This photo shows just how different two people can be when it comes to coffee. Taylor, my son who recently became a serious coffee drinker, and I are on a quest for the perfect cup of java. We are searching out places and brews that have been recommended by friends, because everyone has their favorite and most people are passionate about what they like and don’t like.
For example, I prefer a latte to drip – so that quest is coming next. But now, for scientific purposes, we are only drinking drip. Mine is always with a healthy dose of half and half (note above left) and no sugar. Taylor’s is always with a smidgen of H&H and a small amount of sugar (above right). He says that cream blunts the taste and I say sugar ruins the whole cup, so there you have it. No doubt you have your own well-formed opinion about that, and I want to hear it, so be sure to comment and let me know what you think. This quest could go on for years – after all, we do live in Seattle!
So far we have been to eight places: Walnut Street Coffee in Edmonds, Richmond Beach Coffee Company, Honey Bear Bakery, Zoka’s in Kirkland, Peet’s at Greenlake, Forza at Greenlake, Whidbey Coffee on Mukilteo Speedway, and Starbucks (because I couldn’t wait one day until Taylor was done with his class at 8:30 a.m. – a fact that m ade him suggest a caffeine patch to stretch my patience when it comes to morning coffee).
Our opinions so far:
Victrola Coffee (Triborough Blend), served at Honey Bear Bakery in The Town Center at Lake Forest Park and roasted on Capitol Hill. We like it because it is dark and smoky, medium in thickness and flavorful, and it is smooth. There is no bite or tang to it, which is how we define that kind of twangy feel that some coffee has – and which we do not like at all. My reaction to Victrola coffee (and I tried the Empire blend too, which is a medium roast) was “I want another cup.” Definitely a good sign. I gave it a 9+ and Taylor gave it a 9 (out of 10).
Starbucks (Pike Place Roast). I did not want this to be true because I want to support the little guy, but there is a reason that Starbucks is a favorite all over the planet. It is dense and flavorful, dark and smoky, and has absolutely no tang! Consistent, you can always count on it tasting the same. I know, you either love it or you hate it, but I am definitely in the love catagory – and I came at it wanting to criticize. I gave it a 9 and Taylor gave it a 9 – with the comment, “I’ve literally never been disappointed in it.”
Peet’s (Fair Trade Blend shown at top of blog). Again, we go for the strong-enough-to-grow-hair-on-your-chest (as my Dad used to say) intensity. Some don’t, and to them I say, “Why drink it?” Peet’s is strong, bold, and complex. And no tang at all. I wanted to linger and have another cup. We both gave it a 9.
Forza Blend by Delano Roasters. This was a mellow coffee, so it is a bit surprising that we liked it so much, but we did. It had subtle flavors and no tang! Taylor’s comment was, “It doesn’t pack that much of a punch, but its fresh and smooth.” He gave it a 9 and I gave it an 8.
Whidbey Coffee (Founders Blend). Roasted on Whidbey Island and served at a drive-through on Mukilteo Speedway, this drip is one I would have regularly if I frequented the area. I would also buy it via the Internet. I wish it was served in more places. It was mellow with no tang. I gave it an 8.5 and Taylor gave it a 7.5.
Zoka’s (Espresso Blend). I found this drip to have a bit of a tang, but it grew on me as I drank the cup. Taylor really liked it. He gave it an 8 and I gave it a 6.5. I have had lattes at Zoka’s and they are drool worthy, so I am willing to try the drip there again.
Vivace at Walnut Street Coffee (Vita Blend). Friends swore by this and said it was all they drank, but personally we found it a bit thin even though the flavor was strong and it was very dark. It had too much tang for me. Taylor gave it a 6.5 and I would say the same. I am, however, willing to try it again because of strong recommendations.
Stumptown at Richmond Beach Coffee Company. Another friend swears by this roaster, so I will give it another try – but on this day it was good, but not one of our favorites. Taylor liked the aftertaste and said it left him satisfied, but he only gave it a 7.5. I would agree.
We’re not done yet, so let me know what you think! Where should we go next?