Coffee Script, It’s Like JavaScript but Different

A conversation on Twitter last night led me to think about the language of coffee. Several coffee fans tweeted about a lack of “naturals” compared to the availability of “washed” or “honeys.” For the uninitiated, this lingo is a barrier to the delicious world of coffee appreciation. Would anyone outside of specialty coffee know (or care) how this coffee code translated into his or her morning cup of coffee or espresso demitasse?

Green Bean to Fresh Coffee

Understanding the terms allows you to describe why you enjoy some coffees more than others. It could be where it was grown, how it was processed or the roast profile that matters most to you. We all perceive taste differently; don’t take someone else’s word for it. Use your own ortho-nasal perception. (That’s a real thing!) Here are some vocabulary building blocks, the ABCs or the HTML if you will, of how coffee is encoded.

The Coffee Plant

You have heard of ‘”Arabica” and “Robusta” before but what does that mean exactly? This is code for the two main species of coffee plants in agricultural production, Coffea Arabica and Coffea canephora. Arabicas are grown at higher elevation and Robustas are grown at lower elevations. The difference between these two species is more than just where they are grown though. They each bring different characteristics to a coffee blend.

    • Arabica and Varietals

Most coffee can trace its “roots” back to this plant. It is responsible for over 75% of the world’s commercial coffee production. This is the forefather of famous coffee varietals like Blue Mountain, Bourbon, Columbian and Kona.

    • Robusta and Varietals

Robusta has a high level of caffeine and bitterness, but on a positive note it is used to give strength and body to many coffee blends. The most famous Robusta is the controversial civet coffee. Coffee berries are eaten and then passed by Asian Palm Civets, then the coffee is processed for human consumption.

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The Process

How the coffee is processed further defines the flavor. Here are the main talking points to allow you to fake coffee connoisseurship at a cocktail party. It’s not pretentious– it’s educational and quite a bit more exciting than variables, functions and options to tell the truth.

    • Natural

Also called dry-processing. This requires less machinery and is better suited for coffee plantations in growing regions with limited rainfall (Ethiopia, Yemen and parts of Indonesia and Brazil).

    • Washed

Also called wet-processing. Here the coffee cherry is pulped, floated in water, fermented, washed and dried into a green coffee bean.

    • Honey

Also called pulped natural (aka hybrid process, semi-washed, wet-hulled, red honey, yellow honey, black honey). The skin is removed from the coffee and then dried with the fruit clinging to the mucilage, a parchment like layer.

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I <3 Coffee

Whether you prefer a Guatemala Huehuetenango or a Kenya Kirinyaga Kiangoi Peaberry (These are real coffees!) there’s always something new to learn about coffee. While it is not mandatory to know your Mocha from your Java (or your JavaScript!) it helps to put it all into perspective. The payoff to expanding your coffee vocabulary is the ability to seek out and ask for new coffees that you will love. And someday I might see your tweet about the mouth-feel of an El Salvador Bourbon and know that you are talking about the coffee and not the whiskey.

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Samantha Joyce is a writer for Seattle Coffee Gear in Seattle, Washington. She prefers to leave the growing, processing and roasting of coffee to professionals, although she can make a darn good Chemex pour over. </p>

Barking up the coffee tree…

We love to travel on behalf of our readers to seek out great coffee, coffee shops and food! You know to locate those treasures that combine great staff, cool atmosphere’s and fabulous java.  The Nervous Dog Coffee Bar in Stow Ohio is one such spot.

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The Nervous Dog is just off OH8 and only about 5 minutes from the Blossom Music Center. I had a bit of reservation about a Coffee Spot in a strip mall type setting, as these tend to lean towards the “corporate” vibe.

However; I was pleasantly surprised to find a much more Bohemian/East coast environment when I stepped through the door.  The Dog has several seating areas, including a living room/reading nook area stocked with magazines, and even games.  Thursday nights are Poetry nights and live music is also common.

 

The menu includes Coffee’s, Tea’s, Smoothies and Gourmet Hot Chocolates in addition to a full range of Deli sandwiches. @BitoJavaJessica ordered up a Milano Mint Frostbite and the Jersey Shore Sandwich. I opted for the Firehouse Club and a cup of Hylander Grog to revive me from the drive.

