Showing posts with label drip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drip. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mugged: Peru La Convencion [Caffe Vita]

Subject: Caffe Vita
Coffee Mugged: Peru La Convencion
Rating [see key]: 4+

For a brief time in my life, I lived walking distance from a good coffeehouse called Rockford Coffee. Ironically it was also the poorest time in my life, so regular visits were not as regular as I would have liked, but when I could justify it, this coffeehouse was a pleasant haven for quality coffee and enjoying some downtime. Rockford was also my first exposure to Caffe Vita, and in the almost ten years since I first sipped a Vita coffee, I've always had my eye on company developments such as new locations (in 5 cities now) as well as their ever-evolving list of coffees.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mugged: Sumatra, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia [Royal Mile]

Subject: Royal Mile Coffee Roasters
Coffee Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Sumatra Toba Batak Peaberry 5+
- Rwanda Coffee Villages SWP Decaf 5+
- Tanzania Peaberry 5+
- Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Cheffe Dumerso 6+

It's always a welcome surprise when an area with few great coffee options gets another one with some promise. Such is the case with New Jersey, the land I call home. For its population density, there are precious few coffee operations that roast or brew quality coffee.

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, August 04, 2014

Mugged: Mexico and Costa Rica [Perc Coffee]

Subject: Perc Coffee Roasters
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]:
Mexico Finca Kassandra 5+
Montanas Del Diamante, Costa Rica 5+

Who does not want to visit Savannah? As a fan of old American cities and southern charm, this Georgian belle has often allured me from afar with its rich history and intriguing attractions. 

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.

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, January 05, 2014

Mugged: La Flor del Cafe [Rostov's]

Subject: Rostov's Coffee and Tea
Coffee Mugged: La Flor del Cafe
Rating [see key]: 4+

It's funny that the city of Richmond has stayed off my radar for so long, and yet the place keeps coming up as of late. The most recent interaction of note was that I received some coffee from an outfit I was unable to visit on my recent trip to Richmond, a seasoned coffee roaster (since '79) of the great state of Virginia called Rostov's Coffee and Tea. The coffee sent was their La Flor del Cafe, a sun-dried Guatemalan coffee from the Antigua area, a coffee I sampled via pourover, french press and siphon.

The pourover whispered out notes of chocolate, honey on toast, basil, vanilla cream and a touch of ham; within a medium body, the coffee proved sweet and full.

The french press held out chocolate, rye toast, milk, some nutmeg and a slight beef broth. Though less sweet than the pourover, still a solid infusion.

The siphon, last and sweet, demonstrated bits of chocolate, milk, nutmeg, toast and lemon pepper. A sweet and pleasant coffee with a minor pretzel flavor on the back end.

Thus next time I'm in Richmond, I shall have to drop by Rostov's for a run of their wares on home turf. In the interim, if ye seek a sweet coffee with a soft array of hearty and spicy notes, give the La Flor del Cafe of Rostov's a go.

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

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mugged: Guatemala and Nicaragua [Coda Coffee]

Subject: Coda Coffee Co.
Coffee Mugged: Guatemala Batzchocola and Nicaragua Bella Aurora
Rating [see key]: both 5+

Colorado has been in the news a ton lately, sadly not much of it super positive. But one chipper piece that caught my ear came from the heralds of Roast Magazine, when they recently bestowed upon Denver's Coda Coffee Company the honor of 2014 Macro Roaster of the Year. Not a title given away flippantly, it's a distinction that recognizes Coda for it's hard work and accomplishments (I'm particularly impressed with the coffee carts in the Arizona Cardinals stadium).

Recently, I was honored to have two of their farm 2 cup coffees stop by my abode to spend a little quality time in my belly. They sent out their Guatemala Batzchocola, a coffee from the A'achimbal community, and their Nicaragua Bella Aurora, a former Cup of Excellence coffee. Both I sampled via pourover, french press and siphon.

Going alphabetically, I started with the Guatemalan beans. The pourover smacked of kavo syrup, smoked peanut, strawberry, oats, sarsaparilla and hazelnut with a medium body, proving multifaceted with a various sweet flavors and touch of smokiness. The french press contained smoked peanut, Nutella, strawberry, oats, root beer and caramel popcorn within a medium body; superbly sweet, with rich, sultry flavors. The siphon capped this fine coffee off with hazelnut, roasted peanuts, asian pear, lemon pepper, chicken, spinach and root beer, demonstrating some odd bed fellows but nonetheless, still a sumptuous coffee.

