Queen Bean Cafe La Cotorra

Queen Bean Coffee Emporium, recently and graciously provided us with a sampling of their java offerings. Queen Bean is the online presence for Mills Coffee Roasting and has a wide selection of coffees from around the world.

Admirably Queen Bean along with Mills works to provide great coffee options while also ensuring that small coffee farms are justly compensated and continue to operate in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner.

The first coffee we are going to look at is the Cafe La Cotorra which has its origin in the Dominican Republic, from the small farm of Juan Francisco. Located at elevations as high as 1700 Meters and shade grown, these Arabica beans held great promise.

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The coffee came packaged in brown craft paper with zip/lock closure, this was wrapped in a section of burlap and tied with a maroon string,  modern meets old-school with a nice color page tucked in showing the farm where the coffee is grown and giving some history as well.

The Cafe La Cotorra rewarded me with the aroma of a Reeses Cup upon opening the package. Labeled as a Vienna roast, the bean color was a more medium coloration with small amounts of oil visible on the beans.

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I have now sampled this roast via the drip maker and as I pen this post, the Areopress, and in both cases found it to be delicious. Best results came via the Aeropress, which gave a richer product in the cup.

Aroma during the brew was quite good and house filling from the drip, from the Aeropress it still filled the room. Taste is quite good, with a surprising mix of milk and dark chocolate which touches bitter at times but not in an unpleasant way. Surprisingly there is a lime/orange finish which is very smooth.

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This is really the first coffee tested here that I have a hard time calling between bitter and sour, because at different times you get hints of both extremes, neither being overpowering but adding much character instead. This one is hinging on BitoJava.com Hall of Fame territory, so click the picture above and getchusome!

Chocolate Strawberry Crepes – Made With Ripped Cream Recipe

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Ingredients For Filling:

* 2 cups sour cream

* 1/2 cup milk

* 1 box of vanilla instant pudding mix

* 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

*Sliced strawberries

Ingredients for Crepes:

* 2 cups milk

* 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

* 1/4 cup cocoa powder

* 1/4 cup Ripped Cream Chizzled Chocolate Creamer

* 6 tbs powdered sugar

* 2 large eggs

* 2 tbs melted butter

* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

Garnish:

*Powdered Sugar

*Mint leaves

*Sliced Strawberries

 

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Directions:

(For Crepes) Whisk all  ingredients until batter is smooth. Chill for at least 20 min. Melt a small amount of butter in a large skillet or crepe pan on low/medium heat. Add 3 tbs. of the crepe batter and swirl around the bottom of the pan until it is completely covered. Cook for 1 minute, gently flip and cook another minute. Transfer onto a plate

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(For Filling) In a small bowl, beat together sour cream , 1/2 cup milk, vanilla & pudding mix.

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Scoop 2 spoonfuls of crepe filling on the middle of the crepe. Place sliced strawberries on top. Roll up the crepe & sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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Garnish with mint and strawberries.

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Enjoy!

Check out Ripped Cream here:

rippedcoffeecreamer.com

*Don’t forget to like us on facebook at facebook.com/bitojava for your chance to win a bag of Joey Kramer’s Rockin’ and Roastin’ coffee.

Defending your personal digital fourth amendment

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” 

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I think it would be safe to say that in 1792, if an agent of the government would have stopped Thomas Jefferson on the street in Charlottesville, and demanded his personal diary or papers without a warrant, Mr. Jefferson would have likely have used that little pistol he carried.  Fast forward these two hundred plus years and woe how compliant we citizens have become. The first thing I usually hear when having a discussion on this topic is “but I don’t have anything to hide!”. That is not the point of the exercise and oh yes my friends you have lots to hide.

Who are the bad guys? Well a short list includes: Hackers, Identity Thieves, scammers, and in the case of anyone in the public eye, the media. Make no mistake, as the trials concerning phone hacking in the U.K. should be telling that large media organizations are ruthless in their desire to garner “dirt” and are becoming more sophisticated.  On the other side of the coin, lets say you belong to an animal rights group, non-mainstream political party or other some other organization.  If so even at a third degree of separation you may be on big brothers watch list.

NSA and CIA programs brought to light by Edward Snowden are collecting every bit of data about YOU that they can get. Phone calls, tweets, emails and texts. Ever hungry Marketing and media companies are also out to get you and your dollars and your friends dollars and their friends dollars. And while it all may seem innocent now, find yourself in a brush with trouble ten years from now and all those “private” bits of data will be used against you and put on full public display.

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What countermeasures are available to the average citizen to help in maintain their privacy? Grab another cup of coffee and lets get down and dirty. The first order of the day is buy a shredder that makes confetti of your documents or at least does crosscut. This will help take care of personal and financial documents that you don’t want someone digging out of your trash. Even better is to burn these documents if you can. Next get yourself a Post Box at the local UPS Store and begin having important items delivered there, taking away the risk of mailbox skimmers.

For your digital life I recommend the following actions and purchases.  Don’t use Gmail, Yahoo or other mainstream big business email services. They might seem to be great, but trust me they are not free and in some circumstances they might just cost you your freedom. Register a domain name with Bluehost and for the cost of two cups of horrible Starbucks coffee per month you can have your own email service. This alone will NOT keep your email from being read, but will keep companies like Google from scanning EVERY email in and out of your box for their own purposes.

Also ensure you have good anti-virus and anti-malware loaded on your pc and or laptop. While no product on the market is foolproof, it’s better to have than have not as 98% of data breaches are from malware and now we see ransom-ware more frequently. Microsoft Security Essentials and Malware Bytes are our go-to products for non-mac units.

