Coffee Shop Review: Chronicle Coffee

Chronicle Coffee

The St. Louis coffee shop is located on the corner of Blumeyer and Page. Courtesy of UrbanReview STL

I admit, this is the first time I am reviewing a coffee shop that I’ve never been to before. Chronicle Coffee, located just north of Grand Center, is a new St. Louis coffee shop that opened in the beginning of the year, and it’s a great addition to the neighborhood. I used to live in the area, and I wish this coffee shop was here when I used to live here. Anyway, it’s here now, and Chronicle Coffee is a quaint coffee shop for an up-and-coming part of town.

How’s the Drink?

The vanilla soy latte is fantastic, an excellent balance between the vanilla and the espresso. There’s something silky about it, and I’m not sure if it’s the soy milk or the vanilla syrup. The drink wasn’t scalding hot either, can be a problem when it’s made and served right away. I did have to wait a few minutes for the barista to serve other customers first, but it was worth the wait.

Chronicle also sources all their coffee from Northwest Coffee Roasting, a local roaster, doing a good job of helping the neighborhood while offering local coffee on its menu. Although Chronicle Coffee doesn’t have the most extensive menu, one item that’s unique is the carmocha, which is caramel, chocolate milk, and whipped cream. It’s the first time I’ve seen chocolate milk used in a drink at a coffee shop. Besides that, the drink menu consists of the normal espresso shots, lattes, mochas, and regular hot coffee.

The Atmosphere

It’s quiet afternoon on a weekday, so the shop is almost empty. It’s a great place to study and to get work done in the regard because it’s not dead quiet like a library. The few people here are conversing, and Bob Marley jams from the corner. However, seating and outlets are very limited, so there’s only room for about three or four people to camp out with a laptop. Another hindrance to that could the hours of operation, (M-Fri: 6:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun: 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.), which aren’t too conducive for several hours of studying unless you arrive early enough. This could change if enough patrons come here to study and want the longer hours. These hours are also unfortunate because those visiting Grand Center for an event would often be unable to grab a cup of coffee before the show.

Otherwise, Chronicle Coffee is a nice spot that’s perfect for having some down time or a meeting with a friend or colleague. Black and white photos adorn the western wall, exhibiting pride in the neighborhood’s history while contributing to its future sustainability. It’s a perfect, friendly establishment that’s meant to be for this community and serves as a safe location to work, to talk, and to have something warm and delicious to drink. Highly recommend dropping by if you’re ever in the area.

Did you enjoy this review? What would like to see in my reviews? Let me know in the comments below!

Grumpy Cat Grumppiccino Coffee Review

Grumpy cat coffee drinkI finally got my hands on the new Grumpy Cat coffee drink: Grumppiccino! I purchased a case of the coffee flavor, and over the coming months I’ll review the mocha flavor and the vanilla flavor. The Grumpy Cat drink is the exact same size as its Starbucks counterpart, 13.7 ounces, so it’s going to come down to the taste to determine which is better. It’s not in stores yet, so I can’t yet compare the two on retail price (but, you can purchase the drink online if you’re interested).

Is it Good?

Yes, the coffee flavor is very good! It’s sweet, but not too sugary. I still feel like I’m drinking a coffee instead of candy. I would say that it’s sweeter than the Starbucks version, but the Starbucks version has a creamier taste, so the Grumppiccino is a good choice for those who prefer the sweetness over the taste of the milk. The Grumpy Cat coffee drink is sure to please fans of the Internet meme, and those who’ve never heard of the cat will still enjoy the drink as well.

This is an odd complaint to make, but just a suggestion before Grumppiccino hits stores. The perforation that goes around the neck the bottle needs to be improved. Right now, it’s so easy to tear the top to get to the cap, only to end up tearing the entire label off the bottle. I understand some people like to do that to their bottles, but I don’t like to do that, and the process of opening the bottle is only made it more difficult. The tearing doesn’t stop on its own.

