Coffee Review: Heine Brothers’ Mountain Dream

August 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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We like to review coffees from roasters that care about making a difference. Heine Brothers’  (www.heinebrotherscoffee.com) is one of those of roasters. They are based in Louisville, KY and have a number of shops throughout the city. They are well worth the stop if you are driving through.

The first brew was with the auto-drip and this whole bean coffee is dark. The good thing is that it is not over roasted. The aroma is somewhat spicy and sweet. Mountain Dream is a blend of Nicaraguan and Sumatran beans. There is a somewhat spicy and fruity taste and a medium mouth feel to the coffee. We liked it and were looking forward to trying it in the
French Press.

Next up was the French Press and we thought we detected some chocolate notes in both the flavor and aroma. It has a good, smooth, balanced flavor and a fuller body with this brewer. It is not too heavy a coffee and the acidity is medium. There is a chocolate aftertaste too. This
was our favorite way to brew and enjoy this coffee.

We finished with the Chemex coffee brewer. The flavor seemed to be brighter with some fruitiness. There also seemed to be a spiciness that came out in the flavor and aftertaste. The coffee is roasted really well and even though it is pretty dark, it is not over roasted at all.

All in all this is an enjoyable cup of coffee no matter how you brew it. We shared it with friends and all of them thought it was pretty good too. If you are interested in trying a blended coffee we suggest you give Mountain Dream a try.

Now here’s another good part to this coffee drinking experience. A portion of each bag sold is donated to Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to support their work to stop mountaintop removal mining. You can enjoy a good cup of coffee and help a good cause at the same time. We received this coffee for free and offer an objective review. Until next time remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

(Romans 15:13; Psalm 21:6)

Coffee Review: Community Coffee’s Founder’s Blend

January 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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Kim and I have had the privilege of enjoying some good coffee through the holidays and our travels. One of the coffees we brewed was Founder’s Blend from Community Coffee (www.communitycoffee.com). Just by looking at the bag they earned extra points with me by putting the batch number and roast date on the front of the bag.

Their site describes the Founders Blend as comprised of four unique coffees from two continents. We begin with Colombia Toledo-Labateca, which is grown high in the remote Andes Mountains near Venezuela and is a rare social relationship coffee exclusive to Community Coffee Company in the United States. We next add Brazil Santos Bourbon, an old growth variety of Arabica that has become rare and highly prized. We complete the blend with two exceptional coffees from Africa, which come from the high mountain peaks in Kenya and Ethiopia, the birth place of coffee. Founder’s Blend is carefully medium-dark roasted to develop a sweet floral aroma with a complex winy acidity and a nutty bold body. This is a blend whose sum is truly greater than its parts. It will satisfy refined palates with a finish reminiscent of toasted almonds and hints of dark chocolate.

Looking into the bag you see different colored beans and smell a mildly smoky somewhat sweet aroma. I could hardly wait to brew this in the auto-drip. Here there seemed to be a milder taste than I expected. It was also naturally sweet with a chocolate aftertaste. It was a smooth enjoyable cup of coffee.

Next up was the French Press and the taste was bolder yet still smooth. There is a nice tanginess to the taste with hints of citrus. There is more of a bittersweet chocolate aftertaste too. Kim thought it paired very well with chocolate and was good with lemon, almonds and dates.

The Chemex coffee maker gave us a smooth, deeply flavored cup of coffee. It also has just the right level of acidity and a nice feel in the mouth. This would be an enjoyable everyday coffee no matter which coffee maker you use yet the taste is good enough that you would want to brew it for special occasions too.

If you are looking to try one of the Community Coffees this Founder’s Blend would be a good one to start with. We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

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

Coffee Review: Stoney Creek Roasters Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

December 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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Stoney Creek Roasters (www.stoneycreekroasters.com) is located at 83 North Main Street in the town of Cedarville Ohio. They are a small local roaster in a small town. When we received this Yirgacheffe from them we were looking forward to trying it. It is both Organic and Fair Trade.