The sandwiches were hand assembled and came with a choice of fresh fruit or chips. As deli sandwiches go, both were big, fresh and excellent. Being the Macho, Mustachioed, Benevolent Java Dictator I had of course opted for something with Jalepenos piled on the usual club sandwich contents.

Firehouse Club!

Firehouse Club!

When I order a sandwich with hot peppers, I expect to have tiny beads of sweat form on my gloriously bald head within two bites maximum, anything less is a disappointment. I was NOT disappointed, the peppers were full of fire, but not painful, making the sandwich balanced and delicious! The only minor distraction being the slightly over crispy bacon.

Sweet flavored coffee’s are not my thing. That being said, I do on rare occasion, like a well done Highlander Grog.  A well assembled Grog should express mild caramel and nut flavor with a hint of vanilla or cinnamon depending on the roaster. Far too much Caramel is common with some being simply overwhelming.

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Fortunately, the  Nervous Dog’s Hylander Grog was indeed pretty well pulled off. The caramel did overwhelm the other flavors just a bit but it was a pleasant cup and a nice change of pace.

If you are in the Akron-Canton (There is also an Akron Nervous Dog location)areas, do yourself a favor and stop in the Nervous Dog for a hot cup and a cool sandwich! It’s like a tummy rub or scratch behind the ears for your inner-dog.

The Food:

Firehouse Club: 4.5/5

Jersey Shore: 4.5/5

The Coffee: Hylander Grog

Color: 4.3

Aroma: 4.7 (Lots of Caramel and Vanilla)

Taste: 4.6 Mostly Caramel with nutmeg, hint of cinnamon and moderate vanilla tones.

Bitterness: 1

Drinkability: 4.6

This grog will wag your tail! And if the Caramel had been just a hint more understated this coffee would be a 4.8 or 4.9!

http://nervousdog.com/

 

 

 

 

How To Make A Quick Iced Latte

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Iced Latte

Ingredients:

– Ice (fill your cup 3/4 full)

– Milk (fill your cup leaving room for Espresso)

– 1-2 shots of cold brewed espresso

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Directions:

Fill your cup 3/4 of the way with ice. Fill your cup with milk, leaving room for your Espresso. Add 1 to 2 shots of cold brewed espresso. Stir and enjoy!

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“That IS better than Starbucks!” ….A Rockin’ and Roastin’, Tastin’

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@BitoJavaJessica and I were on the road again this morning, with a precious cargo that included cream, sugar, coffee maker, cups, and Rockin’ and Roastin’ Guatemalan!

Our Destination was the Columbus suburb of Dublin, Ohio. home of Summerhill Family Medicine.  As you have likely guessed, we are not into doing coffee tastings that resemble $5000.00/bottle wine parties where the parking lot is akin to a Berlin auto dealer. No my friends, we take the beans into the real world, and nothing is more real than  medicine.

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We’ve known the folks at Summerhill for quite a number of years, and I knew they were coffee people as I had often seen Dr. Summerhill and her staff  with those green logo’d cups from you know where. I skipped my normal morning pot of coffee to get on the road early, and upon arrival and unpacking we could not find our portable grinder! I was certain I had put it in the car the evening before, but alas we could not locate it.

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Luckily my friend and fellow coffee aficionado John P. was planning on dropping by the tasting so a quick call resulted in John’s arrival with a backup grinder! Soon we had a pot of Joey’s wonderful Guatemalan dripping away.

Coffee Snob's, John P. (right) and @BitoJavaRuss

Coffee Snob’s, John P. (right) and @BitoJavaRuss

 

Once the pot was done and the announcement was made, I managed to get half a cup! The staff all reported the coffee was outstanding. Terms such as very good, delicious and excellent were heard throughout the morning.

While Dr. Summerhill’s staff were so busy with patients, they could not fill out our rating cards, I would like to sum up the tasting with a short example. As Dr. Summerhill was going to fill her cup (leaving that “other” cup to get cold.) I told her that Rockin’ and Roastin’ was better than Starbucks in my opinion. Fifteen minutes later I passed her in the hallway and she exclaimed: “THIS IS BETTER THAN STARBUCKS!”