The Nicaraguan proved similarly complex. The pourover doled out heavy chocolate, habenero, smooth cream, seaweed, toasted walnut and noticeable fig. The french press sampled of chocolate, grapefruit, bran, corn tortilla, skim milk and nutmeg, with a medium body and grainy aftertaste. The siphon bellowed out chocolate, noticeable cream, seaweed, peanuts, fig cookie, slight brocolli and biscuit. Overall, the multiple infusions held a diverse and sometimes odd harmony of flavors, but each cup proved delicious.

Thus, if you happen to be near a coffeehouse that serves Coda or you wish to shop online, try out the orange juggernaut of the southwest.

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

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mugged: Garbanzo Nunez Estate and Los Vecinos [Thrive Farmers Coffee]

Subject: Thrive Farmers Coffee 
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Garbanzo Nunez Estate, Tarrazu, Costa Rica 5+
- Los Vecinos, Genaro and Trinidad Double Estate, Intibuca, Honduras 4+

As many people know, Fair Trade coffee is sometimes not as fair as consumers would like. The concept conjures up farmers getting a great price for their coffee but many times, Fair Trade programs don't end up paying much to the individual farmer.

Hence, Direct Trade has become the gold standard for socially progressive coffee sourcing. Farmers maintain direct relationships with the end retailer so that their cut becomes much healthier. One operation pulling direct trade relationships within a co-op like system is Thrive Farmers Coffee, a business entity that sells different farmers both green (unroasted) and roasted beans, sending back healthy profits to its growers. Thrive recently sent me out two coffees to try out, their Garbanzo Nunez Estate, Tarrazu, Costa Rica and their Los Vecinos, Genaro and Trinidad Double Estate, Intibuca, Honduras. Both coffees I tried out via pourover, french press and siphon.

First up was the Costa Rican. Through a pourover infusion, the coffee produced a vibrant brew rich in dulce de leche, prune, Yoo Hoo, carrots, shredded wheat and a little oregano. The french press doled out a slightly smoother cup, with notes of vanilla caramel, sugar wafers, a little marinara, cream and shredded wheat in a medium body. The siphon finished off with also a great cup, full of caramel, yoo hoo, shredded wheat, cream and a little prune. All together, a really richly-flavored coffee full of sweet, creamy nuances and syrupy sweetness.

The Los Vecinos also proved appetizing. The pourover rang of root beer, lemon pepper, raspberry, blue corn chips and a little wheat grass amidst a slightly thick body. The french press had more flavors of cocoa along with notes of corn chips, lemon, pepper, wheat grass and malt. The siphon proved the smoothest of the three infusions, with notes of milk chocolate, graham cracker, raspberry, malt and corn. In the end, a malty, slightly bright coffee with a minor wheat flavor.

If ye seek great coffee that puts a lot of money into coffee farmers' pockets, check out the coffees of Thrive.

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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mugged: Colombia, Tanzanian and Costa Rica [Lowest Price Coffee]

Subject: Lowest Price Coffee
Coffees Mugged:
- 100% Colombian Coffee
- 100% Costa Rica Coffee
- 100% Tanzania Peaberry
Rating [see key]: All 4+

One of the most common objections people give me as to why they still drink cruddy coffee is that quality coffee holds too high a price tag. And while I would agree that the best coffee out there will always be $12+ per pound (and such great coffee is worth the money), there exists good coffee out there for less.

One such company blatantly striving to offer flavorful, fresh coffee at bad coffee coffee prices is Lowest Price Coffee. A new-to-my-ears roaster, they offer 12 oz. bags for a ridiculously low tag of $5.99. They recently funneled out to me their Costa Rica, Colombia and Tanzania Peaberry, each of which I sampled via drip, french press and siphon.

I started off with the Colombia, not sure exactly what to expect. The drip doled out notes of cocoa, curry, spring melon, cream, tangerine and a little wheat cake amidst a medium body. The french press gave off chocolate-covered pretzel, Flemish Red, thyme, pie crust, cream and a little cinnamon also within a medium body. The siphon was closer to the drip with cocoa, red curry, almond milk, tomato, nectarine and a little sage. All in all, a multi-faceted coffee with some great sweet and spicy notes.

The Costa Rica also proved intriguing. The drip smacked of Corn Pops, sesame bagel, Whoppers candy, fig and a touch of root beer in a thick, medium body. The french press tasted of a little different, with notes of Frosted Flakes, sesame seeds, caramel, Whoppers candy and a little cayenne pepper. The siphon was surprisingly similar to the french press, staying steady with the Frosted Flakes, sesame, and whoppers candy, though also adding cocoa and a little basil. Throughout this was a sweet, wheaty coffee with flecks of malt, dark fruit and zest.

