Spring Tastes

It happened. After a Winter that seemed like it would never end my taste has officially switched back to lighter more tea-like coffees. This is in spite of a sub freezing night in mid-April. I assume my theory was correct and my taste desires do go through a change along with the seasons.

I am looking forward to some great lighter Ethiopians again this Summer but there are three things I want to check off my “must try” list this season.

1) The Cold Bruer is one of the newer entrants into the ever growing iced-coffee space. I have not used one yet but they look really awesome.

2) I am also excited to see what roasters follow Stumptown into the iced coffee fray. Their appropriately named Cold Brew seems to grow in popularity every year and I admittedly have never grabbed a bottle. It seems most Whole Foods carry it.

3) Blue Bottle, who recently bought Handsome Coffee and Tonx has an iced coffee kit so you can make their famous New Orleans-Styled Iced Coffee at home.

The key to great iced coffee is brewing the coffee cold and slow…real slow. I played around with flash brewing last year but I didn’t seem to quite get it the way I wanted. Like great hot coffee, cold coffee shouldn’t need milk or anything else added to it to taste great. It should stand up on it’s own1. Without adding anything to the coffee it should have a sweeter, less bitter taste than most iced coffees people have probably had from Starbucks and the like. But, by adding a little cream or milk to a great iced coffee you can really accentuate the natural sweetness.


  1. I do typically add a little cream to my iced coffee.  ↩

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One Month Coffee Embargo Update

So, that one month coffee embargo? Yeah...um, that didn't happen. After moving I literally couldn't find my roaster for a few days. Let's just say I wasn't as good as my wife was about labeling boxes properly. The good news is I found out. The bad news is I haven't had a chance to fire it up yet. Two snowstorms, a wind storm, a dog's operation and other things associated with move have severely cut into my potential roasting time.

Its too easy to find excuses to not do things. Even things that I find fun. I have always been the type of person who can't fully enjoy things unless "everything else" is done first. The problem with this train of thought is that "everything else" will rarely ever be finished.

I know it will only take one roast to get me hooked again and that is part of the reason why I have been delaying. I truly don't have the desire to bee hooked just yet. I have a list of things I want to get done first and I am committed to not letting that list get too long....fingers crossed.

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Your Own Ceremony

At the end of a recent post I posed this question…

Do a majority of people not know what "good coffee" tastes like or are the minority so blinded by their passion for making coffee more "perfect" that they have lost sight of what is really important about a cup of coffee?

Unfortunately, it is one of those questions with no answers. But, I have come to a conclusion of sorts and the answer lies in the oldest of all coffee preparations. The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

As great as Ethiopian coffee can be most of what they drink in Ethiopia is not that great. Because they can get more money selling their best it means they tend to drink some of the worst. The leftovers. This doesn’t mean they don’t take the time and care about how it is prepared. They go to great lengths during their ceremonies to roast, grind and brew their coffee. Is it up to the standards many of is try to achieve? Not even close. Do they take great pride in and enjoy the process? Absolutely.

So I ask, which is the better coffee? The “bad tasting” coffee prepared during a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony or a “perfect” pour-over at your local coffee shop. Can’t they both be good in their own way? Whether it is a French press or a K-cup, everyone has their “go-to” coffee. It may not be great coffee. I may not want to drink it. But it isn’t my coffee ceremony. It’s yours.

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Peter Giuliano on Joe Rogan's Podcast

I am always amazed at the diverse topics and guests Joe Rogan has on his awesome podcast. I was delighted that he had Peter Giuliano on recently for over two hours of coffee talk. It is a great listen. The awesome part is that a shit ton of Rogan's listeners who had never heard of Peter or the SCAA were exposed to both this week. Joe Rogan's podcast is one of the biggest out there and this is a big win for specialty coffee.

Go listen.

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UP Coffee

If you have a Jawbone UP band then you should definitely check out Jawbone's new app UP Coffee. Actually, even if you don't have the UP Band you should check out the UP Coffee app. It's free in the Apple App Store and it is a neat little tool for tracking your coffee intake. If you have the UP band then it integrates with your sleep tracking to give you a better idea of how your body handles caffeine. It is in it's infancy but Jawbone hopes to make the app better over time as they accumulate more user data.

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Self Imposed Roasted Coffee Embargo

We are moving into our new house this week so hopefully my posting frequency will pick back up again soon once the move is complete. Although...is a move into a house really ever "complete"? With the move I think it may be a good time to reign in my coffee spending for a little while. It can get a bit out of hand at times and with the inevitable expenses of a new home I think it would be prudent. Plust it gives me an excuse to roast more. For all of March I am only going to drink coffee I roast myself.

Now, I know home roasting can never come close to what a very skilled and experienced roaster can do on a commercial roaster. But, what I hope to do is dial in my roasts to create a taste that me and my wife like. In the end, that is what matters the most.

I started roasting last year and really enjoy doing it but I have not done much in the past 6 months. This little "test" is going to force me to get back into it even more.

