Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Is Boca Java Really Good Coffee?

Is Boca Java Really Good Coffee?

You tell me.

I’ve been a coffee freak for a lot of years and I have a pretty sophisticated palate.

I’m no Ernesto Illy, Alfred Peet, Mauro Cipolla or Michael Baccellieri, but I know good crema when I taste it and I love good espresso.

I really love it.

With a good bean and a savvy barista behind the counter, I always drink doppios. But I watch the ‘pour’ a few times and listen before I order (in a place where I haven’t been before). And I don’t add a sugar cube the way the Italians do, I add a dash of creme in the center of the 2 shots – and drink it quickly while it’s still hot.

A really good espresso always makes me wish I had a 3 or 4" reach with my tongue so I could lick the entire contents out of the those little ceramic espresso cups – because lots of the good tasting stuff sticks to the cup.

One of  my regular customers – a meat cutter from Sam’s club – used to come in and ask for, "the chewy one" – and I would make it for him just the way I liked it best.

When I had my espresso shop I got so I could indentify several of the varietals in the custom blend that I had roasted by Cafe Appassionato in Seattle. I worked closely to develop the "Morning Shot Blend" with the sales rep from the company, a guy name Dan – who was the epitome of customer service,  courtesy and a fantastic relationship builder – in concert with their roaster. We worked hard tweaking the blend, adding a higher percentage of Zimbabwes for sweetness, a touch more brazils and some Costa Rican and Sumatra for the "dry white" finish of a northern European roast. (There were also Columbian Supremo beans for a rich flavor.)

In retrospect – we were all "green" – but over a year, we came up with a signature blend that was well received by the clinetele.

Why a Northern European roast and not a "full city roast"?

Basically, I wanted to be different and create a signature flavor.

Initially, I was trying to come up with something similar to match my favorite blend in Seattle when I first got there in 1990, Torrefazione’s "Perugia Blend". I loved Perugia and when I started my shop, I called the company at least 4 times to get a sales rep to come out and they never called me back.

Too small potatoes in the beginning, I guess. I held a grudge on that one for a while. As it turned out, Torrefazione (the real brains behind it and the guy who knew how to roast better than anybody else in the that company – Umberto) sold out and the quality took a nose dive soon thereafter.

The other roaster I wanted was Cafe Mauro (which became Cafe D’Arte) but they couldn’t sell to me because my competitor across the street used their coffee – and he was good customer.

Mauro Cipolla has one of the best palates in Seattle, by the way. He is a master at coffee. I know his cousin Gianni pretty well who is also in the business.

So what does this have to do with Boca Java?

I saw a promo they have going this month and thought I would pass it on to you guys and see what you think. I emailed the company when I first connected with them online as a referral agent to see if they would send me some samples of coffee so I could evaluate for myself and write about the products.

They "don’t have samples" for vendors. So I haven’t tried their coffee yet.

They are offering 4 bags of coffee for $8.95 as a promo. I’m not sure what types of coffee they are or if they’re any good or not.

But there are several things going for this company I do like:

  1. The "5 Million Cup Program" for our people in the military in Iraq. That’s a cool thing.
  2. They roast fresh with each order. I like fresh coffee.
  3. Their online communication and customer service is the best I have ever experienced and I do a lot online.

Is there coffee any good?

You tell me. For $8.95 it’s worth a shot to try four coffees.

Here’s my promise to you guys…

Whatever the general consensus is from you readers will determine if I continue as a vendor or not, and I will report accurately what the results are.

And I don’t want a bunch of people slamming these guys without trying the samples first. If it’s good coffee, I’ll sell it, if not, I won’t.

You make the call.

You tell me: Is Boca Java is Really Good Coffee?  or not.

P.S. I got an email back from Chris at Boca Java and he said that each bag (in the promo 4pack) is 8 oz and there are a variety of coffees the customer can choose from. On tha basis, $8.95 to try out 2 lbs of fresh roasted coffee seems like a great offer and a real attempt by the roaster to get people to try the coffee.

It’s fair anyway – and to me – smart marketing.

Is Boca Java Really Good Coffee?

Is Boca Java Really Good Coffee?

You tell me.

I’ve been a coffee freak for a lot of years and I have a pretty sophisticated palate.

