Two Great Things That Are Even Better Together: Wine And Kittens At Townshend’s Sip And Snuggles Event

You heard that right. Cute kittens and hearty helpings of wine all in one convenient place. And you thought perfection didn’t exist.

Back in January I visited the Townshend winery to try out some of their different varieties and get an up close look at all the work that goes into filling up a bottle. It was an illuminating experience for this relative newcomer to the wine scene: I was able to see their stores up close, try wine straight out of the barrel and taste wine that’s been impacted by the Pacific Northwest wildfires. Just when I thought it couldn’t be topped? Cute animals are brought into the mix. Oh, you mad geniuses.

It’s funny looking at these photos in retrospect, taken right before the world decided to spin off its axle and leave us all dizzy.

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roasted coffee beans

What Makes Mexican Coffee So Special?

Stepping into the coffee world is a lesson in multiculturism.

Variety doesn’t end at whether you prefer lattes or cold brew, but rather, where the coffee comes from and how it’s made. Are we talking about hearty robusta from Vietnamese coffee farms or floral Arabica from Ethiopia? Are we doing wash processes or a honey method? If you need something to read while stuck at home, this in-depth piece from Daily Coffee Grind will catch you up on the magic of Mexican coffee. I was fascinated reading about the subtle flavors found in the region, with some coffee tasting like jasmine and bergamot.

As a long-time tea lover, that’s music to my ears. Mexican beer is also seeing some interesting developments for their unique approaches to craft brewing and flavor varieties. If you’re thinking of expanding your horizons a little, don’t miss this piece.

wine corkscrews

Wandering With Purpose: Visiting Wanderlust Delicato For A Taste Of Local Culture

Props to my roommate for inviting me to places. I’d probably never leave the apartment otherwise.

My city — and Washington state in general — is well-known for its wine and coffee production. I chose a good spot in my life to bolster my business writing focus, as my location is more than ready to meet me halfway. According to the Washington State Wine Commission, there are around nine hundred wineries in the state of Washington alone: that’s the second highest in the country and an impressive number right after California’s chokehold. As such, I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone and giving some of these locations a try these past few months, all in favor of a (slightly) more adventurous 2020.

(slightly being the keyword here, I’m still a full-time introvert with a PhD in curmudgeonly isolation and now the coronavirus has given me even more ample reason not to step foot outside)

When we swung by Wanderlust Delicato back in February I was taken aback by its lovely decor, greeting me with shiny wooden floors, box crate walls and countless rows of wine varieties. A quintessential and classic choice for wine shops, sure, but with a homeliness that hearkens to the organized chaos of an attic or storage shed (if it were far cleaner). It’s a proverbial repurposed forest, inviting in a cozy atmosphere and rewarding the wandering eye.

And wander I did.

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Terroir and your…coffee? — Coffee with the Queen

Terroir, that magical, elusive word is most often associated with wine but applies just as much to coffee. So what is terroir?

Terroir and your…coffee? — Coffee with the Queen

For all that coffee and wine are incredibly different, they’re also incredibly similar.

They’re both highly sensitive crops with nearly endless potential for variety. They’re both considered ‘lifestyle’ drinks and are just as much a culture as they are a product. This brief piece takes a look at the French term ‘terroir’ and how this wine-specific term can also be used to describe the environmental details that go into coffee beans’ subtle flavor notes. Boost your vocabulary on a Saturday and use it to support your next purchasing decision!

A Coffee A Day Won’t Keep The Doctor Away: Social Distancing And Coffee Shops

I had a dream about a delicious latte earlier this week.

In the fields of my subconscious I visited a latte event beneath the overhang of a highway (dreams are funny like that) and rubbed shoulders with local roasters and farmers alike. Later I would sit down with a monster of a mug, filled with a predominantly arabica blend and topped off with a thick, creamy foam that clung to my upper lip. The dream would end up taking another odd turn as I went behind the counter and started making my own espresso shots to judge them on their crema. Seems my barista roots are as strong as ever.

I’m not going to be able to make my dream come true any time soon, as coffee stores left and right are shutting down…or considering it. Blue Bottle Coffee, for starters, has temporarily shut down its stores around the nation. The chain made an exception for South Korea and Japan, however, due to their more rigorous response to the coronavirus and much more accessible healthcare system. Starbucks, on the other hand, is currently debating whether or not to close.

They’ve gone at length to stress rigorous cleaning protocols to manage the coronavirus spread, which still might not put a dent in viral rates in the West. I may love a fresh, hot latte as much as the next person, but this stubborn response is just hazardous.

Makes me wonder just how popular home brewing will become in the coming months of social distancing and health awareness. There are a lot of benefits to be had: saving money (especially for those who have a morning commute), having more control over the coffee itself and reducing the chance of getting sick. I myself have been squirreling away spare change in order to buy a hybrid coffeemaker for my kitchen. What about you?

Do you miss cafes or do you prefer making coffee at home?

wine bottles on kitchen counter

When Price Meets Quality: Trying Out Five Affordable Pacific Northwest Wines At $25 Or Less

The Pacific Northwest is the queen of wine production in the United States. Whether or not this will change remains to be seen, because today’s wine selections aren’t giving an inch.

California has held the top spot for decades, followed close behind by Washington with nearly a thousand wineries to its name. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, congratulations: drinking local is as easy as throwing a rock! I’ll be doing another post on Washington-based wines in the future, but for now we’re going to take a look at some lower price point wines made throughout the Pacific Northwest. With wine still remaining inaccessible and convoluted at the best of times, every little crack in the veneer matters.

I’ll make it plain in no uncertain terms that I live on a small budget. My palette, however, isn’t exactly acquiescing. In an attempt to save and expand my horizons, I’ve decided to compile a list of affordable red and white wine brands I’ve tried over the past few months. I’ll go into the body, the flavor notes and what I like to pair them with, as well as other details like prominent packaging. Because you don’t have to go broke to enjoy a delicious, relaxing cup of pinot noir.

These are ranged from most to least expensive, with none going beyond the $25 tag (and if you exceed the limit, there are plenty of wine stores online).

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The Flipside To The Staple: Starbucks Under Fire For Lacking Caffeine

Starbucks is a coffee behemoth, unavoidable on a global level as a staple of morning commutes and casual lunches everywhere. As a Washingtonian, Starbucks is extra unavoidable. It originated here, after all.

Hearing about their lawsuits is triply unavoidable, with yet another alleging that Starbucks is falsely advertising the amount of caffeine in their drinks. More specifically, larger drinks that apparently don’t have larger amounts of caffeine: just more milk, foam or ice. While I don’t drink caffeine — I stopped several years ago for health reasons — I can see why this would be frustrating for customers. Coffee habits aren’t exactly kind on the wallet unless you exclusively brew from home, and even then, you still have to shell out extra money for the right equipment and quality beans.

To anyone who drinks coffee on-the-go: what do you think?

Is a lawsuit on a lack of caffeine valid in an industry already buckling under dishonest marketing or should this be a lesser concern?