Hello Boss Iced Coffee

Oh my God this is horrible.
It’s so horrible it’s like watching a disaster movie. You can’t tear your eyes away. It’s like watching a boulder crushing cars and houses.
I’m having problems controlling my gag reflex.  Seriously.  I can’t drink it.
Yes, it’s that vile.  That is my opinion.  That’s my review, short and sweet.
I cannot finish drinking it.  I’m throwing it away.
Avoid this swill. It’s not groovy, not at all.

California Coffee Roasters Espresso Blend

A quandary. How should I judge an espresso roast against other coffees? By making an espresso?
No. That’s apples to oranges.
So I brewed it up like any coffee, using my cup top filter maker. After all you can use just about any coffee you want in an espresso maker. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an espresso blend.
So that is what I did, and wow, it was good. Really good. California Coffee Roasters Espresso Blend is as smooth as it is aggressive, with a rich smoky taste edged with a touch of coco and hint of nutmeg. It makes a good strong cup of regular coffee.
I wanted to establish that up front, because the next thing I did with it was fire up my machine and made myself a cappuccino of hot frothy goodness.
And now I’m wired up like a house with 10,000 Christmas lights and ready to go take a really long fast walk around the neighborhood. Which is a good thing. I need the exercise.
I am zinging right now. Really. Zinging.
And this Espresso Roast? Rich, fresh, outstanding, and definitely a groovy brew.

Berres Brothers Highlander Grogg

Berres Brothers touts this flavored blend as “Indulgently sweet, richly enticing. Our top seller… an explosion of caramel, butterscotch and hazelnut.”

I’m going to have to come up with a new category on this website, and call it “Candy Coffee” because a lot of the brews I’ve sampled this month fall directly into that niche.

This one is no exception.

I have a sweet tooth. I freely admit that. It’s caused me some problems in the past, too, and I admit that as well.

But this coffee and a bit of non-sugar sweetener will quell any coffee lover’s sweet tooth for about one calorie per cup.

Let’s go through Berres Brothers claims for this coffee one by one:

  • Indulgently sweet? Yes.
  • Richly enticing? I’d say so, as long as you have a sweet tooth.
  • An explosion of caramel? Not quite an explosion but it’s undeniably present.
  • Butterscotch? Present.
  • Hazelnut? Accounted for.

I have no doubt that it’s one of their top sellers. As far as a flavored coffee goes, I’d say it makes it to my top three favorites. It’s smooth, with a creamy texture for the tongue, the flavors riding atop of (but overwhelming) a mild, probably Kona-based blend.

So to the above list I must add:

  • Groovy? Most definitely.


California Coffee Roasters Irish Cream

I think you might consider this is a biased review.
Up front, let me just say that I do not like Irish Cream flavored coffee. Irish Cream itself, yum, and some Irish Cream coffee creamers, yum, but as a flavored coffee, no. Yuck.
So I am not a good one to judge California Coffee Roasters Irish Cream. Just to say I don’t care for it means nothing, really, because it’s not the coffee itself, nor the quality of the roast, that I am putting down.
Some of you out there must love Irish Cream flavored coffee. This has to be a fact. Otherwise no one would make it, because no one would buy it.
To me, the Irish Cream flavoring masks the coffee taste with this unnatural pseudo-cream ick that hints of turned milk and cheap whiskey. But for those whose palates are fond of it, I will say that California Coffee Roasters’ version is strong in flavor, fresh, and very smooth.

Super Coffee Mix Blue Mountain Blend

Another one of the cans of coffee my daughters picked up for me at the Asian market, the actual full name of this is Super Coffee Mix (brand) Blue Mountain Blend Premium Super Gold Coffee.
Made in Malaysia.
Man, you know this has got to be wonderful stuff, just by reading the product title. Not only is it a super coffee mix, and not only have they used the term “blue mountain,” but they have proclaimed it Premium Super Gold Coffee.
They used “super” twice. It’s Super Super Coffee.
I can only thank God it’s a tiny little can. I know this is going to be awful.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t have antifreeze in it.
I pop the top. I take a sniff. It’s amazing.
Yes, amazing. Amazing how stale a tinned coffee can smell. It takes staleness to a new height. It must be super super premium goldenly stale.
I have to admit I’m a little frightened of drinking it. I hope you guys out there appreciate me putting my life on the line like this for your amusement. Here goes nothing.
Okay, I’m surprised, it wasn’t half bad. It was in fact just as good as Godiva’s bottled coffee (yuck) and it went down smooth enough. It was much better than Hello Boss Cappuccino.
But, one thing I really did not like about it, was finding a piece of rice in my mouth afterward.
I hope it was a piece of rice. I looked at it closely under a bright light, and it didn’t appear to be a bug.
Not groovy.

Berres Brothers Kona Blend

Jaded? Me? No way.

But I’m sorry, Kona coffee is boring. There’s not much going on with it. It’s not bad, it’s… well, it’s just not spectacular. And there are a lot of spectacular coffees out there.

But if you like Kona, then Berres Brothers is a good choice.

It’s smooth, has a delicate flavor, and the edge of boredom worn is off by mixing in some excellent Costa Rican beans. It features a lightweight coffee flavor that is far more laid back than aggressive, with low acidity and a slight nutty aftertaste that hints of pecan.

It’s pretty good. In fact, I would even say it’s groovy, though not as groovy as their other blends.

I think of coffee as a sort of intense, in your face type of drink. Kona, on the other hand, is a lot like the place it comes from. Hawaii is a lazy, balmy paradise, where the weather is eternally nice, and you can always count on a beautiful day to relax in the shade — in a hammock, no doubt, strung between two palm trees.

