Saturday, May 20, 2006

CC: Treehouse Coffee Shop


What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Treehouse Coffee Shop
Location visited: Audubon, NJ
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

Update 5/29/09

This coffee locale has been on my radar for some years now, as my first experience with it was over five years ago (it had different owners then). Back then I was less interested in coffee and more interested in entertainment; fun things to do on a Friday and Saturday night that didn't involve getting plastered. Treehouse was and still is today a good place for their open mics and live performances of different kinds. Over the years, I've seen a good share of interesting acts there, one that I oddly remember was a local artist named Sara O'Brien.

On to the coffee, I can't say that I'm excited or disappointed. The coffee is La Colombe, which is a local Philly-roaster, and I share in the sentiment that it's reeeeally overhyped. If you go over to Philly, every stinking coffee establishment with few exceptions brews it. I can't say that I've ever had an amazing cup. Back to Treehouse, they only offer 1 blend of regular coffee (they call it house blend) as well as several flavored choices. Overall, I'd say the coffee is decent.

Going to tea, I was a little stunned. They had Republic of Tea, an always welcome favorite, but they had every variety that I've ever seen. Good news for the tea-sipper.

The epresso was also La Colombe and wasn't too bad. I recently had an americano which was pretty good, so I give it a similar review to the coffee. On the other hand, I did have a latte there once that was truly poor but I give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it was just a bad day for them.

In conclusion, I definately recommend Treehouse, more for the stellar atmosphere and the entertainment but also for the coffee and tea. Plus, since it's located in up-and-coming Collingswood, there's a good deal of small boutiques and resturaunts to check out.

Update of 2/8/07

They switched their brand of coffee to Crescent Moon Coffee Roasters, as well as added several other positive upgrades.

Update of 12/31/07
The Treehouse is for sale!

Update of 8/13/08
The Treehouse has moved from Collingswood to Audubon. The information has changed above and on the map to reflect it. Next time I'm in the area, I hope to stop by to see what the new digs are like and if anything has changed menu-wise.

Update 5/29/09
In going back through my posts, I noticed I never commented on the updated menu. The coffee is still Crescent Moon and the drip often displays a tremendous cup. The espresso is pulled fairly short and as of my last visit, the shots had a good mouthfeel with nice tones of bittersweet chocolate.

Friday, May 19, 2006

More Charbucks-Initiated Misery

I don't really like paying one company a lot of attention (especially negative) but this article really packs a punch. A bit long, but sooooo worth the read.

Coke lattes?

Found this article in my late night web browsing. Coke's attempting to launch a Starbucks knock-off. I can't say I'm surprised but I just wish the day had not come so soon.
Those of you in Toronto, be wary.

Monday, May 15, 2006

CC: Corvoca Coffee

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Corvoca Coffee
Location visited: Deptford, NJ
Free Wifi: no
3+ [see key]

*Updated 5/29/09

Another exotic treat to the South Jersey area: a drive-thru coffee bar. This place I was introduced to by a friend, though I didn't believe him at first. I've heard of drive-thru espresso before but never in our region.

So my friend guides me there (it was a little off my beaten path), to Cooper St in Deptford, next to the Burger King and down the road from the Deptford mall. I had to admit that the grab-and-go aspect is nice, especially since this place is kind-of on the way to my parents as well as down the street from my girlfriend's.

Having spoken with the owner a bit, he seems to know his stuff. Though the drive-thru feature makes it hard to get to really know employees, they mostly seem to know what they're doing. The espresso beverage quality is decent, though I have an espresso-wise friend who doesn't really care for their espresso (you'll have to be the judge). Oddly, I've never had their coffee (a phenomenon I'm not sure I can explain) so I can't really comment on it and the tea is Tazo (a good choice).

Overall, I would recommend the place if you're ever near Deptford (though you might need to get directions from the website). It's quick, convenient (pretty broad hours though no late-nights), and the quality seems to be a priority. In an area oddly lacking decent coffee houses (one recently closed down near by), Corvoca is a welcome sight.

Updated 5/29/09

This update is part of my going back through and updating many of my earlier posts that have not the same criteria that I currently look for. Corvoca overall has a leaning towards a dark coffee that proves bitter more often than flavorful. The espresso has been in my experience long shots and over-pulled. I will probably update this again soon as I have not been in some time.

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!