Coffee Gift Ideas for Mom

April 30, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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I haven’t blogged consistently over the past three months. Kim and I have done a lot of traveling and we have moved to a different state. We have had some good and bad things to deal with also that involve our sons. I may write about some of our experiences in the near future. But you can be sure we have had some good coffee along the way. Starting next week I will be posting coffee and coffee shop reviews. I have a lot to catch up on. I have even turned down some coffee until I get caught up.

During our travels we have been able to try coffee in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas. We have had some great coffee and some average coffee. Some coffee that we had was even a little disappointing. We have been in some great coffee shops and met with owners and roasters. Talking with some of the owner/roasters was a great diversion during some difficult times.

We have been learning a lot more about coffee and coffee shops too. Since January we also learned more about cupping coffees and barista judging. We plan to look into home roasting in the future too. We have been trying some new coffees and sharing beans with friends. I have introduced some people to the French Press and Chemex brewers too.

Today I want to give you our suggestions for gifts of coffee if your mom likes coffee and has a grinder. If you live close enough to one of these shops then take your mom out for a good cup of coffee. In my reviews you can read what I look for in a coffee shop. The shops I mention here are very good. I will suggest a coffee too, but we have had more than one coffee from each of them and they were all good. I am already thinking that there are other shops I could mention, but I’ll start with these:

www.bostonstoker.com  Costa Rican La Minita; Dayton, Ohio area

www.cafevolio.com  Founder’s Blend, West Side Market, Cleveland, Ohio

www.hemispherecoffees.com Nicaraguan Maragogype, Mechanicsburg, Ohio

www.staufs.com  Dominican Republic Café Femenino, Columbus, Ohio

www.coffeelabs.com  Ethiopian Amaro Gayo, Tarrytown, New York

www.buongiornocoffee.net/  Venezie Blend, Grapevine, Texas; the picture at the top is their roaster.

Each of these coffee shops is worth going out of your way to get too. We have had more than one coffee from each of them and thought they were very good. The staff of each was very helpful and friendly. It was a really good experience. From our point of view you should be glad if you live close to one of them. If you don’t you can still order coffee from them and give your mom some great coffee. Time for me to take Kim on a date to a coffee shop we have never been too. Until the next time, remember to stop and enjoy the conversations and coffee.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill

(Romans 15:13)

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Coffee Review – Brazil Daterra Decaf

June 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | 1 Comment
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This is our third coffee from Coffee Labs Roasters (www.coffeelabsroasters@mac.com or www.coffeelabs.com) and we were looking forward to trying it. The other two we had friends try with us and they liked them, so this time we decided to brew, taste and review this coffee a little different. We actually ended up using four different brewing methods over a few days.

We planned on enjoying the coffee with friends and none of these friends brew their coffee with anything but an auto-drip machine. So that is what we used. They are all used to drinking grocery store pre-ground coffee and buying whatever is on sale. One friend says he doesn’t like decaf and can tell the difference. It would be a good test group and I love a challenge.

I asked them to smell the beans in the bag and then after I ground them. They kind of liked this exercise and then we talked as the coffee brewed. After pouring everyone a cup I asked them to taste the coffee before they added cream and sugar. Of all seven of us, only one person used cream and sugar. Everyone liked the taste and they were surprised at how good it was for a decaf. We know that decaf does get a bad rap and that’s one reason why we keep looking for that excellent decaf.

The non-decaf drinker couldn’t believe it was a decaf. He thought it was strong, had a good flavor and he wanted another cup. Someone else thought it was a smooth, even cup of coffee and it had a good taste. They would buy this if they had a grinder. Another friend thought it had a little bit of a smokey taste, but not burnt. Overall everyone liked it and I hope we showed them how easy it is to take good well roasted beans, grind them and brew fresh coffee.

At home Kim and I then brewed it in the French Press. There is a smokey and slight chocolaty taste to the coffee. It isn’t really sweet but doesn’t need any sweetener added to it. It has an even feel in your mouth and a mild aroma. The beans look dark, but the coffee does not taste like a dark roast. It is quite surprising. We would give it two thumbs up.

