* * * *

 * * * *


Click here 
to visit Cleo's Facebook Page. If you read her books, she will be delighted to accept your friend request. See you there!










 For Clare Cosi, 
the holidays 
are murder...

Holiday Buzz


Now a Top-10 
NY Times 


 Buy at Amazon by
clicking here
Description: http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwcoffeehous-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0425255352


Buy at B&N by
for book


Buy at BAM by
clicking here.


Buy at IndieBound by
clicking here


 To find an 
near you, 






Book Trailer





Click here to learn about Cleo's Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, written under the name Alice Kimberly







For a free checklist of the Coffeehouse Mystery books in order click here.





To read Cleo's
essay "Brewing
up Murder"


 The essay
appeared in
the Quarterly
Issue of Mystery
Readers Journal  



To read
Cleo Coyle's
WIki Entry
Click Here



Cleo Coyle

Click here
to read it.




The Crime

Click Here 
to read it.








 What is a
cozy mystery?
The Cozy
List tells you

click here





Cleo Here





is the "most popular
coffee publication
on the planet."

Read Cleo's 
interview with
Sprudge by

Clicking here.






Hosted a chat
with Cleo.


Read it by...





 To read my
guest post
at Fresh Fiction.com
and get 4 of my
holiday recipes,





Read Cleo's
Guest Post at
Mystery Writing
Is Murder

"Genre Blending
and Your Character's
Love Life"

Click here to read.





Cozy Murder
Mysteries Blog

Part 1
click here

Part 2
click here





Fun Foodie
Book Resort
with Cleo









How to Clean
Your Drip
Coffee Maker...

Your best tasting
cup of java will
come from a clean
coffee maker!


Just for fun, see actor
Al Pacino's coffee
commercial below.
It was shot in New
York's West Village,
the home of
my Clare Cosi's
Village Blend!







Click »  NYPD: Official Website for New York's Finest

Click »  NY Crime File (Daily News)

Click »  Police Blotter (NY Post)



 How to Make
Cuban Coffee



For more
info on the
Moka Express
stovetop pot
used in the
above video,

Click Here







 Click the logo
to learn more
Sisters in Crime











 *Starred Review*
~Library Journal



 Read an

Introduced by
the author!

Without lots
of exclams!!!






Click Here








How to Make
Coffee in a
French Press


For more
info on the
French Press pot
click the photo

For more coffee
tips, scroll down
this left column...






Cleo's Past 
Coffee Pick was...

Kafe Lespwa
"Coffee of Hope"
from Haiti

Cleo's archives or

click here to
visit Just Haiti.org


See more of
Cleo's past
coffee picks
by scrolling
down the 

right column.









Cleo's TOP-9
Bestseller in

now a

bestseller in


“Fun and gripping…”
~ Huffington Post


 "Some of the most
vibrant characters
I've ever read."
~ Mystery Scene

"This one will keep
your cup
piping hot."
~ Kirkus







To order this very special entry in Cleo's series, click on one of the links below:






 To find an
near you,




Looking for Cleo's bonus recipes? Sign up for her free newsletter so you don't miss them when she updates her Recipe Page: click here to visit...




Affiliate Links

Cleo Coyle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
































































































Featured Blend Archives

September 1, 2011

Coffee Origins by Cleo Coyle


O  R  I  G  I  N  S


In the movie Sideways, when one of the characters opens a bottle of wine, she finds herself considering the origins of that bottle—where the grapes were grown, who harvested them, what the weather was like on the day they were picked. Was the sun shining? Was it raining? 

     Here's the thing...I like to approach my coffee-drinking the same way. I marvel at how the beans can arrive at my doorstep from half a world away; how they can be grown by people of vastly different cultures, speaking different languages, living a completely different way of life.

     When I learn about the coffee beans, I also learn about the people who grew them, about their world, about the care they took to cultivate the coffee I drink.

     Scroll up the right column of this Home Page to read about my past "Coffee Picks" or click on links in my archives below... 


Click here to learn
more about this quirky,
award-winning film.
(Not for everyone,
but I loved it!)











 You can read more

about Cleo's previous

Coffee Picks

by clicking on the articles

archived below...