The Tanzanian finished off the trio of coffees with a similar delicious performance. The drip held out flavors of honey, almond butter, carnitas, caramel pretzel, some grape leaves and blueberry cobbler amidst a medium/heavy body. The french press held honey, nuts, rye, blueberry Pop Tart and wheat cracker within a medium body. The siphon proved a bit on the wheaty side, with notes of croissant, sweet shredded wheat, almonds and flecks of blueberry, honey and maple syrup. In totality, a sweet coffee outfitted with sugary sweetness, a smooth nuttiness, touches of wheat and some interesting accents. 

For such low-priced beans, these coffees turned out pretty tasty. In fact, the beans were such a bargain that I can't imagine the folks at Lowest Price Coffee can afford to keep them this low for long (I mean they must have thin margins!). So if you find yourself settling for lesser coffee due to price, get your coffee at Lowest Price Coffee while you can.

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

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bonavita Scale, Stand and Brewer

For folks immersed in the coffee industry, it's a well-accepted fact that the best way to measure out appropriate amount of coffee grounds is through weight, not volume. Long gone is the trust in the coffee scoop and all stock has been invested into accurate digital scales.

Fortunately the great folks at Seattle Coffee Gear offer a Bonavita pourover brewing solution fit for a barista. Not only does it include a gorgeous water resistant digital scale able to weigh out 12.5 lbs and be accurate to a 0.01 of a gram, but the included brewing stand and brewer also fit perfectly atop the scale for easy simultaneous use.

Below is a video they released regarding the equipment:

Being fortunate enough to get my hands on a such an apparatus thanks to Seattle Coffee Gear, I was able to try it out in the course of my coffee routine.

Regarding correct function of the scale (what good is it if it wasn't calibrated?), I did a quick check of the scale using fixed weights to ensure it was fully operational and accurate. I did find the scale to be consistently short by about 0.2 grams, but given the consistent nature of the offset, I wasn't worried about the -0.2 g (it was also interesting to note that the tolerance of +/- 0.01g seemed intact, though not fully verifiable since the scale only goes into tenths (0.1 g)).

Moving on to use of the digital scale in the realm of brewing, it proved accurate in all of my coffee measurements (ounces, grams and pounds), with the scale having just the right amount of sensitivity (aka not so sensitive that air caused fluctuations but sensitive enough that it adjusted based on small adjustments of grinds/water added). As expected, the zero/tare button proved invaluable in using the scale during brewing as it allowed real-time measurement of the coffee weight during the infusion. Also, the utilization of a built-in timer for infusions like french press was a handy feature. And although I did not dunk the scale to determine its level of water resistance (it's not a cheap scale), the scale did not seem to be worse for wear after some moisture exposure. Overall, I only have praise for the scale.

Regarding the stand and the brewer, I found them to be a solid addition to the scale. Initially my main concern was stability, as the porcelain brewer seemed a bit heavy to put atop the stand without any means of securing it to the adjustable-height O ring (I have children, so safety is huge). But in my trials, I really had no issues with instability. The O ring never budged under any weight and was very easy to adjust during any part of the brewing process. And due to the way the stand sits snugly on the scale, there's little danger of toppling due to top-heaviness, especially when a mug/vessel sits on the stand adding some extra weight (of course it should be noted that it's not space-travel-steady or Sesame-Street-safe, so like any coffee stand use caution and keep it out of reach of children).

Another aspect of the brewer that's worth pointing out is the hole size on the bottom of the brewer. If you're used to a chemex or v60, you would be wise to note that the Bonavita has a much smaller opening, which means that the coffee will naturally drain out a bit slower. I found the slower rate of escape a positive and with a few tweaks in grind size and quantity, the brewer made great coffee.

All in all, I found the Bonavita scale, stand and brewer to be a great combination for home use, not to mention for utilization in the hands of a skilled barista. If you happen to be seeking a digital scale and/or pourover stand, check out Seattle Coffee Gear.

Note: Use of equipment was provided free of charge and that the above review is completely objective.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mugged: Ethiopian Yirg [Coda]

Subject: Coda Coffee Company
Mugged: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
Rating [see key]: 5+

When I was out in Colorado, I was impressed by the reach of Coda Coffee Company. Out around the country I had not heard a whole lot about them but in Colorado, I found them in almost every town I stopped at.

