It was a busy summer and autumn, both personally and professionally, so I suspended my coffee blogging -- but not my coffee drinking. The best bean by far was the (expensive) Honduras Cup of Excellence Lot #4 from Fernández Farm in El Cielito, Santa Bárbara, Honduras, as roasted by Cafe Grumpy. (It's still available: I picked up some today.) The tasting notes: "Red currant aroma. Floral brightness. Sweet notes of aged bourbon & molasses." The Cup of Excellence rewards barista skill, of course, but you have to start with a good bean, and this far exceeded my expectations. I was parceling out beans like bits of gold on mornings with important business. I also returned to a couple of standbys -- Grumpy's Heartbreaker espresso, always right on the money, and the house espresso at Joe the Art of Coffee. In my office, I used the Aeropress to make cups of another Honduran bean, Finca La Tina from Joe, with good results.

I have noticed a few new coffee shops opening their doors around Manhattan, so I hope to try a few new places. Alas, B. Koffie, home of the French press in a cup, closed its doors a while back, so Hell's Kitchen again lacks a boutique coffee experience. (The beans came from La Columbe.)