Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Like Ike.

MUG: Solo paper cup with lid. Made in America. Well vented, cap fit, drank well for what it is. Poor olfactory function, but that's the design purpose (no-spill).

COFFEE: IKEA's snack-bar coffee. Free before 11:00 a.m. Surprisingly good drip coffee. Actually, a very good cup of coffee. Good roast, and just strong enough.

NOTES: Stood in line at IKEA to get some utilitarian shelving that was on sale. Drove 40 miles (80, round trip) to save $40. The waitress/snack-bar manager was Swedish, or Danish, or Norwegian... I can never tell.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa Anna Clause

MUG: Christmas novelty mug purchased at H-E-B Plus in Kyle (dinnerware is across from the tortillaria, next to the sushi bar), imported from China. 12 oz. capacity, bistro shape. The exterior glaze is gritty, but the inside and lip area is smooth. The handle is large enough for manly hands.

COFFEE: Micro-roasted Colombian Supremo from my usual source, delivered to my door by agents of the Federal government.

NOTES: I have a small shrine to the Shrine of Texas Liberty on top of a bookcase. This will find a seasonal residence there.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Can't kut it.

MUG: Stoneware 'gimmie' mug of unknown origin (always safe to guess China). Trumpet shaped, with a handle that appears to have been inspired by the bridge over the Colorado River on the Capitol of Texas Parking Lot. The trumpet shaped bowl always feels unbalanced to me. The glaze has a grittiness that is a bit unpleasant to the lips. This will clearly be going to the Kyle Public Library Thrift Store at some point.

COFFEE: Continuing with the Barrett's Guatemalan Estate... and with 2.5 lbs. left, will continue so for the next couple of weeks.

NOTES: Today's mug was a premium I received for supporting KUT 90.5 FM, The University of Texas Not-The-Student Radio Station. I never listen to the broadcast station (indie rock, Austin banality, NPR news and chat... and Prairie Dog Companion, of course). I support KUT solely because they run the JazzWorks programming out of Pittsburgh (sort of pretending it's their own) on their HD3 channel. You have to have a special HD Radio tuner to receive it. I think there's about six of us who do.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Don't cry for me, Blanco Texas.

MUG: Chinese-made generic souvenir mug. Like all the others.

COFFEE: Guatemalan estate-grown coffee from Barrett's. I'm now buying the 5 lb. bags of their beans. A nice city roast.

NOTES: The weeping icon was a fixture at the Old Russian Orthodox Monastery outside of Blanco, Texas. I visited it a couple times in the early 1990s when I was interested in Orthodox spirituality (where I purchased this coffee mug). They had a crudely painted icon of the Theotokos (Mother of God) that 'miraculously' wept oil of myrrh (which they sold on cotton balls for home healing) from cracks near her eyes. It was displayed on a stand that had a closed base. That's where the pump was that fed the oil to icon's 'tear ducts'. The fraud isn't the only reason Mary would weep.

The self-appointed abbot of the monastery ('Father Benedict') was a former Southern Baptist land developer from San Antonio who had gotten into trouble abusing young boys. He reinvented himself as an Old Russian Orthodox priest, founded the monastery, and began luring local boys to come there and live as novates. You can imagine what happened next.

The monastery is closed, and Father Benedict is dead, dying just before being sentenced to a long imprisonment.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Come and get it.

MUG: Double-walled ceramic mug, ten ounce capacity (two coffee "cups"). Unknown origin. The lip has a wide trumpet flare, but it fits my lip better than I thought it might, providing positive contact with the mouth for a drip-free drinking experience. The mug's conical shape and flat bottom provides a good grip and a secure set-down. The mug is a handle-less "travel" mug, and features a silicon rubber cap that appears to be drip-proof for sipping. The cap functions far better than the one on the Japanese-made titanium camper's cup I have.

COFFEE: City-roast Colombian San Agustin Supremo from Barrett's Micro-Roaster. Bought a five pound bag this month. A good brew.

