Coffee Break: Sightglass Finca Zulema Reserva

Before abandoning me leaving Austin for a dream job, my good friend Jeff picked up a bag of coffee for me while in San Francisco.  Sightglass Coffee is a small family-run operation with two coffee shops and a spot at the farmers market.  Reading about them reminds me of Cuvee Coffee, both maintaining close relationships with the coffee farmers with whom they do business.

This particular coffee, Finca Zulema Reserva, tasted pretty true to its included “Taste Notes”.  I thought it was really well-balanced and maybe a little less bright than the bag would suggest.  Admittedly, and this should probably be said in all my Coffee Break posts, these have been brewed primarily in my cold-brew Bruer setup (as seen in the pictures), which undoubtedly will affect what flavors are highlighted.  But compared to previous beans, I’d say this Sightglass bag impressed me.

DSC03406

DSC03408

Coffee Break: Cuvee Coffee Cuberow

Cuberow is the way someone not from Ethiopia would pronounce the Amharic word ቀበሮ for fox.  But what does a fox know about coffee?  Apparently a lot, because this coffee is amazing.

Cuvee Cuberow (Large)

I know I said Cuvee’s October special Reserva was great, and that September’s special Kumurembe was my favorite, but November’s Cuberow is, in fact, the best.  Like “holy moly wow that’s fantastic” great.

The official tasting profile says “sweet peach and grapefruit-like acidity lead into a dry resin-y finish, with notes of jasmine and rosemary”.  I taste none of that.  Actually, I almost didn’t buy the Cuberow because I was afraid it’d be too fruity and bright and acidic and, god help me, grapefruity.  Instead it’s balanced and interesting and rich and bright.  Maybe that’s what the official tasting notes are trying to say, considering each of their descriptors is different from one another.  But really what it means is you should grab a bag or twoelve the next time you see one (or online) before they’re gone!

Coffee Break: Cuvee Coffee Reserva

If you’ll recall, I placed an online order from Cuvee to get two specific bags of coffee.  One was the Kumurembe, and the other was the Reserva.  Nevermind I recently saw the Reserva in my grocery store, I was thrilled to receive it in the mail.  As October’s special variety, my propensity for wanting needing new, limitedly-available things got the best of me again.

Bruer Cuvee Riserva

Slightly less acidic / vibrant, the Reserva has a smoother flavor than its Kenyan predecessor.  That said, it definitely lives up to its official taste profile: Crisp Clean Black Cherry Acidity with Dark Chocolate and Tangerine.  For me I don’t quite taste the tangerine aspect, but the cherry and dark chocolate are absolutely dominant.  I’d say Reserva would be more crowd-pleasing than other beans thanks to its relatively narrow range of balanced flavors.  Per usual, delicious stuff from Cuvee and another one I’d recommend.

Coffee Break: Cuvee Coffee Black and Blue

If you couldn’t tell yet, Cuvee Coffee is my favorite coffee roaster.  The reason is simple: their coffee rocks.  But it all started with my first taste of their nitrogenated cold brew coffee known as Black & Blue.  Yes, “nitrogenated” as in it’s put in a keg and then pressurized out with nitrogen.  If you’re in Austin, seek it out.  It’s something special.

Well, the people at Cuvee have taken their super smooth Black & Blue and put it in a can.  Wrapped in that beautiful blue just like their bags of beans, the can features the B&B mascot.  It pours super dark and with a small amount of foam on top.  “Smooth” doesn’t even describe how easy-drinking it is.  I’m so excited to be able to grab a can on the go.  For the time being, the supply is very limited and I found mine at their new coffee shop on East 6th.  But sources say to keep an eye out for these blue cans coming to stores soon.

Per usual, I have no affiliation with Cuvee, they didn’t ask me to write this, and I bought my can of coffee on my own.

Foodie Day!

Last week our neighbor mentioned something along the lines of seeing my incredible food photos and wanted to set up a “foodie day”.  After thinking about it, I realized that a relatively average day for me is not quite the norm for others.  So then I did what anyone would do and ran 14 miles.  Anyway, we had a plan set out for Republic of Sandwich (my new favorite spot in Austin) followed up by Cow Tipping Creamery (my forever favorite spot in Austin).  Here’s how things played out.

My foodie regular day began with a short run and then met up with Jeff at Easy Tiger to try a real pumpkin spice latte.  PSLs, as they’re known on sosh med, can be made one of two ways: 1) with pumps of non-organic, non-local, non-natural, non-delicious syrups; or 2) with homemade pumpkin syrup made from real pumpkins.  Easy Tiger makes theirs with option 2.  As someone whose coffee order is “iced coffee, no room”, this ranks in the top 3 of all coffee beverages in Austin.  The other two will not be named at this time to avoid spoilers in an upcoming post.