September 1, 2011


September 1, 2011



If you are new to CoffeehouseMystery.com, Welcome!
Scroll down to read Cleo Coyle's archived article about the birth of Modern Coffeehouse Culture. The articles that follow will tell you more about Cleo's past Coffee Picks, including Major Dickason's Blend...


(This article was originally posted December 2007)




Why Cleo Loves Alfred


Alfred Peet and the birth
of modern
coffeehouse culture


    So who was Alfred Peet? And why should you care? Well, if you’ve ever strolled into a Starbucks or walked into a small coffeehouse and bought a freshly-roasted batch of coffee from an exotic land, then you owe a great big thank you to Mr. Alfred Peet.

     As Howard Schultz, the chairman and CEO of Starbucks, will tell you: Alfred Peet is the reason Starbucks even exists in the first place.

     It all started with Alfred’s upbringing. He grew up in Holland, the son of an Amsterdam coffee trader. When his father came home with bags of coffee from Indonesia, East Africa, and the Caribbean, his mother would make three pots at a time, using different blends, and then pronounce her opinions.

     As a teenager, Alfred worked as a trainee at one of Amsterdam’s large coffee importers. In the years that followed, he became a tea trader. Not only did he begin traveling to estates in Java and Sumatra, he also began to train his palate. Soon he could detect subtle differences in coffees and teas from different countries and regions.


    In 1955, Alfred Peet moved to the United States. He was shocked at what he found. Here he was in the world’s richest country, the undisputed leader of the Western world, yet its coffee was dreadful.

     Most of the coffee Americans drank was robusta, the inferior type that the coffee traders of London and Amsterdam treated as a cheap commodity. Very little of the fine Arabica coffees ever got to North America, most went to Europe, where (at that time) tastes were more discriminating.

     Starting in San Francisco in the 1950s, Alfred Peet began importing Arabica coffee into the states. But there was not much demand, for a few Americans had ever heard of it.

     So in 1966, he opened a small store, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, on Vine Street in Berkley.

     Peet even imported his own roaster, because he believed American companies didn’t know how to roast small batches of fine Arabica coffee.

     What made Alfred Peet unique was that he roasted coffee dark, the European way, which he believed was necessary to bring out the full flavors of the beans he imported. He always analyzed each bag of beans and recommended a roast suited to that lot’s particular characteristics.

     Gradually, one by one, Alfred began educating his American customers about the fine distinctions in coffee. He sold whole bean coffee and taught his customers how to grind and brew it at home. He treated coffee like wine, appraising it in terms of origins and estates and years and harvests. He created his own blends, the mark of a true connoisseur.


     The next chapter in the birth of the modern coffeehouse culture begins when a customer of Peet's named Jerry Baldwin walked into Alfred Peet's San Francisco store (pictured right).

     Jerry was a student of literature and an English teacher, but he developed a passion for coffee by frequenting Alfred Peet’s store.

     Jerry moved out of California and up to Seattle, but he had no place to purchase quality beans so he began to order Peet’s coffee by mail from Berkley, but it was never enough. So he and his friends opened a coffee store of their own in Seattle. They called their store Starbucks, and bought and roasted fine coffee beans in the tradition of Alfred Peet.

     Starbucks was a local success. It caught the attention of a brilliant East Coast marketing man named Howard Schultz. Howard visited Jerry's Starbucks roastery and store and was immediately intrigued by their coffee business (which, of course, Jerry learned from Alfred Peet).

      Howard Schultz began to work for Jerry Baldwin at Starbucks, helping his business grow. Ultimately, Howard fell in love with the espresso bar culture he'd seen in Italy. He had a vision for Starbucks, wanting to expand it into a national and global franchise of coffee bars.

     Jerry didn't share this vision, so he sold Howard his Starbucks coffee company, and (in an ironic twist) when Alfred Peet retired, it was Jerry Baldwin who ended up buying Peet’s Coffee and Tea company.

      So remember...when you drink Peet’s coffee, you’re drinking from an original—the modern coffee revolution started with the late Alfred Peet and his company.

     And that's why Cleo loves Alfred...



Mr. Peet was born in Alkmaar, Holland on March 10, 1920 and died in Ashland, Oregon on August 29, 2007. 



