Black Oak Coffee Roasters

November’s Angels Cup comes from Black Oak Coffee Roasters. It’s a blend of dark roasted beans. I’m a little disappointed that the past four Angels Cup deliveries have been blends. I was hoping that some intrepid roaster would create a dark roast single origin. I suppose it might be a waste to dark roast single origin beans.

Upon opening the bag, I first smell the strong ashy/smoky aroma followed by hints of chocolate and nuts. Subsequent sniffs brings a nice balanced aroma of smoky and chocolate. Making my latte, I taste this sweet chocolate flavor on the first sip. It tastes very much like a dark chocolate milk. What’s surprising is that there’s no bitterness that normally comes with dark roasts. With the lack of bitterness and the sweet chocolate flavor, I ended up making a second cup.

To be honest, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed these beans. The previous blends have been average flavor-wise. They are good but didn’t “wow” me like some of the single origins. I know it’s not a fair comparison (single origin vs blends) but after drinking so many single origin, it’s inevitable to make certain comparisons. I think this dark roast blend stands out because of the lack of bitterness while maintaining some of the sweetness tasted in light/medium roast beans.

COFFEE ASPECTSYES / NO
Intense AromaYes
Balanced AromaYes
Other AromaNo
Intense 1st sipNo
Balanced FlavorYes
Chocolate FlavorYes
2nd cup?Yes


Congregation Coffee Roaster

November’s Trade Coffee comes from Congregation Coffee Roasters. The beans come from the Guji, Ethiopia. Upong receiving the bag, beans from Ethiopia tend to have a distinctive aroma… flowery, fruity and yet somewhat nutty.

From the aroma and past experiences with Ethiopian beans to make my latte, the flavor profile so far has been very similar across multiple roasters. These beans continue with the fruity, berry flavor profile in the latte. The flavors have a more berry/fruit forward taste and also tasted sweeter than the previous beans (an espresso blend). The after taste after each sip was a nice refreshing milk chocolate flavor that lingered at the back of the tongue. Ethiopian beans do not disappoint.

COFFEE ASPECTSYES / NO
Intense AromaNo
Balanced AromaYes
Other AromaNo
Intense 1st sipNo
Balanced FlavorYes
Chocolate FlavorYes
2nd cup?No

What’s Brewing Coffee Roaster

Octobers Angels Cup comes from “Whats Brewing” Coffee Roaster. The Vienna Roast is a blend that they roast for use to make espresso. I’m surprised that they claim it is versatile as a drip. I regret not trying this out on pourovers.

Upon first opening this, I’m greeted with a strong ashy aroma. Making my latte, I’m greeted by subtle fruit and nutty flavors. I also taste a slight roasted flavor as part of the after taste. To be honest, this doesn’t stand out as amazing but I can see why the roasters claim this as a “good work horse” for regular espressos.

COFFEE ASPECTSYES / NO
Intense AromaYes
Balanced AromaYes
Other AromaNo
Intense 1st sipNo
Balanced FlavorYes
Chocolate FlavorNo
2nd cup?No


The Ocean Cleanup in LA

Have you heard of the “Great Garbage Patch” in the Pacific? Did you know that there is a company “The Ocean Cleanup” dedicated to cleaning up this garbage, to recycling the plastic and finding ways to reuse the collected plastics. This mission to clean up the ocean is admirable and I support them through yearly donations. You can request a donation receipt as well by selecting the topic of “Donation Receipt”. In the future, I hope they will be able to use the plastic collected to make more than just sunglasses like plastic bottles and items that contain mix use of plastics and metals. And yes, I even bought the sunglasses and blogged about it.

Through various research organizations, the Ocean Clean Up organization observed that one of the sources comes from the rivers that flow into the ocean. During periods of heavy rain, plastics that have been discarded upstream/upriver get washed into the ocean. As a way to counter the plastics that end up in the ocean, the Ocean Clean Up team also started to collect plastics that come from the rivers. One such collection effort can be found in LA. Known as Interceptor 007, it is located at the mouth of the Ballona Creek at Marina Del Rey. They even broadcasted live the “maiden voyage” to position the Interceptor at the mouth of the creek and the rationale to deploy in LA.

I need to find some time to take a stroll down to Ballona Creek to take pics.

