Coffee Name: Rockaffe Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
Country: Ethiopia
Roaster: Rockaffe
Roast Date: Aug 5, 2019
Brew Date: Aug 6, 2019

Vitaliy Shakirov, the owner of the family-owned and operated a coffee shop, Buy the Cup, in Rocky Hill, has expanded his business operations by launching an online coffee store that offers his speciality roasts to the wholesale and retail coffee marketplace. My family and his family have known each other since he opened his shop doors over ten years ago. Buy the Cup is my favourite place for fresh-brewed African coffee and roasted beans, and a pork roll sandwich. It’s a place to sit outside on a Saturday morning and politely chat about local politics with the regulars. The store is unassuming, but I’ll sometimes see Lexus’ and Mercedes-Benzs parked on the street along with Honda Civics and Toyota Camrys, while customers get their fresh roasted beans and pork roll.

Our story begins ten years ago when we opened our family-owned and operated coffee shop Buy the Cup in the quaint town of Rocky Hill, New Jersey. During our humble beginnings, we offered a small variety of beans and served a mere fifty cups per day. A very loyal following developed from our neighbours in Rocky Hill and the surrounding towns, and we quickly expanded to serve many more coffee varieties and different flavour options. Seven years later we grew into a full service “grab and go” cafe serving coffee from many countries around the world, a multitude of different flavours, light and dark blends, and a full espresso line. Over the years, we have crafted numerous blends and roasting profiles, which have become very popular with our loyal customer base. We continue to fine-tune our roasting skills to further our product development, all the while keeping our standards for our products and service very high.

I am excited for Vitaliy, and I expect he’ll do well.

On Monday, Vitaliy contacted me about a new Ethiopia Yirgacheffe light roast for pour-overs that he had created. He wanted my feedback on the coffee using my brewing methods. I brew pour-overs every day using a Chemex with either an able Kone filter, Chemex paper filters, or Ebb cloth filter. For this batch of Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, the day after Vitality roasted the coffee, I brewed in my Chemex with all three types of filters. I think the Ebb filter produced the best pour-over cup with this coffee.

With Ethiopian coffees, pronounced floral notes are expected, notes that most Americans will bury under a blanket of creamer and sugar. I drink my coffee black. This Ethiopia Yirgacheffe coffee had a fresh aromatic wood note suggesting fresh-cut grass with an earthy nut-toned chocolaty taste which I enjoyed. My taste buds kept yelling, “cocoa.” I enjoyed this coffee, and I hope to drink this regularly.

Name: Grove Roots Brewing Co.
Location: Winter Haven, Polk County, Florida
Beer to try: Tropical Dilemma, a 4.4% crisp, refreshing sour with strawberry.
Notes: Huge tasting room provides flights, pints, growler fills and cans, and individual release bottles to go. Bocce ball and corn hole in the yard. Kid and dog-friendly.

When we travel, BHavna and I enjoy trying out the locally brewed craft ales. If we can, we prefer to visit the local craft ale breweries, meet the brewer if possible, and try out a flight of beers. Winter Haven does not have a lot of breweries, but from our experience, Grove Roots Brewing in downtown Winter Haven is an excellent choice.

We ordered a flight, a mixture of sours and IPAs, and sat at the large bar in the spacious taproom. Behind us, some kids were playing with their chocolate labrador retriever. Outside, under the watchful eye of their parent, some more kids were playing corn hole and splashing about in the bocce ball court, which was filled with water from the early morning rain.

My brother called, just as I completed my flight. When I told him where we were and invited him to join us, he hesitated. He had never been to a brewery and was under the impression it was like a sports bar. He was concerned that the kids would be unwelcome. But Grove Roots Brewing is across the street from one of his favourite breakfast restaurants, Egg Haven. He arrived, got the tour of the menu, my niece and nephew ordered ice cream and soda pop, while my sister-in-law relaxed. A few hours later, we went outside to capture some family photos before heading off to Circle B Bar Preserve.

Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk County, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO1000), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO640), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO1250), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO2000), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO1250), © Khürt L. Williams
Tropical Dilemma by Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO2500), © Khürt L. Williams
9 P.M. Kicker, Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO8000), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO640), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co. —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams

Aunt Chubby’s

Went here for breakfast on a Saturday morning shortly after reading about Aunt Chubby’s in MercerMe. I enjoyed my first visit so much that I took my family back several times even after road construction on CR 518 cut Hopewell Township off from Montgomery Township where I live.

Aunt Chubby’s —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (38.8 mm, 0.000 sec at f/4.0, ISO800), © Khürt L. Williams

The staff and management were friendly and willing to give me an abbreviate history of Aunt Chubby’s. I was introduced to several local business owners, all of whom had a story to tell about Chubby’s Luncheonette, the name that was used when the current owner’s aunt ran the place. I don’t remember the old Chubby’s, but from talking with several patrons, it seems a lot of work has been put into restoring the bright and straightforward interior while keeping some of the charming features of the old restaurant. The vibe reminded me of when I lived on the island of Bequia, where everyone knows your name and neighbours look out for each other.

Aunt Chubby’s —FujiFilm X-T2 + SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 @ (50 mm, 0.010 sec at f/5.6, ISO2000), © Khürt L. Williams

On my first visit, I sat at the counter and ordered the “Cheesy Grits and Greens” with an egg on top and a few slices of bacon. It was delicious and was my instant favourite. I could tell that quality ingredients were used to make the food. The menu offers updated modern versions of luncheonette classics. The service was very attentive. Many of the ingredients on the menu were sourced locally with the eggs and meat coming from sustainable sources.

  • Eggs: Joe Grinbaum, Ringoes, NJ
  • Pork: Greenflash Farm, Skillman, NJ
  • Beef: Bridgepoint Run Farm, Montgomery, NJ
  • Bacon: John F. Martin & Sons, Stevens
Aunt Chubby’s Cheesy Grits and Greens —FujiFilm X-T2 + SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 @ (50 mm, 0.010 sec at f/5.6, ISO5000), © Khürt L. Williams
Aunt Chubby’s Classic BLT —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (38.8 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO200), © Khürt L. Williams
Aunt Chubby’s Grilled Cheese with Gruyere and Fries —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (38.8 mm, 0.002 sec at f/5.6, ISO200), © Khürt L. Williams

For subsequent visits with my family, we sat at one of the tables near a well-lit window. I love the way the light streams in. After I raved about my experience on my first visit, Bhavna and Kiran agreed to have a late brunch with me at Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette. The welcome was just as warm and friendly as the first time I visited. I had a cappuccino and a grilled cheese sandwich. Kiran had a BLT sandwich. Bhavna had a cheese omelette wrap. I loved my food.

Aunt Chubby’s —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, 0.017 sec at f/8.0, ISO800), © Khürt L. Williams
Aunt Chubby’s —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (16 mm, 0.013 sec at f/8.0, ISO800), © Khürt L. Williams

We ate, drank a few cappuccinos, and hung out for a while. I felt comfortable. Like I had been coming here for ages.

We will be back.

Aunt Chubby’s —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (33.2 mm, 0.002 sec at f/4.0, ISO800), © Khürt L. Williams
Aunt Chubby’s Pastries —FujiFilm X-T2 + SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 @ (50 mm, 0.010 sec at f/5.6, ISO1000), © Khürt L. Williams
Aunt Chubby’s —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (31.1 mm, 0.003 sec at f/4.0, ISO800), © Khürt L. Williams