Monday, September 7, 2009

Discovering new places to drink coffee is one of life's greatest pleasures.
I made the trip to a festival near St.Pete the other day and loved to stop at all of the coffee shops. Yes, I drink lots of coffee. I especially like to be where they roast their own coffee. The small coffee shops have major competition in sheer numbers from the major houses, but it is the extra love they place in the cup that makes the difference. So, long live the small local coffee shop.

Johnny Ray

Friday, August 14, 2009

Half Hout Meals

I hav ejust found the most amazing site I wanted to share with everyone Half Hour Meals I hope you enjoy it.
Johnny Ray

Monday, August 3, 2009

Funny coffee video

Here is my latest find on funny coffee videos.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

World Garden Coffee

With only a few coffee roasters in North West Arkansas, World Garden is raising the bar on what a great coffee establishment should be. Not only do they roast 100% organic Arabica beans but they support the coffee farmers by engaging in Fairtrade. Their beans come from 18 origins and results in many different flavors. If you think you are a coffee connoisseur then try to identify them at one of their competitions. Yes, that sounds like a lot of fun to me.

World Garden sends a portion of their revenue to feed the children around the world that need help. A portion of their coffee sales also go to improve the coffee farmer’s quality of life. They also provide a portion of their dessert sales to support local abuse/neglect shelters.

Knowing that you have such great owners that do the right thing makes you feel good in ordering from them. Their web site is

And their address is

World Garden
2905 S. Walton Blvd
Metro Market, Suite 29
Bentonville, AR 72712

Their coffee is fantastic. They know exactly how to roast the beans to bring out the oils giving it the full rich body taste you would expect in an espresso but with no burnt after taste. I have prepared the coffee many ways and it has not disappointed me yet. I prefer a dark deep espresso prepared Italian style on the stove and it is fantastic. Cuban style is also perfect with great foam. First thing this morning, the French press got me going. Yes, I drink a lot of coffee.

The coffee has a clean brisk taste with a slight aroma of chocolate. I can tell the caffeine is not too strong which is what you would expect of a dark roast. One of the ways you can tell it is a good organic coffee is the lack of an after taste that can ruin a good cup of coffee. This coffee is good—very good.

So, for great coffee and food the trip to this coffee shop is worth it. While I saw nothing on the site about shipping coffee, I think if you call the owner something can be worked out.

Johnny Ray

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mistakes many coffee lovers learn to watch for

If you drink enough coffee a few of the common errors made at coffee shops are easy to spot.
For those that don't think it will happen to them, here is a list of the most common mistakes made at coffee shops. However, what is your experience?

Johnny Ray

10 Common Mistakes Made In A Coffee House
Author: Gabriel Adams

The barista gives you the wrong drink.

This happens more than most people know especially during peak times. Imagine getting in your car after picking up a delicious mocha and heading in to work on your normal commute. Then feeling a bit tired and a little bored; you reach for that steaming hot cup of joe. You expect to be treated by a warm chocolate goodness but instead it takes like pumpkin. Even worse you do not like pumpkin. What a let down! If you turn around and go back and face that long line again you will be late for work. So you decide you will just try to drink as much of the drink as you can. Baristas often get in a hurry and give you the wrong drink or does not properly hear what beverage to make. This made one person in Georgia so upset; that in a few months he opened his own shop with a commitment to ensure that you always get what you order.

I ordered decaf why do I have the jitters?

This is one of the most widespread mistakes that baristas will admit they may have made on numerous occasions. If caffeine bothers your systems or affects you adverse be sure you watch the barista make your beverage. It is okay to ask when they hand you the drink this is decaf right?

I am a diabetic but I ordered sugar free right?

This mistake is not made a lot. But places where you can watch your hot and tasty beverage being made it is a good idea to keep an eye on the barista making your coffee.

Most all baristas surveyed said they may have made that mistake before but on rare occasions.

Your hot beverage is handed to you cold!

This may seem funny to you but almost all barista's surveyed said they have done this at least once. So when you are expecting a hot beverage to be hot and it's cold it is a different kind of wake up call.

My drink taste sweet but where the espresso?

For whatever reason most all baristas admit that on several occasions that they forgot to put the espresso in your beverage. Sure you still may have what is commonly called a steamer (steamed milk and syrup) but it is not the same. The espresso especially the caffeinated version is what many of us need to get to a great start to our day.

OOPS, the lid popped off and my white shirt is ruined!

Most all baristas insist they always put the lid on correctly. However I have been in many coffee shops where the lid pops off and coffee splashes all over a white dress or white shirt. This has all the makings of a very bad day.

