Posted Wed Jul 20, 2011, 9:38am Subject: Blue State Coffee
I'd never heard of them before yesterday, so now I'm curious as to what kind of quality they produce. Looks like they try to keep things fresh, and they're the only place I can find online currently that offers Cascara - from Aida Batlle no less. Anybody dealt with them before, particularly through their web store?
Posted Wed Jul 20, 2011, 11:08am Subject: Re: Blue State Coffee
They have two stores in New Haven, CT, both of which have great espresso and single-cup brewed (as well as larger brew pots) coffee. They started roasting their own coffee recently (as far as I know) and as far as my taste buds are concerned, their quality is perfectly good.
Posted Wed Jul 20, 2011, 12:39pm Subject: Re: Blue State Coffee
Well, just ordered some cascara from them. Sounds like it's last year's batch, since Aida may not have even finished her coffee production yet (based on some correspondence with Counter Culture). I'm surprised this underdog is the last one out there to have it! Blue State's site is based in Wordpress, so it feels a little dodgy, but I verified 256-bit encryption through the whole transaction. Their shipping seems a little expensive - $5 for a half pound of tea, one state over. I dunno, maybe I just need to see the box, I can't properly visualize the volume of 8 ounces of coffee husks. We'll see how fast the processing is; they say they roast Wednesdays and ship beans Thursdays (so orders after 8 AM Weds. get shipped the next week), but this of course is unroasted, and theoretically ready to ship tomorrow.
Posted Sat Aug 13, 2011, 1:17pm Subject: Re: Blue State Coffee
Yes indeed, it was. They shipped the following day, the cascara took 3 days to arrive (USPS), and tastes...well, I'll get to that. Despite some oddities in their online operation, Blue State performs just as well as any other coffee roasting business, I'd say. They're clear about their roasting/shipping practices, and it seems they don't slack on non-coffee orders. Still, it would be nice to have a more typical e-commerce setup, as the whole Wordpress sign-up and forms smell fishy. If I had to complain about anything, it would be that. Cascara is both exactly what I thought it would be, and totally strange. I don't really like the stuff plain, but I kindof like it regardless. Straight, brewed according to Blue State's recipe, it's like dried cherries, a little more tart, tasting like there's been pear juice added maybe. It's not particularly sweet, and definitely not bitter by any means. It's simply very juice-like, which is what bothers me about it; I can't say I really enjoy hot cherry juice. Cold, it lost a lot of character, and just tastes watery. I've been playing with it a lot, and what I like to do best at this point is brew per the recipe, but add some good black tea in, at a 3:1 cascara:tea ratio. Since the cascara starts with very near-boiling water, I keep the tea out of the mix until it's about 200 F, then add, stir, and steep for maybe another two minutes. I finish with a drizzle of honey, to add some floral sweetness. With the tea and honey added, the whole beverage is totally rounded out, well-balanced, lightly sweet, slightly tangy, and has that little tinge of carbon to remind you there's oxidized tea in the mix. It's very, very tasty, but the iced version needs work. I think what I'll do is try to just combine iced tea and iced cascara until I get the ratio right, maybe I'll update with that as well.
jbviau Senior Member Joined: 12 Jul 2010 Posts: 708 Location: Pembroke Pines, FL Expertise: I love coffee
Grinder: Preciso / LIDO Drip: Trifecta MB / Eva Solo...
Posted Sat Aug 13, 2011, 7:39pm Subject: Re: Blue State Coffee
Fun. I've never tried iced cascara, so I'd be interested to hear about whatever sweet spot you manage to find with it. Back to hot cascara, have you experimented with adding spices? This isn't the season really, but around Christmas I steeped my cascara with ginger and cinnamon and then sweetened with simple syrup IIRC (or maybe honey). That seemed to work pretty well.
cerridwyn Senior Member Joined: 6 Jun 2010 Posts: 481 Location: Inland Empire California Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Fri Nov 22, 2013, 4:16pm Subject: Re: Blue State Coffee
Not about coffee tea but about coffee.
I was in Boston for several days, well Framingham and driving back and forth was not what I wanted to do. Tollways, blah. (California girl) and they drive as crazy as they do in LA.
But on my way back to the airport, I had time and picked somewhere sort of at random. Ended up at Blue State because I liked what was said about them and that they donate a bit of all profits to charity. To me, giving back to the community is a serious plus. It was near a University campus, and that always makes me concerned I'll stand out as being old enough to be everyone's grandmother and that the noise level will be too high, neither was an issue.
I ended up with an Ethiopian pourover that wasn't on the list. It was the tale end of a batch and it was good.
But what I really liked was chatting with the barista. We talked about places we had both been in SF and planned trip to Portland for the US Barista competition next year (She's competing in the NE and going whether she wins a place or not). I liked her dedication to her craft and her knowledge of what she does.
It goes a long way toward making a great experience to me.
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