Category: Articles

This week’s coffee review is the Guatemalan Organic Dark Roast

Here are the specs:

Hang with a smooth Guatemalan. Well-rounded and complete. Layers of deep solidarity from a dark roasted chocolate place. A fat favorite all around. Big.

Roast Level: Dark
Acidity: Medium – Low
Body: Heavy
Aroma: Dark chocolate
Flavor Notes: Bitter-sweet chocolate with dark roast smokiness and a slight remainder of citrus.

Farmer Cooperatives: ADIPCO, Apecaform, Nahuala, Rio Azul & Chajulense

Here’s how the beans look. Now I’m no Starbucks Barista but from what I’ve learned over the years, the darker the roast the more visible oil is on the bean. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but these beans are glistening as if they’ve been sunbathing on the beach with baby oil.
beans

Once the beans were grounded, the sweet scent of a fine dark chocolate hits the air. Eventually the whole room smells awesome.
grounds

Much like the last reviews we did with Peace Coffee, the French Press has been the standard for the test. Look how rich the coffee looks. You just can’t get that with an automatic drip. Oh and here’s the thing, I TRIED to use my Mr. Coffee Auto Drip machine for this test…you know to be different. But those machines literally murder the flavor and texture of the coffee. It wasn’t until I used the press that the flavors came back to life and greeted my taste buds.
french press

What’s great about using a press is you get a full bodied and richer coffee. Usually if you use a drip machine, the coffee looks more like a shiny dark tea. But the press gives you texture, flavors and that nice little frothy foam..
pour

So here’s how this coffee did…the specs show that this has a bitter sweet chocolate flavor. As I sipped my cup of sweetness…well not really since its a dark roast and it was black…anyhow, the certain flavors do jump out then lounge on your tongue; think of a Dove Dark Chocolate Bar. If you’ve ever had one of those then you’ll understand that this is the exact flavor the Guatemalan provides. It’s smooth, rich…oh wait, I already said that, and overall delicious. Though it’s a dark roast it doesn’t mean that it is super bitter. No, not at all — what happens is when you drink this, you do get the smokey flavor that it has been roasted longer than other beans, but it’s not like it is a kick in the mouth where you feel violated because the “dark roast” is taking advantage of your mouth. No the Guatemalan is very smooth and easy to drink. Acidity level is rated at low to medium, not bad considering darker roasts typically have a higher level. Plus I never experienced any stomach aches or heartburn after drinking it.

From this coffee lover to another, my gift to everyone reading is this review. You really have to give Peace Coffee a try. I’ve been really blown away on their coffees. They’re nice people too! Peace sells the Guatemalan Organic Dark Roast for about $9.99 per pound, and I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!

Sometimes, good lane positioning (being at least three feet away from the curb or painted line), good visibility (bright colors, reflectors and lights) and good reflexes just aren’t enough to prevent a crash.

ouch

On Leah’s way home from work the other night, a giant SUV darted in front of her as she was riding down Florida Avenue in central Tampa. No turn signal — no warning. The SUV made a hard right turn just in front of her, and Leah got to experience firsthand the dreaded “right hook”. Grabbing a fistful of brake wasn’t enough…and Leah bounced off the rear fender of the truck before going down. The momentum of the collision carried Leah with the truck into the turn, keeping her from falling out into the travel lane of the busier road. She’s ok, though…just some scrapes, a deep bruise on her elbow and a smaller one on her hip. She’s still gung-ho to ride, but related to me that when the truck’s driver stopped to see if she was alright, it was less out of concern that she might have hurt someone and more out of concern that she might get into trouble for her actions. Nice, huh?

Leah was so stunned by the incident that she didn’t think to get the license plate or name of the driver. No one else was around and it was getting dark, so a couple salty words were exchanged and both parties went their separate ways.

So, everyone, let’s be careful out there — all the preparation in the world cannot prevent every collision. And remember, if something like this happens to you, PLEASE have the presence of mind to exchange information with the driver or at least try to get the complete license plate of the offending vehicle, followed by a call to your local law enforcement agency to report the incident.

You have GOT to watch this video…The Austin Yellow Bike Project recently moved to new digs, and bicycling photographer/mad-skills-knitter/blogger extraordinaire Chainsaw Panda was there to capture it on video:


Austin Yellow Bike Shop Move from iridemybike on Vimeo.

