Sunday, January 29, 2012

CONQUISTADOR DARK ROAST from Henry's House of Coffee

I was dragging when I got out of bed. I've had the sniffles off and on for the last few weeks and my head felt stuffy.

Shuffled into the kitchen and poured myself a spoonful of Robitussin.

Methodically, made a pot of coffee and waited for it to brew.

Groggily, reached up and grabbed one of my favorite mugs.

Poured myself a cup with one packet of raw sugar and a tiny splash of 2 percent milk.

Sat down to check my emails.

Reached over to my cup. Took and sip. Took another sip.

Turned my attention away from my computer and back to my cup.

Whoa. This is good coffee. Strong coffee. Coffee that sneaks up on you and kick starts your engine.

Magical flavor.

I won't be taking over any countries,l but I am ready to tackle the morning!

(I may have to go back for a second cup)

*The term conquistador mostly refers to a Spanish or Portuguese adventurers who were going to conquer lands in America. (according to Wikipedia)

Henry's House of Coffee
1618 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's Complicated

I have a love/hate relationship with the coffee machine in my office. I love the fact that the firm thinks enough of us to offer freshly brewed Starbucks coffee at several stations throughout the office.

When I first arrived and saw these beautiful babies, I was impressed, to say the least. My first thought, "Wow, this is class." I mean usually the office has an automatic coffee maker or a Keurig or even a Flavia.

But, to have a great big "Cadillac" of brewers that brews - get this - one cup at a time. You can have full strength caffeinated, or half-caf, or decaf. Pretty cool, huh?

And then you can set it for short or tall or grande size cups. You can hear the beans grinding as you're preparing your cup.

It takes about a minute or so - maybe a little longer to get your "perfect" cup.

You can even smell the aroma! Ahhhhh. If you've got to work, this is the place, right?

So. . .how come every time I've used this machine there's sediment at the bottom of my cup?

Which leads me to the moral of the story - bigger isn't always better.

Have a great day - we're almost to Friday!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Bin 16" Special Selection Coffee by Fonté Coffee Roasters

There used to be a commercial with a character fish by the name of "Charlie the Tuna." He always tried to show his good taste in art and other things, and the anchor would fall to the bottom of the sea and miss him. Then the narrator would say, "We're not looking for tunas with good taste, we're looking for tunas that taste good."

Fonté Micro Roasted Coffee reminds me of that old commercial. Except that not only is it beautifully packaged, what's on the inside is even better than what is on the outside.

The first coffee I sampled was the "Bin 16" from their Special Selection. Here's how I describe it:

"Very complex for being so mellow. Lots of different flavors. Full bodied, not burnt."

In layman's terms, it's superior coffee.

From Fonté:

Bin 16
$18.50 per lb.
Possibly the finest coffee we have ever produced. You could judge this blend on the basis of price, or the exclusivity surrounding the amount produced, however the coffee itself is unquestionably outstanding. The cup boasts bright, ripe fruity notes, supported by a delightful mix of East African and Central American acidity against the backdrop of a lavish mouth feel.

* Due to limited release, Special Selection coffees are only roasted on Tuesdays. Orders placed by 12PM PST Monday will be shipped Tuesday afternoon. Orders placed after 12PM PST Monday will be shipped the following Tuesday afternoon.

More Fonté reviews coming soon. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Third Street Chai - Enjoy Hot or Cold!

If you like chai, this post is for you.

Third Street Chai offers a ready-made bottle for about $5.00.

It's a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg spices, organic black and white teas, and a touch of white chocolate.

Available at Whole Foods and other natural retailers.

Find out more at:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fonté Micro Coffee Roaster

Break out the fine China. Guess who's reviewing Fonté Micro Roasted Coffee?

Yep. You guessed it.

Stay tuned. The weekend is looking better already!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lighten Up. Hello, Blondie!

If you've visited a Starbucks store this week, you've probably noticed something new. Starbucks has rolled out its lighter roast coffee for those who prefer something lighter.

I bought a tall cup the past two mornings this week (there's a Starbucks in the bottom of my building) and it's pretty nice.

As you know, I'm a dark-roast kind of drinker, but I must say, I'm very pleased with the flavor of the Blonde Roast. It reminds me of the old "Light Note" that Starbucks used to offer. And it's sort of nice to change it up.

There will be taste testings through Saturday in Starbucks stores, so if you haven't met the newest "Siren," check her out. You'll also notice that the coffees are now arranged according to roast (i.e. Blonde, Medium and Dark Roast).

You can't say that Starbucks isn't listening. And I'm learning to switch up my coffee drinking game.

Change is good.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Queen of King Cakes - Sucre's King Cake Is Back!

Yeah, Baby!

I've heard all the raves about Sucre Bakery in New Orleans for years. And while they turn out all sorts of delicious baked goods, next to the macaroons, they may be most noted for their "King Cake."

If you don't know the story behind the "King Cake," you must "google" it. There are too many variations on the theme for me to expound here.

However, I have had at least two different varieties of King Cake from different bakeries in Louisiana. Sucre's is one-of-a-kind.

