• 21Jul

    Coffee. Whether it’s your go-go juice, your perfect beverage paired with morning zen time, or an emergency pit stop to survive those last hours at work … Hopscotch Coffee & Records in Winchester, VA has your bases covered. The menu skips past the specialty drinks (don’t worry, you won’t miss those mocha-frappa-double-shot-extra-whip-hint-of-bullshit-achinos) because the true, rich flavor of Hopscotch’s locally roasted beans are showcased throughout each latte, espresso, regular drip, and french press. Did I mention that the beans are roasted less than a mile from the shop? I’d say that’s as local as it gets. Nate Rhodes, the owner, has seven years of experience with coffee and really knows what he’s doing behind the counter. I give him mad props for not hiring a bunch of hipster wanna be teens attempting to make coffee with no experience dialing in espresso. He’s really involved in his business, and I highly appreciate that as a customer.

    As for my latte, there were no complaints. I tasted no acidity, and only bold, rich espresso with delicate steamed milk. The drink was not blistering hot, and not at all lukewarm. The kitschy atmosphere reminded me of an urban outfitters, but homier. There was pinball machine in the corner, and cases of records for sale. Modern art adorned the walls as well as a map you might find in a high school geography classroom. There were plenty of seating and power outlets for every occasion, whether it be a business meeting, date with friends, or a quiet study session. All in all, for a shop only opened for 3 years, I see it being as prosperous and delicious for many more years to come.

    -Jara (JMG), Guest Blogger

    Permalink Filed under: Drinks, Etc, Stores Tags: No Comments
  • 21Jan

    Pic courtesy of tripadvisor.com.

    When my friend first dragged me into Bourbon Coffee it was December, my friend desperately wanted a pastry, and I needed a coffee.

    Now, as a twenty-one-year-old and self-proclaimed semi-hip person, I was shocked by how un-hip I felt in Bourbon Coffee. The place was softly lit, paintings hung all over the walls, and calm jazz music played in the background. Everyone there seemed a bit too calm and I had grown accustomed to the long lines and headaches of Starbucks. However, after venturing into Bourbon Coffee a few more times, I started to love the bohemian ambiance. With free Wi-Fi, It’s a great place to do work, study, or read a book to relax. Also, as a side note, this place is warm with a built-in fireplace, which I am not underselling in this current season of freezing freaky weather.

    The coffee is pretty good too. Bourbon Coffee has over two-dozen espresso drinks, all with non-traditional sort of fun names. Always order your coffee to drink there- they serve it to you in over sized mugs that make you feel like you’re at Central Perk from Friends. They also sell Panini’s, yogurts, salads, and pastries.  Their breakfast menu is what I go for in the morning.

    Personal favorite drinks:

    The Nutty Irishman: Strong coffee, even stronger nutty flavor. If you like Irish Cream and hint of nutmeg in your coffee, go for this one. I get this every time I go. Must be eaten with a cookie.

    Mexican Hot Chocolate: Get this one, if you want something on the more luxurious side. They aren’t chincey on the chocolate. There’s also a hint of chili powder in it that gives it a nice kick.

    Recommendation: If you want something for dessert, leave the Danish and take the cookie. The pastries are only so-so but the cookies are delicious and are as big as your head.

    -Guest Writer, Mary Sette (MAS)

  • 25Sep

    Check out these infographics:

    How to Make Coffee Like a Pro.

    “Did you know that 63% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee everyday? I’m a part of that statistic and I bet you are too.”

    Beer Vs. Wine: the Great Drink Debate.

    “This may come as a surprise, but when it comes to people who love their wine, did you know that no one enjoys it more than the folks in the Vatican City? They are considered to be the world’s biggest consumers of wine with 365 bottles a year per capita (which makes exactly one bottle a day!). You can find this and other interesting facts in this infographic: http://financesonline.com/beer-vs-wine/.”

    Permalink Filed under: Drinks Tags: , , No Comments
  • 24May

    I know some of you are coffee freaks–think you can out taste the other tasters?

    -JAY

    ———————————————————

    “June 6th Cup Tasters Challenge from much-loved coffee roaster Counter Culture. This is the second official Cup Tasters Challenge in a year-long battle among all Counter Culture Regional Training Centers for a title win. The events will take place in Ashville, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Durham, NYC, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. The Boston Training Center took home the Cup Tasters Challenge title belt in March, and now another region will have the opportunity to win it.

    Counter CultureParticipants at each Training Center will taste multiple sets of three cups each and identify which is different from the other two in each set. The challenge will start at 7pm EST at each Training Center (please see below for addresses), and anyone can participate: $5 to enter and free to watch.