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So there you have it, from the dirty trenches of family medicine, where coffee fuels those who care for us when we are injured and ill. A real-world expression of how this coffee tastes! My personal observations are below, but I would like to thank Dr. Wendy Summerhill and her staff for putting up with us (although I look at our presence as helping save lives..lol) . I would thank John P. for saving the day, but I rewarded him with the remaining 1/3bag of Guatemalan so he should be calling tomorrow morning to grovel and thank me profusely.

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Rockin’ and Roastin’ Guatemalan

If you read our earlier review of the Stauf’s Guatamalan, this is not a huge flavor difference, mostly it lacks the “bite” that the Stauf’s coffee had in its finish. I attribute this to the beans in the Rockin’ and Roastin’ product being just a shade lighter in roast. The huge difference is in price for the quality of bean, Rockin’ and Roastin’ being about 40% less! That’s like Front row seats for an Aerosmith show at lawn seat prices!

Flavor:  Nuts, pipe tobacco, chocolate, and a hint of smoke.

Overall score from two tasters

  1. Aroma                                                 4.8             4
  2. Visual/color                                       4.8            5
  3. First Taste                                          4.9            5
  4. Bitterness (5=very bitter)                  1                1
  5. Drinkability                                        5               5

Oh and when we were loading the car, the coffee grinder was under the seat!  See what happens when you don’t get your coffee?

 

Russ

 

 

 

Tanzanian Peaberry from The Ocracoke Coffee Co.

As you caffeinated readers will recall, I brought a bag of Ocracoke Coffee Companies Tanzanian Pea-berry beans back from our Carolina Coastal Coffee Tour 2013. I wanted to bring back a variety I had not sampled while down on Ocracoke Island, and this was the choice I made.

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The beans are obviously smaller (Pea-berries are singular lobes and not the double lobed bean seen in normal coffee beans). If you read anything about coffee, many prefer the pea-berry varieties stating that they have a more concentrated flavor. I will agree but not in necessarily a good way.

 

The bean appearance is a dark walnut brown, with no sheen or oils visible. Aroma in the bag is strong and acidic. Grinding was a bit of a challenge since we use a common electric grinder and some of the small beans kept slipping under neath and had to be reground.

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In the pot observations were ok, color was dark brown and pleasing, strikingly however there was very little aroma as the brew was commencing.  Cupping a few ounces black we began tasting.

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Initial flavor was Lemon citrus, followed by a hint of smoky aftertaste, a very strange combo. Second sip brought the flavor fully forward and it is a tart cherry that overpowers the rest of the palate. I am not a fan of overly tart or overly bitter coffees, and this falls distinctly into the tart category.

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Pouring a full cup with a larger than normal amount of cream, gave me a flavor that was very much Cherry Pie ala’ mode! Other reviewers such as BitojavaJoel found the Tanzanian to their satisfaction black without any addidtives.

The aggregated results from three reviewers

Color: Beans are medium with no oils apparent on the beans

Aroma: 2/5    Surprisingly little aroma when brewing.

Bitterness (1=very bitter):  5/ 5    No bitterness but very Tart.

Taste:    3.8/5    almost sour with Lemons and Cherries, better when cream added. Had a very dry finish.

Drinkability: 3.9/5  A different flavor, reviewers split between love and just ok.

Roast This Way – An Interview With Joey Kramer of Aerosmith

                           Joey

Roast This Way- An Interview With Joey Kramer Of Aerosmith    

Inspiration.

It’s the first word you think when you think Aerosmith. It’s the perfect word to describe a band that has inspired thousands of musicians since its beginning in 1970. The members of Aerosmith wrote emotional ballads and fast paced, raw, rockers that attached themselves to the hearts and souls of generations and made them what they are today, legends.

The band that has changed our music forever, shaped a decade and introduced edgy, heart- pounding, blues based rock to America would never be the same without its driving force and backbone of the band, drummer, Joey Kramer.

Kramer, who has spent his time immersing himself in music since he was fourteen, has yet another “Sweet Emotion” in life, coffee.  During his many decades touring around the world with Aerosmith, Joey realized everyone back in the States was missing out on one thing, GOOD coffee and was inspired to find a solution.

When Joey says good coffee, he means coffee made from organic, flavorful, safely harvested, perfectly roasted (NOT BURNT!) coffee beans.

His solution to our problem was to create his own line of coffee, which he appropriately titled Rockin’ and Roastin’ which features three varieties.