My drink does not taste right.

Many baristas even at the same store makes drinks differently. This occurs even if there are strict guidelines at the store for consistency. A little less white chocolate in a 16oz drink has a totally different taste then a drink with the normal amount.

Too Strong!

Some barista put so much espresso in a drink it's like drinking out of a burnt tar pit. This is also caused by cheap, spoiled or over-roasted espresso. Make sure if you do not like how the drink taste to tell the barista.

Wrong Milk

The barista know I always order a vanilla soy latte. However today I take a sip and its half and half. This drink is known as a breve latte. It's almost a complete 180 from soy. This also can really set a bad tone for your day.

What's that in my coffee?

To me there nothing worse than ordering a brewed coffee to find out that it is full of grinds. This is usually caused when pressure and steamed has caused the filter in the brew basket to flip during the brewing process. Most good barista always check this. However almost all barista's surveyed said this has happened to them.

About the Author:
Get more control of your java like the guy in Georgia did. You might want to open your own shop. One of the best places to review coffee shop franchises is at Coffee Franchise Reviews ( If you open up your own shop just don't put grounds in anyones coffee.

Article Source: - 10 Common Mistakes Made In A Coffee House

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bad Coffee

Sometimes learning to make great coffee is learning how to avoid making bad coffee

For someone that loves coffee the thoughts of drinking bad coffee is not a pleasant thought. It is like a wine lover drinking wine that has turned to vinegar. So, I thought it would be interesting to start a discussion on what makes a bad cup of coffee.
1) bad beans. Coffee beans are grown in many regions and some are worst than others. The picking of the bean at the wrong time can add to it greatly. the way the bean is handled and processed can also add to it as well as the wrong roasting process. Each bean has to be handled differently. But, for the consumer we simply purchased the wrong bean.
2)old beans Yes, beans go bad , especially if it has been stored for a while and is already ground. Usually a good smell will confirm how fresh it is. If bad throw away.
3)Wrong process) If you are using a French press and use the wrong grind, you will definitely know it for example. Or espresso in a drip machine for another example.
4)the coffee machine is not clean. This is so bad it is hard to talk about. Keep the machines clean.
5)coffee left on the stove for ever) Yes, people do this. Check to see when it was made before you pour.
6)Bad water) In some areas of the country the water out of the tap is terrible. It sure does not belong mixing with an eloquent coffee.

I am sure there are many more ways of screwing up God's gift of the perfect cup of coffee. So, the floor, or excuse me the site is open for your comments on how to avoid making bad coffee. Examples you want to share are welcome.

Johnny Ray

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday morning coffee

What is it about Monday mornings and coffee? Just another day--right? Wrong! On Monday the whole week is depending on what you get done--like now. How does work pile up over the weekend? Why do all customers and clients want to be the first in line? Why oh Why?

And on Monday . . . well many people need a holiday to recover from the weekend to begin with. You know what I'm talking about: that nice little bike ride that turned into a marathon, the football game with friends that you thought like you until they smashed you while you were not looking. Or perhaps it was the honey do list that did you in. In any case, it is Monday and time to face the challenges ahead.

And to me the ultimate crime is becoming so busy that the coffee goes cold. There is nothing worst than cold coffee. Especially if there is nothing more available. You could heat it in the microwave, but yuck!

Having a coffee pot next to your desk is a very smart move. Having an espresso machine next to you even better. Yes, working for home is fantastic. I could just imagine having my espresso machine singing as I steam some milk or, for heaven forbid, grind some fresh coffee in an office full of people.

So, let me ask you how many cups do you drink on Monday before you tackle work? What is your favorite Monday brew?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Coffee addiction

Drinking coffee is not an addiction, it is a way of life. But making more money along the way is not bad.

Johnny Ray

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Do you day dream over your coffee or bring it to life?

This is a great video, I hope you enjoy it

Johnny Ray

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Coffee Lovers love coffee made with a Moka Pot

How to make coffee using a Moka Pot

Since I have been asked many times how I like my coffee, I thought this article would explain the fine art of making coffee the way I like it--very dark and very strong. If you consider yourself a true coffee lover you should try this.
Johnny Ray

What is moka pot?

Author: Albert T. Wolf

Moka pot is steam based coffee maker that brews dark and very strong coffee. Many people also call it stovetop espresso pot, however, this beverage is not exactly the same as espresso, because the pressure of the water going through the grounds is not high enough. Occasionally you might come across the names like ‘macchianetta’ or ‘caffettiera’ - these are both just different ways to call moka pot.

