Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mugged: PT's Coffee [Ethiopia Lima - Gomma]


What does "Mugged" mean?

Subject: PT's Coffee
Coffee Mugged: Ethiopia Lima - Gomma
Rating: 5+ [see key]

trong credible publicity is all to hard to come by but when you get it, it really makes a difference. Take central US coffee roaster PT's Coffee; for a year or two now I've been dying to try their coffee and I can't say I really know why (some would say that good publicity has that exact effect).

Regardless, I was elated when newly launched Coffee Roasters Club sent me a pound of PT's Ethiopia Lima - Gomma (as well as 2 other coffeess - reviews to come!) to try.

Cracking open the bag (always a glorious experience), the coffee beans appeared lightly roasted, a nice light brown/dark caramel color. I was able to sample the coffee via french press, vacuum press, and drip. The french press twas my first undertaking and it produced a wonderful cup of coffee; a coffee that proved indeed very light but had a nice mellow brightness to it. Although there proved slight notes of chaff (common in lighter coffees), the occasional hints of fruity acidity really compensated. The vacuum press further brought out the sweet tastes of the coffee, taking the fruity accents a bit further (little hints of blueberry showed up in this mug). The drip also proved pleasant; though not nearly as vibrant as the other two brews, the drip still delivered a very sweet and bright coffee.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this light Ethiopian coffee from PT and the success of this batch makes me all the more interested in PT's other coffees. Thus, it goes to show that good product in itself can be the best kind of publicity.

What does "Mugged" mean?

"Mugged" posts deal with coffee or tea purely from a cupping perspective, but more actively tested in the everyday realm of my mug. When I "mug" a coffee , I use such methods as french press, vacuum press (siphon), and drip (paper-filtered, usually via a pour over). With tea, I simply steep it as recommended.

Rating Scale

As for how it is rated, the Mugged posts use the same 1-6 scale as CC posts (reviews of coffeehouses). But of course, in terms of rating a single coffee or tea, I realize that the 1-6 holds a different connotation than when I assess a business. Thus, in order to create some ease in understanding what 3+ or 5+ mean, I created a rough comparison to Kenneth David's "Overall Rating" scale over at Coffee Review since the system has such prevalent recognition in the industry (though this likening is not meant to be an exact match of course, more of a ballpark, and like any system, it has its weaknesses).

1+ = poor (below a 60)
2+ = ok (60-70)
3+ = decent (70-80)
4+ = good (81-87)
5+ = very good (88-93)
6+ = stellar (94-100)

Want to send something? 
If you are an entity that wishes to send me something to review, know that I will review it honestly (without bias, as if I paid for it) and will disclose the sending party in the review. This is in order to keep with current FTC standards*.


*Note that some posts prior to 10/11/09 may have been supplied to me without charge but I assure you that my reviews stand as purely objective; I firmly believe that the ethical and trustworthy nature of a blog is one of the few core pillars that makes a blog like this worth reading. So in order to maintain a greater transparency in the future, all posts after 10/11/09 labeled "Mugged" will have full disclosure of how I obtained the product within the post.

*Updated 01/28/13

Thursday, October 23, 2008

CC: Espressit

What's does "CC" mean?

Subject: Espressit
Location visited: Haddon Twp, NJ
(18 Haddon Ave)
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]

*Update 5/18/09 at end...

Ever walk down a street and think to yourself "For the love of Peter Pumpkin Eater, why is there not a coffeehouse here?!" ? I sure have. Heck, I've screamed it into space more than once (well, maybe not verbatim but you get the idea).

Haddon Avenue in South Jersey at many points is one of those streets. In Collingswood and Haddonfield, a coffeehouse or two occupy the street but in much of the space in between, there sat nothing until recently with the opening of a new place called Espressit.

Espressit sits beautifully nestled in a strip of shops, the coffeehouse itself having a beautiful black exterior complete with a gorgeous sign, nice patio furniture, and nice assortment of potted plants. Inside, the place was arrayed in beautifully lavish furniture and a very calming decor.

The coffee is La Colombe, an ok coffee roaster out of Philly. The coffee proved typical La Colombe; not horrible but nothing distinct. The espresso, pulled long, tasted fairly decent with some decent sweetness, though still a bit of char in the cup. I failed to note the tea.

While Espressit definitely has the coffeehouse look well nailed down, I would venture that the coffee experience could stand to escalate. Nonetheless, if you're looking for an eye-pleasing coffeehouse with acceptable coffee, take a stroll over to Espressit.

*Update 5/18/09
Went back recently and had another shot at the espresso (no pun intended) and it really took the benefit of the doubt off the table. The espresso was fair with a nice mocha flavor but the back end produced an oily, harsh aftertaste (somewhat to the credit of La Colombe and the rest to the barista performance). Hopefully they switch up their roaster or something soon...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Design Your Own Blend?


The genius of some ideas stems simply from the obvious nature of them.

I got an email from the folks at The Roasterie
to inform me of their new program called my Blend, a process that allows you to create your own coffee blend. The way it works is that you answer a series of specific questions that helps you identify your favorite flavors in a cup of coffee, to which they can create a blend to match.

Granted you have to buy a minimum of 48 oz. of said blend, but when you think about it, they're roasting a whole batch to your specifications.

Honestly, I'm curious to see how well this works. If you've made your own blend, please either comment below or shoot me an email.

Friday, October 17, 2008

CC: Bulldog Coffee

What's does "CC" mean?

Subject: Bulldog Coffee
Location visited: Toronto, ON
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

or one reason or another, I have never noticed how much people love to eat outside until a couple years ago. Maybe it was because growing up, my family never really had AC and a trip to a restaurant with AC meant we were sitting inside, no questions asked.

Despite the past, I now greatly enjoy the prospect of sitting outside, especially on secluded patios full of beautiful plants. Oddly enough, some of the nicer patios I've found have been in winter-heavy Canadian cities such as Toronto and Montreal (seems they really know how to enjoy the nice weather when they have it), even extending to normally non-patio establishments such as coffeehouses.

One patio in particular that came as a surprise was at a place called Bulldog Coffee, a small cafe on a side street in Toronto. The place proved a little difficult to get to (weird one way streets) but after a little tenacity and a convenient parking spot, we found it. Upon first sight, I thought the place charming and well-placed as it sat handsomely on what seemed to be a residential street, complete with a nice patio area. Strolling through the doors, the coffeehouse is constructed wide; tables and chairs along the large front windows and the large counter along the back monochromatic wall.

Bulldog Coffee only serves espresso-based beverages, espresso that comes from a local roaster that roasts only for Bulldog and has no name. The shots were well-pulled, had a sweet fruity flavor, and provided a nice hang. My americano was ok; a little bland but my guess is that adding the water before the shots was the issue. The tea per their website comes in five varieties.

After finishing up my espresso on their vibrant patio, I meandered away with my americano content with my Bulldog experience. If you're in Toronto and up for a small hunt for a decent coffeehouse with a nice patio for a fair weather day, set your course for Bulldog Coffee.