Third time - and what a Charm!

Wow, where has the time gone?

Yep, one of the joys of having your own blog is that life sometimes gets in the way.  Between being increasingly buried at work, planning for a summer vacation, and the many other daily impediments of life, I’ve only managed to post once in the last couple of months.  Eek!

Well, we’re back after that short hiatus.  And we’re still drinking plenty of decaffeinated coffee.

When we last checked in, we had just reviewed several outstanding decaffeinated coffee roasts from a wonderful Calgary roaster, Blue Spruce Decaffeinated Coffee Company. We absolutely loved both their Mexican Organic Decaf as well as their Thai Organic Decaf.  But, there was one more coffee left for us to taste and review – their Decaf Espresso.

Would their third roast be just as good as the first two?

Read More

Coffee: The Best Souvenir

What kind of souvenirs do you pick up when you travel?

T-shirts?  Knick-knacks?  Other trinkets?

Or do you bring home something consumable?

I used to love to get t-shirts and other mementos of my travels.  I’d spend hours trying to find the right t-shirt so that I could humblebrag that I had travelled somewhere, but could also claim some sort of style points from those travels.

However, as I’ve gotten older my tastes have changed.

No longer do I need a drawer full of t-shirts from places I’ve visited. Instead, I’ve gotten in the habit of bringing home consumables souvenirs from my travels. 

That means I searching for chocolates, jellies & preserves, fresh fish and produce, and other foodstuffs during my travels.  You know, souvenirs that remind me of my trip but that have a sunset date on their time in my house. 

And, of course, this means that I get to bring home coffee. 

Read More

Second Verse, as Good as the First?

Regular readers of this blog have already learned about the delightful Mexican Organic Decaf (SWP) that we recently reviewed from Blue Spruce Decaf Coffee Company.  It was an amazing, refreshing decaffeinated coffee experience that we wholeheartedly recommend.

While many roasters would be content to stop with one outstanding decaffeinated coffee, the people at Blue Spruce Decaf wanted more.  They wanted to produce a series of outstanding decaffeinated coffees that decaf drinkers could enjoy. 

After quickly making our way through our first pound of coffee from Blue Spruce Decaf, we were almost giddy with anticipation of another outstanding decaffeinated coffee experience.  The primary question for us was which decaf should we open next?  Would it be their Thai Organic Decaf?  Or should we go with their Organic Decaf Espresso?

Read More

The Greatest Decaf to Hit the Market?

On a cold, January morning we received an email that could best be described as intriguing.  Its subject screamed “Review the Greatest New Decaf to Hit the Market. “  It was from a new producer of decaffeinated coffees, the Blue Spruce Decaffeinated Coffee Co.  According to their website, they aspired to “produce the world’s finest decaf coffee.”

Hmmm, color me intrigued. Would the confidence found in this email translate into their decaf coffee?  Would this be the “greatest new decaf to hit the market”? 

After all, that’s quite the lofty goal, particularly given the many outstanding decaffeinated coffees that we’ve already sampled during this project.  And while I had no doubt that this new roaster was going to be producing a very good – even excellent – decaffeinated coffee, would it be “the greatest”?

Read More

Familiarity Breeds...Excellent Coffee at Home

Occasionally I’m asked about my favorite coffee shops.  I typically list a number of outstanding venues that I’ve visited in cities throughout the United States, shops that many coffee aficionados are well aware of as their reputation for producing great coffee precedes them.

Rarely will I list someplace in my hometown of Columbia, MO unless someone is specifically asking for coffee in CoMo. 

I’m not sure why that is since, as you can see from our coffee guide to Columbia, there are a number of outstanding roasters found in this small city.  These are places that I frequent on a daily basis, the coffee shops that produce my go-to decaffeinated coffees.

I guess it probably has something to do with taking these shops for granted.  Since I see them regularly, I’m used to their outstanding brews.

Read More

From the Belly of the Big Green Giant Comes a Great Decaffeinated Coffee

No single place might be more responsible for the rise of coffee culture in the United States than the city of Seattle.  Sure, there are plenty of other cities (I see you Bay Area) that contributed to the rise of specialty coffee, but without the Big Green Giant from Seattle would it have the reach that it does today?

This is especially true in flyover country, where, prior to the arrival of the Big Green Giant, coffee was mostly confined to the realm of diners, gas stations, and percolators.  When I originally moved to my current home of Columbia, MO in 1992, the only coffee shop in town was The Chez.  The now-iconic Lakota Coffee opened 2 months later, but there were otherwise no specialty coffee purveyors (that I was aware of) in the college town of 100,000 people.  At that time, studying over coffee meant spending the evening perched in a booth at the Country Kitchen.

Today, there are 3 local coffee roasters & cafes, 4 additional coffee shops, as well as 5+ locations of mega coffee spread throughout the community. 

So when it was time to venture to the Pacific Northwest in our search for outstanding decaffeinated coffees, my search of course started in Seattle. 

Read More

Peaks Coffee Co - the pride of Cazenovia, New York

Where do you look when you’re trying to find the best specialty decaffeinated coffee? 

In our part of the world, I’d start with local roasters such as Shortwave Coffee & Fretboard Coffee.  Broadening my search a bit would lead me to regional roasters including P.T.’s Coffee in Topeka, Kansas and Shaw Coffee Roasting in St. Louis.  If I was looking nationally, I would start by looking at established roasters in coffee hotbeds, roasters such as Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago, Colectivo Coffee in Milwaukee, and Stumptown Coffee in Portland, OR.

I certainly wouldn’t think to look towards a fairly new roaster in tiny Cazenovia, New York in this search for a great decaf coffee.

Yet, through the power of Google I ended up exactly there, enjoying delightful decaf from Peaks Coffee Company.

Read More

Thankfully, First Impressions Aren’t Always Correct

First impressions are made to be proven wrong.

For years one of our working theories regarding coffee shops is what t we loosely refer to as our cup theory.

The theory is quite simple: the better the cup used by the coffee shop, the better the coffee they serve.

The inspiration for this theory was the foam coffee cup and the seemingly dreadful coffee served by cafes using those cups. 

Over time, this theory has led us to look for coffee shops that use paper cups and cardboard sleeves.

And, it’s generally not let us down.

Read More

New Methods of Brewing – and a New Outstanding Coffee?

One of our goals in starting this blog was to highlight great decaffeinated coffees and the roasters who are catering to the needs & desires of the decaf drinker.  And while that’s arguably a laudable purpose, we had another, less laudable goal – to find and drink outstanding decaffeinated coffees.

However, what I didn’t anticipate is how this project would transform the way we brewed coffee at home.

Yet when our ancient blade grinder shorted out early this summer, I started to think about how I wanted to brew coffee moving forward.  As any good researcher does, I immediately turned to the Internet to begin searching for the best way to grind whole bean coffee.

Read More

Where Have all the Dark Roasts Gone? A Kansas City Coffee Weekend

“Why can’t coffee shops serve anything besides Decaf Colombian,” I wondered aloud.  “Decaf drinkers like variety also.”

That was my sentiment on Kansas City’s coffee scene after several stops on a recent weekend.  Would the city’s coffee scene be able to redeem itself? 

Over the past decade, the craft coffee scene in Kansas City has flourished.  Twenty years ago, locally crafted KC coffee could be found in two shops – the outstanding Broadway Roasting Co. & The Roasterie.  Today, there are seemingly dozens of excellent coffee shops dotting the metro area.  Furthermore, outstanding coffee is expanding beyond the urban core of Kansas City, into far-flung suburbs like Lee’s Summit & Liberty.

Read More