Equator Coffee

The October Trade Coffee comes from Equator Coffee. It’s a single origin from Ethiopia’s Guji Zone. The consistency of the beans from this region is always top notch and these beans are the same. Roasted in the hands of one of my favorite roasters (Equator Coffee), it was bound to be really delicious latte.

Opening the bag, I smell a wonderful nutty floral aroma typical of Ethiopian beans. Making my latte, I initially tasted this fruity sweet berry flavor that shifts into a subtle nutty chocolate after taste. Every sip was like this and it was really enjoyable. I really like Equator coffee roasted beans. They consistently put out good quality roasted beans.

Coffee AspectsYes / No
Intense AromaNo
Balanced AromaYes
Other AromaNo
Intense 1st sipNo
Balanced FlavorYes
Chocolate FlavorNo
2nd cup?Yes

Free Money? Sounds sus….

In this day and age, I have been so conditioned to view items in bank statements with a lot of suspicion EVEN WHEN it’s in my favor. With all the different ways an account can be hacked (like phishing) or different money fraud schemes (nespresso pods), seeing this entry on my bank account sparked a little concern. You see… I wasn’t expecting to get any free money (at least not on this account).

So naturally I asked these questions:
1) What is this? Have I been hacked?
2) Why am I getting free money? Nothing is free…

Fortunately, a Google search shows that this is a legitimate credit from California.

Portola Coffee Roaster

Angels Cup sent this blend from Portola Coffee Roaster. Whenever I’m in the neighborhood, I will try to drop by to enjoy a latte. What amazes me all the time is that every latte taste just like the previous latte whether it was one, two or six months ago. That level of consistency is amazing. The bag of beans is a dark roast blend. The beans don’t have that typical slightly ashen roasted aroma even though it’s easy to spot the “oily-ness” of the beans.

Making my latte, I immediately get slight hints of what a Portola made latte would taste like. It’s followed by a pleasant chocolate taste that makes it very smooth and drinkable. The latte isn’t anywhere like the professionally made lattes but it was delicious that I immediately made a 2nd cup.

COFFEE ASPECTSYES / NO
Intense AromaNo
Balanced AromaYes
Other AromaNo
Intense 1st sipNo
Balanced FlavorYes
Chocolate FlavorYes
2nd cup?Yes


Atomic Coffee Roasters

Trade Coffee for September comes from Ethiopia. Based on the bag, it’s specifically from “Oromia” which is a regional state like “Sidama” and “Gedeo”. I also find it odd that the bag is labeled “Ethiopia Sidama.” Looking into where/what “Oromia” is, Oromia Region (wiki) is a fairly large regional state with multiple smaller zones making up the state. Want to be confused even more? Apparently there’s an Oromia Zone (wiki) that’s in a different regional state. Egas, how’s your geography?

Back to the coffee, the single origin beans are a light roast from Atomic Coffee Roasters. I absolutely love the aroma. It’s subtle fruity sweet aromas isn’t too strong but lingers long after I’ve dispensed the beans into the grinder.

Making my latte, the first sip is amazingly balanced. I taste berries, caramel, and hints of roasted nuts or barley or wheat. It’s such a smoothe flavor. I find that Ethiopian beans are so consistent in their flavors.

COFFEE ASPECTSYES / NO
Intense AromaNo
Balanced AromaYes
Other AromaNo
Intense 1st sipNo
Balanced FlavorYes
Chocolate FlavorYes
2nd cup?No

Biden’s College Loan Debt Forgiveness Plan

If you haven’t heard, President Biden plans to go forward with plans to forgive up to $10,000 in college loans for individuals making under $125,000 a year. Obviously there are specific rules a debtor will need to follow in order to take advantage of the loan forgiveness. Reading through the articles, there are clear lines of political division masked behind the “concerns of the national debt/fiscally irresponsible”, “unfairness to those who have already paid”, and “increasing inflation”. Let’s breakdown some of the arguments as I see it.

1) Concerns of national debt. I find this argument inherently flawed. Both political sides have used this argument when the other side has been pushing a spending plans. Republicans criticized Build Back Better. Democrats criticized Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. They clearly can’t be right and the criticisms from both sides are just smoke screens to confuse the voters.

