Tag Archives: review

Caffe Dalí Is More Than A Coffee Company

Caffe DaliSometimes a coffee shop is just a coffee shop; they do one thing: make coffee and sell it. This isn’t a bad venture by any means – some people see coffee as another market with a demand, and they see a coffee shop as a way to make money and provide the supply. This is business, and often it works great. But sometimes a coffee company is more than a coffee company. Sometimes these coffee shops and roasters choose to interact with their community and with the world in a meaningful way that has the potential to make a difference in the lives of people that sit down to enjoy a cup of coffee.

When I typically write about coffee, I like to stress the importance of local coffee shops that are making a tangible difference in their city and community.  The best coffee shops I’ve visited host events, sponsor local artists and musicians, and act as a destination location for those seeking a great conversation and those looking to get some work done alike. Cafes have been a part of the social bedrock from ancient times until today, and there’s nothing I appreciate more than a small business that steps up and takes this mantle on with vigor.

Caffe Dalí takes this notion of a coffee company that is more than a coffee company to the next level. And while they haven’t poured their heart into a local community in the form of a brick-and-mortar coffee shop, they are doing much, much more with the resources they have amassed.

The Snapshot

Caffe Dalí sent me a number of pamphlets with phrases like “Can a Cup of Coffee Change a Life?” and “So good…it’s surreal!” While skeptical of the actual claims and message, I was intrigued. I navigated over to their website and found a host of material and links that made everything make more sense. Let’s start with their first big promise.

Caffe Dalí will directly impact the lives of the most innocent and the most vulnerable: Kids around the world who are orphans, infected with AIDS, and those young girls who have been sold into horrific sex trafficking industry. A minimum of 20% of all Caffe Dali’s profit will go directly toward rescuing these kids.

Along with this amazing pledge, Caffe Dalí uses phrases like “innovative marketing strategy” and “innovative business plan” to describe how they are getting their message to the world at large. Unfortunately, with the exception of the above quoted promise, Caffe Dalí doesn’t offer specifics as to how they plan to bring their good cause to the public at large. It is possible, however,  to glean some specifics from a separate page on their website titled Opportunity.

Caffe Dalí has a host of opportunities for people and businesses in nearly every sector of life. Their overarching categories include restaurants, educational organizations, non-profits, and religious organizations (including churches, synagogues, and mosques). Essentially, if any of the above organizational structures want an alternative way of making money, Caffe Dalí is eager to step in and fill that gap by providing coffee, and help you set up a business plan to boot.

Their website appears a mile wide and an inch deep in some respects, but I think it’s due to their understanding that every business and every person has a unique situation. Nearly every page has a form to fill out in order to get in touch with them, and this availability makes me hopeful that they are focusing on less talk and more do.

So, what about the actual coffee? Is it any good?

The Coffee

Apocalypto BlendCaffe Dalí sent me their “Apocalypto Blend” which is a mix of beans originating from Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Brazil. It’s a dark roast.

I brewed the Apocalypto Blend in my Hario v60, using my standard coffee:water ratio of 28:415grams. While brewing I noted that it had a nice bloom – a sign of freshness. My brew time was about 3 minutes when all was said and done.

Now I must put a disclaimer here: I’m not really a fan of dark roasts. It’s not that I think there is anything intrinsically wrong with them, I just prefer the flavors that tend to shine in lighter roasts. Knowing my predisposed feelings towards dark roasts, I went into tasting this coffee with as much of a blank slate in my mind as I could muster. I’ve had some pretty nasty dark roasted coffee before – but I’ve also had some pretty great ones. Clearing my head as I poured my first cup, I was ready for whatever Caffe Dalí had for me.

Omelette with Caffe Dalí dark roastAnd you know what? Their Apocalypto Blend was pretty great. It had a somewhat nutty initial taste, with a light bitterness all the way through the taste. But this bitterness wasn’t the sharp, dirty bitterness that I find all too often in Starbucks brews. No, this was a back-of-the-tongue bitterness that had just a hint of the earthy tones that make dark roasts unique. I found this bitterness was much less noticeable when I paired the coffee with spicy or oily foods (like, say, a pepper jack cheese omelette and avocado).