Overall, I think the Grumpy Cat drink is great and will do well once it hits stores. The branding is distinct enough that it will reach a market separate from the Starbucks loyalists. It also tastes different enough so that this isn’t just a knock off, but a delicious drink that can cure a grumpy attitude and serve as a treat during the day.

Did you enjoy this review? What would like to see in our reviews? Let us know in the comments below!

Coffee Roast Review: St. Louis Blend from Park Avenue Coffee

St. Louis blend Park Avenue CoffeeOf course, we can’t be a respectable St. Louis coffee review site without reviewing the new (the package says it’s new) St. Louis blend from Park Avenue Coffee. Park Avenue Coffee may be better known for their delicious gooey butter cake, which is amazing, but we’re not about desserts to accompany your coffee here at Gateway Grounds. We are about the coffee itself, and Park Avenue Coffee offers a nice selection of roasts, starting with its St. Louis blend.

Initial Impressions

Nutty. That’s the aroma of this blend, a hazelnut smell to be exact. Very pleasing aroma, but not so overpowering that you’re left expecting this blend to taste nutty. Although, when I had a sip of it black, there was still a hint of that nutty taste. Bitter, sure, but there was enough flavor there to keep my wanting for the rest of the cup.

Park Avenue Coffee does deserve extra points for its packaging. Its bags are resealable like those plastic sandwich bags, and Park Avenue Coffee is the only company that I know of that has such a feature. This meant that I didn’t have to dump the beans into a separate container, or work with the tabs that coffee bags typically have, as those tabs sometimes don’t close as well as you hope. I also liked that, on the back, you can see when the coffee was roasted. I also haven’t seen this on any other coffee bag, and it’s nice to know the freshness of the beans when you make the purchase.

Was It Good?

Park Avenue describes the St. Louis blend as “a blend of South and Central American coffees with a touch-of dark roasted coffees”, and you can taste that hint of dark roast. As a medium roast, I expected this to be a weaker roast, and I didn’t find it to be weak or any less flavorful than a dark roast. I enjoyed and thought it was very smooth. The nuttiness wasn’t there like it was in my initial impressions, but as I said about the aroma, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The smell doesn’t leave you anticipating a nutty flavor.

I think the St. Louis blend is an excellent middle ground, a coffee that can please a lot of people and that doesn’t fall into any extremes. I think it would be a good choice for an office or household that has many coffee preferences to meet. This blend would also make a good gift for a coffee lover if you’re unsure of his/her preferences, or if you want a local roast that’s a little more St. Louis-y.

The Verdict

The St. Louis blend didn’t blow my mind, but I thought it was a great medium roast and a roast that I would purchase again. Overall, it was a pleasant surprise for a medium roast, and I look forward to other delectable roasts from Park Avenue Coffee. If, for whatever reason, you can’t have the gooey butter case, then try the St. Louis blend. Park Avenue Coffee illustrates that they aren’t a one-trick cafe and that they aren’t a bakery posing as a coffee shop. The coffee is good too and there’s something there for everyone.

Did you enjoy this review? What would like to see in my reviews? Let me know in the comments below!

How Much Caffeine in a Cup of Coffee? [FAQ]

caffeine content in coffeeAs you enjoy your cup of joe today, keep in mind that the amount of caffeine you’re getting today isn’t necessarily the same as what you got yesterday, or what you’ll get tomorrow, or what you’ll get when you decide to order a cup of that great roast from the local coffee shop. As it turns out, the caffeine content of your coffee depends on the type of coffee and even where you purchased your coffee.

