Posts Tagged ‘Espresso’

Really Good Coffee: How to Make Good Coffee with a French Press…

Really Good Coffee:  Video Making Good Coffee Using a French Press.

Really Good Coffee is always looking for ways to make good coffee and as far as flavor goes, the French press is one of the best lo-tech ways to do that.  The video here is one from YouTube and it’s a very good video. We’ll make our own in the near future.  A discussion about french press coffee follows the video.

French press is a great way to prepare a single varietal coffee because it highlights the flavors so well. As an example if you love to drink Columbian Supremo, the French press tastes excellent when you grind it course and let it brew for 4 minutes in the press. In fact, that is my very favorite way to drink Columbian Supremo – in terms of flavor. Although, you can use any type of varietal or blend you prefer in a French Press.

Most hot water brewing methods expose the bean to the water for less than a minute.

Bodum french press

Bodum French Press

Most traditional brewing methods use heat and gravity – exposing the coffee bean to water for considerably less time than the French Press method. In a melitta style pour through and most traditional coffee machines, the coffee grounds are exposed to the water for about 30-45 seconds – maybe a minute – depending on how fine you grind the beans.

Espresso extraction uses heat and boiler pressure to force hot water through a specific volume area containing a very finely ground coffee bean that is packed firmly. Actual extraction time is usually less than 30 seconds.

How the French press brewing method is different.

When you grind the coffee beans for brewing in the French press, you grind them very coarse. This factor, combined with the longer brewing time of 4 minutes, creates a very rich, satisfying flavor.

Coarse Grind for French Press - source: www.ineedcoffee.com/03/coffeegrind

Fine Grind Coffee

Fine Grind Coffee

Looking at the grind on the left, you can see how coarse it is compared to the grind on the right.

The coarse grind actually provides more surface area for the water to come in contact with the ground beans. This allows more access – in a sense – to the flavor from the bean.

The French press brewing method (as you saw in the video) basically just allows the coffee grind to sit in the hot water for four minutes.

The net result is that since there is more surface area of the coffee grinds exposed to the water for 2-3 minutes longer than other gravity brewing methods, it results in a deeper, richer flavor.

It also results in a higher concentration of caffeine per serving because you are leaving the grinds in the water longer.

Caffeine Misconceptions

There are a lot of misconceptions about caffeine in most cases simply due to a lack of knowledge.

One of the lowest portions of caffeine per serving is from properly extracted dark roast espresso. It takes 20-30 seconds per extraction depending on the beans, barista, equipment and style.

On the other side of the caffeine continuum is French press. If you want flavor and are not caffeine sensitive, it’s awesome coffee. If you are caffeine sensitive and you can find a swiss water processed decaf that you like, this might be a good application for it.

You can reduce the caffeine concentration by the adding hot water to the finished French press coffee.

It takes some experimentation to find out exactly how you like it the best. Flavor is a very personal thing.

Be sure to write down what you are trying while you are experimenting so you can duplicate what you did when you find what you like. Copious notes will eliminate frustration.

One other bummer about French Press. The glass cylinders are easy to break. Replacements are available and in stock at stores like Sur La Table. If you really like the flavor, you’ll probably want a spare at all times in case you break the original.

Properly ground and brewed French Press produces really good coffee.

Enjoy your French Press brewing and experimentation and the FLAVOR…

I AM Michael Barrett and I Love Really Good Coffee and French Press Columbian Supremo.

Really Good Coffee is Boca Grande

Really Good Coffee is Boca Grande

If you happen to be in need of a tongue teasingly delicious cup of espresso and are standing right in front of Cafe Boca, the newest and best place for coffee in Boca Grande, Florida.

Boca Grande is the sort of exclusive island resort that you would never know about unless you had reason to be there. Breathtakingly beautiful, the water is truly aqua green and cleaner than the Caribbean.

The people who vacation there have every reason to expect the only REAL coffee shop in town to be the very best for many miles around and it most certainly is.

It may even be the best coffee in the entire state of Florida, from what we have tasted so far.

