Tag Archives: Coffee

Coffee (of the Pumpkin Spice variety)

It’s been a while since I posted anything about coffee on here.  I found something worthy of mention.

October 2009 007

See above the HILARIOUSLY named “Arbuckles” coffee package.  I love it.  Enough like “starbucks” to make the punters think of so-called “gourmet” coffee, different enough to dodge any lawsuit!  Amazing.  Really.

At any rate, my Missus was craving some flavored coffee, and for the autumn, wanted something in a pumpkin spice.  We found this at the grocery and tried it.  I am blown away by the fact that I actually enjoy this.  I usually HATE flavored coffee.  The only kinds I could ever stand were the cinnamon coffee made by this amazing Syrian guy named Fadul at a little coffee shop in Northwestern PA called Cafe Ole, and a good Ethiopian coffee (which really isn’t flavored as much as spiced to a certain degree).  Even these two, which are good, were never my first choice.  I like coffee…black and plain.  A nice bold roast is good. 

That’s why I was so surprised that good folks at Arbuckle’s (HA!) got this right.  I really like it.  Flavored enough to know there’s something there, not too much to be overpowering and disgusting.  Well done!

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Of Work Runs, Demolition and Coffee…

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything here.  Those days have been busy ones.  My new work schedule has lent to some creative ways to spend time.  The whole reality of working a so-called split shift is kind of rough.  IF I come all the way home to do anything I have precious little time to do it in.  I am amazed at daytime traffic in the city of Pittsburgh.  With summer construction season in full swing, a normal 25 minute drive turns into an hour.

That being the case, I did my first run at work during my long afternoon break yesterday.  It was hot hot hot, but really lovely.  New terrain is always interesting to run on, so new hills and such gave me an overall interesting and rewarding experience.  Plus, new scenery was a great time, too! I don’t really ever get bored when running, but it is nice to mix up the landscape every now and again.  Being unfamiliar with the terrine and the cobbled together route, I clocked in at just under 25 minutes.  That’s a bit short compared to my normal run, but at least I got something in, right?

The photos of the steps next to my house elsewhere on here are woefully inadequate as of yesterday.  The borough had decided that the steps had to go.  They contracted with a company to get them out and an odd thing happened.  Last Wednesday demo started.  The crew worked for about 1/2 to 3/4 of the day and stopped.  They set up a bunch of orange traffic barrels around the large earth mover/back hoe thing they used to destroy the first 7 or so steps.  Then…nothing happened.  Nobody came back, nobody did any work, and the yellow caution tape was soon ripped down by the neighbors.  Then the massive and rough looking / smelling dead possum showed up.  By Tuesday of this week the dead dude was rank in the heat and looked horrible.  I called the borough twice that day to get someone out here to do something.  In my call I mentioned that nobody had worked on demolishing the steps in a week.  Wednesday morning at 7 a whole work crew was here and the rest of the job got done (including dead possum removal).  Again, today, more work at the site finishing up the job. 
When Hux and I lived at our old house we had roots in the water pipes.  The landlord had a company come and take care of it.  He asked us to call him if they didn’t do work any day, because apparently part of the contract was the price of a few hundred dollars a day for their earth mover to be “on site.”  I wonder if this company had a similar deal and I unwittingly ended a juicy government contract for the company?

Working more, as I have been, I realize that my coffee intake has skyrocketed (No lie, I actually typed that last line with one finger while sipping more coffee.  True.)  It’s great for most of the day, but sometimes on super coffee days the acidic properties get more intense than I would like, so I back off.  I’m still rocking the Merrakesh Express (mentioned elsewhere in this blog) with an occasional cup of work swill.  It’s made in one of those blasted BUN coffee makers that people are so excited about.  Ugh.  Those cups are few and far between, thankfully.

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“Cease Your Ingress! The Percolations Are Imminent!”

I love coffee.  For along time I prided myself on being down with everything from gourmet shop stuff, to quickie mart been-on-the-burner-since-Tuesday stuff.  Lately, I find myself longing for the quality that I get from brewing my own at home.  That’s not to say that a good bit of coffee shop coffee isn’t excellent. When it comes to day to day brewing and drinking, however, two kinds of coffee stand out for me as the overall best of the bunch.

First is Dean’s Beans Marrakesh Express.  http://www.deansbeans.com/  This stuff is AMAZING.  It has become my go-to coffee.  It has a full flavor, and is considered a dark roast, but has none of the bitter tones or overly acidic strains of some so-called dark roasts.  the Dean’s Beans website says that Marrakesh Express is “Ethiopian Sidamo blended with the passionate bite of Timor.”  Another thing I love about this stuff is that it’s a fairly traded coffee.  I like being able to still have coffee, but know it’s not adding to the problems of economic destruction of workers and environmental destruction of the planet.

 

My second go-to, if for some reason I can’t get ahold of Marrakesh Express, has to be Illy. 

http://www.illyusa.com/

My man Rick turned me on to this stuff and it is wonderful.  This is good quality Italian espresso roast.  I like to brew it up in a drip coffee pot.  It’s flavorful and bold, but smooth and delicious.  The best espresso in a cafe that I’ve ever had was Illy.  In fact, in both England and in San Francisco, both of the best espressos I’ve had were Illy. 

As for brewing, I do like a drip maker.  Indeed, I’m still using Old Joe the Eternal.  I’ve had Joe since I was in college, and he was old and used before that.  He’s outlasted many newer fancier models.  Just use cold, filtered water, and a clean re-usable filter.  It will taste better.

French Press is also wonderful.  I tend to make it less than I used to, but it’s a good brewing method.  I find that for non-espresso brews, the simpler the method, the better the coffee.  Oh, and of course, always buy whole beans and grind them just before brewing.  This will ensure the best flavor. 

Pittsburgh cafes of note that make very good coffee:

The 61C in Squirrel Hill http://61ccafe.com/
Tazza D’Oro in Highland Park http://www.tazzadoro.net/
and believe it or not, since they’ve gone to a non-smoking side where the coffee is prepared (I swear…the coffee tastes better there now…) The Beehive on the Southside http://www.beehivebuzz.com/

Go drink some good coffee…

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