Caffeine Content for Various Types of Coffee

Normal Coffee, 1 cup – 95 mg

Decaffeinated Coffee, 1 cup (don’t let the name fool you, as it still has caffeine in it despite the name) – 2 mg

Espresso coffee, 1 fluid ounce – 64 mg

Decaffeinated espresso coffee, 1 fluid ounce – 0 mg (decaffeinated espresso, on the other hand, doesn’t have caffeine)

Instant Coffee, 100 grams – 3142 mg

Instant Coffee, Chicory, 100 grams – 21 mg

Instant Coffee, French, 100 grams – 246 mg

Instant Coffee, Mocha, 100 grams – 360 mg

Caffeine Content for Various Types of Branded Coffee

McDonald’s brewed, 16 ounces – 100 mg

McDonald’s Mocha Frappe, 16 ounces – 125 mg

Starbucks Latte, 16 ounces, – 150 mg

Starbucks Pike Place brewed, 16 ounces – 330 mg

Decaffeinated Starbucks Pike Place brewed, 16 ounces – 25 mg

Seattle’s Best brewed, 16 ounces – 166 mg

Biggby Coffee brewed, 16 ounces – 200 mg

Caribou Coffee brewed, , 16 ounces – 240 mg

Dunkin’ Donuts brewed, 16 ounces – 203 mg

Dutch Brother’s Coffee brewed, 16 ounces – 204 mg

Peet’s Coffee brewed, 16 ounces – 267 mg

Sources

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/caffeine/AN01211

http://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/how-much-caffeine-is-actually-in-your-coffee-from-dunkin-to-starbucks

Coffee Product Review: Organo Gold Gourmet Cafe Latte

Organo Gold Cafe Latte


Disclosure: We received a sample of this coffee product for free so that we can write this review. We do not take any commission or compensation for the sale of this product or other products from the same brand.

Organo Gold is a line of convenient coffee and tea products infused with ganoderma, a type of mushroom with extensive use in traditional Asian medicine. Each product, including the Gourmet Cafe Latte that I’m reviewing today, comes with the herb and is supposed to counteract the effects of caffeine and caffeine withdrawal. I’m not a medical expert, so I’m not going to make health claims, but I will say whether or not this product tastes good and tell you where you can get it.

How It Works

The Gourmet Cafe Latte works similarly to instant coffee, although Organo Gold does not call its products “instant coffee products”. It’s meant to be something quick and convenient, something you can quickly put together at work or before you leave for work. Anyway, to make your cup, you need to do the following steps:

  • Heat up between five to six ounces of water (approximately 3/4 cup) to the temperature of your choice
  • Open one packet and pour it into the water. One box, like the one pictured above, comes with 20 packets.
  • Stir and enjoy!

Was It Good

For a coffee product designed for convenience, it was very good, and much better than I anticipated. The Gourmet Cafe Latte is full of flavor, sweet and creamy like a good latte. It wasn’t watery or weak like similar products can be. There’s no need to add anything to it to make it taste better, although you can add more cream or milk to fill your cup.

The only think I didn’t like about this product is that the serving size is a bit small. Six ounces are about half of what I would typically drink when I have coffee, and while six ounces may be adequate for some, it just wasn’t enough for me. I certainly would need to have two at a time to have enough for my morning coffee fix. Considering that I already have samples of other Organo Gold coffee products, all of which I intend to review in the coming weeks, this might be a common complaint across all of the products.

Where to Purchase

Unfortunately, you can’t buy any Organo Gold products in any stores. You can only get them online or in person through specific distributors. Below is the contact information for our St. Louis Organo Gold distributor:

DeShawn Taylor

314-262-0493

thesampler85 (at) gmail (dot) com

If you would like to purchase the Gourmet Cafe Latte, to try a free sample for yourself, or to learn more about Organo Gold and their other products, then I suggest that you contact him for details. Whether or not you’re into a healthier alternative for coffee, or are interested in the ganoderma aspect, or just want quick, convenient coffee that also tastes good, you can’t go wrong with the Gourmet Cafe Latte from Organo Gold.

Did you enjoy this review? What would like to see in our reviews? Let us know in the comments below!

Coffee Roast Review: Cafe Britt Costa Rica Espresso Roast

Costa Rica Espresso Roast


Disclosure: This roast comes from one of our affiliate partners. We did not receive the product for free. We do receive a commission every time someone makes a purchase of this roast through our site.

