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Showing posts from 2015

First Reveal of Muertos Coffee

6 years ago my wife and I bought our first house. Once we finally got it all settled it was just before Christmas, so we made our house warming a Christmas party and have continued it ever since. Working on establishing my coffee company, I saw this as a great opportunity to convert my friends and family.

I originally planned on putting up a sign to sell the extra bags I roasted, but my wife pointed out that it was tacky to invite guests over and then try to sell them. I thought about it and had to agree. IT took a little work, but I got my wife to add my brand name to the label in front of the coffee pot. The results were pretty good.

Acidity - Friend or Foe?

Acidity in coffee has been a conversation that I have a hard time wrapping my head around. I always equated it to crappy coffee, but it appears to be more than that. I am usually engaged in this conversation as it pertains to "low acid coffees" or cold brewing.

Hard Water and Coffee Flavor

I have said many times before that I work in an office for my day job. The coffee is terrible here. It is the Maxwell House machines that has cans of tar that mixes with water and makes “coffee.” So we obviously brew our own coffee.
My company is nice enough to provide filtered water machines for us. The downside is that they are too cheap to change the filters regularly. We noticed that because our coffee would taste different on different days.

My First Bag of Coffee

I apologize for my inconsistent posting over the last few weeks. My day job had a manager leave and we moved buildings. It has kept me so busy that I haven’t been able to post. BUT…it has not kept me so busy that I cannot keep pushing the coffee dream.
For those of you who follow me on twitter (@MuertosCoffee), you saw that I put together my first bagged and labeled coffee.

Review of Verrado Coffee Co.

For those of you not in the area, Phoenix and the surrounding cities are very spread out. Unlike most big cities, we grow out, instead of up. Verrado is the most recent addition on the fringe of civilization. They were having an event to bring people in and look at models. Looking at model homes is one of my wife's favorite pastimes. They were offering a free coffee from their coffee shop, so I went a long.

Review of Portola Coffee Roasters

My family and I were making our regular trip to Mecca (a.k.a. Disneyland). My wife is a creature of habit; but this time, I got her to try something new. I did some research for stuff to do around Disneyland...surprise, there isn't much. I found a poorly designed website for Old Town Orange. It is a really cool little strip of red brick buildings and boutique shops (a lot of antiques). There are also some really good restaurants. The kicker for going here was that I would get to try a coffee shop for a blog. Lo and behold, Portola Coffee Roaster is there.

Review of Small Town Coffee

If I were not so easily distracted, I probably wouldn't have noticed this new little coffee shop. Luckily, I have to look around at everything (which makes driving an adventure). I passed by and flipped a U-turn to come check it out.

I choose Sonofresco

I have been really looking into roasting. I just have such a hard time selling someone else's product. I know it works, and it works well. The thought that goes through my head is, "Why would they buy it from me, when they can buy it from the source?"

Knowing that I have little to no budget, no established business on which I can build a Kickstarter, I have to really consider how to go about starting.

Review of Jobot Coffee

First Friday is one of down town Phoenix’s on going events. It started out as kind of an art walk but has grown into something all its own. My family and I were in downtown for First Friday this last week, not for the event but because the Children’s Museum was open for free that evening (no they do not display historical children, it’s like a giant play house #awesome). Since I was downtown, I took the opportunity to try Jobot Coffee.

I think I'm almost ready for KickStarter

I've really looking at how I can make this happen. When it comes down to everything, I need to roast my own beans. I know the multi-roaster model is doing well right now, but I just can't fork up the time or money to jump in like that. That would be a very high risk approach.

Knowing that I have to support my family, how can make this happen?

Coffee Weights in Brewing

I have learned a little about coffee and most of it theory and most of that from the internet. I finally had a situation where theory became reality. Internet factoids became coffee master wisdom.

We may have a dual compartment commercial Bunn grinder tucked away in my friend's office; but if the Office Police come through, I will plead the 5th. The grind is so much more consistent and about 500% faster than the hand grinder. Its worth risking because the coffee is much better.

The dual compartment is nice because it allows us to roast a couple different kinds of coffee and have a selection to chose from. Variety is the spice of life, ya know. Having 2 different types of coffee right next to each helped me see how different the weights of coffee beans are.

Instant Coffee Is Just As Healthy As Brewed?

I had a 7am meeting at my day job. No one bought coffee. Crazy. I know. And sadly, I was running late, so I didn't get to brew a lovely cup of Mexican Chiapas to keep me awake. So I trotted down to the good ol' Maxwell House instant coffee machine. (I was desperate and it was free, don't judge me).

This got me thinking: Is instant coffee as good for you as brewed coffee?

My Top 3 Criteria for Awesome Coffee

There are lots of coffees out there. Some good, some awful. I realize that good and awful are very subjective terms. Everyone judges coffee differently. I judge coffee primarily on value (what am I getting for my money). So some people may think that good coffee is free coffee. Typically, free coffee is only good for keeping your heart beating. 
If you have choice, you should brew fresh coffee. I prefer to brew manually in the V60. I have yet to find a brew method I like more than this for both brewing and drinking. When I brew in the V60, here are the top 3 things I'm looking for in an awesome cup of coffee:

First Step Towards Roasting

I really wish I was able to say I'm making leaps and bounds towards having my own coffee shop, but I can't. I think I have finally accepted the fact that this is a dream that may only have a reality in my distant future. Regardless of where it lies in my path, I'm going to hold on to it; because when it does happen, its gonna be freak'n awesome.

