Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.

Mark Twain

The Essentials of Brewing Great Coffee, Chapter 1

If you’re like most people [and if you’re reading this there’s the very real chance that you’re not, but bear with me anyway] you may have noticed a pronounced difference between the brewed coffee you can buy at your local specialty coffee...

Life is like a cup of coffee.

Life is like a cup of coffee… It can be bitter. And sweet. Often both at once. In your quest for the perfect cup you might travel the hiways and byways, and off the beaten path. Maybe you’re searching for the superior espresso. Or just a good ol’...

Tips & Tricks for the BUNN Pour-0-Matic

I’m a big fan of the Bunn home coffee brewer. I use mine every day — several times a day, most often. Among the available auto-drip brewers on the market today, I think it stands head and shoulders above the competition. It has a fairly large brew basket,...

The Lonliest Island – St. Helena’s Golden Cup

Rating: [rating:5/5] This year, St. Helena, a tiny little island in the South Atlantic, produced only 4,500 pounds of coffee. Two bags of the ’01 crop–maybe 270 pounds–made it to the U.S. One pound of this elusive bean found its way to my house....

Gourmet vs. Freshroast, Part II of II

Compared to the Freshbeans Freshroast, the Hearthware Gourmet is, by just about any measure, a cut above. Its larger capacity, its method of roasting, and its chaff collection system are superior. So why have I found it so onerous to get good results? The...

Gourmet vs. Freshroast, Part I of II

I really enjoy the consistency the Hearthware Gourmet coffee roaster affords to darker roasts — those that live somewhere on the other side of second crack. I have, however, been underwhelmed by its performance on the lighter side of the roast spectrum —...

Yippity Yemeni! Yemen Mokha Sana’ani, 2001 Crop

Rating: [rating:4/5] Since my first sip I’ve always sought out Yemen Mokha. It was always difficult to find one that lived up to my expectations… and now that I’m more familiar with the Yemeni landscape I’ve begun to discover why. Mokha [or...

Black Bear Roastery

These days it seems I rarely find a commercial roaster that roasts coffee like I do — just to the peak [hopefully] of its flavor, rather than far, far into second crack. But I found just such a roaster, so I wanted to share. I’d come upon Black Bear Micro...

Before the cup…

It’s something of a stretch for the coffee pages, but if –like me– you’ve ever considered making your living as a professional chef, you owe it to yourself to read The Soul Of A Chef, by Michael Ruhlman. Chock-full of equal parts insight and...

A visit to PT’s Coffee

I had the opportunity to revisit PT’s Coffee Co. on Monday evening, and confirmed for myself that they do indeed pull a fine espresso. The evening was made better yet by the company of Barry Jarret of Riley’s Coffee. I’ve known Barry for some months...

Thumbing its nose at the Goliath

Thumbing its nose at the Goliath, Black Bear Micro Roastery, a mom and pop roaster in New Hampshire, has decided to continue to sell its Charbucks blend of particularly dark-roasted coffee, despite a lawsuit brought against them by the specialty coffee giant,...

Cupping Fair Trade Coffees

While I’ve cupped one Fair Trade coffee [and I have a few more in the wings] Ken Davids has just posted reviews of thirty-one coffees. The results? A mixed bag, due in part to the current scope of the Fair Trade program — and in part to some coffees that...

Better Biscotti

You know biscotti — those twice-baked Italian cookies you can buy in virtually every coffee shop you visit? I’ve ordered them from time to time, and usually find that they can’t be eaten without dunking them in my coffee. Funny, but when you make...

More Bean Basics

I’ve been roasting coffee with the Hearthware Gourmet for just a skosh over two weeks, and have from time to time found myself frustrated with the experience. I have — on occasion — roasted some really great coffee, mostly darker roasts [Sumatra,...

How caffeine created the modern world

If you’re hankering for a long and literary read [that is to say, it’s Friday and you’re killing time] take a peek at Malcolm Gladwell’s JAVA MAN in The New Yorker. A tasty tidbit: “That the American Revolution began with the symbolic...

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