Monthly Brew – November

Monthly Brew

This month

I got 12 ounces of decaf whole bean Tilikum Crossing from Portland Coffee Roasters in (you guessed it) Portland! They’ve been around since 1996 and their mission is to improve connections, not just in the local communities that they serve, but also the communities, farmers, and partners that they work with.

They have cafe’s located in Portland and also a few more in the PDX airport! I only wish they had some merch! Their design team does a fantastic job on the labels for each coffee (I’m very much a “buy the book based on the cover” kind of girl).

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The coffee itself smelled AMAZING. I got this just in time for fall and the flavor complimented the “cooler” weather (hello from Florida) wonderfully. There was a hint of cinnamon which brought a crisp spice to the overall flavor of the coffee. It’s a medium roast and wasn’t too full bodied. It’s definitely a coffee I could enjoy every morning and one I could share with friends on a cool fall night. This roast is a blend from a few countries including: Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Peru, and Papua New Guinea. It’s balanced so well and isn’t bitter at all. It’s a rich, flavorful coffee with notes of graham cracker and caramel and a hint of cinnamon. Portland, you’re weird, but you know how to coffee.

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My rating: 5 beans!

Monthly Brew – October

Monthly Brew

This month

I got 12 ounces of whole bean Colombia Decaf from Cafe Grumpy in NY! Cafe Grumpy is locally owned and operated and they currently have 10 locations around the US. One of the things I love so much about Swiss Water is that they seek out companies who work with specialty coffee growers and who care about fair trade, sustainability, and a quality product.

 

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I tried brewing this coffee a few different ways, as I usually do, but I couldn’t manage to get a full flavor with this month’s coffee. It was a much lighter roast than the previous ones, which may have made the difference. The subtle flavors of chocolate, caramel and orange were VERY subtle. I was mildly disappointed this time around, but that doesn’t mean all of their coffee is like that. Cafe Grumpy has a variety of different selections on their website and has super cute merch with their logo on it. I’m personally interested in trying their Heartbreaker Espresso blend with notes of blackberry, amaretto and dark chocolate.

If you’re in NY or Miami, check out all of their locations. Each location seems to be catered to the look of the city or suburb surrounding it and no two cafes look the same.

 

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My rating: 3 beans

Monthly Brew – September

Monthly Brew

This month

I got 12 ounces of whole bean decaf from Peru from Batdorf & Bronson. The owners/creators of Dancing Goats Coffee Bar in Olympia, WA loved coffee so much, that they became the owners of B&B Coffee Roasters, which has been in operation since 1986. In 1994, they opened another B&B location in Atlanta, GA (you’re welcome southeast US) to ensure delivery of the freshest coffee possible. So if you’re anywhere in Atlanta or Washington State and you see Dancing Goats coffee or Batdorf & Bronson, do yourself a favor and go taste some of their amazing coffee!

Honestly the smell of coffee is the best. This month’s blend was noticeably richer smelling than last month’s. It had almost a cocoa scent to it. The flavors were very rich and full bodied for me. There’s a quality called “mouthfeel” that is sometimes used synonymously with the term “body”, but in this case, the mouthfeel for me was very different. My tongue almost felt fuzzy as I sipped my first cup, as if I was drinking a chai tea. Reading the flavor profile afterword, I realized that this coffee had hints of spice, which explains the mouthfeel. This Peru coffee has a sweet chocolaty flavor with hints of orange and spice that blend perfectly. I preferred this as an iced coffee, but it was delicious both ways. My wife recently got me lavender syrup (my secret obsession), which is a PERFECT match with this roast.

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My rating: 5 beans!

Welcome to the Monthly Brew

Monthly Brew

Back in June, I won a contest with Swiss Water and the Specialty Coffee Association. The prize included 12 months of decaf coffee hand picked by Swiss Water. You can actually subscribe to weekly or monthly coffee deliveries HERE. Some of you may be wondering why on earth anyone would want to drink decaf when they could have a regular cup of caffeinated bliss. Samantha and I have been prepping for our baby adventure, so I’ve been drinking strictly decaf for 3 months. It may be time to switch if you find yourself getting anxious due to too much caffeine or if you just enjoy a good coffee but don’t want the buzz.

I received my FIRST coffee delivery mid July and thought I’d blog about each coffee of the month starting with my birthday month of August! Full disclosure – they have several coffees that they send out each month so they’ll most likely differ from the ones I have on the blog.

Generally, decaf is not too much different from caffeinated aside from the obvious lack of caffeine. However the process of decaffeinating coffee can be different depending on the company. Some companies use chemicals or use processes that alter the overall flavor of the coffee. This brings me to this amazing company called Swiss Water.

