It’s Labour Day which kind of means that summer is over!?
Thankfully, In the past month I feel like Dan and I crammed a lot of summer in!
We went to two weddings, visited my home town, visited Nelson BC and also Toronto- where Dan is from.
We spent a lot of time on the beach, in the sun, preparing yards for weddings, drinking and eating a lot, and  spending time with our family!

I also had a couple coffee  experiences too!
Unfortunatly in Toronto we only had the chance to visit 1 coffee shop- I know, it’s silly but thats just how it worked out this time, but I did get to share a lot of coffee with both mine and Dan’s family’s which was deffinatly a highlight of my trip.
In Nelson at my brothers house we would make about 6 press pots of coffee each morning- Yep, 6! There were a lot of us around to drink it and it seemed like each time someone woke up and made it to
the kitchen the kettle would go on the stove and the coffee would be ground. As usual this topped my list of favourite things to do in the morning.

In Toronto while visiting Dan’s family we also drank some pretty deliscious coffee. Dan’s dad, Joe,  was making us stove-top espresso lattes with hand frothed milk.
I know it isn’t the same as having an espresso drink made by a barista but having someone make you a great cup of coffee that you can enjoy at home, in the back yard with friends in the sun and not be paying anything for it is great. It is it’s own separate category compared to seeking out the best of the best espresso in cafes. And I love it! Drinking these lattes was one of my favourite parts of visiting Dan’s family!

Joe's Home-made Latte

As I said before- the only cafe that Dan and I made it into while we were in Toronto was Dark Horse on Spadina Ave.
It was actually a great experience. First of all- it was beautiful in there. Second the baristi were listening to Cat Stevens- which is one of my favourite artists to listen to while I’m at work makin’ coffee. Third the two Baristi working were SO NICE- It was awesome and it is such an important part of the experience. They gave us a good deal on the drinks we ordered,  they were talkative and just genuinely NICE. If anyone who works for Dark Horse reads this, Cheers on finding awesome employees!!! I ordered a single macchiato and a single espresso and Dan ordered a double macchiato. They were pretty delicious, nothing out of this world, but good. Worth checking out! The food also looked amazing but we didn’t try anything as we were saving room for dinner (The Black Hoof Cocktail bar and Pizzeria Libretto!).

Dan at Dark Horse

Now that I am back in Halifax and summer is slowing down I plan to be around this blog a bit more often.
Cheers for now!

-Ceilidh

Last week was a long week…
Thankfully on Friday Liz pulled the MOST amazing shot of espresso I have ever had the pleasure to have tasted.
She took one sip of it said “Wow!” with a look of shock on her face and immediately handed it to me.
It was perfect, the best shot I have tasted to date. The most amazing part to me was that when I smelled it, I smelled fresh and perfectly ripe blackberries, upon tasting It had amazing body and the taste of blackberries (perfect ones!) was there just like in the aroma and it was all… so … Perfect (Okay, Sorry I am clearly smitten by this shot of espresso and I am not very good at using my flavour-wheel words when I get excited!). I looked at Liz and probably said “Holy Shit! Liz! Did you taste that… It’s! It’s! Berries!!! Currents??? Blackberrys! Berries…. WOW! Thats BY FAR the best shot of espresso you have ever made. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. Holy Shit” ( and if thats not what I said, thats what I was thinking…).

I can’t stop thinking about it (I am sure Liz can’t either). Seriously it was good.

Different people have different takes on what a God Shot is, some have a very technical explanation some have a very simple one.
You can read about God Shots here at cofffeegeek.com and here and lot’s of other places too!
I like to think that a God shot is something that is different for everyone and something that is going to be explained differently by everyone (…kinda like God), it’s personal.

The shot Liz pulled on Friday was, no doubt, a God Shot.

Looking forward to having some more tasty espresso in the future but this shot could be hard to top (it helps that it was made by one of my favourite Baristas too!)! I’d be really curious to hear about any of your experiences with really good shots of espresso you’ve had, tell me about it! In the meantime I’ll be over here dreaming…..

