We’re one full month into 2013 and for this week’s post, I’m taking a look at my drinking, eating, and making consumption in January.

So that idea that I wanted to try a new roaster (designated by NR) every month more than succeeded. Favorites are designated by asterisks. What did I drink/eat/make this month?

DRANKS (in chronological order)

  • *Counter Culture Coffee: Aida’s Grand Reserve, El Salvadaor Santa Ana
  • *Stumptown Costa Rica Valle de los Santos
  • Madcap Costa Rica Santa Luciastumptown madcap rowster
  • *OQ Coffee Costa Rica Finca Coffea Diversa
  • Star Lounge Coffee Bar: Chai with fresh ingredients (so spicy!)
  • *NR Workshop Coffee Kenya Kagumoini AA
  • NR Buddy Brew Coffee Timor
  • *NR Entimos Guatemala Santa Clara
  • Caffe Streets: Sightglass Owl’s Howl in espresso
  • *NR Panther Coffee El Salvador Finca Las Mercedes
  • Intelligentsia Broadway: cappuccino
  • *NR Olympia Coffee Colombia San Sebastian Reserva
  • *NR Moonshine Coffee Ecuador Lucas Vesa
  • Kaldi’s Coffee Colombia Monserrate
  • *NR Parisi Coffee Ecuador
  • Ritual Coffee Ethiopia Aramo Co-op
  • Ritual Coffee Guatemala
  • *CityGrounds: drinking chocolate with vanilla black pepper marshmallow


  • Dollop Coffee & Tea: Hoosier Mama Pie’s apple, pear, cranberry crumble pie
  • Little Goat: shrimp & goat grits, braised pistachios, brussel sprouts
  • Taste of Heaven: heated brownie with Mackinaw fudge ice cream
  • Gaslight Coffee Roasters: poached duck eggs on top of lomo & baguette. Lime sauce & arugula.
  • Ch’ava Cafe: brisket sandwich paired with a silky cortadochava cafe brisket sandwich
  • CityGrounds Coffee Bar: gingerbread cheesecakecitygrounds coffee and cheesecake
  • Gaslight Coffee Roasters: potatochip sandwich (holy god!)
  • Do-Rite Donuts: Pistachio & old-fashioned donuts
  • At a potluck: home-cured salmon
  • Demera Ethiopian Restaurant: “shai,” dumplings, and so. much. food.


  • Tea: goji berries, dried dates, and dried dragon eyes steeped in water
  • Heating (my mom made it): pig foot stew with eggs
  • Baking: ginger molasses cookies
  • Cooking: slow-cooked pork shoulder sliders
  • Cooking: beet salad with arugula, goat cheese, and raspberry vinaigrettearugula beet goat cheese salad
  • Cooking: risotto with Mexican oregano, goat cheese, parmesan, sauteed zucchini, carrots, eggplant
  • Cooking: Beef neck bones, used once in making a slow-cooker soup and another time for making pasta sauce

My resolution progress so far:

1) Try a new roaster every month. Did you read what I had above? I tried SEVEN new roasters this month! Holy crap! I’m almost afraid that I ran out of roasters to try every month for the rest of the year!

2) Write down my notes. Ehhh. Geez, did not realize that I didn’t like writing things down. I might have wrote down one or two cups’ descriptions. But this is a brand new month and I wrote down today’s coffee notes (Passion House Rwanda): plum, dandelion, and molasses.

3) Come up with more relatable tasting terms. At each of the Counter Culture cuppings, I’ve been writing down my favorite terms that come up. So far, they’ve been:

  • graham cracker
  • lentil soup
  • dried orange peel
  • shortbread
  • sparkling grape juice

4) Taste [almost] everything. I completely failed on a cheesecake recipe in January and I made myself taste the burnt, over-whipped cake. It was gross. But now I know what a “cake-y, over-whipped body” can taste like.

5) Keep tabs on the coffee industry in an organized fashion. I use Google Reader for all my RSS subscriptions, which then feeds into my Feedly extension in Chrome & my Flipbook app for the iPad. If you want to subscribe to the coffee blogs I read, the link is here. My next organization goal is to sort my Twitter follows into notes.

6) Network. This is taking more time than I thought it would. I’ve made a few more connections on Twitter and some new people in Chicago coffee, as well.

7) Get geeky. Invested in a Bonavita Variable kettle and a American Weigh digital scale. Between the scale and the kettle, my mind has been blown numerous times. I love the temperature control more than I thought I would. I could also see it being very useful for tea! The digital scale has a large bowl, large digital reading (backlit blue!) and is accurate to 0.1 g!

8) Constantly remind myself why I chose this industry. Yup yup.

9) Experiment more. At the moment, I think I’m just trying to drink more. No experimenting going on yet!

10) Visit a coffee city. Need to buy those plane tickets to NYC….

I’m really looking forward to February. I already have an arsenal of coffee (10 different ones!), my palate is evolving, and I have two ridiculous dinners lined up for Chicago Restaurant Week.