Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Sparrows

Subject: The Sparrows
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Growing up in a newspaper-reading household in the Philadelphia area, my family always had a need for the morning paper. During periods where weekly subscriptions weren't in the budget, it was often my task to head to the local newspaper stand to grab the Sunday paper on the weekend. For suburban NJ, we had a decent options like delis and WaWa, but none as great as The Sparrows.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Subject: Constellation
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Astronavigation is a skill severely lacking in our robot-dependent world. I recall many times as a child staring up at the night sky, trying to use the stars for directions. As a young adult, I remember my first unobstructed night sky while camping in the New Mexico desert, a sight that instilled a divine awe of the majesty and enormity of the universe. And thus, after lots of star gazing, I've learned that looking for dependable basics is key, like using the Big Dipper to find Polaris so one can head north. Similarly with coffee, a few key signs in a coffeehouse, like their roaster and reputation, can provide a directive beacon for some great coffee.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mugged: White Tale Coffee

Subject: White Tale Coffee
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- La Mirella Costa Rica 5+
- Orestes Kenya 6+

Years ago, coffee was only fleetingly associated with the regions it was grown. Sure the geography was identified with such stamps as "100% Colombian" or "The Taste of Hawaii" but rarely were the farmers given more recognition than the small wage they received for their beans. Today, coffee roasters have strived to not only give the coffee farmers their fair recognition, but also the best wage through the establishment of (more) direct relationships. One such roaster out of Colorado that prides itself on telling the whole story is White Tale Coffee.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

SIP Cafe and Coffee Bar

Subject: SIP Cafe and Coffee Bar
Location: Northampton, MA
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

There are few things that rival a beautiful, sunny drive through the hills and mountains of western Massachusetts. While the wilds still remain largely unexplored to me, I have had the pleasure of venturing into many of the towns around the area, with one of my favorite being Northampton. Its dapper shop-lined streets and surprising number of coffee establishments has consistently brought me in town whenever I'm passing through.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Early Bird Espresso and Mercantile

Subject: Early Bird Espresso and Mercantile
Location: Frenchtown, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Right along Route 29 above Trenton exists some of New Jersey's prettiest scenery. Growing up within a 45 minute drive, I would love romping through Washington Crossing and patronizing towns like Lambertville with their antique stores, medieval weapon shops and local bistros. The area is also one of few spots in NJ with a long-standing quality coffee presence at Rojo's Roastery, a fact that kept Route 29 a common route for me. Fortunately, the slow growth of quality coffee has finally led to another tulip flowering about 15 miles north on 29 in Frenchtown, an outfit called Early Bird.