Archive for the ‘Coffee’ Category

The philosophy of Philz Coffee in the Bay Area

February 1, 2012

I have heard and read about Philz in a while and in some ways I agree with his philosophy that with a right mix of things a greater outcome can occur.

Today I stopped by the San Jose State branch of expanding empire of Philz and now believe I truly see the respect that the owner gives to his coffee. The experience I had there was unlike the ones I had at other coffeehouses so far. Sure there are many that brew one cup at a time (e.g. For a unique machine you might want to stop by a selected few of the Starbucks which has the Clover machine. Then there are the infamous siphon/vacuum brewers. But what takes more time than a cup of Vietnamese phin brewed coffee besides cold brewing. Philz like Blue Bottle or Pete’s uses filter drip.), but they are truly a full service bar. This was the only time I was asked if the coffee was to my liking. However the care goes beyond the blends and brews, it goes all the way to the cup. So what is so special about a cup?

Like Ruffles the cup has ridges. I do not believe it is the first but, it is the first I have seen at a coffeehouse. So what is special about these ridges? Well like what Steve Job’s dad said, to truly care about and take pride in what we do, it is not about doing things that people notice but do not notice, as well. The ridges in my opinion are really innovative because they offer three functions. First it acts a sleeve to prevent the temperature of the coffee effecting the hand. Next it provides extra rigidity to the paper cup. But the most important feature to me, is that help keep the temperature of the coffee.

Thanks Phil for your enthusiasm!

Please pheel free to let me know what you think.


All hail the coffee mutt!

February 26, 2008

I admit, I am a coffee mutt. I do not really know how to be a purebred, but does anyone really? A good cup of coffee to me has a blend of coffee, sugar, and cream (the real stuff), but sometimes it is just a blend of coffee and just condensed milk (sugar and milk in one), otherwise known as Cafe Sua Da.

I have tried pure bean coffees such as Sumatra Mandheling, Columbian, Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain (hard to find so far only found it a Peerless and Peets), and French Roast (I don’t know what is in it), but could not appreciate the single bean experience. Made coffee from drip (American (very boring and sometimes sour) and Vietnamese (depends on the blend, but can be bold and intense)), expresso (give a darker/bitter flavor) (Italian and South American), and vacuum/siphon (definitely smoother and less acidic) methods, but still liked making it with mix of beans more.

According to, I seem to gravitate to Bold, medium acidic coffees. In my experience the famed “Blue Mountain” coffee was so boring by itself, but in a blind tasting jumped out, so I blended it and could not find anything comparable to it.

Again I have to ask America’s Test Kitchen, how could Starbuck’s win the tasting? If so which blend should I go for, since they have many blends, and the blend ratios do change from time to time due to availability. I personally blend my own (40% Sumatra, 40% Columbian, 10% French, and 10% Kona) at the supermarket, I gravitate to Millstone or Java (the market brand). That way I can buy just as much as I need, since I don’t really get snowed in around the Bay Area.

I don’t hate Starbuck’s, since they are the ones that pulled me to the dark side. They however, do not really stack-up in terms of mutt coffee to other mutt coffee bars. Here are my picks:

1. Ikea (cheap bold and smooth coffee with a nice view in Palo Alto)
2. McDonalds (really cheap bold and smooth hot coffee for seniors)
3. Cafe Sua Da (really intense coffee that is cheaper than conventional coffee bars)
4. Seattle’s Best (Bold coffee not so smooth and not so cheap)
5. Peete’s (more flavor and the original print that Starbuck’s model after)
6. Starbuck’s (over roasted over priced and bland)

Currently I am attracted to Taster’s Choice Instant Coffee, how sacrilegious is that?
What do you think? And should ATK also include their own blends and instant coffee?