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No Nuts

February 28, 2019

Snow delays and Mondays always get me down.

It’s the end of February and winter is still putting up a fight. Good on you, winter. We’re in Upstate New York, dammit. It’s supposed to be frigid, snowy, and hostile to human life. This is where we’ve chosen to call home, and fortunately we have developed lots of coping mechanisms to deal with this choice.

One of them is the delicious fatty, carb-loaded foods. And another is the warm and welcoming taverns in which to enjoy them. So tonight feels like the perfect time to head to The Excelsior Pub for their version of the Nick Tahou Garbage Plate. This will be my first one ever, so I’m looking forward to reporting back on that next week.

Tomorrow’s post will be about cocktails, and today we’re going to be covering the other thing that gets me through my days in this arctic tundra: coffee!

Great coffee is like great bread.

It requires the access to super high quality ingredients, proper tools, and the skill to put them all together. Yes, there are some people who can do this at home, and I salute each and every one of them. But for me, I choose to let the experts do the heavy lifting. So when I want a really great cup of coffee, I head over to one of the better coffee shops we now have in the area.

For those who don’t know, my short list includes Stacks, Superior Merchandise, Kru, little pecks, 3fish, and Brewtus Roasting. But there are more places opening all the time, and other shops are stepping up their game. It’s very possible I missed one or two. Feel free to shout out your faves in the comments.

At home, the coffee I drink the most is a classic diner staple. It’s decidedly unfussy. There are no terms like “Full City” to describe the roast. There is no talk about the farms or farmers who grew the beans. There is no mention of where in the world the coffee came from. Gone is even the distinction between arabica or robusta. Actually, that last one is a little surprising. Perhaps it’s a newer development.

The one thing that’s touted, larger than anything else on the label, is “No Nuts”.

That’s right. Chock full o’Nuts is the Fussy coffee of choice. That said, there is something I do to the beans to make it taste good: cold brew. Recently, I had to chuckle when I saw the brewing directions on the can. They suggest to use a tablespoon of coffee in six ounces of water.

Me? I make a quart of cold brew concentrate using a little over ten ounces of coffee at a time.

Doing a little back of the napkin math, that’s approximately fifty tablespoons of coffee to get thirty-six ounces of coffee concentrate. To be fair, I dilute that with about two parts water, to one part concentrate. So in the end, I get over a hundred ounces of brewed coffee. If you were following the instructions on the can, the same quantity of grounds would get you three hundred ounces of hot brewed coffee.

So it may be a little nuts, but the cold brew method does a remarkable job at mitigating some of the flaws of everyday coffee.

It is amazing that this almost one hundred year old brand has to tell consumers that their coffee is coffee and doesn’t contain any nuts. But this is what happens I suppose as brands age, tastes change, and new consumers come into the marketplace. People in their twenties, and probably in their thirties, have no memory of how iconic Chock full ‘o Nuts was in the coffee landscape in a world before Starbucks.

Still, when walking into a diner, and seeing a stash of the bright yellow and black cans, I know I’m in for a blast from the past. And that’s okay in the right context. I’m never going to choose a hot cup of this stuff when there are better options, but it’s still the coffee I drink most of all. And since I brew it in such an inefficient way, my recycling bin is a chock-a-block with empty cans.

A hundred ounces of cold brew coffee goes down much faster than one might think.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Kevin Naylor permalink
    February 28, 2019 1:35 pm

    Just an FYI, its Trivia Night tonight there so it will be full. That can be a positive or a negative – but just wanted to let you know.

    • February 28, 2019 1:37 pm

      Yep. We’ve pushed the start time closer to 6p, and maybe some of the Yelp crew will even field a trivia team. Will you be there?

  2. Maggie permalink
    February 28, 2019 4:12 pm

    For some reason I stopped brewing CFON some years back, can’t remember why. Thanks to this post, I think I’ll give it a whirl for my cold brew addiction.

  3. Marco permalink
    March 1, 2019 10:19 am

    You can add Graham’s Coffee Parlor opening in April to your list. The owner helped start Little Pecks when it first opened.

  4. Mark Romano permalink
    March 1, 2019 10:24 am

    Forgot to say that Brewtus Roasting is within walking distance from where I am typing this. Excellent coffee and ambiance. Steve Pivonka is a great host and roaster!

  5. HokieMom permalink
    March 1, 2019 1:59 pm

    it’s the heavenly coffee ♪♪♪♫


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