The coffee is much more pleasant than a Starbucks dark roast, or really any 2nd Wave coffee. That being said, I think this coffee suffered from what so many blends do – it tries to do too much with too many types of coffee from various regions. We could debate the merits of single-origin vs. blended coffees all day, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the far side of blends – like when you mix too many paint colors and end up with a gross brown or a completely undesired gray. This coffee isn’t gross, but neither is it very different from other upper-level dark roasts. This is only a small ding, however, because these upper-level dark roasts are some of the best of that genre.

In all, I applaud Caffe Dalí for sending me a dark roast that I didn’t hate – and more than that – one that I actually found myself enjoying.

Final Thoughts

The one thing missing from Caffe Dalí big promises and hopeful verbiage is a page of success stories. They don’t list businesses or churches that have used Caffe Dalí to increase their profits, nor do they have any pictures of real people who are selling their product. Caffe Dalí has only been around since 2013, so it’s likely that they are still waiting on those success stories to roll in.

Based on what I’ve tasted, what I’ve read, and the information I’ve been given, I hope Caffe Dalí is successful. Lord knows, our world could use more coffee shops that are more than coffee shops.

The Coffee Guy

Is coffee with lower acidity worth it? My review of Puroast Coffee

ThumbnailPuroast Coffee is clear about their claim to fame: coffee with  lower acidity than typical roasts. 70% less acid, to be exact. When I first read about this statistic I was skeptical – but they have the research to back it up.
The Snapshot

From their website:

The Puroast roasting process involves no extraction or chemical treatment of our beans in any way.

All other “Low Acid” coffee products are coffee substitutes, neutralize acid with chemical additives or decaffeinated style extractions.

Puroasts’ rich gourmet taste is derived from its unique, proprietary roasting technology which does not alter the bean in any way.

No other “Low Acid” coffee company has done as much research with consumers and the bean. We continue to strive to provide not only an incredible tasting coffee, but one with health attributes that every consumer can benefit from.

Their claims are backed by Dr. Taka Shibamoto from UC Davis – a “coffee research chemist” who ended up using the findings from Puroast’s unique coffee to write a research paper. While I couldn’t find the actual paper, the summary to his findings were available in this PDF from Puroast’s website.

Not only is Puroast coffee less acidic, but it “has more than 7 times the antioxidants found in green tea and on average, more than 5 times that of the other coffees tested” as reported by Nasdaq’s GlobeNewswire. This is a fairly unprecedented finding, and while Puroast doesn’t openly disclose the roasting method that achieves these results, they do say that they spent some time coming up with it. Their full story is worth a read, as long as you can get past Comic Sans as their main font choice.

Puroast reached out to me to do a review for them. I’ll take their health-benefit claims at face value – I have no reason not to believe Dr. Shibamoto’s findings, and the folks at Puroast seem honest. With that in mind, I approached this review with one main question in mind: is their coffee good? Their slow roasting technique and small, dedicated beginnings echo many stories I’ve heard from other specialty coffee shops. So do they fit the bill?

Puroast logo
The Coffee

Puroast sent me their signature “Low Acid House Blend” which, according to them, is perfect for all day, every day drinking.

House BlendThe first thing that I noticed was not a positive. Puroast sent me pre-ground coffee as opposed to whole bean. Perhaps this was a simple oversight, but I couldn’t find the roasting date anywhere on the bag. As you may or may not know, pre-ground coffee has a very short shelf-life before it starts going stale; pre-ground coffee begins losing the flavors that make the coffee unique in about three days. Due to mail delay and how soon I was able to brew their coffee, it’s likely that the product I tasted was already stale.

The other huge concern with pre-ground coffee is that, besides visually looking at the coffee, I had no way of knowing  what type of brew method the coffee was intended for. It was clearly close to a medium grind, but the bag was void of any specifics as to the actual grind size or recommended brewing technique.

Sending a batch of pre-ground coffee was at best an oversight, and at worst a sign of ignorance to coffee shelf life. Because Puroast seems like a group of well-seasoned coffee professionals, I’ll choose to believe the former.