    – Asheville, NC: 77 Broadway Street
    – Atlanta, GA: King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta Street NW, Suite m210
    – Boston, MA: 374 Somerville Avenue
    – Chicago, IL: 177 North Ada, Unit 106
    – Durham, NC: 4911 South Alston Avenue
    – New York, NY: 37 W. 26th St., Suite 400
    – Philadelphia, PA: 2149 Unit B Catharine St.
    – Washington, DC: 1840 Columbia Road NW, Suite 203″
  • 10Sep

    Like many people,  the (combination of) acids in coffee affects my stomach in a negative way. In the past I had tried Puroast‘s low-acid coffees, and while they are decent (and inexpensive compared to gourmet coffees), they are not great and have an aftertaste. Crio Bru is an option (and we may  review it in the near future), but it isn’t actually coffee.

    I decided to search for reviews of low-acid coffees and didn’t find as many as I’d like. I did run across this 12 year old review, which lead me to Atlanta’s Martinex Fine Coffees, where I purchased their low-acid coffee, Sumatra Mandheling “Pawani Private Reserve,” a naturally low-acid product. This dark roast is smooth and rich and does not bother my stomach; I will definitely be ordering more.

    -JAY

    [ad]

  • 25Jul

    I’ve kvetched before about Atlanta’s paltry selection of proper coffee shops, particularly in areas I want to frequent. Since last writing, I have stopped going to Outwrite due to several encounters with phenomenally rude/incompetent staff and management, in addition to a growing impatience with searching endlessly for parking to drink expensive, crappy coffee in the name of people-watching.

    I’ve also discovered Inman Perk, a real gem in a not-quite-there mixed-use-type development on Highland Ave. The coffee’s good, as are the pastries, and there’s plenty of seating inside. Free wifi and a large library of random books to borrow add to the appeal. I even got enough stamps on my ‘frequent flier’ card to splurge on a large coffee frap, which was like a Frappacino but a bit milkier, and not quite as super-sweet. Works for me! The foot traffic outside Inman Perk is hit-or-miss…a fair number of shirtless joggers provide eye candy, and the occasional mess pouring itself out of Fritti or Parish can entertain, but Highland is no Riverwalk. On the upside, you can get your drinks to go and then sit in the nearby park, which has a manmade lake complete with frogs, koi and yuppies with puppies.

    Surprisingly, the sidewalk traffic is actually a touch more amusing at Drip, a small (somewhat unfortunately named) coffee shop in the severely under-developed planned development at Glenwood. The sidewalk seating is limited to a few metal tables and chairs which reach backside-searing temperatures in the afternoon sun, but does look out onto the development’s bocce court and surroundings, often occupied by the out-spill of surrounding bars and dubious Mexican restaurant. I’ve seen wedding photo shoots, apparent guerrilla cookouts, and various mid-day drunks arguing the rules of a game they’ve clearly never seen before. I’ve also see drab lunch-breaking yuppies yammering on crackberries, and spent time on my own laptop taking advantage of the free wifi. The coffee at Drip is good – the French press quite so – but expensive. The $2 iced tea, on the other hand, comes with free refills. The food I’ve had has been good, but also pricey – I recall an $8 or so sandwich, and a $5 pastry thingey. They also have Morelli’s ice cream, which I do know to be delicious.

    Advantage? Drip, because I can walk to it. I’d probably spend more time at Inman Perk if it was local, but its actual advantages are outweighed by my desire to not drive more than absolutely necessary. Especially when I haven’t had any coffee.

    – MAW

    Drip
    928 Garrett St SE Ste B
    Atlanta, GA, 30316-6834

    Inman Perk
    240 North Highland Ave.
    Suite H
    Atlanta, GA 30307

  • 14Dec

    Blue Bottle CafeIt’s well established that DCFüd likes coffee. In particular, we like good coffee, strong coffee, and entertaining methods of coffee production – preferably all together. It should come as no surprise, then, that during a recent visit to San Francisco, I spent more than a little time at the Blue Bottle Café, first on my hotel concierge’s recommendation, and then because it was good.

    Hidden in a courtyard which is not actually ‘on’ Mint Street, between Mission and Jessie Streets, it took me a few minutes to find the café. The space is bright and lively, with big tall windows and frankly awkward counter-in-the-middle seating. All the bubbling siphon pots make for a lovely science-lab feel I love. The menu, which changes regularly, is limited, especially since on my first visit they were out of eggs. At noon on a Saturday, this stuck me as especially poor form. The baristas were a mixed bag – but I won’t lie: the super attractive guy who gave me a free extra espresso shot in my au lait may have in fact been nicer than the girl who looked like she was chewing old lemons, but who can say?

    Lacking eggs, I ordered the a waffle and siphon pot of coffee. The coffee was good, but I hate that it’s served in tall thin glasses (see above). Pretty, yes, but not a good vessel from which to enjoy hot beverage. It’s possible that this inappropriate delivery contributed to my ambivalence about the coffee. The waffle was also very pretty, and good, but came ‘pre-dressed’ with powdered sugar, maple syrup, and too much butter for my taste. Prices are pretty standard for San Francisco – I paid $13.50 for this, the standard coffee is $2.30, and special iced coffees which I had on subsequent visits were $3.50. It’s all better than Starbucks.