Coming back east, I was fortunate enough to receive an offer to try out their Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. Having had good experience with them amidst the purple mountains majesty of Colorado, I accepted, infusing the coffee in my pourover, Espro Press and siphon.

The pourover demonstrated a multifaceted cup of dark cocoa, buttermilk biscuit, raspberry, pear, romaine lettuce and nutmeg amidst a medium body. Sweet and bright with a pinch of wheat.

The Espro Press created a similar cup, brimming with dark cocoa, raspberry, cherry, nutmeg, buttermilk biscuit and slight spiny melon within a medium body.

The last brew of siphon was the smoothest of the three. Full of chocolate milk, buttermilk biscuit, cherry, pear, nutmeg, tarragon and pronounced spiny melon, the brew had a lighter, medium body with a creamier and more distinctly wheaty profile.

Thus, if you seek a smooth Ethiopian with lots of cocoa and fruit, Coda's Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a fine candidate. Check out their website or stop by one of the many shops around Colorado to give the coffee a go.

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

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Mugged: Peru and Malawi [Greyhound]

Subject: Greyhound Coffee Roasters
via BrewPony
Mugged: Peru Rainforest Alliance Organic and Malawi AA
Rating [see key]: 4+ for both

Coffee subscription services seem to be exploding out of the woodwork these days and it's getting harder and harder to find one worth the time. Having tried my share, I can say that though pricy, they hold a lot of promise for the wearied coffee fanatic looking for quality, regular shipments. 

The newest coffee subscription to my tongue is BrewPony, a company based out of Portland that seems to use a lot of local Oregon roasters. I was fortunate to try out their April shipment of Greyhound Coffee Roasters, a nifty operation that gets their name from their love of the noble greyhound (not to mention that a portion of their profits go to greyhound causes). Of their many coffees, I was sent the Malawi AA and the Peru Rainforest Alliance Organic, each I cupped via pourover, french press and siphon.

Leading off with the Peru in my pourover, the cup consisted of cola, molasses, fig, a little sage, minor wheat and some honey within a medium body. The french press held similar notes with the addition of some buttermilk, cracked pepper and pear skin, proving deeper, complex and a little bitter. The siphon finished off the least bitter of the three, with flecks of cola, wheat, pepper, fig and peanut in a medium body. Overall, a decent coffee with malty and hearty qualities.

The Malawi followed next. The pourover sang out notes of sesame, raisin, fresh rye bread, sunflower seed and a little honey, consisting largely of a sweet, seed-ful coffee. For the french press, the seed-y qualities seemed to vanish, proving more full of caramel, black tea, apple, anise, root beer and minor tobacco. The siphon seemed like a fusion of the last two infusions, with a balanced merge of rye bread, raisin, toasted almond, caramel, fig and a little tobacco. Summarized, a sweet coffee smacking of nuts and juice, backed with some astringent facets. 

All together, I can't say that these two coffees were my all-time favorites given their bitter and/or deep flavors, but at the same time they weren't half bad. Try out Greyhound Coffee Roasters and Brew Pony if you're looking to add a kick of Oregon to your coffee repertoire.

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

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Mugged: Java Love [The Organic Coffee Co.]

Subject: Organic Coffee Co. of the Rogers Family Company
Mugged: Java Love
Rating [see key]: 3+

Having worked in a family company myself, I somewhat identify with organizations that are family owned and run. One new family company to my radar is the Rogers Family Company, a coffee roaster that's been around since 1979 and a company that holds numerous kin in their ranks. Recently they sent me out their Java Love blend to take for a spin. A full city roast of coffees from Latin America and Indonesia, I tried out this coffee via pourover, french press and siphon.

The pourover demonstrated notes of peanut, pepper, pear and a bit of licorice amidst a heavy body. A dark, peppery coffee with a nice element of nut and minor sweetness.

The french press proved much fruitier with notes strawberry and apple unskinned, along with flavors of pepper and cocoa. A sweeter brew though still astringent and deep.

The vacuum pot doled out pepper, nougat, apple, a bit of licorice and some cashew. Dark, yet sweet and nutty.

Overall, while I like family companies, I wasn't a big fan of this coffee. It proved a bit too dark for my liking and while it had some nice nutty and sweet notes, it was also a little to heavy in the body department. But then again, if you seek a darker coffee with a heavy body and sweet, nutty flavors, give your affection to Java Love.