Moka pots are three chambered devices: lower chamber is for water, middle is filter funnel where the coffee grounds go and the top chamber is where the coffee ends up. Additionally there is a filter plate that goes in front of central column in top chamber and rubber seal which ensures that hot liquid doesn’t leak from between the lower and the top chamber.

How does it work?

When heated up, some of the water evaporates creating the steam which reaches the pressure high enough to force the water from lower chamber up the filter funnel and through the coffee grounds to the top chamber where it is collected. Finally when the lower chamber is nearly empty steam bubbles mix with upstreaming water creating gurgling sound, which indicates that coffee is ready.

How to make coffee with moka pot?

* Fill the lower container with water so its level is lower than the safety valve. Don’t put in more water than that. It is very important that water level is below safety valve, because it provides release if pressure should get too high. If the safety valve is blocked by too much water and pressure gets too high your moka pot can actually explode.

You can use either hot or cold water, it really is a matter of taste and you can do some experimenting here to find the best option for yourself. However it is recommended to use hot water, since it lessens the time that grounds are exposed to heat, which makes the brew less bitter.

*Fill the filter funnel with the coffee grounds. Use bit coarser grind that you would for the regular espresso machine, because if the grounds are too fine they might block the holes in the filter and the water can’t get through anymore. Also, do not tamp the coffee grounds, since if the coffee is pressed too tight it also may block the water flow. Tamping is also not necessary, because grounds will expand with the heat and create its own tamp. Instead lightly knock the filter downwards, which helps to distribute the grounds evenly.

* Screw on the top chamber and place the moka pot on the stove. Use medium level heat, since too high temperature might create the steam too fast. Keep the pot on stove until you hear a gurgle. It means that the water in the lower tank has been exhausted. Take the pot off the heat. Note that the metal handles and surfaces get very hot, so be careful when handling the pot. Your coffee is ready.


About the Author:

Albert T. Wolf has found his fascination in coffee and all that's related to it. Go to his blog at and find out more about interesting world of coffee.

Article Source: - What is moka pot?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Romantic coffee shop

Coffee lovers internationally love their coffee shops

This is a great video to watch and relax. There is always that one special coffee shop we all remember. I think all coffee drinkers can relate to this.

Johnny Ray

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kahwa coffee shop

Drinking coffee at Kahwa

Yes, life is good with the coffee hot and weather fantastic. You have to love a place that serves coffee and concentrates on it and nothing else. This is a long coffee bar with tables inside and out. You can feel comfortable staying for hours or rush in for a quick fix. The wifi is free and no hassle to connect to.

You can also find many patrons at this shop that speak french. If you need to keep your french knowledge intact this can be a good thing. The french also demand a certain way of making coffee and this place tries to please.

Located in St. Petersburg, Florida the shop has many competitors. Yes, this city has 2 or 3 coffee shops per block. Now, you know why I like it here. I know many people love coffee internationally and all are good, but the best cup of coffee is always the one you hold in you hand and is ready to be tasted and smelled. Funny how it works like that.

Johnny Ray

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just one more cup of coffee.

Another cup--Why not.

I think drinking coffee is kind of like a cigarette chain smoker. It just feels like it needs to be next to you,always ready when you are. And in the case of a cup of coffee, you have to drink it before it goes cold.

There are others times however when you really want to stop and enjoy coffee slowly. These are those special moments. This, in my case is my espresso moments or moments to try something totally different. A time to experiment and see if there is anything better. I think you will never know until you try them all.

But there is more to coffee than just great taste. The whole culture of coffee has always been interesting to me. Therefore, I often read about coffee as well. The total experience is what makes me what i am--a true coffee lover.

Johnny Ray

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How to make French Press Coffee

Making a french press coffee is one talent that everyone needs to master.

This video gives some pointers on how to get started. It takes practice as the video points out. But true coffee lovers internationally like this way of making coffee. Cheers

Johnny Ray

Friday, June 12, 2009

McDonald's Coffee Bar

McDonald’s New Coffee Bar
The coffee business is getting very competitive and attracting many players. McDonalds is no exception. The one close to home has made some major renovations to put in a new coffee bar. They grind the espresso beans on site and it really is good. The cost is reasonable but the atmosphere needs some updating for them to compete with other coffee bars out there. I know some McDonald's have free wifi or a service where you can pay to get on. I couldn’t find it there and had to come home to post this blog. They also had no where I could plug in my computer. If they spend the kind of money they did to attract coffee drinkers and truly want to attract the die hard coffee drinkers like me, they need to make a few more changes. Any way, they do offer a good product. Also, on hot days, their iced coffee is very smooth and good. Yes, it gets hot in Florida.
It would be interesting to hear others comment on McDonald in their town. How do you like the new coffee bar addition?
Johnny Ray
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    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Wings coffee shop and book store

    I love to explore new coffee shops. Today I'm at wings on 4th in St. Petersburg, Fl.

