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Jacques Torres

I recently had one of the most amazing and delicious weekends. I rented a place in DUMBO, Brooklyn on airbnb and spent the weekend connecting with friends and with myself. After treating myself to lunch, I headed straight to Jacques Torres for some chocolate and a mocha.     http://www.mrchocolate.com/

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Taste: 4

So I think I drank hot chocolate. I ordered a mocha latte for sure, but I tasted no signs of espresso. Instead, I tasted rich, thick, decadence. Was this made with heavy cream? This ‘mocha’ tasted almost like a hot chocolate I had while in Paris; the Paris drink was so think I could rest my spoon on top of the hot chocolate. To give this mocha a higher rating, I would have loved to taste more equality between the cocoa, milk, and espresso (if there truly was any to be had).

Appearance: 1

Sorry Jacques, but this is not the most appealing ‘mocha’ I’ve tried. This actually just looks like melted chocolate, which should have been my first clue. I would have loved to see some effort here — some latte art, perhaps? Or at least fill my cup up to the top with ‘mocha’ deliciousness.

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Ambiance: 5

Jacques Torres gets one rating for offering free chocolate samples – at the register they usually have 3 choices, so of course, I tried all three. They appear to create their confections on site – you can peek into their bakery right next door. I was advised to try the Dark Bark, so I picked up one two to go. Reviews mention the Wicked Fun chocolate, ice cream sandwiches, and chocolate chip cookies as must tries. Thankfully, I’ll be heading back to Brooklyn in April (… and May) so I will grab some to try for myself. In retrospect, I would only purchase chocolate from Jacques Torres and forget the drinks, as my mocha was sub par. This is definitely not a place to sit and study — there are about 3 tables, so this is more of a grab-and-go type of shop. Speaking of studying, UC Davis is considering offering a degree in coffee — check out the UC Davis Coffee Center. I knew I loved California!

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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in New York

 

BWE kafe

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On a recent trip into the city, I stayed with my good friend, the newly-engaged Ashley, in Hoboken, NJ. I took a break from our indulgent weekend to enjoy a mocha latte at BWE Kafe. http://www.bwekafe.com/ I spent an hour at BWE with my mocha and my journal; I’ve been journaling a lot lately. I was not so impressed with the mocha at BWE, but I was happy to support this company. I discovered that even though BWE is a relatively new coffee shop (founded in 2013), it is making the world a better place, one mocha at a time. BWE exclusively serves La Colombe coffee and espresso, a company based out in Philadelphia. La Colombe supports organizations such as Love for Haiti and Coffee for Water, so in essence, my mocha contributed towards education for students in Haiti and clean drinking water in Haiti. How cool is that?

Appearance: 5

Sweet, symmetrical, loving little mocha heart. Minus points for not serving this with a saucer (and a spoon!). Minus points for having the most basic mug ever created. Plus points because while this mug is extremely basic, it reminds me of one of my favorite mugs at home. My home based mug was stolen from camp, and looks similar to this mug, just much bulkier and more Maine-y. I love it because it brings back great summer camp memories and it’s just a sturdy, rugged mug.

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Taste: 4

This mocha was the perfect temperature – I usually order my mocha’s extra hot, but did not even need to do that here at BWE. Most cafes that use syrup in their mochas to not appear to mix that into the drink, and BWE was no exception. I’ve learned to give my mocha a stir in order to taste all of the flavors, so I did that here. Even so, this left my last few sips too sweet to finish. I highly recommend mixing the cocoa into the espresso and milk for a more equal mixture.

Ambiance: 5

BWE is a pretty nice little cafe. There is plenty of seating, both inside and out (when warm enough, and yes, I am so ready for spring). The feel inside is so much more neighborhood-y than a typical Starbucks. BWE’s community board boasts signs of an open mic night ‘Hoboken Sppoken’, and reviews rave about this weekly coming together of neighbors. During my hour at BWE, I saw people of all ages were enjoying a coffee and/or a pastry. There was a couple facetiming with a family member, a young man editing his presentation on a laptop, and a couple enjoying an early evening conversation over coffee. Overall, BWE has a great location, walking distance to lots of shops, stores, and restaurants. It offers good quality coffee, but nothing special. Next time I am in Hoboken I want to try one of their pastries — those looked pretty delectable. I would love it is BWE had more comfortable seating options, like comfier chairs or a couch. I probably would have stayed longer if I could get cozy.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in New Jersey

 

Thinking Cup

Hello and happy 2014! I have some exciting resolutions for 2014–I can’t share quite yet, but when I can I will. As always, my resolution is to continue discovering the best mocha lattes wherever I go.  Recent travels took me back to Boston. I was happy to play tour guide for family and friends; I knew that when we needed to escape, recharge, and defrost from the cold, we had to try Thinking Cup. This small cafe is perfectly situated across from the Boston Common on Tremont St. (Park St. T stop), and I have always wanted to try it! What lured me in was their sign ‘serving Stumptown coffee.’ Stumptown in Beantown? Sold.

