Monday, December 31, 2012

Peter James - Sounds Like A Fancy Clothier, But It's Actually A Fancy Roaster

Still enjoying my Christmas loot.

Top of the pile, two pounds of Peter James Coffee.

Who knew Peter James had been in San Leandro, California roasting coffee since 1980?  Not me.

But luckily for me, Santa knew.  And he told his elves.  And one of Santa's nicest elves, the one who really knows good coffee, surprised me with a bag of Kenya AA and a bag of French Reserve.

Who says the holiday has to end?

As long as there's good coffee and good company, I say we take it into the New Year (at least).

Peter James Coffee Limited
1964 Republic Avenue
San Leandro, California  94577

Tel: +1–800–545–0551 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Couldn't take any chances on Santa getting my order confused.  If there's any day I look forward to a great cup of coffee, if it, of course, Christmas!

So, this year I ordered ahead.  I filled my own stocking with a pound of the Fonté Coffee's Holiday Blend.

I was afraid I'd waited to late to order, but not only did they still have it in stock, it arrived on Christmas Eve.

Obviously, I was on the "nice" list this year.

Here's to a Merry Christmas and hot cup of coffee cheer!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cafe Solano by Peet's Coffee

The good thing about cold weather is that a cup of hot coffee always sounds good.

The other day, I "blew" into Peet's Coffee to get out of elements.  

I walked to the counter and said, "I came in here to get a break from the cold, but since I'm here, how about a bag of beans to take home."  

The shop didn't have any "Garuda" in stock.  Then I noticed a bin with the words "Cafe Solano."

Now, I know about Solano Avenue and the Peet's Cafe there.  In fact, Solano is one of my favorite haunts.  

Not sure how this "medium-roast" got past me, but you can't keep a secret from a coffee lover for long. We're bound to discover it.

I'm enjoying a cup this morning and boy is it good.  It's a lot less powerful than most of the blends Peet's offer and that's all good.  

Café Solano medium roast coffee is named after our beloved café established in 1990 on Solano Avenue in Berkeley, California. It’s a place where our regulars come for their morning ritual of coffee and conversation.
Our “Peetniks” expect the world from us, and with those high standards in mind, we created a world blend. We married vibrant and aromatic beans from Africa, the Americas and the Indo-Pacific in a medium roast for a lively yet perfectly rounded cup with floral notes and a subtle fruit essence.*

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Susan Nugent Clark's "Louisiana Coffee"

Many, many years ago a friend sent me a print from an art fair in Louisiana.  The painting embodied my favorite things:  coffee and news.  I still read several newspapers a day (in addition to scouring more online) and I always start my morning with a cup of coffee.  Preferably strong coffee.

When my friend sent me the print, if I didn't know before, I knew then that she a) knew me well; and b) she was someone who would always be in my life and in my heart.

That was before the internet and the ability to "track things down" without traveling across the country to the library, etc.

Anyway, fast forward to last week when I was "reconnected" with the print and artist behind it.

About the Artist:

Susan Nugent Clark is an art teacher and has been for many years, in the public school 
system and private schools too.  She also teaches private art lessons. She has lived in 
Louisiana for all of her life and loves it! 

She is an actress in the local local Theater (Iberia Performing Arts League) and paints many of the sets for their 
productions. Susan started a new business this year, as an independent Health Coach for 
Take Shape for Life.  

Susan loves helping people get healthy and shed pounds and their old way of living.
Contact Susan at:

("Louisiana Coffee" is one of MANY beautiful prints which depict Louisiana 
life and art from this artist)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Three Cheers for Two Leaves!


Two leaves tea company™ wins first place for Jasmine Petal tea sachet

at 2012 North American Tea Championship's Packaged Single Service Class competition

Two leaves Jasmine PetalBASALT, Colo. (Dec. 10, 2012) — Two leaves tea company™ continues its tradition of producing award-winning tea, recently being awarded first place for its Jasmine Petal tea at the North American Tea Championship in the Jasmine Scented Green Tea category of the 2012 Packaged Single-Service Class.

Jasmine Petal has always been one of our best selling teas, and so this award confirms what fans of two leaves tea™ have always known,” says two leaves CEO and Founder Richard Rosenfeld.

Two leaves’™ Jasmine Petal whole leaf green tea is hill-grown in China. The tea leaves are then dried with jasmine flower petals to absorb their scent and flavor. Jasmine tea that qualifies for this competition must be scented without added flavorings, herbs or other agents.

“The quality of the teas showed a significant level of professionalism,” said North American Tea Championship Judge Mike Spillane of the G.S. Haley Company, Inc., a tea wholesaler in Redwood City, Calif. “There was a lot of thought put into these premium teas.”

A panel of professional cuppers judged Jasmine Petal and other submissions based on br ewed color, aroma, flavor, mouth-feel and harmony. The ratings of each characteristic were then used to calculate an overall numerical value on a 100-point scale, with winners being determined by rank. In judging Jasmine Scented Green Tea, judges were looking specifically for tea that brews up bright and clear, light to medium bodied and golden to green in color. The tea should also have a natural jasmine aroma balanced with a vegetal green tea aroma, and the flavor profile should be a balance of floral, sweet and slightly astringent.

The North American Tea Championship is produced by World Tea Media, a company that provides business solutions to the global tea industry. Their championship is the only professionally judged tea competition on this continent.

Spillane says even he, as a professional, has difficulty choosing the right single-service packaged tea at a market or online. “My advice? When looking for a single-service tea, choose teas tha t are packaged in the pyramid tea bags; they present a greater selection and you have a higher chance of getting a specialty tea because it holds whole leaf, unlike the traditional flat-packed tea bags.”