Then we brewed it in the Chemex and the natural coffee flavor shined here. It has a mild aroma and to me a little bittersweet taste. This would be a good complement to eating a sweet desert. It has a nice taste that makes you think about what you are drinking. Two thumbs up again.

Then we tried a new brewer we just got called the AeroPress Brewing System. It brews espresso style coffee, but you can add water to the coffee cup to make American coffee. We have to get used to this brewer and we will have a review of it up on the blog soon. This reminded me of the Chemex only much stronger. The espresso we made was very strong and not bitter at all. I know some of you think we’re crazy for making espresso with decaf. The coffee flavor really came through with this brewer. Two thumbs up again.

So we brewed the Brazil Decaf four different ways and thoroughly enjoyed it. We shared it with friends and all of them enjoyed it. If you are looking for a city plus to full city roast water processed decaf this Brazil Daterra from Coffee Labs Roasters in Tarrytown, NY would be a very good choice.

We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. We’ll keep exploring new places and trying decafs looking for that excellent cup of late afternoon or evening coffee. I’ll keep writing about our coffee tasting experiences too. So until next time, stop and enjoy the coffee and conversation.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Coffee Review – Coffee Labs Roasters Ethiopian Amaro Gayo

June 5, 2010 at 10:22 am | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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Does the experience of trying new types of coffee ever get old? I don’t think so. This is our second coffee from Coffee Labs Roasters (www.coffeelabsroasters@mac.com or www.coffeelabs.com) and we were looking forward to trying it. This is a light roast or city roast and it’s from the Sidamo region. It is processed naturally. We invited a friend of ours toshare the first brewing of it and he seemed to look forward to it as much as we were.

So I open the bag and we all take turns smelling the beans. They have a nice aroma and it gets better as the beans are ground. There seem to be hints of blueberry in the aroma. After the coffee is brewed I poured three cups and we sipped and talked. My first reaction is there is a taste that really stands out, almost catching me by surprise. It has a clean smooth feel in your mouth and there is a slight acidity. It is naturally sweet and none us of used any sugar or cream. At our friend’s suggestion we let some of the coffee cool so that we could taste the flavor profile. This was a great idea and if you’ve never tried it you should. Three thumbs up here.

Then the next morning Kim and I brewed it in the French Press. That nice aroma was a little more pronounced and again that first taste grabbed my attention real quick. It is like a tangy taste that is hard for me to pick out. It is an intriguing coffee, it makes you think. The natural sweetness of this coffee really stands out here because even though the coffee is stronger or bolder there is still no need for any sweetener or cream. Two thumbs up.

Lastly was the auto-drip and we were really looking forward to it. When Kim had her first cup she asked me if this was the same coffee we had the other two days. I told her that it was the Ethiopian Amaro Gayo and asked her if she liked it. She did, in fact she was surprised at how good it tasted in the auto-drip. The natural sweetness is there, and that smooth, clean feeling in your mouth and the taste of blueberries. Two thumbs up again.

We brewed enough coffee to put some in the refrigerator for iced coffee. The coffee is much stronger cold and there is no bitterness. It has a deep, balanced coffee flavor. We both liked it cold. Two thumbs up and I think I’m becoming an iced coffee drinker too.

We liked this coffee and gave some beans to friends to try at home. If you are looking for a good light roasted Ethiopian coffee this would be a good choice. Kurt at Coffee Labs Roasters knows his craft. We received this coffee for free and over objective feedback. Until next time, enjoy the coffee and good conversation with friends. Be sure to check out some of our other reviews too. Thanks.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Coffee Review – Coffee Labs Roasters Columbian

May 22, 2010 at 10:13 am | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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Since going to New York and visiting Coffee Labs Roasters (www.coffeelabs.com) Kim and I have been looking forward to coming home and brewing their coffee. On this trip we did take our French Press with us to give us a break from the hotel auto-drip. We have decided to keep taking it with us and start our coffee reviewing right away. Because we had some other coffee to drink we saved these beans until we got home. We’re home and now the fun begins!

This coffee is a Columbian Mesa de Los Santo Don Telmo Reserva. It is a full city to full city plus roast. The whole beans in the bag smell wonderful. By the aroma alone you can hardly wait to grind it, brew it and drink it. (My mouth is beginning to water as I type this).