This is the second coffee roast review from our affiliate partner Cafe Britt, with many more to come. This time, I tried their Costa Rica Espresso Roast, and so far it’s one of the best roasts I’ve ever reviewed.

Initial Impressions

This is an incredibly dark roast with a shiny midnight brown color. A strong and sweet aroma accompanied the pleasant site of the dark roast. If someone told me that I needed to drink my coffee black from here on out, then I would hope that I would include this roast into my diet. My sip wasn’t even bitter, but smooth and acidic! I didn’t think it tasted bad at all, and I could finally see how someone could want to drink black coffee. If it tastes like this, then it’s something that could be an acquired taste for myself or anyone else.

Was It Good?

This roast was incredible; strong and sweet just like its aroma. My sip of it black was a harbinger of the good that was to come from my coffee cup! It went well with the vanilla soy milk, and the added sugars did not cover up the espresso flavor. Just writing about this makes me want more, even though the entire bad is already gone (it was that good). This is a roast to drink black. This is roast to have when you want something gourmet and exquisite in the morning, or whenever you prefer to have your coffee.

The Verdict

The Costa Rica Espresso Roast Whole Bean Bag is a roast that is worth buying, and one that’s worth buying regularly. At $9.95 for a 12-ounce bag, it’s a great price for quality of coffee you are getting. If you purchase at least 20 bags, then you receive a bulk discount, so it’s also a perfect roast for the office. Of all the roasts I’ve reviewed so far, if there is only one you could purchase, it should be the Costa Rica Espresso Roast from Cafe Britt.

Did you enjoy this review? What would like to see in our reviews? Let us know in the comments below!

St. Louis Coffee Shop Labor Day Hours

St. Louis coffee shop holiday hoursHaving an excellent cup of coffee is always nice of have on a holiday, or at the end of a three-day weekend. Where can you do that in St. Louis today? Here’s the list of which coffee shops are open regular hours, which are open reduced hours, and which are closed for the holiday:

Open Regular Hours

Coffee Cartel – 24/7

Hartford Coffee Company – 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Chronicle Coffee – 6:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Park Avenue Lafayette Square – 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Park Avenue Downtown – 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Open Reduced Hours

All Kaldi’s Locations – 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Clayton Demun
  • Clayton Crescent
  • Kirkwood
  • Chesterfield
  • Kayak’s – Open until 8 p.m.

Comet Coffee – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

La Mancha Coffeehouse – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Gelateria Tavolini – 9 a.m. to 11 p.m

Nadoz Cafe at The Boulevard – 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Closed for Labor Day

  • Shameless Grounds
  • Shaw’s Coffee
  • Sump Coffee
  • 222 Artisan Bakery
  • The Mud House
  • Foam Coffee and Beer
  • Nadoz Cafe Coronado
  • Stone Spiral Coffee and Curios
  • More Than Coffee

Coffee Has Zero Calories

And 19 Other Facts about Coffee

Yes, coffee has zero calories, until you put in the cream and sugar that is. This awesome infographic from I Love Coffee highlights 20 pieces of cool coffee trivia. Although St. Louis isn’t a top city for being caffeinated, we hope to change that. Enjoy!

coffee infographic

Coffee Roast Review: Mocha Mint from Hartford Coffee Company

Hartford Coffee Company Mocha MintHartford Coffee Company roasts its own coffee twice a week, and has over 30 different roasts available for purchase at their location in Tower Grove (they don’t sell it online, unfortunately). We will eventually review every single roast they have to offer, but today we are starting with one of their flavored roasts: Mocha Mint.

Initial Impressions

The aroma was fabulous! It smelled just like an Andes mint candy. This made me very excited to try the roast. The beans had some shine, so it was certainly the medium-dark roast that’s indicated on the label.

When I sipped it black, it wasn’t the best, but that’s expected. It certainly wasn’t acidic, but the coffee flavors weren’t too strong either. Just seemed bitter and a bit lacking.

Was It Good?

