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.
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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This week the fiancée had a bad day prompting me to cheer her up with an impromptu date night. We drove down the street for some sushi, but at the end of our dinner we weren’t quite ready to go home just yet, so we went to one of our favorite spots in the neighborhood: Aroma Coffee & Tea Company.
Aroma is a rather popular café with a line that wraps around the venue during peak brunch hours on any given Saturday morning. We spotted this café even before we moved to Studio City, but for some reason did not try it until over a year later. It is now one of our favorite places to get a strawberry tart and of course, coffee.
Appropriately priced for a residential house-turned restaurant on Tujunga Avenue just north of Hollywood Hills, Aroma offers a delicious brunch menu (including southwest-inspired options), slightly overpriced baked goods, and a decent selection of beverages as shown below.
In order to understand my coffee reviews, you will need to know that I use Starbucks as my measuring gauge, as it is neither gourmet nor vending machine quality. It’s more or less an acceptable standard. That said, Aroma’s coffee lies just past the Starbucks line. Nevertheless, at $2.50 a cup, and with unlimited refills (should you choose to use a mug and enjoy your coffee at their homey venue), Aroma’s coffee is much like the venue itself, a hidden gem.
Review: I smelled my cup and was able to distinguish the earthy notes and mixed berries undertone described by the label. It emitted a sweet aroma (pun intended) that yielded a promising start. Upon tasting this full-bodied coffee, I was greeted by a mouthwatering subtle bitterness, a gentle crisp that massaged my taste buds. As my tongue waved goodbye, my sip left a pleasant citrusy aftertaste, and a hint of what appeared to be amaretto — a welcomed surprise.
Overall, it was a good cup. Not the best cup, not even a great cup, but it was definitely a solid choice, specially at its price point. However, and despite its great qualities, I regret to inform that Aroma’s coffee was not a memorable experience. The Ramdolfi Score: 5.4/10.