 Ethiopian Roast

 Guatemalan Roast

 Sumatran Roast

Each has a unique character and flavor, with hints of everything from walnut to cinnamon, cocoa to citrus. BitoJava.com has sampled them all and all are excellent. Best of all these great coffees are very much in reach for every coffee lover, they are priced less than some mass produced, over roasted coffees you see at the grocery store.

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Being a Barista, Aerosmith fan and Musician, I was thrilled when Joey took the time for a phone call to answer my questions about music and his newest venture, Rockin’ and Roastin’.

*(Editors note: We recorded the interview but unfortunately background noise issues rendered the bulk of it unacceptable for publication, we did clean up a clip at the end of the interview which is clickable below.)

 

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June 20th, 2013 Bit O Java Transcript:

 

 You guys  recently did some shows in Australia and New Zealand. How were the new songs off the record from November received?

They’re being received okay. I think that when we go to places like Australia, which we haven’t been in many, many years they want to hear all the old stuff.

 Which of the songs were requested out of the older albums?

“Sweet Emotion”, “Walk This Way”, “Dream On”

 And which song is your favorite to play live?

“Lord of the Thighs”, because it’s a lot of fun to play.

 If you had to choose one album from all of the Aerosmith records, which one means the most to you?

I don’t know. That’s a really hard question. They all mean a lot to me. I don’t know if I have a favorite one at this point because you kind of live through them and they just all become your favorites. It’s really hard to kind of nail it down.

 So on to your other passion, Coffee. Does drinking more coffee help you play better?

Yes.

 When did you start drinking coffee?

Yesterday, No! Since I was a kid, I’ve been drinking coffee all my life.

 What motivated you  to start your own line of coffee?

I just think that people drink crummy coffee and I drank crummy coffee for a long time too. I’ve found some good stuff all around the world and I’m just trying to turn everybody else onto it. So, that’s what kind of gave me the desire to start my own coffee company and let everybody drink good coffee, because my coffee is high bred gourmet coffee. Most people think that Starbucks is the greatest thing in the world and I think it sucks. It’s like they burn the beans and it tastes bitter to me and people buy that just to get the buzz. They’re not buying it for the flavor of the coffee and Starbucks I think used to be more quality based. They used to be more quality, but now I think it’s more about quantity.

 

  What defines a good cup of coffee for you?

A really nice round, full, robust flavor, little hint of chocolate and, you know a little bit of edge to it. That’s why I only put out three kinds, the Guatemalan, the Sumatran and the Ethiopian. Those are my three favorites; of those I think the Guatemalan is probably my favorite.

 

 What aspects make the Guatemalan blend your favorite?

It’s got the richest flavor and it’s the strongest.

 

  Tell us how involved you are in the research and production for Rockin’ and Roastin’?

I’m completely hands on. I go to the factory. I go to the warehouse and I came up with a lot of the artwork. It’s not just something that I’m putting my name on and sticking it out there. It’s not a novelty item. It’s a real, high class gourmet coffee.

  What’s developing now for Rockin’ and Roastin’?

We plan on being in supermarkets across the country in the next six months, eight months. Were in the midst of negotiating some retail deals and that’s what happens next.

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 Joey Has a Message for our readers on why they should try Rockin’ and Roastin’:

JoeyKramer RockinandRoastin

Don’t forget to visit  BitoJava.com often as we review all the Rockin’ and Roastin’ coffees and of course great Coffee Shops and Coffee related items. Now crank up “Walk This Way” till the speakers shake and grab a hot cup of Joey’s coffee to Rock and Roast the day and night away.

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For more info on Rockin’ and Roastin’ check out:

www.rockinandroastin.com

www.joeykramer.com

 

 

Fun with Google

Google ImageYou have used Google right? Almost everyone has used Google. I tend to use Google for most of my searches. I seem to get the best results there. Just having the information at your fingertips is fun enough.

