For the Love of Coffee, Cigars, Wine, & Great Food!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

There are so many wonderful things to be happy and thankful for, but I am thankful for one thing in particular – coffee and the wonderful world of friends to share it with. This is a special message just from CoffeeKween. Thanks to everyone – BaristaOnDutY, ShotofCoffee, GServo, CoffeeCouple, DailyDemitasse and so many others – for the great conversation and the warm friendships we share over coffee…even from far, far away. By the way, Mike, we need to meet up soon! Thanks also to all of the Jitterz Café fans and supporters – especially my family members.

Well, I am going to stuff my face now… Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!

Raging Brews: The Smokehouse

A few weeks ago, we did a review on BaristaOnDutY’s Light Roast Vietnamese R16, which featured woodsy, tobacco and molasses scents highlighted by Asian spice, soft caramel, sweet raisin, and plum. The cup profile announced licorice, smoked wood, and some dark fruit  – I know, I’m salivating! After a few days of rest, this coffee boldly expresses dark plum, berries, caramel, and honey – but this time around we paired it with a suggested lighter cigar – La Gloria Cubana Churchill 7×50 NT that lasted us for a little over an hour. Dive into Raging Brews: The Smokehouse.

What Constitutes Good Coffee?

Photo By Fashion Time Magazine

I recently attended a local art gallery opening. They had the usual hodge-podge of food: a few dips here and there, some healthy stuff to quiet the health freaks, and of course, COFFEE. I watched as everyone hovered around the coffee bar, one guy nervously spilling it all over the counter top. I approached the bar, poured a little coffee for myself, and waited for it to cool down. When I finally got the chance to drink some, the only thought in my mind was that it tasted like brewed cardboard water. Everyone else was seemingly enjoying it, constantly revisiting the coffee bar for a warm up.

I pretended to sip on so as not to “be rude,” and as my eyes wandered the room, I caught a glimpse of a woman in a gold party dress that was over-adorned with sequins and glitter – way too much for her petite frame. At that moment, I thought to myself: “Is this what coffee has become? Over-adorned with a mess of ‘stuff’ we think looks good, but actually tarnishes the beauty of what’s underneath?”

This brought me to a question, which has been toiled over for years: What constitutes good coffee? Is it good for only satisfying our morning jolt? Or is it only good for awakening us to break us from the afternoon’s robotic work patterns?

We yearn for good food, to be cultured, artistic, entertained, and to be “in the know…” But has our taste for good coffee fallen by the wayside? Why do we even drink it? To socialize with friends? To talk about how many espresso shots we had stuffed into one drink (that ended up giving us the JITTERZ for the next two days straight)?

Or is it only good by a coffee connoisseur’s suggestive dialogue? Terminology and recommendations forced upon us, and we – like human nature – rebel and do exactly what we want anyway, too afraid to try something new.

Photo By Gevon Servo

Coffee doesn’t have to be crammed with unnatural flavor for it to be enjoyed; and it doesn’t have to be sans milk and sugar or “under-brewed” either. But shouldn’t it have its own character and elegant flavor, not something we’ve forced it to be? Example – Ethiopia: Naturally sweet coffee, it can have honeyed tastes, chocolate undertones, and may even be loaded with berries. Sometimes I take it black, sometimes with a little sugar. Example – Café au lait: historically prepared with steamed milk, mostly tastes like toasted nuts, the coffee most likely from Brazil or Nicaragua, somewhere conducive of a great espresso blend.

We are feel good people and some brands of coffee know how to tap into that human element. SBUX… As people, we have always demanded better coffee, but without knowing the true element of “better coffee,” it was defined for us and excited us enough to buy fancy machines and syrups, host parties, collect art, all in good efforts to make it good just like SBUX taught us. Coffee can still induce good friendships, family, conversations, fun… The cup itself can truly be a lively experience that complements our relationships, conversations and friends, but it doesn’t have to be completely empty or over-adorned with postiche beauty.

