San Francisco Coffee

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I have taken a bit of a tour of San Francisco a couple of years ago, but at that time wasn’t the coffee fan I am now, so I cannot offer personal insight into cafes or coffee there. However, Om Malik has compiled a list of good cafes that we should all take note of for our travels.

His list includes Ritual Coffee Roasters on Valencia St and Quetzal Internet Cafe on Polk Street.

Check out the full set of recommendations.

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Note To Self

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The coffee grinder does not go in the fridge.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll wait until I finish my coffee before putting stuff away.

A taste of things to come

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A bunch of our Vancouver friends headed off to Torino for the Olympics and to support 2010 in Vancouver & the move to Web 2.0. While there, they’ve been camera happy and I’ve been watching their adventures - including those culinary.

Boris Mann gives us a preview of lovely coffee experiences to expect from Italy:

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Coffee in Europe?

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So, Ianiv & I have booked a 1 month honeymoon to Europe. We’ll be backpacking from Amsterdam through Belgium and France down to Italy, over through Switzerland and Germany (most likely) back to Amsterdam. The longest stay will be in Italy.

So, never having been to Europe, and wanting good coffee… any suggestions?

Do you know of good cafes we should seek out? Any advice is welcome.

Of course, we’re going to keep a coffee diary of all the places we go to and our coffee experiences. Looking forward to it!

Coffee when sick?

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I’ve been sick for two weeks now. It’s a bugger, believe me. But something weird happened to me that is obviously of interest to this blog.

Ever since I got sick I have really not been fond of coffee. Maybe my body doesn’t want the caffeine or maybe my tastes are different. My stomach has been weird, but it’s been an odd experience.

This is my first time being sick while being a coffee drinker, basically. At least, a drinker of good coffee. I’ve not been a coffee drinker for more than 3 years, and those 3 years I’ve had the flu this time and maybe once more.

Does anyone else experience the same distaste to coffee when sick?

This is why we drink coffee?

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I cannot even imagine a time when an ad like this would be necessary. To actually have to tell people to drink coffee. Well, perhaps before Starbucks covered the earth. Then, maybe ;)

Video info from the contributor, brengibble:

Digitized from a 1984 VHS tape. This is one of the famous Coffee Achievers tv spots, meant to encourage people to DRINK COFFEE. You can see how we here in the 21st Century have to laugh ourselves senseless at the idea that paid ads were necessary, and not even for a particular brand of coffee, just the product in general. Appearing in this ad: David Bowie (Jay Leno in 1985: “Come on! To David Bowie, a cup of coffee is merely a sedative at this point.”), Kenny Anderson, Kurt Vonnegut, Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson of the band Heart, and Cicely Tyson.

From YouTube

Caffeine Molecule Tshirt

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Check out this Caffeine Molecule Tshirt from Think Geek:

I’m not that much of a geek, though ;)

Via Arizona Coffee

Yemen Mocca Sanani

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Today we’re drinking… Yemen Mocca Sanani.

It’s a very fruity coffee. More funky in taste than a lot we’ve been drinking. A spiciness that was unexpected, even while being a smooth coffee. Many people think it’s akin to an Ethiopian coffee, but better (or so I can find in other reviews). I enjoy the finish of this coffee quite a bit - even more than the first taste.

I found it a little overpowering at first. It could be due to the fact that it was roasted only yesterday, which can affect the flavour profile.

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Blenz employees notice to their boss

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Ianiv blogged about the unhappy Blenz employees who quit en masse. Here is the note they left on the door for their boss to find:

Photo by Beyond Robson

Via Darren Barefoot ; Tags: ,

Unhappy baristas quit Blenz

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Over at BeyondRobson there is a picture of a note posted on the window of a Blenz on Hastings St. Four employees, tired of the way they were being treated by their manager, decided to just quit at the same time. I don’t know any other details other than what you can find on that post.

But it goes to show, if you don’t respect your employees you can’t expect any loyalty from them. And if your employees don’t care about and don’t enjoy their job your customers will probably not have a very good experience. It’s just bad for business.

Yahoo Personals & Starbucks

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I stumbled across the whole promo thing for Starbucks & Yahoo Personals that I referenced before.