Let’s get this party started!

Let’s talk about Swiss Water. This is an awesome company that uses a 100% chemical free process to remove the caffeine from coffee without hindering the taste. They’re very much into creating a sustainable product that serves the environment in a positive way and they really care about every aspect of their coffee from the trees and the farm workers all the way down to your coffee cup.

This month

I got a full pound of whole bean decaf espresso from Cafe Virtuoso in San Diego, CA. I was nervous at first because it said dark roast, but I really like the full body flavor of espresso. My first cup of coffee was so incredible I actually said “woah” out loud. I’ve worked at 3 different coffee shops and cafe’s and I’ve used top of the line espresso machines and have tasted way more coffee flavors than the average person. I am in no way a coffee expert, but I have some experience.

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The first thing I noticed was the rich smell of the beans. It was like inhaling freshly roasted beans. Once I brewed it I noticed just how smooth the coffee was. Typically the reason I add any sort of (non-dairy) creamer to my coffee is to cut down on the acidity, but this brew really didn’t need it at all. It’s actually rather light/crisp and dry for a dark roast coffee. I recognized hints of chocolate and toasted caramel that didn’t leave any odd aftertaste at all. I drank every last drop of coffee before it got even the slightest bit cold. That’s saying a lot – I’m the person who leaves the last 2 sips in the bottom of the cup.

I’ve brewed via french press, pour over, and Keurig’s fill your own k-cup and all three have tasted amazing. My favorite is always french press because of the extra flavor. This coffee is also great as a cold brew. I think the fact that it’s a dark roast helps keep the flavor which is still very bold in an iced coffee.

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My rating: 5 beans!

 

Our quick trip to Birmingham, Alabama!

Bands and Concerts, Traveling

This year, we are attempting to take fewer vacations.
(insert huge eye roll here) If you know us, you know that this is next to impossible for us. We love anyyyyy excuse for an adventure. 

 

We need to save money, and we can’t do that if we keep traveling for concerts. HOWEVER, we bought Mumford & Son’s tickets back in November for their concert in March. So obviously we couldn’t NOT do that, which meant a trip to Birmingham for the weekend. It’s only an 8.5-hour drive for us, so… why not? Birmingham is one of our favorite cities!

We drove up on a Friday afternoon and made a pitstop in Valdosta, GA to surprise my little sister and her family. She had noooo clue we were coming, so it felt great to just spend a few hours with her. I painted my niece’s nails (and my niece painted Steph’s nails, which she proudly wore to the concert), played with her makeup and turned her into Harley Quinn, and had a tea party in her hot pink room. Then, I watched my nephew kick some Spider-Man video game ass. It was a great halfway-ish break! 

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Our one full day in Birmingham we spent exploring. We started our day out at Urban Standard which is the BEST coffee/breakfast place that we found when we were there the first time a few years back (for a City and Colour concert). Steph still raves about their Balsamic jam to this day. (she’s a balsamic JUNKIE, to say the least). This time all Steph wanted was Avocado toast, and I got a coffee gravy biscuits and gravy. IT WAS TO DIE FOR!! I got a chai tea latte and Steph got a soy latte with vanilla – honestly, everything they make is incredible so you can’t lose. (And the presentation of their drinks are so perfect!!!)

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We decided to spend the day exploring and seeing things we hadn’t seen the last time we were here. We went to check out a vintage Vinyl store, Seasick Records and next door there was a really neat antique mall called Urban Suburban. After wandering up and down every booth I scored 2 old fashioned makeup train cases that I have been obsessed with for years for just $10! (Steph’s mom has a blue one and I’ve needed one ever since I first saw it!)

 

We left the vintage mall and headed to this video game coffee shop called Saturn! We walked in and Steph was in heaven. There was a rocket hanging from the ceiling and all of the space gear decorating the whole place. Steph ordered an Iced latte and I ordered a  Kombucha because they told me that it didn’t taste like vinegar, and that is the ONE thing I despise about Kombucha. I fell in love and then found out that I cannot get said Kombucha in Orlando since it’s locally made and apparently Florida has something against good kombucha. (sorry to all of you Kombucha lovers, but I am NOT one of them). We sat down to play old school Mario Kart on their Nintendo 64. And Steph, of course, kicked my ass. (I wasn’t sour about it in the leasssst- insert eye roll here-) 


When we were leaving, we were going past the Sloss Furnaces, which we had read about before. Apparently, they are super haunted and a creepy place to be after the sun goes down. We had decided prior to this that we would NOT be stopping there.. but after seeing them up close (and it being the middle of the day), we decided what the “hell, why not!?” and we were sooooo glad that we decided to stop. Despite feeling lotsssss of cold chills and quite a few eerie heavy feelings, they were sooo gorgeous! They were full of all the history that we both love so much. They started operating in 1882 if that tells you anything at all. In typical “us” fashion, we turned it into a photo session and had a ton of fun. Not to mention ended up with some awesome photos!