And while Starbucks isn’t exactly the devil, we as consumers have managed to demand a beautifully wrapped package. Some “uber cool” coffee shops have answered the call and have assessed our aesthetic needs by dazzling us with tasty syrups and whipped cream. We’ve allowed ourselves to become drawn to the package without appreciating the beauty of the cup underneath all the wrapping…

BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL…

Coffee Chicken Wings (WAAANGS) :D

What could be more fun than cooking with coffee? Oh, wait – drinking it! Anyhoo, I received some incredible coffee from BaristaOnDutY: Light Roasted Vietnamese R16 and Medium/Dark Roasted Vietnamese R16. Both cups had an incredibly smoky profiles (check out the Light Roast Here and the Med/Dark Roast Here) with subtle, bold, and very unique twists. When applied as a glaze to baked chicken, we got a heck of a lot more of that WOW factor. Take a #coffee cooking, chicken waaaang journey with me below!

Here are some fun pics of the Med/Dark Roasted Vietnamese R16 Glaze, Light Roasted Vietnamese R16 Glaze, and Med/Dark Roasted Vietnamese R16 Glazed Chicken. Both pair well with A Malbec or Riesling!

MEAN Chicken -N- Waffles with BODY

So last week I checked in on BaristaOnDutY’s Authentic Vietnamese 16 Med/Dark Roasted Coffee. It’s a great coffee that has a wide range of opportunity while appealing to many people’s preferences :D. In the dry aroma, I got syrupy, tussin and hazelnut scents. I was both anxious and curious to get a swirl in my mouth. I broke the crust to experience the deep scents this coffee has to offer – which is basically getting your face really close to the cup, puncturing the wet, ground crust with a spoon, and dragging it to the back of the cup – all while you deeply inhale the aroma. The wet aroma released scents of licorice as well as a big jolt of dark berries – plum and raspberries – FREGGIN AMAZING!

Tasting! A smoky cup that has a graceful softness to it. The mouthfeel is very velvety and smooth. Very balanced with medium acidity. *Side Note – what is acidity? Not to be confused with an unpleasant sourness, acidity in coffee is a positive brightness experienced in the cup – the dryness, pleasant snap or tartness with a soft sweetness it leaves at the back of your palate after each sip.*

Ok, back to the task at hand – judging by the aroma of this coffee, you would expect a cup with much darker notes; however, you’re approached with a very balanced cup with a mix of smoke and honey. This coffee can definitely be enjoyed each and every day. I even enjoyed it with a handful of cranberries today – Yummy for my tummy *AND my tongue!*

Suggested Preparation & Grind: Pourover (slightly coarse to fine grind), French Press (coarse grind), Vietnamese Phin Filter (fine grind) The grind featured here was a bit finer and was prepared in a pourover.

Now for the really fun part!!! Food Pairings? I think it would pair very well with a honey-glazed crispy crab wonton. Enjoy it iced. Perhaps a caramel dessert. Show it off to your friends. And FINALLY – ever had chicken & waffles?? GOD, get some with this coffee, but make sure the chicken is CRISPY as hell and glazed with honey. Café Dufrain in Tampa, FL is a place by the water on Harbour Island. Their chicken & waffles would be succulent with this coffee!

Get BaristaOnDutY’s Coffee!

BAM! BAD-Ass Coffee!

If you haven’t already heard, today is blog action day (BAD2010)– and I’m challenging you in two major ways. Both are relatively easy – and yes, they have everything to do with coffee. Anyhoo, today’s focus is all about water, and I’m going to share how you can guzzle down exceptional coffee while helping out other communities – ALL from your kitchen. Then we’re going to take our next action to the streetz, PLAYAZZZ!  BAM! Photo Credit: Gevon Servo

Don’t Screw Up My Mocha!

What’s Mocha-Java? I like chocolate – is it chocolate?? Well, I explain exactly how we got to start using the terms Mocha and Java. Ever have something so great get screwed up? Take a look below, and I will tell you exactly what happened.

Don’t forget to check out our coffee tips for much more! Click here for Jitterz’ Coffee Tip of the Day. Photo Credit: Gevon Servo

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