Owned and managed by a unique boomer couple; Patty, The Personal Growth Diva, and Buzz, the Barista who is a former construction professional of many years and a “never say die” musician and singer, Cafe Boca is a great place to hang out in charming downtown Boca Grande.

I would not say that if it were not for the fact that it is the very best cup of espresso and the very best latte’ we have had since we came to Florida two years ago.

We were stunned and completely surprised.

Naturally, we had to investigate the coffee immediately and found it to be one we had never tasted, and now will never forget, called Counter Culture. The Counter Culture Espresso La Forza, in the style of  Southern Italy, is so delicious that Michael is going to do an entire blog post on that, but in the meantime, his comment about the dopio Buzz pulled for him was:

“This is the kind of espresso that makes me want to have a really long tongue just to get all the crema from inside the bottom of the cup.”  – Michael Barrett 

OKAY! Well, how does it get any better than that? Since our stay in Boca Grande is over, we are still thinking about that incredibly delicious espresso and latte’. I would love one right now! I did get a little video of the Cafe Boca and I hope you can get the sense of how charming the area is.

It costs five dollars to enter the island but what a wonderful place to go shop, have lunch, submerge yourself in beachy luxury, and have a divine cup of really good coffee at Cafe Boca. Ladies and couples…go for it! By the way, everyone drives their golf carts there, hangs out chatting, and walks everywhere, so do plan to take your time and ENJOY!

I am Alexandra Barrett and I love Really Good Coffee.

What Is Your Favorite Place for Really Good Coffee?

It’s been two years since the post Where Do You Go For Really Good Coffee

That’s almost hard to believe – yet, alas, it has been…

Maybe you’re like me. It seems as if things have changed so much since then – that sometimes there is a sense of being disoriented – or out of phase, somehow. Yet throughout it all, amidst all the transition, the movement, changes in life, the economy and the world, there remains at least one constant – one anchor that keeps us connected to a sense of belonging, of comfort, and something familiar amidst so many things that are un-familiar.

There has been really good coffee everyday.

Remembering really good coffee moments, maybe you can relate…

Peets Coffee and Tea – Seattle

Enjoying that hot, fresh doppio at Peets in the Seattle Fremont district looking out the window from the mezannine – watching the traffic go by – silently – in the world outside, hearing the sounds of milk being steamed for lattes and the grinder – consistently, intermittently running – filling the room with the luscious smell of freshly ground beans, hearing the soothing, gentle murmering sounds of voices and coffee language from the counter at the espresso bar – the way we used to hear our parents voices talking as we fell asleep as children…

Lighthouse Roasters – Seattle

Sitting down to a fantastic, freshly drawn espresso – extracted consciously by the expert barista crew at Lighthouse Roasters on Phinny Ridge (one of my personal favorite micro-roasters in the whole country) – creating palate magic before my very eyes and then being able to verify that coffee resonance AGAIN – as with every other time before this one – and fully enjoy the essence of the bean with every living tastebud – on the front of the tongue, at the back near the throat followed by the burst of lingering, condensed after taste that permeates its way throughout all the coffee sensing tools within the human body for at least a half an hour afterwards…

Homemade French Roast

Perhaps it is the time, grabbing a deep rich cup of melita drip Fresh Roast – in the favorite procelain cup – on the way to a very important discussion, pondering the outcome and experience of the meeting to come and fully taking the time to enjoy that cup of really good coffee – from start to finish in the privacy of the car while driving to the meeting – without interference, or interuption and in spite of any time considerations.

Over the last, five years we’ve had really good coffee in West Vancouver – BC, Scranton – PA, Sarsota – FL, Dallas – TX, Atlanta – GA, Palo Alto – CA, Berkeley – CA, Los Angeles, Whistler – BC, Morley – Alberta, Hamilton – MT, Richmond – VA, Plymouth Meeting – PA, Egg Harbor Township – NJ, Goochland – VA, Portland – OR, Spokane – WA, Missoula – MT, Sedona – AZ, Siesta Key – FL, Boca Grande, Fl… and many other places.

