Posts Tagged ‘alfred peet’

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.

Really Good Coffee Fast – Starbucks!

Really good coffee fast – Starbucks The first time I ever saw a Starbucks label in the mid 90’s I was intrigued.  I was on the road driving to Florida with my daughter and I wanted coffee but not hot coffee.  I stopped into a convenient store somewhere on the east coast-maybe North Carolina and there was a Starbucks Frappuccino.   Honestly, I didn’t know what a  Frappuccino was but I did know what a cappuccino was and I love cappuccino so I bought it.  Thus began my passion for Starbucks.My first impression when I saw the Starbucks label and drank my first Frappuccino, was that this company was going to soar.  I immediately began to look for Starbucks.  I didn’t always find it and I remember being dissappointed.When the first Starbucks opened in Manhattan sometime in the early to mid nineties I was elated. I was working in Manhattan and hated convenient store coffee and I was not about to carry a thermos to work with me even though I was drinking Gevalia coffee at home and really liked it.  Starbucks fast became my favorite whenever I could get it.Of course, I knew nothing about Pike Place Market in Seattle or the fact that Alfred Peet had begun a roasting operation in California.  I had no idea what was happening in the world of coffee which was exploding on the west coast.  All I knew was what tasted good to me and that I wanted more Starbucks.  I had no idea what was coming….Now a lot of people out there who know really good coffee; they know good beans, they know stale, they know the crema and the finer elements of a primo cup of espresso; some of those people say Starbucks is not what it was and that it is becoming the McDonalds of coffeehouses.   That may all be true.  But, depending on your scale of comparison, I’d say that Starbucks is still the best cup of coffee, latte, espresso or cold blended coffees you can find anywhere in a hurry on the highway or almost anywhere you go.  When I see a Starbucks sign, I know I am getting a good tasting latte and that if I don’t like it they will make me another or use a different coffee to make me happy.  I know that.Since my first Frappuccino in the mid 90’s I have become much more of a coffee connoiseur and I have made a point of looking for and drinking the best coffee I can find in my travels across America.  Frequently, without fail, when there is nothing else but convenient store or diner coffee around, there is a huge green star and Starbucks is welcoming me for a break from driving, a clean and comfortable place to relax and refresh, and a feeling of home no matter what state I am in.  I love that, and further more, I count on that.It didn’t take long for me to replace Frappuccino’s with Starbucks Doubleshots.  The Doubleshots in the can were convenient for traveling with and I could pack half a dozen cans to take with me in the days when Starbucks locations were harder to come by. I still like to have a supply for traveling. First thing in the morning in a strange city where I haven’t yet had time to look around the Doubleshot takes care of my coffee needs.  I just don’t drink hotel coffee anymore unless it is Starbucks. Most of the time I really do prefer it hot.Since the nineties I have come to enjoy French Roast, Kona, and Kenya coffee beans.  I like it fresh ground and fresh period. I like my coffee strong but not bitter.  Personally,I prefer latte because it is easier on my stomach than black or espresso.  My guy loves a Dopio or Americano and after all he was a barista and  he says he can’t really enjoy the finer flavors of the crema when he adds cream.The Starbucks EnvironmentIn my opinion Starbucks has raised the standard for coffee houses and coffee stores in America in all ways.  Since Starbucks came on the scene I have become very spoiled.  When I walk into a Starbucks I expect to find beautiful leather chairs and wood tables and cozy little tables for two or three with coffee art from around the world and beautiful ceramic coffee cups along with other supplies for the at home barista.When I walk into the occasional-very occasional- Starbucks which is worn and not so clean and inviting; it feels strange and weird and wrong to me. I notice it  immediately and wonder what is wrong that this should have occurred. In other words, it is completely out of the norm.   That is when I find myself wanting to travel the country for Starbucks making sure that the standard they have established is maintained in all their stores.That folks, is what happens when you set the standard.  People get it and they expect it.  Nationally, there is no doubt that Starbucks did create a standard for coffee stores that taught us what we could have and expect.  Even though others have followed that model really well and in some cases even outdone it, Starbucks does it largely and consistently. They make it look easy but it isn’t.Starbucks Commitment to ExcellenceAnother aspect of Starbucks that makes them a leader in American business and in the coffee specialty business is their customer service. I am actually a customer service corporate trainer and I specifically pay attention to customer service when I travel.  After having been in hundreds of Starbucks stores I can honestly say they have consistently the best customer service of any large retail chain of any kind that Ihave ever been in. And no, I did not do their customer service training. They do it extremely well.Starbucks employees are clearly well trained to make customers priority one.  They consistently greet and smile and welcome their customers in a way that feels authentic and good to the customer rushing through the door in their busy morning, afternoon, or evening.  Only a couple of times-out of hundreds-have I ever found Starbucks employees too busy gossiping to really pay attention to me and my order in the usual manner.  That is such rare behavior that I even remember the store.   Starbucks employees are exceptionally well trained and I believe that they genuinely love their work.  You can’t fake that kind of authenticity 99% of the time.Starbucks is one of the top 100 corporations in America to work for out of hundreds of thousands.  That is no accident.  It takes a strong commitment to excellence to be in the top 100 companies in American business to work for. I don’t know about you but that impresses me.As you can see my enthusiasm for Starbucks and what they have created across the country is unwavering.  As a road warrior, I expect to stop at a Starbucks and be able to count on relaxing in a comfortable, homey chair, with great tunes playing in a clean environment and to enjoy a great cup of really good coffee or in my case a delicious latte breveThat is how I relax on the road. Like most road warriors, I am always glad to see a Starbucks sign wherever I go, to get Really Good Coffee Fast – Starbucks!