As for brewing, I used my Hario v60  with a coffee:water ratio of 28g:415g. I went with a 50g bloom for 30 seconds. The total brew time was about 3:00. Before tasting, my main clue as to the staleness of the coffee was that it didn’t bloom. At all. The water basically drained straight through the grounds – never a good sign. This was probably a result of the grind size as well.

When I’ve tasted stale coffee in the past, it’s been extremely bitter. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not the case with Puroast’s house blend. While this was a positive, the taste itself was not.

The coffee was, in a word, tasteless. It lived up to Puroast’s promise in that it definitely was not acidic, but on the other hand it was also not…anything. It tasted like what somebody who has never had great coffee expects coffee to taste like. I can’t say the taste was bad, but I also can’t say it was good. It was about as uninteresting as standard-fare commodity coffee, without the smokey notes of over roasting characteristic to that ilk.

Final Thoughts

I can’t in good faith recommend Puroast coffee. In the sample that I was given, nothing unique stood out save for the lack of acidity. On that, they kept their promise.

What I will say is this: if you are someone who has a sensitive stomach towards anything acidic, by all means give Puroast a try. But in my experience, acidity is not a bad thing. Many of the best coffees I’ve had the pleasure of trying have been incredibly acidic. Acidic notes in coffee are closely tied to the “bright” taste that sets many specialty coffees apart from Starbucks, or commodity coffee.

Puroast fills a niche for everyday coffee drinkers that have a sensitivity towards acidic coffees. From what I was given, however,  Puroast does not make great coffee, especially when compared to the fantastic specialty coffees that I can get from my local roaster.

The Coffee Guy

You can buy Puroast’s coffee here.

Millcreek Coffee Roasters


When I think of Utah, the first word that doesn’t come to mind is coffee.  It’s Mormons. Being from Idaho and having plenty of LDS friends, I understand Mormon customs well, which is why I was surprised to find truly excellent coffee in the Salt Lake City airport.

The Snapshot

I travel a fair amount, and in my experience airport coffee is rarely palatable. For all the crap I give Starbucks, you’re probably not going to find anything better than the Green Siren in most airports. When I first stumbled upon Milcreek Coffee in SLC, I was more than surprised: I was overjoyed. Not only do they make great lattes and espresso beverages, their brewed coffee is surprisingly great.

Millcreek Coffee Roasters started in 1993. Like many coffee origin stories, theirs started with a small roaster in a little downtown building. Millcreek now roasts their coffee daily so that their two locations can brew the freshest cup possible. They have a store on Main street in downtown Salt Lake City, and in the SLC airport.

Their airport location is an interesting choice, but makes sense given the demographic they are surrounded with. Located at the end of Terminal C, the spot is a walk-up coffee bar with fresh pastries and bags of coffee for sale as well. It’s a little bit of a hike to get to if you fly into another terminal, but well worth it. Their baristas are friendly and knowledgable, and their menu is simple.

The Coffee

IMG_1532I’ve never been let down by Millcreek’s coffee in my many visits to Salt Lake. The latte I had while passing through today was well balanced, and the espresso they used was excellently pulled. I enjoyed it to the last drop, and it left me wanting another. Their coffee is selected from all around the world and you can buy a bag on their website for around $14.

Millcreek stands apart for two reasons:
1. They offer green coffee beans for sale on their website. This is great for home roasters, but also illustrates that they care as much about their unroasted coffee as they do about their finished product. This speaks volumes about their partnership with coffee growers as well.

2. Their website offers a few pages of education about growing, roasting, and brewing coffee. While it’s not the most robust set of knowledge available online, it is well put together and instructionally correct. Millcreek’s tips about brewing and storing coffee are right on. This reinforces their dedication to the entire coffee process and their desire to create a better-informed customer, which is especially notable.

Final Thoughts

Local coffee shop owners would do well to follow Millcreek’s lead in focusing not just on their product. It’s obvious to me that the owners have a passion for the coffee process from start to finish, and it shows in finished cup.


In a world where airport coffee is dominated by chain shops and big brands, sipping Millcreek coffee is a refreshing reminder that some folks still care about every step that it takes to get a coffee cherry into a roaster, then into my cup. Next time you fly through Salt Lake City, take a short detour to Terminal C. I promise that you won’t be let down.

The Coffee Guy

Like Millcreek Coffee Roaster’s Facebook page here.