Sunday, June 30, 2013

CC: Sit and Wonder

Subject: Sit and Wonder
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

A lot of my trips to NYC involve a lot of spirited walking to and fro, running to the many coffee spots I wish to check out. Since I love seeking out the city's constantly evolving coffee scene, my visits are harried and rarely relaxing.

Thus, I found it like a strange omen out of a Dickens novel when one of my coffee stops was Brooklyn's Sit and Wonder. A quaint shop situated on Washington St, this cafe peddles Stumptown Coffee and offers a copious amount of inside tables as well as a spacious, eclectic courtyard in the back.

During my visit, I ordered an espresso of Hairbender and an Indonesian coffee via drip. The espresso, pulled short with a light brown crema, wove a delightful profile of cocoa, basil, lemon, brisket and vanilla ice cream within a smooth body. The drip of Indonesian in turn also proved tantalizing, with notes of fruit punch, hibiscus, biscuit, rosemary and a little nougat amidst a medium body.

Given some free time, I actually had time to tarry a little longer than usual so as to fully enjoy my experience and then some. If you seek a great cafe with great coffee, hunt down Sit and Wonder.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

CC: Joe Bean Coffee Roasters

Subject: Joe Bean Coffee Roasters
Location: Rochester, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Of the towns I've frequented in Upstate NY, Rochester is by far one of my favorites. The city holds a lot of nifty sites, good memories and despite the exodus of some large companies like Kodak, the city still seems to grow in its appeal with every visit I make.

One relatively new development (at least to me) was Joe Bean Coffee Roasters. Located down the street from the George Eastman House, Joe Bean is on the bottom floor of a medium-sized office building. The cafe opens up into an extremely warm shop, with a huge island counter allowing for many points of barista-customer interaction plus lots of small tables orbiting on the perimeter.

As an accomplished roaster, they offer a nice variety of beans, and on this visit I sampled a Nicaraguan via pourover and an espresso of their espresso blend (Dolce Vita I believe). The espresso, pulled short with brown crema, held notes of lemon, dark cocoa, nutmeg, ginger, white wine, a pinch of salt and a little balsamic vinegar; a tart yet smooth espresso. The pourover (via Hario) doled out red grape juice, snickerdoodle, vanilla cola, a twang of mango and a dry sauvignon blanc, which in the end made for a vivaciously juicy and sweet coffee.

To frankly summarize, Joe Bean proved one of the better coffee establishments I've been to in NY state. If you're in Rochester, give Joe Bean a shot.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

CC: Broadcast Coffee

Subject: Broadcast Coffee
Location: Seattle, WA (Capitol Hill location)
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Often when I listen to the radio during my frequent commutes, I more and more have come to fully grasp the heavy handed power of sponsorship. Between commercials and overtly redundant product placements in broadcasts, it''s a wonder that I still listen to the radio.

Fortunately, the cream rises to the top and with a society of cream lovers, you'll hear the wonders of great establishments regardless of their radio ad budget. Places like Broadcast Coffee in Seattle exists as one such place I would extol as a coffee spot worth a go. With two locations, I was able to wind my way to their Capitol Hill cafe one gloriously sunny afternoon. With it's red flat awning and a line of chairs, the shop owns a simple exterior that leads inside into a warm interior, with high-top wood tables, sleek black chairs and ample lighting.

The coffee hales from Sightglass and Stumptown, both excellent roasters starting with "s." I ordered an espresso of a Sightglass Guatemala and Clever Dripper of a Stumptown Ethiopia. The espresso, pulled short with a brown crema, smacked of vanilla, orange, sassafras, nutmeg and some butter, all together producing a bright and slightly malty sweetness that delivered fireworks. The Ethiopian rolled out notes of mellow cocoa, pear, sweet lobster, wheat and shiitake amidst a medium body, also proving delicious in its totality.

To reiterate the basic gist, I found my visit worthy of remembrance. Next time you're around Seattle, tune into Broadcast Coffee for a visit you can set your presets to.

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

CC: Overflow Coffee Bar

Subject: Overflow Coffee Bar
Location: Chicago, IL
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Staring at a map of Chicago, there are very few paths to get from the McCormick Place Convention Center to a decent coffeehouse. The closest I've found to date is a funky place on State St called Overflow Coffee Bar. Set in a very wide store front, the voluminous cafe seems to be home to many students during the course of the year, as there are a few institutions of learning close by and Overflow has a lot of tables, not to mention a slight, unique aura of a school bookstore.

Sauntering up to the centrally placed counter, I ordered an espresso of Ipsento's Wildfire and a drip Coffee Ambassador's Brazil. The espresso, pulled to a medium volume with light brown crema, blasted out notes of cocoa, cherry, oregano, sweet wheat and fig, proving in totality to be a smooth, chocolatey espresso. The Brazil dictated triscuit, apple, prune and a little basil, composing a bright and hearty coffee that made for many a delightful sip.   

Quite thrilled with my experience, I take heart that a mere 20 minute walk stands in the way between decent coffee and the endless halls of McCormick Place. If you're in town for a conference or for different strokes, meander over to Overflow.