Ladurée – go for the macaroons

Although the Ladurée at Harrods in London is adorable, I did not love their caffe latte quite as much since it tasted more of soya than espresso, which was so faint you almost couldn’t taste it. It also was too hot for a latte. The macaroons were so delicious that we ordered seconds, which is unusual for me since I hardly ever eat sweets. I strongly recommend their coconut macaroon, which dare I say it was better than the macaroons at Botegga Louie in downtown Los Angeles. The decor of this cafe is similar to that of Bottega, with the white marble floors, high ceilings, glass cases, and macaroon tree displays. The cups are also quite quaint and match with the overall feel of Ladurée, while reminding me of the teacups ride in Fantasy Land at Disneyland. They even had silver jugs for the milk, with small napkins made for the handle to keep you from burning your hands, which was both thoughtful and visual appealing.
   
   

Coffee & Tea Collective: Second location alert!

As you may or may not know, I’m a sucker for Peaberry coffees. Once I saw the Guatemala Antigua Peaberry on the Coffee & Tea Collective menu, I knew I had no choice but to order it. The barista informed me that this was one of their more chocolatey and nutty coffees, with an apple-like acidity sensation as you sip it and let it settle on your palate. I tasted notes of orange and dark chocolate, and although strong, the Guatemala Antigua hardly had any bitterness to it, even served black.

Brewed manually single cup through a V6 Drip Cone, the brewing techniques and styles at Coffee & Tea Collective are all very visual; aesthetically and aromatically pleasing. He wets the filter first for preheating and cleansing purposes, and superstitiously thinks it makes it tastes better that way. Since my coffee was made later in the afternoon, they used their lower-traffic hot-coffee method. Although this method took slightly longer, it’s perfect for anyone who has time to enjoy a cup and isn’t in a situation where they need a grab and go.

Second location alert! This East Village/Downtown spot is the second Coffee & Tea Collective in San Diego, which has only been open about a month and a half (since mid-February 2015). The space highlights the brewing methods, with easy viewing of how each beverage is prepared and served individually.

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Where My Addiction Comes From

If anyone was wondering where my caffeine addiction comes from.. This morning, around 8am, house keeping knocked on our hotel room door. Previously my mom had stated how exhausted she was, declined my offer to go swimming at one of the two beautiful pools, and even asked if I could shower first. However, when house keeping knocked on the door and I said we were still in here, checking out at 11, and didn’t need anything, my mom SPRUNG out of her bed and SPRINTED to the door, asking the house keeper for some more coffee. Regular.

I wouldn’t try the coffee, but she assured me it was better than flavored coffee, and definitively better than no coffee.

Inspired by Taste

To celebrate the eve of Artís Coffee’s one-year anniversary in Berkeley, I paid a visit and ordered an almond milk latte. Best decision of the day, and what a great push towards productivity.

I want to return tomorrow to celebrate; we shall if my life journey brings me back in time! Hopefully, because there’s a chocolate truffle and coffee pairing from 11-11:30am and a DJ/pudding/ice cream taco party from 1pm-4pm. Mark your calendars, Bay Area caffeine addicts!

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Peaberry Coffee

Coffee coffee coffee coffee!!

After a long hike through the hills of Berkeley Hugo and I desperately needed our fix of caffeine-fuel. We were directed (by Google) to the closest local coffee shop: Cole Coffee on College Ave in Berkeley.

I ordered the Kenya Peaberry iced coffee, which is a smokey and complex coffee with good acidity. A medium roast with a sweeter edge on the palate, it was completely drinkable sans-sugar and sans-milk. I chose this particular coffee (over my usual espresso-themed drink choices) because of my love of the rare peaberry bean. Also, since we just finished hiking through Strawberry Canyon, I found it appropriate to stay consistent with the theme of things that had “berry” in the name (even though I saw no berries).

Peaberry, also known as caracoli, is a type of coffee bean that occurs from natural mutation within the fruit/cherry. Normally the cherry of a coffee plant contains two seeds (the beans) that develop together, with one of their sides becoming flattened, looking as if it was cut in half. However, about 5% of the time, only one of the two seeds is fertilized, and this single seed develops with nothing to flatten it. This gives it an oval (or pea-shaped) bean known as a peaberry. They tend to be smaller, denser, a little sweeter and more flavorful than the average bean.

