There is no question that this pandemic has disrupted our day to day routine in a major way. Social distancing has arrested one of life’s simple pleasures. And that is sitting down to a good cup of joe in your favorite coffee house. Girlfriends meeting to catch up on the latest news while enjoying a latte has come to a halt. No more cofficing. No more leaving your office for that mid-afternoon #esspressotrip! Sigh!
Thankfully, some coffee establishments are coming up with new ways to keep their customers caffeinated. Zeke’s Coffee in Washington DC has made a way. Hallelujah! You can place your order over the phone and pick up your coffee on a table located at their front entrance. I’m loving it:)
As a child I use to drink my mom’s coffee. She always kept Folgers Crystals, which is freeze dried instant coffee made to smell and taste like freshly brewed coffee. Today, I go for something a little different. When it comes to coffee, I seek out fair trade, organic and freshly roasted beans. Rise Up Coffee Roasters in Annapolis Maryland certainly delivers that and more!
The menu consists of iced and hot beverages, muffins and a variety of pastries and quiche. They even serve a protein coffee smoothie. Sounds yummy!
Rise Up Coffee’s philosophy: “The farmer who grew this coffee should receive the glory. We are among the fortunate who get to roast their beautiful coffees and share them with you. By staying committed to the time-honored craft of artisanal coffee roasting, we strive to make them proud”.
I find this appealing because it speaks to the love they have for their craft. A guiding principle like this can only produce one thing. A beautiful cup waiting to be enjoyed:)
Today, I ordered a half sweet dark chocolate mocha latte made with oat milk. It was beyond delicious. Not only that, the barista was very professional and took care in crafting my beverage.
I have decided to become a coffee snob. Truth be told, on any given day I will and have ordered and sipped coffee from fast food joints, gas stations, and out of those forbidden machines at any random 24 hour rest stop and have actually enjoyed it! I am admittedly coming out of the obscurity of drinking random, commercialized and manufactured beanery to a more discerning taste which reflects my coming of age (I just turned 50) and actively becoming more socially aware of the choices of coffee I make and why.
Also, before I share my first experience with trying one of my most favorite drinks at an independently owned coffeehouse and after coming to terms with my age and my evolving taste buds I must first set the parameters of which I will engage in this search and quest for the java that jams! Foremost, it has to be a stark contrast to how, when and why I partake. No more driving up, convenience or coffee chains, and way more free/fair trade, fair and environmentally responsible and sound.
Let’s also establish that coffee has become a good friend in the morning or early afternoon as the caffeine is just the jumpstart I need as I strive for that boost of clarity in my work as a consultant juggling multiple tasks, lists and errands. Another benefit is that I travel as a part of my work and sometimes the road can get monotonous. So, my plan will be to locate a small coffeehouse within walking distance of my hotel and stroll there to order my cup of joe. I will journal the taste, my in house experience and record the sights, sounds and smells! I am so excited!
My first experience on this journey of becoming the coffee snob I have always wanted to be was a trip to Santa Cruz, California. I stayed at a chain hotel fairly close to the downtown area. I walked approximately 4,000 steps one way to my desired destination. The first lesson I learned is that not all cafes specialize in coffee. This place was quaint and nestled on a quiet corner but adjacent were my favorite kind of self-care stores full of sage, crystals, tie-dyed clothing and incense! I was in my element! It was certainly not a surprise to me that the cafe was named after Saturn, where the stars and solar worlds meet and clash and beam and glow. The streets on my way to the cafe where also lined with moon and stars, astrology and religion, rocks, wood and nature. I enjoyed this walk!
So the coffee was organic, local and from fair trade! I am winning! Tres America was the brand and the taste was boldly smooth, earthy and took very well to cream and Splenda (look do not judge me, I am working up to trying other exciting sweeteners!) The environment was laid back and really cool, the average corner greasy spoon was more like it and I prefer so I had a dandy time! The service was amazing and the view out the window was equally pleasing. By the way, I tried the coffee hot and on ice and they both were pretty good! Wait, am I supposed to do that with the same brand of coffee? Snobs, fight me. LOL!
Well, this is my first try at it, and I will continue to try and visit more cafes, coffee houses and baristas while I am on the road…I hope my sidewalk coffee stories will encourage readers to get some steps in, reflect on local beauty and business and taste the best coffee ever! I am not a coffee snob yet but I am too excited about what the future holds in becoming one!
This summer we celebrated our 10th wedding Anniversary. To mark this most beautiful milestone we traveled to Crete (among other places).
