Category Archives: Articles

What about May showers?

If April showers bring May flowers, what’s with this rainy Monday? Sure, we see an upswing in people wanting coffee, but I’d rather a bright, sunny day and smiling people. We’ll get through it, together.

My latest coffee news is information on the caffeine withdrawal headache. To justify everyone’s belief that yes, one does get headaches if you don’t get your coffee, a study was done that proves the effect is real. During the experiment, participants were given either caffeine or a placebo so the results could be tracked. What kind of a bad joke is a caffeine placebo, anyway? Personally, I don’t get headaches and can go days without my coffee, so I would not have been a good subject. But it was determined that, “stopping daily caffeine consumption produces changes in the cerebral blood flow and quantitative EEG that are likely related to the classic caffeine withdrawal symptoms of headache, drowsiness and decreased alertness.” Blah, blah, blah. I don’t think we need studies. People get headaches because they have as much a psychological as physiological withdrawal. As one cut to the chase shop has put it, Gimme Coffee! Nuf said.


What is the world’s most popular drug?

Since coffee is our business, today’s caffeine lesson is brought to you by LifeScript, “The #1 Website Dedicated to Women’s Health;”  9 Caffeine Myths Explained. And yes, caffeine is the world’s most popular drug. I believe the key, as with anything, is not to abuse, and caffeine consumed within reason can actually be beneficial. We like to think our house blends really tastes good, so if it’s caffeine you want why not enjoy our cup of coffee — note the flavor and appreciate the difference between ours and just any coffee while getting your fix. Our house coffees (Mr. Smooth and InTheHouse), both featuring Sumatra (a medium to heavy body, a mild sharpness and a rich, smooth taste), are meant to satisfy those looking for a mellower coffee, but having a fairly bold taste. So, for that caffeine fix, one or two cups of our coffee not only satisfy, they’re good for you!

On another note: ahem, today’s date is significant to many so for anyone interested, your urban lesson for the day can be read here. Ours is not to place judgement but to inform.

Espresso in L.A.: how far have we come!

The refurbished original Starbuck's La Marzocco

The refurbished original Starbuck's La Marzocco

Perusing the NY Times I stumbled onto an article about a pretty hip coffee shop opening in Venice, CA. We are blessed to have some national coffee roasters, i.e. Intelligentsia (found locally at 21st Street Coffee & Tea, Aldo Coffee, Big Dog Coffee, Dozens and possibly others), Parallel 49 (Voluto), Batdorf and Bronson (Tazza D’Oro) and Counture Culture (Bluehorse), represented locally. Simpatico is proud to serve local roaster, La Prima, but it’s important for a prospering coffee community to have choice, and Pittsburgh is now well stocked. Anyway, taking espresso culture one step further, Intelligentsia is combining a little history (the original Starbuck’s La Marzocco GS2 espresso machine) with contemporary espresso chic (four Synessos), and opening a pretty cool espresso bar in Cali. Nice.

Coffee in the burgh: how far have we come!

Since moving here in 2000, I’ve watched the coffee community grow immensely. From a few scattered Starbuck’s to a plethora of indie shops, the crazy growth of Crazy Mocha (17 shops and counting), and over the past few years competition winning barista’s, Pittsburgh is taking it’s place in the upper echelon of specialty coffee communities. Case in point: Carl Hauptmann and Jake’s Java. This is cross-posted at AldoCoffee.com, and I thought it worth adding to our site for some more potential readership. Visit the Post-Gazette online: “Java anyone?” Carl and his son have turned a hobby into a small micro-roasting business, and the short video is nice insight into their joy, coffee, and roasting. Beaver Falls Coffee & Tea are another example of adding roasting to their business, and also worth a visit. With roasters like La Prima (our supplier), Kiva Han, Coffee Tree Roasters, Nicholas, Presto George, and others I’m forgetting, we have developed quite an expanded community. We hope others will learn to appreciate what we have: Pittsburgh is a coffee town!

Sniffing around for a pick-me-up

Wow, almost a month to post something new. I hope it’s because we’ve been busy, not lazy!

Gotta love the persistency of coffee lover’s attempts to justify our jones. Now there’s research that indicates simply smelling coffee can get you started. I can’t disagree with that. I’ve often thought someone could make a buck from an aftershave or perfume (“he may not be hot, but did you catch that aroma? grrrr”). Although it’s not as catchy, it appears one can “smell the coffee and wake up.” Personally, for satisfaction I need to wet my whistle with some java, but I’d like to see how this might test: ” They suggest pumping them (coffee aromas) into factories to help revive tired workers who can’t sip coffee while operating machinery.” On that basis, I wonder what productivity is like at a whiskey factory? For more insightful info you can share at your next cocktail party, sniff around coffeechemistry.com.

Edible art… yes we can!

For quite a while Simpatico had the pleasure of offering the awesome cupcakes from Vanilla Pastry Studio. Unfortunately, the move to East Liberty ended the convenient trip to the West End and we no longer have cupcakes. BUT, here’s an awesome presentation I’m sure would have helped our business! I’ll have to rethink President’s Day in the future. Maybe there’s something to this, coffee and cupcakes in honor of the prez.

Never saw this coming

Never saw this coming: Starbuck’s instant coffee

Seeing as how Pittsburgh is recognized as one of the largest consumers of coffee, but not necessarily good coffee, maybe they’ll see us a good place to dump some advertising dollars! I don’t know though, $2.95 for three packs? A buck a cup for instant Joe. That may be a long shot when you can stop by one of Pittsburgh’s specialty coffee houses for a nice hot FRESH cup of coffee. Wait and see….