Somehow a good cup of coffee always brings me back to a moment – a memory or feeling – of unshakeable warmth and safety and connectedness. Each of us coffee lovers relates to coffee in our own way.  Share your experiences with us and let us know about your favorite coffee places – and why you like them. We want to share this with other people who don’t know where to get a cup of really good coffee when they travel. Share your favorite spot, or your favorite baristas – or blend or style of coffee with us.

What is your favorite place for really good coffee?

Have a fabulous day…

I AM Michael Barrett and I love coffee…

What Is Your Favorite Place for Really Good Coffee?

It’s been two years since the post Where Do You Go For Really Good Coffee

That’s almost hard to believe – yet, alas, it has been…

Maybe you’re like me. It seems as if things have changed so much since then – that sometimes there is a sense of being disoriented – or out of phase, somehow. Yet throughout it all, amidst all the transition, the movement, changes in life, the economy and the world, there remains at least one constant – one anchor that keeps us connected to a sense of belonging, of comfort, and something familiar amidst so many things that are un-familiar.

There has been really good coffee everyday.

Remembering really good coffee moments, maybe you can relate…

Peets Coffee and Tea – Seattle

Enjoying that hot, fresh doppio at Peets in the Seattle Fremont district looking out the window from the mezannine – watching the traffic go by – silently – in the world outside, hearing the sounds of milk being steamed for lattes and the grinder – consistently, intermittently running – filling the room with the luscious smell of freshly ground beans, hearing the soothing, gentle murmering sounds of voices and coffee language from the counter at the espresso bar – the way we used to hear our parents voices talking as we fell asleep as children…

Lighthouse Roasters – Seattle

Sitting down to a fantastic, freshly drawn espresso – extracted consciously by the expert barista crew at Lighthouse Roasters on Phinny Ridge (one of my personal favorite micro-roasters in the whole country) – creating palate magic before my very eyes and then being able to verify that coffee resonance AGAIN – as with every other time before this one – and fully enjoy the essence of the bean with every living tastebud – on the front of the tongue, at the back near the throat followed by the burst of lingering, condensed after taste that permeates its way throughout all the coffee sensing tools within the human body for at least a half an hour afterwards…

Homemade French Roast

Perhaps it is the time, grabbing a deep rich cup of melita drip Fresh Roast – in the favorite procelain cup – on the way to a very important discussion, pondering the outcome and experience of the meeting to come and fully taking the time to enjoy that cup of really good coffee – from start to finish in the privacy of the car while driving to the meeting – without interference, or interuption and in spite of any time considerations.

Over the last, five years we’ve had really good coffee in West Vancouver – BC, Scranton – PA, Sarsota – FL, Dallas – TX, Atlanta – GA, Palo Alto – CA, Berkeley – CA, Los Angeles, Whistler – BC, Morley – Alberta, Hamilton – MT, Richmond – VA, Plymouth Meeting – PA, Egg Harbor Township – NJ, Goochland – VA, Portland – OR, Spokane – WA, Missoula – MT, Sedona – AZ, Siesta Key – FL, Boca Grande, Fl… and many other places.

Somehow a good cup of coffee always brings me back to a moment – a memory or feeling – of unshakeable warmth and safety and connectedness. Each of us coffee lovers relates to coffee in our own way.  Share your experiences with us and let us know about your favorite coffee places – and why you like them. We want to share this with other people who don’t know where to get a cup of really good coffee when they travel. Share your favorite spot, or your favorite baristas – or blend or style of coffee with us.

What is your favorite place for really good coffee?

Have a fabulous day…

I AM Michael Barrett and I love coffee…

Where Do You Go For Really Good Coffee…

Where Do You Go For Really Good Coffee…

I came across a blog today that I thought was cool – written by a guy raised in Southern California.

He’s asking people where they get really good coffee in Japan…Where Do You Go For Your Cup Of Jo? (Sorry had to remove this link – original reference blog no longer exists)Moreover, having lived in the Pacific Northwest in the US for 8 years before coming to Japan, I’ve become a bit of a coffee snob so I figured, before coming here, that I’d have to learn to live without really good coffee. …

Being raised in northern California, having my first cup of Peets at age 14, then living 9 years in Montana and 15 in Seattle (where I got in to the business of really good coffee); thought there might be some similarities in our appreciation of coffee.

