Cascara. Coffee’s older not quite so cool brother

Before a cantankerous monk cast coffee cherries, aka Cascara, into the fire and discovered the glorious aroma that caused second thoughts to flourish, coffee was consumed either in conjunction with fats, or as Cascara. When the wondrous wafts of fragrance revealed the seeds infusion as the primary drink, Cascara fell into obscurity. But Cascara is making a come back. Here is an article with more.

Woods Coffee, Bellingham WA


A few weeks ago the Illumni Men’s Chorale was headed north to the VanMan Summit to sing a set. We stopped in at North Western Washington U in Bellingham to sing with their men’s choir. On the way out of Bellingham I had the pleasure of drinking an awesome cup of coffee at Woods Coffee. We stopped at the one on King Street.

The Barista, Jess, clearly knew her coffee and was able to speak intelligently about it. It was clear that she had been well trained. She was able to go toe-to-toe with me, which is rare in a barista. That day, they were serving a Blend of Kenya,  Honduras, and Sumatra. Very often people want to brush their teeth after drinking coffee to get rid of “coffee breath”; not this cup. It had a very clean taste that stayed that same way for hours. I did not want to drink anything else because of the wonderful taste in my mouth. The body was excellent. As the cup cooled the characteristics of the Kenya came to the forefront. The roaster/blender has hit a home-run with this coffee. You know you are drinking a good cup of coffee when it still has a wonderful flavour hours after you have drunk it. I had to stop by and have another cup on the way back south.

Thank you Woods Coffee for your attention to the coffee and for serving outstanding coffee. This is what Coffee shops are supposed to do. Bellingham has excellent coffee in Woods Coffee.

Coffee Storage

How to Store Coffee

Coffee stores best in whole bean form. If you have a grinder (burr grinder is best – blade / spice grinder tend to slice the beans giving you inconsistent grind with some particles too coarse and some too fine) keeping the coffee in whole bean form will help it stay fresh.
If you have been putting your coffee in the fridge or freezer to keep it fresh, do both you and your coffee a flavour: STOP!
Coffee deteriorates in moist environments and freezing crystalizes and breaks down the oils and esters and that affects the flavour.
Coffee is best stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place. Glass, ceramic or porcelain are best. Plastic, metal or wood tend to trap oils and they eventually go rancid.
Coffee is at its prime between 18 hours and 12 days of being roasted. It is best to purchase coffee in quantities that you know you will drink within 2 weeks. After 3 weeks the coffee is best used to fertilize acid loving plants, or in winter something to add friction to icy sidewalks. (Some use it to freshen footwear.)

Delightful Coffee Encounter borrowing Starbucks’ WiFi

Kati Kati Blend by Starbucks

Today there was a problem with my internet. So I had to go to Starbucks to use their WiFi. While I was there I encountered a coffee that is worth raving over. It is not often that Starbucks hits a homerun (many of you know my lower than low opinion of their House Blend and Pikes Place Blend). Kati Kati is a Kenya/Ethiopian blend. It is the first blend from Starbucks that I have been able to drink black. It was very good. Good body, sparkly, spicy, mellow, with floral finish.

Starbucks should adopt this as their signature blend. It says “We are into COFFEE.” so much better than their House Blend or Pike Place Blend.

Ethiopian from StarBucks

Starbucks Rift Valley Ethiopian


Hey Coffee fans. After a few years hiatus, Starbucks is once again selling coffee. They rolled out their Ethiopian from the Rift Valley earlier this month. It is a blend of Sidama and Yirgo beans. It is roasted a bit on the dark side (I know; we’re all shocked that Starbucks would do such a thing)

It has nice spicy and peppery tones with flowery blueberry showing up as an aftertaste as the cup cooled. Perhaps if they did not roast it so aggressively it might have better berry/flowery notes. While I am sure that a better Ethiopian can be had, still I think we should reward Starbucks return to selling coffee by buying a pound. They fully plan to make this one of their regular offerings.

Starbucks® is a trademark of Starbucks Corporation

Seattle CoffeeFest


Thousands of wild-eyed, glazed-eyed humans mill about the Convention Center in Seattle mumbling words about body, mouth feel, and smoky. One hesitates to meet this crazed visage until one realizes that the same expression wears itself upon one’s own face.