Crete is the largest island in Greece. It is well known for its varied terrain, which spans from beautiful sandy beaches in Elafonisi to the White Mountains. On our drives at night, I especially enjoyed seeing the mountains as they lit up the sky. I like to describe Crete as “where rustic meets beauty and where beauty meets rustic.” The island is simply spectacular and so was the coffee🤗
The Cretan coffee I had in the Village of Hersoniss was very nice and smooth. It had the consistency of hot chocolate. I am told that it is cooked on the stove in a small saucepan. In fact, the process for making coffee is very ritualistic and its preparation has been preserved for over 500 years. The coffee is always lightly roasted and finely ground. Equally important to this preparation is the temperature of the water being sure to never allow it to boil. I believe this lends to the smooth (never bitter) taste of coffee in Greece.
Nyktaph Coffee and Bakery is located in Hersonissos. We visited this place twice. The second time we wanted an Afagato. The Barista found it interesting and had no idea what it was. So, we showed him how to make it and viola! He made it and served it with much enthusiasm. It may very well be the best ones we’ve had. Kenny had his with two scoops of pistachio gelato. I had a Greek inspired flavor that unfortunately I cannot pronounce😆😆😆. It reminded me of caramel with baklava🤗🤗. Yum!
Although we did not try any of the pastries, I had to take pictures because they looked so tasty!
The temperature was very hot in Greece. I needed something cold to drink. Here I am enjoying this Freddo, which is the Cretan version of an Iced Latte.
The coffee culture in Greece is definitely becoming more and more popular. I hope that on our next visit we see Afagato on the menu.
While on vacation in Honolulu, HI, I decided to stop by Kona Coffee Purveyors at the International Market Place. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not very big on coffee, but over the past year, I have acquired a taste for different blends and types of coffee thanks to the amazing blogging of #esspressotrips and #sweetsations. I contacted Lady Dalton and requested to be a guest blogger due to my trip and wanted to share my experience.
Let me begin by saying, that upon walking into Kona Coffee the selections were too many to choose from, so I chose the basic Croissant and for my drink I decided to try something new. I purchased the Kona Nitro, a carbonated cold coffee brew. I was skeptical at first and nervous about the first sip. OMG, it was so smooth going down even before I decided to add a little cream. I am not a fan of black coffee but THIS I would drink BLACK and be HAPPY (and pumped from the caffeine).
Now, I do not want to forget about the croissant, it was so soft, fluffy, light and buttery. Better than any other croissant I have ever had!! I had the pleasure of joining a friend for this trip to Kona and she introduced me to what is called the Black Sesame Kouign Amannn. The Kouign Amann was sweet and perfectly textured. My pallet was pleased and I began to dance while enjoying just a small portion of the perfectly flavored pastry. Trying new things, is not me, but this trip to Kona was worth every part of my new tasting adventure. The pastries were made by b. Patisserie, a company that has partnered with Kona Coffee Purveyors. Good job in developing this partnership!
If you visit Hawaii, please be sure to stop by Kona Coffee Purveyors! I promise that you will not be disappointed regardless of what you order!!
On a leisurely walk through Old Town Scottsdale (looking for coffee), I became captivated by the beautiful flowers pictured above. All of a sudden a lady came through these rod iron gates with what looked to be an iced coffee beverage in her hand. I curiously asked, “Where did you get that coffee? I am looking for a coffee house” She replied, “right through those gates.” I counted it as a blessing and moved through the gates quickly. What I found was nothing short of beautiful. It was a courtyard; a sanctuary of sorts. It was filled with more flowers and a lovely fountain with beautiful seating for all to enjoy. The excitement I felt was overwhelming because I knew a great coffee treat would be on the other side!
(photo credit: yelp.com)
So, with great expectation I perused the menu and spoke with the barista regarding iced beverages. I decided to order the cold brew, lightly sweetened with agave and a splash of half and half. My, my, my, it was amazing! Perfectly brewed. Perfectly balanced. Perfectly smooth!
My experience here was extraordinary. If you are ever in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, check out Schmooze in Old Town Scottsdale. It was one of the best coffee venues I have visited.
Late for the Train is a coffee house located in Flagstaff, AZ. My family and I went to the Fort Valley location, which appears to be a converted gas station. Pretty unique indeed. The owner; David Dobrick and his team are “dedicated to creating a mountain fresh difference by combining coffee sourced from unique soils, micro-climates, cultivars, and growers’ skills”. I am happy to be the beneficiary of this dedication:)
In addition to roasting their own beans, Late for the train has a wide variety of coffee and tea beverages, and food offerings. Which includes locally sourced cookies, pastries and sandwiches. We shared chocolate chip cookies, zucchini bread and a chocolate danish. All were really good.