There is more you can do with Google than just search.  Google can be a lot of fun in other ways.  Did you know that there are “Easter
Eggs” in Google. Easter Eggs are cool little treasures that Google has hidden in
their search engine. Basically the programmers doing fun things out of boredom for them and fun for people to find.
Some of these searches work in all browsers and others only seem to work in Google
Chrome. So you may have to try different browsers if it does not work in the one you are using.  Not sure if they work in mobile browsers or not. I did try someof them on my phone with Chrome installed and they worked.  I did not try any other mobile browsers Maybe this is my Geekness coming through or just a sign that I spend way too much time on the internet. Either way it amuses me. Let me know in the comments if you tried these. To do these just copy and paste or type in exactly what you see below in the Google Search Bar at www.google.com and press enter or click search. Then watch the magic happen.

z or r twice

Askew or Tilt

define anagram

do a barrel roll

answer to life, the universe and everything

(sqrt(cos(x))*cos(200x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)*(4-x*x)^0.01, sqrt(9-x^2), -sqrt(9-x^2) from
-4.5 to 4.5

zerg rush

Bacon number “name”

 “Atari Breakout” then click Images

Let us know in the comments any other Easter Eggs that you may have found so that we can try them out. Happy Googling!

Tu Endie Wei, Coffee, and Revolution

After fueling up with 3 cups of Guatemalan to start my Independence day, I sat forth to visit the town where I grew up. The river town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, sits where the Ohio and Kanawha rivers join and form a kaleidoscope of blues, greens and muddy browns.

As a kid living there I never really thought much about just how unique our town was, we had a monster legend and we had horrific disasters several times.  More importantly though,  you may recognize names such as Merriweather Lewis, Daniel Boone, “Mad” Anne Bailey and a fellow named Washington. All of whom not only had a hand in the beginnings of the town but in the birth of our nation.

The only good thing that ever came from a Tea Party! A new Coffee fueled nation.

The only good thing that ever came from a Tea Party! A new Coffee fueled nation.

Since, this is not a history site so I won’t go into any detail about the 1774 battle between Col. Lewis and Shawnee chief Cornstalk, but to say it is fascinating and if you are in the area the Flood wall Murals, fort and museum are worth the visit.

Part of the Huge Mural. Guess which Shawnee did not have coffee?

Part of the Huge Mural.
Guess which Shawnee did not have coffee?

So I, along with my brother decided to go view the latest sections of the giant murals, and as we turned onto 6th towards Main Street, he says “there’s the new coffee shop”.  Naturally, a hasty parking spot was immediately found.

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The Coffee Grinder is a cozy hideaway just across the street from the Mason County courthouse. Stepping inside we were treated to a warm and well decorated environment. Plenty of chairs and spots to sit with a laptop (wifi available) or a good book while enjoying a cup.

It was late in the day when we arrived  (and a holiday) and sadly the coffee carafe’s were empty, and I think being nearly dinner time they were about to close up for the day.  However; one of the owners, Barbara Brumfield was on duty as the barista and offered to brew us up the “Col. Lewis” Colombian (talk about service!).  Several other varieties are available along with pastries during “normal” business hours.

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As we waited for the brew and chatted with Barbara, it struck me how much the little river town had changed, and how much it would never change. As a child I remember the G.C. Murphy department store just down Main Street.  Most mornings  it’s diner was full of elderly farmers and younger businessmen drinking coffee as they read the paper. Today those same actions happen just up the street with a better coffee selection and an Ipad or laptop.

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Soon we had our Col. Lewis blend in hand, paid our barista and were on our way to the murals and statues. Rest assured I will drop back in and sample their other offerings and enjoy the hospitality and charm of the Coffee Grinder soon.

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Col. Lewis Columbian

I have to preface this with the fact that Colombian is my least favorite bean, I am biased and your results may vary.

Aroma: 4/5

Bitterness: 3/5

Color: 4.5/5

Drinkability 4/5

Flavors:  Earth Tones, some fruit, a mildly bitter finish.

If you like Colombian, you will find this a very good brew, if not then move to one of the Coffee Grinders other offerings!

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Joey Kramer’s Rockin’ and Roastin’ Ethiopian…(a “Regular Joe” review.)

We recently became aware of Joey Kramer’s (Aerosmith) love of the bean, and his Rockin’ and Roastin’ coffees. It seems that while many artists have faded away leaving only music as their legacy, Mr. Kramer is not only still rockin’ his legacy with Aerosmith, but starting a brand new one as well!

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Being a 70 hour-a-weeker myself, I can certainly understand his love affair for good coffee. Alas that has always been the catch-22, a great cup of coffee that is within reach of the average guy and gal, you know, the Mustang driving, Levi’s wearing, “Back in the Saddle” blaring from the stereo type.

