I received a reminder of the existence of Kaffe Mercantile on my Facebook feed. I couldn’t remember whether i wrote about them in the past, which is a sign that I need to write about them right now. I believe I went to one of their establishments once. I was impressed with how cozy their establishment was and the quality of their products. I reached out to them at some point, but I don’t think those conversations went anywhere.
As far as content creators go, i’m one of the least arrogant. I never assume that I am owed anything from the companies i contact. I realize that every company gets countless requests from people like me wanting to write reviews and get products. I have been told no so many times that the word has almost no meaning. I don’t let it get to me. I will deal with 999 rejections to get that one acceptance.
I forget whether Kaffe Mercantile rejected me though. I think the conversation started, they had no interest, and things fell apart shortly thereafter. That’s a shame. I am a person who writes about coffee and they’re up the street and around the corner from me in multiple directions. It stands to reason that a partnership between us would make sense.
Regardless of what happens going forward, I would like to reiterate the fact that I’m impressed with Kaffe Mercantile. They have multiple locations in a market that’s crowded with faceless corporate competitors like Starbucks and Bean & Brews. I love it when smaller coffee shops make it, especially ones that treat their customers well while making great coffee. How could you say anything bad about that?
This post should serve as an open letter. If the wonderful people at Kaffe Mercantile would be willing to have me, I’d love to come in and try some of their wonderful drinks. I would also like to talk coffee with them. I am not an expert by any means, but I love to hear from people who are passionate about their craft. I end up learning a lot and it’s always an enjoyable experience. Maybe that’s what will happen here. Who knows. I certainly hope so.
I’ve written many articles about coffee I’ve been able to get my hands on from brands in the United States. A few Canadian companies have sent their wares. I’m by no means done writing about all the coffee I’ve tried. I don’t want to rush content on here just for the purpose of checking a box on a task list. I want all my content to come naturally in a way that makes me happy. That being said, I don’t think my collection of subject matter is complete by any stretch of the imagination.
In the past, I made efforts to reach out to overseas companies to see if we could forge a partnership. I think that this process ended with some coffee from one company in India. That’s all. Hundreds of emails resulted in one hit in one company. I’ve never been pleased with that kind of paltry output. Coffee is more than an American thing. It’s a matter of great importance to the human race.
2018 will mark the 5th year I’ve talked about coffee. During this time, I’ve grown greatly frustrated with the task at hand. So many other outlets have covered coffee in the driest way possible. They choose to bog the reader down with jargon, making the world of coffee inaccessible and arrogant. I’ve been judged for not playing by their rules more times than I can count. Don’t expect that I’m going to join the crowd anytime soon.
The next phase of this project will involve me tying up loose ends, finishing profiles of coffee entities from other countries. In the meantime, I will be firing off messages to companies that haven’t been receptive in the past. I know full well that this will end up being the same dud it was before. I plan to approach this with a bit more persistence this time. I won’t take no for an answer.
The Thermos and Aladdin brands are known for their flat colors and functional designs. Migo is different because everything about their products is about standing out and looking lively. I’ve seen some products that look like these from other brands; however, I have a hard time trusting them since these brands aren’t as time tested as the other ones under the PMI Worldwide umbrella. That’s not to say that these similar looking products are somehow less than in terms of their quality. On the contrary, chances are they are just as well made as the products from Migo. It all comes down to the level of trust you have in a brand though.
As with any product that’s primarily sold overseas, I would imagine considerable difficulties in getting Migo products stateside. In the interest of having informed reviews, I will put in the work necessary to get my hands on a few of them. An article like this one is more speculation than actual substance. I don’t like writing articles about products unless I’ve had them in front of me and put them through their paces. Sometimes I fall short in this pursuit. It doesn’t stop me from keeping the door open and revisiting the topic from time to time.
There’s nothing wrong with having a drink container that’s lively. Not everyone uses their container during break time at the job site. Some people want their container to go with the bright colors in their clothing or the places they visit. Color should not be the only quality that people look like in a container though. You should also determine whether the container is well made and worth the price that’s being charged for it. Value is key in any purchase, especially when it comes to items we’ll use on a daily basis.
