Happy New Ear! You heard me. The insomnia I was stricken with last month segued nicely into a clogged ear and another doctor’s visit this month. That situation prevented me from heading into the mountains as I had been planning since I had this persistent fear of the pressure changing and my eardrum rupturing. Well, the ear is better after being (painfully) flushed, and now that you’re all in no mood for dinner after hearing that story, perhaps you’re ready for coffee! I know I am. And in spite of health crap, polar vortices, and all the rest, there is coffee to be had. You have my parents to thank for that.
They’re the ones who surprised me at Christmas with an array of new coffees to try! I have no idea why she chose this eclectic and fascinating mix of beans, but the goodwill didn’t stop there. She got me a professional coffee-grinding machine! It’s great being the spoiled only child. So basically, this leg of the journey took me no further than the couch. It was still a culinary adventure, and I’ll be detailing it below, item by item.
Coffee #1: Bewley’s Cafe Blend Gold Roast
OK, so, this coffee is a classic by definition. Bewley’s is an Irish company that has been in business for almost 200 years. This bag came from a Celtic shop over in New Cumberland. Now, they say it’s a medium roast, but this was, to me, more of a light and pretty breakfast blend. As advertised, there was a sweet caramel flavor blended with a jaunty acidic flavor. Strangely, this coffee is (I think) at its best when mixed with other, more robust varieties. Indeed, it added some variety to the Colombian I mixed it with, layering the flavor profile nicely. An intelligently-done breakfast blend; just don’t expect a punch of power. I’m going to have to sample some of their even-more-famous teas next.
Coffee #2: Death Wish Medium Roast
Mom knows I like medium roasts. Everyone does. Come on, it’s a thing by now. The Death Wish medium roast was one that I almost bought myself a while back. It was in the racks of that little cafe inside Penne From Heaven that I reviewed before…remember? Death Wish is USDA-certified organic and the company prides itself on the extra jolt of caffeine in each cup. Double the average, in fact. Death Wish was mighty coy regarding the provenance of their beans, saying only that it was grown in “high altitude conditions.” Oh, like the Andes perhaps (wink, wink…)? I opened the bag and was blasted with a melange of cocoa and smoldering wood scents! Being rather woodsy, I like that combination. I only ground and sipped a little. I must admit, I was surprised. Companies that emphasize the caffeine aspect of their coffee upfront might be expected to skimp on quality. Such was not the case here. It packed a wallop, certainly, but the bold flavors were nonetheless textured and complex. Subtle it was not, but well-layered and assembled it was. It reminded me of a friend from high school; he was a big, tough football jock who also painted wonderfully. If you’re looking for a gentle awakening, avoid overdosing on Death Wish (which works out well given the $20 price tag!). Still, the artistry here is impossible to ignore.
Coffee #3: BKG Coffee Roasters, City Reserve, Coffey St.
I had never heard of this roasting company before this. Something tells me it’s a glaring defect, and that a small-batch gourmet roasting company based in Brooklyn since 2003 is hip enough that everyone in the know knows, and since I didn’t know, it means I’m clearly an amateur. I am an amateur; the hipsters are dead right. And this is a fantastic coffee, which I’m certain they already knew as well. As advertised on the package, the expected flavors were “brown sugar, cocoa, and red apple.” They were additionally described as “nuanced.” Nuanced is exactly what they were. I had to roll the coffee around on my tongue a few times before I picked them up. When I did, it was the brown sugar hints that stood out brilliantly. The others stay in the background giving it structure. That means I didn’t appreciate them until it was too late. Interestingly, smelling the freshly ground beans manifested even more of that sweet palette. The takeaway: This blend should always be purchased whole-bean and hand-ground if possible for that very reason. You need to take time with this one. The payoff is worth the effort.
Let’s hope that this next month brings better health and better weather. Between megadosing Vitamin D to squirting saline solution in my ears and Flonase up my nose, I think I have all my bases covered. Hey, if you go to an anime convention this spring, remember to take your…Escaflownase! Yes. That was an anime joke. You’re welcome. See you after Groundhog Day when I will hopefully be headed back to parts unknown. Stay caffeinated.