I came to that semi-random conclusion as our unceasing discussion of how to begin our company started all over again.

Review of World of Chocolate Museum & Cafe

My Florida coffee adventure was over all a total flop. I only got to go to one real coffee shop and it wasn't the best. Later in the day, our group was planning on going to World Chocolate Museum ( I thought that was strange, but what the heck, I was having fun with the family. It was a surprisingly good time. Coffee and chocolate have a lot in common.

Review of Austin's Coffee

We made out to Florida for our funeral/family reunion to an unsurprising series of rainy days, which were then followed by miserably hot humid days. Every time I visit FL, it reminds me how much I love AZ. If you are unfamiliar with driving in sucks...a lot. Mainly because of the tolls. We don't really carry cash, so tolls are a bit of problem for us. Since there are tolls on every freeway, it really limited our options for coffee shops. We had searched for some of the top shops in FL and the only one that was reasonably on our way back into Orlando was Austin's Coffee.

Coffee Adventures

Something I love about coffee is that it is pretty much everywhere. Some places have better coffee, some have Dunkin Doughnuts. I find it extremely interesting how the area affects the coffee scene.

Review of Lofty Coffee Co

My second coffee experience was at Lofty Coffee, more specifically Lofty Roasting Works. The location provides a really cool opportunity. On one side of the street the Lofty Coffee shop has a line out the door. On the other side, the roaster has a coffee shop in it. I wanted to see where they did their roasting so that's where we went.

Review of Ironsmith Coffee Roasters

First off I would like to apologize for 1) not posting last week. My silly day job got in the way. And 2) for the love fest that is about to happen.
So, over the Memorial Day weekend, my family and I went to Encinitas, CA (just a bit north of San Diego). It is my absolute favorite place to go. It is this quaint little beach town that has been growing in popularity, but maintaining its quaint appeal. Some new coffee shops went up since our last visit. The first one I visited was Ironsmith.

Bean Qaulity

I recently came into possession of some green Sumatra beans. I have not roasted anything from Indonesia yet and am looking forward to it.

One of the first things I noticed was the inconsistency of the beans. There were some big ones, some very small ones, some dark ones and light one. They were all over the place. I had not run into this before and am not sure how it will affect the cup (most likely not good).

Now I know it is cheating to use one blog to write another blog. Death Wish Coffee actually has some really good blog posts, so I recommend checking them out. I'm not the biggest fan of their coffee, but I am a big fan of their company.

They did a blog titled "6 Ugly-Ass Coffee Beans." I found it interesting and thought I would share.

Review of Royal Coffee

It was Avengers weekend and I had my tickets purchased waaaay in advance. We do the early morning show because it is a lot less expensive. Naturally, we needed coffee to make sure we were fully alert to watch the awesomeness of Marvel. Therefore, we decided to stop at a little coffee shop I ran across called Royal Coffee.
It was an interesting set up. It was more like a kiosk set up on the ground floor of a spa (nothing spa related on the bottom floor). There was some art on the walls and the setup had a nice modern look, clean and efficient. There was a single barista, which caused some operational issues. Truth is though, they couldn’t fit a second barista in there if they wanted to.
They have a very interesting approach, which I happen to like a lot. In the Biltmore mall, they have 2 small kiosk type shops. They are like stores within stores. They essentially took over the mall by placing small, very manageable kiosks through the mall. That is a great idea.  We approached the bar …

Stuck on Sourcing

The problem with being a very small coffee business is that sourcing is a very big deal. I keep getting myself stuck between the two options: roast my own coffee or brew someone else’s coffee.

Shock Top Variety Pack Review

Shock top is a pretty good bear. I’m not much of a light beer drinker so I don’t drink it often, but the Belgian White is never a disappointment. So I decided to try a sample pack. It came with 4 different beers and here are my thoughts on all of them:
Belgian White – This is their base beer. It is light and crisp and has good flavor. I like it in summer. It doesn’t rock my world, but I don’t snub my nose at it. I would not be opposed to serving this in my shop in the spring and summer.
Schockolate Wheat – I thought this beer was going to be like a lot of the other chocolate beers I’ve had, where they try to make it taste like carbonated chocolate milk. I was skeptical to say the least. When I poured it, it poured like a real beer. It wasn’t think or “creamy” looking. The taste was a dark beer with chocolate and coffee flavor notes. It really tasted like cocoa nibs were in the brewing, rather than added after. This is probably one of the better chocolate beers I have yet. I would defin…

Ahh…The Coffee Break

I have my coffee break nearly every day at 1:30pm, right after lunch. I’m all carb’ed up and primed for nap, but I have another 3 hours of work.
It is a ritual of mine. I love to take a few minutes and smell the ground coffee, then smell the brewing coffee as it blooms, watch the coffee crema (that awesome foam on a pour over), then enjoy the cup with a few jokes and get back to work.
If you do not have a ritual like this already, get one. If this infographic doesn’t give you enough reason, then here is all you need….