NOTES: The mug was purchased at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. The imprint is the flag that flew at a skirmish known as "The Lexington-Concord of Texas", the Battle of Gonzales. 100 Mexican dragoons came to Gonzales on October 2nd, 1835 to confiscate a small cannon the colonists had for protection from Indian raiders. The Texians refused to surrender the weapon, and fired on the dragoons with small arms and cannon, who then withdrew back to San Antonio.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Remarkably not awful.

MUG: A dinner service stoneware mug made by Onieda. Reminded me of the cups they used to use at church when I was growing up. Rugged and unremarkable.

COFFEE: Rain Forest Alliance certified Colombian Supremo, roasted, ground, and packaged in some unknown time and place.

NOTES: This was made using the CV1 in-room coffee maker at the Crowne Plaza Suites hotel in North Dallas. While it left me wanting for some good coffee, it was the best of the coffee packet coffees I've had the misfortune to try. The coffee was perhaps both fresher and of higher quality than what I have been experiencing. It was also of sufficient quantity in the packet to achieve some quality in the cup. Interestingly, the tray that holds the coffee packet is disposable, and comes in the sealed single-serving package. Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck is happy to tell you all about it.

The cups do have a nice feature to allow them to be stacked six high.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Coffee Ritual

MUG: Neiman-Marcus 90th Anniversary commemorative mug. Made in Thailand. Designed by High-Wave Good-Bi. Thick, 12 oz. mug with a contrasting inner color (tan exterior, pale avocado green interior). Good handle, good lip, good heat-retention properties, and a good vibe (I grew up in the Neiman-Marcus culture).

COFFEE: Guatemalan Estate from Barrett's Micro-roastery.

NOTES: We have two of these mugs. The second mug has a different color scheme (pale rose exterior, paler green interior). My wife takes great comfort in having her coffee served to her in bed every Sunday morning (along with the Sunday paper before getting up for church) in the rose-colored cup, while I sit in the living room, using the tan. It's the only time we use these mugs, and we use them that way every Sunday... for the last fourteen years.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

A Hellish brew.

MUG: Identical in construction to the DeLuxe fruitcake mug shown in the previous post.

COFFEE: I ran out of good coffee (Barrett's Colombian and the Peruvian Especial from Anderson's), and I refuse to burn three gallons of high-test gasoline to go into Sodom-On-The-Colorado for good coffee, so I resorted yet again to H.E.B.'s Café Olé Colombian Medium Roast beans. Burned as if in the fires of Hell. Proverbs, 26:11.

NOTES: To commemorate Central Texas' Hottest Summer In Recorded History, I had this mug made (err, decorated).

The image is from a 15th Century illuminated manuscript devotional, "The Hours of Catherine of Cleves", and shows a page from the Matins Office dedicated to praying for the souls of the dead in torment in Purgatory (who are having their sins cleansed by fire while awaiting release... Indulgences anyone?).

I can relate.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Looks Can Be Deceiving

MUG: Standard specialty-advertising mug, modeled after the Waechstersbach-style mug. Chinese origin. Thin walls, thin handle, not bad feel to the lip or handle, an acceptable if not remarkable mug. Of course, the decoration is not only remarkable... it's DeLuxe! It really is.

COFFEE: Ran out of my preferred coffee. But hallelujah! Coffee salvation! I was recently gifted with a half pound of Peru Especial coffee beans from Anderson's Coffee in Austin (as discussed previously). The Peruvian is a light roast, with a flavor that reminds me of a good Guatemalan coffee.

NOTES: Not having a locally available source for good coffee can be a problem. The local coffee shop I used as a fall back (only six miles away) went to that great barista in the sky recently. That leaves me with a Starbucks and the H.E.B. Plus... both with a full selection of over-roasted coffees.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Conrad's shame

MUG: Chinese made porcelain bistro mug. See how stylish it is? Branded as a Lavazza™ ("Italy's Favorite Coffee"... the Pirelli of coffee?) mug, it was part of the in-room coffee maker at the Southern Hills Hilton in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It's actually part of a Cuisinart individual-serving coffee maker. This style of mug is almost pleasant due to the thinness of the rim. Great tactile experience, although the funnel shape always makes me nervous.

COFFEE: Lavazza coffee pods, from Italy in theory. Thin, flavorless broth. Awful stuff, not even hot enough coming out of the maker to do a good job of killing cockroaches (not an issue at the Hilton).

