Coffee: Coava Coffee Portland

Admittedly, I am an overzealous coffee drinker. I drink between 6 and 9 shots of espresso per shift at work and I can’t stop blogging/tumbling/tweeting about the delicious coffee I get to drink.

I have no intention of stopping.

So I am in Portland and the one and only thing I really wanted to do while I was here was go to Coava Coffee. I went last time I was here (but never got around to blogging it- oops!) and loved it. Friends of friends run the place and I was recently informed that one of their baristas, Sam Purvis, won the Northwest Regional Barista Competition. Having witnessed a day of the Southwest competition I know that is a big deal. Fingers crossed he would be working! I was just dying for a cappuccino at the SW competition last weekend and here was my chance to get a campion cappuccino!

What luck! He was working! And to be honest, I felt a little starstruck! This guy won the competition in (what I imagine is) the toughest region in the country. Best Barista in the Northwest! Amazing! I decided to go for the gold and get two drinks like I did at Intelligentsia last week. A cappuccino for here and a latte to go. I got their Costa Rican espresso in the cappuccino and the Honduran in the latte. A good choice, I think.

Everything about my cappuccino was just right. It was perfect and creamy, the espresso was rich and smooth and not too vegetal… and, as always, didn’t last nearly long enough. The latte was sweeter and the espresso even mellower- in a good way. It just tasted like perfection. The milk was steamed right to the sweet spot and the proportion of milk to espresso was spot on.

I was so into my coffee I hardly noticed my surroundings. Although, I do wish Coava had more seating. It’s a pretty big, open space but it feels awkward when there is nowhere to sit. Trevor and I ended up standing and drinking our cappuccinos near the bar- it was fine, but I think it would have been weird of I had been alone. I rank quality of the coffee far above the feel of a space, so if I lived in Portland I would make Coava a regular hang out, but it’s not hard to see why some people wouldn’t.

In conclusion: I hope we go back tomorrow! (And also, this is not the last time you will hear about this cappuccino.)

This last photo is from my visit in January- I really love this image and couldn’t bear to leave it out!

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Seattle: Day One

After an insanely long drive and a long stop in Portland Cynthia, Tommy and I arrived in Seattle at 2:38am on Monday morning.

Once we finally got moving on Monday  we had cupcakes for breakfast… at 1:30pm. It felt very Marie Antoinette. We then headed down the road to Caffé Fioré for the first of many, many cups of coffee this week.

There is a lighthouse in Seattle that I have seen in Cynthia’s photos and was dying to visit. We went out there and took some photos (I got to play with my new lens for the first time! Yay!), collected sea glass (well, they did), sang hymns on the rocks (I did) and sat on a driftwood log and talked about life. It was very nice. Colder than the dickens, but nice.

Later, Cynthia took me to Fremont to check out the vintage shops, used book store and Fremont Coffee (favorite!). We had a good time. I is so so nice to get to spend so much time with Cynthia. I just hate that we see each other so infrequently.

For dinner we went to Thai Tom in the University District. I LOVE Thai Tom. Generally, I don’t eat Thai food in America. It sounds like the snobbiest thing ever, but I’ve had too much good Thai food in Thailand. American Thai just does not compare. (Plus, Pat, my dad’s Thai wife, always orders so I don’t really even know what to order.) Thai Tom is the exception. Let me tell you why: going to Thai Tom is like going to Thailand. It’s hot. It’s a hole in the wall. They make you sit on uncomfortable stools. And it is SO GOOD. It is the only Thai food I have ever found that is like Thailand. The rice isn’t overcooked. The spices are just right… The moral of this story is: Go there. You will not regret it.

The Life Changer

Ok, so. I pretty much always drink the same thing at work: a triple small iced Americano, half water, with one pump of simple syrup and a splash of half and half. It’s delicious. Its rich, smooth, very strong (Basically, it’s equal parts water and espresso with a touch of cream and sugar) and, apparently, looks really good.

The other day when I was headed out with my drink to sit with a friend for my lunch break one of the regulars stopped me to comment on how good my drink looked and ask me what it was. I told him, and told him that it was amazing and that he should try it. He said next time he came in I should make it for him. I said ok then promptly forgot this ever happened.

About a week later (so, the other day) he came in, I mistook him for another guy (I thought he was Medium Non-fat Latte, where in fact he is Medium Extra Foamy Latte) and embarrassed myself. Then he reminded me that I was going to make him my drink. So I did.

While I made the drink I warned him that it was so good it would change his life (a phrase I use all too often). So he picks it up, gives it a stir and starts to walk away…

…then he turned around and, in all seriousness, said “If you’re going to change my life, I need to know your name.”

aaannnnnnnd, scene.

At right: The beverage in question, now to be called The Life Changer. Coming soon to a coffee menu near you.

sun tea

Ok, so Peet’s tea coolers. People love them… but they’re too sweet for me. Yesterday, in a fit of inspiration, I decided to make sun tea with Hibiscus C herbal tea. I put 6 tea bags in a 32(ish) ounce jar with a couple lemon slices, set it on the front porch fro several hours… and voilà! Hibiscus tea cooler à la Casey.

Today I expanded my horizons and made a jasmine lime tea cooler à la Casey. Six bags of Jasmine Fancy green tea, some lemon slices and in leiu of lime slices some bottled lime juice. Boom. So good.

These are an awesome, easy, sugar free treat. So refreshing. So free. (Well. Free for me. I get free tea and we have a lemon tree. Don’t be jealous!)

A Fun Christmas Baking Fact

Allspice, also called Jamaica pepper, kurundu, myrtle pepper, pimenta, or newspice, is a spice which is the dried unripe fruit (“berries”) of Pimenta dioica , a mid-canopy tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico and Central America, now cultivated in many warm parts of the world. The name “allspice” was coined as early as 1621 by the English, who thought it combined the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
From Wikipedia