We did our brewing and tasting a little different this time. The first day we had the Columbian in the auto-drip. The aroma is nice. The coffee has very little acidity and a natural sweetness to it. Kim and I both drank it black and were surprised by just how good it tastes that way. I’m used to putting one teaspoon of honey and a little cream in my coffee, but I think adding anything to this brewed coffee would take away from its flavor. Two thumbs up with this style of brewing.

The next day we decided to brew two cups in the French Press followed by two cups in the Chemex. Kim thought about having this quick comparison so we could really taste the coffee because the brewing styles and results are so different. This coffee does have a natural sweetness to it and we enjoyed it without cream or sweetener both ways. It also has a subtle boldness that creeps up on you as you drink it. It has a nice feel in your mouth and a nice aftertaste with just a little fruitiness.

We weren’t quite ready for the caffeine buzz that followed, but it’s good that we both had a lot of work to do. It did seem to give us more than a normal jolt than our usual morning auto-drip style. We chalked it up to brewing quality coffee in the normal strength way for quality brewers. Later that afternoon we decided to make two more cups in the auto-drip for a third comparison. Did I mention that this coffee tastes good?!

We both decided to use a little honey and cream this time and we thought they actually took away from the taste of the coffee. This coffee has a good aroma and overall subtle boldness. I was telling Kim that I really enjoyed this Columbian coffee black, maybe even more than any other coffee we’ve reviewed up to now. Kim thought this would be a great desert coffee. Two thumbs up with all three brewing methods. We’re looking forward to sharing it with friends.

If you are looking for a great Columbian full city (medium) roast you cannot go wrong with this one. You can purchase it at Coffee Labs Roasters (www.coffeelabs.com). We received this coffee for free and have given objective feedback. Be sure to read some of our other coffee and coffee shop reviews too.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

(Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10)

Coffee Shop Review – Coffee Labs Roasters

May 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Posted in Coffee Shop Reviews | Leave a comment
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My wife and I recently stayed in Nanuet, NY while visiting our youngest son. Before going I went online to find coffee shops, especially those that roasted their own beans. Let me say that the pickings were slim. One I found that looked interesting was in Tarrytown, but it was across the Tappen Zee Bridge on the east side of the Hudson River. Having been in and through this area a few times I did not look forward to going across the bridge and fighting traffic. But my son thought his mom and I would like it and that traffic wouldn’t be that bad and he would drive. How could I resist?

So we went to Coffee Labs Roasters (www.coffeelabs.com) 7 Main St. Tarrytown, NY and are we glad we did! We got there around noon on a Friday and we had to look for a parking place. When we found one we had to walk up the street a few blocks and we enjoyed looking at all the shops. You could smell the roasted coffee outside the shop and we were looking forward to going in. The staff was very friendly and helpful. They answered all of our questions concerning their coffee. We purchased two House Blends and one Peruvian decaf. We took pictures too.

The House Blend is a full city roast and has a nice aroma, smooth taste and nice feel in your mouth. I drank mine black and really enjoyed it. My son is not the coffee drinker that me and Kim are so he put cream and sugar in his and said he liked it. Kim really liked the decaf which is a full city to full city plus roast. She drank hers black and said it had a very good taste, almost a sweet flavor and slightly acidic.

They also have a Kyoto style drip brewer in the shop. I have seen them online but had never seen one in a coffee shop before. It cold brews coffee at about 2 drips per second and takes roughly 18 hours to brew 25 cups. They let us sample an Espresso Roast (our favorite) and their Witches Brew (it had an interesting flavor). I’m not really a cold coffee drinker but if you are I suggest you try it.

The head roaster is Kurt and he really understands coffee beans and roasting. The coffees we tried were very good. If you are in the area you should make the time and effort to go to Coffee Labs Roasters (www.coffeelabs.com),  you will be glad you did. We will return the next time we are in the area.

We left with three bags of coffee to brew at home, drink and review. As we were heading back west over the bridge I wanted to open the bags and smell the beans. I opened the first one, smelled the beans and was handing the bag back to my wife when my son said, “man that coffee smells good!” That was the Brazilian Decaf. Enough for now, come back in a few days to read our first review of the Coffee Labs Roasters coffee.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 138:1-3

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