I’m no Ernesto Illy, Alfred Peet, Mauro Cipolla or Michael Baccellieri, but I know good crema when I taste it and I love good espresso.

I really love it.

With a good bean and a savvy barista behind the counter, I always drink doppios. But I watch the ‘pour’ a few times and listen before I order (in a place where I haven’t been before). And I don’t add a sugar cube the way the Italians do, I add a dash of creme in the center of the 2 shots – and drink it quickly while it’s still hot.

A really good espresso always makes me wish I had a 3 or 4" reach with my tongue so I could lick the entire contents out of the those little ceramic espresso cups – because lots of the good tasting stuff sticks to the cup.

One of  my regular customers – a meat cutter from Sam’s club – used to come in and ask for, "the chewy one" – and I would make it for him just the way I liked it best.

When I had my espresso shop I got so I could indentify several of the varietals in the custom blend that I had roasted by Cafe Appassionato in Seattle. I worked closely to develop the "Morning Shot Blend" with the sales rep from the company, a guy name Dan – who was the epitome of customer service,  courtesy and a fantastic relationship builder – in concert with their roaster. We worked hard tweaking the blend, adding a higher percentage of Zimbabwes for sweetness, a touch more brazils and some Costa Rican and Sumatra for the "dry white" finish of a northern European roast. (There were also Columbian Supremo beans for a rich flavor.)

In retrospect – we were all "green" – but over a year, we came up with a signature blend that was well received by the clinetele.

Why a Northern European roast and not a "full city roast"?

Basically, I wanted to be different and create a signature flavor.

Initially, I was trying to come up with something similar to match my favorite blend in Seattle when I first got there in 1990, Torrefazione’s "Perugia Blend". I loved Perugia and when I started my shop, I called the company at least 4 times to get a sales rep to come out and they never called me back.

Too small potatoes in the beginning, I guess. I held a grudge on that one for a while. As it turned out, Torrefazione (the real brains behind it and the guy who knew how to roast better than anybody else in the that company – Umberto) sold out and the quality took a nose dive soon thereafter.

The other roaster I wanted was Cafe Mauro (which became Cafe D’Arte) but they couldn’t sell to me because my competitor across the street used their coffee – and he was good customer.

Mauro Cipolla has one of the best palates in Seattle, by the way. He is a master at coffee. I know his cousin Gianni pretty well who is also in the business.

So what does this have to do with Boca Java?

I saw a promo they have going this month and thought I would pass it on to you guys and see what you think. I emailed the company when I first connected with them online as a referral agent to see if they would send me some samples of coffee so I could evaluate for myself and write about the products.

They "don’t have samples" for vendors. So I haven’t tried their coffee yet.

They are offering 4 bags of coffee for $8.95 as a promo. I’m not sure what types of coffee they are or if they’re any good or not.

But there are several things going for this company I do like:

  1. The "5 Million Cup Program" for our people in the military in Iraq. That’s a cool thing.
  2. They roast fresh with each order. I like fresh coffee.
  3. Their online communication and customer service is the best I have ever experienced and I do a lot online.

Is there coffee any good?

You tell me. For $8.95 it’s worth a shot to try four coffees.

Here’s my promise to you guys…

Whatever the general consensus is from you readers will determine if I continue as a vendor or not, and I will report accurately what the results are.

And I don’t want a bunch of people slamming these guys without trying the samples first. If it’s good coffee, I’ll sell it, if not, I won’t.

You make the call.

You tell me: Is Boca Java is Really Good Coffee?  or not.

P.S. I got an email back from Chris at Boca Java and he said that each bag (in the promo 4pack) is 8 oz and there are a variety of coffees the customer can choose from. On tha basis, $8.95 to try out 2 lbs of fresh roasted coffee seems like a great offer and a real attempt by the roaster to get people to try the coffee.

It’s fair anyway – and to me – smart marketing.

Where Did Really Good Coffee Come From?

Who is Really Good Coffee dot Com?

Maybe you’re asking yourself:

Who are these guys?

What do they know about coffee anyway?

Maybe they’re just coffee snobs who think they know what’s going on.

Actually, this website is one of those warm and fuzzy projects I’ve had in mind for years because I love really good coffee and have since 1966.

In the 90’s, I was co-owner of a little espresso shop called The Morning Shot for 3.5 years in Seattle. That experience taught me a lot about the specialty coffee business and espresso. We also had an espresso cart at two different locations.