    This is a very quiet and relaxing place. A great coffee bar offering all that you might want. They have free wifi, which in my case is a must. The book store is small, but focused on inspirational books. The store is stocked with gift items in the spiritual realm. Just a nice place to hang out and write. And, of course drink some great coffee.

    I started off with a dark chocolate blend of coffee the girl at the counter talked me into. Now, my next big love after coffee is chocolate--dark chocolate. This coffee is one I can drink a lot of . However, I think their espresso machine is starting to sing my song.

    The weather outside is beautiful, but I'm happy sitting here drinking coffee and writing.

    Johnny Ray a complete list of my blogs my other coffee blog

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Coffee moments remembered

    When was the best time you remember smelling and tasting great coffee?

    I was drinking my coffee this morning and enjoying a few minutes to let my mind drift to previous times that I've enjoyed some great coffee. I think everyone has those moments. You know, when you wake up to the smell of someone else brewing coffee and the smell so enticing that you have no choice but to get out of bed. Or, the time you are walking a street and the smell hits you hard, so hard you have to stop at a new place. Perhaps it's that first cup at the office that gives you the strength to hit it one more day.

    I remember walking the main street in Breckenridge, Colorado after a full day of skiing. Yes, it was cold, and anything warm was appreciated. However, the smell of coffee coming from one coffee shop after another drove me totally crazy. And when I thought the smell from out on the street was overpowering, the full blast of coffee aromas on the inside was like an addicts dream. While the hot cup made my hands warm, the sensation of the hot strong coffee making its way down to my stomach breathed a new life to a frozen body.

    Perhaps this is why there are so many coffee shops there. But then again, maybe they are all joining forces to fulfill the needs of other coffee addicts like me. Whatever, they have made many memories for those skiers like me that enjoy the after skiing time as much as the time on the mountain. That is, as long as they keep brewing.

    I know others have memories of great coffee moments. What is your story?

    Johnny Ray

    PS, I'm adding a new blog on how to gill a steak , check it out

    Monday, June 8, 2009

    Coffee at Panera Bread

    Another day with lots of writing needing to be completed means another cup of espresso. Okay, maybe two or three. Okay,okay maybe a few more than that, but counting is considered rude,even if you do it to yourself, right?

    One of the great joys in life is going to Panera Bread for the coffee. I actually like the hazelnut coffee blend there. It is full of flavor and the smell is incredible. It's also hard to beat the price. If you bring your own cup you can get a cup of coffee for $1 and all of the refills of coffee you want. They have a free wifi service. They have free bread samples. They have great people that are always friendly and smiling. They . . . do it right!

    Now, lets talk about the food. The bread is fresh and they absolutely know how to make a sandwich. With an addition of a great soup, there is no reason to go any where else. Yes this is my office for the day. Look for me, I'll be wearing me hat, drinking another great coffee and typing on my laptop.

    Johnny Ray

    Friday, June 5, 2009

    Dunkin Donuts visit

    I waited with anticipation on the free donuts morning. I enjoyed the walk and the beautiful weather. However, on entering the store everything changed. I had my 10 year old with me and he was looking forward to this time together. The counter girl had an attitude. It's not my fault they are busy, is it? They only wanted to give one free donut. I said, "wait a minute we are both buying a drink," trying to be friendly. Her attitude became worse. I had to cancel the order and re enter two separate orders with her attitude still very unfriendly. They were out of jelly donuts , as if it was my fault again. When we finally received chocolate covered donuts, they were in a bag with no wrapping paper, the chocolate topping smeared on the side of the bag. I ordered an espresso. I'm not sure about everyone, but espresso is served hot, not slightly warm. That is when I noticed they do not have any milk or creme to add to your espresso on the counter. It made the girl upset again that I had to come ask her for some. I finally obtained the help of a manager to ask her to get me some. I received a phone call and the music was so loud I could not even hear above it. I asked for a manager and she never forwarded by message to him. Finally I saw the manager walking through the store and waved him over to me where I explained my experience. After hearing the story, he left to have some words with the counter help. That is the last I heard from them and perhaps the last time they will hear from me. I think he also knew I'm a syndicated travel writer. Knowing that over 10,000,000 readers might be reading about this experience, you would think he would come back to talk to me. And to think, I actually came to this store to give them a very good recommendation.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    Coffee and The Importance of Fair Trade

    The importance of Fair-trade Coffee is not often considered when you buy a cup of coffee, but it should be. I think the article by Cameroon Taylor below is right and something we all need to think about.