This is CoffeeFest


Where else can you taste a wondrous Peruvian coffee and then meet the owner of the farm from which it came? Nor will you find it odd to hear oracles opining over obvious olfactory opulence.

I will review the Coffee separately. The new products that caught my eye were: Coffee Soda (made with cane sugar, not HFCS), and herbal tea that tastes like soup.

The  Coffee Soda is from Fizz Coffee. It tasted good: not too sweet, the carbonation contributed to the sparkle.

Check out

As for the herbal tea that tastes like very good bouillon soup, it is from Millies Savory Teas: Comfort Food in a Broth. The Teas are all Vegan, but they taste like a well crafted unvegan broth. I had the “Smoky Facon” and the “Indian Spice”. The Smoky Facon is an attempt to go for a pork broth taste. To me it tasted like a very well done beef broth. I could not convince my tongue that this was vegan. The Indian Spice tasted like a curry broth. It was complex and very delicious. They also have Tomato Basil, Thai Lemongrass, and Spicy Tortilla. For those of us in the Seattle area, Millies Savour Teas (OneFarStar, LLC) is local. Their website is

CoffeeFest is a trademark of Coffee Fest. Their website is


Coffee flavoured alliterations

Has accomplished the primordial infusion of pulverized roasted seeds of the coffee cherry and is, at least in theory, semi-caffeinated

An Almanac of Alliterative Ambiguous Aromatic Arabica

Blathering blankly bravely, blythely brewing brightly brown beverage –  BishopBlend™.

Creatively casting catatonic cerebral cortex —  civilly celebrating Coffee.

Deliriously displaying dirhinous deviance, dreamingly drinking delicious dripped draught of Djimah coffee.

Effervescent eliciting egalitarian elixor —  Ethiopian (Harrar).

C O F F E E . . stat .. ere I elucidate elegiacally over effulgent effort egregiously.

Fastidiously foisting fabulous favourite famously fragrant finery flagrantly down pharynx.

Glazed groggily gazing, the gastronomic gourmet guru gently ingesting glorious Guatamalan.

Hovering humbly having hot hoddle of hospitable Harrar.

Irenic intriguing intimate infusion of Indonesian blend imbues inspired irony.

Jeweled jug of Java juxtaposed joyously jeopardizes jittery jive jibberish.

Kicking about kitchen, Krunching Kenya AA, knocking Kalossi Kaveh into Krups.

Limaceously lugging unlucidly lugubriously lumbering to Lofty Liquid …. COFFEE.

Mountain made mellow majestic memorable magical Mandheling mojo. Mazeltov !

Nursing natural noetic nifty nectar: Nicaragua. Non-nervously nailing nebulous noggin nicely.

Olfactory opulence opens obliquely over our obvious oracle.

Papua New Guinea is placed peacefully preground plenteously presentiencing preimminent pulverization.

Be merciful subdeacon, for I am precaffeinated. Pompous pontification unperturbedly posits purely past my perceptual filters. Abbreviations don’t make it.

Prescentients probable pulverization of processed Coffee seed and precaffeinated passing peacefully.

No one really wishes me to posit posts of prose prior to partaking a pint of perfectly prepared coffee.

I position prose petulantly with painful pugilistic prerogatives in pompous parade prior to putting pulverized particles to prepare primordial potion.

Quixotically querying quintessential quality to quaff a quantity of Qavah.

Riveting relaxing rambunctious rabble-rousing ridiculous running rift Resisting Romantic rhapsody —  rejuvenating rune —  rapturous rare regionally roasted Rwandan.

Sipping second celestial cistern of serene salutary sweetness.

Takes time to toast two tasse of tasteful Timen.

Time to terminate torpid attempt to interact with reality without coffee.

Urging ultrainfusing unhurriedly unxerophagously upon unique urn —  a usually unubiquitous unction of Uraquay.

Vigorous verbosity visualizing venerable vapor, a violet vat of Venezuela, a vivid versatile vibrant vintage.

What? writing winsome witticism while waiting wicking wonderful washed winey West-African.