If that is what you want in a coffee, then Kona is for you.

California Coffee Roasters Costa Rican Tres Rios

I love coffee. Obviously. The fact is, I’m obsessed with it.
Even though I’m so obsessed with it, it’s rare that I taste one and, upon first sip, I’m startled and exclaim, “Oh my God, that’s good!”
This Costa Rican Tres Rios is one of those rare coffees. It is silky smooth, featuring a warm and embracing medium roast flavor, naturally sweet, with delicious berry and wood-smoke notes. It is so good that it makes my tongue happy.
I really shouldn’t be surprised, because looking back over this growing collection of reviews, I find there’s a pattern of enjoying Costa Rican beans. But the truth is, you can take the best beans in the world and ruin them by not knowing what you’re doing. They have to be roasted just right, they have to be delivered immediately, and they have to be enjoyed soon thereafter.
That is what small batch roasters are all about, and that’s why (according to Business Week) large coffee manufacturers are steadily losing market share to these much smaller gourmet coffee companies. It’s literally a case of “Wake up and smell the coffee!”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again … once you’ve had truly fresh, lovingly roasted coffee produced by people passionate about what they do, you will NEVER GO BACK.
California Coffee Roasters is a family run business, and every employee — from bookkeeper to customer service rep — is taught to roast coffee, cup coffee, and how to select beans.
That, my friends, is passion for coffee.
I am so happy to have a whole selection of their coffees to try that I’m literally like a kid facing a pile of Christmas presents. This Costa Rican Tres Rios, which I pulled out at random, is just one of a number of incredible coffees they offer.
Check back later, because I’ll be featuring more of these coffees soon.

Berres Brothers Organic Peruvian Decaf

I know some of you would rather go without, than to drink decaf.

I don’t go without. I can’t. The coffee must flow.

There are good decaf coffees available if you look for them. They’re perfectly drinkable and they don’t keep you awake all night.

So, when you want coffee at 10:54 PM, you can have it.

Berres Brothers Organic Peruvian Decaf is one of these good decafs. I’m drinking it now, straight up black. It’s got a medium acidity, with hints of toasted nut, bittersweet chocolate, and a mellow finish.

The flavor stands up well even when cold, so it works as an iced coffee too. What I like to do at night is brew up a good decaf like this one, let it cool, add some sweetener and ice, and occasionally a flavored creamer.

In fact … I think that’s what I’ll go do right now.

California Coffee Roasters French Vanilla

I’m delving once again into the world of flavored coffees, and today I’m sampling California Coffee Roasters French Vanilla. Let me tell you, when these guys say “French Vanilla,” they mean it. When I opened the package the vanilla scent was so strong you could almost see it.

I brewed myself up a cup, drank it down so quickly that I didn’t even get a chance to take notes, and then brewed another one. This is quite an admission for me, but I’m starting to change my mind about flavored coffees. Once a big fan of them, they fell out of favor with me for a while, but now I’m learning to like them again.

You see, you can’t really put them in the same category as a pure coffee. This is more in realm of a desert, bordering on the neighborhood of cappuccinos and lattes. When you’re in the mood for a pure roast coffee, don’t reach for a flavored one. When you’re in the mood for something sweeter, shun a soda pop in favor of one of these.

As far as this brew goes, actually taking a sip, it’s the vanilla — not the coffee — that you taste. You have to let the vanilla fade before the coffee flavor comes to the fore.

I am a huge vanilla fan so this is not a problem to me. Especially if I’m in the mood for it. Which, lately, I have been.

The coffee underneath is very smooth and mellow, with a subdued gentle base that allows the flavoring to shine. There’s a warm toastiness, with slight winey notes. Nothing really outstanding about it, but that makes sense.

You don’t drink this for the coffee flavor. You drink it for the vanilla.

And that is what this blend delivers, in abundance.


Hello Boss Cappuccino

A long time ago, in a town far, far away, deep within the strange recesses of a damaged food warehouse, I discovered my first canned coffee drink.

It was “Hello Boss” coffee, a product of Taiwan. I had to buy it out of pure curiosity. I remember liking it more for the novelty than the taste.

Now you’ll find canned and bottled coffee everywhere, most of it pretty awfulbut occasionally excellent — and there is no novelty involved.

Still, deep within the recesses of an Asian market, my daughters found for me cans of coffee they’d never seen before. And, thus, Hello Boss coffee reentered my life.

Let’s not mince words, here. It’s awful. Hello Boss Cappuccino tastes of cold instant coffee left overnight, mixed with the cheapest powdered creamer available to man, and leaves you with a taste that warns of the coffee itself having dissolved part of the can it came in … and you just drank it.

Not groovy. Not in the least.

Café Brazil Holiday Blend

Candy is what immediately came to mind after my first sip.

Café Brazil’s Holiday Blend is a jumble of well mixed flavors, all of them good, and so swirled together it’s hard to sort them out. Mint is one of them, with maybe a pumpkin spice thrown in, as well as caramel or vanilla (or both). After that my ability to dissect them into their component parts fails me.

Especially considering it’s a flavored brew, the underlying coffee itself is excellent. It’s a good base to build the flavors on — it would be delicious even without them. Rich and bold without being aggressive, it’s smooth with sweet Kona-esq highlights.

I have to say this is perfect for a Christmas coffee, and it’s definitely a groovy brew.

Groovy Coffee Factoid #3

091707-0245-groovycoffe1.pngBefore coffee was coffee, it was a tea.
When first discovered, the ancient Ethiopians boiled the leaves and berries of the coffee plant to make a tea.
They also used the berries to make a wine.
It wasn’t until the 16th century that someone figured out how to make the infusion from the roasted beans that we know today as coffee.