Really Good Coffee Fast – Starbucks!

Really good coffee fast – Starbucks The first time I ever saw a Starbucks label in the mid 90’s I was intrigued.  I was on the road driving to Florida with my daughter and I wanted coffee but not hot coffee.  I stopped into a convenient store somewhere on the east coast-maybe North Carolina and there was a Starbucks Frappuccino.   Honestly, I didn’t know what a  Frappuccino was but I did know what a cappuccino was and I love cappuccino so I bought it.  Thus began my passion for Starbucks.My first impression when I saw the Starbucks label and drank my first Frappuccino, was that this company was going to soar.  I immediately began to look for Starbucks.  I didn’t always find it and I remember being dissappointed.When the first Starbucks opened in Manhattan sometime in the early to mid nineties I was elated. I was working in Manhattan and hated convenient store coffee and I was not about to carry a thermos to work with me even though I was drinking Gevalia coffee at home and really liked it.  Starbucks fast became my favorite whenever I could get it.Of course, I knew nothing about Pike Place Market in Seattle or the fact that Alfred Peet had begun a roasting operation in California.  I had no idea what was happening in the world of coffee which was exploding on the west coast.  All I knew was what tasted good to me and that I wanted more Starbucks.  I had no idea what was coming….Now a lot of people out there who know really good coffee; they know good beans, they know stale, they know the crema and the finer elements of a primo cup of espresso; some of those people say Starbucks is not what it was and that it is becoming the McDonalds of coffeehouses.   That may all be true.  But, depending on your scale of comparison, I’d say that Starbucks is still the best cup of coffee, latte, espresso or cold blended coffees you can find anywhere in a hurry on the highway or almost anywhere you go.  When I see a Starbucks sign, I know I am getting a good tasting latte and that if I don’t like it they will make me another or use a different coffee to make me happy.  I know that.Since my first Frappuccino in the mid 90’s I have become much more of a coffee connoiseur and I have made a point of looking for and drinking the best coffee I can find in my travels across America.  Frequently, without fail, when there is nothing else but convenient store or diner coffee around, there is a huge green star and Starbucks is welcoming me for a break from driving, a clean and comfortable place to relax and refresh, and a feeling of home no matter what state I am in.  I love that, and further more, I count on that.It didn’t take long for me to replace Frappuccino’s with Starbucks Doubleshots.  The Doubleshots in the can were convenient for traveling with and I could pack half a dozen cans to take with me in the days when Starbucks locations were harder to come by. I still like to have a supply for traveling. First thing in the morning in a strange city where I haven’t yet had time to look around the Doubleshot takes care of my coffee needs.  I just don’t drink hotel coffee anymore unless it is Starbucks. Most of the time I really do prefer it hot.Since the nineties I have come to enjoy French Roast, Kona, and Kenya coffee beans.  I like it fresh ground and fresh period. I like my coffee strong but not bitter.  Personally,I prefer latte because it is easier on my stomach than black or espresso.  My guy loves a Dopio or Americano and after all he was a barista and  he says he can’t really enjoy the finer flavors of the crema when he adds cream.The Starbucks EnvironmentIn my opinion Starbucks has raised the standard for coffee houses and coffee stores in America in all ways.  Since Starbucks came on the scene I have become very spoiled.  When I walk into a Starbucks I expect to find beautiful leather chairs and wood tables and cozy little tables for two or three with coffee art from around the world and beautiful ceramic coffee cups along with other supplies for the at home barista.When I walk into the occasional-very occasional- Starbucks which is worn and not so clean and inviting; it feels strange and weird and wrong to me. I notice it  immediately and wonder what is wrong that this should have occurred. In other words, it is completely out of the norm.   That is when I find myself wanting to travel the country for Starbucks making sure that the standard they have established is maintained in all their stores.That folks, is what happens when you set the standard.  People get it and they expect it.  Nationally, there is no doubt that Starbucks did create a standard for coffee stores that taught us what we could have and expect.  Even though others have followed that model really well and in some cases even outdone it, Starbucks does it largely and consistently. They make it look easy but it isn’t.Starbucks Commitment to ExcellenceAnother aspect of Starbucks that makes them a leader in American business and in the coffee specialty business is their customer service. I am actually a customer service corporate trainer and I specifically pay attention to customer service when I travel.  After having been in hundreds of Starbucks stores I can honestly say they have consistently the best customer service of any large retail chain of any kind that Ihave ever been in. And no, I did not do their customer service training. They do it extremely well.Starbucks employees are clearly well trained to make customers priority one.  They consistently greet and smile and welcome their customers in a way that feels authentic and good to the customer rushing through the door in their busy morning, afternoon, or evening.  Only a couple of times-out of hundreds-have I ever found Starbucks employees too busy gossiping to really pay attention to me and my order in the usual manner.  That is such rare behavior that I even remember the store.   Starbucks employees are exceptionally well trained and I believe that they genuinely love their work.  You can’t fake that kind of authenticity 99% of the time.Starbucks is one of the top 100 corporations in America to work for out of hundreds of thousands.  That is no accident.  It takes a strong commitment to excellence to be in the top 100 companies in American business to work for. I don’t know about you but that impresses me.As you can see my enthusiasm for Starbucks and what they have created across the country is unwavering.  As a road warrior, I expect to stop at a Starbucks and be able to count on relaxing in a comfortable, homey chair, with great tunes playing in a clean environment and to enjoy a great cup of really good coffee or in my case a delicious latte breveThat is how I relax on the road. Like most road warriors, I am always glad to see a Starbucks sign wherever I go, to get Really Good Coffee Fast – Starbucks!

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.

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