Hugo ordered the also-delicious hot Colombian Organic Fair-Trade roast, which was a classic French Roast, smooth with rich flavor. I think he just ordered this one because he’s Colombian and knows how great things from Colombia can be; obviously biased. IMG_9944-0.JPG

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National Coffee Day

Happy National Coffee Day to all my fellow caffeine addicts and coffee lovers out there!

To celebrate this special holiday I started my day off with cold brewed coffee. But wait, it gets better. I started my day off with two free cold brewed coffees. Thanks to Fun and Cheap SF I knew that Bread & Cocoa was giving away free cold brewed coffee to the first 100 people, starting at 8am. Obviously I planned my day around making it there in time to take up this opportunity to celebrate my favorite holiday. I talked to the knowledgeable and friendly roaster and got to know a bit more about their commercial roasters company (Mr. Espresso Oak Wood Roasting) and the cold brewed coffees I was lucky (and determined) enough to enjoy. It turns out that they are the people that launched the coffee program that now exists at Bread and Cocoa!

The cold brew today was their 7 bridges blend, which relates well to the Bay Area and to connects with the people here. Since it’s never brewed hot, it allows you to really taste the coffee notes without bitterness and acidity because the coffee never has to be cooled down. The beans are from South and Central America, then roasted in Oakland. The main flavor profile is velvety, with flavor notes with different levels of sweetness, including brown sugar and dark chocolate. This blend is roasted pretty dark, mixed with dark and light beans that complement each other with smokiness.

A few takeaways:
1. I love cold brewed coffee.
2. It left an amazing after taste.
3. The best (and only real) way to celebrate National Coffee Day is with multiple cups of coffee.

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New Orleans Coffee

My first local coffee stop in New Orleans: Antoine’s Annex on Royal near Toulouse. Out of all the coffee I had in New Orleans during my time there for the International Collegiate Conference for the American Marketing Association (which also happened to be the same time as the
French Quarter Music Festival) I discovered that Antoine’s Annex was my favorite. I loved the look of the place; the locals who recommended it were definitely on point with how clean it is inside! The doors and window panes (right word?) were a deep teal on the outside, but once you walked inside the floors were composed of black and white tiles, while the walls were decorated with large black and white photographs and white shelves. Due to the fact that outside it was humid and in the 80’s, I knew I’d want something cold for after we left the air-conditioned black and white cafe. I knew iced was the only option, which is how I came upon this refreshing iced soy latte. It was very smooth and a light tan color when the soy and espresso were mixed, with a ratio of soy to espresso that was very heavy on the soy side of things. The espresso was so good that I wish I’d ordered it with another shot.

The fresh, certified organic, and fair trade espresso actually comes from a family-owned local roaster, Orleans Coffee Exchange, which provides coffee to the majority of New Orleans coffee houses.

Multiple New Orleans locals recommended the place because it’s clean, has better coffee, and most important: it has ice cream. Even though I’m lactose intolerant, I can still appreciate the concept and understand the appeal of having both ice cream and good coffee.

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The art and science of good coffee.

Best cappuccino in San Francisco is here at Jane. They have a list of different coffee options from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which I’ve noticed is very popular up here in SF. Your choices for now until March 28th include: Sulawesi Toraja (profile: honey, cola, naval orange and marshmallow), Duromina (profile: strawberries and cream), Huye Mountain (profile: peanut butter, cocao, and raspberries), and Hairbended (profile: milk chocolate, Meyer lemon, and caramel). From this selection I chose the Huye Mountain beans from Rwanda, which was the best decision, especially with the lingering tastes of chocolate and peanut butter, in addition to how smooth the foam was on the well-designed cappuccino. My options for ways to order the Huye Mountain included espresso, macchiato, Gibraltar, or cappuccino, and I now want to try them all! I ended up with the cappuccino because I felt I needed the largest one possible. I got it with almond milk and they complemented eachother perfectly. Highly highly recommend. It was served in a white cup on a black saucer, which perfectly matched the black and white decor in this chic cafe. Everything about this cafe is thought out and inviting, including (but not limited to) the chevron tile tables, long bar, large cold brew drip, mirrored walls, two stories, and simplistic exterior.

They also are featuring Stumptown’s single origins, including the Sulawesi Toaraco Peaberry with darker notes and an earthy taste. Their coffee manager decided to have a chemistry-tube rack filled with different beans and spices to display the science that goes into each cup of coffee. It’s an art and a science: visually appealing and builds on the fact that baristas are both skillful artists and chemists.

