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20 years in coffee - part 1 · 8.04.15 by colin newell

Chilling with cold brewed coffee

It is easy enough to get lost in the 140 character World of twitter where the quest is to be as funny or as informative as you can within some very strict guidelines. Problem is, one can spend way too much time just thinking about shrinking yourself down into this very small world.

Facebook is the same. One starts to think very small. It is like the social media universe is built to cater to the short attention span.

In the real world around us and above us there is no limit. There is no limit to what you can hear, see, small and taste. In the 20 years or so that I have been writing about coffee culture in Canada, I’ve seen it all, sipped it all and met every kind of coffee drinker. And yet I feel like I have just started to scratch the surface.

The exploration of the World around you (and in my case, the coffee World) is all about the people: Meeting them, talking to them, getting their unique perspective – taking it all in and taking away something new… adding to our own collective of knowledge.

In this my first chapter of a coffee journey lasting 20 years I start with today – about how random chance contacts with the people within and without the coffee world shape my perception of the world around me.

Today my coffee break routine was altered by the fact that I had forgotten to bring in a bag of coffee beans to prep in my lab for my fellow techs at 10 AM. I actually had to buy some brewed coffee. So I went to one of the most reliable joints on campus, the Finnerty Express. The Finnerty has been open for more than 20 years. It has been my go to place, either to hang out with friends and colleagues or to take a break from the fast paced World of IT. I celebrate that thing we call Coffee Break!

The Finnerty Express, over the years, has always featured the most passionate and cheerful of coffee people you could meet. After all these years, I think of the staff and crew at the Finnerty as my family.

Today we had a visit from the good people at Salt Spring Coffee – I chatted with one of the sales reps, Deb Franz, on the subject of coffee culture and their fresh new product: Cold Brew coffee.

I have always been a skeptic about changing the formula of a good thing – that is brewing coffee without hot water… I mean, how does that work. Anyway, SS Coffee has perfected the cold brew process by using quality coffee with the 15 hour steeping that cold brew requires and then bottling the “brew” when it is at its peak flavor. Now here is an additional kicker: Cold brew coffee has around 15% (or more) caffeine by volume and when you factor in the reality that the human body absorbs caffeine significantly faster when ingested from a cold beverage, you have the recipe for a stimulating and refreshing beverage.

Deb Franz brings to the coffee World an enthusiasm and passion for the bean and a desire to join the rest of us coffee lovers on this journey. A lifelong journey of exploration of the caffeinated beverage. Thank you for taking the time to chat Deb!

So: Cold brew coffee… a big thumbs up. Cold and refreshing right out of the bottle. And very peppy! I shared a bottle with 3 or 4 of my colleagues… even a non coffee drinker! Would I buy it again? Definitely.

In upcoming chapters I will reflect on two decades of discovery and adventure – and how the journey continues.


Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and coffee expert who has traveled to many corners of coffee World looking for the ultimate cup of coffee… and finding it.

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We interview Joey Kramer of Rockin Roasting Coffee · 16.12.14 by colin newell

Joey Kramer and his new cafe!

We spoke with Joey Kramer of Rockin Roasting Coffee from Austin, Texas. This is our second conversation with the man who has taken his steady rhythm with the band Aerosmith to the world of specialty coffee. You can read that interview over here

A man of virtually limitless energy, Joey has been tackling the challenges of building a successful coffee business from the ground up. And as Joey makes it abundantly clear, there are no short cuts to success. It is all about putting in the work. Celebrity or no, Joey and his equally energetic partners, Ron Mann and Frank Cimler have discovered that the road to the top is paved with every imaginable challenge.

I think that Mister Kramer was more astounded than I with the achievements over the space of one year; placement in thousands of grocery stores, a partnership with the trusted food company SYSCO and now a bricks and mortar coffee shop in the works.

A coffee shop alone, as any cafe owner will tell you, is a lot of work in terms of development, placement, branding and just getting great coffee into an appreciative audience.

But for Mister Kramer and his tireless dedication to the cause, an actual cafe is a natural extension of his brand of organic coffee beans. Hard work or not, it is just another milestone in what will obviously be a long career in caffeinating the nation.

Hats off to Joey Kramer, and his line of coffee and his dedicated team of professionals.


Listen to the interview |

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French toast in the comfort of your country kitchen · 26.10.14 by colin newell

French Toast at home - better than ever

I have this thing… about French toast… and I am not even French.

I have searched nation wide and out into the Pacific for the perfect serving of French toast – and I have found it in places like Hawaii, on the Big Island… like the Holualoa Cafe .

But here in Victoria? Not so much. There are promises of a great French toast. Hints of a French toast. I have been promised French toast, but the truth is, it is rarely delivered. I feel that on some menus here in the city, that they should have a French toast offered at one price… as is… and $5 more for French toast prepared lovingly or with a little passion. Because that is what it takes. It’s not rocket science but you need to pay attention to get this item right.

Normally what I get around town is French toast prepared by people clearly angry with the French people for some inexplicable reason. I don’t get it.
All I want is French toast prepared well and tasting like it should; fluffy like a cumulus cloud or a souffle and not drier and chewier than the soles of an army boot.

So here is Andrea’s and my home country kitchen French toast recipe.

Buy one loaf of braided egg bread or a loaf of Challah bread from your local bakery.
It should be bread on the white side – fluffy and fresh to begin with with enough density to absorb the egg batter thoroughly.

