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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!”

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.