/files/u13866/100_2001.jpg" width="300" height="225" align="left" />There literally are coffee shops popping up everywhere, and even though I had this blog post working in the back of my head, it appears I was beat to the punch by this article. The article basically states that due to the bad economy there are lower rents and therefore people are opening coffee shops more often than before. This is particular interesting because this shop opened right when the economy tanked and has been doing well ever since!
I am not sure about the area in New York the ariticle is referencing (i.e. Is it in a good area just lacking decent coffee shops or in a place you wouldn't expect there to be a good coffee shop?) what I have found is there seems to be good coffee shops popping up in places you would not expect. In the case of Catahoula it's Richmond CA.
If you were to look on a map you would notice that Richmond isn't that far from Berkeley, CA and so you might not be surprised there is a shop here you would want to go to. However, Richmond is an area that isn't exactly the safest place to be, just do a wikipedia search for it. And so those from the area certainly wouldn't expect the shop to be here, however it is and I am excited that it is!
There is a lot to like about Catahoula and I am happy to say they are one of my go tos when I have run out of beans and none are on order. I pretty much like everything about their shop from the cafe, baristas and more importantly their style of roast.
Timber is the owner of this operation and I love what he has done with this shop. I don't know how to really descirbe the style of the shop, but can say that it focuses on the right things when you enter, both the roaster he uses and the espresso machine is front and center (you can even see them roasting if you come in at the right time). I really appreciate the choice to make the cafe about one thing good coffee, you can even sacks of greens in the window!
One of my pet peeves about a lot of third wave shops is the pretentiousness of the basistas that work there, this is not the case here. All of them are all very nice and more than willing to tell you what they know about a specific blend or single origin. My only real complaint is that they are not quite as knowledgable or passionate about coffee as some of the ones that I have met on travels to more popular third wave shops, but the friendly and fast service more than make up for it.
This is where it all comes down to, if you have a pretty cafe and excellent baristas but the beans are still bad, it really doesn't matter.
The coffee beans here are roasted generally medium, meaning they are typically those sweet chocolate and carmel notes. I must say that I enjoy this sort of roast as it's like a comfort food that just makes a cold day warm again. All of their blends are some sort of play on this roast with maybe a dash of fruit in some and less in others. I can honestly say there isn't a blend I don't like. If you make it a point to try it out, I would go with the house favorite, Lola's Blend.
On the sour note, I have found that their single origins are not really my cup of tea. I don't know what it is about them, maybe they are roasted too much and lose the uniqueness of the bean, but they typically fall a little flat.
Excellent shop with some great coffee, in an off the beaten path area.