NOTES: The Hilton's room had this fancy coffee maker, but no microwave to boil my water for my French-press Travel Mug, the water coming out of the maker was insufficiently hot to use in my French press, there was no fridge to keep a six-pack in, and they wanted $10 a day for internet access. Nice room, poor experience with penny-pinching. No free breakfast, either. See the following descriptive photos on the coffee maker.

 The Lavazza coffee system with the Lavazza Coffee-condom.

The Lavazza coffee-condom unsheathed.

See the water running into the cup? See how clear it is? This is at about the 75% full stage.

Looks like a strong mug of English Breakfast Tea. I promise you, it looks darker in the photo, too, than it was in real life. Conrad's ghost must be rattling his chains.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Walk the plank? Walk the pink?

MUG: A pink Waechtersbach mug. Made in Germany, with the peculiar "glaze resist" decoration... not to mention the peculiar decoration motif.

COFFEE: The last of some Whole Foods™ Arriba-brand Colombian, now described as "light roast" (formerly described as Medium/Full City, but Medium is the new Dark, and Dark is the new Burnt Espresso).

NOTES: Surprisingly good for Whole Foods coffee. Bought a half pound in an emergency because the USPS was holding my Barrett's coffee beans in quarantine for four days (for some unknown reason, but the Mail Carrier did comment on how good the coffee smelled in her van).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Road Rage

Coffee: Starbucks™ espresso, served as a Café Americano on ice.

Mug: Starbucks™ Venti iced drink cup. It's a plastic cup made by Berry Plastics. Not sure what else I can say about it.

Notes: It's all the rage among some groups (college-aged kids) to hang out and onto Starbucks™. It's all the rage among many coffee "connoisseurs" to rag on Starbucks™ as Charbucks, because they over-roast much of their coffee. But on a hot day, 375 miles into a 500 mile one-day road trip, I look forward to a quick rest stop at the Bellevue/Waco Starbucks™ for a venti café Americano (no cream). Makes the remaining two hours on the road easier.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's not burnt.

MUG: Waeschtersbach, Germany. A new acquisition of off eBay. This one has an incredible "fire orange" glaze. Deep, burning, speckled orange with a shiny clear glaze over the surface.

COFFEE: Barrett's Colombian Supremo.

NOTES: Neither the coffee, nor the orange mug, are "burnt" in character... in spite of my locale.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A manly mug for a day for men.

MUG: 16 ounce, straightforward, stoneware mug. It's a souvenir from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, the source of my favorite bourbons. A gift from a friend I have never met. The extra big handle is suitable for drinking with gloves on... even lined gloves. The capacity allows for less time in transit to and from the coffee pot, and more time on the job. Good drinker, if a bit imposing due to its massive size, towering above rivals. Kind of like my dad.

COFFEE: Barrett's Colombian Supremo: roasted on Thursday, shipped on Friday, delivered on Saturday, ground and brewed on Sunday.  It doesn't get a whole lot fresher than that.

NOTES: I began drinking coffee when I was about eight years old. I'd get up early and go into the kitchen with my dad, Harry C. Summer, Jr.  He'd be sitting at the breakfast table, drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette (the former a habit I'd quickly adopt, the latter a habit I never took up, but one that took my dad's life prematurely).

My dad was many things, some good and others not so. He was a farm-boy, a varsity football star, a WWII veteran (USAAF), an entrepreneur (grocer, real estate broker, nurseryman), a cowboy, and a man of real faith in Jesus Christ.

Happy Fathers Day, Dad. I love you. I miss you. And I thank you for being just who you are, and for imparting to me the thing of first importance. It's a man's job.

Harry Clifton Summer, Jr. 1918-1995

Friday, June 10, 2011

Reflections on leftover coffee.

COFFEE: The Colombian from Barrett's Coffee Roasters, leftover from this morning.

MUG: 21 ounce double-walled stainless steel mug in the shape of a beer keg. Made in China, remaindered by Campmor. This gigantic mug, when filled with ice, holds about 12 ounces of liquid. Perfect. The big handle makes for a nice grip, and the metal rim is far more pleasant cold than hot.