Cheers (& Happy Monday!),

-Ceilidh

…I broke my camera over Canada weekend, so until it get’s fixed it may be a little quite around here.
Bummer.
In the mean time….

You can read more about this here. I love how it looks and can imagine a concrete espresso machine looking so good in a cafe (how well it functions? Unknown).

And how beautiful is this wooden pour over stand?

Wood and porcelain are an all time favourite combination for me. You can find all the details on this stand here.

I am also searching for suggestions for good cafes to hit up in Toronto when I am there next month, any ideas??

Happy Wednesday!

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

We received our newest single origin coffees last week at Just Us!. We now have 4 in total, an Ethiopian Harar (delicious darker roast), a Peruvian called Twelve Apostles (named after the 12 farmers who work at the co-operative, its a medium-light roast), the two newer ones are Crocodile Island a medium roast whose beans are from East Timor, and the Sierra Nevada which is a Colombian and a lighter roast (which is also my new favourite)!

The new single origins.

 

The pour over area.

If you come in to try our single origin coffees they will be prepared via the pour over method, which I think is the easiest way to brew a seriously good cup of coffee. It can also be a really simple way to get into coffee more, even just your appreciation for coffee. I really recommend trying a pour over, If made correctly  I guarantee that it will taste so much better then regular drip coffee. And, you’ll love it!

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

I found something interesting today called The Coffee Experiment.
Basically it is the blog of a young woman who is travelling around the world, trying coffee everywhere she goes and writing about the ritual of it all.

Here is a little video about her experiment.

It really got me thinking, what are peoples connections to coffee all about? I talked about my relationship to coffee here, in my very first post but I realize it has changed a lot for me recently.
For me it begin’s with a connection I have with my family and coffee, moving on to my love of actually getting my hands covered in grinds, watching that espresso pour or that pour over drip, smelling an intoxicating smell and enjoying, so deeply, that first sip. It’s the fact that all my senses are involved while making and enjoying a cup of coffee. It’s those rituals (I have a few), that make it so special and the fact that everyone has them. Mine include- enjoying a press pot at home over a delicious breakfast (which is always lovingly made by Dan), another more common ritual is going into work and always making sure I have time to pour myself a cup of coffee when I get there and really savouring that first sip, starting my day right (or how awesome it feels when a co-worker makes your favourite drink for you first thing in the morning). And then there is going out to my favourite cafes, either alone, with my Love or with a good friend, having someone who loves what they are doing prepare you something they are proud of and then relaxing into your drink, being able to savour it. Then there is the ritual of making coffee for others which is a whole other thing unto itself, I don’t only mean making coffee at work, but at home or at a friends house to. The act of preparing something and giving it to someone else. Something you love. Something that connects us.

I’d love to hear what your relationship to coffee is like so please, feel free to leave me a comment!

Cheers!

-Ceilidh

I decided to stop in at The Smiling Goat Espresso Bar today while my laundry was going through the wash at the Laundromat.
It was a beautiful sunny day today and sitting in the window at the Smiling Goat seemed like an awesome thing to do while I waited the 25 minutes for my laundry.

I love the menu at Smiling goat, today I grabbed a photo of it so you can see it in all of its glory.

The Menu.

It’s so comprehensive and I love the featured drink section.
I was going to order a single Macchiato but upon seeing that the featured espresso I wanted to try was only pulled in double shots I decided to get a single Macchiato and a single espresso (this may be my new favourite thing to order). I tried the Ethiopia Ardi Natural which is a single origin that is provided to the Smiling Goat by Java Blend. It was great, a nice looking shot and an even nicer looking macchiato. I found the espresso to be a little to citrusy for my taste ( I find that a citrus flavour can really overwhelm the rest of the taste for me, I have never liked very citrusy coffee- from my first cup of Yirgacheffe, which I tried in my very first cupping, onward!). I really loved the Macc though, Smiling Goat always uses organic milk in there drinks and I personally think you can really taste a difference, I wish more shops around here had this option, it just tastes more whole and delicious to me!

Yummy Macchiato and Espresso in the sun.

