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Monthly Archives: December 2011

And The Winner Is…

On this last day of 2011 I am taking some time to look back as well as to look forward. This has been a pretty life defining year for me and I have some big decisions to make in 2012!  With that said, I have looked back on my 2011 mocha latte quest with fond delicious memories.  Traveling and mocha tasting are two passions of mine so I am thankful to share these passions with YOU, fabulous readers! I have discovered that indeed there are many a Starbucks competitor out there, most notably the coffee shops in New York City. My favorite mocha latte of 2011 had to be from Stumptown Coffee Roasters in NYC. They are going to be the place to beat in mocha quest 2012!

Have a Happy New Years everyone! See you in 2012!

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

A Little Birdie Told Me..

A little birdie told me about a whole list of NYC must-try mocha spots, one of which is the Bluebird coffee shop in the East Village. What a great find! During my NYC stay last weekend, Molly and I needed a pick me up after our intense work out at Physique 57 (you must try Physique!) SO we walked over to warm up with a mocha. Here’s what I thought:

Taste: 7

Molly and I both agreed that this tasted kind of like grown up hot chocolate; it is the perfect accompaniment to a cold afternoon.  It was not too sweet, not too bitter, just a great in between. So happy I was given a spoon to consume every last morsel of this mocha. I wish I could have tasted more of the coffee.

Appearance: 8

This is a beautiful mocha, don’t get me wrong. However, I have been seeing an awful lot of these flowery/hearty/snow angely designs and I am wondering if it is relatively easy to create this design?! I give it an 8 for being so beautiful and artsy but I think this cafe can get a bit more creative. AND I do think this mug and saucer compliment the mocha quite nicely.

Store Ambiance: 7

This is a teeny tiny little shop – perhaps six could comfortably sit inside. It is sleep, quiet place. It kind of feels like a room in your own home. There was a variety of people – a young family relaxing, a college age girl studying, and a young guy reading. I liked the decorations at this place. For example, if you look closely you can see the bluebird wallpaper above the man making my mocha. Also, I like the Rorschach-esque framed pictures on the wall. I would have loved to see a bit more color, some delicious snacks, and perhaps some comfier seating options.

  

Wishing you all a Happy Chanukkah and Merry Christmas!

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2011 in New York

 

Stumptown

Holy deliciousness! As expected, NYC raised the bar in mocha latte land. My gracious host and beautiful friend Molly tried some mochas with me and helped me snag the following pictures. We first tried Stumptown Coffee Roasters on 18 W 29th Street and you need to try this place too 🙂 Here’s why:

Taste: 8

This mocha was quite bitter. Yes. It was almost like I was tasting slightly sweetened baking chocolate. I watched with awe as the person making my coffee poured some powdered cocoa in the mug, pour espresso on top, and then add the steamed milk. I mostly tasted the extremely bitter cocoa powder, and I think I would have liked this mocha better if I could taste equal parts chocolate, espresso, and milk. Either way, this mocha instantly woke me up and warmed me up.

Appearance: 9

How perfect is this mocha?! I so love the rich color of the chocolate contrasted with the crisp white of the steamed milk. The photos speak for themselves. I am not a huge fan of the mugs – the light brown color and the shape take away from the perfectness of the mocha. Perhaps using BIG mugs with either a deeper or lighter color will be up to par with the mocha.

Store Ambiance: 7

This store was pretty busy for coffee at 5:00pm on a Saturday. Customers appeared to grab their coffees/mochas and stand with them by the window bar. I do not remember seeing any tables… Either way, I liked the calmness I felt in Stumptown. It felt like the kind of sleepy place I would have studied in had I gone to school in NYC. If the mochas do not wake you up, then head right through the door and into the Ace Hotel – the two are connected! Heaven. Has anyone ever stayed here —> http://www.acehotel.com/newyork  It would have been nice to have friendlier coffee makers, a bit more decorations, and perhaps a small table for me customers to rest my their tired shopping legs. All in all this was a great pick!

                                                                                    

        ME enjoying my mocha! 

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in New York

 

Shop ‘Till You Drop

Last week my mother and I went to Westfarms Mall in Farmington, CT to do a little holiday shopping! We needed a little pick me up and headed into Gloria Jean’s Coffees for a mocha. Here’s the scoop:

Taste: 4

As you can see, this latte was swwwwweet! I asked for no whip cream, but when my mother told the owner/barista that I will be featuring her mocha on my blog, she wanted to make it look beautiful! I like that in a barista. This mocha tasted like super sweet hot chocolate – I wish I could have tasted the coffee more. This was so sweet I could not finish the drink.

Appearance: 5

This looks like a dessert! Like cookies and cream. Look at how the steamed milk is almost overflowing. This mocha looks cutesy, and while I do appreciate the barista’s efforts, it is quite easy to add whip cream and sprinkles. I might have been more impressed had she crafted some shape out of the steamed milk.

Store Ambiance: 4

For an empty mall coffee shop this place gets a 4 because the owner/barista was so nice! She was so happy and personable that she lightened up the entire store! She also asked me to write down this website so she can check out the review. Besides her, the store was pretty clean, it smelled sweet and chocolately, and there was happy holiday music playing softly in the background. Perhaps having a seating area in the store or directly outside of the store might entice customers to stay a while.

   

Happy Holiday shopping everyone!

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Connecticut

 

City Girl

Hello fabulous readers! I am heading into NYC for the weekend and cannot wait to try lots of mocha lattes! What are some of your favorite coffee shops in the city?

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2011 in New York

 

Backwards Forwards

Take a wild guess where I went this weekend! That’s right, I went to Boston for a weekend filled with good friends, good food, and a good mocha latte of course! I met up with an old work friend of mine – the lovely Holly! We went to our old stomping grounds also known as the Starbucks on Galen Street in Newton, MA. We relived great memories, filled each other in on life thus far, and made plans to do this again soon! I took the advice of another coffee enthusiast (thanks Kristin!) and tried the festive peppermint mocha (no whip, in a for here mug of course).

Taste: 4

I felt like I was drinking a peppermint patty candy… but not in a good way. While I do like the mint-chocolate combination, I prefer to consume the duo in their solid state and never again in drink form. I have to say that it was a little refreshing, the steamed milk was foamy and delicious, and I could taste that dark chocolate-y mocha taste that I love so much. Oh well, I tried something new, but I suppose I am a mocha latte purist (no caramel or mint added).

Appearance: 3

I do like how the steamed milk takes center stage in the peppermint mocha.  It makes me think of snow and how ready I am for winter to begin.  However, look at the sloppiness dripping down my mug! The barista who made my mocha appeared to be annoyed and in quite a rush, but still that is no excuse.

Store Ambiance: 5

This store was super busy and filled with very friendly people. There was ample seating and such a variety – a few couches, a few tables and chairs, one community table with chairs, and a bar where you could sit and watch the baristas in action!  This Starbucks was clean, had fun music playing, holiday goodies to browse, and a community bulletin board to see what’s happening in Newton. These I love. I would really love it if Starbucks could be a little more unique by perhaps decorating their stores with pieces by local artists. AND it would be great if someone could walk around with samples of drinks and desserts. AND MOST important it would be great if Starbucks would finally recycle in the store.

 

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Massachusetts