Today’s Coffee was the Ethiopian, which for  unknowing java addicts accounts for over 24% of Ethiopia’s export trade and income. It is truly a lifeline source of income for a poor country.

It also just happens that the variety of ancient plant lines and growing conditions produce a stunning array of flavors throughout the region! Joey’s coffee is certified organic and small batch roasted in the North-Eastern United States which results in jobs for Americans as well, a win/win.

 

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Rather than just have the BitoJava crew do this tasting and review, we called on our friends at Granville Pike Family Practice in Lancaster, Ohio,  these are some of the hardest working medical professionals we know, and they were excited to quaff some Rockin’ and Roastin’!

We try to prepare coffee the way an average buyer would at the office or at home, so we started the day at 5:15AM brewing two pots of Rockin’ and Roastin’ after doing a medium/fine grind.  Using paper filters, tap water and two drip machines to exude the glorious brown nectar we all thrive on.  Comment and rating cards were printed, and we set-up the brew and accessories in their break-room.

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The Office ratings and comments.

The general consensus among a dozen folks who grabbed at least one cup, was that everyone really liked the coffee! At one point someone was coming back for a second cup and was told to stand aside , as another employee had not gotten a mug full yet!  Fortunately no violence ensued and all were satisfied.

Nearly every card was littered with 5/5 ratings. The conservative average was 4.7/5 on all aspects of Aroma, First taste and visual/color, with 4.9 on drinkability. When I went back to retrieve our gear later in the day not only was the initial 20 cups gone, but the bag was suspiciously lighter as well.

Some written comments included:

“Very Good Coffee”

“I Love it. Definitely going to buy some. “

“Should think about making for Keurig machines too.”

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 Personal Observations

Color: Beans are very dark and oils are readily apparent on the beans

Aroma: 4.9/5    this is a good “wake up it’s morning and I can’t wait to get to the kitchen” smell.

Bitterness (1=very bitter):  4.5/ 5    Low bitterness but with a bite

Taste:    4.6/5   Earthy with light nut flavor, some spice and smoke.  Earthiness became more pronounced (in a good way) with the second cup. Had a very dry finish.

Drinkability: 4.8/5  A satisfying brew, strong enough for breakfast and light enough for an after lunch cup.

I will say that it IS the best Ethiopian I have had to this point, and Joey has gotten it to market at a price that is VERY competitive with some national chain brands! What more could you ask for?

      More Rockin’ and Roastin’ reviews AND an interview with Joey Kramer coming at BitoJava.com!

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The Power of Coffee!

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dredging Ship Merritt. Clearing the Ocracoke Inlet Ferry Channel.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dredging Ship Merritt. Clearing the Ocracoke Inlet Ferry Channel.

 

 

Our Photographers sharp eye spotted the source of it's immense power!

Our Photographers sharp eye spotted the source of it’s immense power!

 

And the Winner is!

 

 

Ok, Ok, winners not singular. We met today and conferred on the best of the Bitojava.com Carolina Coastal Coffee tour 2013. The votes are in, some were easy, some were hard, but all are deserving.

Note: We did not try every coffee from every shop, there simply was not time (plus we have an excuse for Carolina Coastal Coffee Tour 2014). We sampled one or more coffee’s recommended by the staff at each location, we did not reveal our purpose until after we had spent time in each shop.

BEST COFFEE

TIE!  Uglie Mug’s Tortuga’s Lie and The Dancing Turtle’s Costa Rican , I honestly did not have a bad cup of coffee the entire trip other than some beans that I brought with me from a Columbus Ohio shop to try. Either of the winning coffee’s are a sure bet for a strong, aromatic cup without any bitterness or bite!

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Best Chai

Hands Down the Dancing Turtle

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Best Outdoor decor and sitting area

Ocracoke Coffee Co.

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Most helpful/knowledgeable  staff

The Dancing Turtle

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Best Indoor Vibe and sitting area

The Dancing Turtle

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Best Pastry/baked item

The Orange Blossom’s Big Apple Ugly

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To all the winner’s, we hoist the celebratory Edward Teach Mug of Greatness to you, and watch for UPS in a few weeks!

 

 

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