Employee Corrective Action

So I just had to put an employee on a final write up for the first time in my professional career. That sucked…a lot. It is hard to believe that it is the right thing to do for an employee or a company, but, done correctly, it is.


Point of sale (P.O.S.) has a huge effect on the feel of your shop. The giving of hard-earned money forces us to ask, “was it really worth that much?” There are only 2 ways that go.

How I Want to Brew Iced Coffee

Being in Arizona, I have finally admitted to myself that I need to provide a cold option to customers or my sales will dip WAY too far in the summer months. So, I have officially done an unofficial taste test and made my decision how I want to do it.

Brain Space

So, I’m coming to the conclusion that I just don’t have enough space in my brain to pursue everything that I want to. The advice that I have been given seems consistent: Lay out everything you want to do and prioritize it. What better place to start working out my personal life than on a public forum? I’m hoping there are some people out there who have experienced similar dilemmas and can share their experience with me.

The only point of blending coffee (that I can think of)

I have been drinking a Colombian coffee that I finally got to a really nice roast. That has been my go to for a week or two now. Yesterday, I was running low and only had enough for half a cup. I wasn't going to go without my coffee so I blended it with another coffee that I thought it would pair well with. A coffee from Maui Coffee Roasters that is roasted medium (their idea of medium is way darker than mine). The Maui coffee isn't particularly awesome, but I was hoping my Colombian would bring it up. I’m not so sure it works that way.

What is Gourmet anymore?

I was recently at the mall in a mad scramble to find my wife a gift for our 5 year anniversary (for some reason, what I wanted is now rare). In the mall there is a coffee shop called Pinoy’s Best Gourmet Coffee.
Gourmet you say? I have to try this fancy coffee.

Review of The Corner at Phoenix City Scape

The family and I were hanging out at the Diamondback’s Fan Fest this weekend and needed to grab a little something before our next stop. I had seen The Corner many times because I like to park at City Scape (usually less expensive). We decided to stop in to kill some time, feed the baby and of course try the coffee.

Partial Review of O.H.S.O. Nano-Brewery

I have been wanting to go to O.H.S.O. ( for quite some time. Everyone I talk to tells me how awesome it is. I finally got the opportunity to try it, sort of.

Graphing Columbia Coffee - Air Popper

I got a new coffee in and wanted to see what the best roast for it was. This time when we graphed it, we did 15 second increments and made sure to check the temperature of the beans once they were dumped.

Discussion with Java Plus

I love talking to coffee people so it was exciting when Mike from Java Plus ( reached out to me and offered to share some of his wisdom. I actually have a list of interview questions for situations like this, so I was prepared to pick his brain.
We started with some of the normal back-story questions. We learned that Mike started the company to supplement his seasonal day job. They got a mobile unit and started selling coffee at fairs and flea markets, all along driving the online business. This seems to be a common model.  People get into coffee because they love it and then they grind their way into the market. They did it all with no help from partners. They built it from scratch.

Graphing Costa Rican in Air Popper

I got my air popper on Black Friday as stated in (Air Popper Roasting Part 1). I did a few test batches just to learn about my machine, not actually trying to make good coffee. I procured some beans from Bodhi Leaf via Ebay. It was a Costa Rican Coffee. My buddy gave me a bag of green beans so I didn’t have all the details on it (elevation, etc.) So I volunteered my wife to help me by telling her it will be utilizing her Bio-Chemistry degree. She bought it.

Very First Beer Review - Dubina Brewing Co.

I am adding a beer and wine review to my blog. I cannot help but accept that those other beverages are as much a part of our culture as coffee. It is also a big part of our developing concept of a coffee shop.

I wanted to start this section off with a new local place that I have been waiting to try for a while, Dubina Brewing Co. ( I watched the Kickstarter and drove by their shop regularly waiting for an open sign. I read they had some trouble with licensing and they were well past their original open date. I had all but forgotten them until my wife saw them on Groupon ( So we gathered some friends and made our way there on a Friday night.

Coffee is Life

I know everyone is reading that title and automatically assuming that I am going to make a bunch of jokes about being a zombie before coffee. Though many of us may have accidentally chewed through a loved one’s arm not realizing it wasn't a breakfast sausage, that is not what I want to discuss here (or anywhere else, it was a tragic accident and I’m sticking to what the police report says).

Air Popper Roasting Part 1

I started my coffee roasting at what I thought as the beginning, pan roasting (Final Pan Roast - An Edison Success). I openly gave that up and moved on to the next step, Air Popper Roasting.
There are a few factors to consider before starting with an Air Popper: Temperature: Not all air poppers will get hot enough roast coffee properly.Ambient Temperature: the outside temperature effects how well it roasts.Mess: Wherever you plan to use it, make sure you are ok with it being covered in chafe.
I got the Orville Redenbacher Presto