It wasn’t too bad. The disappointing thing was that the roast wasn’t all that minty or chocolatey, despite the strong aroma. I thought part of it was that I covered up the flavor with my vanilla soy milk, but my fiance also said that the roast didn’t taste all that minty (he only adds whole milk to his cup). So, I don’t think that I covered up any of the flavor but that there just wasn’t a whole lot of mint flavor in the first place.

The label positioned this roast as a dessert coffee, as something that would be strong in the mint and the chocolate. Honestly, it tasted very much like a normal medium-dark roast. There wasn’t anything dessert-like about it and I didn’t feel like I was indulging on something when I tried it in the morning.

The Verdict

For a flavored roast, it didn’t have much flavor, which left me very disappointed. It’s a good thing that Hartford has over 30 roasts for you to choose from, and other flavored roasts to boot, because this one wasn’t at all what the package claimed. Besides the lack of mint, the roast wasn’t bad at all, but I didn’t get this roast to have a coffee that tasted like the others. I wanted the flavor. Hopefully, the rest of Hartford’s roasts will be worth trying and will be full of flavor.

Coffee Shop Review: Coffee Cartel

Coffee Cartel

Coffee Cartel is a 24-hour coffee shop in the Central West End.

On this rather pleasant Tuesday afternoon, I head over to Coffee Cartel in the Central West End. It’s St. Louis 24-hour coffee shop, and it’s one that has done well despite the Starbucks less than a block away. However, Starbucks doesn’t have anything on Coffee Cartel, as Coffee Cartel has so much more than what Starbucks has, including seating.

How’s the Drink?

I find this iced vanilla soy latte to be on the sweeter side, lacking that strong espresso flavor to balance it. It’s possible Coffee Cartel uses a lighter roast, but I’ve had better as far as iced vanilla soy lattes go. Nonetheless, it’s not bad, but I wouldn’t consider this the specialty or good old lattes what this coffee shop does best. Fortunately, there are many more options than lattes here. I did notice that Coffee Cartel has the Espresso Con Panna on the menu, which is an example of just what you can find here.

However, if you do take the time to come here, I would recommend giving one of their house specials a shot. A house special comes with an extra shot of espresso, and comes in a variety of flavors such as iced monkey mocha, spicy mocha, and Toblerone Candy. Although I’ve never had a spicy mocha from Coffee Cartel, I’ve had a similar concoction and the kick from the cayenne pepper (or whatever pepper they use) adds a certain kick to your day that coffee quite doesn’t. If you’re looking for a really good time, then their menu of spirited coffees offers a nice selection for the nights when you’d rather have a little fun.

The Atmosphere

There are a couple of other aspects to Coffee Cartel that make it an awesome spot to visit. First, it’s one of the few coffee shops in St. Louis that I know of that offers pay computers. This is convenient if you need something in a pinch. Second, they have a pool table and board games for you to use, turning the place into a relaxing hangout spot if you want something to do besides sitting around and talking. Essentially, the atmosphere of Coffee Cartel matches this part of the Central West End, one that’s designed for socialization and having a great time.

This is definitely one that’s up to personal reference, but I am rocking the radio play in their side room. It’s upbeat 70s and 80s music (Just take those old records off the shelf! I’ll sit and listen to them by myself!) Typically, music doesn’t factor into my reviews or my overall impression because I’m wearing headphones, but there’s no need to wear headphones with great tunes like these! It is a bit loud, so I suppose you could wear headphones or sit outside if you don’t like the music, but you can never go wrong with 70s and 80s music.

In Conclusion

Coffee Cartel wouldn’t be the coffee shop for studying or getting work done, even though being open 24/7 (and on major holidays) may be convenient for many students and professionals. They are trying to cater more towards those who are looking to socialize or to keep their evenings going as they finish up dinner and meander in the area. However, this doesn’t make it a bad place at all, and it’s particularly wonderful on an afternoon like this one where it isn’t too crowded and the weather isn’t too hot or too cold.

Did you enjoy this review? What would like to see in my reviews? Let me know in the comments below!