Saturday, July 16, 2016

It's been a while

Yes, I'm still around. Yes, I'm still drinking coffee. Yes, I'm still exploring new beans and new coffee shops. I'll get some new posts up soon. It's been a while.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Barnie's Colombian La Tolva

It has been quite a while since I've had Barnie coffee. Ever since Trader Joe's opened up that's been my go-to coffee place. Barnie's is a little further across town and more expensive. The more expensive is an understatement. Well over a year ago they took out the loose beans and only sell pre-sealed bags. Generally loose coffee was $9-$15/pound (except for expensive stuff). The bags are still around $9-$15 each, but are only 10 ounces! Six ounces less for the same price. Thanks, but no thanks! Anyway, I splurged and got some for old time sake.

The Barnie's Colombian La Tolva beans are clean looking medium roast. Good aroma to them, maybe a little on the strong side, forecasting what's to come. The aroma isn't as complex as I like to get from some other coffees. Packaging is the standard Barnie's foil wrapped bags, 10 ounces in case you forgot.

As I just hinted, this is STRONG coffee. In fact after taking the first sip I texted a friend to share how strong it was. I'm generally not much of a fan of strong coffee, but this is a good strong coffee. There's a consistent flavor from sip to finish, with that constant reminder that it's a STRONG coffee. What was pleasant about it was that there is not a harsh acidic aftertaste that can occur with some dark roast or strong coffees. If you like STRONG coffee, and have a good sized coffee budget, I'd recommend Barnie's Colombian La Tolva. If you're not fully committed to both of these, move on to something else.

Bottom Line Rating: 3.5/5

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tree City Coffee Roasters

I should lead off this post by admitting I am a terrible blogger. No, not because I'm not having regular updates. Yes, I drink coffee regularly, but honestly the drinking part is much more fun than writing about it. Not because I failed to respond to comments. The few I get, hint hint keep more coming, I do respond with at least a "thanks!" My faux pas is that I did not record the type of Tree City coffee I was buying!

I was in the local Ward's Supermarket, nothing really super in size about it, but great produce prices and locally family owned. I was there to buy some Sweetwater Coffee. They had so many varieties of the Sweetwater coffee that I was just getting plain frustrated. As I was about to fill up a bag I noticed a lone dispenser with Tree City Coffee Roasters. Noticing that it was locally roasted I had to get some! It literally is a mom and pop operation without any store front. They sell online and in three local supermarkets/food stores here in Gainesville, FL.

I'd describe it as a medium to medium dark roast, possibly their breakfast blend? The beans have a great aroma, not too oily and have a warm rich aroma after grinding. The coffee itself is fantastic. There's a certain smoothness to each sip, yet complex flavors that dance across your taste buds. Not acidic and a warm aftertaste that makes you want to sip over and over.

Packaging is uneventful, but to me that's of no real concern. Coffee doesn't last too long in my house and as long as I can keep it fresh for the short week or two it sits around I'm happy. The packaging is a simple brown bag with a single sticker on the front. In hind sight I wish I had written the type on the bag! Prices are $10/lb on their website with free shipping 5+ pounds and free shipping in Gainesville!

This is a great coffee that I will definitely revisit, if only to figure out what I was drinking! If you're in town or want to place an online order I would highly recommend it.

Bottom Line Rating: 4/5

Monday, June 16, 2014

Trader Joe's Kenya Peaberry

I'm back to drinking my go-to brand, Trader Joe's. On the latest trip I picked up another package of Kenya AA as well as the Trader Joe's Kenya Peaberry. The beans look like a typical peaberry and have a dark roast appearance with an oily texture. Note: The package lists this as a medium roast.

After having a few cups and exploring the flavor over a few days I can say this is a good strong earthy cup of coffee. Definitely toward the darker side of a medium roast. It's a very consistent flavor starting from the scent of the beans through the aftertaste. While this makes a very predictable cup of coffee, which can be good,  I like when coffee has some complexity to it. Something that makes you stop and think. I found myself drinking this sip after sip just going through the motions. Yes, it was good, but nothing slowed me down and made me say, wow!

In typical Trader Joe's fashion, this is another 'Limited Edition' product. The coffee is good, but when it goes bye-bye I won't necessarily miss it. There's plenty of other as-good or better coffee out there to take its place.

This is still a good cup of coffee and if you like a straight forward coffee you'll love it. But if you long for inspiration and pizazz with a mosaic of flavors in your caffeinated indulgence, just pass this one by.

Bottom Line Rating:3.5/5

Monday, June 9, 2014

Kicking Horse Z-Wrangler

No, my spring travels did not take me into Canada. I stumbled across Kicking Horse coffee shopping on Amazon looking for items to pad an order to get free shipping. Instead of buying a junk item or book that I don't really need, buy coffee! Kicking Horse seemed intriguing. Perusing their website seems to suggest they only make STRONG coffee. Their 'Kick Ass' coffee was tempting, but I wasn't ready to jump right into their extreme bold coffee, as they put it.