After the sale of the shop, I pioneered Oscar’s syrups and the Cappucine line in the Seattle market as a broker – calling on espresso operators to drive distributor business.

Peets Was a Very Good Business Model

Prior to that, my interest in the specialty coffee business was prompted by a 1988 article in Fortune or Forbes (can’t remember which). As I sat in front of the Peets Coffee (across the street from the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, California), drinking a cup of Joe from Peets, I read that in 1987 Peets had been the most profitable retail operation in the United States – on a

[ $ / square foot ]  basis. That really got my attention.

In 1990, I began researching the espresso business in earnest and creating a business plan. And believe me, I did my homework. In addition, as a retail owner in the business (and later a broker) I got to know a lot of other operators and vendors in the business – primarily Micro Roasters and independents.

Over the course of thousands of hours on the espresso bar – with diligence as well as trial and error – I figured out how to make really good coffee. But not before chasing a lot of good customers away with bad coffee – first.

There’s a lot that goes into producing a good cup.

Of course the blend and the roaster is where it all starts.

But it’s amazing how many "espresso operators" can take a perfectly good bean and ruin it. This isn’t really a reflection on the people personally – and most of them really want to do a good job – like I did. But the difference is that I stuck with it until I figured it out. Lots of operators just don’t have a clue and the simplest way to verify that statement is to taste their coffee.

Today, I can tell what’s going on in an espresso shop about 2 minutes after I walk in the place.

Trial by Fire

As an espresso bar owner – on the commuter flight path into downtown Seattle during rush hour – I learned how to survive first and then thrive in a highly competitive market. The pinnacle accomplishment of The Morning Shot was being written up with a full page in the Sunday Seattle Times Pacific Magazine by the food critic, John Hinterberger.

BTW, a lot of the accolades go to my co-owner, a classically trained French chef, an incredibly hard worker, an all around fantastic lady and my best friend for 15 years, Lori Taylor. Her culinary expertise, hard work and exceptional customer service skills made the place what is was – day after day.

But I was the coffee guy…

The espresso business, by the way, is a blast. I’ve often said it has all of the best elements of owning a bar without the drunks.

Over the course of 3+ years, 6 days a week, 10-14 hours a day working on the espresso bar, I learned a lot about:

  • people
  • how to make really good coffee
  • how people think about coffee
  • perceived value

My intention is to create a really interesting blog and to inform people in a manner that appeals to the intellect. There are a thousand and one stories that I can tell as I dust off the mental archives and tell my espresso story.

And we’ll be reporting live from around the country (in our travels) about:

  • neat little places we find and
  • things we learn about coffee along the way

We’d love to get your feedback and we’d love to be know it if we make a mistake. My other half, Alexandra – the love of my life – is my co-author. She has risen rapidly from the ranks of a Dunkin Donuts coffee fan to a quasi-virtual coffee snob, in a mere two years (under my tutelage).

Besides that, she can write.

Together, with your feedback and participation, we are going to create a great blog and resource.

Look forward to hearing from you.

And we hope you enjoy your really good coffee today.

Where Did Really Good Coffee Come From?

Who is Really Good Coffee dot Com?

Maybe you’re asking yourself:

Who are these guys?

What do they know about coffee anyway?

Maybe they’re just coffee snobs who think they know what’s going on.

Actually, this website is one of those warm and fuzzy projects I’ve had in mind for years because I love really good coffee and have since 1966.

In the 90’s, I was co-owner of a little espresso shop called The Morning Shot for 3.5 years in Seattle. That experience taught me a lot about the specialty coffee business and espresso. We also had an espresso cart at two different locations.

After the sale of the shop, I pioneered Oscar’s syrups and the Cappucine line in the Seattle market as a broker – calling on espresso operators to drive distributor business.

Peets Was a Very Good Business Model

Prior to that, my interest in the specialty coffee business was prompted by a 1988 article in Fortune or Forbes (can’t remember which). As I sat in front of the Peets Coffee (across the street from the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, California), drinking a cup of Joe from Peets, I read that in 1987 Peets had been the most profitable retail operation in the United States – on a

[ $ / square foot ]  basis. That really got my attention.