While we were at Sloss, someone suggested a place where they serve edible cookie dough like ice cream called Cookie Dough Magic and Obviously, we had to check that out. We tried a ladyfinger cookie dough, birthday cake, and chocolate chip. Seriously, it was sinful and we probably should have been rolled out of there!

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By this time, we were EXHAUSTED! And still had a concert that we had to stay awake all night for! We went back to the hotel and laid around for an hour or so. Luckily the venue was literally attached to the hotel. All we had to do was go down an elevator and walk down a hallway and TA-DA! And on our way to the concert, Steph was handed a Mumford & Son’s Delta Tour t-shirt! Scoooore!! We finally got to our ALMOST nose bleed seats and the concert started! They were INCREDIBLE. Mumford & Son’s are breathtaking Live. For their Encore performance, they brought out this husband and wife duo who blew us all away the second they opened their mouths! If you haven’t heard of The War and Treaty, YOU NEED TO LOOK THEM UP RIGHT NOW!!!

We had a GREAT weekend! Stopped at my sister’s again for an awesome dinner. I taught her how to roast asparagus! It’s the little things. By the time we got home, it was around midnight Sunday. And unfortunately, we had to get back to reality Monday morning. Totes worth it though!! 

Here are some gems from the Mumford and Sons concert:

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Seattle Recap 2018

Bands and Concerts, Married Life, Traveling, Traveling Gypsies

Today is January 31st and I’ve been horrible about this whole blogging thing. I finally got our Christmas Letter out just in time for Christmas this year (it’s the small things) so i figured I’d cram the rest into one blog post.

In November we celebrated our 1 year anniversary and flew up to Seattle. We had the time of our lives and wish we could’ve stayed a bit longer. I feel like we only skimmed the surface of what there was to see.

First of all the weather was perfect the whole time. And it only “rained” once but Seattle rain is like Florida fog so we weren’t that worried..

Our rental car was a Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was super nice until we realized Seattle has exclusively parallel parking.. we got to our Air bnb which was perched on a cliff. It was perfect and the view out of the panoramic windows every morning was breathtaking!

 

 

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We were starving so we stopped by a Mexican restaurant and got burritos bigger than our heads. It was west coast Mexican which tends to lean more toward a “chipotle” vibe which was 100% fine with us! We walked down a few blocks to grab a coffee from a place called Uptown Espresso which as it turns out was one of the best coffee shops in the area. They’re known for their foam which is super creamy and dense instead of milk bubbles. We went there a few times over our trip.

 

I wanted to grab some photos so we looked up the best viewpoints in Seattle to see the whole city and ended up at this park, which was AMAZING.

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The next day we did Pike’s Place Market which was such a culture shock to me. I’ve lived in Florida all my life so just being on the West Coast was mind-blowingly different. The lobster tails were as big as my arms.

 

Another thing Seattle has is BUSKERS. We were in one of the shops and RAN outside to see this one man who had the most incredible voice.

The next day we headed an hour outside of Seattle to do a bit of hiking. We headed up to a waterfall that doubled as a power plant. The photos don’t do it justice.

 

We planned this whole trip around Dermot Kennedy’s concerts in Seattle and Portland. They just so happened to land near our anniversary! If you haven’t heard this man sing you need to.

The next day we headed to Portland which is a three-hour drive from Seattle. But totally worth it. But the drive back the same night…. post-concert and exploring, was ROUGH! Scariest drive in fog, EVER!

 

We did a little sightseeing before the concert and got lost in an underground mall.. We ended up sharing a Lyft with 2 other girls who were going to the same concert and had been to the Seattle concert too – we aren’t the only crazy ones!

The day after, we went exploring again. We got “Teriyaki” from a local place, which is apparently a MUST – also it was prob the best Asian food we’ve had ever. We drove by UW and the Bridge Troll and Sam looked up a park for us to watch the sunset. It was freezing but my teriyaki kept me warm mostly.. there’s nothing that can compare to those views.

After that, we went to go see Fantastic Beasts (because we wanted to live like the locals) and found a quaint little movie theater on the top of the mountain in West Seattle where we were staying. (THEY ONLY HAD REDVINES!!! WIN FOR SAMANTHA!!) It was the perfect way to end the night and we felt so at home.