Easy Tiger Pumpkin Latte, photo courtesy of the inimitable Jeff Amador

Easy Tiger Pumpkin Latte, photo courtesy of the inimitable Jeff Amador

With coffee in hand and no food in my belly, I made my way over to Joe’s Bakery, which routinely finds itself atop most “best breakfast taco” lists.  Egg-and-potato wins every time.  The tortillas… OH! the tortillas!  A great snack to hold me over before Foodie Day officially began.

Joe's Bakery Breakfast Taco

After breakfast an idea popped into my head that can be described as nothing but humbly brilliant.  The pieces fit so snugly: it’s raining + I’m near La Barbecue + people don’t like to wait in lines in the rain = go get La Barbecue for foodie day!  This meant a change in plans, but everyone involved was on board.  I arrived 15 minutes after opening and was 12th in line.  I ordered a lot of meat for three people including a pound of brisket, three ribs, a half pound of pulled pork, and a half pound of turkey.  We had leftovers.

La Barbecue Spread

And finally, with barbecue acquired, on the way home I received an insider tip from Jeff that there was a new Red Rabbit special donut available!  So I swung by our local amazing grocery Wheatsville and snagged three donuts, including two of the gingerbread specials, before finally making it back home.

Red Rabbit Gingerbread Donut

The pre-Foodie Day latte and breakfast taco hit the spot before diving into the barbecue feast.  I love everything they make at La Barbecue, but the brisket steals the show consistently.  The little gingerbread man rounded (donut pun!) things out perfectly.  To me, it was just a regular day, but I was happy to share and enjoy with others on their special day of eating.

And because no post can have too many babies, here are a few of the Foodie Day participants working off their meals.

Wes and Walker

Coffee Break: Cuvee Coffee Kenya Kumurembe

I loved the Cuvee Santa Rita so much that I bought two more bags and just finished off the last of it.  While I’m sad to see the August special all gone, I’m excited about trying their next seasonal variety!  September’s special bean from Kenya is called Kumurembe (which as Cuvee likes to say, is pronounced exactly how it’s spelled).

Bruer Cuvee Kumurembe

Based on the official tasting notes on the bag, I 1) half expected to drink a glass of wine, and 2) couldn’t wait to try it.  The description says “blackberry jam leads into a stonefruit sweetness with a syrupy body”.  That’s right up my caffeinated alley!

Opening the bag, and even more so when it was ground, this coffee smells amazing.  A. maz. ing.  After 6 hours in the Bruer, the first sip blew me away.  I love this coffee.  Definitely less acidic than the Santa Rita, and more balanced than the earlier Cuvee bag I tried.  The Kumurembe is my new favorite.  I will say, you get what you pay for, and in this case it happens to be their most expensive option.  But for me: worth it.

PS – With the Kumurembe out of retail distribution, as well as having a hard time tracking down a different special bag of Cuvee beans, I figured I could handle the $5 shipping to make all my coffee dreams come true.  Even better, when ordering online, you get the beans fresh.  Like, ordered Sunday night, roasted Tuesday, shipped Tuesday, and delivered Wednesday.  I’d say that’s worth $5 flat rate shipping.

PPS – I have no affiliation with Cuvee Coffee, I paid for all coffee myself, and I was not asked to write anything for them.  I’m just a sucker for good coffee.

Brunch with Team Vicious and Delicious

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it explicitly, but we have some pretty outstanding neighbors.  Monthly happy hour, meet-ups at the neighborhood bar, impromptu wine/beer/whiskey on the patio/front porch/street… and now we can add “friendly knock down drag out no holds barred potluck brunch” to the mix.  We were invited over to our neighbor’s house along with another couple to flex our brunching muscles.

Some of the key details included coming up with a team name (Team Vicious and Delicious), voting on: taste, creativity, presentation, and “bonus points”, and adhering to the theme: Cracker Barrel Chic.  Yep.  With about 10 days to prep, there was a lot of menu planning and email trash talk going on.  But ultimately it came down to the food, so here’s a recap of how things went down.

Team Vicious and Delicious

We absolutely made team shirts.  Bonus points!

Note: Due to the obscene number of photos I took documenting our epic brunch, I’ve tried to reduce the length of this page by creating gifs, slideshows, and self control. Continue reading