CoffeeCrew Blog

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Let's talk about coffee chapter 1 · Wednesday October 6, 2021 by colin newell

Coffee cupping at 2% Jazz - October 2021

I spend a lot of time talking about coffee. A lot of time.

Over the years, I have done the yakity yak for every major radio network in Canada and the U.S. and some TV things. It never gets tired. You might say… it stays awake!

Yes, it is a pretty light duty subject – often a lot of fun… especially for the people that are drinking it. Like today. One. Too. Many. cups of coffee and shots of espresso. If I was any more jazzed on the bean today, I swear I could hear colours!

Photo above – doing a quick coffee cupping at 2-Percent Jazz coffee in Victoria – at the Hudson Market.

It has been (and continues to be…) a great run — and I am always willing to be a source of sonic amusement… on the subject that stimulates me the most. Coffee. However you brew it.

Want to talk? Just shoot me an E-Mail – replies are virtually instantaneous. Meantime, enjoy some of the chatter in the audio files below.

CFRB 1010 Toronto

CKNW 980 Vancouver

CJAD Montreal 800


Summer Food Fun and Drink 2009 Chapter 6 B.C. Transit to suspend Charter Rights for one day · Monday June 30, 2014 by colin newell

Ride the Bus - stay safe... unless you have booze!

Heading to a garden party across town on Canada Day? A blog reboot from 2009!

Arborbrook Pinot Noir Vintner’s Select 2006 at $67 a bottle (U.S.) is a remarkable grape. Any party host would welcome you with open arms.

This huge wine hits you harder than a jilted bride with bigger-than-Rita McNeil style – and flavors: fat, voluptuous with powerful fruit seasoned with ungodly quantities of exotically spicy new oak.

And if you are thinking about doing the right thing and leaving your car at home on Canada Day – I mean, doing the Legally right thing… by not drinking and driving – by taking the Bus (with this great Wine in your Man-Bag…) well think again Cowboys and Cowgirls!

B.C. Transit will have a ZERO alcohol policy on Canada Day – regardless of whether or not you are sober, wearing priestly garb or doing an emergency delivery to your favorite grape fan.

Even if you have this sealed Wine double paper bagged and sealed in your ruck sack, the folks at B.C. Transit will be taking it from you – after they illegally search you… violating your Charter Rights.

And sure, you can avoid the shake down by not taking the bus…

But that is not the point.

You have the right to ride the bus and you have the right not to be searched without probable cause.

So. Buy yourself a big fat bottle a grape and find an alternate form of transport… because you will not be riding the bus on Canada Day if you have any sober and peaceful plans to attend a civilized social somewhere!

This blog re-boot from 2009 is made available to you from the good people at the CoffeeCrew blog.


Summer Fun Food Drink and Gear - The Gin Virgin - Chapter 21 · Monday August 23, 2010 by colin newell

Victoria Spirits Old West Saanich Gin Vodka DistilleryIf you think Victoria B.C. is coffee central, better get ready to add a new category for this little piece of West Coast paradise! Victoria Gin has hit town.

We spoke with boyish master distiller and molecular biologist Peter Hunt, 31 as he tended his copper pot still – the first one I have ever seen.

Photo right: From L to R – The Hemp Vodka, the Oaken Gin and the Pure Gin.

Peter did his B.A. and Masters degree in Micro-Biology at UVic and seemed as surprised as my wife and I to be tending and managing the intricate discipline of distillation. One of his former vocations was community development work in Africa – but now, at this very early stage in his career, he is doing something completely different – if not just as equally satisfying.

This was our second attempt at finding the operation (they have added some more signs!) and adjacent to a small vineyard in Saanich, the distillery and tasting room are in a barn, giving it that cottage industry feeling that you find in many small wineries.

I learned a lot about distillation and the process of making gin and vodka while checking out their neat operation. A mash of juniper berries and 10 “botanical” additions are used in this handcrafted spirit. Watching it “boil” away at just over 80 degrees © was cool – as well as seeing the condensation towers “perking” – with a gentle little stream of refined “brew” ending up in a steel tin.

Wild organic herbs and spices plus natural spring water create the complex flavor profile of gin – and it is not entirely lost on me, an avid coffee taster. In some ways, it is even more challenging. In the sample room, there are martini glasses laid out with samples of the botanical pallet they use. So much for secret ingredients!

We sipped several varieties of the Gin, one Oak aged and one pure as well as the hemp vodka – and bought a bottle of each. Because I was driving I kept my tipple to less than 1/8th ounce sips with each sample – but the flavor was all there.

Some extra things I learned…

The German-made, 120L copper pot-still produces a “batch” in an attention grabbing 4 to 6 hour distillation process. Intense knowledge of biology and chemistry is key because you do spend a lot of time stripping off ingredients you really do not want in liquor – like acetates and methanol, the blindness inducing byproduct of careless distillation.

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Summer food fun and drink - Enjoy an Okanagan Meritage Today · Monday August 25, 2008 by colin newell

Summer food fun and drink Okanagan Red Rooster Meritage

Andrea asks… “When does your Summer Food Fun and Drink series end? And what are you going to call the new series?”

Good question.

Was thinking something along the lines of Autumn Leaves Feast of Fields… in celebrating harvest… something that resonates with me… having grown up on a small farm. It is calm. It is subtle.

Or we could call it Listeria Hysteria Pass me the Bacon Mildred…

Not so subtle.

Speaking of which, Sunday morning I was gazing fondly at a portion of Maple Leaf bacon in the fridge on Sunday whilst whipping up some of my not-yet-famous Non-Dairy Waffles... Kids love `em and you will too!

And what goes better with a nice linear stack of waffles than 8 slices of bacon?
Especially when the threat of illness, death and cholesterol posed by contaminated meats – rests over your head like a scimitar hanging by one hair from your grandmothers head…

Anyway – a Olympian tug-of-war ensued between Andrea and I… I won. Bacon in pan.

And apart from the bacon tasting vaguely like Kopi Luwak all was well –

Today in Wine: Enjoyed a 2005 Red Rooster Meritage with dinner. It had pretty bold oak that merged as the wine caught a breath. There were fairly focused blue-berry notes, some pluminess and sufficiently chewy to sustain the pairing…


Vegetarian nachos.
There. I said it.


Dining in Victoria as good as it gets #1 · Monday May 26, 2008 by colin newell

Brasserie lecole best steak frite on the planetTo describe the restaurant, Brasserie L`ecole as unpretentious is like pontificating on the genuinely modest nature of the Dali Lama.

Shut up and eat already.

This is one of the reasons I find Eat magazine so amusing – whenever it appears on the stands that is.

They gush and genuflect on restaurants like Brasserie L`ecole, Cafe Brio and Zambri’s…

And others. They back slap. They self reward and worship.

It is a veritable love fest.

But I digress.

Brasserie L`ecole is a great restaurant with some amazing pluses, twists and turns in what should be a stuffy and boring French restaurant.

Starters: It appears that guests can order 2 glasses of wine from virtually any bottle in their cellar. Name one other restaurant in Victoria where this is an option?

We go for the Steak-Frites… Steak perfectly prepared served with a bassinet of skinny Belgian fries, anointed with salt, baptized with truffle oil and parmasan.

Expect to book 2 weeks in advance for a good seating during the dinner hour(s).

In this 1st in a marathon of local restaurant reviews, diner Colin Newell hopes to educate, entertain and reveal some of Victoria’s gems. Bon Appetit!