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Friday Favorites and Free Coffee

October 22nd, 2010

I’m going to start a few new special feature on my blog: Friday Favorites. There’s nothing I love more than hearing from people about products that they love so I can purchase something that I know is great. I don’t like to buy things blindly without hearing a first hand account of what the product is like and why someone likes it. I figured this would be a great place for us to help each other out. I’ll be sharing things that I LOVE on Friday Favorite posts, you can share things you love in the comments.

Today I’ll start with probably my most favorite thing: COFFEE. Mr Chiots and I are coffee lovers, I should specify that we’re “good” coffee lovers, we don’t just drink any coffee. We enjoy 2 cups of coffee each and every day, occasionally we’ll celebrate with a third. We are partial to brewing our coffee in the form of espresso. Coffee is the one thing in the kitchen that I don’t do, this is Mr Chiots’ domain and he does it very well!

We also enjoy trying to find good little coffee shops when we travel and found some wonderful ones while we were up in New England. We especially enjoyed our coffee from Espresso Bueno in Barre, Vermont (the barista looked like Lizbeth Salander). Probably the best latte we’ve ever had away from home was from The Daily Grind in Front Royal, Virginia. Muggswigz is a great little local place in Canton, OH that we love, but we don’t get there often since we brew our coffee at home.

For many years we tried different roasts of coffee from various places, searching for the perfect espresso beans. About 6 months ago we noticed some micro roasted coffee from Al’s Beanery at Local Roots Market in Wooster, OH. We bought a bag to give it a shot. We were amazed with the results, it made the best espresso we’ve ever brewed at home. It is perfect: smooth and creamy, strong but not bitter or acidic. (It was the closest I’ve ever come to a “God Shot”, said Mr Chiots). You can tell the beans are fresh by the way the coffee brews. They’re shade grown, organic fair trade beans, which is also important to us, and it’s a small local business, which we like to support as well. We’ve been buying Al’s beans every since and have been telling everyone we know who drinks coffee about Al’s micro-roasted coffee heaven.

Al roasts coffee in small 3 pound batches at this house. He takes care in each roasting and you can tell, the quality is amazing. Al really knows what he’s doing. When you go to the Local Roots Market you may have a hard time finding his coffee, they’re often sold out. Looks like a lot people have found the same coffee love we have! It’s a good thing you can order on-line. We meet Al at his home and he fills our glass coffee canisters with 3 pounds of beans once a month (another thing we love – no bags to throw away). Al and his wife are also in the process of opening a new restaurant in Wooster, OH called The Bake Haus, which is scheduled to open in January for any of you locals.

Here’s what Al says about his coffee: Al’s Beanery was started not only out of the motivation to bring our passion – artisan micro roasted coffee – to others, but also because we wanted to turn coffee, coffee roasting and coffee brewing back into the art it once was, before automatic drip and even Starbucks. Coffee is best enjoyed when it is micro-roasted freshly in small batches, then ground as it is about to be used and brewed in a french press or with a hand-poured cone filter.

At Al’s Beanery, we take pride in the fact that all our coffees get special individualized attention as they are roasted and blended. Al’s Beanery sells only artisanally micro-roasted fresh coffees. We purchase only fair trade coffee beans, shade-grown using organic farming methods. Our beans come from providers who support small farmers and cooperatives, largely made up of indigenous people in the tropics. We do not source beans from large estates and farms.


Al was kind enough to donate 2 half pound bags of his newest blend, the Indian Ocean Blend, for me to give away on the blog. So comment below and you’ll be entered to win a half pound of fair trade organic coffee from Al’s Beanery. If you’d like to order any of Al’s coffee (and believe me you won’t be disappointed), you can through his website, his prices are great for organic fair trade coffee! **WINNER chosen – Kat from Food, Literature, Philosophy and Susan. If you don’t get my e-mail contact me through the contact button in my sidebar.

What’s your favorite brand of coffee or tea? Do you have any great coffee/tea shops to recommend that you’ve found locally or in your travels?

NOTE: Al did not and does not give me free coffee to sing his praises, he only offered to give some to two lucky readers. We are more than happy to pay Al for each and every bean we get from him and many bags to give to family and friends to share the love of fresh micro-roasted coffee. As he says, “You are my best customer!”

53 Comments to “Friday Favorites and Free Coffee”
  1. Kay on October 22, 2010 at 5:02 am

    I would love to try his coffee.

