Monday, July 28, 2008

CC: Recess Coffee House and Roastery


What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Recess Coffee House and Roastery
Location visited:
Syracuse, NY

Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

ne of these days when I settle down, I would love to move into a nice house with at least two full bathrooms, a nice spacious backyard, in a good neighborhood, and two or three doors down from a quality coffeehouse. I also would like an nice arboretum close by, but I know you can't have everything so I'm willing to let that one go.

So when I first drove by the Recess Coffee House and Roastery in Syracuse, I thought maybe I'd found a good neighborhood. The coffeehouse sits nestled right off the main drag of Westcott St amidst a series of houses, an old converted house itself. The exterior looks sharp albeit a little run down (though it has definitely been improved in the few times I've visited), complete with a nice wood front porch with a nice access ramp and garden. Walking inside, the coffeehouse is decked in various eclectic decor and plenty of random seating all throughout, almost all of it full of local patrons.

The coffee is roasted in-house, all Fair Trade and Organic. The coffee has been of differentiating quality in my visits, all brewed on a hot plate brewer. My latest coffee was a Tanzanian that tasted pretty decent; very smooth despite a bit of char. The espresso has been a steady improvement, though still no climax yet. Most recently, my doubleshot had a nice sweetness but was overshadowed by darkness. I failed to note the tea.

So when it comes time to buy that house, I could see myself considering the area around Recess as I do think the place has a good deal of potential to rise (and if they added an arboretum in their backyard, that could close the deal). In the meantime, if you're looking to try some local java amidst some serious bohemian influence, make sure to give a stop at Recess.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CC: Cafe Sante Veritas

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Cafe' Sante' Veritas
Location visited:
Montreal, QC

Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

I have been to a lot of cities across North America and few have been as intriguing and beautiful as Montreal. The old European-style buildings, the eclectic activities, and the food all provide a wonderful experience.

And fortunately, I was able to experience some great coffee while I was there recently. One place in particular was right around the corner from my hotel, a little cafe called Cafe Sante Veritas. Looking at it from the exterior, the place looks to actually be quite huge and very well-designed; sure enough when you walk inside, it becomes quite obvious that they didn't scrimp on quality or beauty of the interior. The cafe has beautiful furniture and even a low coffee bar where you can hang out and chat with the barista while he prepares your coffee or espresso.

The coffee served is 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters out of Vancouver, a roaster I had been wanting to try for some time but had not had the chance. The coffee was Ethiopian and french pressed (the barista commented that he used to make drip but he stopped after realizing it didn't maximize the coffee's potential), the results presented a smooth, bright, and fruity cup of coffee. Well done.

The espresso was amazing as the barista definitely knew what he was doing and he pulled a very luscious doubleshot. The espresso possessed a velvety texture as well as lovely bittersweet chocolate-iness. The tea was Harney and Sons and they also had a full menu, complete with beer, wine, and some of the best orange juice ever squeezed.

Walking away after my final visit, I really wished that such a fine specimen wasn't such a distance from home but alas, se la vie. If your in Montreal, I would strongly encourage a stop by Cafe Sante Veritas for coffee as well as a meal.

Friday, July 11, 2008

CC: Stagecoach Coffee

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Stagecoach Coffee
Location visited:
Cooperstown, NY
(31 Pioneer St # 5)
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]

Baseball never really was my favorite sport. As a child, I had poor eye-hand coordination and hence, didn't really succeed in hitting or catching in the game. As a teenager and now adult, I would say I like going to baseball games to get out and see a game, but baseball never really captivates me like a good game of football or soccer.

But I do loooove history so I was quite pleased when I finally was able to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. It was a beautiful day and the hall proved very interesting, full of ages passed and "better days" where things were honest and people were decent. But I digress.

On top of the baseball history, Cooperstown is a chic little place that boasts a lot of nifty little boutiques and eateries. Fortunately for me, one of those eateries was a coffeehouse called Stagecoach Coffee. I had stumbled upon it in normal researching but typical of my travels lately, I only knew of its existence before I arrived.

The exterior is a plain white shell of a shop accented with neon in the windows and sports a spacious patio in the back. The interior illustrates a long shop, with the counter on the left and a decent array of seats in the front. The shop has lots of wood/wood tones and even had some local holiday art on the wall.

Stagecoach apparently roasts their own coffee as first evidenced by the coffee bins to the back right. I sampled the Stagecoach blend which came across a little sharp but had subtle earthiness and hints of sweetness (i.e. decent coffee). The espresso demonstrated a fierce bite and strong char that proved none too wonderful; not much of a surprise since espresso was last on the menu (seems they focus more on the sweeter and more milk-based espresso drinks). The tea was free leaf.

All in all, I felt that Stagecoach was a decent place for the little baseball haven of Cooperstown but in the grand scheme of things, I think they could use a good bit of improvement.

If you're in town or nearby, give Stagecoach Coffee a try and evaluate for yourself.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

-for approved ads alone-

This page is meant for only people who have agreed to the terms for advertizing on the Pure Coffee Blog. Making a payment on this page without agreeing to the terms may result in you making a donation (please go to the donate page for that).

Note: Clicking "Add to Cart" will open a new tab/window that can interact with the below menu (thus if you wish to add multiple things to the cart, simply keep using the menu and button below).


Text Ads

Banner Ads



CC: Main Street Coffee Works

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Main Street Coffee Works
Location visited:
White Haven, PA
(408 Main St)
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]

Camping must be one of my favorite activities. The (somewhat) pristine outdoors, the talks around the campfire, and the raw ingenuity in doing such simple tasks as rigging your overhead tarp system to protect your lot against impending showers all make this primordial recreation an international favorite.

But it seems that these lovely thoughts completely crowded out the idea of grabbing decent bedding on my most recent trip. With only a wee pillow to rest my head on and a thin sleeping bag and a tarp separating me from the ground, it was at some point during the evening that I realized that the next day I would benefit greatly from a good cup of coffee to compensate for the sleep potentially lost.

And I was right. Fortunately the wife, siblings-in-laws, and I were headed to go white water rafting the next morning and had some time to swing by a little town called White Haven for coffee at a little place called Main Street Coffee Works. Knowing little of it besides its existence, I wasn't sure what to expect.

We arrived in town and parked right across the street in a spacious parking lot. The exterior of MSCW reflected a tiny local operation as the building itself was a small, one-story shop with a single large front window. Walking inside, it proved quite cozy with four tables and a seemingly huge counter occupying most of the space, and a number of other items taking up most of the other room save a small aisle bordering the counter. The wall boasted lots of signs and the shop was bustling with lots of people.

The coffee came from Ellis Coffee Company, a large scale coffee provider of the Philadelphia area that one would usually find within gas stations and catering businesses. Not having the best of experiences with the company (coffee tends to be drinkable but mostly lackluster), I tried to remain objective when ordering. I sprung for the Kona Blend (which doesn't appear on the website) and while it definitely didn't deliver a Kona experience, it remained a fair cup of coffee.

The espresso proved to be enigmatic. The barista seemed to have a decent knowledge of what he was doing but the shots came out pretty blah, with a mediocre taste and hints of cardboard. While I would say there was an error or two in performance (like not enough pressure in tamping the coffee), I would blame it mostly on the blend of coffee, Caffe Leone.

The tea was Novus.

In the end, the coffee did compensate for my lack of sleep but I can't say I was too impressed with this local coffeehouse. Knowing the region fairly well and it's complete absence of decent coffee, I would say this place has lots of room for growth and plenty of people to pull in.

If you're around the town for either outdoor pursuits or indoor adventures, give MSCW a try.