Showing posts with label stash tea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stash tea. Show all posts

Sunday, January 01, 2012

CC: The Cup

Subject: The Cup
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

My final coffee stop in Sin City was a place that was also located in the Crystals, a shop located very discreetly in the back first floor called the Cup. Rumored to me by one source to have decent espresso, it took me a walk or two around the Crystals to actually find it but only around the corner and down the stairs from my earlier coffee stop.

A cute-looking venue with a huge orange window and tons of white, the place has a nice array of art and furniture, perfect for the tourist looking for a break from the crowds. Asking the barista of the coffee, they informed me it was "their own" (which in trying to clarify, I wasn't able to decipher whether it was a "secret supplier" situation or they roast their own, though my guess is the former). I ordered a doubleshot off their Victoria Arduino machine of their espresso blend and their signature blend a la regular drip.

The espresso, pulled short/medium and with a flat brown crema, was a tad burnt in the front, with notes of dark cocoa, deep sassafras and lapsang souchong; an overall decent pair of shots though the extraction could have been better. The drip proved pleasant as well, with a smooth, light body and notes of honey, hyacinth, multigrain, wheat grass and brazil nut as well as a tinge of slight staleness (twas later in the day, so the pot probably sat). The tea is Stash.

While I wasn't as floored as I had hoped to be, the Cup still provided a fair coffee and espresso experience, especially compared to the many other coffee stands doling out over-roasted swill nearby. Thus, if you're in the Crystals looking for a cafe that has a nice environment and decent coffee, try the Cup. 

Monday, June 01, 2009

CC: South Jersey Java

What's does "CC" mean?

Location visited: Voorhees, NJ
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]

Not too long ago, when looking to kill some time while my wife attended a bridal shower, I made a mad dash to find any place to sit and read while I waited for the event to be over. Not expecting to find much new (I feel all too familiar with South Jersey), I was surprised in my research to find a new-to-me coffeehouse in Voorhees called South Jersey Java.

In looking for the location, I passed it four times before I finally saw it, as using my peepers to spot an address on a road that changes names three times in less than a mile proved ineffective. South Jersey Java sits in a small shopping plaza with a fair amount of parking. Walking through the front doors I first noticed the place had a unique arrangement, with an array of sharp furniture, a fire place and quality collection of local art. The second thing I noticed was the TV that blared all too distractingly in the front corner...

The coffee is roasted in-house on a countertop roaster in the back of the shop. The coffee available that morning was the Lighthouse Blend, a coffee that displayed low acidity but also some cardboard and overall held nothing distinct. The automatic espresso machine was actually down that day, but since 99% of all automatic espresso machines can't pull good shots (there might be one out there), I don't feel like I missed out. The tea is Stash.

After about an hour of sipping my coffee and reading my book (The Great Upheaval, which made for a good read ultimately, but I would have preferred a more coffee-related book like Driven to Espresso), I had to be on my way. While I think South Jersey Java possesses a few areas of improvement much like many coffeehouses, it seems to be a good place to hangout with some fair coffee and catch some local music.

Thus, if you're in Voorhees for such reasons, stop on in.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

CC: Ridgewood Coffee Company

What's does "CC" mean?

Subject: Ridgewood Coffee Company
Location visited: Ridgewood, NJ

Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

The land of NJ that lies to the northeast is a land fairly different than the rest of the state. The number of roads and highways obviously is much greater and the proximity to New York City makes the place a congested nightmare during the waking hours of most days.

With such a large amount of traffic, you would think there at least a few good coffee places, especially with New York City's ever-improving coffee scene. But alas, few good places have sprung up in northeast NJ.

Yet every now and then, a prospect pops up, the most recent being a place called the Ridgewood Coffee Company in the lovely town of Ridgewood. Rumor had it the place was doing great things with great coffee, so the first time I needed to go through the area via automobile, I made sure to make a stop.