You may think we are crazy but when we opened the bag the aroma reminded us of sweet mustard. We both like different kinds of mustard so we were pleasantly surprised. The beans looked like a medium-dark roast. We changed up our order of brewing this time so we went with the French Press first.

When brewed the aroma is somewhat sweet and spicy, but not the mustard aroma we first smelled. The taste is complex; spicy and bright with a lingering bitter-sweetness. The flavor seems to hit the tip of the tongue and then spreads out over it. Kim thought it paired very well with lemon, cinnamon and almonds.

Next we used the auto-drip and there is a nice dark color in the pot. The flavors were somewhat milder but they linger giving a nice aftertaste. The spiciness is there and we found ourselves talking about what we tasted and trying to figure out the flavor profile. Kim thought it was good with peanut butter, chocolate and fruit.

Lastly we used the Chemex coffee maker for brewing. The taste is smooth and seems to fill the mouth. The taste is cleaner and we thought there was a touch of clove. The aftertaste lasted longer and was brighter. We both liked the complex taste of this coffee. It seemed to change somewhat with the different brewers.

We found ourselves talking about this coffee long after our cups were empty. It is a very intriguing cup of coffee. We looked forward to each brewing method and tasting. We are looking forward to sharing it with friends. I think we liked it best in the French Press, but we would give it two thumbs up with any brewing method.

If you like Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee or want to try one, we encourage you to try this one from Stoney Creek Roasters; we think you will like it. You’ll also be supporting a local roaster trying to make a positive difference in the world. We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

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

Coffee Review: Boston Stoker’s Costa Rican La Minita

December 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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This was one of the coffees that we cupped when we stopped at the Boston Stoker (www.bostonstoker.com) coffee shop in Troy Ohio. It is described as having a sweet aroma, full body, balanced acidity and a clean aftertaste. I can tell you we were impressed with the taste when we cupped it and we were looking forward to brewing it at home.

It has a good strong aroma from the bag that is somewhat sweet, with hints of chocolate. When it was brewing in the auto-drip Kim could smell the aroma upstairs. The taste is bright with a mild to medium acidity. The flavor seems to go over the front half of the tongue. It seemed to have a touch of citrus, with a medium to full body. Kim thought it paired very good with both chocolate and vanilla.

There seems to be a somewhat nutty aroma after grinding the beans. In the French Press the flavors and body were fuller and deeper. The taste of lemon is more pronounced. The coffee is little sweet and a little tart, but very balanced. Kim was eating oatmeal bread toast with peanut butter and cherry jelly and thought they paired well with the taste of the coffee.

After brewing with the Chemex coffee maker you get a clean smooth taste with a touch of citrus. There is a lingering tartness, not overly tart but there. It is almost as if the coffee is sweet and sour. I’ll bet it would make a good iced coffee. Here the flavor seems almost to the back of the mouth. All the flavors mixed well and taste very good. Kim thought it tasted good with almonds, figs, dates and apricots.

This La Minita from Boston Stoker is a very good tasting cup of coffee. We enjoyed drinking it and sharing it with friends. The reaction from our friends was very good too. If you would like to try a new coffee for the holiday’s we suggest you give this Costa Rican La Minita a try. We think you will like it.

We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. When you are travelling remember to look for local coffee roasters to visit. You might find an unexpected gem like we did. Until next time remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Coffee Review: Buddy Brew Coffee’s Brazil Cerrado

December 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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Kim and I received this coffee recently for brewing and reviewing purposes and man, is there a good aroma coming out of the bag! We were looking forward to brewing this coffee. There is a picture of a dog on the label and we found that kind of humorous because my father in-law has a black lab named Buddy. When we visit my father in-law and I grind coffee beans Buddy likes to come in the kitchen and smell the beans.

This Brazil Cerrado from Buddy Brew Coffee (www.buddybrew.com) is a full city roast. They also put the roast date on the bag and we appreciate that. We wish more roasters did that. The aroma is kind of nutty and chocolaty with a little smokiness. Once brewed in the auto-drip the aroma is milder. The coffee has a nice taste that fills the mouth. The flavor is kind of sweet and chocolate. Kim thought it paired really well with chocolate and almonds.

