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Coffee

Coffee Roundup Summer 2021

With the summer heat and this year’s heat dome you may think that coffee wouldn’t be a priority but this is the time to make iced coffee. Whether its pouring hot espresso over ice and adding home simple syrup or making cold brew coffee, summer is still a great time for coffee.

We tried a new favourite, Blindside Espresso, a Starbucks classic blend Caffè Verona, a vacation treat from Hornby Island Coffee Roasters called Helliwell Medium and the Strait Coffee Traders Blend Skookum Organic.

Blindside Espresso

I grabbed a bag of this coffee from Roaster Central at the Espressotec store on Clark Drive.

The company, Craft Coffee Canada, is a Vancouver Island based company that has a Crest series to which Blindside Espresso belongs.

This is a great coffee that the company says “is roasted to a light/medium level to help accentuate its bright acidity, syrupy body and wonderful sweetness.

I found it to be very good in my Aeropress while camping on Hornby Island when I was vacationing in August. The coffee itself blends Ethiopia and Colombian coffees.

Caffè Verona

Having worked at a Starbucks in the early 2000’s, I’ll admit I picked up a love for this blend because I drank so much of it for free. It was a great perk.

The coffee itself has been around since 1975 where according to Starbucks “it was created for a Seattle restaurant, naming it Jake’s Blend.”

The coffee’s second name – 80/20 Blend – refers to the initial blending of 80% Yukon Blend and 20% Starbucks Italian Roast.

I get the Italian Roast taste here which many people associate with Starbucks and its burnt way of making and roasting coffee. I don’t find it burnt personally.

Helliwell Medium

Helliwell Medium is named after Helliwell Provincial Park on Hornby Island. I visit there in the summer to vacation and over the years the Hornby Island Coffee Roasters brand has really grown there.

I grabbed this blend while there obviously and it is a great coffee for any type of brew method.

The biggest thing that I can say about this coffee is the memories it brings back of the Park itself while drinking it. I’ve included a picture. below.

Skookum Organic

I’ve reviewed this coffee before and it’s one of my favourites from the Sunshine Coast. Produced by Strait Coffee Traders, it blends their Italian and French Roast coffees.

Skookum is interesting because it blends two coffees that each contain two coffees themselves. The French Roast blends natural Ethiopian with hearty Mexican coffees while the Italian blends Central American and Indonesian coffees. That being said the flavour and taste of this coffee is a unique one.

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Coffee

Christmas Coffee Roundup 2020

As well as being a great time to drink beer Christmas is also a great time for coffee.

Cool dark snowy weather goes hand in hand with a warm cup of java by the fireplace or in front of the television with Netflix on.

This year I made my way through a number of delicious Christmas coffees. They were Starbucks Christmas Blend, JJ Bean Coffee’s Banco Gotete Espresso, a Holiday Blend Coffee from Delanys, and Burundi Mabrizi and Skookum Dark from Strait Coffee Traders.

Starbucks Christmas Blend

Say what you will about drinking coffee from a large chain like Starbucks this coffee does deliver and has been a long time staple for many coffee drinkers including myself.

With dark roast coffee beans from Guatemala, Colombia and Papua New Guinea, the real secret to this coffee is the beans from Sumatra, which are aged. Starbucks has been carrying its Christmas Blend since 1984.

The coffee tends to vary a bit from season to season based on the varietals in it but it is always a good cup of dark, rich coffee that goes well with Christmas food and desserts.

Ethiopia Banco Gotete JJ Bean Coffee Roasters

This is another seasonal coffee with a rich history given its origins.

The town of Banco Gotete is located n Gedeo County. This county is part of the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia. I’ve tried Yirgacheffe coffees before from other coffee roasters including Starbucks. Yirgacheffe is really part of the Sidamo region in southern Ethiopia, another name you may recognize if you like and drink African coffees. but since it’s coffees are so well known it gets it’s own micro region.

Ethiopia has widely been called the birthplace of coffee.

The African Coffee profile as it tends to be knowns always has fruit like, citrusy notes with a bean that doesn’t look dark or is roasted too heavily.

I would say that this coffee has that profile and was best made in a drip coffee maker versus my Stovetop espresso maker or French Press. I have always loved these coffees cold over ice and with some bits of fruit thrown in.

JJ Bean also has a Run For Water project that they are involved in in Africa within these regions.

Strait Coffee Burundi Mabrizi

Strait Coffee is one of my favourite coffee places. If it were in Vancouver and not on the Sunshine Coast I would be there likely every day.