    Thanks for you and Al for the give-a-way!

    BTW, the I got my ingredients for the toothpaste and it works great! The teas I purchased are wonderful too.

    to Kay's comment

  2. wvsimplicity on October 22, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Would love to try Al’s coffee. We do use the hand poured, cone filter system. No electricity required : ) I only buy organic coffee and never knew about Al’s. Thanks for the information. Please include us in the giveaway.

    to wvsimplicity's comment

  3. Diane@Peaceful Acres on October 22, 2010 at 7:30 am

    We too love our coffee and not just any coffee, but like you, GOOD coffee. Our DD won’t speak to anyone in the morning until she’s had a cup of our favorite Mayorga. We’re particularly fond of Central & South American roasts, but would love love love to try Indian Ocean, esp since I’m so fond of India….only had Chai while there.
    Diane@Peaceful Acres´s last post ..Lard in The Larder

    to Diane@Peaceful Acres's comment

  4. Shannon on October 22, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Sigh, a husband that enjoys coffee with you? Yes please.

    I have been buying a locally roasted brand here at the health food store. I am always looking for that perfect cup too: bold, but not bitter. And not acidic.

    Zingerman’s Roadhouse makes the best coffee I’ve ever had.
    Shannon´s last post ..On My Heart- The Business of Blogging

    to Shannon's comment

  5. Carol on October 22, 2010 at 8:13 am

    We buy organic free exchange coffee – I believe it’s called Equal Exchange. I think it’s the only “luxury” Paul insists on. As an aside: the best coffee I’ve ever had, anywhere (got Paul’s vote, too) was after dinner in an Ethiopian restaurant in Toronto. Oh my. Occasionally I’m tempted to drive the six hours just to get some more.

    to Carol's comment

  6. kristin @ going country on October 22, 2010 at 8:22 am

    COOL. I’ve never heard of a micro roaster before. As I may have mentioned once or twice (or 12 times . . .) on my site, I drink New Orleans blend coffee with chicory. It’s an extravagance, because I have to special order it and have it shipped, but OH I love my cafe au lait.

    When I can’t have that, though, I do like espresso. I like my coffee very strong and then diluted with milk.
    kristin @ going country´s last post ..Sweet Freedom

    to kristin @ going country's comment

  7. Sarah on October 22, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Hi, my husband and I are also coffee lovers. He prefers espresso while I like a nice cup of coffee and the occasional espresso.
    My favorite coffee is from a local farm stand that has a local roaster (coastal roasters) create for them. It’s their own beans that are then ground with cinnamon and coco powder. It’s not like the favored coffees that you see it is actually ground up cinnamon and coco powder. It is delicious. But I also love trying new good coffees.

    to Sarah's comment

  8. kelly on October 22, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Excellent! I always look for fair trade and organic brews!

    to kelly's comment

  9. deb on October 22, 2010 at 8:46 am

    You’ve inspired me to start looking for better coffee instead of just being lazy and grabbing plain ole Maxwell House. I’d love to try Al’s coffee. Off to check out the website.

    Thanks for the great review

    to deb's comment

  10. Heather on October 22, 2010 at 8:47 am

    We use a small, local coffee roaster in Cincinnati, although have found her beans perfect for regular coffee makers only (bitter when put through our Rancilio Silvia). My husband, who looooves espresso would be interested in Al’s Beanery!

    to Heather's comment

  11. Kelly on October 22, 2010 at 9:12 am

    We love coffee too and save it for the weekends (week days is tea, Earl Grey, hot). We’re french press users all the way, though, and I’m a Tim Horton’s French Roast fan – grew up on it, love it, special order it online to make sure I’ve always got it on hand). We’ve a coffee grinder, but our local, non-grocery bean-source closed up and we haven’t been highly motivated to find another.
    Kelly´s last post ..Ethan and School

    to Kelly's comment

  12. Denise on October 22, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Hmmmmm…sounds delicious. I am more of a social coffee drinker than a every day type. But I definitely enjoy a good cup of coffee like the kinds served in little coffee shops here and there. I think I may have been to the Daily Grind in Virginia (although maybe there is more than one in VA, I think the one we went to was near Winchester).

    We usually buy our coffee from a shop near us that carries Equal Exchange Coffee (fair trade certified). In fact my husband even started buying his baseball caps from them since they are union made/sweatshop free).

