Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We're back...

Sorry for the radio silence. I was going through a period where I was eliminating caffiene from my diet. What a foolhardy experiment.

Today, I would like to review the coffee they serve at First Watch, a brunch chain in Ohio, Florida, and a few other states. They serve Sunrise Select, a premium, full-flavored coffee. They bring a pot to your table so you can refill your cup as often as you like. And they will keep it coming if you ask. :) The one I frequent also provides free small cups of coffee on Sunday morning when they are at their busiest and you have to wait a while. It's a nice touch. Of course, it seems wrong not to order a cup once you sit down, after you've been guzzling it for free. Not that I haven't done it. ::whistles and walks away::

The Sunrise Select has a nice rich flavor. A good "wake up" coffee to get you going in the morning. Excellent unsweetened when eating pancakes or waffles. Add a little sugar if you like as you eat your omelets. I find this coffee better than most restaurant offerings. Definitely better than IHOP's. I had that recently and it was drekkish and 1 cup at best. The Sunrise Select gets 3.5 cups. $1.99 for all you can drink.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hot in the Milky Way…

Outside in…

It’s a song, okay? Trust me, it is!

Anyway, it’s back to Coffee Emporium for a hot coffee. I get the Milky Way which is dark chocolate and caramel flavors in a latte. I order a 20 oz with whip for $4.50. I still need to order a regular coffee. The purist form. Because syrupy things mask how good the actual coffee is. As is the case with the Milky Way. Opposite of the superior Glacial I had before, the Milky Way is entirely too sweet. It is still rich tasting, but very sugary. The coffee flavor is hidden. This gets 3 cups. It’s fine. Better than drinkable and I would gladly consume it if I were given one. But I will most likely not order and pay for it again. The friend I was with ordered the same thing and also was not satisfied.

I did get a chance to check out the indoor seating upstairs though. Plenty of tables and outlets. I just don’t like that you can’t go down to the counter and still keep an eye on your belongings.

The outside seating is lovely. Various tables, benches and logs to sit on outside. Coffee Emporium closed at 8pm on this particular day, but we were still allowed to sit outside and hang out. They have a lot of seating in the back, but I assume this is mostly for Sunday’s Wafflemania! But maybe not. Maybe they get busy enough to utilize all of that space at various times which would be awesome.

At work. Must have coffee.

I would guess it’s due to the economy, but my workplace has switched from the Folgers coffee packs to 100% Arabica Premium Ground Coffee (yes, all caps!) distributed by Sam’s West, Inc.

When I opened the one pot package, it smelled like coffee. It smelled pretty good actually, but I’ve long been a fan of the way coffee smells before I ever started drinking it.

I made a pot. Poured a cup. Took a sip. It tastes like coffee, but it’s nothing special. Hey, what do you want for free? It’s probably just as good as Folgers. Not as good as the Folgers Gourmet Selections, but good enough. I give it a 2 cup rating.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Two reviews in one...

One from small city Illinois. The other from Cincinnati, OH!

Spring. Warm weather. This requires frozen drinky drinks.

Review #1: Back in Freeport, Illinois, Cafe Mondo gets the downtown crowd. I need to go back and try their regular coffee, but on this gorgeous spring day it's all about the chilled, icy drinks. I get to the door and by the sign I see that they have just closed although there is someone sitting at a table. I go in anyway and ask if I can get a drink to go. They gladly oblige me. I almost ordered a caramel, but the barista told me they also had Java Mint. Well, why isn't that on the chalkboard menu? Put it up there! Mint! Chocolate! Good! After plopping down $3 and some change for a large, I get my sweet, coffee goodness with whipped cream on top. The only problem is that there's too much sweet. Not enough coffee. The syrup should not mask the flavor of coffee in a coffee drink. It's still tasty, but if I wanted a shake, I would have gotten that. This is coffee! Their Java Mint gets 3 stars for lack of coffee flavor.

The shop itself has a nice urban feel with picture windows looking into the "city". Plenty of tables and artwork. It has what Higher Grounds lacks as far as atmosphere. I could easily see myself bringing a laptop and working here if only they stayed open later. They close at 3pm. I wonder why they don't stay open and go after the movie-goers that will be down the street that evening? I wonder if it would be worth it to them? It would be worth it to me!

