Disclaimer: Dear coffee nerds, I am not super knowledgeable about the crazy machines, all the crazy roasts, all the crazy regions and all the crazy farms. Please do not kill me for writing this post. I like what I like. Thank you and enjoy.
Basically, I’m a sucker for tasty coffee. Am I connoisseur or expert? No, but I am an enthusiast. The true specialist in my family is my cousin Peter who happens to have an obscene coffee shop setup back at his place in Cambridge, MA. We’re talking pricey shiny grinders, big ass espresso machine and siphon percolators. It’s part ridiculous and part totally awesome. I’m still working with my single cup cone dripper and a Bodium press.
During my holiday visits to Boston, I end up making a trip to a little coffee shop called Simon’s in Porter Square. Peter and I happen to share the same affinity for the coffee that they serve there – which so happens to be the fantastic George Howell Terroir Coffee. And so, on the last day of every Boston visit, it’s now part tradition that I go to Simon’s Coffee Shop to buy a few bags of beans for my return trip to San Francisco. At first, this happened in only one city, but then there was another and another and another.
As odd as it may be, coffee seems to have found a way to become a fixture in my travel plans and I’ve started frequenting different specialty coffee houses in different cities. In fact, I’ve started to regard coffee as one of the key components of any successful trip. I know coffee may sound like a mere footnote to a grand vacation, but you’d be surprised at how satisfying and fun it is to include it as a notable destination. The best part about travelling for coffee is that it will never be touristy (except for Seattle’s original Starbucks) and rarely disappointing.
I thought it’d be fun to highlight some of the places that I’ve enjoyed in the recent past, so that you may find it in your travels as well. I’m not saying they are the best, but they are very enjoyable:
Boston/Cambridge: Simon’s Coffee Shop serving George Howell Terroir Coffee
New York: Mud Truck Coffee; La Colombe (also in Philly); Sweatleaf (LIC) serving Stumptown
Washington DC: Murky Coffee (RIP recently, d’oh)
Portland: Barista; Stumptown
Seattle: Caffe Vita (perfect w/ Paseo sandwich from next door, hmm…)
And, of course, if you happen to be in San Francisco:
Coffeebar; Blue Bottle; Four Barrel; Ritual; Sightglass; Trouble Coffee (because its a fun destination)
Personally, I’m a mid to dark roast drip/press kinda guy. I enjoy lattes with a touch of raw sugar. I like fuller bodied, little smoke, nuttiness, bittersweet chocolate, earthy flavors, citrus and even some lighter berry flavors.
Some of my favorite roasts:
Terroir Daterra South Italian
Stumptown Panama Carmen Estate and Mind Bender
Intelligentsia Agua Preta
Coffeebar Riserva Del Diablo & Bolivia Cenaproc
Blue Bottle Three Africans & Ethiopian Yirgacheffe