They have been roasting coffee for 25 years and honestly you can tell. The Burundi Mabrizi arrived in a delightful purple cellophane bag for Christmas and I enjoyed it immensely.

For whatever reason I seem to have gravitated to African coffees over Christmas and in doing some research on the origins of and the history of this region I found out some interesting things.

Places such as Ethiopia and Kenya are well known for coffee but Burundi apparently also has an economy that is based around agriculture with coffee and tea according to Wikipedia “accounting for 90% of foreign exchange earnings, though exports are a relatively small share of GDP.”

Organic Skookum Blend

Next up on my list from Strait Coffee was the Organic Skookum Blend. I’m not sure what they put in this coffee in terms of how they blend it or what they use but it was delicious. This is honestly one of the best coffees I have tried in a long time. I’m not sure they will give away what the blend is.

Delany’s Holiday Blend

Delany’s Coffee is a Vancouver based company with five locations. It’s own by Robyn Delany and family and is well established on the North Shore with locations in North and West Vancouver.

Dig a little deeper and you’ll find out they use Caffe D’arte as the roaster of their coffees using Dark Roasting with complex flavours.

I couldn’t find anything online about their Holiday Blend that related to blending and coffees used in this blend but it is a solid entry. It was also a holiday deal on sale for 10 dollars for one week during Christmas when I bought it.

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Coffee

Coffee Roundup November

I’ve written some coffee reviews on coffees I’ve consumed over the last few months but now that I am blogging more regularly I am going to do some coffee roundups.

Sometimes I will have a couple of coffees in the month and other months just one. If I buy 1/2 of a pound I use it quicker obviously but I also like to branch out and try a few different coffees at a time.

PalletRicardoZelaya
PalletRicardoZelaya

This month I’ll be looking at three delicious coffees. One from Pallet Coffee Roasters, Another from Strait Coffee on the Sunshine Coast and an old favorite, Starbucks Gold Coast Blend.

Pallet Coffee Roasters Ricardo Zelaya: Santa Clara, Honey – Guatemala

I’ve included a link to Pallet’s website here with a complete breakdown and the information on this coffee and it’s an interesting story. There is one thing that stuck out to me with this blend, in particular, is how the beans are picked and sorted.

If you have ever seen a coffee plant as I have you will see the red cherries hanging off of the plant. Once those are picked and ready for harvesting the bean is processed and it is here that a farmer will use either the dry method or washed method.

Washed method coffees have all the cherry surrounding the bean removed and they are then soaked for 12-72 hours to ferment. This is the most common way to process and get green beans ready for roasting.

The Dry method as it is known sees coffee cherries placed on to raised beds to dry in the sun. This too effects the flavour and overall taste of the coffee as well.

With the honey process, coffee cherries are de-pulped but allowed to dry without washing. Some of the fruit is still there, but not nearly as much as in the natural process. Most of the cherry is gone, but the remaining golden, sticky mucilage is reminiscent of honey, which is where the process gets its name.

With this process, I noticed a distinct difference from Pallet’s Benchmark Espresso which I tried in the spring of 2020.

Costa Rica from Strait Coffee

Strait Coffee Traders is nestled in an unremarkable shopping plaza in Wilson Creek, B.C. on the Sunshine Coast.

Why great coffee comes from here I don’t know but they have been doing it since 1996, and their Costa Rica is a great choice for someone looking for a coffee that is too overpowering.

Once again I took this coffee through three possible brewing methods in my trusty Bialetti Stove Top Espresso Maker, French Press made by Bodum, and a cone drip coffee maker.

Strait Coffee describes it as one that you get the taste or feel of Milk chocolate, honeydew, caramel. The coffee is fully washed and dried in the sun and mechanical driers.

This is the type of coffee that could please many palettes and would be great hot or iced. It did stretch my preference too of wanting to always go for coffees from Africa or Asia which includes places like Hawaii as well.

Gold Coast Starbucks

This is an old favorite of mine from my days working with the coffee giant between 2003-2007. I can honestly I learned a lot about coffee from Starbucks which had nothing to do with Starbucks coffee per se but rather how and why coffee is what it is.

It has been 10 years since I probably bought Gold Coast and it was great to taste it again.

As Starbucks describes Gold Coast it has the heft of beans from Latin America and Indonesia with a bit of sweetness from our dark Italian Roast.

I can see now why I like this coffee so much when you think about previous coffees I have reviewed including some of the Latin Americans include in this and other posts.

I have an admitted bias against Latin American coffees especially when lightly roasted and full of acidity and lacking body.

Gold Coast however does not disappoint given that it’s a blend and a well crafted one at that.