I’m a guy who enjoy coffee. I’m a guy who used to work in coffee. I’m a guy who works hard at labors of love, though the labor changes periodically. I’m a guy who loves to write.

I started this site back in 2011 with the intention of sharing knowledge about techniques, shops and the industry with my friends. It has now become something much more. I’ve been a professional barista on and off for about three years and a long-time enthusiast. I have since formally left coffee as an occupation. Yet for whatever reason, my academic and business worlds keep leading me back to coffee.

It’s a good problem to have. This website is a writer and novice critic’s creative space. I don’t claim to be an expert but I am passionate about my work. I do my research and engage critically with ideas and concepts. I am a bit sardonic since I have been on both sides of the veil and involved at all levels of the industry. Experience shapes my insight. I am not influenced by any sort of endorsement.

I want to share my love of coffee with you without the jargon, attitude, or snobriety. Coffee knowledge should be imparted and accessible to everyone, not just those in the coffee world. This isn’t a place for egos,  I am motivated by positive support, critical discussions, and those reflexive enough to talk about the business and process off coffee production while keeping it in perspectives.

When I write a review, I generally don’t notify a shop beforehand. I go in and have an experience as a normal customer. Reviews should be candid. I take several factors into consideration: the store’s stated mission, atmosphere, design and aesthetics, the sourced or roasted beans, the baristas’ methods, taste (controlled by always using cappuccinos as a standard), and the overall experience of from door to bar to seat. I give bonus points for creativity and paradigm shifting ideas. Most importantly, I judge stores and staff on the sum of how all these different factors convey a unique message about the love of coffee. 

When it comes to equipment, I only review machines and brewing apparatuses I either own or have used pretty extensively in a shop setting. I always write trying to keep both professional and novice perspectives in mind.

As I continue to learn and grow, I hope together we can all come to appreciate a range of perspectives, experiences, and approaches to the world of coffee.

ようこそ、皆さん. この旅を出発しましょう。

~ James Ong (完璧コーヒー飲み物を捜す人)


Coffee Credentials:

Coffee by Kofi, Los Angeles, CA

  • Guest Barista, 2015

Panama Bay Coffee Company, Livermore, CA

  • Barista, 2009-2010
  • Coffee consultant, 2012
  • Training consultant, 2015

Lulu Carpenter’s Roasting Company, Santa Cruz, CA

  • Barista, 2011-2012
Companion Bake Shop, Santa Cruz, CA
  • Barista and Assistant Trainer, 2012

Awards and acknowledgements

  • First Annual Panama Red Barista Jam, 2012: Overall winner
  • Ong’s Blend: Personalized espresso blend roasted by Lulu Carpenter’s, limited-batch



Like what you see? Have some constructive criticism? Wanna chat more in-depth? Want us to visit your shop? Let us know!


Contributing Authors:

profile 1

~Kyle Abbot (coffee enthusiast, writer, Shamisen master)
Hey everyone! I’m Kyle Abbott. I just got into the coffee world about two years ago, and with the recent purchase of a Mazzer Mini, have just started my journey to being a . . . Journeyman Barista. As I pursue this art, observations and ideas come to mind, and my awesome friend James has invited me to write about them here. Many thanks to James, and I hope you will indulge in my ramblings as I strive for my ultimate goal: The God Shot. (‘cause frankly, that’s as close to heaven as I’m probably ever going to get). Keep up the twang!


All reviews and articles are the expressed opinions of the authors only. We work hard to research subjects before we publish. We don’t get paid to do these reviews and vice versa, we don’t pay to advertise.

We do our best to keep the site updated. Unfortunately, shops close or change hours/locations without warning. Please contact the store directly before your visit. We cannot guarantee a shop will be open or your experience will be like ours.

No offense intended. Our goal is to share the love. Please contact us if you would like us to remove content about you or your site.

All photos, articles, and intellectual material are property of the site editors and should NOT be used or reproduced in anyway without expressed permission.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Hein says:

    Thanks for the great Mistral piece. Next time you’re at Four Barrel in San Francisco, give me a shout-out and I’ll pull you a shot on ours!


    1. Will do Hein! I plan on coming up this Sunday! Can’t wait to review you guys


    2. Is that a formal invitation? Because you guys would be the first to invite!


  2. Vasilli says:

    Hi guys. Great Mistral review. considering ordering a 2 group. can you increase the pre infusing on the Mistral or is it fixed?


    1. Dear Vasili,

      Great choice on the Mistral. You can adjust the preinfusion time, but unlike the Strada or Synesso machines, it must be done so mechanically and inside the machine. It is a bit of a pain and should be done with the help of a tech. The newer machines are adjusted digitally and have a friendlier user interface. That being said, if it were up to me, I would go for a newer Synesso or La Marzocco model. Mistrals are wonderful machines but they are subject to “Moore’s law” at this point. Thanks for the review! If you wanna chat more, send me an email.



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