Review #2: Another warm day with a taste for frozen coffee. I know of a coffee shop that I haven't frequented yet that's on my way home. I stop at Coffee Emporium in East Hyde Park, Cincy, OH. They have nice outdoor seating which I shall utilize someday. I don't know why, but I don't take a peek upstairs to see what the indoor seating is like. That's a mission for another visit on another day.

After perusing their menu (they also have scrummy looking cookies and waffles! Waffles! I'm totally coming back to check their Sunday waffle dealio!), I order a Glacial Mudslide with whip which costs $3.75 for a 12 oz. It is a chocolate/caramel blend. It's very rich. Very flavorful. And the coffee taste shines through. Mmm, Mmm good! A chocolate ring around the sides of the cup makes it look pretty. This is heavenly and what a frozen coffee drink should be. Again, I need to come back and try the regular coffee to see if it compares to Lookout Joe. They also sell tasty chocolates such as Ritter Sport with Cornflakes. That candy bar is the bomb dot com. The Glacial Mudslide gets the magical 5 cup rating.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Perfection in a cup, thy name is Triple Bliss!

With your whipped cream and chocolate drizzle toppings, your three kinds of chocolate in a scrumptious latte, how can I go wrong? I ordered one at Higher Grounds coffee in Freeport, Illinois. When the friend I was meeting saw my drink, her eyes bugged out and she promptly ordered the same thing.

Such decadence. Such chocolately goodness. My friend couldn't finish hers because it was so rich, but as I used to say when I was a kid, "I drank mine all gone."

Although Higher Grounds has many of the things that other excellent shops do (i.e. colorful scheme, local artists displaying their work on the walls, fireplace surrounded by comfy chairs, students and laptop users at various tables, a nicely cluttered counter where the register is) the place itself seems a little plain. Too much open space? Not enough urban feel? Don't focus on that. Focus on the coffee. If you are hungry, Higher Grounds also offers scones, sandwiches, and soups, but my heart belongs to the coffee.

Mmm... The coffee. Bucket of Gold is a caramel taste sensation which gets 4.5 cups. But Triple Bliss. You, Triple Bliss, shall get 5 cups.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So many choices, so little time

Lookout Joe in Mt. Lookout has a wonderful coffee bar of sorts. Each day, they have about 6 different coffees, some decaf, to choose from. And the choices vary from day to day. Today, I was torn between the Sumatran Fair Trade Italian Roast and the Tiramisu. The need for a major caffiene boost won me over. I went with the Sumatran. Rich. Bold. I probably would have needed an additional packet of Splenda if I had been drinking it with nothing else to consume, but the chocolate croissant I ordered for breakfast helped sweeten it up. Perfectly.

The nice think about Lookout Joe is that when you order a plain coffee, the first refill is free and then a dollar after that. So, I tried about a half cup of the Tiramisu. Mild. Light. Good drinking coffee when you don't need to be over caffieneated. I also loooove their Highland Grog for this very reason. I could drink cups of it and be happy.

The Sumatran, 3.5 cups. The Tiramisu and their Highland Grog, 4 cups.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hot chocolate, with a twist

Okay, yeah, this is a coffee blog, but not even I can drink coffee all the time. And since today was Big Sad Day in my department, a mocha just wasn't enough. Full on chocolate was the way to go. And now Starbucks has their new signature hot chokkies. The one that intrigued me was the Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate. If you're one of those salty/sweet, "I like chocolate covered potato chips" type of people, or you put peanuts in your Mountain Dew like one of my former bosses is known to do, then you will like this hot chocolate. It has a unique flavor... Sweet buttery caramel... special sea salt topping... whipped cream. It's quite good, but oh, so bad for you. I ordered a grande and I think I consumed over 600 calories in one beverage. Holy frijoles! Make it a skim and skip the whip and you'll cut 130 calories.

Save this for a bad day. It will help a little. I want to say it's $4.29 or so? I didn't have to pay for it, so I didn't pay attention. It was a treat from a co-worker for Big Sad Day. 4.5 cups.