I also grabbed a bag of the classic Intelligentsia Black Cat in an 8Oz bag- which I have decided is the cutest bag of coffee ever. So small and adorable.I am excited to try it at home! And to top it all off I had a really nice chat with the Barista at the Smiling Goat this afternoon, Hi Justin!

The little bag of Black Cat.

Last night I helped out with some training at Just Us! with my co-worker (and Barista extraordinaire) Liz. We got to sample some of the new single origin coffees that will be available at Just Us! in the upcoming weeks on both the siphon and the AeroPress. Then we watched this amazing video.

Cheers!

-Ceilidh

Obsessed with Onyx.
You can read all about them here and here.


Onyx is a coffee bar in Bellinghan WA, and as they say about themselves… “Onyx Coffee Bar is serious about coffee. Serving delicious coffee by the carafe and offering whole bean by the gram from the finest roasters in the world.”
I seriously would love to take a visit here and see for myself. For now, the photos and dreaming will have to do.

Had two great capps today from Steve-O-Renos. I am officially loving that they are now using gimme! coffee.
I am planning a little trip  over to Two If By Sea tomorrow with my lovely Sister, I haven’t been in ages.

For now I am off to enjoy this beautiful day!

Cheers!

-Ceilidh

This past week I (re)found 2  halifax coffee blogs.
We’ve got espressosnob and siphonsnob, both which are updated very often.

If you want some more info on coffee in Halifax and want to look at some great photos of the city- check them out!

I also have been drinking a lot of espresso this week, thanks to my co-worker Liz, who is always giving me shots and who will have a babely barista interview soon!! I also received a great compliment on a shot I pulled today, which is always so good! Plus- the weather has been awesome and it still smells so good outside.

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

Mmm! It is really spring here, the sun has been out, the trees have leaves on them, the grass is green and it smells amazing outside. Anyways- I stopped in at Steve-O-Reno’s on Monday and had a cappuccino and THE BEST CUPCAKE EVER. I’m not joking. It was a banana cupcake with coconut icing. Seriously the best. You have to try one if you ever get the chance. Please, Steve-O-Reno baker, please make them again!
It was such a nice outing to Steve’s, My friend Marc ( who I have mentioned on here a few times before) was just finishing work and sat down with me , there was a sun shower out side (more like normal rain actually but I can pretend), I wrote a letter and read some of my book. At Steve-O-Renos they have been recently serving gimme! coffee, from New York, which is pretty delicious. I think I prefer it over the 49th Parallel they usually make the espresso with.

The best cup cake ever and a yummy capp.

I also snapped this super cute photo of the boys working that day. Another good reason to check out Steve-O-Renos, The Babely Baristas!

Alex, Marc and Dewa.

Cheers!

-Ceilidh

Four days of our recent vacation were spent in the lovely Vancouver, BC, with Dan’s brother  Nick and his partner Cristina- I was nervous to spend time in such a big city (Halifax is small!) but turns out, I actually kinda loved it (it also helps that Nick and Cristina are rad!). I had a huge list of coffee shops I wanted to visit that I had compiled with lots of help from my friend Marc, I didn’t make it to them all but here is a list of the places I did make it to and what I thought about them.

Day One:

Caffe Artigiano–  This place was a little weird for my taste- it seemed super fancy but commercial. They had a huge menu of drinks that I had never heard of on top of your standards. The cashier gal was a little snarky but it was a busy spot and that’s what happens when you are on cash sometimes. The Barista defiantly knew what was up and made us 3 beautiful macchiatos (one for me, Dan and Nick). It says on the website that the baristas here are ‘…award winning baristas specialize in coffee art, creating a unique rosetta, tulip or heart atop of each cappuccino and latte served…’. They had some interesting info posted near the espresso machine about how the machine is specially designed for Vancouver and the water there (or something… I actually can’t remember but at the time it was interesting and now I can’t find anything on the website about this!!!), or they used special water that they brought from somewhere else?! Who knows! The espresso tasted very, very citrusy- The most citrus tasting coffee I have ever had. I didn’t love it but I am glad I got stop in and try it as it was unlike any espresso I had ever tasted!