Kinda weird seeing a picture of a great bigStarbucks in Japanthat he describes as possibly the busiest Starbucks location in the world.

And here’s a site that provides all the supplies, instructions and table top equipment needed for roasting small batches of your own really good coffee…

Roast your own coffee at home

Nice idea. This is a neat site. I’m kind of spoiled by the rich flavor of dark roast Melita drip or pungently luscious freshly extracted doppios. Personally I prefer the complexity and flavor profiles of drum roasted blends in small batches.And one of the thing I really like about home roasted coffee is how fresh it is.And this blog shows a map and the picture of a storefront of The Coffee Plant to get really good coffee…

Funny thing is they don’t give an address:Let’s assume it’s great coffee, try really good coffee at Coffee Plant if you can find it.

If you’re in the Portland area, head out to:

Longbottom Coffee in Hillsboro for my very favorite – really smooth – air roasted coffees .You can also check out Michael Baccellieri’s blog here The Coffee Mariner

In Seattle… be sure to find this little place on the south end of Phinney Ridge not to far up the hill from the Fremont district…

Great doppios and excellent roasted – on site – espresso and lattes…Lighthouse Roasters

If you have other suggestions – for great coffee haunts in your town, let us know and we’ll stop in and check them out when we’re in your neck of the woods.That’s it for today.Where Do You Go for Really Good Coffee?

Where Do You Go For Really Good Coffee

Where Do You Go For Really Good Coffee…

I came across a blog today that I thought was cool – written by a guy raised in Southern California.

He’s asking people where they get really good coffee in Japan…Where Do You Go For Your Cup Of Jo? (Sorry had to remove this link – original reference blog no longer exists)Moreover, having lived in the Pacific Northwest in the US for 8 years before coming to Japan, I’ve become a bit of a coffee snob so I figured, before coming here, that I’d have to learn to live without really good coffee. …

Being raised in northern California, having my first cup of Peets at age 14, then living 9 years in Montana and 15 in Seattle (where I got in to the business of really good coffee); thought there might be some similarities in our appreciation of coffee.

Kinda weird seeing a picture of a great bigStarbucks in Japanthat he describes as possibly the busiest Starbucks location in the world.

And here’s a site that provides all the supplies, instructions and table top equipment needed for roasting small batches of your own really good coffee…

Roast your own coffee at home

Nice idea. This is a neat site. I’m kind of spoiled by the rich flavor of dark roast Melita drip or pungently luscious freshly extracted doppios. Personally I prefer the complexity and flavor profiles of drum roasted blends in small batches.And one of the thing I really like about home roasted coffee is how fresh it is.And this blog shows a map and the picture of a storefront of The Coffee Plant to get really good coffee…

Funny thing is they don’t give an address:Let’s assume it’s great coffee, try really good coffee at Coffee Plant if you can find it.

If you’re in the Portland area, head out to:

Longbottom Coffee in Hillsboro for my very favorite – really smooth – air roasted coffees .You can also check out Michael Baccellieri’s blog here The Coffee Mariner

In Seattle… be sure to find this little place on the south end of Phinney Ridge not to far up the hill from the Fremont district…

Great doppios and excellent roasted – on site – espresso and lattes…Lighthouse Roasters

If you have other suggestions – for great coffee haunts in your town, let us know and we’ll stop in and check them out when we’re in your neck of the woods.That’s it for today.Where Do You Go for Really Good Coffee?

Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

Dr. Ernesto Illy

Dr. Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

In the early nineties, they started Coffee Fest in Seattle and that’s where I first saw Ernesto Illy.

What a class act. This man was such an elegant speaker, a real intellectual, a scientist and what seemed to me to be the “high priest” of espresso. He commanded respect but did not abuse it  – he was gentle and kind in his interaction with others and was particularly tolerant with those who had less coffee knowledge. I was in awe as a newbie “coffee wannabe” in my new store struggling to get the business off the ground.

Here was a man, “THE MAN”, who had spent most of his life in the espresso industry – a PhD in Chemistry – who knew more about the acids in coffee than probably  anybody else in the world – talking about flavor and aroma and the art and “science” of coffee.

