onyx coffee lab coffee bag

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Onyx Coffee Lab’s Decaf Colombia Huila

One of the first things to accept concerning specialty coffee is that you might not get every flavor note listed on the bag. Seems odd, right? It’s one of the primary reasons why you buy in the first place.

The thing is…there are just too many variables for something as subtle as coffee. Your own unique tastebuds are a huge factor in what you taste or don’t, for starters. The freshness of the roast and grind is another, literally grounded in the science behind flavor chemicals. Then there are the unique brewing methods, up to and including whether you use filtered water! As such, I’ve learned not to be entirely disappointed if I miss out on one or two of the coffee’s features. Maybe I won’t give it a round of applause, but I won’t necessarily deem it a failure, either.

So we transition into Onyx Coffee Lab and their specialty decaf variety, advertising an impressive medley of flavors that include apple, brown sugar, almond and dark chocolate. Even better? They boast some of the most beautiful packaging I’ve ever seen. If you’ve missed my previous decaf coffee reviews, check out my breakdown of Sightglass Coffee’s Hunky Dory or Counter Culture Coffee’s Decaf Kuichi.

You’re going to love this one:

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Coffee On Wheels: Innovative Ideas For Hard Times

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Coffee on wheels has been a trend in Europe for a while. Thanks to this former real estate manager, it’s a trend starting to catch on elsewhere. This entrepreneur turned his coffee business into an on-the-go deal, inspired by mobile coffee shops in Europe. He went through the painstaking process of converting his car to house coffee equipment and now goes around neighborhoods making fresh lattes and mochas, practically at people’s doorstep. It’s a flexible and convenient approach to coffee I would love to see myself one day.

Like the ice cream truck, but for adults! (Though I do love ice cream)

The pandemic has driven an unforgiving heel into the already flimsy global coffee industry. Indeed, I can’t entirely blame this curveball for much of what we’re seeing now. The weak foundation of underpaid farmers, convoluted supply chains and rapidly developing climate change couldn’t do anything but further buckle under a dangerous virus. Neat ideas like mobile cafes could be a great way to change how we engage with our daily staple. A way to reduce space. Improve accessibility. Stay flexible.

Even if we’re lucky to return back to normal…normal wasn’t exactly good to begin with.

Wine Tasting in Florida at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards and San Sebastian Winery on Winetraveler.com — History & Wine

Florida wine? Yes, you read that right. I’m not just talking about tropical fruit juice either. Wine made from grapes, albeit not the grapes you may be used to, but grapes nonetheless. There are currently 88 wine producers in Florida generating a lot of money for the state. Though most of these producers are smaller, […]

Wine Tasting in Florida at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards and San Sebastian Winery on Winetraveler.com — History & Wine

I’m often reading about (and trying out) wine from California and Washington. Occasionally I’ll pick something up from a third state, though Florida has yet to fall into that list. This is a very interesting look at Floridian wine and the unique varieties it brings to the table, from a specific kind of grape I hadn’t even heard of to experimental sparkling styles. Wine innovation is a huge deal these days and something that’s only going to get more common to bring in buyers.

I might just have to add one of these sparkling wines to my to-buy list…

Level Up Your Summer With A Catchy Coffee Tune

One of the easiest ways to get me in a good mood? Send me music!

There’s just so much beautiful work out there in need of more love. Heck, one of my daily habits is just letting Soundcloud autoplay go crazy. I was recently sent this song by one of the folks at El Parche Coffee, who write and record music alongside releasing quality Colombian beans. It’s a catchy little acoustic song that hearkens to the summery bops of Bomba Estéreo and the upbeat tempos of Don Omar. If you’re also practicing Spanish fluency (like myself), consider that another plus.

El Parche Coffee is currently focused on helping Colombians who were hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, with the goal of providing them with reliable food delivery. Their Together For Colombia products will see 100% of the proceeds donated to the cause. If you’ve got a few spare minutes or some spare change, check them out. In the meantime, grab yourself a mug, hit play and be swept away to a sunkissed beach with white sands…that ideally doesn’t require masks.

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Sightglass Coffee’s Hunky Dory

Is that the cutest name or what?

We’re already at the fourth entry in the Decaf, Decaf Everywhere series. That’s more than enough beans to start feeling the differences in quality. What caught my eye with this one (aside from the roaster’s adorable naming conventions) was the promise of a bergamot flavor note. For those that don’t know, that’s the tea leaf that gives Earl Grey its distinctive flavor. My tea cabinet is a pretty impressive creation, so this was something I had to check out for myself.

Does Hunky Dory truly live up to its title? Let’s take a look at this charming little bag and what it has to offer to both coffee lovers and tea fanatics. If you’re new to the series, check out my previous posts on Counter Culture Coffee’s Slow Motion or Partners Coffee Roasters’ Ghost Town.

Without further ado!

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Millennials Want Decaf Coffee More Than Previously Thought

You ever think about how the stigma toward decaf coffee is a self-fulfilling prophecy?

“People don’t want decaf because we don’t offer decaf options and it’s hard to buy what isn’t there hence why they don’t want decaf.”

This mountain of stigma is less a natural side-effect and more built brick-by-brick by people who really need to get their priorities straight. Decaf tastes bad…because many in the past didn’t give it the same care and attention as caffeinated coffee. Decaf is only for puerile, shallow coffee drinkers…because snobbery is more important than personal preferences. One way or another, decaf coffee gets bumped to the bottom of the pile, resulting in few options and a lot of rolled eyes.