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

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mugged: Peru Cenfrocafe [Sunergos]

Subject: Sunergos Coffee
Mugged: Peru Cenfrocafe Microlot
Rating [see key]: 5+

I've only once had the fortune of gracing the great state of Kentucky and yet in that trip, I had the misfortune of visiting over a New Years weekend when I could find not one open coffeehouse. Alas, it was a mixture of poor technology and bad timing that left my sole Kentucky excursion to date a coffee-less one.

Of course I hope to rectify this one day, especially with the growth of good coffee in the state. One coffeehouse/roaster that seems to be doing some spiffy things is Sunergos Coffee out of Louisville. Recently they sent me out a pound of their Peru Cenfrocafe Microlot to take for a spin, which I had the pleasure of doing via pourover, french press and siphon.

The pourover relayed a medium bodied coffee ripe with nougat, honey nut cheerios, sweet cream, apple and Italian bread. A delicious brew reminiscent of dessert, full of chocolate and fruit notes.

Of the french press, it also proved scrumptious, with notes of milk chocolate, elderberry, wheat, a little sage and a little ginger amidst a silky and smooth body.

The siphon was the final hurrah, with more nougat, wheat, sauvignon blanc, raisin, cashew and a little shitake within a medium body. A sweet cup with a dry finish.

Through and through, this Peruvian coffee boasted a splendid profile that would make any breakfast or after-dinner meal delightful. Give Sunergos a try if you're looking for a great cup of coffee.

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

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mugged: Guatemala Antigua [Daily Grind]

Subject: Daily Grind
Mugged: Guatemalan Antigua
Rating [see key]: 3+

Having been through Albany a few times, I still have had practically zero instances where I was in town with free time for more than an hour. As such, it's hard at times to make effort to seek out the local coffee venues.

One such venue I've not yet reviewed here is Daily Grind, with locations in Troy and downtown Albany. Fortunately, as they're a roaster of their own coffee, they were kind enough to contact me and send out their Guatemalan Antigua for a review. I sampled it via pourover, french press and siphon.

The french press demonstrated notes of honey, caramel, almond milk, a little clove, some pear and a smidgen of cayenne pepper. A hearty yet sweet coffee with a bit of spice.

The pourover was a little less sweet, with notes of honey, bran, pine wood, cloves and sassafras within a medium body. A more acerbic brew but still sweet and hearty.

The siphon was a mixture of the two prior infusions, with notes of vanilla, bran, almond milk, cloves, a bit of pepper and some cayenne in a deeper body, proving sweet and spicy overall.

While I though the coffee to possess some great sweet qualities, I felt it had a bit too much of a pepper and spice quality to its profile (maybe better if roasted less?). All in all, if you're looking for a spicy yet sweet South American from Albany, give Daily Grind's Guatemalan Antigua a go.

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.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Mugged: Chesapeake Bay Coffee Roasting Company

Subject: Chesapeake Bay Coffee Roasting Company
Mugged: Lighthouse, Honduras and Eco-Reef
Rating [see key]: Lighthouse 4+, Honduras 3+, Eco-Reef 2+

A few years back, I heard about some coffee roasters turning from the widely-used paper/plastic bag to the age-old packaging of a coffee can. The reasoning was that the can was more sustainable and if outfitted with a CO2 valve, it kept the coffee just a fresh. Oddly, the trend never seemed to catch on (possibly because of the association coffee cans hold in the American psyche) and cans all but disappeared from microroasters.

But a few roasting operations went with the can and seem to be doing well with it. One such operation is Chesapeake Bay Coffee Roasting Company, a roaster based out of Maryland who recently sent three of their coffees to be reviewed. Their Honduras SO, Lighthouse and Eco-Reef I sampled via pourover, french press and siphon.

Starting off with the lightest roast, I took the Lighthouse for a spin. The pourover produced notes of milk chocolate, cream, slight ginger, apple skin and a little salty beef broth; a sweet chocolate cream with a touch of savory. The french press doled out chocolate milk, Life cereal, apple skin, anise and some malt with a medium body, proving sweet but a bit of rind. The siphon delivered notes of chocolate milk, pungent Life cereal, malty, oregano and apple skin; a medium-bodied brew with a nice cocoa and wheat quality. All in all, a coffee full of delicious notes of chocolate and sweet cereal with a few dark (occasionally akaline) undertones that were subtle enough to not offset the positives.