NOTE: I like iced coffee. This works. The leftover morning coffee is in a thermal carafe, so it remains flavorful.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reflections on good coffee

MUG: Double-walled stainless steel mug from OXO. Soft-touch rubber handle. When freshly filled, the rim is a bit too hot to the lips. When cooled slightly in the morning air, the rim is a bit metallic tasting. 7.5/10.

COFFEE: Colombian Supremo from Barrett's.

NOTES: Good coffee in the early morning is part of an explosion of sensational experiences.  It's part of "waking up" that has little to do with ceasing sleep. It's part of my sensory awareness training. I make my coffee in the dark, and enjoy it as the light grows. Sounds, sights, smells come into focus, and in the quietness of the morning I gain a heightened awareness of the world.

I also say my morning prayers (based upon the medieval service of lauds) and read the Bible. I begin in the dark, and end as the light grows. All around me, the world changes. Sounds, sights, smells come into focus, and in the quietness of my soul I gain a heightened awareness of the world.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Pot Luck

MUG: USA-made souvenir mug in the form of a 19th century butter churn pot. Not a bad drinker at all. Nice handle, good volume, and good lip. A winning design.

COFFEE: The assembled scraps of coffee beans that have been left over from recent coffee bean changes (there's always a couple of scoops of beans of the departing coffee left as I move on to a new bean). This grab-bag mix is about 1/3 Colombian Supremo, 1/3 Guatemalan Estate and 1/3 Colombian Supremo Bucaramanga (the last third a bitter, dark roast).

NOTES: Waste not, want not.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Bwana Java

MUG: Oh look! It's a Waechtersbach mug! What a surprise! School bus yellow, with a matte black Dymo Label that says "Bwana". All the usual superior qualities of the mug, enhanced by an easy to locate color.

COFFEE: The Guatemalan continues for a couple more days.

NOTE: This mug dates back to when I was Principal/Creative Director of The Summer Group (late 1980s). We gave these to clients and vendors, with a 1/3 pound of Summer Blend beans (Colombian, Guatemalan, and Kona coffee in a 2:1&1 ratio), with their name affixed in the manner of small office break rooms. This one was the prototype, and was mine. The name/title Bwana refers to both my position at the time, and to the art magazine I published (but refused to edit), Bwana Art. The Dymo Label has survived twenty some-dd years of dishwashing machines.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Mi madre' China del café.

MUG: Cup, actually. Wedgewood Briar Rose pattern. Tiny cup handle, suitable for extended pinky sipping. Lightweight, pleasant, respectable china serving.

COFFEE: Finishing up the Guatemalan.

NOTES: This was my mother's china. It's probably from Neiman-Marcus, as were most of her better things.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Savory or Safe?

MUG: The CenTury double-walled ceramic travel mug our real estate agent gave us as a house warming gift (one of the pair, as previously featured).

COFFEE: Guatemalan Estate (ongoing).

NOTE: As seen below, I used my new ceramic cone basket to make a tumbler of coffee. I'm not going anywhere, I just wanted come coffee on a cool afternoon. I also have used this for an illustration that coffee tastes much better without a lid. Full sensory impact.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thus Dribbled Zarathustra

MUG: Double-walled titanium camp mug from REI. The plastic (not silicone) lid expands more than the mug when there is hot coffee in it. A sip becomes a dribble. Fail.

COFFEE: Guatemalan Estate from Barrett's. Happy camper, except for the dribble.

NOTE: I was trying to observe the alignment of the heavens this morning, as the moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury are in conjunction just before dawn. Low clouds on the horizon defeated my attempt, with only the Moon and Venus visible. Hot coffee dribbling down my chin in the cool morning air seemed about right.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cowboy up!

MUG: Stoneware bistro mug from American Atelier's "Cowboy" series of dinnerware. 11 ounces, with an over-sized handle crafted from a ceramic tube (with a vent hole). Fun drinker.

COFFEE: First try of another roast from Barrett's. Guatemalan Estate instead of the usual Colombian Supremo.