I wish that the products from the Migo brand were available in this country. You can tell the market for which these products are intended because all of the text on their website is in a different language and the reviews are from countries in Asia. I’m not saying that it’s wrong for products to be sold in one part of the world and nowhere else. Whenever I’ve come across products like these, I can’t help but want them to be nearby. It’s impossible to tell whether a population will enjoy a product until they’re given the opportunity to get it.
PMI Worldwide is a conglomerate that operates two institutions in the world of coffee containers, Aladdin and Stanley. They also owns another container brand called Migos, which seems to primarily be based out of Asia. I’ve never heard of this brand, but I’m willing to put in the work to learn more about it. To say that I know about Aladdin and Stanley is an understatement. If you have been involved with coffee in the past century, chances are you have had some dealing with one of these brands. It doesn’t even have to be coffee either. The containers that these brands sell have a multitude of other uses.
I have been remiss in covering the up and comers without tipping my hat to the originals. I would love to even establish relationships with this company and its subsidiaries. I used to own some units from their past, but I have since parted with them. This decision is one I’ve regretted ever since I made it. I plan on establishing a collection of vintage coffee containers once I have enough room to store them. My favorite thing about these units is the quality of their craftsmanship. They stand the test of time.
When I think of Stanley and Aladdin containers, I think of hard work. I think of a scrappy laborer lacing up their work boots as they fill their containers with coffee or soup or whatever else. In this scenario, the container is usually coupled with a metal lunch box. As the whistle blows to tell them it’s break time, they open up their container and pour whatever is inside into the little cup on the top. This image of their products is primarily the reason why I respect what they do so much.
My main goal with looking into these institutions is to figure out how they compare with the more contemporary brands. I have no doubt that they will compare favorably. It’s foolish to think that brands that have the history these ones do would do anything to jeopardize their reputation. I’ve worked to find people who work for these organizations. These efforts have been unsuccessful. I’m not giving up though. I love digging deep into corporate pocketbooks to find contact information for decision makers. They love to hide to the best way to get in touch with them. That doesn’t stop me. I find out sooner rather than layer.
I’ve been struggling with the current metal pour over filter I have. It’s not big enough. I am able to adapt it so it suits most of my needs, but if I start trying to make more coffee than what fits into a single pot, I run into a problem. The amount of grounds it takes to ramp up coffee production is tremendous. When you have a relatively small pour over filter, you will be left with a limited amount of grounds. As the grounds you’re using absorb more water, the speed of your brewing will slow to a crawl.
I do not want to have to make my own filtration system to accomplish my objectives. All homemade filtration apparatuses have their drawbacks. They are by no means as effective as what’s available in the commercial marketplace. They have a tendency to be messy and time consuming to rig up. I would rather have something that’s ready right out of the box. I’m able to do that with my current filter. Why would I have to do anything else with something that does the same job but on a much larger scale?
When it comes to making great coffee, there’s absolutely no room for nonsense. I feel like the influence of corporate juggernauts has removed any flexibility from the equation. You have to make coffee the way they want you to make it or else you have to empty your bank account to purchase implements that only luxury coffee shops can afford. The fact that things are this way is unacceptable. We should be able to make coffee however we please for an affordable rate. The amount of money we spend to get a run of the mill coffee maker should be the same as what it costs to get a luxury cup of coffee.
I will be talking to as many people in the coffee world as possible until I find an affordable, effective solution to my pour over filter problem. The conversations I’ve had with coffee people have taught me a great deal about what’s out there. It’s like when a politician tours the country to introduce a new policy. That’s what I’m doing here. I am going around to see how I can take my pour over coffee brewing to the next level. As soon as I solve this problem, you’ll be first to know.
A friend of mine told me about something he called trucker coffee. I had never heard of such a thing in all my years of covering coffee. Making this coffee involved an intricate process of brewing the coffee three separate times. The idea of taking an already brewed pot of coffee and sending it through some grounds yet again seemed like a novel concept to me. Being the connoisseur of all things coffee, I didn’t want to let this opportunity pass me by.