I would even dare to call it a contemporary take on King Cake. Everything from its beautiful finish (if I may use that word to describe it) to the moist texture inside puts it in a category all alone.

I especially love that it's not too sweet, extremely moist, and doesn't make a mess when I eat it. The cake I sampled had no filling and it didn't need it!

Order yours today. You might even be able to get it in time for the Saints game this weekend.

Who Dat, Say Dat, Sucre Can't Do Dat?

"World famous Sucre King Cake. Voted 2011 BEST King Cake by a Washington Post blind taste test. Sucre's signature buttery danish pastry is sweetened by cinnamon and raw cane sugar then filled with a creole cream cheese filling. Serves 8-10 people. Long live the king!"

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Coffee On A Stick With Zoku Quick Pop Maker

Cake Pops move over. Here come gourmet popsicles in minutes!

Zoku Quick Pop Maker is all the rage. You can create gourmet popsicles that would make the Good Humor Man blush. You can even make what I made - coffee pops!!

While the Zoku Quick Pop Maker is a lot of fun - it's not a toy. You have to really read the instructions first.

It's not rocket science but it is for serious pop seekers. You will want to make sure that you have all the components in one place before you start. Oh, and make sure you carefully read the recipe in the Zoku Quick Pops book before you compile your ingredients.

After I went out and bought a bag of Starbucks espresso roast for the sole intent of making these pops, I realized the recipe says "espresso powder." Duh.

Luckily I had a pack of Starbucks Via on hand and so I substituted the Columbian Via for espresso powder. It actually worked very well.

Here's what you'll need to make "Coffee Buzz" Pops:

1 1/3 cup of 2 percent milk

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp instant espresso powder

1/3 cup heavy cream

The pops are super yummy, however, I have a feeling that I'm going to be on high speed for a while today!

You can find the Zoku Quick Pop Maker at Williams-Sonoma. Check the Zoku website to find other retailers or order online:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Are you an "In-E" or an "Out-E?"

There's a disturbing trend that has evolved amongst tea-drinkers.

Perhaps, it was always this way and I just hadn't noticed.

But, lately I've not only been mystified but somewhat bothered by the fact that I see more and more people who leave their tea bags inside the cup until they have finished drinking their tea!!

Now, most tea bag directions say "steep for 2 to 3 minutes, for best results," or something along that line.

So, what is up with people who don't take out their tea bags? Are they showing off their beverage of choice? Is this perhaps a regional or cultural thing?

I have said time and again. I don't pretend to be an expert on coffee or tea. I'm just a person who LOVES coffee and sometimes enjoys a cup of hot tea.

Can someone please tell me what's behind the bag movement? Enlighten me.

And, please, for the sake of political correctness, if I've offended any tea lovers with this post, I mean no harm. I'm just trying to understand you better.



Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year - New Coffee: Henry's Coffee, San Francisco

I can't believe it. Another great coffee roaster, this one right under my nose, and I hadn't heard about it. Until now.

Oh, well, better late than never, right?

The first coffee from Master Roaster Henry Kalebjian that I am reviewing is called "Gypsy Blend." I would call it "mildly intense." It's a deep roast but none of that "burnt" taste you sometimes find.

The perfect coffee for the first cup of 2012.

I don't think I can give this roast its just due. You need to check it out for yourself. Henry Kalebjian knows his beans!

$15.80 per lb

"A blend of three mysterious coffees from the Arabian Peninsula mixed with African beans gives this blend a fantasy air about it. The best description is a heavy mocha like body with hints of pear and apple." (In Henry's words)

Master Roaster is a designation that is earned over time, and becomes part of ones reputation among peers in the industry - international coffee brokers, producers and other roasters. Henry Kalebjian holds this distinction. But it's the proprietary roasting process that lies at the heart of the Kalebjian family business. He personally roasts and blends coffee six days a week.
Customers come by regularly to watch Henry roast, take a break from their busy schedules, or relax with other customers from the neighborhood and around the Bay Area. Henry's personal touch with his customers - marked by a homemade Rolodex of his "regulars" and their taste preferences - is what sets Henry's House of Coffee apart from other coffeehouses in the Bay Area.
Coffee drinkers start their days on the way to work with a fresh pastry and a cup of Henry's finest roasts and blends. Henry's House of Coffee has a loyal following of customers that travel from throughout the Bay Area to their store in San Francisco's Sunset District. The Kalebjians have long standing relationships with businesses and coffee lovers from Hawaii to Florida. Henry's wholesale customers include retail groceries, neighborhood coffee shops and fine dining restaurants.
Voted "Best of the Bay", San Francisco Bay Guardian
Best of San Francisco, The Gault Millau Guide
Best of San Francisco, The Independent

Henry's House of Coffee
1618 Noriega St.
San Francisco, CA 94122

Contact: Henry Kalebjian
Mail Order

Visit Henry's website at:

(Henry's Coffee provided me with free samples for the purposes of preparing this review. Stay tuned. I have two more blends to review).