The campaign is very attractive. Check it out:

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TeaChef: tea recipe community

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Jenn sent us an email to let us know about TeaChef, which describes itself as "a community of people who are passionate about two things: cooking and tea". You register on the website and they send you samples of various teas for you to try and create recipes that use them. Then every month you submit recipes based on the featured tea and people vote for the best one.

I tried to request the tea sampler, but the form looks very US specific and I cannot find any information about international entries in the website. But you can still look at all the recipes and some of them look pretty interesting. Jenn’s recipe this month is for Smoky BLTea Crisps.

I’ve never actually tried any teas from Adagio Teas, the company behind TeaChef. If you have, please leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Coffee Review: Wired Monk

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We made it! This time we came in toting cash, and laptops ;)

So, I am comfortably seated in front of the fireplace at Wired Monk drinking my Americano. I was pleasantly surprised by the coffee, I do need to admit. Quite surprised. I’m even drinking it without milk or sugar. Quite surprised indeed. It has perhaps a bit too much water, but it had good crema, a strong but not bitter taste, and a nice smooth feel to it. The aftertaste is slightly more tart, but still nice.

Ok, so I had my preconceptions of this "franchise", as we all do around the idea of a franchise. It gets the standardized McDonald’s label, which usually means "consistent, good, but nothing extraordinary". So, let’s drop the stereotypes and say there are those franchises that can surprise.

The coffee roasted is from Fratello Coffee, a roaster I’m not overly familiar with. Timothy (the owner) tells me Fratello is run by three brothers who used to roast from Commercial Drive but now roast out of roast out of Calgary. Today’s espresso blend is the GodFather Espresso, "slight" acidity with "full" body. 

Timothy and Leah are the proud operators of this Wired Monk. Both pleasant and energetic, and I love that they operate as a couple. The decor here is very nice - lots of comfortable chairs, as well as some stiffer ones. Lots of little nooks, as well as a bar area seated around the barista. Tons of open floor space and windows all over the place really makes you feel open and at ease. I am particularly fond of the artwork around the fireplace - a plaster relief of the Monk and the logo, embellished with paint. Even if this is a standardized look across all Wired Monks, it’s new to me so I like it ;)

Tuesday, Friday, Saturday they have Open Mic - sometime 6 to 8 will start up. There is a ton of space in here, so I can see us coming back to hangout.

So, it’s no Elysian room that makes you go "wow", but it’s a big step above Starbucks and many other coffee joints, and I can see us coming in regularly for the coffee and the great atmosphere.

Maybe our next time around we can sit down with Timothy and Leah to see how they’re liking their new cafe :)

Location: 4th and Trafalgar

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Artigiano’s barcodes

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Caffee Artigiano has recently gotten into the coffee roasting business. Alongside that, they have started expansion to other retail environments.

One aspect of their development that I’m very happy to see is their use of logical barcodes with roast dates.

I say logical because there are some brands of coffee I do like at the grocery store. For example, Salt Spring is carried at Capers.

However, the roast dates on most bags are either not visible or not logical. My past experience looking for the roast dates was to find a whole bunch of numbers that seemed to make sense as a roast date. And yet, if it were a roast date, it would mean the coffee was a month old, or more. And I kept checking every week or two to see if the numbers changed. They did not. My conclusion was that the numbers I was seeing were either not roast dates, or there are retail issues at Capers (btw, no staff member knows anything about them, as we asked many times).

So, Artigiano, congrats on making your roast date clear. Hopefully you have success also in ensuring your coffee is shelved properly.

From Dwell Time

Espresso with honey

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Now, here is something I have not tried: espresso with honey. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. I do like things sweet, after all.

Well, Coffee Kid Mark Prince did think of it. Seriously. Trying 15 types of honey to find the one that was perfect with espresso. His final choice: Volcano Island Honey.

Here is Mark’s recipe for the perfect honey espresso:

One heaping demitasse spoon (probably less than a teaspoon) of the honey, dripped into a preheated cup. Sit the cup in a bath of boiled water, so the honey melts. Prep your shot - I pull a very short double - about 45-55ml. Brew the shot right into the cup on top of the honey. They won’t mix, even though the honey is melted, so place the cup on a saucer, and stir with the demitasse spoon you used to dish out the honey.

Sounds amazing. Can’t wait to try it. Will need to figure out where in Vancouver I can get it done this way though :) Ideas?

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