Friday, November 21, 2008

Some Thoughts on Tea

There is nothing to soothe at bedtime like a hot cup of the right kind of herbal tea.

A nice one is to mix 1 part mint to one part chamomile. This is a great calm-me-down stress reliever on one of our cold drizzly windy San Francisco winter days. Blustery, I guess. It's great in summer to - on ice.

My favorite all time no questions herbal tea is Stash "Licorice Spice" - sweet like there's honey or sugar but there is none. Spicy, comforting. Leaves me with the same feeling as hot cocoa - satisfied and warm and fuzzy, and, depending on the time of day, sleepy. If I drink it in the morning, it's a nice warming wake up. In the afternoon, at work, a calming hot fragrant pick me up. And, of course, at night - makes me feel all warm and sleepy, Mmm.

I'm having a cup of Peet's Tea "Lemon Rose" right now. I sort of look at tea as a way to get a comforting, warming, hydrating drink into my tummy, which has a good chance of making me have sort of a lift in mood.

link | Kristin W. posted at 4:21 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hey, When'd YOU Come Back?!

That's right, everyone. After a long, too long, hiatus, I am back. I'm back for good this time, I think. And I have found myself with some stuff to review...


I've become a big tea drinker lately. Not really sure why. But a for couple months, during which I worked for Peet's Coffee here in San Francisco, I was able to amass a large collection of fairly good quality loose leaf tea, which I have been enjoying greatly. I'd love to share some reviews, actually.

But first, I just wanted to make a "Look! I'm back!" type of re-introduction.

So, I'm glad to be back.

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link | Kristin W. posted at 1:40 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sweet... Nourishing... Espresso...

It's like the nectar of the gods.  I'm not sure what beans they have in the grinder right now (the company I work for sells machines, not coffee) but they're always high quality.  The machine is a top of the line 3 group La San Marco in pristine condition.  Like driving a sports car or something.  I have to admit I'm still a La Marzocco fan, but San Marco is winning me over.  

Pulling shots on this thing was so nice.

And they taste soooooo gooooooood.

I am soooo sleepy.  Coffee... nay, good coffee... is just the right thing!

link | Kristin W. posted at 1:03 PM | 0 comments

Friday, February 17, 2006

My New Job!

Well hello again, everyone!

That's right, I have a job now. I was able to score a really awesome position at Michaelo's Espresso, Inc doing in-house web design and I.T. work. Basically for the next few months I'm working on completely redoing their website, which is a task in and of itself, and then maybe moving into doing not only web updates and graphic stuff, but working around the office as the information technology admin. Should be great!

Michaelo's is a great place to work, it's a small family-run company in Seattle. They sell and repair espresso machines (La San Marco and Cafina) and accessories, as well as coffee carts, kiosks, and the like. Very neat. It's great to be working in a different section of the "industry" for once, rather than behind a coffee bar.

So that's right - I'm back in the game, as it were. ;)

link | Kristin W. posted at 1:04 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Espresso Americano

I'm sitting in a very comfortable armchair at Espresso Americano, at the Bellevue Art Museum. I ordered a double ristretto cappuccino, Erik went for a double ristretto mocha. Not bad! Actually, my cappuccino is pretty darn good - the art was a little "oops!" but the taste is very nice. It's a little bit of a lighter espresso roast from what I can tell - bright without being tart or acidic. I'd describe it as more of a "glow" than a "spotlight" if you know what I mean.

I don't think it's attributable to the fact that they were ristretto shots - and it's not at all unpleasant. Some espresso blends tend to be very "heavy" and "smoky" and sometimes that's a bit more decadent and indulgent than I'd like, especially when I'm sitting down for a rest and a "refresher" at noon. It's like having an after dinner cocktail after lunch.

So while the little spicy, sweet-sharp liveliness was very unexpected in an espresso, but not bad. It works. The cappuccino was very nice. The only complaint I'd have is that the foam seemed a little thin, but that could be environmental, as it is VERY humid today - it's pouring down rain like a garden hose.

