Thursday, January 26, 2012

H-Town Coffee Adventure No.1

H-Town (aka Houston, TX)
Coffee Adventure No. 1
w/e of 1/20/12 - 1/22/12

Stop No. 1

photo credit:

Catalina Coffee Shop
2201 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007

Bus Stop - Sawyer @ Union
S. Heights

Roaster of Catalina's Coffees - Amaya Roasting Co - Max, the Owner

photo/logo credit:

Since opening in April 2007, Catalina Coffee has sought to provide our customers with a fresh and exciting coffee experience. We strive to consistently offer the best product that we can, and constantly evolve to do so. We mainly feature coffee from Amaya Roasting Company, as well as bringing in guest coffees from other roasters from across the country.

Hours:Monday - Friday 6:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday - Sunday 7:30 AM – 7:00 PM

phone 713.861.8448

my Cortado, on the wood counter in the back corner against the brick wall...
taken w/natural light, can you tell (OK, I will not give up my Day Job for Photography anytime soon...)
Back to the coffee--there was no messing around--there is no Latte Art here, or not in this order...

A curious link to a Proto type of Luminaire LB-1 under the News tab on their webpage...

Link to their Facebook page...

Facebook Info...

"A tribute to the best coffeehouse in Houston. If you're in the market for a foo-foo, coffee-flavored beverage, you're in the WRONG place. I would willingly increase my carbon footprint for the brew."
Link to Urbanspoon reviews...
Link to Yelp reviews...
Link to Houston Press - Best of 2011 Award - Best Coffee Shop...
"Here's our exhaustive criterion when it comes to drinking coffee: It has to be good. Annnndddd that's about it. All of the bells and whistles in terms of decor and iPod playlists are fine, but if the warm liquid that fills our barely awake beings tastes like brown water, our caffeine-deprived benchmark will never be met. It's true that Catalina boasts an inviting and chic space in the Sixth Ward, but they're nailing the most important part — the coffee — thanks to creative yet not too fancy takes on goods from Amaya Roasting Company, which harvests coffee beans from countries such as Brazil, Costa Rica and Ethiopia."
Link to Houston City Search reviews...

Link to review by TechBlog...

Link to 29-95 Restaurants review...

Link to their Roaster Amaya...

sparrows in the winter trees alongside Catalina Coffee Shop in their garden...
I like they have a side garden there & metal art work hanging/flying on the corner of the bldg too, a bird, a phoenix (should of taken a photo of that too, but I was on a coffee mission first...)

My Note - My Purchases - Guatemala & Rwanda...
And a Coffeebag packed T-shirt (for a coffee loving friend I know, who just happens to be a Barista back home too - who sent me here so how could I not say Thank you with a Coffeeshop Tee?!)

Descriptions from Roaster webpage...


Guatemala Concepcion Pixcaya
Notes: Juicy, complex, melon, cane syrup, bakers chocolate.
Origin: Guatemala
Owner(s): Manuel Zaghi Miron and Maria Cristina Miron de Zaghi
Region: Sacatepequez
Varietal: Giant Bourbon
Elevation: 1890MASL
Process: Fully washed

(note: nothing else after this...Let it be known though that I support the Guatemalan Coffee Farmers, maybe I repeat this, due to the fact I know a family from there whose patron use to tell them sad stories about the local coffee plantation farmers & then after I met them as an Expat they'd tell me some of them...right then & there, I did a silent "I swear I will help however I can in the future"--so I buy Gutemala Coffee, Fair Trade especially, whenever I possibly can?!)

also in the Catalina Coffee Shop garden, I think it's a fig tree, sparrows gone


Rwanda Musasa

Notes: Violet, dried cranberry, prune, black tea, complex.
Co-Op: Dukundekawa Musasa (1815 Co-Op Members)
Region: Ruli Sector, Rushashi District
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Elevation: 1500 - 2000 MASL
Processing: Fully Washed and dried on African beds
The Dukundekawa Musasa cooperative lies high in Rwanda’s rugged north-west, at around 1,800 meters. The co-op built its first coffee washing station in 2003, with a development loan from the Rwandan government and the support of the USAID-financed PEARL project.
This transformational program was aimed at switching the focus in the Rwandan coffee sector from an historic emphasis on quantity to one of quality - and so opening up Rwanda to the far higher-earning specialty coffee market. The programme and its successor, SPREAD, have been invaluable in helping Rwanda’s small-scale coffee farmers to rebuild their production in the wake of the devastating 1994 genocide and the 1990s world coffee crash.
Musasa now owns two washing stations and is one of Rwanda’s larger cooperatives, with 1,815 members in the 2010/11 crop year. In addition, the co-op buys and processes cherries from a few thousand more farmers in the area who are not official co-op members.
Most of these small scale producers own less than a hectare of land, with an average of only 500 coffee trees each as well as other subsistence food crops. Musasa gives these small farmers the chance to combine their harvests and process cherries centrally - and therefore sell them on to international buyers for far higher prices. Before the proliferation of washing stations such as Musasa, the norm in Rwanda was for small farmers to sell semi-processed cherries to a middleman - and the market was dominated by a single exporter. This commodity-focused system - coupled with declining world prices in the 1990s - brought severe hardship to farmers, some of whom abandoned coffee entirely.
Today, it’s a different picture. Farmers who work with Musasa have seen their income at least double, and the co-op produces some outstanding lots for the specialty market year after year. ‘Dukundekawa’ means ‘love coffee’ in Kinyarwanda (Rwanda’s official language) - in reference to the power of coffee to improve the lives of those in rural communities.
The level of care that Musasa takes over the processing is impressive. Cherries are hand picked only when fully ripe and the beans are sorted, sorted and sorted again to remove defects. Individual lots are also tracked through the pulping, sorting and drying process, meaning that Musasa can trace each lot back to the individual farmers that grow it.

(note: we would sample this coffee roast as a Clever/PourOver after the w/e in Houston along with another Rwanda coffee from another roaster & Both of them were very/Very interesting to my tastebuds...I was very/Very surprised & a bit sad that my Guatemala choice & another Guatemala from another roaster were not as interesting...)

Other Coffee Roasts of Amaya Roasting Co. I did not purchase...
Santa Ana - Guatemala - Decaf

above the Catalina Coffee Shop garden, the power boxes & one my fav secret loves to photograph, grafitti - Yes, grafitti stickers count (in my book) - I always want to know who 'they' are, who put them there...(my all time fav's are still back in Stavanger, Norway...sigh...the power boxes that were there were painted to look like mini apt complexes, complete with say satellite dish details?!)

...and in zooming in I have a feeling the 'force majeure' sticker, on the middle box at the top, just may have a little something to do with a certain oil spill in the Gulf, so it's been there that long on this power box... (having driven over from Lafayette & having lived there before & also having lived in Houston before I know a bit of the backstory to that sticker's image--just don't know who made these & put them up - were they making a statement? hmmm...for another investigation, another time?!)

Next Adventure - Coffee & Grafitti (I may need a guide--any volunteers out there?!)

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