Brewed in the Chemex coffee maker the aroma is somewhat sweet and smoky. There seems to be a more even feel to the coffee. It almost seems bright on the tip of the tongue. Kim thought it paired good to very good with both lemon and cinnamon. This is a good cup of coffee.

The French Press brew was very enjoyable. The body of the coffee is fuller and heavier. The flavors are more pronounced and they seemed to last a good long time. The nutty and chocolate flavors come out better. The more we drank this coffee the more we liked it. There is even a hint of smoke but not too much.

I also tried this Brazil Cerrado in the Clever Coffee Dripper and thought I detected a bit of citrus. This coffee has a low acidity and just a good deep flavor. The mixture of deep chocolate and nut stand out. If you like Brazilian coffees or you would like to try one, we encourage you to try this Brazil Cerrado from Buddy Brew Coffee.

This coffee kind of sneaks up on you and you find yourself simply enjoying a good cup of coffee. The more we drank it the more we liked it. We have a couple of friends who are looking forward to trying this Brazil Cerrado. I’ll have to save some to take back for the next time we visit my father in-law. I’m sure him and Buddy will enjoy it! We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Coffee Review: Specialty Java’s New York New York Blend

November 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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We still look forward to getting coffee in the mail. It’s like getting a birthday or Christmas present and opening the package. We like to squeeze the bag and smell the aroma. Then we like to open the bag and look at the beans and move them around a little and smell the aroma again. We thought they had a little bit of a chocolate aroma. Kim likes to taste a bean to get some of the flavor. She thought the dark bean in this blend was bittersweet and the light bean had a little spice and herb flavor.

After all of that we were looking forward to trying this New York New York Blend from Specialty Java (www.specialtyjava.com). It is described as a medium-dark roast combining SHB Central American, South American and Indonesian beans to create a truly unique, high impact cup. They also put the roast date on the package which we appreciate. This helps you to know how fresh the coffee is and this coffee was fresh when we received it.

First up was the auto-drip and there is a nice aroma from the brewed coffee. We like to use the auto-drip for reviews and convenience because the majority of coffee drinkers only use an auto-drip. It has a good dark color in the pot. It has somewhat of a bright, tart aftertaste and a medium body. We were looking forward to having more of this coffee.

Next up was the French Press and the ground beans have a good aroma. It seems to have a darker earthy taste and slightly fuller body. The aftertaste seems to hit the front half of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. With each sip you want a little more.

The third brewer we used was the Chemex coffee maker and here the distinct flavors of this blend came out. There was a mildly sweet aroma as we poured the dark coffee into our cups. The flavor seems to hit the tip of the tongue and then roll over the sides leaving you with an earthy, slightly smoky taste. The bright tart finish was very pleasing. This was a very enjoyable cup of coffee.

Kim thought it paired well with chocolate and good with lemon, cinnamon peanuts and dates. It was o.k. with vanilla and almonds. This New York New York Blend was good in the morning and afternoon and with desert. It is a good all around coffee that everyone enjoyed drinking.

If you are looking for a new roaster to try during the holidays we encourage you to try this New York New York Blend from Specialty Java. We think you will enjoy it. We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

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

Coffee Review: Cafe Volio Founder’s Blend

November 18, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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I started to tell you about our trip to the West Side Market. If you are ever in or near Cleveland, Ohio it is well worth your time to stop there. The Café Volio coffee shop is tucked in the produce section of the market. We met one of the representatives of Café Volio and talked with him.

They only roast and sell Costa Rican coffee. They have been in business since 1938 and you can learn more about them at: www.cafevolio.com. At their stand they have a little machine and they give away free samples. Let me tell you that coffee is good, real good. It was a cool day and that little cup of coffee started our visit at the market in a good way.

We were drinking the Founder’s Blend and it comes in both whole bean and ground. It is a medium-dark roast with a deep dark color. Our first brew was in the auto-drip. There is a deep dark color to this coffee, but it is not over roasted. It has a smooth taste with some bittersweet chocolate undertones. There’s also a hint of tartness.

