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?

Cafe Kreyol

A dark roast from Tanzania coming out of Virginia’s Cafe Kreyol lands in my coffee cup for the next week or so. When I opened the bag, the sight and aroma of the beans remind me very much of the Starbucks espresso blend. An oily shine coated each bean accompanied by a deep ashen/burnt aroma. This type of aroma also reminded me similarly of the dark Kona roasts.

Making my latte, I taste a strong chocolate flavor on the first sip. With each sip, I also taste a something herby, ashen and earthy. I’m not sure if its the ashen flavor that sort of turns me off to the bean but I’m not enjoying these beans as I normally would for other roasts.

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


Jot Coffee

If you use social media (like I do) and depending on what your click history have been, you may have come across advertisements of a coffee product called Jot Coffee. I started seeing their advertisements sometime last year along with Cometeer Coffee. From what I can tell, Jot Coffee is a direct to consumer company that sells concentrated coffee/espresso in small jars. Drinkers can dilute the concentrate into many different coffee based drinks (iced coffee, americano, latte, machiatto, cortado, etc). Like most direct to consumer based companies, Jot Coffee is also a subscription based service that will charge you for regular dilvery of their concentrated coffee product.

I think their maybe a few key benefit that Jot Coffee wants to sell to you.
1) If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of buying beans or knowing what type of roast or knowing the lcation of the beans or even using a subscription service like Drink Trade Coffee (yes shameless referral plug), Jot Coffee wants to make it easy for you by just having two simple choices: Original blend or Dark blend. The drinker can decide which blend they prefer and stick to that blend for future deliveries.
2) If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of having to pull your own espresso shot with a machine or even using manual methods to make your drink (pourovers, aeropress, cold brew, etc), Jot Coffee also wants to make it easy for you. All you need to do is mix their concentrated extract to make your own drink. The concentrate pretty much is a stronger pulled espresso shot.
3) And finally, Jot Coffee just wants to be your coffee of choice by making it easy to make all your favorite drinks. Their instructions say to just mix 8oz of their concentrate with whatever and however much you desire. Jot also provided a measuring spoon to make things super easy to measure 8oz.

So Jot Coffee clearly intrigued me enough that I put it on one of my things to buy list. However, at the time when I saw these advertisements, I head many bags of Kona and Hawaii beans to drink. I had even paused both my coffee subscriptions in order to “catch up.” By now, readers of this blog should know that I’ve restarted both subscriptions and I’m starting to post about coffee again. Fortunately for me, Jot Coffee apparently sells both the original and dark blend on Amazon. This was actually really good because I didn’t have to bother with any subscription sign up and cancellation follow up. So I ended buying an original and dark blend.

I opened the dark blend first. The concentrate looks super thick. It actually covered the 8oz measuring spoon with this luscious brown liquid. Adding the recommended amount of milk to make a latte, the first thing I taste is the bold espresso flavor. I can’t taste any distinct floral, nutty or fruity flavors. If I over dilute with milk, I end up with a nice chocolate milk drink. However, if I don’t add enough milk, the espresso flavor remains and minimizes any sort of “milk” after taste.

After finishing the dark blend, the original blend also has similar concentrate consistency. Measuring out the original blend into a latte, the color of latte is surprisingly similar to the dark blend. The taste of the latte however is a much milder flavor compared to the dark. If I gave dark a score of 10 on how bold the espresso flavor is, then the original blend is roughly a score of 5 in espresso flavor. I’m able to taste a pleasant nutty flavor that balances the espresso and milk flavor. Between dark and original, I actually prefer the dark blend.

Overall, I think Jot Coffee is an interesting alternative to buying and grinding beans to make espresso. I wouldn’t buy this product for normal daily use. However, I would buy this for trips where grinding coffee might not be very feasible so long as there’s refrigeration to store the Jot Coffee espresso concentrate. The one thing I do miss when making my latte with Jot Coffee is the smell of freshly ground beans. Starting the day with the smell of freshly ground beans adds to the simple pleasures of life.