He wasn’t just a lab guy either. He was a real gentleman and a supporter of the arts. While most Americans were still under the impression that ‘espresso was that nasty bitter black stuff they made in Italy’, Dr Illy was sponsoring Fellini festivals in New York City and creating designer collectible cup collections, that were art in and of themselves.

Dr. Ernesto Illy was also an innovator and created a brilliant design and engineering team in his production facility – not to mention a group of “cupping” experts at the top of their class worldwide, including himself.

Illy did everything for a reason – like smart scientists with integrity do – a good reason.

The Amazing Illy Cafe Roasting Operation and Production Facility

I remember reading some brochures “about Illy Cafe” when I was first considering using the blend. We did subsequently use Illy Cafe at a mobile espresso cart location we had for a while.

The brochure described the roasting facility – fully automated with CNC controlled roasting equipment and infra red scanners that scanned beans approaching the roasting machine on a conveyor system.

Infra red scanners sent the scanned data to the computer and if the beans did not meet quality control specs, an air jet came on and blew the bean off the conveyor into a “reject” bin, where it would subsequently be sold on the commercial coffee market to another roaster.

Bear in mind this was in full operation in the early to mid 90’s (~92 or 93?).

In addition, each batch of coffee had control numbers for the labels. Into the control numbers were coded all the data collected about actual length of time in the roaster, max temp reached, date and time of roasting, etc… These codes were printed on the labels of every package of roasted coffee for inventory control purposes. In the event of a flaw or a production problem, they could identify and remove all of the rest of the batch from inventory.

They were also roasting 40,000 lbs per shift at the time.

WOW…

Illy and his cupping experts developed relationships with the finest growers and plantations worldwide and developed a 9 bean blend. The reason they did this is because varietals change flavor profiles through different seasons and with 9 beans in the blend they could minimize the flavor variations and maintain a highly consistent flavor profile year round – even though some of the varietals themselves varied considerably.

Dr Illy’s Amazing Packaging Solved the Problem of Keeping Beans Fresh During Worldwide Shipping

As I remember, Illy sent out specs for quote to all the major existing packaging operations – when he was looking for package suppliers – requesting quotes for cannisters that could be pressurized with inert gas to seal in the freshness of the coffee beans after they were packaged and sealed. They were to hold about 5 lbs of coffee.

Apparently none of the manufacturers had the capacity to produce or supply the cannisters to his design. Illy finally called his engineers together and designed, and then built all the equipment they needed to make their own cannisters to spec on demand – right there in their facility.

So they designed the automated cannister fabricating equipment and the built it themselves and integrated it into the overall production process.

Now that’s ingenuity.

As a result of this technology, Illy  Cafe (whole espresso beans) can be stored in their factory pressurized containers in nitrogen for three years without going stale and the amazing thing is that after they breath a while and adjust to the environment, the blend is exceptionally smooth and always consistent.

The crema is rich and sweet and extracts like fresh roasted espresso – because it is – even though it isn’t.

Awesome technology solution.

There are many things about Dr. Illy that made him special. He was a man who truly found his purpose in life and excelled to new heights by establishing precedents in technology, quality and expertise. He set the bar high for future generations to exceed.

He was a great contributor and leader in the industry and the industry will be hard pressed to replace a man of his caliber and excellence. He was a man of singular accomplishments and intelligence.

A Touching Tribute to the Espresso Giant

Here is a picture of and a touching tribute to Dr Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer by Mark Prince, Coffee at the Moment, writing for CoffeeGeek.com. Reading this article brought tears to my eyes because I felt the sincerity and the love Mark had for Dr. Illy. I too share that admiration and respect.  Dr. Ernesto Illy was a scientist, an artist , a humanitarian and an innovator rolled into one.

Truly a great man…

Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

Dr. Ernesto Illy

Dr. Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

In the early nineties, they started Coffee Fest in Seattle and that’s where I first saw Ernesto Illy.

What a class act. This man was such an elegant speaker, a real intellectual, a scientist and what seemed to me to be the “high priest” of espresso. He commanded respect but did not abuse it  – he was gentle and kind in his interaction with others and was particularly tolerant with those who had less coffee knowledge. I was in awe as a newbie “coffee wannabe” in my new store struggling to get the business off the ground.