Here’s How this Coffee is Made
1/2 cup coffee grounds for 4 cups water
3/4 cup coffee grounds for 8 cups water
1 cup coffee grounds for 12 cups water
As you go through each step of the process, you have to make sure the filtering is precise or the end result will be a gritty brew. This is also a process that requires a considerable amount of patience. As the coffee goes from one step to the next, it becomes thicker. Regular coffee makers have a hard time handling this and tend to slow down quite a bit. I used a pour over filter to get the job done. It made it take longer, but it didn’t end up clogging up my coffee makers
When it came time to get to the final step of the process, the amount of grounds in my metal filter was almost too much for its size. After completing the brewing, I went to look for a bigger filter and was ultimately unsuccessful. For future instances where I generate a batch of trucker coffee, I will likely have to make my own filtration system if I am unable to find one elsewhere.
The taste of triple brewed coffee reminds me a lot of cold brew. I’m amazed by this fact because most cold brew takes three days to finish. This coffee was done in the course of an hour. I have always wanted to do more cold brew. The process is such a pain in the butt though. Knowing that I can get the same result without having to go through all the back breaking labor is a relief.
I like to come up with inventive ways to make coffee without needing electricity or a traditional coffee maker. I know that there will be times where I won’t be able to depend on these conveniences. That’s when I will get out my metal filter, warm up some water, and start making trucker coffee.
Sometimes you have situations that knock you off your feet and make you realize that you have so much more work to do. This is one of those situations. I thought I knew a lot about coffee. I don’t…and I have trucker coffee to thank for it.
A considerable amount of time has passed since I had the pleasure of trying coffee from Admiral Coffee House, an up and coming establishment that started in Meridian, Idaho life set to move into digs that are sure to allow them to grow and serve their sizable and growing following.
Whenever you come across an establishment that’s doing things the right way, covering them becomes more than just talking about their coffee. The people who pour their heart and soul into coffee deserve to be applauded and admired. In the case of Admiral Coffee House, the person I’m talking about is Beth Williams. Shortly after I booted up this project and reached out to her, she added me on Facebook.
The months that followed gave me the opportunity to track her process and comment on all the little things she posted. Her love of coffee became evident. I reveled in her successes and rooted for the other things she had going on. I came to a point where I could call her a coffee master with the most profound level of sincerity imaginable. I also think of her as a friend because she has that spirit. You feel like you’ve known her a long time even though you just met. That quality is invaluable for someone who runs a coffee house.
I would love to see Admiral Coffee House build out their online ordering system and become their own coffee roaster. Granted, this would add a great deal more to Williams’ itinerary, but I know she could handle it. It’s like Red Skelton used to say (I’m paraphrasing) “If you’ve got talent, it doesn’t matter if they put a brick wall in front of you. You’ll break through it.”
Would it be too much to ask for a company to make a coffee grinder that doesn’t clog? My insufferable grinder clogs all the time. It always seems to do it at the worst possible time too. Why is that? The last time I checked a coffee grinder is something that’s supposed to grind coffee. When it doesn’t grind coffee, it’s no longer a coffee grinder. It’s just a machine that makes a lot of noise. I find myself having to resist the urge to throw the contraption across the room every time I have to dig out the needle noise pliers to get the 1/8 of a teaspoon of grounds out of the gears.
I received a manual grinder and it did not get the job done. I had to exert a considerable amount of effort to get a minimal amount of grounds. I kept trying to make the process more efficient and was left with the same lackluster results. I have yet to write a review about this product because I feel like I’m not using it right. I plan on writing the manufacturer of this product to see if there’s some sort of remedy to this situation.