NOTES: Guatemalan coffee is my standard "change-up" bean. It has similar characteristics to the Colombian, and makes a nice change of pace to keep the palate alert. Barrett's has again provided an excellent medium (Full City) roast. This is a good supplier of fresh-roasted coffee, and the convenience of mail order shopping can't be beat.

The mug came with a dessert plate. My wife bought two sets for the grandsons to snack on, and forgot that the mugs were giant-sized (by kid standards). I can't quite figure out the hieroglyphics on the mug. Probably some Chinese artist's idea of Western cattle brands... or the Western alphabet. The giant cowboy is nice, too. Or is that a Shetland pony?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mountaintop experience.

MUG: Waechtersbach of choice. No need to repeat my praises.

COFFEE: A small-batch roasted Colombian Supremo full city roast from Barrett's in Austin (delivered fresh by mail).

NOTES: I got a German-made Cilio ceramic coffee filter holder (No. 4 Melitta), and made a pot of coffee the old-fashioned way: just off boiling water poured over to wet, set, and then to fill. The best cup of coffee I have had in a long time. I'm using the glass-thermos carafe, as glass doesn't retain old (bad) flavor like stainless steel thermal carafes do.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Slash and burn.

MUG: Specialty advertising Chinese mug. Standard issue.

COFFEE: The Colombian Supremo Bucaramanga from H.E.B.'s Cafe Olé selection of bulk coffees. Burnt and stale tasting, with none of the qualities that I appreciate from a well roasted Colombian. Second and last try of this convenient to purchase, but unpleasant to drink, coffee. It has been slashed from my list permanently. In it's favor, it does come from H.E.B.'s coffee section for "Straights".

NOTE: The mug (did I mention this before?) was a gift from the staff at Chubby's Restaurant on Northwest Highway in Dallas. Thank you, Alicia... the World's Best Waitress (and Mary, too).

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Don't worry, be happy.

MUG: Waechtersbach (Germany). The decoration sort of tells it all (caffeine is your friend).

COFFEE: Colombian Supremo San Augustin from Barrett's Coffee roasters in Austin, purchased in whole bean form from Texpresso in Buda.

NOTES: The Great Colombian Expedition continues. This medium roast coffee is heavy on the dark side of the Colombian palate, missing the winey brightness that I anticipate with my first sip of a fresh Colombian. The aftertaste is oily on the tongue and roof of the mouth. Good complexity, excellent aroma, a taste of chocolate, muted with dense character. As of now, the jury is out.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Dark forebodings of disaster.

MUG: The standard by which all others are measured: West German made Waechstersbach, natural colored mug.

COFFEE: Nicaraguan organically-grown beans from the Matagalpa region, via Fara Coffee. Austin-based Fara Coffee roasts mostly beans from the owners' family estates (fincas) in their native Nicaragua. Most of their coffees are dark roast. Interestingly, these "Organic" beans don't seem to be listed on their website.

NOTES: First, the Good News (always). The coffee is a surprise. I thought I'd give it a try after seeing it in the bulk coffee bins of my local HEB-Plus grocery store. In the past, I have been favorably impressed with coffees from Nicaragua, but the various coffees I have tried from this store have been a resounding disappointment. Overly roasted (see the oily beans in the picture above), the taste remains mostly smooth despite the cruelty of too much heat for too long. I long for a Full City roasting of these beans.

Now the bad news. It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of an old friend. An inspection on the photo above will reveal the horror that my fingers first revealed... a crack in the recently unpacked mug's handle. This mug is one of the original set of four mugs I bought in Dallas upon moving from Austin in 1976. The crack appears to be in the structural ceramic, not just the glaze.

These mugs, in the natural slip color I like so much, have been out of the manufacturer's offerings for so long that a factory representative told me they'd never made mugs this color, physical evidence to the contrary (stupid young person). Another one bites the dust (leaving me with two, plus an inferior Spanish-made alternate).

A repair will be attempted, but...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Roast in Perkatory

MUG: Puffy styro Dixie cup. Nice soft-touch surface texture, smooth rolled lip. The puffed material is better insulating, and biodegradable (IIRC).

