Friday, March 22, 2013
Mercer's Fresh Roasted Coffees
Call it lazy. Then one day at the auto shop (I was having the driver's side window replaced in he Buick - a rant for another time....) while I was having $500 pick-pocketed by the shop, I helped myself to a cup of coffee from this weird machine - I later learned it was a k-cup brewer.
Wow! It was fantastic! (what did I know - I'd been drinking re-constituted mud)
So I bought a k-cup machine. We used it for a couple years, then I decided the cost of k-cups was too high.
So --- we started buying ground coffee and loading our own k-cups. Pretty soon I was buying "fresh" beans and grinding them in one of those $10 "coffee grinders" - you know the one - the little whirly bladed thing thats better suited for chopping herbs.
Pretty soon we discovered that a real burr grinder wan't all that expensive - we found a decent one for about $80. The difference in the grind was serious - we could dial in a consistent grind size and not have all the dust. Coffee grinding was now a science rather than an art form.
Then we started ordering actual fresh beans online, grinding them in the burr grinder and brewing them properly. Holy cow - we are on to something now. I even learned to drink and enjoy my coffee black - no sugar.
Later we started playing with home roasting using the whirly-pop method.
On this journey, we produced a lot of excellent coffee... but we also produced a lot of really bad coffee. Turns out - even with good beans and the proper tools, coffee is still art and science. Changing the grind size, using hotter water, even the metal vs the paper filter... there are a lot of variables.
I think most people find a routine, do it the same way every time and get accustomed to whatever the stuff tastes like - then call that "coffee". However, if you spend some time and experiment, your taste buds tend to grow a bit. You learn the different flavors inside the bean and learn to judge good from bad.
I say all that to say this: I've become a coffee snob. I have a hard time at McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts. I detest most hotel coffee and Starbucks is selling the roast, not the bean.
As a coffee snob, I can say without reservation that Mercer's Coffee in Port Charlotte is the real deal. He selects his own green beans, roasts them in-house, grinds and brews them fresh. Lots of people have commented on the atmosphere, or on Wayne's good personality - and those facts are all true... but the rubber hits the road with the finished result in the cup. And it's a nice cup.
I recommend going in and telling them what you like. Do you like a bright, acidic coffee? Do you like a dark, smokey cup? Creamy mouth-feel? A little astringent? Describe what you like, let him build you a cup - and then get a pound of those beans to take home.
If you like frothy milk or vanilla lattes, I'm sure they can do that for you - but I wouldn't know. I prefer to experience the bean itself - I stick to the americano coffee, or sometimes the expresso shot. I tend toward drip or french-press. All I know is that a good bean, freshly roasted and brewed into a cup is an awesome experience - and I've never been disappointed by any coffee Mercer's has served. I'm a tough audience - and I love the place.