    Thanks again for your blog and all the interesting things you post about (loved the pumpkin pictures the other month).

    to Denise's comment

  13. Cate on October 22, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Ooh, I would love to try this! I absolutely adore coffee.
    Cate´s last post ..My favorite cookbooks

    to Cate's comment

  14. Carrie Blain on October 22, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I will check out his website! I’m always looking for good products for myself and for gifts!!

    to Carrie Blain's comment

  15. Kellee on October 22, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Good Morning!

    I am new to the world of blogging. I just stumbled upon your blog not too long ago. It seems that we live close in the Buckeye State. I have visited Local Roots a couple times, and discovered delicious green tea served there. It really is a great place.

    I would love to try Al’s coffee. I haven’t really tried coffee not bought at a supermarket, or from Starbucks. I also will have to try out his new restaurant in January. Sounds like a good one!

    to Kellee's comment

  16. Melanie J. on October 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Commenting! Can’t seem to go without the morning java these days, would love to be able to try Al’s…thanks for the opportunity!
    Melanie J.´s last post ..Autumn &amp Taking Stock

    to Melanie J.'s comment

  17. Stacey on October 22, 2010 at 10:10 am

    I would love to try Al’s coffee,especially because it is free trade.

    Look forward to the Bakehaus as well.

    Thanks for the scoop!

    to Stacey's comment

  18. Chris... on October 22, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Ohhhh, I would love to try a God Shot!

    Peace,
    Chris………..
    Chris…´s last post ..Recent Garage Sale Stuff and Treasure Trash

    to Chris…'s comment

  19. Melanie G on October 22, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I work for one of the organizations that supports Equal Exchange, so I was excited to see a couple of folks mention them here! My husband is the coffee drinker in our household, but he is picky about his coffee. His favorite is Equal’s Sister’s Blend, which we buy whole bean and grind right before using.

    I’m a tea person, myself, and also buy tea through Equal Exchange. They don’t have anything herbal/decaffeinated besides Rooibos (which is awesome), so I do occasionally try other fair trade, organic teas that I find at Whole Foods or other places. This September, I was traveling in Minnesota and bought tea from Good Earth, and I’m savoring every single cup!

    to Melanie G's comment

    • Melanie G on October 22, 2010 at 10:20 am

      Oh, and Bean Hollow in downtown (historic) Ellicott City here in Maryland has great coffee, too.

      to Melanie G's comment

  20. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Susy Morris, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Friday Favorites and Free #Coffee http://goo.gl/fb/4ATPn #fridayfavorites #alsbeanery […]

    to Tweets that mention Free Al’s Beanery Coffee | Chiot’s Run — Topsy.com's comment

  21. Mrs. Money on October 22, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I love tea and my husband loves coffee. I have learned to love the smell of coffee as a compromise! :)
    Mrs. Money´s last post ..How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances Naturally

    to Mrs. Money's comment

    • Melanie G on October 23, 2010 at 8:25 am

      We are the very same way! I do love the *smell* of coffee – it’s just that it never quite meets my expectations for how I think that smell should taste ;-)

      to Melanie G's comment

  22. Susan on October 22, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I am a good coffee lover as well. I usually limit myself to two cups a day – except for weekends! I like a very, dark, thick, ebullient brew, sometimes with a dash of cream, most often not. I would love to dive into your coffee give-away! I will have to put Al’s place on my list of must-visits on my next trip to Ohio.

    to Susan's comment

  23. Renee on October 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

    The Daily Grind in Harrisonburg, VA closed down several months back. It was right across the street from my office, so I was especially disappointed! Luckily, we have several other good coffee spots here, but as long as the taste is good, convenience usually dictates where I get mine!

    to Renee's comment

  24. Renee on October 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

    P.S. I’m not a super coffee aficionado, but I hear from those that are that small hometown Lucas Roasting in Broadway, VA has the best ground coffee around!
    http://www.lucasroasting.com/about-us/

    to Renee's comment

  25. Di-Ellen Davenport on October 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

    My husband and I are very frugal by nature, but if there’s one thing on which we’ll both splurge, it’s good organic coffee. We would love to try Al’s brew! Fair trade is as important as outstanding smoothness and flavor…Bottoms up!

    to Di-Ellen Davenport's comment

  26. amy on October 22, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I love Starbucks espresso……but more often than not…..the mornings find me drinking a pot of Earl Grey with creme……..The afternoons…..yerba mate or an herbal……I am quite partial to hot drinks year around….