Some of the load-hauling contraptions are amazing — trailers bigger than a car, cycletrucks, extended-bed trikes and everything in between. It is jaw-droppingly amazing!

Raye Lynn sent in the following questions:

“Hey, I am new to commuting by bike (haven’t started yet.) I have been doing research online and I am drawn to your site daily. I have a couple of questions/ concerns that I can’t get a straight answer on and was wondering if you can help me out.

We have a very tight budget and being a bit overweight, my husband wanted to make sure I stuck with it before we invested real money into biking. So, we bought a Schwinn Jaguar Cruiser from Target with a bike trailer for the two kids under 3. I work 0.8 miles from home, 1.8 miles from church, doctors, grocery store, etc… Its ridiculous that I havent been commuting by bike sooner. My question is, is this bike ok for the distance/ purpose for someone just starting off?

Second question. I know riding on the sidewalk is not a good thing to do (would have never known that prior to researching.) But, my concern is for the kids. I live in a small town in NE Georgia. Bike lanes are no where to be found and frankly, they are a bunch of rednecks who will probably scream obscenities about riding on the road, my weight, etc… There are mostly back roads I can take, but there are some busy roads in my commute. Is it safe to haul a trailer on the road?”

jaguar

Raye Lynn, the answer to the first question is easy — your bike is ABSOLUTELY ok for your commute!!! There’s a misconception among many new bike commuters that there’s one “right bike” for bicycle commuting, and that’s actually right, in a sense. The “right bike” is the one you enjoy riding! So, I see nothing wrong at all with your choice of bike for getting started, based on the distances you intend to cover. Remember, too, that as your fitness increases and you discover the many other joys of using a bicycle as transportation, you can always upgrade to something more suitable for longer distances or bigger loads. You needn’t pay a fortune for an upgrade, either: the bicycle market is flooded with suitable choices at price points below $600.

The second question is something I have had a personal struggle with…I have a four-year-old, and while he loves to ride in his trailer and has done so almost his entire life, I’ve been very leery of certain roads and routes in my area. That being said, I get a perception that the brightly-colored trailer, which is obviously intended for children, actually gets me more respect from motorists out on the road! Many trailers come with that silly fluorescent orange flag…might as well use it for more conspicuity. For those of you who are considering a child trailer, purchase the most garishly colored one you can find that also has the features you’re looking for — the brighter and uglier it is, the more folks will notice it!

My boy

Even after some favorable experiences, however, I would carefully choose routes that have less vehicle traffic and more shoulder whenever possible. And, as dangerous as sidewalks can be for bicyclists, sometimes they are the smartest and safest choice for really ugly situations (but don’t get too much in the habit of using them: use “as needed” and check your local laws carefully for legality). I don’t want to take any unnecessary risks with my child, and I don’t think anyone else should, either. For short stretches on busy roads, hog as much of the lane as you can — folks will catcall and yell and honk no matter what we cyclists are doing out there, so just let it roll off you like water off a duck’s back. While you’re enjoying your health and your gas savings, those same rude motorists will be suffering — struggling to keep their gas tanks full and their car payments up to date.

Now that my child is getting too big for the trailer, I rigged up a passenger setup on my new Xtracycle…and I’m going through the same internal debates I did when we first started using the trailer: “is he safe back there?” “Is he ready for this?” “Are motorists going to give us the room we deserve?” I am happy to report that so far, the answer to all three of those questions is a resounding “yes”.

xtra boys by Alan Snel photo by Alan Snel

Good luck, Raye Lynn, and be safe. Thanks for your questions!

Have a cycling-related question? Just Ask Jack! Click on the link in the right-hand column to send me your questions.

A couple folks sent me the following opinion piece from the Christian Science Monitor (thanks Elizabeth and Jefro!)…basically, the author laments the fact that everyone is quick to compliment folks on their choice of vehicle when they roll up in a hybrid, but no one ever compliments someone who is totally car-free and chooses a bicycle as transportation.

This short but well-written editorial ties in beautifully with our article last week about “hybrids as fashion statements”. Check out the full CS Monitor article by clicking here, and tell us what you think: have you ever been complemented on your wise choice of pollution-free transportation?