Now download a copy of OpenPGP and learn to use it. If you have particularly sensitive emails to send, this will defeat non-governmental attempts to read your mail. For keeping your hard drive safe I recommend Truecrypt to enable whole disk encryption. For moving files in your bag or on your person an encrypted thumb drive from Kingston works extremely well. Always insist on a minimum of 256bit encryption for any device or program.

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In your browser, enable private browsing and automatic erasure of cookies, and with Mozilla Firefox you can even install TrackMeNot which helps to obfuscate your searches on the web, its kind of like seeing a Google search as a grain of sand and Trackmenot throws a handful of sand in with your search.

Around the house don’t forget to enable WPA2 encryption on your wireless devices with a strong pass phrase. On the topic of passwords and passcodes, I strongly recommend a PASSPHRASE instead. “Jack&Jillwentupthehill is exponentially more difficult to break than a single password.  You should also consider passwording the BIOS on your desktop and laptop. If you use an cloud based backup program such as Mozy make certain you have encryption enabled.

So there you have it coffee lovers, a few simple and inexpensive steps to have a bit of security on your personal data world, now back to my Costa Rican.

About the author

Russ is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) who has spent over two decades in the Information Systems field. He has worked with federal and local law enforcement agencies, Fortune 500 companies and healthcare practices in the InfoSec Arena. He has also worked more recently as a corporate security and business intelligence operative in the Midwest.

* Some links to products are Bitojava.com Affiliates*

Barista Maniac Review of Bit O Java Guatemala

bitojavabag65Barista Maniac was kind enough to review the Bit O Java Guatemala Roast on his Barista Maniac Blog.

His initial impressions were:

“The aromas right out of the bag, remind me of the walk I took through Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory as a kid. Right up front bakers chocolate floats through my nose and its backed up with a sweet caramel apple delicacy.

On the first sip, the body is silky smooth with a medium weight. As the coffee crashes through my palate like a tidal wave, notes of nutty milk packed with a punch of milk chocolate flavor is left behind. I am picturing myself eating a Hersey’s Milk Chocolate Bar with raw almonds.”

You can read the rest of the review by clicking here

Barista Maniac Brewing Bit O Java Guatemala

 

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Why do we do this, this way?

So you have noticed we do things a bit differently here at BitoJava.com, especially when it comes to coffee. There is a methodology to our mayhem  and this is it.

 

We (The BitoJava.com Crew) are regular folks who love good coffee, but we also believe expensive does not always equal good! Thus we are not snobs who turn our noses up at a cup of java juice just because it comes with a low price-tag.

Not BitoJava.com Reviewers

Not BitoJava.com Reviewers

I personally also became fatigued while reading some coffee review sites where the authors waxed on for paragraphs about silky mouth-feel and buttercup aromas. I don’t filter my coffee through 24k gold plated mesh and I don’t brew it with water captured from Arctic Glaciers by Inuits and flown in by helicopter. Most days it gets processed by Mr. Coffee and some days it comes from (GASP) McDonalds!

 

So we welcome all coffee lovers but we give you the quick and simple 1-5 rating system and a paragraph of any outstanding characteristics we find in the coffee being tasted, we also like to take these coffees to random offices for employees to try and then give us feedback to pass on to you.

So there you go our “Common-Man’s” approach to coffee reviewing. Our goal is a review you can read in 5-7 minutes and take away info that helps you decide if you want to buy that specific coffee along with a little humor and no fluff.  We  hope it makes sense and we hope you find it refreshing and useful.

Kool Beans!

Lancaster Ohio is known for a couple of things. It is the birthplace of General Sherman who at the end of the war of Northern Aggression, (Throwing out a bone for our Southern Readers), burned Atlanta.  And in the summer a world class music festival which has seen the likes of Kenny Rodgers, The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin and Michael Bolton.IMG_0699

Undoubtedly, however; one thing Lancaster has always lacked in my not-so-humble opinion has been a real coffee shop. Now they have a Tim Hortons or two and a Panera and even a place that burns their beans and charges $5 a cup, but not a small eclectic coffee shop.

Cool Beans!
Cool Beans!

That changed four months ago with the addition of the Kool Beans Coffee and Wine Bar. I finally got up the nerve to try another shop after the horror of the last review and stopped in today.

I was greeted by a small shop with tables, bars and a nice area with sofas and chairs. Local folk art hangs on the walls, some for sale, along with other memorabilia. Stepping up to the window to order I was greeted by Tammy, the owner of Kool Beans. Inquiring as to what was brewed, she informed me that she had just run out of Celtic Blend and it would be a while as she brewed more. I was willing to wait , but instead she ground some beans and made a cup just for me…ahhh now that is service!

As she made my coffee, I told her who I was and what I was up to, at which point she cupped a sample of Nicaraguan for me to try (a slight bit tart but full of flavor) and then we talked business and coffee. until my cup was brewed.

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Offerings at Kool Beans includes the full range of coffee beverages, locally made (some by Tammy) pastries and muffins, a small sandwich/lunch selection and of course wine, including mostly local and even Amish made wines. Live music is also featured at Kool Beans on occasion.

The coffee was roasted by Crimson Cup and being the big boys in Columbus Ohio, I have had their beans before at many shops. They are consistent and generally good, but not on the level of small custom roasts. The Celtic blend was very good, it has lots of caramel flavors and a hint of chocolate and falls into a sweet category, with light fruit on the finish.

I also had a blueberry muffin and was delighted to find it fully baked (see previous coffee shop review), moist, full of flavor and a good pairing with the coffee. I did not try any wine since it was only 9AM and I don’t drink until at least 9:35.

I do a lot of business in the Lancaster community and will definitely make Kool Beans a spot for coffee, meetings and perhaps an occasional glass of Cabernet. If you are in the Lancaster area look them up just around the corner at the intersection of E. Main and Columbus Streets.