My husband had the COCONINO MOCHA, which is an iced beverage made with their signature cold brew and homemade chocolate sauce. I had a half sweet, iced Black and White with an extra shot of espresso. Both where really good but my favorite was the Black and White. In fact, it was the best one I have had!!
If you are in the area, be sure to give this place a try (www.lateforthetrain.com). It is the perfect midway point from the Grand Canyon to Phoenix.
New Order Coffee Roasters is located on the ground floor of Midtown’s Crystal Loft Building and near Grey Ghost Detroit. From the moment you walk inside, their mission to “delight and energize your everyday life”is clearly evident. The decor alone will take you to a happy place. The color scheme is aqua, orange and white, almost giving you the feeling of being in a candy store.
New Order is not your average coffee shop. They start off the right way by carefully selecting their beans and roasting them in small batches on site. However, what sets them apart is their fun and whimsical approach to making their beverages.
Customers can order drinks like the Cereal Milk latte, lattes with flavor-infused homemade marshmallows and M&M ganache. New Order Coffee also offers sweet and savory pastries and specialty foods and candies. They offer several brew methods and have Nitro of tap too! On our visit, my husband and I order the Cracker Jack latte (…and yes, it came with a prized! LOL) and the Marshmallow latte. Both were terrific and the Frosted Flake milk had us feeling nostalgic. “Who thought of this?” I asked my Barista. She replied, someone who is truly a kid at heart! Yes indeed! Another really cool thing about this coffee shop is that customers can buy freshly roasted coffee beans right there on the spot! The roasting can be customized to suit their taste and they can walk out of the shop with a warm bag of beans to brew at home roasted just for them in minutes. How awesome is that?
The proprietors at New Order are truly on to something fresh and new in the coffee world. They are a great addition to Midtown Detroit and I look forward to my next Esspressotrip there. Check them out if you are in the area: www.newordercoffee.com Also, go to my Instagram page to see my Cracker Jack Latte. My IG page is: Sweetsations
On a recent visit to Italy, I quickly learned that the way we drink and order coffee in the United States is completely different than the Italians. First of all, Italians drink espresso drinks all through out the day. At least 7-8 drinks daily. The portion sizes are significantly smaller and you will not find a Quad Venti Latte option on the menu. No Grande Caramel Macchiato in the streets of Venice! Not a chance! However, what you will find is a rich and luxurious cup of espresso. Bursting with rich flavor and without six pumps of white mocha:) Another important and defining difference is that coffee is consumed while standing -something that hardly ever occurs in the States! Unless, the coffee is ordered “to-go” in a disposable cup for walking. Also, there are no “coffee houses” in Italy. For the most part, one would order coffee from what is called “A Bar”
I am happy to say that I had my first shot of espresso in Italy! Rich~Dark~Smooth is how I would describe it. It is served in a very small cup, on a saucer with a small spoon. Definitely worth the wait. I also had my share of Cafe con Panas, Cappuccinos, and Cafe Lattes. A true favorite was the Affogato with Amaretto Gelato! Yummo!!!
When you visit Italy, order your espresso like the natives and Enjoy!
I have hesitated for more than a year to blog about Ceremony Coffee. Why, you might ask? Well, Ceremony has multiple locations and I typically only blog about independently owned coffee houses with one location. However, for the last three or four months I have visited this “house” and order the Iced Almond Milk Latte. Can I tell you that this latte is so darn good? I never missed the regular milk? In fact, each time I order from Ceremony I am far from disappointed. Their Flat White and Mocha drinks are delish too!
I am really not surprised by the quality coffee because they roast their own carefully sourced arabica beans and strive to deliver a consistent line up of coffee selections. Their motto is: “WE STRIVE TO DELIVER THE CUP OF COFFEE THAT CHANGES SOMEONE’S LIFE.” Well, I guess we can’t argue with that! Right?
Pictured below is the Sakura Saku. This is coffee jelly, cherry blossom honey an lime-infused Chantilly cream. I did not personally have this coffee delight but the customers I interviewed stated that it was surprisingly good and had an interesting taste.
On a recent visit I ordered my Almond Milk Latte and the “Amazing Toast” and amazing it was! This avocado toast is topped with smoked salmon, boiled egg, furikake and sesame seeds. This may have been the best breakfast I have ever had! For real:)