Coffee Rant: Jack Daniel’s Coffee

If you have been following my Instagram the past couple of days, then you know that I have been frequenting the Jack Daniel’s General Store Pop-Up in Austin a lot this week.

If coffee is my true love, then Jack Daniel’s is that old lover that I just can’t resist when he comes around.

So, of course, when I saw that Jack Daniel’s was selling its own coffee at the pop-up, I was extremely excited. My two loves, together in one sleek, albeit expensive, tin.

Until I saw it.

It’s…ugh, I can barely even say it.

It’s decaffeinated.


Why, God? Why?!?!?!?!

And that is why Jack Daniel’s will never be marriage material.

Now excuse me while I finish my Jack and Coke.

The one and the only Pookachino

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Coffee Rant: Sport Shops

Y’all, I tried. 

And I have found that I just can’t.

Coffee shops in sports stores. 

Just no. Please, God, no.

Yes, I know that my response is overly dramatic and extreme, but I have visited many a coffee shop, and these coffee/sport hybrids are, in my opinion, very uncomfortable and, in some cases, just disappointing. 

Let’s take my recent trip to Complex Coffee, which is situated inside Rogue Running, as an example. When I saw the sign saying the coffee shop was open, I was super excited as it’s on my way to the office, but that excitement turned to trepidation upon entering the Rogue Running building. 

In case you couldn’t guess it, I am not a runner, and I’m pretty sure the workers there could smell the laziness on me. They seemed nice enough and asked if I needed help, but as I moved between several racks of running gear, I couldn’t help but feel severely out of place and lost.

The coffee bar itself was easy to find and is housed in a unique crate-like tower, the design of which I found very interesting and appealing. Unfortunately though, the tower was only large enough to house the coffee and food equipment, leaving all tables and chairs for patrons out in the capacious, brightly illuminated space that is the Rogue Running store. Despite some music playing from the tower, the sound was swallowed by the empty building, and when I ordered my drink, my voice echoed awkwardly across the space.

Talk about exposing.

While waiting for my cappuccino, I examined another area of the running store that was clearly designated for on-site fitness classes and immediately felt guilty for craving a danish with my coffee. It made sense to me that the coffee bar would be perfect for before- and after-class chats, but I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to stop at Complex Coffee just for the simple treat of grabbing a cup of coffee and a snack, especially when my drink was only so-so.

And that leads me to what ultimately bothers me about these hybrid shops: the lack of identity. 

Of course when a sports shop is first established, the focus is on selling the sports merchandise and services. That is the original purpose of the store. The coffee service is often added later as a possible revenue stream that could increase traffic to the location. To make this work, the coffee business is made to fit into the sports store as opposed to having its own identity and goals. In effect, it loses many of the aspects that make coffee shops so special, such as drink quality and atmosphere. In addition, because the focus remains on the original money-maker of the shop, improvements and innovation don’t occur.

So please, I beg of y’all, keep the sports and the coffee separate. It’s just good business practice, and coffee deserves better.

Thanks,

The lazy and the cantankerous Pookachino

Life Changing Coffees

Have you ever had a cup of coffee that just made you swoon with ecstasy it was so good?

If you haven’t, then you have lived a pitiful life, but if you are like me and have experienced one of these life changing coffees, then you know just how incredible such an experience can be.

So where have I found such amazing coffee? Two places actually.

My first swoon-worthy cup of coffee was at Barista in Portland, Oregon. A few friends of mine and I decided to tour the coffee shops in downtown one morning, and Barista was the last on our list. We decided to try out an espresso shot of a Honduran coffee roasted by Verve Coffee Roasters with a flavor profile of strawberry rhubarb.

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I’ll admit it: I was really hesitant when I read the flavor profile. I mean, strawberry rhubarb flavored coffee? It didn’t sound appetizing at all. At least, that was until I tried it.

Amazingly enough, the espresso tasted exactly like strawberry rhubarb. It know that it can be hard to imagine how that would make for a good cup of coffee, but it was really delicious and has stuck in my mind ever since.

My second swoon-worthy cup of coffee came from Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters in Lakewood, Colorado (Read more about coffee in the 303 here). I just ordered a black coffee there, but I recall feeling like all my problems were disappearing as I took my first sip of that dark deliciousness. My problems still existed but it was a nice ten minutes as I finished my cup. Now whenever I see a bag of Sweet Bloom Coffee in any of my local shops, I snap it up without a second thought.

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So if you find yourself nearby either shop, I highly recommend a visit.

Until next time,

The one and the only Pookachino

 

 

I’m In A Good Place Right Now…

… not emotionally. I’m just at the coffee shop. (If you are on social media as much as me, then you totally knew how that was going to end.)

Anyway, I think I should admit to my current love affair with Medici on Congress. I mean, I pretty much spend all my time there, and when I am at work, all I can think about is grabbing one of the shop’s delicious cappuccinos. Add to it an eclectic mix of overhead music and comfortable seating, and what more could you ask for?

I don’t know, but do you think the employees would mind if I just set up a tent in the store? I mean, I’ve had all my shots. 😉

In all seriousness though, Medici is one of the best coffee shops in downtown Austin. Serving coffee almost as good as Houndstooth but with a better location and ambience in my opinion, you can’t go wrong. A must-stop during your next visit to Austin. Check out the website for more information.

And now back to your regular scheduled programming,

The one and the only Pookachino

Coffee Is For Sinners

I just heard the funniest story. Probably not true, but I thought I would share it anyway.

