Adam likes coffee, maybe a little too much. Chrissi, not as much.
Join the weekly conversation as they check out all the shops around town. Whether you enjoy the occasional sip or need a constant I.V. drip of that brown bitter bean water, we’ll let you in on which places have the best brews in town.
And no, decaf will NOT be entertained. Ever.
Goodkind Coffee; 15526 Madison Avenue
Goodkind opened on Madison Avenue in Lakewood as recent as last year. While the area, let alone the street, has its fair share of bean houses already, Goodkind strives to set itself apart from the competition with a flair for aesthetic, but does their coffee keep up? Chrissi and I went to find out. For those playing at home, today’s coffees were paired with the High Llamas, Skywave, and Fred Schneider’s Shake Society.
THE HOUSE COFFEE
Adam: “This is not great. It’s far from boring, flat restaurant coffee. It’s got its own fingerprint, I guess, but not a very good one. This is incredibly bitter. Whether taken black, with cream, sugar; there’s no coming back for this one, I’m afraid.”
Chrissi: “Is this supposed to be the flavor? Like the kind of bean or the way they roasted it?”
Adam: “If you’re being generous. The more than likely case, it’s just not a good cup of coffee. It’s sharp, acidic, but not vibrant. It isn’t robust, which, if you’re going to have characteristics of a dark roast you need to have the body to match. This just isn’t there.
(coming back to the coffee after it cools)
“Some coffees you can come back to even after they cool and enjoy it, this is not one of them. This goes from not good to very bad.”
C: “Oh… That is not coffee. This is something else. What happened?”
A: “Yeah, that is bad. It’s like battery acid. Not that I’ve ever tried battery acid.”
THE SPECIALTY (Latte, ‘Nilla Cortado)
A: “The latte isn’t weak, as in watered down, I just feel like this is too milky. They made it perfectly with the ingredients they had, it’s just a mild latte is all. It’s the Big Bang Theory of espresso drinks; just very safe, pedestrian, and inoffensive.”
C: “It’s definitely not going to bowl you over. I could handle it though, but I don’t like bitter stuff at all.”
A: “If you blindfolded me and just told me this was a glass of warm milk I don’t think I could tell the difference. I would be disappointed if I got this to start my day with.”
C: “Yeah, but do you really get lattes to start your day?”
C: “So for a midday, kind of waiting out the rain drink, I think it fits the bill. Something kind of subtle and easy to drink on an empty stomach.
“–I’m really impressed with this cortado. This is definitely the drink I’d have as the signature of the place. It’s sweet but not loaded with a bunch of milk to cut the espresso. It’s got just a bit more steamed milk than a macchiato, but still, you can really taste the espresso and appreciate it, even if you typically don’t like strong stuff like me.”
A: “They really blew me away with the cortado. I wouldn’t figure to pair citrus with espresso, but they really work. They zest the lemon peel right into it and the vanilla syrup isn’t overly present or sugary. They went full on artisan with this, this is next level stuff. I want more.”
A: “They try to tie the place together with this rustic Americana vibe. A lot of exposed thick cut timber rafters and accents that don’t serve load-bearing purposes. Black and white photos of old cars and skyscraper skeletons. The place reminded of a hipster barbershop, everything is a little too ‘artisenal’. I suppose there could be worse things, but I wasn’t feeling the setup as far as sitting down and getting some work done. The few tables are lined up along the wall parallel with the nearby line at the counter giving a very exposed atmosphere. There’s something to be said about the insulating appeal of a coffee shop that was lacking here.
“So, this was probably incidental, but the stir spoons were a little dirty. Not filthy or anything, but someone must have put a used one in with the clean ones and then the coffee and cream dried on them. When I used mine it got a bunch of floaters in my coffee.”
C: “Maybe that’s why our coffee tasted off?”
A: “Would make sense, but still, it is a bummer. It’s better that they use spoons rather than those disposable stir sticks, but that’s the risk you run. Not the biggest deal in the world, but it’s surely something that needs to be kept up on. But I’d underscore that the place, as a whole, was one of the cleaner looking places I’ve been to, spoons aside.”