The Perfect Daily Grind takes a look at how decaf coffee has seen a rise in interest among Millennials, actively preferred for its lower caffeine content with statistics that only continue to grow. The article takes a look at several fairly recent studies ranging from 2013 to 2017, noting that decaf hits many high notes for the demographic. Reduced caffeine addiction is one. Fewer jitters, crashes and, yes, drowsiness are more. Cafes are being called upon to meet this significant percentage halfway, and, of course, I’m all for it.

I mean…decaf’s my default. Has been for several years now. It keeps heart palpitations and nausea at bay without sacrificing delicious flavor. I’ll sing its praises all day long and, with any luck, more voices will be added to this choir.

A Coffee Playlist With An Untwist: Five Catchy Songs About Coffee

Listening to the Top 40 radio station can be a lesson in madness.

The same predictable chord progressions. The same exact drops. The increasingly small pool of influences that blurs musicians together and makes the very rare unique single stand out like a slap to the mouth. I don’t work a conventional nine-to-five, nor do I constantly tune in to my local radio, so the Top 40 station has become something of a niche for me. I prefer to dig for songs through YouTube recommendations or Soundcloud autoplay, enjoying good surprises and stumbling across lesser-known artists who deserve more love.

A relaxing cadence for your ears melting into the delicious flavors on your tongue. Coffee and music go hand-in-hand, and I found myself wanting to see just how much they overlap. The brew is a daily staple for millions around the world, helping people get through their day with a much-needed moment of comfort or caffeine buzz. Unsurprisingly, that love of coffee seeps into art. The media we consume, the language we speak or the ways we look at one another. It shapes us as much as we shape it.

I’m nothing if not a multitasker. I’ve got five songs that don’t just go great with coffee, but talk about coffee, with enough variety in genre to ensure there will be at least one song that speaks to you:

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How To Get Your Pourover Brew Tasting Perfect

I love learning new techniques. Makes me twice as excited to make a cup of joe in the morning.

The pourover is one of the most user-friendly ways of brewing coffee at home. That doesn’t mean it still can’t be improved! The Perfect Daily Grind has a great five-minute read on how to improve your pourover technique. They go into the scientifics behind blooming, stress the need for filtered water and explore different pour methods. Some of the most common problems facing pourover users are incompatible filters or the wrong water temperature. You don’t want to burn all the flavor out of your beans, right?

I’ve used my pourover dozens of times since I got it a few months back, so I can safely say I’m improving. For instance, I can literally see the difference between using hot water and boiling water. Hot water lifts a delicious, amber crema from the coffee, clinging together even as you keep pouring. Boiling water, on the other hand, results in a more bubbly crema with a weaker color. When I’m spending anywhere between $15 to $22 on a bag of coffee, I’ll be damned if I don’t pull the best possible extraction.

counter culture coffee decaf kuichi

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Counter Culture Coffee’s Decaf Kuichi

I’ve done it! I’ve found the current heavyweight of specialty decaf coffee.

Wisdom grows with options: the more you have to compare, the pickier you get. It’s why I would hesitate to buy yet another cherry red jacket when I already have two in my closet. It’s why I skim past the proverbial flood of cereal boxes for my tried-and-true Honey Bunches Of Oats (at least, the generic version). While I’ve had a lot of coffee in my life, ordering freshly roasted specialty bags is still a newer reality for me. Good decaf coffee is known, sure, but not on the level I would’ve liked.

I’m coming up on five bags now and I can safely say, without a doubt, I’ve found a real winner. If you’re new to this series, I review decaf coffee in all its beautiful complexity: flavor notes, brewing methods, packaging, you name it! If you’re too busy for a five-minute read, check out my Final Verdict at the bottom summarizing my thoughts. You can find my previous decaf coffee reviews on Counter Culture Coffee’s Slow Motion and Partners Coffee Roasters’ Ghost Town.

Let’s get started on why the Decaf Kuichi is my current favorite:

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Is Shortening The Coffee Supply Chain The Answer?

Discussions around sustainability in the coffee industry redefine patience.

When we’re not being faced with the reality of dismal farming wages, heads are spinning on aaall the different intermediaries in the coffee supply chain. Producers, importers, exporters, retailers, roasters…and here we were just figuring out the difference between a macchiato and a latte. It’s an average day slicing apart the noise to get meaningful action that changes lives for the better. The convoluted nature of it all starts to feel intentional after a point.

Knowledge is power. I recently checked out this video by Cedro Alto Coffee on the coffee supply chain — Karl goes into great detail concerning the jobs in-between the producers (farmers) and the consumers (us). He takes a patient and critical look at the understandably frustrated conversations on the supply chain and how many want to snip out a few intermediaries. He notes that there are still many administrative and shipping roles that get coffee into stores in the first place, not all of which can just be squished into one job.

I exist as both a link in the chain and an end consumer. My copywriting niche is coffee (as well as tea and alcohol), helping professionals in the industry reach the right people…and I purchase coffee and coffee equipment. My interest is more than just a good cup of joe on my desk: it’s a deep investment of the veritable knot this industry has tied itself into and all the fingers needed to detangle it. I may not be around in the next fifteen to twenty years, but I do know I want coffee to stick it out.

Change is possible. We can see with our own two eyes that what’s happening in the coffee industry just isn’t working. The only question is what, exactly, can be done…and the only surefire wrong answer is to do nothing at all.