The West Chester Coffee Blog lives! You may recall that a little over a year ago Russell and Emily announced the start of the West Chester Coffee Blog...and then you never heard mention of it again. This is because shortly after we started visiting coffee shops Emily decided to make a small change in her life. At that time, she had decided to get an associate degree in dental hygiene. We visited schools and planned it all out and were just about to commit to applications and such. Then she came to the realization that she would rather go to art school and study photography. Luckily, her father went to art school and knew she was going to need a crash course in drawing if she wanted to do this. We signed up for a figure drawing session at the local art association and started visiting art programs. The bottom line is that the coffee blog quickly fell off our plate.
A lot has happened in the last year. We are happy to say, in case you didn't know, that Emily is now enrolled in Kutztown University as a freshman in the fine arts program. Also, Emily and Dad went to Europe where we were able to connect with the outer reaches of our coffee inner-selves, and a whole bunch of new coffee places have opened up in and around West Chester.
I won't go over the my relationship with coffee since you can read about in my original post here. In that post, I describe my life before good coffee (LBGC) and life after good coffee (LAGC). What I am looking for is a cup of coffee that can change your life. Going to Croatia this past summer really did help recalibrate exactly what that cup of coffee is. The immediate issue for me is how do I convey what I think a good cup of coffee is to you? I have actually thought about this a lot over the past year. This is what I have come up with.
What you see above is a Cafe macchiato from Cafe Festival in Dubrovnik. On a scale from 1 to 10 this cup off coffee was an eleven. Cafe Festival was on a street with a whole bunch of places that served coffee in the 9 to 10 range. This place stood out not just because the coffee was perfect, but because the setting was perfect. A beautiful cafe, on a busy street, with lots of people where you could sit and do nothing but take in humanity for hours at a time. There is simply no words to describe how good this cup of coffee was.
In my post from a year ago, I mentioned how Starbucks would play into this whole thing. If I were to say on a scale of 1 to 10 how does an expresso from Starbucks compare to one from Cafe Festival I'd say it was somewhere in the 6-7 range. It's not so much that Starbucks is bad, it's more that I have a really high standard for what is truly exceptional. That said, what is great about Starbucks is that they are consistent. I have been to many Starbucks across North America. When you order an expresso from any of them, you will consistently get an expresso that is a 6-7. With that information in hand and instead of trying to rate the coffee shops around West Chester on a scale from 1 to 10, I will simply say in very general terms how it compares to Starbucks. My assumption is that most people have been to Starbucks, thus you will be able to gauge what I think it better or worse based you your experience there. Make sense? Great.
Our retooled plan, now that Emily is not here, is to go out every Saturday morning and visit a coffee shop. Rule one is that it has to be walking distance from our house (after we visit all the places that are walking distance we will reevaluate rule one). I (Russell) will get an expresso, Mary will get a drip every time and give you our opinion as best we can comparing apples to apples. William and Paddy will be color commentators for everything else. Every once in a while Emily will come home and head out with us as a guest commentator. She will almost certainly order a fancy dressed up drink that barely qualifies as coffee. We will try to convey the whole experience. We will certainly order some kind of yummy treat (William and Paddy are forcing us to do this), and we will let you know about the general ambiance of the place.
Our next post will start off with a visit to Starbucks. Preview below.
Going back to the concept of LBGC and LAGC. Emily has been raised since a very early age not to compromise when it comes to coffee. She get physically agitated if someone ask her if she wants a cup of coffee from Wawa. She is one of the lucky ones as she has always had pretty good coffee options since birth. However, until our trip to Europe this summer she had never crossed the line into the world of LAGC. I have actually captured this on film. Yikes, can we even say that any more. Let me rephrase. I have several files with a series of 1's and 0's that form an image of Emily's LBGC and LAGC.
Here she is, an eighteen year old girl, terribly jet lagged, hating the world. Before her is her first european cappuccino. Let's see what happens.
There you have it ladies and gentlemen! The results are stunning! LAGC! After the first sip the world is now a happy place. Colors are vibrant, all the sounds in the world are now like a symphony! Everyone is beautiful. Life is good!
Emily took to cafe culture like nobody's business while we were in Croatia. I think it is safe to say the hook as been deeply set and there is no going back. As it should be. Mary and I couldn't be prouder or our little girl.
Ciao for now. Remember...contemplate the cup...be the bean...and for the love of Pete don't put pumpkin spice in your coffee. That is just nasty.