Erik's mocha was full flavored and not too sweet - very well executed. I liked the hot fudge drizzle on top of the puff of whipped cream - not a huge PILE of it, when will people learn to go easy on the whip?! - and the perfect blend of coffee and chocolate flavor.

A great afternoon stop, I'm glad we ducked in here to avoid the downpour - the sign saying "free wifi" right below "free-pour latte art" is what hooked us and the coffee is great. Nice atmosphere, jazz on the stereo, modern contemporary but comfy, not stiff and pretentious. It works as a museum cafe, but also as a nice little coffeeshop.

I snapped some pix of our drinks, I'll post them later.

I'm out, there's more to see and do and it's only 12:40pm!

link | Kristin W. posted at 12:30 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Café Carmelita

On the way home from the club tonight I had a craving for a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, there was nowhere in the area that was serving a decent cup of java at 2:00am, so when I dropped in to QFC to pick up some groceries, I checked out their coffee aisle. I wasn’t too very disappointed, they had a wide selection of whole-bean coffees by several roasters, but in lieu of Millstone or Seattle’s Best, I noticed they had coffee from Tony’s Coffee, in Bellingham. After perusing the selection, I chose to go with Tony’s Café Carmelita.

Café Carmelita

Incredibly smooth with sweet cocoa and caramel notes. Heavy syrupy body.

I ground the whole beans on “coarse” to use in my Brazil 8 cup french press by Bodum, and as I type it’s brewing. Without having tasted it, it has a VERY nice aroma, rich and very warm, almost spicy. The timer just went off, so I’m off to pour a cup.

It’s tangy, and flavorful. Very fulfilling, rich, and has a great character to it. I don’t know that I’d describe it as “caramelly” since it’s not richly sweet, in the way I associate with caramel, but it IS delicious, even without sugar and milk (the way I prefer my coffee). Not many coffees I find can be drunk as-is, but Tony’s Café Caramelita can definately hold it’s own. Very tasty, great for after dinner, I think. It also comes in water process decaf, which I can’t review since I don’t drink decaf coffee.

I think this coffee would be fantastic with a little bit of cream and a shortbread cookie.

link | Kristin W. posted at 5:45 AM | 0 comments

Friday, October 14, 2005

Seattle's Best?

I don’t know about best, but I stopped at Seattle’s Best Coffee at Westlake Center for a quick post house-hunting pick-me-up. My poison of choice was a 16 ounce triple mocha. I was delightfully surprised that it didn’t suck – I admit, when I go to SBC I usually get hot cocoa or a mocha for one reason – I love the miniature bar of semi-sweet chocolate that they give you with the drink.

This time, the drink was better than average, not too overpowering (even with three shots), but a good balance of “chocolate” and “coffee.” I’d have preferred it a little bit stronger on the coffee side, but I suspect that the deficiency was in part due to their beans, not the shots themselves. The barista was friendly and seemed competent, complimented my coffee bean necklace (a coffee bean made of silver suspended from a silver chain), and pulled shots that ran the right amount of time and didn’t seem over- or under-extracted. There wasn’t too much whipped cream, either, which is a pet peeve of mine on mochas – I don’t want to have to ask for “light whip” to get just a “topping” instead of a “mountain” of whipped cream.

All in all, it may not have been five star but it was a pleasant drink for the walk home from Westlake Center in the cold, holding hands with my boyfriend and explaining the difference between a mocha, cappuccino and latté, since he doesn’t drink coffee. I enjoyed my mocha and my chocolate stick.

However, the house hunt still continues, blast it, and we only have two weeks left! ARUGH!

link | Kristin W. posted at 7:07 AM | 0 comments


Kristin Wenzel is the graphics and web designer for Information Society. She is a former barista and lifetime coffee/espresso enthusiast, and a recent convert to the ways of tea. She has found her home in San Francisco, CA.

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