COFFEE: Percolated church-coffee, as served in AA meetings nationwide (but no ashtrays). Folgers, Maxwell House, HEB, Kroger, Chock-Ful-O-Nuts, or some other canned ground coffee.

NOTES: Sunday morning at The Well in Buda.  As for the coffee... judge not, lest ye be judged.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What has Brown done for you?

MUG: Chinese-made specialty advertising mug, from Ben E. Keith food distributors.

COFFEE: Polka Java, a mocha java blend from a local roaster, Buna Bean. Cafe strength brew (thin). Decent flavor coffee that might even be good if brewed properly.

NOTES: Breakfast at the Brown Street Cafe in Ennis, Texas, across from the police station/city hall/municipal court. I didn't ride my bike.


Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Restoration.

MUG: One of my German-made Waechtersbach coffee mugs, the standard by which all mugs are judged.

COFFEE: Colombian Supremo, roasted by What's Brewing in San Antonio, sold by Central Market in Dallas. The water is spring sourced.

NOTES: This is my personal ideal combo of mug and coffee, the pairing that gives me the most satisfaction. I can improve on it slightly by using my French Press instead of the Melitta filter system, but only slightly, and at far greater inconvenience.

This is the first day since I was relocated to Kyle in the general exodus that I have been able to enjoy this combination of goodness. Heretofore, either the coffee was missing, or the mug. The opening of a recent box revealed the mugs, while a trip to Dallas last week to fetch lawn equipment resulted in the beans.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Any port in a storm? Nah, safe harbor.

MUG: Paper cup with sleeve and lid.

COFFEE: Costa Rican Cinchona coffee from Collin Street Bakery's Bellemead location. Not bad. Not bad at all. Very slight "burlap" taste, which is new to me, but brewed strong.

NOTES:  After taking six hours to travel 120 miles (due to the end of Spring Break and Austin's SXSW drunk-fest), I needed a rest (and an escape). Rather than fight the stop-and-go traffic on I-35 the rest of the way to Dallas, I took my escape cut-off route of State Highway 31 to Corsicana and I-45. Collin Street Bakery has one of their Deluxe Highway Shops at that intersection (I-35 and SH-31), so I stopped for coffee and a date bar. I also bought three of their fruit cakes (regular DeLuxe, Texas Blonde Pecan, and Apricot Pecan). These are so wonderful! Fooey on all you fruitcake haters, you are simply giving in to peer pressure and easy prejudice (another sign of The Fall).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The never-ending Coffee Wars

MUG: Novelty ceramic mug from China. Bistro/latte style. 16 ounce capacity. Handsome to behold, awkward to hold. Beautiful blue "satin" glaze, with a white glaze liner and white text.

COFFEE: Brazilin sweet yellow Bourbon beans from Daterra Farms (Rainforest Alliance Certified). Roasted and sold by White Rock Coffee. A tad under roasted for my tastes, but flavorful at my preferred strength. Picked up a pound of this the last time I was in Dallas. Ever searching.

"Victory or death" - William Barrett Travis. That's what it says on the reverse side of the mug. Incongruous sentiment for a latte.

An aside: "Victory in death" is what it says on my heart.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The gilded art of bunting.

MUG: A gold foil dinnerware mug from the refectory at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin. A very pleasant instrument of caffeine administration, it was made by the W.C. Bunting Company in Liverpool, Ohio. Well balanced, with a nice handle and lip, this mug is a superior, though unassuming, object. One of my favorites, it is a "hand wash" only utensil.

COFFEE: Colombian Supremo from What's Brewing Now in Ole San Antone, via Dallas' Central Market.

NOTES: I liberated this old mug while attending Nashotah House during summer session one year. I replaced it with a modern version from the school's bookstore. The late comedian George Carlin's comments on bunting in baseball vs. blitzing in football are forever with me.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Friends: old, new and new again.

MUG: Waechtersbach, made in Spain instead of Germany. Regular readers (both of you) know that I hold my 35 year old German-made examples of this mug (in this color) to be the epitome of the mysterious coffee mug arts. This Spanish version seems a bit lighter in weight, and the tint is to the brown as opposed to the lederhosen grey of my older Deutschemugs. Nonetheless, it is a fine drinking instrument, and is my old friend of consistent solace.