Xenoglossically xertzes a xenizoning xestis of xerophitetaxied xanthine — xenophilic exuberance ensues.
Understand that the dearth of decent X rated verbiage requires license in linguistic lineage … xenoglossically (strange verbiage, as in precaffeinated) xertzes (gulps) a xenizening (suprising) xestis (pint) of xerophitetaxied (transported by a desert dweller) xanthine (Caffeine componant) — xenophilic (hospitable) exuberance.

Yesterday yonder youth yanked a yoke yielding young yerba —   yes, YborCity Yirgacheffe.

Are these zombifically zooming zonked non-zigzaggers zipping to Zenith? or zestfully zinging their zither, or zug-zuging zealously a zillion Zanzibar peaberries?

© 2009 Steven Clark

Non- Coffee flavoured Alliterations

Anyone’s assistance ameliorating attempt at alliaceous alliteration.

Angry arrogant aristocrats arrange arduous adjudication, axing american ashes.

Apophatic arguer asks angry assembly artful  alternative.

Bellicose brutish bronchial bacillus

Bellicose bullies barge brusquely beyond boundaries of belief.

Crisp creative and compassionate Cross of Christ calls corporate congregation to compunction.

Curt clowns clumsily cloud clarity.

If one must deign to demonstrate a demented diction, DIAMENTIFEROUS to describe the wondrous writings of St. Isaac of Syria is a worthy wordsmithing.

Dense dumb demons drag darkly, drudgingly disposing dignity.

Errant eradicators eliminate education; erudition exits.

Elegiacally eliciting eleison, ever embracing Elohim.

Feudal fascination forgetfully foists Fascism.

Garish greedy goons gore gentle groups gesture.

Horrid harangue, hostile harping hoisted hitherto, hurting humans.

Hell hath hemmed the habit.

Harangue had by hitting history.

Ignorance idiotically implies impious illegalities, impeding illumination.

Insightful insider inquisits illogical illegality.

Jingoistically juxtaposed junk jeopardizes just jobs.

Keynote keeper kneels to knavish khan’s kamikaze karma.

Loitering luxuriously lamenting less luminous lexicography.

My mind meanders morosely mitigated momentarily unamused that some moronic maven meditates to emasculate majestic masterful manifestations of meaning.

Multisyllabic musings mediate menacing malediction.

Whereas many may meet my meandering musing, murkily making meaning, few fellows fascinate frequently for fallible phrenic foibles following piña colada.

Nocturnal nattering nixes next noetic need, never nicking nervous noise.

Opining opulent oligarch operative, obviously obtuse.

Plosive prose presents pregnant possibilities.

Passions pollute perception.

Peradventure pugilistic parties have previously pumulted your psyche with punitive prerogatives . . . panic is predictable.

Positing petty passion-filled poisoned pieces of pyrotechnical puffery.

Painful precaffeined prose poses particularly pointed perturbance presently.

Pedantic placing of prose in pompous parade prerequisites not putting pulverized particles to prepare primordial potion.

Precocious piffle presented pompously preempts purposeful phlegmatic practical prose.

Political punditry phobically posits putrid pestilence on the people prostituting posterity’s prosperity.

Quickly quenched a quite quarrelsome quip, a quaint quasi-quirky quotation.

Recently rigourously reinforced requirement for raucous refined refreshment.

Recall ridiculous recalcitrant radical renegades. Reinstate representative rule.

Some cerebral synapses shooting sparks of semi-caffeinated syllogisms.

Surreptitiously salivates shamelessly at the sumptuous serendipitous silliness.

Someone stop semi-sentient savagery soon.

Sniggering self-righteous sacrilegious psuedo-spirituality shamelessly shafting shallow sentiment;  shattering sweet soul.

Seditious shallow, sloppy sentimental.

Should she seek to sequester all sound save her own, she should seriously select Shostokovich.

Tawdry trollop tweaking tediously technological tripe.

Torturous terminology tactfully tempts tongue teasingly.

Usually utilize unctuous underground undulations.

Vitriolic vexing vicious viral vermin.

Venturing valiantly, void of viaduct, a very voluptuous volume of vehicles voluntarily values a variety of venues and avenues.

Venting verbal vivisection of vital verity.

Waxing wryly, wondering wickedly whether wit will win.