THE EATS (Lemon and Thyme Scone)
A: “Rich and buttery. The thyme makes it really savory and the freshly shaved lemon peel is bright and zesty without either trait overpowering the other. It’s as fresh as can be, there’s simply no arguing that. I like my scones with a bit firmer consistency but the freshness is more than a fair trade. It’s not crumbly or anything, I guess I like mine just a bit more drier.”
C: “This is exactly right. It’s not too sweet. The bread is moist but not doughy. It was the perfect pairing with the cortado, which also had fresh lemon zest in it.”
A: “The $1 lemon squares should be tried as well. That’s a hell of a value. It’s not something that would fill you up but it still packs an amazing punch.”
A: “They know how to make a signature drink, that’s for sure. If they were bartenders they’d probably ask that you call them ‘mixologists’, but maybe I’m projecting. They weren’t the warmest or most engaging baristas we’ve come across.”
C: “They weren’t mean or anything. They seemed nice.”
A: “Sure, nice. Professionals who know their trade, for real. But not the place where you chew the fat with them for a while. I guess that speaks to not having to wait in line. They get your order and get you going without rushing or anything and that’s important, but at the same time I just didn’t get a very homey vibe from the place.”
C: “Not everyone wants that with their morning coffee, though. Since when do you like talking to strangers, especially in the morning?”
A: “Hmm, you’re making me reconsider my social interplay.”
A: “Two specialty drinks and a house coffee along with a really good scone for just over thirteen bucks is a pretty good deal. Right on par with the rest of the neighborhood prices. If anything, for the skill and perfection that goes into their more specific drinks like the cortado, thirteen is a bit of a steal, all things considered.
“If anything, I would have felt a little cheated if I just got the latte alone with as little espresso there was in it versus the milk. Then again, dairy ain’t free either.”
THE ALBUMS: (Skywave, Killerrockandroll; The High Llamas, Can Cladders; Fred Schneider and the Shake Society)
A: “I included [Fred Schneider and the Shake Society] just because the sheer amount of cocaine necessary for an album like to be created is stunning. Imagine having to cut a side project because the B-52s are too conventional for your tastes. This seems like a lateral move.”
C: “It came out in the midst of the B-52s, so its not like they had a falling out or whatever. This is an album that is nice to explore but I wouldn’t ever need to hear it ever again.”
A: “The track “Monster” is fun and has some spooky riffs but, yeah, yikes.
“–I guess High Llamas [Can Cladder] is perfect ‘coffee shop’ rock, but that doesn’t mean it is any good. I’m not really feeling this, a little too bright and shiny. It’s like Belle and Sebastian chamber rock, but even softer? If that’s possible.”
C: “I’ve actually had this album for a while and never once listened to it. It was one of those curbside garbage rescues. It’d be nice if you were sweeping or doing dishes. Wait, what is chamber rock? Did you just make that up?”
A: “…Maybe? I don’t think I did, but at the same time… maybe?
“–If you could get as far away from High Llamas as possible, your Skywave album [Killerrockandroll] would be the pick. I am really digging this. It’s shoegaze sure, but it’s harder, heavier. Bootgaze? The baseline is still too groovy and danceable for most shoegaze. It’s got elements of 90s Brit-rock in there, like Blur and Stone Roses.”
C: “They were one of my favorite bands for a while. They’ve got a Jesus and Mary Chain sound to them, far away vocals and nasty garage noise, recorded in a tin can. Their first album, which was mid-nineties, is a bit more playful and they got more aggressive over the years. This compilation is a good overview for the band though. You typically don’t want to start with a greatest hits album, but you really can’t argue these tracks.”
OVERVIEW: Goodkind is not the kind of coffee shop I’d chose for a daily routine of morning coffee. Their drip coffee’s sour taste and the impersonality of the shop ran me off. However, this is exactly the kind of shop you should choose if you want to impress business colleagues or first dates with one of Goodkind’s signature drinks the like the ‘nilla cortado, which, are singularly unique to Goodkind, thanks to the skilled baristas behind the counter and the attention to detail that goes into their more specific drinks.