Here was a man, “THE MAN”, who had spent most of his life in the espresso industry – a PhD in Chemistry – who knew more about the acids in coffee than probably  anybody else in the world – talking about flavor and aroma and the art and “science” of coffee.

He wasn’t just a lab guy either. He was a real gentleman and a supporter of the arts. While most Americans were still under the impression that ‘espresso was that nasty bitter black stuff they made in Italy’, Dr Illy was sponsoring Fellini festivals in New York City and creating designer collectible cup collections, that were art in and of themselves.

Dr. Ernesto Illy was also an innovator and created a brilliant design and engineering team in his production facility – not to mention a group of “cupping” experts at the top of their class worldwide, including himself.

Illy did everything for a reason – like smart scientists with integrity do – a good reason.

The Amazing Illy Cafe Roasting Operation and Production Facility

I remember reading some brochures “about Illy Cafe” when I was first considering using the blend. We did subsequently use Illy Cafe at a mobile espresso cart location we had for a while.

The brochure described the roasting facility – fully automated with CNC controlled roasting equipment and infra red scanners that scanned beans approaching the roasting machine on a conveyor system.

Infra red scanners sent the scanned data to the computer and if the beans did not meet quality control specs, an air jet came on and blew the bean off the conveyor into a “reject” bin, where it would subsequently be sold on the commercial coffee market to another roaster.

Bear in mind this was in full operation in the early to mid 90’s (~92 or 93?).

In addition, each batch of coffee had control numbers for the labels. Into the control numbers were coded all the data collected about actual length of time in the roaster, max temp reached, date and time of roasting, etc… These codes were printed on the labels of every package of roasted coffee for inventory control purposes. In the event of a flaw or a production problem, they could identify and remove all of the rest of the batch from inventory.

They were also roasting 40,000 lbs per shift at the time.

WOW…

Illy and his cupping experts developed relationships with the finest growers and plantations worldwide and developed a 9 bean blend. The reason they did this is because varietals change flavor profiles through different seasons and with 9 beans in the blend they could minimize the flavor variations and maintain a highly consistent flavor profile year round – even though some of the varietals themselves varied considerably.

Dr Illy’s Amazing Packaging Solved the Problem of Keeping Beans Fresh During Worldwide Shipping

As I remember, Illy sent out specs for quote to all the major existing packaging operations – when he was looking for package suppliers – requesting quotes for cannisters that could be pressurized with inert gas to seal in the freshness of the coffee beans after they were packaged and sealed. They were to hold about 5 lbs of coffee.

Apparently none of the manufacturers had the capacity to produce or supply the cannisters to his design. Illy finally called his engineers together and designed, and then built all the equipment they needed to make their own cannisters to spec on demand – right there in their facility.

So they designed the automated cannister fabricating equipment and the built it themselves and integrated it into the overall production process.

Now that’s ingenuity.

As a result of this technology, Illy  Cafe (whole espresso beans) can be stored in their factory pressurized containers in nitrogen for three years without going stale and the amazing thing is that after they breath a while and adjust to the environment, the blend is exceptionally smooth and always consistent.

The crema is rich and sweet and extracts like fresh roasted espresso – because it is – even though it isn’t.

Awesome technology solution.

There are many things about Dr. Illy that made him special. He was a man who truly found his purpose in life and excelled to new heights by establishing precedents in technology, quality and expertise. He set the bar high for future generations to exceed.

He was a great contributor and leader in the industry and the industry will be hard pressed to replace a man of his caliber and excellence. He was a man of singular accomplishments and intelligence.

A Touching Tribute to the Espresso Giant

Here is a picture of and a touching tribute to Dr Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer by Mark Prince, Coffee at the Moment, writing for CoffeeGeek.com. Reading this article brought tears to my eyes because I felt the sincerity and the love Mark had for Dr. Illy. I too share that admiration and respect.  Dr. Ernesto Illy was a scientist, an artist , a humanitarian and an innovator rolled into one.

Truly a great man…

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!

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