Good Citizen Coffee Company

Trade Coffee sent me these single origin beans from Good Citizen Coffee Company. The beans are from the Narino which is in southern Columbia. I haven’t had too many beans from Columbia so these beans should be a treat.

Opening the bag, I’m greeted with a pleasant floral aroma. Aside from the typical coffee aromas, there’s nothing else outstanding about the aromas. Making my latte, I taste a subtle citrus and nutty flavors. After each sip though, I start getting a pleasant sweet chocolate flavor aftertaste that I enjoy. The subtleness of this sweet chocolate aftertaste really makes these beans enjoyable.

I hope I’m able to get more beans from Central and South America to taste.

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

Did the California DMV get hacked?

I don’t understand why the California DMV OTP challenge page to confirm my “identity” is in Chinese. Did they do some sort of upgrade and failed to keep the OTP challenge in English? Or… Did they get hacked? When a US or state goverment system goes to some foreign language page… it doesn’t really boost the confidence in that web page.

The DMV page also made it difficult. I could not contact a service representitave nor a technical representative to ask about the validity of this OTP challenge in real time. The chat bots are UTTERLY useless. I ended up having to ping them on Facebook and Twitter… but of course… tech service isn’t available their either.

Queen City Coffee Roasters

After four months, I restarted the coffee subscriptions services for Angels Cup and Trade Coffee. I managed to stagger them roughly 2 weeks apart so I can finish one and have the other pretty much ready to be drunk.

The first coffee to come is from Angels Cup. They sent a bag from Queen City Coffee Roasters which apparently is from India! I am pleaseantly surprised with these beans because it’s not from the usual African, Central/South America or Southeast Asia sources.

The beans have a such a subdued aroma of nuts and dried fruit. Making my latte, I was surprised at the first sip with this bold chocolate taste followed that is mellowed by peach and berries. With each subsequent sip, the chocolate flavor disappears leaving with nothing but this pleasant nutty flavor after finishing the cup.

Here’s what I think of the beans…4/7

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

Fika Fika Coffee

Fika Fika Coffee (Yelp) is a local coffee shop. I can’t seem to find a website for this coffee shop. I’m not sure where they roast their beans. They only have two shop locations (Pasadena, Arcadia) but these shops don’t appear to have much space for a roasting machine. Else perhaps the square footage is larger than it appears.

Since I’m finally finished with the Hawaiian beans and my coffee subscription shipments from Angels Cup and Drink Trade don’t start back up immediately, I needed some beans to hold me over until the coffee subscriptions packages start to come in. I opted to try these medium roasted Columbian beans. I’ve had beans from this region in Columbia before.

Here’s what I think of the beans.

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

A Simple Qualitative Coffee Ranking System

To be honest, I’ve been unsatisfied at just describing what I’m tasting. As a result, I’ve decided to expand “my coffee reviews.” I recognize I’m not an coffee connesiur nor I do I have formal coffee training as a barista or other coffee related mastery or associations. I also recognize that different people will describe different flavors when tasting the same beans.

What makes me the most qualified unqualified person? I have had over 2 years of different roasters sending me light/medium/dark roast beans and I’ve come to appreciate the complexity of the roasted beans’ aromas and flavors. In some ways, I want to establish some qualitative ranking system to discover what makes a good coffee bean roaster… perhaps a way for future recomendations.

There will be seven simple/submjective aspects that I measure “yes/no”.
1) Is there an intense aroma?
2) Is there a balance between floral, fruity, and nutty aromas?
3) Is there any other aroma that’s not floral, fruity or nutty?
4) On first sip, is there an intesne taste?
5) Is there a balance of floral, fruity and nutty/earthy tastes?
6) Is there a chocolate-like flavor with each sip or after taste?
7) Do I want to drink another cup immediately after finishing this cup