The Honduras, proving a touch darker, went next. Via pourover, the coffee emerged with a noticeable smokiness along with fig, slight vanilla and paper, eliciting a sweet, carbony brew. The french press proved less smoky, with notes of corn chip, vanilla, toffee and a little grape jelly, with but only a touch of smoke on the back end. The siphon was an average of the two prior, with notes of vanilla, tobacco, paper, toffee and a little corn, establishing this Honduran as pleasantly sweet coffee with a little too much smokiness.

The darkest of the three, the Eco-Reef finished off. The pourover trumpeted out pipe tobacco, apple, peanut, prune and a little cracker; a sweet and strongly smoky coffee with a medium body. The french press delivered a similar cup, with pipe smoke, apple, peanuts, cracker, oregano and touch of milk chocolate. The siphon proved the most intense in flavor, with strong notes of tobacco, caramel, cracker, cream and clove.  

While I enjoyed the Lighthouse a good bit, I liked the Honduras or Eco-Reef less, mostly due to their darker/smoky aspects (though if you're a fan of darker coffee, these might be the cans for you). Thus, depending on what you're looking for in a coffee, try out the Chesapeake Bay Coffee Roasting Company.

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

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Mugged: Jamaica Blue Mt [C&C Specialty]

Subject: C&C Specialty Coffee
Mugged: Jamaica Blue Mountain
Rating: 3+ [see key]

While there are a lot of coffees that seem to come and go in the coffee market, Jamaica Blue Mountain is one of the constants. As I've said through the years, there's nothing intrinsically amazing about the region per say; I've had great coffee from Jamaica and I've had horrible. What separates the two are a lot of factors and sometimes it's risky to spend the money as a consumer to try and make the guess.

But if you're like me, taking an occasional gamble on a new coffee company elicits a slight thrill. The newest coffee purveyor of JBM to meet my acquaintance was from C&C Specialty Coffee. Intrigued as usual, I gave their coffee a whirl via drip, french press and siphon.

The drip produced notes of nuts, peanut chaff, caramel, croissant, fig and prune with a slight flavor of paper and aspartame. A medium bodied brew with a fair profile.

The french press demonstrated a similar nutty prominence (this time a little like pumpkin seeds) in a medium body with paper on the back end, but it also popped with some further flavor of corn chip, Life cereal and cola. 

The siphon followed suit with the nuttiness along with deep flavors of cola, wheat, a little nutmeg and a bit of paper on the back. An amply sweet and agreeable brew.

I found this Jamaica Blue Mountain a decent deep-flavored coffee with a lot of positive flavors perfect for a morning brew. The only detraction was the slight papery off-taste on the very back end of all the brews (possibly a stale batch, which happens to the best of roasters). Thus, if you're looking for a decent Jamaica Blue Mountain, give C&C Specialty Coffee a go.

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

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mugged: Diner and Peru [Booskerdoo]

Subject: Booskerdoo Coffee
Mugged: Jersey Diner and FTO Peru SO
Rating: 4+ for Diner, 3+ for Peru [see key]

Until this past year, it seemed that NJ would never have a high concentration of decent coffee operations. For as long as I have sipped coffee, shops that were able to dole out fresh, not-disgusting beans were spaced out usually too far to go from one to the other without making it a small road trip.

But in traversing the central Jersey beach area, it seems more and more good coffee options are appearing. One such place is Booskerdoo Coffee of Monmouth Beach. Having never been, I was intrigued to receive two pounds of their coffee one recent day; their Jersey Diner-style Blend and FTO Peru. I sampled each via pourover, french press and siphon.

For the Jersey Diner-style, the drip produced notes of buttered toast, apple, Corn Pops, a little lemongrass and cola, capping off a medium-bodied coffee with sweet, wheaty notes. The french press held a similar body and notes of granny smith apples, toast, sweet corn and a little cola. The siphon had a more wheaty kick, with notes of graham cracker, toast, apple, cola and a little sweet corn within a medium body. 

The Peru drip delivered flavors of french toast, maple, cloves and unsweetened cocoa within a heavier body, that overall, while flavorful, was a little too dark. The french press produced a similar profile, with notes of cloves, unsweetened cocoa, maple syrup and a heavy body that seemed almost espresso-esque. The siphon proved a tad sweeter, with chococlate, maple syrup, cloves and oatmeal within a heavy body.

Overall, both coffees sampled decently. While I thought the Jersey Diner blend was better, as it embodied a flavorful brew that I would covet with a nice breakfast, I found the FTO Peru not bad for a darker coffee but little too bitter for a light roast.

If you're in the area or you're looking to try out one of Jersey's coffee roasters, give Booskerdoo a try. 

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