Anyway – here goes…

Mix together your egg mixture which consists of:

2 Eggs
2/3 Cup milk (which would be a blend of 1/4 cup half-half and the rest skim)
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla

Put a frying pan onto medium-high heat.

Pour your egg mixture into a shallow pan (like a lasagna pan…)
Take 6 thickly sliced pieces of the bread and place them in the egg mixture – for 10 minutes soaking on each side… that is 20 minutes of soaking!

Put a large dollop of butter into the hot frying – about a tablespoon (heaping)

Put three of the soaked slices of bread into the pan.
Cover loosely with a lid that is slightly ajar – and cook for around 2 minutes each side… until each side is golden brown.

Note: Using a pan cover helps keep the toast from being undercooked or soggy in the middle.

Served with butter, maple syrup, Hawaiian coconut syrup, fresh fruit or sauteed apples in simple syrup – only limited by your imagination!

Oh yes. This toast goes great with a darn fine cup of hot black coffee!


8 years ago I wrote this blog about dairy free waffles. It turned out to be the most popular blog entry here. You can find that recipe over here – enjoy.

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Kick starting a new cup of coffee - on the net · 24.10.14 by colin newell

Bruvelo Kickstarter Project

Have you ever noticed the dramatic difference between the delicious coffee you get at a fine coffeehouse and the mediocre coffee you often drink at home when you don’t pay attention to all the critical details?

Click on the photo for the big view!

Amazing coffee is the result when fresh roasted beans are brewed to perfection, with keen attention paid to every step – water quality, grinding, measuring, blooming, heating and steeping… and if you have any energy left over, you get to enjoy the fruits of your effort.

Me, I do it all by hand. I measure the water and the beans and I grind the coffee precisely to fit the method that I am using. But what if there was a coffee machine that would force me to think less about the details and let me concentrate on the great taste of my java jolt?

Inspired by the timeless tradition of handcrafted coffee and modeled after the skills of a well-trained barista, Bruvelo was built to be simple, smart, and to do one thing – extremely well.

Whether you want to easily brew an amazing cup of coffee with a push of a button or want complete control over every detail, Bruvelo will allow you to enjoy fine, handcrafted, pour-over coffee in the comfort of your own home.

But wait! There is more! The Bruvelo is WiFi enabled and you can access it from your smart phone – saving and setting all your favorite preferences – so that great cup of mud is ready to greet you at your door.

So says this exciting new kickstarter project that you can check out over here.


Colin Newell is a long time Victoria resident and coffee expert – when he is not out looking for a better coffee experience, he is looking for better coffee for you!

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Daylight Mind coffee flies Alaska from Kona Hawaii · 2.09.14 by colin newell

Daylight Mind Coffee in Alaska Airlines

Starting October 2014, Kona, Hawaii-based Daylight Mind Coffee Company will supply locally sourced, tropically inspired desserts on all Alaska Airlines flights departing from Kona, Hawaii

Kona, Hawaii September 2, 2014 —Island Thyme Gourmet, caterers to Alaska Airlines, introduces a new line of desserts from Daylight Mind Coffee Company, a Kona artisan coffee roaster.

We are thrilled to partner with a local company that creates the quality of desserts we want to serve on Alaska Airlines,” says Clare Bobo, owner of Island Thyme Gourmet based in Hawaii.

Daylight Mind’s locally sourced desserts will tempt Alaska Airlines’ first-class passengers and complement Island Thyme Gourmet’s meals. Desserts include their award-winning Kona Coffee Espresso Opera Cake, a gluten-free, flourless, chocolate sponge cake with coffee buttercream and dark chocolate ganache, and a Sacher cake, made with local Macadamia nuts, chocolate butter cream, raspberry marmalade and ganache.

Fodor’s Travel and The Huffington Post list Daylight Mind Coffee Company as one of America’s 25 Best Coffee Shops. Located on the Kona waterfront, this company includes a farm-to-table restaurant, bakery, coffee roastery, coffee school, event space and a coffee house.

Nowhere else on earth can you find a business that teaches you about growing coffee, trains you to taste that coffee, feeds you a meal that incorporates that same coffee, and then offers you an ocean-side seat to a spectacular sunset while drinking that coffee,” says Shawn Steiman, co-owner of Daylight Mind. Steiman, who has a Ph.D. in coffee science, is the author of The Hawai‘i Coffee Book (Watermark Press, 2008), and co-editor of Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013). Daylight Mind Coffee Company’s Founder and CEO, Colin Finn, has extensive expertise in designing and operating coffee houses and restaurants in numerous countries, most recently in Australia.

Alaska Airlines offers the lowest fares from the West Coast to the Hawaiian Islands. The carrier has 30 weekly, peak-season flight to Kona from Anchorage, Alaska, Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon; and Oakland and San Jose, California.

And from yours truly: I know: In 8 consecutive years flying to Kona, Hawaii in the Winter time, Alaska has been the number one choice of the CoffeeCrew.com team.

About Daylight Mind Coffee Company

Daylight Mind, open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, takes its name from the literal translation of the Hawaiian word for enlightenment, na‘auao. By weaving a love of scientific exploration together with a deep respect for the wisdom and depth of its Hawaiian roots, Daylight Mind is the place to learn more about the art of all things coffee.

For information on Daylight Mind Coffee Company, visit us online at www.DaylightMind.com or in person at 75-5770 Ali’i Drive, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

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