Yoking yond’ yammering youth to yesterday yeens yodeling Yiddish, yet yearning for yogurt.

Zombies zigzag zealously zeroing-in on zooming zambonis.

© 2013 – 2014 Steven Clark

Coffee Grinders

Grinding Coffee

You can usually grind coffee where you buy it. However, it will stay fresher in whole bean form. It is best to grind the coffee right before you brew it.

If you have a blade grinder it’s best to shake the grinder while grinding, and tilt it. The idea here is to get as close to a uniform grind as possible. This is possible to approximate but impossible to actually pull off since blade grinders slice the beans and inevitably will leave you with grounds that are inconsistent, mixed with coarse and fine.

The better grinder is a burr grinder. This allows for a more consistent grind. But how fine should you grind? You will want a slightly coarse medium grind for french press, a medium fine for pouring fresh drip, a fine for auto drip (if you use a filter) and very fine for espresso.

The best way to find if you are getting a proper extraction is to weigh the coffee before, then afterwards dry out the grounds and weigh them again. In a proper extraction, the grounds should weigh 19% less. If its weight loss is more than 19% then it was over extracted and needs a coarser grind; if its weight loss is less than 19% then it was under extracted and needs a finer grind. If you use 2.5 oz of coffee per pot, (.156 pound) then after brewing and drying  the grounds they should weigh 2.025 oz (.126 pound), any more and the coffee is over extracted and your grind is too fine, any less and your coffee under extracted and your grind is too coarse. The same can be done for espresso. A Standard Coffee measure is about .33 oz (.02 pound) after drying it should be .27 oz (.016 pound)

If you don’t have a scale that is that accurate you can time your espresso shot. If it takes less than 20 seconds it is likely under extracted and too coarse. If it is over 30 seconds it is over extracted and too fine.

CoffeegringerBraunBraun 4540 CoffeegrinderCuisinart Cuisinart DBM-8

My experience with grinders has been that the Cuisinart is good for auto-drip but not able to grind fine enough for espresso and turkish/greek coffee. Braun has a burr grinder (model 4045) that can grind fine enough for espresso.

I will add grinders to this list as I test them.

Ethiopian Gedeo Worka Yirgacheffe

Ethiopian Gedeo Worka Yirgacheffe dry processed from Klatch Coffee

Most Yirgacheffe I have drunk have been washed and roasted medium dark; I was eager to taste one that was dry processed and not aggressively roasted.

light sparkle (tropical fruit – like with sweetness almost pineapple ) with blueberry tones (not just winey, not just berry – BLUEBERRY)

It had blueberry aroma being ground. It has a pleasant acidy sharpness on the back of the tongue reminiscent of blueberry juice. There are subtle tones too, of peppery wood, with after-tones of a good Madagascar chocolate, but these are almost shouted down by the overwhelming blueberry. The body is like a good port wine.

Sugar and half & half serve to make the Blueberry even stronger

This is like a very good blueberry wine that should be drunk at leisure with a good friend and long conversations. This would be an excellent evening coffee

New Coffee Pot

When to get a new auto – drip pot.


I recently retired my Braun Aromatic after 8 years of service. I was hoping to find another Braun, but they seem to have gotten scarce.

What made it necessary to replace (beyond the normal wear and tear of 8 years of coffee) is that it was no longer extracting properly. The nozzle no longer got all the ground wet. This resulted in part of the ground not being extracted (infused) at all, and the remainder being over extracted. This resulted in a thin textured coffee brew that sometimes was more bitter than it needed to be.

I have replaced it with a Krups KM4065. This comes with it’s own water filter. The area I live in needs its water filtered. Downside of the filter is that it has to be replaced every 3 to 4 months. Upside of it is that it makes central and south american coffees sparkle and brings forward some of the characteristics of lighter roast coffees that sometimes get lost. An additional feature is that it can be set to automatically shut off so that the coffee doesn’t cook on the burner (I usually shut off after my second cup). It has the programable clock which I don’t recommend using since it requires your coffee to be ground ahead of time and then sit for hours getting stale. An additional design flaw is that the basket is too close to the water reservoir. It is easy to get grounds in it.

I look forward to a good 8 years of service.