In 1990, I began researching the espresso business in earnest and creating a business plan. And believe me, I did my homework. In addition, as a retail owner in the business (and later a broker) I got to know a lot of other operators and vendors in the business – primarily Micro Roasters and independents.

Over the course of thousands of hours on the espresso bar – with diligence as well as trial and error – I figured out how to make really good coffee. But not before chasing a lot of good customers away with bad coffee – first.

There’s a lot that goes into producing a good cup.

Of course the blend and the roaster is where it all starts.

But it’s amazing how many "espresso operators" can take a perfectly good bean and ruin it. This isn’t really a reflection on the people personally – and most of them really want to do a good job – like I did. But the difference is that I stuck with it until I figured it out. Lots of operators just don’t have a clue and the simplest way to verify that statement is to taste their coffee.

Today, I can tell what’s going on in an espresso shop about 2 minutes after I walk in the place.

Trial by Fire

As an espresso bar owner – on the commuter flight path into downtown Seattle during rush hour – I learned how to survive first and then thrive in a highly competitive market. The pinnacle accomplishment of The Morning Shot was being written up with a full page in the Sunday Seattle Times Pacific Magazine by the food critic, John Hinterberger.

BTW, a lot of the accolades go to my co-owner, a classically trained French chef, an incredibly hard worker, an all around fantastic lady and my best friend for 15 years, Lori Taylor. Her culinary expertise, hard work and exceptional customer service skills made the place what is was – day after day.

But I was the coffee guy…

The espresso business, by the way, is a blast. I’ve often said it has all of the best elements of owning a bar without the drunks.

Over the course of 3+ years, 6 days a week, 10-14 hours a day working on the espresso bar, I learned a lot about:

  • people
  • how to make really good coffee
  • how people think about coffee
  • perceived value

My intention is to create a really interesting blog and to inform people in a manner that appeals to the intellect. There are a thousand and one stories that I can tell as I dust off the mental archives and tell my espresso story.

And we’ll be reporting live from around the country (in our travels) about:

  • neat little places we find and
  • things we learn about coffee along the way

We’d love to get your feedback and we’d love to be know it if we make a mistake. My other half, Alexandra – the love of my life – is my co-author. She has risen rapidly from the ranks of a Dunkin Donuts coffee fan to a quasi-virtual coffee snob, in a mere two years (under my tutelage).

Besides that, she can write.

Together, with your feedback and participation, we are going to create a great blog and resource.

Look forward to hearing from you.

And we hope you enjoy your really good coffee today.

Dunn Bros Is Really Good Coffee

We are coffee lovers and Dunn Bros really is Really Good Coffee.

Incidentally, while on a first time business trip to Kansas City, Kansas, we set about locating a place worthy of our coffee palates and much to our surprise on Metcalf Street aka Hywy. 635, we stumbled upon a sweet and cozy little shop called Dunn Bros

Here is a video of a store opening in Minnesota.

Mind you, in all our travels neither one of us had ever heard of Dunn Brothers Coffee before.  We thought we’d found a rare gem of a coffee shop and it was everything we’d hoped for.  The moment we walked in we knew we were in for a treat. Our eyes lit up as we gave each other a knowing smile. 

You can’t fool coffee connoisseurs.  

The Crema Was Superb and the Aftertaste Sweet and Exceptionally Tasty

The staff was college age and well trained. They were friendly, helpful in answering our questions about the area, and knew how to make a great cup of joe!  My latte was perfect and creamy, and the espresso perfecto. They took pride in telling us that they roast their own coffee beans which  come from all over the world (divine French Roast) and we knew it because the smell was heavenly.  I was ready to move in and set up an office there.

I loved the ambiance and the KC(Overland Park), KS store truly had an inviting one.  The large multisided brick fireplace in the center of the store was surrounded by really comfy, seductively inviting, oversized arm chairs and lots of little tables with newspapers, magazines, etc… They had WIFI which we really  needed  in order to maximize our time there.   We had a few different cups of coffee just to check them out because we love it.  On one of our visits I even ate a sandwich which I never eat in coffee shops because I go there for the coffee but I just didn’t want to leave to go eat lunch.

All the furniture was arranged around the fireplace and I felt as though I were a guest in someone’s home so I really relaxed (short of putting on my jammies and slippers).  There were also plenty of tables and chairs along the large storefront windows so the natural light was excellent for reading. Honestly I didn’t want to leave and we went back several times during that trip in November. 

