In search of the best coffee ever.

Mara Pottery Mug with DaisyWhen was the last time you had a truly good cup of coffee? Not one that is laden with syrups and chemicals to fool your brain into thinking it’s good. I’m talking about a fill your mouth, smooth, acidic balanced by slightly sweet and nutty, satisfying cup of joe. They are so hard to find. I’ve had many cups on the run and those last minute keurig pods to get my caffeine fix but it’s been a while since I just had a really yummy hot cup of coffee so good I could drink it black. I encourage you to embark on a journey. Find that special cup of heaven that when you sip you feel at peace, like the world is a wonderful place. Let me know what you discover. What kind of coffee, grind, process and location. Include the #stacyscoffeeandtea or comment on this post and I’ll show them here on my blog and website and enter you into a drawing. On February 29thm one lucky winner will be chosen to receive a free mug from our stash. Happy sipping!

A Flagstaff Institution…Macy’s European Coffee House

  Well, I can cross one more off the “need to go to in my lifetime.” There it was, Macy’s in flagstaff. It is exactly what you expect. This place puts the hip in hippie. The iconic long haired barista, on-site roasted beans and fresh tea blends lined up in a row of jars makes it warm and friendly.



 The amazing super large photographs on the walls make it cool and eclectic. That’s hard to pull off both. A flagstaff institution since 1980, they have fresh baked everything from bagels to sandwiches to pizza. My cappuccino was the perfect blend of not too bitter espresso exquisitely blended with frothy milk to almost overflowing. Perfectly balanced, but they make it look easy. My companion’s hot chocolate was lovely. Smooth and sweet. They have everything you want in a place like this and maintain the authentic vibe. They have clearly been doing this a long time but still love what they do. Time to just sit and enjoy. Free wifi too. 

French Press

French Press, when done right, produces some of the best coffee. Follow these instructions and you’ll see why.

Boxer Brew Coffee co

French Press?  Sounds like the paparazzi, but it is probably one of the most accessible brewing methods.  In it’s simplest form it is a tubular container with a removable metal filter used to press down on the coffee.  This is the first in the series of blogs about alternative brewing methods from the steeping group.  This is the brewing methods that is the Jacuzzi group where coffee  chills in the water for a while.

It has had a bad rap, as producing harsh, murky or bitter coffee.  Here is a guideline to making good French press coffee. I searched wide and far on the wild, wild web and have distilled the best advice I could find. Following this guideline, should produce a full-bodied, robust coffee with intense flavours.

What you need


  1. A French Press. The best value for money in most likely a Bodum.
  2. Coffee beans. Ideally, you should grind it yourself, but…

View original post 485 more words

Hot Summer Treat


Packards Coffee is a tiny shop in Ramona, California. The building is an old 1930’s gas station turned coffee shop with outdoor seating. If you are ever in the neighborhood, you shouldn’t miss it. There are some some photos on the walls from famous people who’ve stopped there, as well as postcards from around the world. If you love a small town atmosphere, roadside kitch and coffee house coffee, then this is the place.

(Full disclosure: It’s right near my shop so I’m a regular.) I normally get an Organic Blue Sky coffee with a little almond milk.  A smooth dark roast with a bit of an edge, it’s a perfect pick-me-up for those mornings I’m not feeling it. On a hot summer day, when I need something sweet, I order the Alaskan. It’s a special frozen mocha that will cure any sweet tooth.

Today, I was talking to the owner and she mentioned something new, so of course I had to have it. Simple, yet genius! Frozen Mocha meets Banana Smoothie in a dark alley and BAM! This drink has the best of both. Ask for the Frozen Banana Mocha. Real espresso, frozen blended banana smoothie and rich chocolate. Nothing here comes in powder form. All the ingredients are the real deal and the prices are way better than the chain stores.

They are also known for their flavored red bulls, the Ramonan (mocha, cinamon, nutmeg) as well as Italian Sodas and free wi-fi.

If you are lucky enough to be here on the weekends, they serve crepes, both savory and sweet. All fresh ingredients, made to order makes for a long line, but it’s worth the wait.

They don’t have a website but you can follow them on Facebook or Yelp.

Packards Coffee – 680 Main Street, Ramona, CA 92065  (760) 789-4262 


I don’t really like my Keruig

I’ll say it right off the top. I don’t love my Keurig. There are a couple of other machines that work the same way. Basically, they all force water through a plastic cup of coffee grounds quickly. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have bought into this method. I get it. You need coffee fast and it’s easy to push a button as you drag your bleary eyed, just woke up self to the kitchen. So you will get coffee, quickly, but not really good coffee. Yet, I still use it for a quick cup in the morning (and for guests) but then I need to add flavored creamers (pseudonym for addictive chemical swill) or milk and sugar. At this point, it’s really just a caffeine delivery system.

Tea flavors are also enhanced by allowing them to steep in a cup for a few minutes. The water temperature is  not hot enough to make proper loose leaf tea. You can buy K cups for several brands of tea but basically all you are doing with any other beverage is adding hot water to powdered processed chemicals.  Besides the obvious impending natural disaster of spent K cup pile up in our landfills, I wonder how many people realize they are paying more than $50 per pound for not-that-great coffee? Check out this post from The Kitchn to see what I mean.

But we still use them so here are some hints to get better results from your Keurig:

Good coffee comes from allowing the water to absorb all the flavors. The best coffee ever will be freshly ground beans in a pour over or French press. If you must use a Keurig, you will get slightly better results from using a smoother more mellow coffee with a lighter roast. The strong dark roasts come out acidic and tart because the water is forced through too fast not allowing the more subtle flavors of coffee to be absorbed. Also, make sure, as with all coffee and tea preparation, that you use purified water. I’ve tried using better coffee in the filter that fits in the k cup but I think it was worse. If you use this method, use an extremely fine ground and make half a cup, then add hot water by taking out the pod and running it again. (Americano style)

You can get away with the Lipton bag stuff if you that’s what you drink.  It’s also okay for making instant oatmeal or soup packages. Just don’t add a pod, but I don’t recommend it for much else. It’s basically a low temperature hot water heater. Set your expectations accordingly.

Keurig and cup

Coffee and Art

There is a little shop, tucked into a high rise building on the edge of the Gaslamp District in San Diego. It does not have much of a footprint, but the disproportionate height of the ceiling makes it feel a bit bigger. The walls are covered in paintings and works by ever changing artists varying in both style and quality. Art is art, right? On my most recent trip I strayed from my usual chai latte and had the peach iced tea. This is NOT something that comes out of a package or box. It was amazing. The real peach juice added a smooth flavor to the tang of the black tea, making it the perfect blend it was meant to be. Very refreshing on an unusually hot summer day. In a town that is becoming more commercial by the minute, I hope you make it to this European style coffee house. (The drink in the picture is iced coffee from a previous visit. The book is one I was reviewing for the shop. I didn’t like it.)

Coffee and Art 777 6th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101 (corner of 6th & F)