I arrived in Ridgewood one brisk weekday morning, finding the coffeehouse sitting pretty on a corner along a main stretch of town. The outside had a collection of plastic porch chairs (some had blown away) and the building itself had but one large window. Inside, the seating forks on either side of the coffee counter in what was a fairly dark room with most of the light coming in from the window.

The coffee comes from three coffee greats: Ecco, Novo and Intelligentsia. With such an arsenal, the fact that Ridgewood can show them off on a Clover makes good sense. I had the Novo's Colombian via Clover which came out lovely with the sweet taste of pear and dough; an overall mellow and wonderful coffee. The espresso, which was pulled so-so (the barista was definitely half asleep), expressed a tart lime-ish tang in front followed by notes of cane sugar and (sadly) a strong amount of char on the back end. The tea is Stash and Tazo.

Sadly, the whole coffee experience was soured by the two baristas working that day. Not only did they both give me their coldest shoulders when I first came in (they were still slowly setting up) but despite a completely empty shop, I had to initiate every inch of my order (including payment!). Even after I sat down 5 ft away from the counter, they were loudly grumbling about how they needed more money as well as other woes in their life. Normally, I give a slip in customer service the benefit of the doubt, but this topped the charts as the worst I've ever suffered. Hopefully I just experienced a negative anomaly (so it seems, as others seem to have had good experiences).

Thus in the end, I drove away from Ridgewood let down with the overall experience but pleased that a coffeehouse with potential of blooming has taken root in the northeast of NJ. While I'm not up in that neck of the woods a lot, I do hope to make another stop in soon, with hopefully better results.

If you're nearby, give Ridgewood Coffee Company a try; I pray your encounter plays out better then mine.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

CC: Misha's

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Misha's Coffee Roaster and Coffeehouse
Location visited:
Alexandria, VA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]

Dinner in a really nice town rarely seems to bode well, especially when I am with family or friends. Why you may ask? Well besides no one ever springing for reservations, I would have to point out three factors that I always notice: indecision (shall we eat here, what about there, or let's do three more hours of searching and then we'll decide), fear of crowds (there's always one, even if he/she doesn't pipe up), and the ever-so-common virtue of impatience. That formula, contributed from all sides mind you, seems to always equal a mediocre dinner at a place that no one really likes anyways.

A recent dinner
in Alexandria had similar luck, mainly due to a tight schedule and a wicked over-saturation of folk near the water. Yet despite a quick dinner of half-decent Asian cuisine, spirits were still high as we walked back towards the metro. At about 3/4 of the way there, we halted and lo, there we beheld a coffeehouse dubbed Misha's sitting on a perpendicular street.

Needless to say I took advantage of our high spirits and we walked on over. The exterior was sharp; a white brick building with the name neatly emblazoned across the front in black script. As one walks in, a gargantuan counter and a menu of magnet letters greet you along with at least three baristas. In almost every direction, one finds a colorful orange and yellow space as well as a decent amount of seating, especially on either end of the establishment.

Misha's roasts their own coffee (the drum roaster sits in the seating area to the right of the counter) and they seem to have a wide spectrum of shades in which they roast, ranging from light to super uber-dark (or as they say on their site, "oily oily oily").
Discouragingly, I noticed the coffee is brewed and stored on a fleet of hot plate drip brewers (the ones you see in 7-Eleven or WaWa) which either means they're able to really move their coffee and they dump the remaining brew every half hour, or they let the coffee burn...

I happened to have a coffee called Caravan, a lighter roast that sampled deliciously sweet and chipper, with a small hint of berry. The espresso inversely seemed over-pulled with a harsh though sweet taste with the distinct hang of cardboard. The tea was from Stash Tea.

Overall, my Misha experience didn't really keep my spirits up, nor did it so for my patiently waiting friends. I did enjoy my cup of drip coffee and with such a large number of coffees (they had what seemed to be about 30 or so), I'm curious as to what the other coffees hold (minus the ones labeled "oily oily oily") and to see how they utilize their hot plates.

If you pop in (especially if you're a regular), I'd be curious to get your thoughts.