    After breakfast, I decided to grab one of the Kyoto iced coffee things to go, since the cute barista said it was good and strong. It was both. Actually, it was phenomenal: super-strong, with a woody flavor like bourbon frozen over pure darkness. If I had any idea how to make this, I would never come down.

    On my next visit, I sat at the small section of counter facing the ‘kitchen,’ which was much more comfortable, and I got to watch the mayhem back there for added entertainment. I ordered the polenta. It was tasty, but I’m not sure what makes it ‘polenta’ instead of grits. The consistency was more pea soup than anything. The pancetta garnish is the delicious but rubbery, and there was not enough of it. My companion had the toast with jam. The jam was great, but the gorgeous-looking inch-thick toast is pretty much just white bread. In the end, everything does come back to the coffee: my au lait is stellar. The second was even better, since that’s where the extra espresso shot went.

    All in all, Blue Bottle Café is a good place to grab a coffee to go (especially the Kyoto one), or maybe to have a very quick sit-down bite. Or to meet a blind date. Actually, this is a great blind-date location: the seating is not comfortable enough for too much lingering – you have ample excuse to bail out quickly or to suggest a more intimate venue, should you be so lucky. Plus, the coffee is good and the food passable and not so heavy you’ll worry about looking a pig.

    And yes, I lied in the first paragraph. I didn’t actually spend much time in the Blue Bottle Café, but rather drinking beverages from it.

    Blue Bottle Café
    66 Mint St.,
    San Francisco, CA, 94103

    MAW

  • 13Oct

    VIA BeerOn a recent weekend trip to DC, I wanted an early brunch before my flight out. Forgetting that basically nothing opens before 11, my compatriot and I found ourselves wandering Columbia Heights, desperate for coffee. It was before 11 AM, after all. So we did the nearly unthinkable, and entered the nearest instance of Starbucks.

    After purchasing our small (yes, that’s “small,” not whatever test-marketed non-word they print on the menus) coffees, we stopped by the table where a very nice lady was administering the taste-test challenge to promote the new Starbucks instant coffee product, VIA. We both correctly identified the instant brew – to me it had a powdery taste, and was blunter than the drip variety. So we won free samples and coupons.

    In my office the next day, I dutifully replaced my after-lunch pod coffee with a cup of VIA, and considered its (de)merits. For instant coffee, it’s not bad – certainly better than Folgers or Taster’s Choice. The flavor is smooth, slightly bitter but not too much so, and has the burnt overtones one expects from Colombian coffee (and especially from Starbucks). This isn’t going to replace the jar of Bru (or Elite, when I can get it) on my desk, but the convenient single-dose packets may find a home in my bag/briefcase for on-the-go emergencies.

    Back in DC, my fellow-caffeine fiend and I wandered back to Commonwealth, and figured that if we stood outside long enough, they’d eventually open and let us eat. They did, and we sat at a table on their lovely patio. Well, lovely except that the tall buildings of the New CoHi blocked the sun and created a wind-tunnel effect, partially negating the gorgeousness of the morning. But not fully. It was still gorgeous and a nice place to sit.

    Along with the menus, the host graciously brought us actual coffee mugs in which to pour our (definitely not supposed to have been brought in from outside in general, and certainly not from That Place) coffees. My friend ordered a tasty beer, and I wanted a Bloody Mary. The beer was indeed tasty, but the Mary was a bit bland. Hoping to improve it, I asked for some Worcestershire – they didn’t seem to have any bottles, but to my delight made some up fresh and brought it in a little dressing bowl. The addition was 50% of what the drink needed (as for the remaining half – I am, sadly, way too classy to ask for an extra shot of vodka at 11 AM. Obviously.).

    We ordered food – shirred eggs and an eggs Benedict (with ham). The shirred eggs looked really good, and my friend liked them – basically, it was a bed of ham with eggs on top and cheese on top of that. I am always wary of ordering the Benedict, as it’s so often disappointing. This, however, was not disappointing at all. Three medium-poached eggs topped in a thick Hollandaise atop a big piece of crusty toast (not muffins) and ham that was really more like Prosciutto. Yum.

    The bread served at the table was also really good, with a very nice raspberry jam, and who doesn’t love the fresh pickles to the side? So, all in all, I can halfheartedly not not recommend the new Starbucks instant coffee stuff, and wholly recommend Commonwealth for brunch on a sunny late Sunday morning.

    -MAW

Subscribe Now!!

Please enter e-mail address below and click the subscribe button. Thank you!

Subscribe in RSS Reader

RSS Feed

Categories

Archives