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