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Sweet Maria's "Launches" Podcast

Thompson Owen, owner of Sweet Maria’s has launched a podcast. So far it has been great. Thompson basically hits record while he is traveling and says whatever is on his mind. He has already discussed coffee sourcing, Ethiopian dialect and birds.

Thompson is the “Alton Brown” of the home roasting community. His knowledge and opinions are extremely valuable and I would put his knowledge up agains most anyone else’s. The biggest difference between Thompson and Alton is definitely in their personalities. Thompson is definitely not the “showman” that Alton is, but, despite his socially awkward1 demeanor his passion for coffee shines through.

The Sweet Maria’s Youtube Channel is a library of amazing information. Their site is a jumbled mess of what amounts to probably the largest online resource for coffee education. What Thompson has done with Sweet Maria’s is impressive and it is probably the most widely used source for green beans for home roasters. But, what Thompson has giving the coffee community on his site is something special and I thank him for it.

So, why the quotation marks in the title around the word launches? Because in classic Thompson style he basically said “oh hey, yeah so I am recording some stuff now and its on the site if you want it”. Do yourself a favor and consume whatever he puts out.


  1. Thompson’s words, not mine.  ↩

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From Tanzania To Chicago

I recently learned that an old buddy had started a coffee company. Meru Coffee Farms is a small direct trade coffee company located right in Chicago. The beans they source come from Mt. Meru in Tanzania. I talk a lot about the story behind a coffee being one of the major components of the overall experience. Meru Coffee definitely has a story and let’s just say it is a long way from Tanzania to Chicago.

It is likely you have never had Tanzanian coffee. You don’t come across them often. Sometimes the problem with Tanzanian coffee is that they pick out the peaberries to sell specifically because of the premium they are able to get on those beans. Some believe this has hurt the overall quality of coffee coming out of the region because farmers don’t have to worry as much about their entire crop since they know buyers will likely pay more for just the peaberry.

With all that said, my first experience with Meru Coffee Farms was great. Oliver sources his beans directly from the Mt. Meru Specialty Coffee Grower’s Association. In fact it was near Meru that Oliver first got a taste of what the subregion had to offer in terms of coffee quality.

The coffee I ordered from Meru is their Maasai Espresso. The first thing I did was try this coffee using my Moka and was stunned at the sweetness of it. It was by far one of the best coffees I have had using my Moka. My wife concurred. I also used it with my Aeropress and Kone.1 What amazed me was how much better I liked it using the Moka so I tried it as an Americano. Bingo. This was my favorite.

I think what I like best about this coffee is its versatility. I usually try most coffees I acquire in my Moka just to see the taste difference between it and my other brewing methods. This was one of the few coffees that handled the Moka very well. It also held up great using a traditional drip brewer.

Oliver asked me to compare the Maasai Espresso to the best coffee I have ever had but what makes that so difficult is that the Maasai Espresso is unlike any coffee I have had. It truly is one of those “you just have to try it” coffees. I am looking forward to trying some of their other offerings as well.

Note: Meru Coffee Farms was also selected by InsideHook as its Coffee of Choice.


  1. All my other brewing devices are packed up for our family move to a new house  ↩

Oliver and Hendry on the top of Mount Meru.

Oliver and Hendry on the top of Mount Meru.

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Bullet. Proof.

I shared my thoughts on Bulletproof Coffee and lately I have seen it’s popularity continue to grow. None, however, come with as much “fire power” as Chris Arnold from the I Need Coffee Blog. HisThe blog's posts on coffee are very well respected and widely read. I was beyond excited to see them not only discuss Bulletproof Coffee but also approve of it.

This Bulletproof Coffee Recipe might sound weird, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the flavor and how you feel, if you just give it a try.

Chris also describes the common explanation I give people when they ask how Bulletproof makes me feel versus a regular cup of coffee in the morning.

This Bulletproof Coffee Recipe might sound weird, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the flavor and how you feel, if you just give it a try.

And that is the hard part. Getting people to try it. There are a lot of excuses not to. Too time consuming to make. Too many calories. Where do I get MCT Oil? Blah Blah. Just give it a try but for heaven’s sake at least use some decent coffee.

As for the queasy feeling some people experience…try eating a little protein before having your coffee the first few times.

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Dr. Bunsen's Coffee Experiment

As is obvious from my posts near the end of last year and into this year, I have been thinking a lot about the subjectivity of good coffee and how people decide on what they perceive as good coffee. In a post I embarrassingly just got around to reading, Dr. Bunsen1 decided to perform an experiment to see whether guests could decipher between coffee brewed according to the set of standards the specialty coffee illuminati have deemed as standard. Bean freshness, grinder and brew method.

A frequent assertion is that numerous variables must be carefully considered to brew a good cup of coffee. I wanted to know if this premise was true as humans are really good at creating their own reality distortion fields.

The results may surprise you and further fuel the question I want answered…do a majority of people not know what “good coffee” tastes like or are the minority so blinded by their passion for making coffee more “perfect” that they have lost sight of what is really important about a cup of coffee?


  1. I follow Dr. Bunsen’s blog and twitter account and I don’t know a third of what he is talking about but I love the way he talks about it.  ↩

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