We then tried the coffee brewed in the Chemex coffee maker. You see this deep dark color and yet the aroma is somewhat mild. It has a smooth, full body and it tasted bright on the sides of the tongue and the front of the palette. Along with the bittersweet chocolate we thought we noticed a little spiciness too.

The French Press was up last and the bittersweet flavor stands out. The color of the brewed coffee is so dark that we were surprised at how smooth it tasted. The mixture of bittersweet chocolate, spices and tartness is a very good combination. Kim thought it paired well with chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon.

If you have read any of our reviews you know we like to share coffee with our friends. Sometimes we give beans away and sometimes we grind the beans and give the ground coffee away. Other times we have friends over to drink coffee and sometimes we take coffee and a brewer to a party to share it. Usually we ask friends if they would like to take some coffee home. Each of our friends that tried this coffee liked it.

If you have never tried Costa Rican coffee before or want to try a different coffee we suggest you try the Founder’s Blend from Café Volio. We think you will like it. We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time, remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Coffee Review: Kicking Horse Coffee’s Three Sisters Blend

November 10, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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We have been doing some traveling and have been able to try some pretty good coffee and visit some good coffee shops. Trying new coffee and visiting new shops doesn’t get old for us. We were looking forward to trying this Three Sisters Blend from Kicking Horse Coffee (www.kickinghorsecoffee.com). It is our first coffee from a Canadian roaster and hopefully not our last. No, we didn’t make it out to British Columbia but we would like to visit there. Especially during hockey season.

Three Sisters Blend is described as a triple punch of light, medium and dark flavors. They use a medley of Indonesian, Central and South American beans to make up the blend. It is a fair trade, shade grown organic coffee. It comes in a can made of recycled steel. If you live near Kicking Horse you can get the can refilled. They offer a lot of other good sounding coffees and teas.

We started with our trusty old auto-drip and there is a sweet, somewhat acidic aroma. I thought it was interesting. There is a spicy taste, almost like pepper to me that hits the front and sides of the tongue. This coffee made me think and I was looking forward to the other brewers.

The Chemex coffee maker cleaned up the taste and brought out more of a chocolate undertone. It also toned down or smoothed out the tartness. The coffee seemed less spicy and it tasted better as it cooled. We have started making some extra coffee and letting it cool to taste the flavor profile.

The French Press brought out more of the roast flavor and a good aftertaste. That spicy flavor is there, but not so much pepper. It is an interesting taste in this coffee. It had a heavier feel in the mouth but we still think it has a medium body.

I tried it a couple of times in the Clever Coffee Dripper and enjoyed each cup. Kim thought it went well with chocolate, cherries and dates and was o.k. with vanilla, cinnamon and almonds. She didn’t like it paired with lemon because it made it too tart. Overall we and our friends liked this Three Sisters Blend. If you are adventurous want to try an intriguing coffee from a Canadian roaster we encourage you to give this one a try. We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Coffee Review: Cafe Volio Costa Rican

November 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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While on vacation recently Kim and I went to the West Side Market in Cleveland Ohio. We had a very good time. If you like farmers markets you would love this place. There are a lot of vendors and a lot of good food to try. Even if you are not familiar with Cleveland or urban driving the market is easy to get to. It is well worth a side trip.

One of the vendors we found tucked in among the produce was Volio Coffee (www.cafevolio.com). This spot is a hidden gem and is the only coffee among the produce vendors. They only roast and sell Costa Rican coffee. You can purchase whole bean or ground. While you talk with their representative you can enjoy a free cup of fresh made coffee too! We will be brewing and reviewing that style of coffee later, but let me tell you it was………

When we got home Kim wanted to try their light roast coffee first. It is 100% Costa Rican Arabica Coffee. The aroma coming from the auto-drip was good.  It spread throughout the kitchen and nearby rooms. The coffee had a bright, tart, citrus like taste. It was a little acidic but smooth with a light body. This coffee gets your attention in a good way.

