Review: Cafe San Ramon, Counter Culture

Background: Cafe San Ramon is one of several "Direct Trade Certified" coffees from this Durham, NC-based company that has a strong presence in the DC-area coffee scene. (On my last count at least 5 shops in the area use their products and they run a Regional Training Center in Adams Morgan.) 

Flavor: Brewed in a press pot, the cocoa-scented beans produced a smooth coffee with flavors of sweet chocolate and brown sugar, with a mild finish.

Source: Shade-grown in the mountains of Nicaraugua's Matagalpa region, the beans are "cultivated, harvested, sorted, pulped, fermented, and washed entirely on the farm where it was grown by the farmer and his family."

Rating: The beans were so chocolate-y smelling (and looking) that I was tempted to pop a couple in my mouth while waiting for the water to boil. With coffee this sweet, there's no need for sugar or a giant muffin to temper just another Manic Monday. I also think this would make a fine cafe con leche for those who prefer an even gentler nudge to wake up.


further phenomenal furniture

The wonders of craigslist! I am sitting this morning on, what is to me, the nicest piece of furniture to ever grace our humble space and the most recent, and final, addition to our shabby-chic, mismatched collection. It only took a trip out to Germantown, in maddening traffic, riding in a diesel-powered monster truck borrowed from our good friend, Joe Wills. The table has some definite character and came with six matching(!) orange-cushioned chairs, two leaves which have not been added (or ever will, maybe), and table pads.
With the help of Matthew, we made a quick job of loading the truck, and the way back took us only twenty minutes (compared to one hour getting there).

I hope you love the table (I think she deserves to be christened something wonderful) and that it is of much use for those wanting to work on their computers. I would urge those of you on laptops to make use of this table and the Ikea "campground-theme" table, especially during our busiest times of the day - mainly lunchtime during weekdays and most of the morning and afternoon on weekends. This will help accommodate the competing needs of the coffeehouse's and the bookstore's diverse clienteles.

With this new addition, it was necessary to rearrange the rest of the furniture. Please let me know if this works for you; your input is much appreciated. Thanks again for your patience as we disturb what is "home" to many of you. Believe me, this is much needed change.


Review: Ninth Street Espresso, NYC

Background: Recently listed as a favorite on the NYT coffee topics blog, and located a few blocks from where I was staying, how could I not try out Ninth Street Espresso before getting on the bus to come back to DC?

Flavor: One of the seven (gods, that's great) items on the menu, the macchiato combines two shots from a semi-automatic machine with a touch of milk froth, to produce dominant citrus and gentle floral notes in just three sips.

Source: Stumptown Coffee Roasters' Hair Bender espresso blend, made from "coffee contents from the three major growing regions of Latin America, East Africa, and the Pacific Rim." Stumptown boasts their own "direct trade" label and lists the exact longitude, latitude, elevation, and farms/farmer's names on their website.

Rating: The tiny, long shop is comprised of one wall of exposed brick with a narrow bar and a couple stools. I got it in the ceramic cup, but by the time I walked to the end of the store to the front window stool and had taken off my jacket and sat down, it had cooled to barely warm-- a good reminder that pulling shots into heated cups is one of those great tricks of the trade that may mean the difference between a mouthful of warm, tasty-bright goodness and cold, bitter, acid-breath. Also a reminder that when it comes to espresso, sip first and ask questions later. Since I prefer nuttier, sweeter flavors in drinks made with milk, I think the Hair Bender espresso blend may be best served on its own for optimal enjoyment of that citrus-y crema.


the ghost of internet past

Ryan Wisnor, who helped establish the current incarnation of the coffeehouse, found the webpage for the coffeehouse circa 1997.

Open til midnight on Friday and Saturdays! Mykonos wraps for $5.99! Shakespeare sodas!

You can also follow the link to an old Bookstore homepage. Remember when "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Bridget Jones's Diary" were the top books to read? And number 12 on the P&P Bestsellers is "The Reader: A Novel," which has now been adapted into a Academy Award nominated film...funny how everything gets turned into a movie these days.

Oh, time......unbelievable that we will be celebrating our 3 year anniversary March 1st!

“Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.” - Jorge Luis Borges

How many lattes = a private jet?

Many members of the service industry transition daily from our places of residence into very different environments to do our work. So I'm always interested in hearing how people describe how "the other half" lives. Enter David Brooks' most recent Op-Ed in the New York Times "Ward Three Morality".

The real question is, will the people in Ward 3 set the standard for coffee consumption in these troubled economic times?