http://www.thinkingcup.com/

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Taste: 6

Thinking Cup opened its doors in 2010, the same year I completed my graduate studies and left Boston. Had this cafe been open during my three years in Boston, I would have definitely studied here. Thinking Cup boasts that it is the only coffee shop in all of Boston that serves Stumptown coffee (my favorite NYC mocha to date). Thinking cup makes a slightly different mocha than those made at Stumptown in NYC. My mocha here tasted mostly of bitter espresso. I could barely taste the cocoa. It was almost like I was drinking a straight espresso (once I master this I will move on to drinking Turkish coffee!). I did appreciate that my mocha was served with a spoon —  a much needed utensil to scrape every last drop of steamed milk.

Appearance: 8

Coffee as an art form. Are there any modern art museums featuring photos of latte art? There should be! Our drinks took some time to arrive, but look at the photo below – worth the wait, right? Beautiful art. Not exactly an original image, but I love the design. Looks like my favorite Matisse (La Gerbe) is latte form! Delicious.

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Ambiance: 6

This is a crowded little coffee shop, almost set back in time. Since there were many of us, we divided and conquered – some waited in line, others scoured the cafe for seating. Thinking Cup is situated across from the Boston Commons, so expect crowds. While seating is a hot commodity, I do recommend waiting and then staying a while. After about 5 minutes of waiting, behold, a small table appeared! The brick walls, dim lights, and tables with antique newspaper clippings made for a great atmosphere to sit and talk with friends. We did not eat anything here, but I read great accolades about the Nutella croissants. I plan to try one next time I head to Thinking Cup.

Have you been to Thinking Cup? What’s your experience? Let’s converse in the comments section below!

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Posted by on January 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Golden Pear

While these cold winter nights are getting me excited for ski season, a part of me also longs for summer weather. I am taken back to late summer in Southampton, NY, where I fondly remember my friend Amelia’s bachelorette weekend. As the weekend came to a close, some of us needed just one more walk down Main St. We stopped in at The Golden Pear Cafe for some much needed caffeine – we needed energy to shop after we spent the whole night prior drinking and dancing!    http://goldenpearcafe.com

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Taste: 4

The Golden Pear is a charming little cafe chain located all around the Haaaamptons. Founded in 1987, owner Keith Davis serves a variety of coffees, teas, pastries, and brunch/lunch options. While this cafe aspires to be more than just a coffee shop or average deli, their mocha latte was just average. It was very light on the cocoa; the flavor could barely be detected. The espresso was not at all strong. This was merely a casual treat to sip while shopping.

Appearance: 2

As you can see, this mocha is nothing special. The line was not terribly long, not sure why no effort was put forth to create any latte art. While the mocha was nothing special, the prices were much more decent (3.00-4.00 dollars) than Sant Ambrouse.

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Ambiance: 5

Apparently, this is a Haaaaaamptons must see eatery. This seems like the only place to get coffee around here – there is little to no competition in Southampton. We went late morning/early afternoon on a Sunday. There was a fair amount of people inside, either dining in or waiting for their to-go orders. The ordering process was rather confusing. There is no line, so you have to walk up to the counter all-the-while asking other meanderers ‘excuse me, are you in line?’ After you’ve ordered you try to stay out of the way by sticking to the perimeter of the store, but the cafe is so small you just end up bumping into people anyway. Personally, I cannot understand why so many people opted to sit inside on such a beautiful weekend morning. I prefer to eat outside as long as possible. This seems like a great place to sit outside, order brunch, devour a newspaper, and then do some people watching. The next time I return I plan to do just that.

Has anyone else dined at The Golden Pear? What are your favorite drinks and bites?

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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in New York

 

Sant Ambroeus

Hello there! Sorry it’s been so long – I’ve had quite a busy fall thus far. Lots of celebrating – my puppy, my birthday, and many a wedding festivity! In anticipation of my friend Amelia’s wedding, we celebrated her bachelorette party in style in Southampton, NY! We rented a great house and spent the weekend drinking, eating, dancing, and doing yoga on the beach. Lucky for me I was surrounded by coffee lovers, so naturally we went exploring some of the local cafes. On the first day we went to Sant Ambroeus on Main St. This is a small chain, with locations scattered about Manhattan and the Hamptons. Though the Yelp.com acclaim for their mocha lattes made me eager to try one  for myself, and  I’m glad I did, I must say that this mocha was not worth the $6.50 price tag.  http://santambroeus.com/sa_southampton.html

In other worlds – check out my little Eleanor! She is the one lying down in the green collar, playing with her sisters during an obedience and agility training. As my brother noted upon seeing this photo – ‘it looks like she has more agility than obedience.’ :)

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Taste: 4

Ok, back to the coffee.  Sant Ambroeus claims to be authentic to origins in Milan. Milan was the first place I could remember  noticing that coffee in Europe was different than coffee culture in the States. Specifically, having a coffee or cappuccino in Milan was a time of relaxing and socializing. There were no to go cups when I was visiting (back in 2005). I opted for a to go mocha this time and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. It tasted more like a regular latte than a mocha. Would have loved to have tasted more cocoa. Also, this mocha was so hot I burnt my tongue! For the lackluster experience + the hefty price tag, I have to give this mocha a 4.

