Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rome In San Francisco? Illy Iced Coffee

Illy cools off San Francisco (wait - it's only 70 degrees today). Anyway, it was welcome a treat!

Illy-issimo is bellisimo!

Introducing illy issimo, a bold and energizing new interpretation of the classic illy taste in three Italian espresso-style flavors perfect for on-the-go refreshment. All natural with no added preservatives, issimo is a sophisticated blend of authentic espresso coffee with just a hint of sweetness. Enjoy it chilled, anytime of day or night. * (From Illy's website)

(Photo courtesy of Ms. Mary)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hot Stock (Pun Intended) Dunkin' Donuts Goes Public Today

You know that I love coffee. And you probably know that I love donuts. Now a company that offers both is my kinda corporation. A lot of people have been waiting on this IPO for months. I'm not fortunate enough to live near a Dunkin' Donuts (or maybe it's fortunate in my case), but, at any rate, this is going to heat up Wall Street.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Presents "Guatemala Santa Clara"

I have never had a bad cup of coffee from Stumptown Roasters. Founded by Duane Sorenson, and based in Portland, there has been a lot of talk lately amongst coffee purists about the fact that Stumptown has gone "corporate." Stumptown continues to deliver the same great beans hence amazing cup of coffee as it has in the past.

This recent limited offering of Guatemala Santa Clara is one of the best Guatemalan coffees I've enjoyed. It reminds me of another of my very favorite Guatemalan coffees which is only offered once a year from another "corporate" coffee company in the Northwest (think Seattle - starts with "S").

Any-whoo, I can't think of a better way to start a Wednesday morning. It is mild and flavorful with chocolate undertones.

And it's one of their "Direct Trade" coffees. Nothing like a friendly handshake to seal the cup.

From Stumptown Coffee Roasters:

Guatemala Santa Clara
"Last year, we briefly offered Santa Clara as a Single Origin Espresso. This year, we’d like to introduce Ricardo ‘El Tigre’ Zelaya (Luis Pedro’s cousin) from Antigua, Guatemala as one of our newest Direct Trade relationships. Ricardo’s Bourbon and Caturra varietals are cultivated under shade trees which allow a strictly controlled amount of sunshine to reach the coffee plants. He processes his hand-picked cherry at his Santa Clara mill. It is washed in a traditional wet mill with crystal clear water, and then patiently sun dried for days on patios."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review: Maestro Plus Grinder by Baratza


an eminent composer, teacher, or conductor of music: Toscanini and other great maestros.
(initial capital letter) a title of respect used in addressing or referring to such a person.
a master of any art: the maestros of poetry.

The Maestro Plus Conical Burr Coffee Grinder by Baratza definitely lives up to its name. I have owned and operated many grinders over the years. And some have been very good grinders. The Maestro Plus is superb. Delivers on every level. I was able to finally get a grind so fine (at home) that it could be used to make the perfect espresso.

The "Conical Burr" offers a grind from fine (for espresso) to coarse (coarse enough for my Paula Deen percolator)

A front pulse button option which allows for a direct espresso grind

Forty (that's 4-zero) steps of adjustment and a 60 second timer

Easy to operate and easy to clean

Oh, and did I mention how great it looks?

I think I'll have friends over for coffee this weekend. It's the perfect opportunity to show off my new grinder.

For more details and ordering information, visit:

*As defined by

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Roll Out Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer!*

Summer time and the living is easy. Really easy with the Keurig Brewer. You can make Perfect Iced Tea with the push of a button.

Celestial Seasonings Sweet Peach Black Tea K-Cup brews up a delicious cup of ice tea that offers the refreshment of iced tea with just the right amount of sweet peach.

The perfect afternoon "perk" me up.

How to Make A Perfect Iced Tea with the Keurig (TM) Brewer:

1. Fill a tall (16 ounce) cup with ice and place under brewer

2. Choose the 6 ounce or 8 ounce button

3. Brew directly over ice.

Stir and Enjoy!

*"Lazy Days of Summer" by Nat King Cole (1963)

Green Mountain Coffee provided me with samples of Sweet Peach Black Tea for the purposes of preparing this review.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Over Coffee With Leslie Wolford

Leslie Wolford is a 20 year partner with Starbucks in Seattle.

Her title is Senior Green Coffee Specialist. Which means she knows a lot about selecting the best beans. Leslie is responsible for ensuring a great cup of coffee happening in your cup.

Leslie moved to Seattle in 1991 from the Midwest. She always liked coffee but didn’t really discover coffee until she arrrived in Seattle. She had initially planned to take six months off and just learn about Seattle. Instead, she decided to apply for a job at Starbucks to hopefully get a better understanding of the culture and everything that’s lovely about Seattle. She was attracted to Starbucks from the "get-go." She loved the vibe in the store, the comfort and the interaction.

Leslie began her career with Starbucks as a barista. She stayed in retail for about 3/12 years. Then she moved on to "roaster," a job she would enjoy for another five or so years. Then it was on to the "coffee planning department" for a number of years. Finally, she got the opportunity join Starbucks Coffee Department which is where she rests her mug today.

When I spoke with Leslie last week, she informed me that “Brewing is a very individual thing." That morning she was tasting Jamaica Blue Mountain (Starbucks Reserve TM) through the Clover Brewer. Clover(TM) brews a really clean cup of coffee.

Starbucks has long-term relationships with all of their suppliers so they’re only buying and sourcing the best coffees out there. They're looking at the supply chain; analyzing it for flavor and quality. Then they move towards buying the coffee.

They don't just say "it's good." They taste it again. And again. Setting up a "roast profile."

For Leslie, Coffee is Life. The rest - just details.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Starbucks Reserve ™ Coffees – “Exotic, Rare and Exquisite”

This morning, I had the opportunity to speak with Leslie Wolford, Senior Green Coffee Specialist for Starbucks, about a rare offering from Starbucks Reserve ™.

You heard it here first.
Jamaica Blue Mountain.

"Starbucks Reserve™ coffees are available at select stores as whole bean in half-pound packages and fresh by the cup through the Clover® brewing method. The suggested retail price for a half-pound of whole bean starts at $30.00. A tall (12 fl. oz.) cup of brewed coffee starts at $4.50.

Starbucks Reserve™ coffees are available for a limited time only while the supply lasts and new Starbucks Reserve™ coffees will be introduced every few months. For a full list of Starbucks Reserve™ coffee stores, please visit:"

I got a special “preview” of this year’s Jamaica Blue Mountain offering. I tested it using both the pour over Chemex(TM) method and the Aeropress.

It is smooth and balanced with notes of chocolate, which are very pleasing to the palate. Enjoy this coffee any time of day. I didn’t even use cream or sugar because I didn’t want to miss out on any of the great taste. Harmony in a cup.

Stay tuned for more of my conversation with Leslie Wolford.

Release date for Starbucks Reserve™ Jamaica Blue Mountain is July 12, 2011.

Make this a summer to remember.