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Goodreads Quotes About Coffee

Tonight I discovered the website goodreads! (https://www.goodreads.com/).  Somewhat interesting to see that 53 of my Facebook friends are already members.

Let me enlighten you on a few of my new favorite quotes (on the topic of coffee, of course):

“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.”
― Dave Barry 

“I don’t know where my ideas come from. I will admit, however, that one key ingredient is caffeine. I get a couple cups of coffee into me and weird things just start to happen.”
― Gary Larson

“The powers of a man’s mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffee he drinks.”
— James Mackintosh

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”
― Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

“Police work wouldn’t be possible without coffee,” Wallander said.
“No work would be possible without coffee.”
They pondered the importance of coffee in silence.”
― Henning Mankell, One Step Behind 

“My couch is coffee-colored.  I can thank Starbucks and clumsiness for that.”
― Jarod Kintz

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from – or how you feel… There’s always peace in a strong cup of coffee.”
― Gabriel Ba, Daytripper

“Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.”
― David Lynch

“Come on, don’t you ever stop and smell the coffee?”
― Justina Chen, North of Beautiful 

You know you are really craving coffee when you start looking up quotes about it.

Blackhorse Changeover

This is the perfect setting for me to start writing a blog; it has been pouring rain for days here in San Luis Obispo and the most cozy place to study and be productive seems to be at coffee shops.  I’m certainly glad it’s raining, seeing as California has been in a drought and all of the hills were looking too brown..  However, all of the rain has decided to come down at once and makes things somewhat inconvenient, especially in regards to the flooding.

Today Hugo and I wanted to study and do our work at a coffee shop, and I opted for the Blackhorse downtown at 1065 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA.  I chose it because it was close to where we went to lunch (Gus’s Grocery for pastrami sandwiches) and because they have enough outlets to guarantee a charged laptop.  Additionally, it always feels to me like I’m entering the lottery as I’m driving over, always hoping to be lucky enough to win one of the two free parking spots directly outside that are reserved for Blackhorse customers.  Although they say they are limited to 30 minutes, I feel that is not strictly enforced, or at least it hasn’t been any of the times I’ve studied there.  It’s more of an honor system.  We put our bags down at the little table for two next to the fireplace and went up to order.  I ordered a soy latte and Hugo got a black coffee.  Everything was going well enough up until the point when I realized my internet refused to connect, likely because of the amount of my peers using the internet on their own MacBooks.  I went up to the barista and told her the internet wasn’t working and asked if there was a code; she said there was none.  I then proceeded to ask her if I went to the Blackhorse off Foothill, where they require you to purchase something in order to get your own unique code, if we could get a code for internet access since we just purchased something from Blackhorse.  She was very helpful and called the Foothill location right away, and so when I got to this Blackhorse at 796 Foothill Blvd, I was greeted with “Are you the Meagan that needs an internet access code?” by one of my favorite Blackhorse baristas.  I said yes, and he gave us two, and now we are here!  I input my six-digit code and my internet is working perfectly with full bars.

In case the suspense about how parking gamble went, we were able to snag free Blackhorse reserved parking at both locations.

I feel that the most appropriate topics for me to write about are derived from coffee beans and food.  I consider myself a complete foodie, as well as a true caffeine addict.  I usually average 2-6 shots of espresso daily, which is an expensive (but completely worth it) habit.  Let me make this clear up front: I have no intention of kicking my addiction, I just plan on keeping it at a level where I don’t get headaches if I only have two shots.  Caffeine keeps me going throughout the day, with the mandatory morning wake-me-up that gets me to a functioning level, and then again later on in the day to keep me going and productive.

I am not going to make this a daily diary/journal type of thing, nor will I make it into a recipe book.  This is going to be more of a random type of blog, where I post about my experiences with coffee, food, drinks, and maybe even the men that seem to come along with the three of those delicious things.  Someone may say that coffee should be in the drink category and that it’s really only two topics I’m writing about, but I chose to disagree.  Caffeine (strictly via coffee beans) is my only drug and a large part of my busy lifestyle.  For the drinks category, I am regarding wines, beers, and spirits. It should be interesting and comical at some moments, and informative at others.  That’s what I’m going for, at least.  So let’s see how it goes; ready?