Day Two:

Kafka’s– I had heard great things about Kafka’s before going here and it did not disappoint- I had the best cappuccino ever here!! I loved it there and I am really sad we didn’t go back again as we had planned on. I truly recommend this place- The baristi were friendly and were eager to talk about coffee when I told them I was visiting from NS. It turned out the Barista who had made our drinks is from Cape Breton! Nice looking place, awesome espresso, they do pour overs and siphons, have a super simple menu and yummy baked goods, locally made art on the walls and Baristi who clearly love what they do. They also specialize in tea! What more could you want???

Day Three:

Elysian Coffee– Elysian, Elysian… You stole my heart. I loved this spot. First- it is small and intimate, which is always great. We went here on a nice sunny day (only the second day I had worn short sleeves outside so far this spring) and we sat on the patio and  sipped our Cappuccinos. The Baristas here were really sweet and they were all super babely and dressed oh-so-well which is always a bonus. The guy who made my drink actually happened to be from NS too! Awesome! And they new of a few of the coffee shops in Halifax (Just Us! and TIBS). He also remade my drink because he wasn’t satisfied with (I think) his art on the first one, which is great.  They serve Intelligentsia here and have sparkling water on tap! AMAZING. Seriously- Amazing. I now dream of having this in my own cafe one day. I was also sad I didn’t make it back here again but, a girl can only drink so much coffee! They also used a Synesso espresso machine which I have  a big place for in my heart… they are a dream to work on.

Bump & Grind– We had the best Macchiatos here. The experience wasn’t as memorable as Elysian (the sun! the cute people!) or Kafkas (the massive tables! The guy working on his art in the corner!) but my Macchiato was seriously good. The guy working got what he was doing  and was very calm and quiet in a really nice sort of way. I also picked up a copy of 33 Cups Of  Coffee here which I am pretty excited about (but have yet to use it!!!). The also had a perfect bar to stand up and enjoy your drinks at… I thought it was a nice addition for those who are having something like an espresso and are not going to sit down. I will defiantly be going back here next time I am in Van.

Day Four:

JJ Bean– I was pretty stoked to try out JJ Bean, I had tried a few of there coffees before (some one I work with had brought some back from Van a few months ago) and was pretty struck by it. Dan and I both ordered Cappuccinos (surprise, surprise!) which were made pretty effciantly considering how busy it was in there. I loved the aesthetic here (it was the commercial and E 6th Ave. location) lots of wood and open space, great windows and a cute looking patio. We also grabbed a bag of single origin coffee (The Boquete Classico from Chiriqui, Panama. Tasting Notes- Creamy, Sweet, Concord grape & Almond). You get a free espresso when you buy a bag of coffee so that was a nice bonus (we are JUST getting around to drinking this coffee now… I’ll let you know how it is!) All in all JJ did not dissapoint and had everything it takes to make a cafe awesome. The staff were great too!

Prado– I think I could have loved Prado…. The interior was beautiful, white walls, wood, metal, a black bathroom (what IS it with black bathrooms these days…. Elysian had black bathrooms too, and a few other places we ate at while we were on the west coast. Anyways, I love this trend!), huge windows, babely baristas, a white espresso machine that was a beaut! But, the service kinda got me… the girls working there just weren’t that nice. I forgot to tip so after my drink  (macchiato) I went back up to tip and I wasn’t acknowledged at all by either of the girls who were standing right in front of me…. There was no line up, nothing, they were just talking. Maybe I am too sensitive but customer service is so important to me and can make or break my experience. After that I didn’t even bother looking to see what kind of beans they used….. Sorry Prado! Our drinks were totally good and I clearly liked the ambiance, Plus there was a really cute dog waiting for it’s owner outside… I would give it a try again in hopes that I would receive better customer service!

Our coffee experience in Vancouver was GREAT…. It has really inspired me in so many ways and opened my eyes up a lot to what some of the best cafes are up too. The coffee culture out here on the East coast is just starting to take off it seems and I am so excited to see where it is going to go!

Cheers,

-Ceilidh