Next up was the Chemex coffee maker and here the tartness was evened out. The citrus undertones are more pronounced and we thought it could almost make you pucker. The aftertaste lingers toward the back of the roof of the mouth. I made a little extra to try when it cooled down because we wanted to taste the flavor profile. Both of us thought this Costa Rican light roast would make an excellent cold or iced coffee.

Finally we used the French Press and the body seems fuller here. There is a natural sweetness and a good roast flavor. There is a touch of citrus and slight tartness. Kim thought this brew tasted good with both lemon curd and almonds. I don’t normally drink light roasts, but I was glad we tried this one. It has a good flavor and is one we would drink again.

If you like light roasts or want to try one for the first time we suggest you give this one a try. We don’t think you will be disappointed. We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Coffee Tasting Party

September 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews, Coffee Shop Reviews | 5 Comments
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What do Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica, Haiti, Mexico, and Nicaragua all have in common? They are all countries where coffee beans are grown. Recently we had the privilege of sharing some coffee from each of these countries with some family and friends. We actually tried a couple more coffees too! It would be the first intentional coffee tasting party for us. Man did we have fun. We have already had another and have plans for more in the near future.

Before the party I asked the host if I could bring some different coffees and brew them a couple of different ways so we could try something new. You see I come by teaching naturally. I like to take opportunities to teach whenever I can. I am also a lifelong learner and I think that one of the best ways to continue to learn is to teach about what you are learning. My wife and I have been learning about the roasting, grinding, brewing and tasting of coffee. I wanted to share some of that knowledge and coffee with some family and friends. So I had a plan to share about grinding, brewing and tasting one specific roasters coffee.

Hemisphere Coffee Roasters (www.hemispherecoffees.com) provided us with coffee. Their motto is “coffee with a mission.” We’ve reviewed some of their other coffees before. They are involved with direct trade with the coffee farmers and this works out better than fair trade. They care about improving the lifestyles of the indigenous coffee farmers. They have also started a non-profit agency to assist the coffee growers in Latin America called Care Cup International (www.carecupinternational.com). I encourage you to check out both sites.

Well Kim and I stopped in Mechanicsburg at the Hemisphere Coffee Roasters shop to meet Paul and Grace who started this ministry/business. We had a good time talking with them and getting to know them. We tried some coffee and they gave us some samples to give away and to brew and little cups to use. We appreciate their helpfulness and generosity! We hope to get back up there again on one of our trips.

None of the people at the picnic own or use a grinder or French Press. They usually buy coffee that is on sale in the grocery store. That has changed now. First I showed them how easy it is to grind whole beans. Then I made the same coffee in an auto-drip and French Press. We tasted the auto-drip first and then the Press. A couple of people weren’t sure if they liked the Press, but they did like the coffee in auto-drip.

We were drinking coffee in little cups so I kept making coffee to taste. I would pass around the bag of whole beans and ask them how they liked the aroma. A few people actually ate a bean of each coffee. Then I would let them smell the aroma after the beans were ground and again after the coffee was poured into their cup. I would ask them to try to describe the aroma.

After we sipped some coffee I would ask them to try to describe what they tasted. It was a lot of fun listening to their descriptive words. Things like; I’m not sure, fruitiness, tingly, smooth, heavy, and full were used at different times. We even tried some Mexican decaf and one person who doesn’t like decaf liked it and thought it would be good in the French Press.

Overall the Papua New Guinea and Menno Blend were favorites. They are smooth, flavorful, and naturally sweet with a good earthy aroma. The Haitian coffee was liked too. Two people liked the dark roast Nicaraguan Maragojype the best. They thought it was a deeper, bolder flavor. All but one person liked the Mexican decaf.

We had a great time talking and tasting coffee. We gave away sample bags of coffee that we received from HCR. I also ground beans of each coffee we tried and put them in baggies for each taster to take home and enjoy. It was a lot of fun our pleasure to introduce people to the good coffees of Hemisphere Coffee Roasters. We truly hope it sends some business their way and helps their “coffee with a mission” grow. We received the coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversation!

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

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