    Johnny Ray

    Fair-Trade Coffee

    Author: Cameroon Taylor

    Have you ever wondered about all the hard work and effort that goes into producing the coffee that you enjoy on a regular basis?

    Oftentimes, we tend to forget about the manual labourers and workers that toil hard every day so that we can enjoy our daily dose of coffee. Many of the most popular coffees in the world come from developing nations where the standard of life is not as good as the one that all of us have the privilege of enjoying here in Australia. These labourers are often subjected to long working hours and are given wages of less than a dollar a day. Added to this is the fact that due to the nature of the global economy, developed nations like Australia can create government subsidies and tariffs in order to drive down the prices of global coffee producers. All of this means that the person that is working out in the field to harvest the coffee that you enjoy, may be seeing little to no benefits of their hard work and labour.

    So what can we do to prevent this from happening?

    There is now a new international certification for products that is known as fair-trade certification.Products that are certified as fair-trade may cost slightly more than non fair-trade certified products as they are meant to put more money back into the hands of the people that need it the most, namely the individuals of developing nations.

    Witham’s Coffee is proud to stock a wide selection of fair-trade coffees. Purchasing one of these coffees represents your commitment to creating a more equitable distribution of wealth around the world. You can make a difference with every single one of your choices, including the type of coffee you choose to drink. To find out more about how to order fair-trade coffees, and know more about fine coffee, visit

    About the Author:

    Most of us spend a fair portion of our time in office drinking coffee. Cameroon Taylor is one of those few lucky ones who gets to drink coffee for work. He has been a coffee enthusiast for as long as he can remember and after having a sip of most of the major types of coffee from around the world, he started to write about the first love of his life; coffee. The love affair continues…

    Article Source: - Fair-Trade Coffee

    It's time for Dunkin Donuts

    Dunkin Donuts has a special offer
    This morning my hunt for great coffee is at a Dunkin Donuts not far from my home in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is new and modern, and the traffic is heavy. The coffee is smooth but still retains a good bold taste. Here is the good news from their web site “Dunkin' Donuts, America's all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods, is marking National Donut Day with a sweet nationwide offer to help Americans celebrate the joy and fun of donuts. On June 5, 2009, participating Dunkin' Donuts restaurants throughout the country will give every customer a free donut of their choice, with the purchase of any beverage, limit one per customer.”
    This has to be a no brainer; I think they will be totally swamped this Friday. Perhaps, I should pretest all of the different varieties they have. On second thought, if I did I might not get through the door on Friday to get my freebie.
    Now, a little information about the history of Dunkin Donuts. They are famous for their certified fair trade beans they purchase, a noble goal to help those in third world countries to make a decent living and hold on their land to ensure that the coffee crops will always be there and in a high quality level. They are the largest seller of cups of coffee in the world with close to one billion cups of coffee sold per year. And, I thought I was a big coffee drinker.
    Dunkin controls the entire process of making a great coffee much like a wine master. The quality of their beans and the care they take in bring out their great taste and aroma leave nothing to chance. Dunkin' Donuts uses 100-percent Arabica coffee beans and maintains its own strict coffee specifications.
    They offer many choices which includes Indulgent Iced Lattes Hot Coffee Iced Coffee Latte Lite Cookies Flavored Coffee just to mention a few. Of course, I like variety and can find whatever I’m in the mood for here.
    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll have another cup and write more as we discover the best coffee shops together. . .
    Johnny Ray

    Monday, June 1, 2009

    Monday morning coffee

    There is no way I can make it on Monday morning with out an espresso or two, well maybe three. I'm making my own this morning and generally go with a rich espresso bean and fill the contain as full as I can. I can usually get three cups out of one run. and while I'm at home, it needs a little extra boast, this morning it is baileys. Not much mind you but enough to add some flavor. How about you? How are you taking your java this morning?

    Sunday, May 31, 2009

    Opening Comments on the love of Coffee

    As many know, I love to drink coffee, both day and night. Now, with the request of some of many friends, I've decided to start this blog to have a place to discuss the various kinds of coffee and where to find the best coffee shops in the world. I'm sure many friends will add their choice. This should be a fun ride we all take together. Welcome to my coffee blog.