The beans in this coffee look like a blend of a medium and dark roast. You can see in the picture that the beans are different shades. Nothing on the packaging seems to indicate this, but it sure looks like it. There's a nice coffee aroma from the bag and a definite oiliness to the beans.

All of the Kicking Horse coffee is listed as organic and fair trade, which seems to be what I've been leaning toward recently. The website describes Z-Wrangler as, "sweet and smooth with intense body and brightness." Smooth? Wow! They must LOVE strong coffee calling this smooth. Don't get me wrong, there's certainly a smoothness to this coffee without bitterness, but if you listen carefully when tipping your mug you can hear the beans shrieking COFFEE! Z-Wrangler is a good reminder of what a strong cup of coffee tastes like. Not exactly the kind of coffee you can drink all day, unless you want a constant caffeine buzz. It's worth it; the next time I need to pad an Amazon order I might grab another bag. Their cafe in British Columbia seems like fun. Hopefully I'll get a chance to visit at some point.

Bottom Line Rating: 4/5

Monday, June 2, 2014

Riverwalk Coffee Roasters Peru La Florida

Next up on my spring travel coffee list is Riverwalk Coffee Roasters in Nashua, NH. My extended weekend primarily brought me to Concord, NH for a conference, but I flew into Boston, took a train to NYC and another train to NJ before flying back to Florida. On my travel from NH to Boston South Station, I hunted down coffee places along the route. The website looked intriguing and reviews seemed positive. I was particularly intrigued that they roast their own coffee in house. Organic and Fair Trade is a nice bonus too.

Here is their new website:
Here's their old website (Not sure how long that will work): 

The inside has a coffee cafe feel, but not the snooty hipster crowd that frequents Starbucks or other cafes. Most of the people inside seemed like working class New Englanders, definitely regulars as there was a "Cheers: NORM!" feel to the place. I drank a cup of coffee there and had a muffin. The coffee was fantastic! I don't remember much about the muffin. It was good, but then again baked good anywhere but Florida are good.

They have several roasts available. Peru La Florida brewing when I arrived. It also caught my eye because a good friend of my wife and I is from Peru, plus we live in Florida. Perfect! I would later learn that getting only one bag was a poor decision. Once I brought it home and experimented with the beans/water ratio I discovered how good this coffee was. I should have bought WAY more than one bag! The beans look rather unimpressive and resemble house coffee of moderate to poor flavor, but that it so far from reality.

All of their coffee was in brown paper bags like this. It looks like each one was hand stamped. Coffee types were written in black sharpie by someone with much better handwriting than me. The back was plain with no stories or other information.


I enjoyed it so much that I barely had enough beans left for a photo. It has a solid coffee flavor and aftertaste, but is comforting. It is a wonderfully smooth yet complex coffee. It's the kind of coffee that you just want to keep drinking all day. This is by far one of the best coffees I've review thus far and is just barely shy of that 5/5 rating. Yes, I would go as far to say that it is wicked awesome! If you're anywhere near the Nashua, NH area or can reasonably drive there, do it, just make sure you buy some for me!

Bottom Line Rating: 4.75/5

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Coffee District Colombian Something

I've had some spring travels on several ends of the east coast. Inside of a week I was in Miami then walked to Maine. No, really I was in New Hampshire and walked across a bridge into Maine. I'm pretty sure that was the my first visit to a state via walking. My trips were business, but I made to sure design some pleasure into them.

First up was my Miami visit. I was only in Miami briefly, spending most of the time in Boca Raton. After searching out coffee places in and around Boca I settled on Coffee District in Delray Beach. It seemed like an intriguing place. Somewhat coffee bar, cafe, and craft beer bar. Combining coffee and beer? A+!!! I didn't have any of their beer offerings, but tried a cup and bought a bag. When I asked what kind of beans they were I got "Uhh.... It's Colombian Something." The cup I had was good, so I'm down for some Colombian Something!

Here's the outside of the place. There's a small parking lot in the back. Coffee District is located in the Pineapple Grove Arts District, that may help some. Google Maps brought me right to their front door using their address, so you shouldn't have any problem.

The coffee was decent at the location and despite the lackluster description of "Columbian Something" The gentleman at the counter described it as a medium roast. Looking at it and the taste puts it much closer to a dark roast. The bag was white paper, no writing whatsoever, which is why there's no picture.

The coffee was had a pleasantly strong flavor. Definitely a coffee aftertaste, not overwhelming. A good cup if you enjoy that hearty coffee taste. If you're in the Delray Beach area it's worth a trip every so often. Maybe even to check out some of their beer!

Bottom Line Rating: 3.5/5