    By the way…..cool idea for Friday’s post……

    “Over second and third cups flow matters of high finance, high state, common gossip and low comedy. [Coffee] is a social binder, a warmer of tongues, a soberer of minds, a stimulant of wit, a foiler of sleep if you want it so. From roadside mugs to the classic demi-tasse, it is the perfect democrat.” ~Author Unknown

    to amy's comment

  27. Lynda on October 22, 2010 at 11:40 am

    mmmmmmmmmmm coffee….the last of my guilty pleasures….

    to Lynda's comment

  28. melissa on October 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    One of the best coffee shops in all of Houston is hidden away in the food court of a large office complex near the Galleria. The guy that runs it is a true craftsman and in addition to doing a bit of roasting himself, he brings in some of the most beautiful locally roasted coffees as well as some truly sublime fair trade beans from around the world. I just drink what he tells me. :) I don’t drink it that often, maybe once a week or so, but he has converted me to brewing it at home by pouring over a cone filter (when I’m not having my weekly cortado at his shop).

    I would love to try Al’s beans, and maybe bring some to my barista to try as well.
    melissa´s last post ..Windows Phone 7

    to melissa's comment

  29. Janine at Rustic Kitchen on October 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Ooooh, let me count. Carlos of Cafe Palmira sells locally roasted beans from his family’s Guatemala coffee farm at the Mill City farmers market in Minneapolis. And my friend Marc sings the praises of Kickapoo Coffee, roasted in southwest Wisconsin. Here in Chicago, Intelligentsia is my go-to roastery.
    Janine at Rustic Kitchen´s last post ..More Wisconsin cheese- with improv pasta

    to Janine at Rustic Kitchen's comment

  30. annie on October 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I am a huge tea drinker (my dad is a coffee drinker and if I won the coffee it would be his birthday present :-). I love Harney and Sons tea. There are some other brands I buy (and I’ve tried tons of brands)… I actually like Twinings Irish Breakfast better than HS’s and Rishi makes good tea, especially the Jasmine Pearls. But hands down, HS is consistently amazing. When I was in NY last month I was able to go to their tea shop. It was fantastic! We sampled tons of tea and had lunch in their little restaurant. They even sell tea infused cheeses, which in all the excitement about the tea tasting, I forgot to buy.

    to annie's comment

  31. Jennelle on October 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    This coffee sounds pretty awesome. I always look for fair trade certified whole bean coffee. But lately, I’ve been buying Starbucks Italian Roast (the horror, I know). It’s really good, although, I think a little over-hyped. On the side of the package, it says they pay “the prices their [the farmers] premium coffee deserves,” but it’s not fair-trade certified. I’m a little skeptical of the statement because if Starbucks was buying fair-trade coffee, I would think that they would put that on the package.

    to Jennelle's comment

    • Melanie G on October 23, 2010 at 8:30 am

      That’s an interesting point about the fair trade certification. It may be worth looking further into what Starbucks means by their statement, because the standard certification has been under some criticism by fair trade advocates for watering down their requirements in the past year. At this point in the game (while I would have wholeheartedly agreed with you a year ago), it’s actually best to do some research before assuming non-certified items are not as good as certified.

      to Melanie G's comment

  32. lydia on October 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    we start the day with tea and enjoy coffee in the afternoons. we have been ordering our tea for years from Upton Tea Imports in Holliston, Ma. but our search for good coffee to brew at home has been a challenge. Locally we have a few choices that are just OK. About 4 years ago a family opened a coffee roasting and tea shop. The husband/wife team roast all the coffee they offer and its the only coffee we drink here at home. We would love to try Al’s coffee to compare the two. Thank you for the Friday favorite!
    lydia´s last post ..warm light

    to lydia's comment

  33. Kat on October 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I never drank coffee until I met the man who later became my husband. I guess I was just drinking the wrong things! There’s a coffee shop in town called The Golden Roast, and the owner roasts his own beans, too. It really makes a big difference in flavor.

    to Kat's comment

  34. Sincerely, Emily on October 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I love the smell of coffee, but I am not a coffee drinker. My husband likes his coffee in the morning. When we lived in Kenya, there was a coffee there that I liked especially with some cream. I do miss that from time to time. I enjoy a good cup of coffee now and then, but mainly drink tea. YOu do not need to include me in your drawing for coffee. I see you have many other commenters that sound like they would enjoy this more than me. Sincerely, Emily
    Sincerely, Emily´s last post ..On the Road…

    to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  35. Sense of Home on October 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I love Coffee and Tea in the Linden Hills area of Minneapolis. It is a tiny little store with fun staff. They roast the beans in their shop so the beans are fresh roasted and taste wonderful. We are in the area two to three times a year and we buy our beans from them and grind them fresh in the morning.

