The Irish Coffee was created in the 1940’s by Joe Sheridan, Head Chef at Foynes in Shannon, Ireland.
The cocktail became popular in the early 1950’s when it was brought to The Buena Vista Club in San Francisco. It is their signature drink to this day.
I made the cocktail with Concannon Irish whiskey and fresh roasted Sumatran Mandheling coffee beans.
Check out the video below to see The Buena Vista Club in action making a assembly line full of Irish Coffee. I’m just glad I don’t have to clean that bar!
Recently, I was given a sampler package containing several varieties of Folgers products.
It’s been quite some time since I have had any coffee other than my home roasted beans so I thought the Folgers sampler would make a good review article.
The sampler pack included some of Folgers “instant” coffee products, some gourmet coffee blends and a box of “K” cups. I tried all of the products except for the “K” cups since I did not have the proper brewer for them. I gave that box to a friend.
The first product I tried out were the “Fresh Breaks” single serve packets. These coffee packets are marketed for “on the go” people who don’t have time to brew a cup of coffee.
There are 8 single serve packets per package. The coffee is very easy to make; just boil 8 oz. of water, open a packet into your coffee mug, pour in the water and stir. The “instant” coffee cuts out the brewing time of other coffee making methods.
I tried two different blends of the Fresh Breaks. The first, called Black Silk is a dark roast. It had some bitterness in the flavor, thin body and I found many grounds in the cup. There were as many grounds (if not more) as a cup of coffee brewed in a french press.
The Breakfast Blend is a mild roast. I found it to be definitely milder than the Black Silk with a better mouth feel, but still lots of grounds in the cup.
I really didn’t care for either of these products. If you really have zero time in the morning to make coffee then, I guess this may be the answer for you. Otherwise, I suggest you find a way to fit in six or seven minutes to brew a real cup of coffee.
The second product I tried was the Folgers Classic Roast Instant coffee. This product comes in a jar and has larger “crystals” than the Fresh Breaks. I made a cup of this coffee by using 1 rounded teaspoon of crystals to 6 oz of water.
After I pour the water into the cup, I was surprised to see a large amount of foam that stayed even after stirring.
The instant coffee makes a thin cup with very little body. The classic roast instant coffee had more coffee flavor than the Fresh Breaks but still not as much flavor as a “normal’ cup of coffee would have.
Finally, I check out the two Folgers Gourmet blends. The first thing I notice is that the packaging for these gourmet blends consists of a one way air valve that helps keep the coffee fresher, longer. That’s a definite plus in my book, especially with pre-ground coffee.
I brewed both gourmet flavors in an auto drip machine with a gold basket to give them the best possible chance for full flavor and body.
First up is the Mocha Swirl. I made a couple cups of this blend and shared it with my daughter. The Mocha Swirl had a good room aroma while brewing but, I could detect a chemical aroma when I had the cup up close to my nose. I could see some coffee oils floating on top, thanks to the gold filter basket. At first, the blend had a bitter chocolate flavor and fuller body and flavor than the instant samples. Unfortunately, as the cup cools, the flavor just breaks down into more chemical than coffee and becomes undrinkable. Neither my daughter or myself could finish it.
The second round of coffee was the Folgers Gourmet Toasted Hazelnut. Again, I made a couple cups and my daughter and I gave this coffee a try. By far, the Toasted Hazelnut had the best aroma, both while brewing and in the cup. The flavor was better than the Mocha Swirl, even as the cup cooled. Thanks to the gold filter basket, the coffee had some good body and I found coffee oils floating on the surface.
The Folgers Gourmet Toasted Hazelnut was the best of all the products I tried. For a commercial roasted, pre-ground bean, it created a passable cup of coffee.
In summary, if you are in a rush, need a cup of coffee and barely have enough time to boil water, the instant coffee products may be a viable option for you. Otherwise, if you have the time and the equipment to brew a cup of coffee, take a look at the Folgers Gourmet series for a cup of coffee that will have more body and flavor.
A recent opinion piece on CigarAdvisor.com sparked a controversial debate on how many cigars people smoke a day. I read the article with interest since I had been kicking this “Why we smoke cigars” idea around in my head for a few weeks now.
I am sure my reasons for smoking cigars are shared with others out in the community. Out of curiosity, I posed the question, “Why do you smoke cigars?” on several social media networks as an informal poll on the subject.
The responses I received were what I expected. Except for the one guy who said “Because I’m a Boss” …. I’m really not sure what that means.
The primary reason for smoking cigars that was mentioned was relaxation. I must admit, this is at the top of the list for me as well. There is nothing like ending a long day or celebrating the start of the weekend with a great cigar and an adult libation.
Smoking a cigar should be done when we can set aside some unhurried, quiet time. The cigar we smoke should also be matched to the time we have available to enjoy it. Rushing through a cigar really does an injustice to you and the cigar you are smoking.
A good leisurely smoke allows us to slow down and reflect upon the events of a day and maybe even help us be creative or assist in problem solving.
The second reason mentioned was camaraderie. While smoking a cigar can be an enjoyable solitary experience, it’s also a great way to get out and be social. There’s nothing better than heading out to the local cigar shop / lounge or cigar friendly bar to shoot the breeze with friends or watch a game together and smoke cigars.
The cigar shops are also great for leveling the playing field. People from all walks of life gather to share conversations, discuss world issues, play dominoes and more, all the while the common thread of cigars bonds them together.
The third reason people responded with was flavor / aroma. I always look forward to the flavors I’ll find while smoking a cigar. Even if it’s a cigar I’ve smoked many times before, what I taste when I smoke may change due to beverages I pair the cigar with or what I have eaten before I smoke.
What are your reasons for smoking cigars? Are they similar to these or are yours different? I’d like to read your comments on this subject.
International cigar expert James Suckling just released his list of Top 10 Cigars in 2012 on his website, JamesSuckling.com. All the top-rated smokes are Cuban. Suckling believes the quality of Cuban cigars is excellent at the moment. There’s even a perfect, 100-point smoke.
“The big surprise for me was the superb quality of two of last year’s Edición Limitadas,” writes Suckling. “Cubans finally got their blends right with the dark, more mature wrappers of the limitadas.”
The Top 10 list can be viewed here, though a subscription is required to read the tasting notes: http://www.jamessuckling.com/
His writing and ratings on cigars are available at JamesSuckling.com and in Cigar Journal magazine.
Last year, Suckling released a documentary film on Cuban cigars, entitled “Cigars: The Heart and Soul of Cuba” (www.heartandsoulofcuba.com), which chronicles the entire process of creating the cigars, from leaf to smoke. It was selected for three international film festivals including Havana, Bogota, and Sonoma.