So back in the day, like 16th century day, there was a lot of hate towards coffee in Europe. Many kings were suspicious of the activities that took place in coffee shops (and rightfully so to be honest). Doctors treated coffee as if it was a dangerous drug and greatly injurious to men’s health (whatever). And then there were the Christians who saw it as evil, a sinful substance peddled by infidels (not one of our finest moments, y’all).

Christians were actually so concerned about the growing popularity of coffee that they went to Pope Clement VIII in hopes that he would ban the drink. Hilariously enough though, after trying a sip, the guy loved it and decided to bless it instead.

So the next time someone gives you a hard time about the amount of coffee you’re drinking, just tell them you are receiving the Lord’s many, delicious blessings.

Then make sure to share it on social media with the tag #blessed. Otherwise it doesn’t count.

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Love,

The one and the only Pookachino

Aeropressed For Time

So the last time I wrote was sometime back in April, which is around the time my life went from busy but tolerable to MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

It started with the death of my grandma right as I was stepping into the mass chaos that is buying a house. Very shortly after that was an international vacation (which was refreshing but a whirlwind) during the middle of a hellish billing cycle at work, and now I stand here several months later, trying to catch my breath before the holiday season starts.

Not a lot of time to explore the wonderful land of coffee.

And even if I did have the time, I’ll admit it: I am just too damn tired to blog.

But today, I have a lull at work, so tada! Your sarcastic ray of sunshine is here to give you her Aeropressed For Time brewing recipe. It’s perfect for us insomniac professionals who can barely function enough in the morning to stand up.

What you will need:

  • A burr grinder that premeasures your coffee grounds
  • A clean Aeropress kit (includes a chamber, plunger, filter cap, filters, stir stick, and funnel)
  • An electronic kettle
  • Whole bean coffee, preferably not from the grocery store or Starbucks
  • Your favorite mug
  • A timer if you are hardly conscious while brewing

Prep:

  • Put water in the kettle and program it to heat to 185 degrees Fahrenheit and hold.
  • As the water boils, put your Aeropress together for an inverted process – plunger and chamber connected just enough for the chamber to cover the rubber end of the plunger and flipped so that the end of the chamber, where the filter cap clips in, is pointed to the ceiling.
  • Put the funnel into your mug.
  • Place your whole beans in the tank of your grinder, set it to a fine grind, and mark it to measure out for 4 cups.
Your set-up should look something like this.

Steps:

  1. Add your coffee grounds to the Aeropress. I use a spoon to help get all the grounds into the chamber, but if you are super clumsy in the morning, use the funnel to avoid making a mess and wasting precious coffee.
  2. Shake the container so that the grounds are even within the chamber.
  3. Pour a bit of hot water onto the grounds, enough to cover them thoroughly.
  4. With the stir stick, stir for 30 seconds. If you can’t count in the morning, use the timer on your microwave, stove, phone, whatever.
  5. Fill up the rest of the chamber with water. Be careful not to overfill.
  6. Let the coffee sit for a minute. Again, use a timer if your brain literally cannot function before noon.
  7. Put a filter into the filter cap. If using a paper filter, add some water to ensure a better seal.
  8. Click the filter cap onto the chamber of the Aeropress. Be careful not to apply pressure to the chamber.
  9. In one swift motion, flip the Aeropress over and place the end with the filter cap into the wide end of the funnel. The head of the chamber should fit perfectly into the funnel.
  10. Press down on the plunger until no liquid remains in the chamber. Make this last between 20-30 seconds.
  11. Add hot water to the brew as you desire.
  12. Enjoy!

Cleanup

  1. Twist off the filter cap.
  2. Pop out the grounds into the trash.
  3. Rinse.

    It may seem like a lot of steps, but if I can do it in the morning, so can you…and like everyone.

    Until next time,

    The one and the only Pookachino

    To Coffee Or To Coffee. There Is No Question.

    Fun fact: Tomorrow, April 23, is the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.

    And what better way to celebrate the life of the playwright who gave us the wonderful stories of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, and so many countless others than with the next post in my mug series?

    I give you (drum roll, please) the Shakespearean insult mug:

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    I love this mug so much that I have two of them, one for home and one for the office. I mean, who knows when I will be in need of a classic, English insult to vanquish my many uncultured enemies?

    Just kidding…sort of.

    Anyway, I really didn’t mean to end up with two. I bought the first one when I was studying abroad in London and took a day trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon. A few years later, my friend, Bonnie, realizing my love for Shakespeare plays, bought me the second one (along with this gem) for my birthday. I didn’t have the heart to get rid of the second mug, so I brought it to work as a passive-agressive warning to my coworkers not to mess with me. 😉

    As funny as this mug is though, it serves as a frequent reminder of my more adventurous days, like when I lived in London one summer and spent all my free time sightseeing and exploring between classes and studying. I was lucky enough to catch The Comedy of Errors at the Globe Theatre before heading back to the states. It also reminds me of the semester I took a Shakespeare class, which was taught by a hilariously flamboyant Catholic Brother.

    I am convinced that he would be waving the rainbow flag proudly if he had chosen a different occupation.

    Of course, let me not forget the technical benefits of this mug. It is larger than the average mug and therefore better equipped to support my caffeine addiction, which is important as I might actually use some of these insults if in withdrawal.

    And with this, I conclude my mug series. (Well, for now. I am a bit of a mug horder.)

    So until we meet again, canker-blossoms,

    The one and the only Pookachino