    -Brenda

    to Sense of Home's comment

  36. cathleen on October 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Vanilla hazelnut coffee is my favorite right now.Thanks for the lovely info and also the chance to win the coffee.
    cathleen´s last post ..Good Morning

    to cathleen's comment

  37. Lisa on October 23, 2010 at 8:25 am

    I would love to try the coffee as I have been trying to eat and support more locally in Columbus Ohio.

    to Lisa's comment

  38. Deborah Auen on October 23, 2010 at 9:12 am

    I would love to try Al’s coffee.I have never tried coffee beans. Just the plain old Butternut….His looks yummy:)

    to Deborah Auen's comment

  39. Michelle on October 23, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I am completely addicted to Newman’s Own Organics “Nell’s Breakfast Blend” by Green Mountain Roasters. No matter how many others I’ve tried (alot) I always come back to that. It’s definitely a lighter roast, which I prefer, but so so good. I’m always game for better though, so I’d love to share in the spoils:) Thanks!

    to Michelle's comment

  40. molly on October 23, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    I’m a coffee addict. I’m fond of stumptown coffee, here in New York City and Coffee Exchange in Providence, RI.

    to molly's comment

  41. Melissa on October 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Suzy, please count me in! I’ve been an auto-drip slave for years and years. My best friend gifted me with a french press last week and I would LOVE to try this coffee in it!!!! Thanks for the opportunity! (BTW, water and coffee are my beverages of choice – I must willingly limit my coffee intake, too. It’s difficult, isn’t it?)
    Melissa´s last post ..Paula’s Bread Pizza Kit Giveaway @ Passionate Homemaking

    to Melissa's comment

  42. Loree Watanabe on October 23, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Boy, your post makes me crave a really good latte — which I haven’t had in years. Not sure where to get a great one around where I live these day.

    Anyway, my favorite coffee?? DARK Roast! My husband roasts his own :) We buy green beans from Sweet Maria’s

    to Loree Watanabe's comment

  43. Stone Soup on October 24, 2010 at 8:19 am

    There is nothing like a steaming mug to wrap your hands around and ward off those cool fall mornings! I can taste it already . . .

    to Stone Soup's comment

  44. Wendy on October 24, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Count me in!!!

    Wendy S
    Wendy´s last post ..Brad Robertson became a registered member

    to Wendy's comment

  45. bethany on October 24, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Oh, wow this stuff looks amazing. I only just now amd grinding my own beans and trying to find the right coffee. Checking him out now. Thanks for the link!
    bethany´s last post ..Orgasmic toothpaste

    to bethany's comment

  46. Peggy on October 25, 2010 at 8:41 am

    We love good coffee but have cut down on our usage. The biggest reason is because I have yet to find someone locally (Kokomo, Indiana) who sells whole bean fair trade coffee. We will have to give Al a look-up on the internet to tide us over in the meantime! Thanks for the heads up!!
    Peggy´s last post ..The big revealthe living room!

    to Peggy's comment

  47. Jenny s on October 26, 2010 at 1:56 am

    Sounds like fabulous coffee and I’d lvoe to give it a try. Coffee is one of those precious little pleasures in life!

    to Jenny s's comment

  48. Andrea on October 26, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I couldn’t believe it when I saw Alptekin’s picture on your blog! He is such a nice guy. He and his wife do an amazing job of helping bring a sense of community to the area. We’re lucky to have them in Wooster!

    to Andrea's comment

  49. Friday Favorite: Keen Footwear | Chiot's Run on October 29, 2010 at 7:28 am

    […] I don’t have a pair of Keens to give away today, but I do have the winners from last week’s Friday Favorites giveaway of Al’s Beanery Coffee. Our winners are: Kat from Food, Literature, Philosophy and […]

    to Friday Favorite: Keen Footwear | Chiot’s Run's comment

  50. Jenny C on November 3, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I would love to try this coffee.

    to Jenny C's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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