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Appearance: 2

I had my suspicions this was not going to be my best mocha. My first inclination came from the barista. I ordered a mocha latte to go… she had no idea what I was talking about.  Then, upon explanation of what encompasses a mocha latte, it took about 10 minutes to prepare.  While the wait time was a bit much, it did provide ample time for people watching, which I highly recommend doing when dining at Sant Ambroeus. The overall 2 score for appearance is mostly for the colorful to go cup.

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Ambiance: 5

When I stepped into Sant Ambroeus, I was reminded of that coffee shop in Milan from many years back. Awash with elaborate decor, deep greens and rich wood paneling. Adorned with gold trim everywhere, Sant Ambroeus appeared more as a restaurant than a coffee shop. It is nearly impossible to walk straight into the dining room without stopping to admire the array of desserts and gelatos (must try the gelato next time). The most important aesthetic in my opinion is the ability to watch the baristas create your coffee drink. Most people grabbing a dessert and coffee or waiting for a to-go order (like the mother/son duo waiting for their $30.00 salads!) were watching in awe as the espresso machines huffed and steamed their way into creating a delicious caffeinated treat. All the other patrons were drinking wine with their lunches and dressed to the nines. It will be worth returning to one of the establishments in the city, but I think I’ll pass on that mocha.

If you’re a coffee nerd like I am, check out this nation’s best coffee roasters list created by thrillist! Has anyone been to one of these shops before? http://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/best-coffee-roasters-in-america

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Posted by on November 11, 2013 in New York

 

Happy Birthday DMV !

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Del Mocha Vista is 2 years old today! It has been a most delicious two years indeed. This past year in particular led me to try some West Coast mochas, and I was happy to find that in general, Californians take their espresso seriously.

I have leaned on coffee and mochas a bit more than usual lately because… I got a puppy! Her name is Eleanor and she is a sweet golden retriever. I plan to raise her as a family dog, but also,  I plan to train her to be a certified therapy dog so she can come to work with me and help bring healing and joy to those patients struggling with eating disorders. That is her in the photo above!

I want to thank you all so much for joining me on this delectable journey to find some of the best mocha lattes around! Looking forward to all the excitement that this new year will bring! :)

 

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in Connecticut

 

La Petite France

I have been on quite the yoga kick lately. While my favorite yoga classes include Bikram and any type of power vinyasa, some friends and I recently opted for an all together different type of yoga. This summer, we participated in Om Street; essentially, West Hartford, CT closed down a main street in the center, hired a band, and had a half dozen yoga teachers guiding us through an outdoor yoga class. After our invigorating morning workout, we headed to La Petite France for some post yoga treats – mocha included. :)

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Taste: 2

Did they use skim milk or something? This mocha tasted a bit watery/airy. While I have had my share of skinny vanilla lattes, I could never voluntarily return to low fat or fat free milk in my coffee. Many years back, during the ‘skinny’ latte days, I went with a friend to an Italian bakery for some coffee and pastry. When I ordered my coffee with skim milk, our lovely Italian grandma-esque waitress replied: “oh no, you’ll have whole milk.” :) I now take coffee and espresso with whole milk, sometimes a little half and half. In any case, I was not impressed with this mocha. Not only was the initial taste unimpressive, but in between sips I was left with a bitter aftertaste. I could not even finish this mocha because the remaining chocolate had solidified on the bottom of the cup (did not even ask if I wanted a ‘for here’ cup!). What made this mocha palatable was that with it I paired a delicious almond chocolate croissant.

Appearance: 2

This mocha is nothing special. It has potential, but I think I tried La Petite France on an out of the ordinary day–right after Om Street, way too busy! My mocha maker at La Petite France was this absolutely overwhelmed college kid. He complained to me about how some staff members did not show up today and he was more or less left alone to feed all of the post-yoga foodies. Perhaps he was too busy to put forth some effort into my mocha. Eeeks.

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Ambiance: 4

Although my mocha creator did not exactly set the tone for a great ambiance, the interior of La Petite France was buzzing with good vibes and caffeinated yogis. This is a tiny place for people of all ages. It seems like quite a social place to gather, but I could see myself studying or reading here as well (I prefer reading amidst the distractions of a coffee shop! Helps me focus). The colors are bright, the place is sort of clean, and the crepes looked lovely! Overall, I can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed my time here–I may, next time, grab some croissants to go. However, if you find yourself in need of a coffee in West Hartford Center, come to La Petite France if you’re simply looking for average taste.

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Posted by on September 2, 2013 in Connecticut

 
 
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