The crazy thing is that for months we had no idea it was a coffee chain that started in Minnesota.  Recently I found the above video on YouTube and several others too.  There are Dunn Brothers Coffee shops in half a dozen states in the midwest and it seems that the crowd is all ages.  Apparently there is a growing coffeehouse atmosphere among the Dunn Bros stores and the musicians love to play there adding even more desirabilitiy to the coffeehouse reputation.

Great coffee and inviting ambiance combined with lots of acoustic guitar and folksinger talent.  Unbeatable and winning combination. And if you are traveling the country and want a great cup of coffee in the midwest here is a Dunn Bros store locator.

I have become a real devotee of Dunn Bros Coffee and I am looking for a reason to go to any state that has a Dunn Bros Coffeehouse in it. 

Take it from us-Dunn Brothers is Really Good Coffee.

Really Good Coffee Was the Alfred Peet Legacy

Alfred Peet was the son of a coffee trader in the Netherlands – he grew up in a coffee house.

I remember when he opened his first coffee store – located at Walnut and Vine in my hometown of Berkeley in 1966. It became a success very quickly.

Not long after, the Air Quality Control Board of California came knocking and told him that he could not have a roasting operation in that location.

"What’s the problem with this location?"

"The neighbors are complaining and this is fundamentally a residential neighborhood. You have to move it."

So Mr. Peet had to move the roasting operation to a different location to accomodate them.

At the time, Emeryville (a town adjacent to the south west of Berkeley) was kind of an industrial wasteland with many old warehouses and empty factories – left over from an era when America had been the foremost manufacturing powerhouse in the world. It had not been renovated yet.

Square footage was cheap there and abundent.

So Mr. Peet leased a commercial space in Emeryville, California and set up his roasting equipment. Looking inside the building was this huge warehouse space (relatively speaking) and this little tiny roasting machine way down at the end.

Now he had a roasting facility.

How was he going to pay for it?

He needed a commercial customer to generate the cash flow to accomodate the rent.

Peet’s first commercial roasting customer was a little company in Seattle named Starbucks.

Peets Coffee is a Berkeley icon and has set the standard for really good coffee and quality espresso since.

More about Peets Coffee and Tea.

Peets Coffee Pioneered Really Good Coffee

Peets Coffee Started The Whole Coffee Experience On The West Coast

Flashback: Peets Coffee in Berkeley, California at the original roasteria on the corner of Walnut and Vine – three blocks away from the pediatrician who tended me as a child. It is 1967, I can remember standing in line with 20-50 other people everyday waiting for my cup of java.

Most of us had our favorite ceramic mugs in our hands because they knocked a dime off the price if you had your own cup…

and we were an ecologically conscious group.

Berkeley in the 60’s – Who’d of Thought – History in the Making

Talk About a Piece of Nostalgia. People’s Park and all. Janice and Jimmy and The Dead…

If I remember correctly, it cost $.55 and $.45 if you had your own cup. The dime made a difference but the real reason was the flavor. It tasted better in ceramic.

The coffee was so darn good and the smells coming out of that place were comforting and wonderful. Aroma central…

It generally didn’t matter what time of day it was either, it was always busy – which was cool because the staff was great – friendly, and they obviously loved their jobs and Peets coffee.

 

Fast, Hot, Fresh and Exceptional Coffee

They were pretty fast too, but we didn’t mind waiting. The coffee was worth it. At fourteen, it amazed me how fast they moved and how much coffee they brewed – and how they made it taste so good.

Because it was so busy, the coffee was always freshly brewed. I didn’t drink espresso back then. Drinking doppios was an acquired taste.

Can’t Remember My First Cup…

Thinking back I can’t remember when I wasn’t a coffee drinker – and yet I can’t remember my "first cup" either.

As I write this, that was 40 years ago.

Whether Peets was my first coffee experience – or not – I couldn’t tell you at this point. But it became the standard in my mind and in my palate against which all other coffee has been measured since.

It was the place where I learned to appreciate quality.

This little store on the corner of Walnut and Vine in Berkeley was the birthplace of the modern day espresso company of today and in many repects the origin of Starbucks.

Alfred Peet was a master of his craft.

Categories

 

 

Worthwhile Links
January 2018
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031