make due with the space they have, with the counter greeting you as you first arrive, serving a host of options including beer and wine.

As far as coffee they offer Carrboro Coffee Roasters, a local roaster picking up popularity around the triangle. I ordered a drip of their Brazil and an espresso of their espresso blend. The espresso, pulled short with brown crema, held notes of cocoa, lime, shortbread, a bit of ginger ale and salt; a good pull and a great tasting extraction. The Brazil proved a bit on the darker side, with flavors of cloves, soft pretzel, pear, dandelion greens and blood orange within a heavy body. Though I'm not one who has much love for darker roasts, this brew actually grew on me and proved overall delicious.

Caffe Driade is definitely at the top of my list as far as unique cafes, pairing a woodsy escape with a good cup of coffee. If you're in the Chapel Hill area, definitely make a stop.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CC: Sola Coffee



Subject: Sola Coffee
Location: Raleigh, NC
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]


The more I hear about North Carolina, the more I am attracted to it. I've seen much of the state at one time or another in my brief existence, and from what I recall (some trips were long ago) I loved the parts I saw, especially Asheville and Charlotte. 

But oddly, all of my trips managed to miss the triangle of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, that is until recently when I had to head down on official business. Blessedly, I found plenty of great coffee establishments to possibly patronize in my travels. 

My first morning in town, I let geography pick my coffeehouse and I made my way over to Sola Coffee in North Raleigh. A huge building all to itself, Sola is flanked with beautiful horitculture, ample outside seating and a lovely stone edifice. Inside, the place emanated a warm aura with a hip yet rustic decor, full of numerous tables and seating bathed in pleasant light. They had a large counter as well, with a separate pourover bar.

As for coffee, they serve up local Counter Culture. I ordered an espresso of Toscana and a drip of Farmhouse. My espresso, pulled short with brownish-tan crema, held notes of cocoa, vanilla, lime, season salt and coriander; a deliciously executed drink. The drip also proved delectable, with a rush of passion fruit, hibiscus, tomato, olive oil, oregano and nutmeg amidst a medium body.

After a getting a little bit of work done, I made my off into the morning traffic satisfied in the great experience Sola Coffee delivered. When you're in Raleigh, Sola is a grand option.