Ultimately, voters really need to think about what kind of “national debt” is considered good debt. Using a line from advocates of higher education, taking on debt in order to obtain more schooling is good. The idea is that education will result in higher wage increases and overall higher wages making the debt more as an “investment” in the future. If voters are to also consider this “investment” hypothesis and apply to the national debt, what sort of programs are appropriate then for US to incur any sort of debt?

I personally believe investments in infrastructure, education and healthcare are critical for the future of US. These kinds of investments will undoubtedly payoff in the future (whether 5 years or 50 years) benefiting American people. Even just around infrastructure, did you know that US has an overall score of C- (https://infrastructurereportcard.org/). With tragic issues like what happened with the Flint water crisis, and even the current crisis in Jackson, MIssissippi, infrastructure improvements should be one of the top items on every American’s list. Improvements to fix/update highways, bridges, internet, electrical grids, water systems, sewage systems, etc… are critical since they are used everyday by millions of Americans.

With education, teaching future generations the skills needed is critical. It’s not just the advanced skills from “STEM” majors (aka science technology engineering mathmatics) but also the basic building/trade/technical skills that support every day life (carpentry, electrian, mechanic). Education helps maintain a bustling economy. Unfortunately, the emphasis on “advanced” skills seems to outweigh any thought about the basic trade/technical skills. It doesn’t matter how skilled a brain surgeon might be at the operating room table, if the hospital is not built correctly or wired correctly, or if the mechanic does not fix the surgeon’s car correctly…. that surgeon is useless to society if something happens to the building, or operating room or even his car.

And finally, healthcare is also critical to the future of US. By guaranteeing the right to a minimum standard of healthcare, the US government can ensure a standard of living for generations. If the government were to either set a minimum standard OR provide the minimum standard of healthcare, American’s would have access to yearly general check ups which would also provide a benefit of potentially spotting future health issues ahead of time instead of having to require ER visits to handle sudden (potentially preventable) medical issues. How can a “1st world nation” really say they are “1st world” when so many rely on ER visits for healthcare?

2) Unfairness to those who have paid. Why wasn’t this argument used when the US bailed out the banks and the automobile companies during the start of the great recession? If the US government can “pay” to save corporations, why can’t the same US government that “WE THE PEOPLE” created also “pay” the debts of students?

Back in the 2008, depending on the various sources (MIT, Wiki, Rolling Stone, Balance) the US government ended paying anywhere from a minimum around $500 BILLION to over $7 TRILLION. Assuming the numbers are accurate, the reader should be reminded that the $500Billion (minimum) went to corporations. At the same time, the American dream of owning homes were being shattered by foreclosures, under water home values and personal mortgage debt. American people were literally being ignored because the government made some calculation that certain financial institutions were just “too big too fail.” Hypothetically if the $500B were to have been distributed to the approximate 300M US citizens, each citizen would have received approximately $16,700.

With Biden’s loan repayment, eligible debtors would receive $10,000. Again depending on the various sources (CNBC, Daly Caller), the US government would be paying around $330 BILLION. The payment would only target a small subset of the US population based on the criteria set by the administration. At the very minimum some 20MILLION borrowers would now be debt free and be able to divert the loan money towards some other debt or future savings. That’s 20 Million borrowers who might now be able to stop living “pay check to pay check” and be able to have the ability to plan a more financially secure future.

3) Increasing Inflation. To be honest, I’m not sure how a sudden $10,000 deduction from a balance would affect inflation. Many borrowers are only putting $300-$1000 towards their debt on a monthly basis. At most the borrower will now have an extra $300-$1000 to spend on other debt or towards something important/necessary (maybe fix a car? or emergency fund?) I don’t think the extra money will lead to the increase in inflation so suddenly. I feel like pundits talk about the $10,000 as if borrowers are going to go somewhere to spend all $10,000 at once irresponsibly. Please let’s give the borrowers some credit…


Overall, I think Biden’s Loan Debt Forgiveness Plan is great. However, I think the amount of $10,000 is too much all at once. A more reasonalbe alternative would be $5,000 to knock off the borrowers balance. I also agree with the income restrictions qualification as a way to limit high earners from this program. In my study of American history, I’ve realized that America generally rewards or favors people and corporations through various financial benefits such as tax cuts, tax incentives, and even tax loopholes. Biden’s plan is one of those rare plans that try to help the common American citizen. What’s not to like about that?