COFFEE: Mexican Organic Flores beans from Anderson's in Austin. Nutty flavor (not flavored) that is quite enjoyable. The best of the locally-sourced beans I have found. Small-batch roasted.

NOTES: The beans were a gift from a new friend I had never met, but did finally meet over a pint (or three). A charming fellow, whose tastes had always impressed me. My impressions have been confirmed. Truly, a scholar and a gentleman (really).

The beans were sourced from the first independent coffee shop I ever frequented, back when I lived in Austin in the early to late 1970s. Bought my first Braun coffee grinder there, as well as many a Melitta coffee pot (they had a tendency to break in my households at the time... knives and other domestic utensils were known to fly across rooms as well). Surprised and pleased to know the company is still in business, and still in the same location.

An old friend made new again. Thanks, Carter.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lutheran World Relief comes to Kyle

MUG: Well, not a mug, but a paper sack inside of a zip-lok bag, inside of a cardboard box. Delivered by Federal Agents as a Priority assignment.

COFFEE: Columbian Supremo beans, roasted by What's Brewing in San Antonio, and sold by Central Market in Dallas.

NOTES: Alerted to a fellow (sorta) Lutheran's plight in Hays County, the Steve S. arm of LWR, Art & Architecture Division, sprang into action, contracting with Federal agents to transport a pound of superior coffee beans to Kyle in an act of Christian mercy and relief.

Thanks, Steve!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Great White North

MUG: Chinese made “navy” or “diner” style mug, 10 8 ounce capacity, sourced from Cafe Du Monde on Bourbon Street in New Orleans (I'm showing the non-imprint side). A great mug, if maybe an ounce or three too small. Serious heft, good lip, thick one-finger handle.

COFFEE: Small-batch roasted Colombian Narino Reserva del Patron from White Rock Coffee in Dallas, as delivered to my door yesterday afternoon by a government employee. It’s a “full city” roast. It’s very good.

NOTES: Even with my tasting sense impaired by the allergies I am enduring moving to Central Texas, this coffee tastes good. Paying $30 for delivery of two pounds of freshly roasted coffee to my door may well be the shape of things to come. Placed my order on Thursday, it was shipped on Friday, and it arrived Monday. By placing my order on Sunday, I might be able to get in by Tuesday, as they ship via USPS Priority Mail. Not bad. The extra expense (higher bean price plus shipping) is balanced by the cost of gasoline to drive sixty mile round trip to Austin.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My bitter valentine.

MUG: Waechtersbach. Red. It’s St. Valentine’s day, and no, I don't have one of Waechtersbach’s popular “Heart” mugs.

COFFEE: Bulk Cafe Olé Colombian Supremo darker roast beans from the Buda H.E.B.

NOTES: Another failed attempt at brewing superior tasting coffee in Kyle. Bitter, over-roasted flavor.

I have some small-batch roasted imported beans coming my way, so hope springs eternal, even in Hays County. Speaking of Hays County, Texas, I do find it interesting that Jack C. Hays, the legendary Texas Ranger (and founder of the city of Oakland, California) for whom this county is named, had the middle name of Coffee. No one seems to have capitalized on this historical fact, including the gourmet coffee shop situated on Jack Hays Trail. I suppose Frontier Indian Fighters don’t fit the barista lifestyle.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Here I am.

MUG: Another repeat appearance. This is a Chinese-made specialty advertising mug that was handed out by the South Florida folks who did the “God Quotes” billboards. This one was given to Dallas City Council Member Mary Poss, who gave it to me.

COFFEE: Rio Grande Blend from Texenza Coffee (“South and Central American beans boast a smokey dark chocolate flavor with a rich, smooth finish. Perfect for iced coffee”). I'm not a fan of blends, as I suspect they are too often used to disguise poor beans by adding a few good ones. This locally roasted (Austin) coffee doesn't change my thinking.

NOTES: This is a good cup for Morning Prayer (the coffee is usually brewing as I observe the daily office). Still searching for superior coffee, I ordered some Colombian beans from way up north yesterday (Dallas). Stay tuned.