I’m really hoping that another company steps up to the plate to make a better grinder. A grinder that blows through a pound at a time without getting clogged. I saw a grinder like this at my favorite coffee laboratory, Daily Rose Espresso in Layton, Utah. The proprietors of this establishment fed a bag of coffee through a beastly looking grinder and it spit it out like it was nothing. I’m sure there similar contraptions in other coffee shops across the country. The cost of these machines is so significant that it makes it difficult for the average coffee drinker to get their hands on them. There has to be a better way.
I’ve pondered launching a Kickstarter campaign to turn a clog proof coffee grinder into a reality. In order for me to go into that project, I would have to research all the grinders. I haven’t done that yet. I will continue to search for this kind of grinder until I’m able to add it to my repertoire. Coffee drinkers deserve better grinders than the ones they’re getting. If I can’t find a grinder to recommend to them, I will put the wheels in motion to ensure that it’s created.
Kill Cliff is one of those companies that makes products that leave you baffled. That’s what happened when I tried some of their drinks. They were one of the companies that participated in the cold brew reviews on the old version of this blog. While I quickly wrote the reviews for all the other contenders, the words didn’t come as easily for me when it came to Kill Cliff. I chalk this difficulty down to my philosophy about reviews. I don’t want to tear someone to shreds because who am I to act like the almighty authority on any given subject.
That being said, every product I tried from Kill Cliff was not my cup of tea. Each of them tasted stranger than the last. I think it had something to do with the fact that their drinks are sweetened with Stevia. I’m not one for artificial sweeteners, so I feel like the results of this review were inconclusive. Someone who likes drinks that have Stevia in them would be all over Kill Cliff products. I’m not one of those people. I’m also not a person who wants to take away from the hard work someone else is doing.
I enjoy cold brew coffees in all their forms. I tried some out of this world varieties. To come across one that failed to live up to my expectations left me disappointed. I questioned whether I had the expertise to be able to adequately review these drinks. I wondered if I had tried so many of the same beverage that my mouth became desensitized to what really mattered. Reviewing several versions of a similar product is challenging that way. Eventually it all runs together and you can’t taste anything, let alone the nuances of the individual products.
I don’t fault Kill Cliff for sweetening their drinks the way they do. Artificial sweeteners are a welcome alternative to the sweetness found in all other drinks. It all comes down to a person’s individual preference. If they don’t prefer Stevia, they’re not going to like drinks that have Stevia in them. That doesn’t mean that the Stevia drinks are bad. They’re just not what the drinker prefers. I encourage anyone who has had and enjoyed drinks that contain Stevia to try Kill Cliff products. You will be impressed and come back for more.
I’ve written about Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC several times. There’s so much material there because they sell countless varieties of coffee. Each type of coffee has its own identity and is deserving of individual coverage. I feel like I keep coming back to them because of how badly I bungled our relationship. I tried their coffee years ago for the purpose of a review. I wrote the review, but I spent too much time on it.
At this point, making amends seems like a virtual impossibility. I’ve attempted to contact them on a number of occasions to no avail. I would absolutely love to work with them again if that’s what they want. I’m hoping that, since so much time has passed, they have let bygones be bygones. I doubt that it will happen in the way that I want. Perhaps it will one day and, when that happens, I’ll be here with bells on.
In the meantime, I encourage anyone who’s reading this post to check out their page. They continue to be one of the best coffee companies I’ve ever come across. I check in on my them from time to time and they continue to impress me. I always like to mention in reviewsnumber where I’m fanboying out that I’m not being paid to write this post. I take special precautions to ensure that I maintain the highest levels of objectivity and integrity.
Every coffee drinker deserves to have the best cup of coffee on the market. I started this blog for the sole purpose that I was sick and tired of the coffee I was getting from the grocery store. When I find a type of coffee I love, I can’t get away from it. As time goes on, I come across a whole multitude of other brands. Some are good and some are bad. The only thing that remains the same is the resonance of the brands that made an impact.
In moments where you find yourself regretting an action, the idea of time travel inevitably comes up. We want the opportunity to go back in time and atone for our mistakes. Though it’s a cliche, I’m more than happy to cart it out here. I wish that I could go back in time and redo the way I approached covering Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC. If I could do it over, I would in a second.