About two leaves tea company™ …
Two leaves tea company™ is based in Basalt, Colo., and specializes in whole leaf, organic tea packed in compostable, pyramid-shaped tea sachets. The company was recently awarded a first place prize for its Jasmine Petal tea sachet by the North American Tea Championship. Two leaves tea company™ travels to the world's premier tea growing regions to meet farmers and taste tea in its purest, native form. The company’s commitment to "go there" allows it to bring the experience of the gardens back to its customers by providing exceptional whole leaf tea from only the best harvests. For more information about the tea company visit


Christy Garfield, Marketing Coordinator


There’s one thing I don’t talk about much here.  It’s my affection for Yuban coffee.  It’s not that I’m embarrassed that I like it.  It’s just that I feel that no one is really interested.  These days it’s all about the gourmet, the micro-roast, the new coffee on the scene, the new machine, the new method, the new grinder, the new container. 

But, it’s really what’s on the inside that counts.  

 I lost a dear friend six years ago.  When she was in the last few months of life, one of the few pleasures she was still able to enjoy was a cup of coffee.  She liked strong coffee.  And she usually drank one of the bold blends from a California company that starts with a  “P.”  While having coffee one day, I asked her if she liked any other brand of coffee.  She told me that years before she used to drink Yuban.  Then we chatted for a bit about how good Yuban coffee tastes.  She said she hadn’t seen any in years in the market.

So, the next time I went to visit, I brought over a big can of Yuban.  She was thrilled. 

I was thinking today about Christmas gifts.  Did you ever wonder what your neighbor might say (you know the one who isn’t “hip” like us and a coffee connoisseur) if you wrapped up a big can of coffee with a bow and walked it across the street with an old-fashioned holiday card?  Not the e-cards.  I’m talking the real-deal with the house on the front covered in snow or a snowman.  And not the uber-expensive cards of today, but the ones you get in a box of 20?

You might get to know your neighbor better.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I think Starbucks Christmas Blend Coffee gets better with age.

The 2012 batch is especially delicious. I have enjoyed a couple of cups in the store, but I picked up a pound of beans and it tastes even better brewed in my Capresso.

In fact, I would say the look and taste of Starbucks Christmas Blend 2012 epitomizes the spirit of Christmas - glistening beans, and spicy tones and bold flavor for cold December mornings.

I'm actually smiling as I write this.  This is only the second holiday blend I've reviewed this year, which means that I need to put a move on it.  So many more to try.  I'm really happy I didn't sleep Starbucks this year.

The holidays won't be around forever and neither will the 2012 Christmas Blend, so pick up a pound or two today - heck pick up a few for the coffee drinkers on your holiday list.  If they love good coffee, they'll really love this!

Joy to the mug!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Profile: Terra Bean Coffee: "Bringing the Global Coffee Community Closer Together"

Recently, I was contacted Tamara Goldschmidt of Terra Bean Coffee.  She wanted to let me know about her company and its mission.

According to Goldschmidt, "Terra Bean Coffee was formed to bring the global coffee community closer together and enable local coffee businesses to support each other on a global scale by creating mutually beneficial, sustainable business relationships. 
TBC aims to spread the "seed to cup" philosophy amongst consumers, raising awareness about the origins of coffee and the farmers who produce the world's most popular beverage through our delivery coffee subscription. We partner with roasters who directly source their coffee and feature a different roaster and farmer each month. 
Simultaneously, TBC is developing a platform to facilitate direct relationships between coffee roasters and coffee farmers to help other coffee roasters put that philosophy into practice."

I received the bag of La Colmena beans in the mail last week.  It's Terra Bean's "December Coffee."  Its origins are a farm in Los Alpes, El Salvador.

The first thing I noticed is how large the beans were. 

I also noticed how light they were.  As you may know, I'm a dark-bean girl, but I'm working on my "bean bias" and expanding my mind and palette to give lighter and medium roasts equal attention.

The first time I brewed a pot, I used too much coffee and it was bitter.  The second time I brewed a pot, I used less coffee and the result was much better.  I tend to be a "visual coffee maker," and rely on my own judgment in measurement which sometimes is not so good.

The third time was the charm.  "La Colmena" is a nice cup of coffee.  The beans I received were super fresh and the finish was smooth.  I am comfortable in recommending this coffee and would like to try other Terra Bean blends.

To learn more about Terra Bean's mission and product, visit the website below.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Made an unscheduled stop at Crema Coffee in San Jose this past week.

I was in San Jose, not even thinking about coffee, okay, I'm always thinking about coffee.  However, I wasn't thinking I would find a new roaster in San Jose.

You could say I stumbled upon this place.  My daughter had told me that there was a cute little coffee shop in San Jose that I needed to check out.  She was right.  It's cute and I'm so glad I checked it out.

Friendly service, great atmosphere, good coffee!  I purchased a half pound of Sumatra (I wanted a dark roast) and am enjoying a cup right now.  I also had a cup of coffee there which was also good.  I forgot to ask which brew they were pouring.

The shop itself looks like it may have been converted from a house at one point in time.  Lovely Spanish style.  Plenty of comfortable seats, nice pastries and juices.  They serve tea, of course, as well as coffee and they roast on the premises!

It's close to the university so there are lots of people with laptops and books.  Nice ambience.  The kind of place where "everybody knows your name."

I definitely plan to go back the next time I'm in San Jose.

Their website is under construction, but you can check them out on Facebook.

Crema Coffee Roasting Company
950 The Alameda, San Jose, CA  (408) 295-5690