Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee

It was a Monday morning and I woke up slightly disoriented, my body mildly aching, and in desperate need of water — for once, not the result of libations. My wife and I were exhausted from our wedding day just hours ago. We checked out of the hotel, and I beckoned my first cup of coffee as a married man.

Blue Bottle Coffee’s Menu

Not just any cup would do on this momentous occasion. No, I had to make this one count, and that’s exactly what I did. The wife and I drove to Ventura Boulevard to secure a cup of my absolute favorite coffee in the United States, Blue Bottle Coffee.

Review: On this hot summer’s day, a 16oz New Orleans cup of iced coffee was the perfect first cup to christen my caffeinated marriage. From the first sip, this cup is worthy of praise in every way. It is a lavish beverage, rich in flavor, essentially flawless. Indeed, it is smooth, refreshing, and satisfying, but it is also so much more. It is comforting like a parent’s hug, soft like a cashmere sweater, and gentle like a lover’s caress. In short, this cup is the nectar of the gods.

At $5.00 a large cup, this cup is as close as it gets to buying happiness. In the words of Matthew Broderick’s most iconic movie character: “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” The Ramdolfi Score: 9.7/10.

Tell me, have you ever had Blue Bottle Coffee? Do you prefer hot or iced coffee? Did you get that pop culture reference?

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(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

IKEA Coffee Review

IKEA Coffee Review

While not know for its coffee, IKEA is famous for its affordable yet stylish furniture and decorations — the latter of which we sought to purchase for the wedding. Specifically, we went to IKEA in a semi-last minute effort to find wood slices for our wedding’s table decorations.

We perused the somewhat defined trajectory of sample setups, many of which displayed our own furniture — it would, this is where we purchased most of it. Halfway through, we arrived at the cafeteria-style restaurant famous for its meatballs where I picked up, you guessed it, coffee!

Review: I quickly noticed that my cup had a delightfully sweet aroma. At first taste I was intrigued, and upon second examination, I was able to detect hints of berries. Overall, it was a surprisingly full bodied, low acidity, semi-sweet cup of Scandinavian coffee.

At $1.00 a cup and free refills, this is a great cup! I may not go out of my way to buy IKEA’s coffee the way people do for their meatballs, but it is good, and that’s something I was not expecting to say about a furniture store. The Ramdolfi Score: 4.5/10.

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(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

Noah’s New York Bagels

Noah’s New York Bagels

Today I review Noah’s New York Bagels’ coffee. I wish this was a review of Noah’s bagels instead of Noah’s coffee, because those bagels are just about as good as it gets in Los Angeles. In New York, not so much, but on this side of the country they’re great!

I love that Noah’s venues are designed after New York’s architecture and subway style. It really does feel like the East Coast. In fact, if Noah’s was half as small, I may actually believe I’m back in the city that never sleeps.

Review: It took me a minute to separate this cup from my love of Noah’s bagels. Their website states that “all of Noah’s Hot Brewed and Espresso coffee is small batch craft roasted, from the top 1% of the world’s beans and 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified.” I’m not sure what that means in terms of taste, but I can attest to the fact that their coffee is good. Not great, but definitely good. It is comparable to Starbucks’ flagship Pike roast, which places this cup right in the middle of the Ramdolfi Scale — not bad for a place whose main business is bagels.

At $2.40 a large cup, I think this cup is acceptable. I know, not my highest coffee praise; but again, this is not really a coffee place. Perhaps if the coffee was $1.00 a small and $1.25 a large as sold in every bagel cart in Manhattan, then I would be sold based on the experience alone. The Ramdolfi Score: 5/10.

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Aeirloom Bakery

Aeirloom Bakery

You know when you wake up too late for breakfast but not enough for lunch, in the tradition of your typical Angelino (and New Yorker), you seek brunch. This bakery is the very definition, of brunch.

The ambiance is the first thing you will notice. Imagine a large family gathering at an estate back east for a long weekend, one with plenty of friends to share the good times. The type of gathering perfect to introduce your girlfriend to your parents, where everyone is having a great time.

Upon entering the house-looking building, with windows from wall to wall that illuminate the entire cafe with natural light, you encounter the friendliest of staff that promptly direct you to either a private table, a large communal table, or the juice bar. I requested a cup of black coffee and took a seat at the large table with strangers. They brought my cup and I began to write this review.

Review: It was only upon intently focusing on my beverage that I realized, the coffee was sadly unremarkable. Admittedly this cup, although surprisingly pleasant, was barely flavorful. What was remarkable about this experience however, was that given the ambiance, I almost forgot the coffee left much to be desired, almost.

At $2.75 a cup, I almost feel like I should adjust my rating, but this review is about taste, not price. Here’s the thing though, Aeirloom Bakery gets an A+ grading overall, but the coffee itself is a different story — hopefully it was just an old brew and I’ll have better luck next time. The Ramdolfi Score: 3/10.

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Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s Coffee

It is a beautiful sunny day in Los Angeles, the type that you see on a postcard and think, “there is no way this day exists.” What better way to enjoy it than by driving to my favorite Peet’s Coffee for a cup of Major Dickason’s Blend.

From the moment you enter this location in Westwood, you are welcomed by an intoxicating aroma that embraces you and let’s you know that everything is going to be ok. As you do, the friendly staff greets you, letting you know: you belong.

Peet’s Coffee’s Menu

With a full menu of proprietary blends, hand-crafted beverages, and fresh pastries, Peet’s has something for everyone. For the coffee connoisseur however, one needs not go beyond their flagship Major Dickason’s Blend — one of my personal favorites.

Review: Upon receiving this perfectly brewed cup of liquid perfection, you know you’re in for an experience. Your cup, not too hot, and definitely not cold, emits just enough steam to caress your olfaction with its signature aroma. You take a sip and its complex flavors instantly educate you on what good coffee is supposed to taste like. You consider adding milk, but you do not dare bastardize this heavenly cup with dairy, let alone sugar. No, this cup deserves to be enjoyed as is. It is bitter, but not repelling, it is flavorful, but not overpowering, it is complex, but balanced. Major Dickason’s Blend is every bit as full-bodied, rich, and smooth as promised.

At $2.95 a large cup, this coffee is the equivalent of reluctantly attending a social event with no expectations and meeting the person you would end up spending the rest of your life with. That, is the sort of commitment that this cup inspires. The Ramdolfi Score: 9.1/10

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(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)