Archived entries for coffee

Yum, Boulder!

The Foothills

I remember the foothills were first thing that my friend Jay mentioned when he spoke of Boulder. He moved to Boulder somewhat recently, a place he had dreamed about while he was working in Florida with Mike and me. We’ve tried repeatedly to get Jay to consider moving to Seattle, and while he says he likes it here in Seattle, he always goes back to the sunny Colorado skies.

As the days got darker and darker here, my family got more and more excited about visiting Boulder. We finally took a trip out to that hippie-tech startup-sunny base of the Rockies last week.

Jay told us that he was going to make us French Toast repeatedly. I didn’t think much of it until I had a taste of the bread he made the night before. It was the loaf form of an english muffin. You know how an english muffin is soft and airy, yet it has that certain texture that can’t be described except for it being perfect for soaking up butter and jam. Yeah that’s it.

I’m waiting for the recipe. :)

Of course while in the downtown, we looked for coffee. We were lucky to befriend a nice woman (a transplant originally from Jersey City!), who told us about Boxcar coffee. They roast their coffee on premises, oh my god they do a good job. As another plus, they were cool and friendly, unlike some baristas in other coffee houses we visited.

Finally, we took a visit to Spruce Confections, where I had the loveliest chocolate croissant. I would put it in the top three I’ve ever eaten. Yes, that good! We didn’t stick around to listen to the young man playing the violin for very long, but I loved the sun and violin on the cafe table.

So my vote – Boulder is worth a visit!

Spreading the Love – Coffee Grounds in the Garden

I’m talking in this case about spreading espresso love on the garden!

My little bee helps out one warm spring day.

We got our grounds from Caffe Ladro in Fremont. They had so many bags of grounds available that when I asked if I could take a couple, the barista enthusiastically said “take seven!”.

I’m sure most of you know that coffee grounds are good for use in the garden, but do you know why? Here are the details:

1) Nitrogen Plants love nitrogen, and coffee grounds have a lot to give. Nitrogen specifically is great for building good leafy structure in plants, so veggies like lettuce will especially benefit from this amendment.

2) Free In case you haven’t noticed, a lot of fertilizers and amendments are rather expensive! Why not use this brown gold in your garden?

3) Organic I’d like to encourage you to drink organic / fair trade coffee, as well as use it in your garden, because what you put into the soil is what you get out in the form of healthy veggies and fruits. When possible, please steer away from petroleum-based fertilizers.

We secretly switched your normal coffee..

The "Custom Blend"

I’m no stranger to Zoka coffee, as they’re only 2 blocks away from my house. Their coffee is GOOD.

However, some employees that work there started mildly suggesting a single origin coffee to Mike a few weeks ago. No thank you, he’d say, I’m sticking to my Fitzroy. Mind you, Fitzroy is a blend.

I had to get some food shopping done yesterday, and on my way back I decided to get a pound from Zoka for the next morning. No Fitzroy, as expected. I got the barista’s attention when I said “God, what was I thinking, decaf?!” while grabbing the decaf from the counter near the register and running back to their table of coffees to try and pick a new flavor. While trying to pick something new, the barista started grilling me about Fitzroy. Why do you like it? Did you ever try a single origin? “Single origin is where IT’S AT!” I basically said I like its body (it has a very full, rich creaminess to it). Plus I added, “My husband very distinctly said he does not think single origin’s where it’s at.”

This barista dude got a determined look on his face. He took out a paper bag and wrote out Custom Blend.

“I love fucking with people.” He told me that they had recently screwed around with their manager during a cupping, and had laced her cup with Starbucks beans. She knew something was off, and couldn’t quite put words to her taste buds – but finally her coworkers ‘fessed up.

So I did it, I did the Folgers switch with my man. But with gourmet coffee.

Mike was mildly excited about finding a custom blend on the counter the next morning. Upon grinding the beans, he said “This smells different.” I felt a little wary of the dénouement for this switcheroo. Will he get testy once he finds out he’s been deceived?**

But all was well, we both loved our coffee. So, we have a winner, the Sumatra Permatoa Gayo! Thanks you nameless barista dude – I’ll tell you what happened the next time I see you.

For those who are curious, here’s the description of the coffee as listed on Zoka’s site.

This is not your mother’s Sumatra. Cultivated in the nutrient-rich, volcanic soil of Sumatra, this coffee from the Permata Gayo Coop in the Aceh province of Northern Sumatra is unlike any other Sumatra we’ve tasted. The wood and earth notes of your typical Sumatras are gone and replaced by a delicate orange peel up front, followed by blackberry jam, and finishing with sassafras.

**As a side note, a long time ago I switched Mike’s regular coffee with decaf. That wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be.

Kauai Coffee Visit

Coffee by the sea

A few weeks ago, I went on my first visit to a coffee farm. While on Kauai with my family we visited Kauai Coffee, which isn’t too far from Poipu (a town on the south of the island known for hot, sunny weather).

Coffee flowers

I bent over to inhale the perfume from these flowers, and trust me, the smell is intoxicating. Very similar to jasmine.

The coffee tickler

There was a fairly in-depth self tour around part of the coffee plantation. A number of the facts were very interesting. For example, the electricity used on the farm is generated from waterfalls elsewhere on the island. I also found out about the “coffee tickler”, a machine that gently flicks little arms past the coffee bushes to take off the riper berries.

There was, of course, a coffee sampling area in the visitor center. I went wild, and tried almost every one of the dark blends. It was followed by the most wonderful caffeine rush.

The gorgeous landscape for growing coffee

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