January 13, 2013

A good cup of Coffee

For me, having a cup multiple cups of coffee in the morning is less about a vehicle for caffeine and much more about a warm beverage I can enjoy with my breakfast...and sip throughout the morning. Unfortunately, finding good tasting coffee can be a challenge...especially if you don't want to splurge on freshly roasted whole coffee beans from a skilled local roaster, which are very limited in Anchorage.

A few tips for finding that perfect coffee at your local grocer? The Atlantic Food Channel gives a few tips on buying coffee at the supermarket and I have highlighted of few of those below...

"Purchase whole beans for the freshest flavor. Ground coffee is never as fresh...

"Few grocery stores date their bins, so stay away from bulk coffee beans. If coffee is properly packaged in a valve bag (the bags with the internal buttons and little slits), the coffee will taste fresher than bulk coffee, which has been exposed to atmosphere...

"There are a few supermarkets and wholesale clubs that roast coffee in the store. That should be freshest, but evaluate the skill of blending and roasting. Roasting requires skill and experience. If you live far from multiple sources of roasters, the freshest of in-store roasting may override other, more subtle taste considerations...

I personally will spend more on locally grown, fresh produce at the grocery store and think coffee should be no different. I admit that I am definitely not above the occasional jumbo bag of Costco brand coffee (Columbian is my favorite...and actually tastes pretty good), but sometimes, I do like to splurge on a local roast or pay the extra change for a really fresh bag of beans...and I ALWAYS grind and brew my coffee because I do think the difference is quite substantial.

So, what beans have I been enjoying lately?

Local Roast: Kaladi Brothers Coffee - Big Wild Life Blend

Kaladi Brothers Coffee is a local roaster in Anchorage that claims to employ a mix of arts and science to create the standard by which all coffees are judged. Kaladi strives to maintain freshness and quality. Kaladi was born in Anchorage in 1986 and cranks out about 1 million pounds of coffee per year.

When I want a local roast, this is what I pull off the shelf.

Best bang for the buck: Kirkland Signature (Costco Brand) Columbian Supremo Whole Bean

Truly one of the cheapest beans/pound varieties at Costco,  the coffee is smooth and has a nice, rich taste. The beans are 100% arabica and claim to be specially selected and handpicked.

Most of the time, this is the coffee found in my cup.

Trader Joe's: Bay Blend (current selection...Christmas gift from Matt's mom and dad)

Although there is not a Trader Joe's in Anchorage (I wish!!!), having tried many different varieties, the Costa Rican Tarrazu and Bay Blend are definitely my favorites.

In no way am I a coffee connoisseur, but I do know that I like a relatively good cup of coffee in the morning to get my day started. Whether I decide to spend a little more cash on a fresh, local brew, or go for value, I do spend some time choosing which coffee bean to purchase based on taste.