Till next time,

—Cleo Coyle



Scroll down to the next article in this archive
to read about one of Cleo's favorite
coffee blends: Peet's Major Dickason's










 Cleo's Past Coffee Pick:

 Major Dickason's Blend

Every few months, I recommend one of my favorite coffees and give it away free to a random subscriber to my newsletter. My newest pick is Major Dickason’s Blend, an outstanding coffee that’s roasted and sold by Peet’s Coffee and Tea Company.

Major Dickason’s Blend produces a first-rate cuppa joe with an delightful flavor profile. It has the kind of full body found in many East Asian coffees, yet it has the bright acidity of an African bean with the distinctive, sultry notes of dark chocolate in the finish, similar to what you’d find in beans grown in the mountains of Yemen (an Arabian Sanani, for instance).

     As with many coffees, the Dickason’s Blend changes its profile as it cools, so it’s a wonderful cup to savor. I can’t imagine any coffee drinker not thoroughly enjoying this one!

     I also love the story of how it was created. The late Alfred Peet was friends with Key Dickason, a retired army officer and a regular customer of Peet’s original Berkeley, CA, store. Together, the two sampled combinations of coffees until they found this blend—so it’s a coffee created through friendship.

     To try this blend for yourself, just click here to go to Peet's signature blends page, scroll down to Major Dickason.






July 24, 2011


July 24, 2011

Cleo's Free Coffee Drawing Winners...




to Cleo's past
java winners!  

* Tina of Coker,  Alabama
* Linda of
* Lisa of
Franklin, Pennsylvania
* Wanda of
* Ellen of Eugene, Oregon
* Joy of Medford, Oregon
*Janet of Jacksonville, Florida 
* Tonya of Lafayette, Louisiana
Lisa of 
Ventura, California
* Kyla of 
Lake Charles, Louisiana 
* Georgie of Gig Harbor, Washinton 
* Ginger of  Schenectady, New York
* Susan of Princeton, Louisiana (near Shreveport)
Michele of Tampa, Florida
Melissa of Saint Peters, Missouri 

* Cindy of Emigsville, Pennsylvania
* Liz of
Lutz, Florida
* Janet of 
Lakewood, Colorado
* John of
, Minnesota
* Kai of Old Town, Maine
* Maureen of  Derry, New Hampshire 
* John of Oakdale, Minnesota  

 to Mary
of Manassas, Virgiandaaa

  **       * Kai of Old Town, Maine

 * Maureen of Derry, New Hampshire
  * Barbara of North Haverhill,  New Hampshire

   * Barb of Lake Zurich, Illinois 
* Linda of 
* Anne of
Huntington Station, Long Island, New York 
  * Michele of
Rio Rancho, New Mexico! 
   * Mary of Manassas, Virginia
* Carol of Hendersonville, Tennessee
  * Colette of Millstone Township, New Jersey 

* Gudron of Concord, California
* Holly of Wyomissing, PA
* Rowena of Indianapolis, Indiana
* Elise of Ringwood, New Jersey
* Victoria of Carson City, Nevada
* Susan of Randolph, Massachusetts
* Lawrence 
of Peoria, Illinois 
* Reva of Wenatchee, Washington
* Steffie of Phoenix, Arizona
* Janet from Baltimore,  Maryland
* Rita from Fargo, North Dakota
* Patricia from Freeland, Pennsylvania
*  JoAnn of Staten Island, New York

* Paula of Gary, Indiana
* Jill of Covington, Kentucky
* Caroline of  San Antonio, Texas
* Travis of Ortonville, Michigan
* Sandra of Delanson, New York
* Theresa of Antioch, Ilinois
* Cary of Hartford, Alabama
* Jill of Memphis, Tennessee
* Pattie of Cocoa, Florida
* Veronica of Elgin, South Carolina
* V.S. of Newton, New Jersey
*  Sharon of Mamaroneck, New York
* Terry of Memphis, Tennessee
 * Marbie of St. Louis, Missouri 
* Susie of Gibsonton, Florida
* Mary of Hendersonville, North Carolina
* Ann of Sioux Falls, South Dakota
* Nancy of West Des Moines, Iowa
* Suzette of Vadnais Heights, Minnesota
* Barbara of Memphis, Tennessee
* Janet of Powell, Ohio
* Paula of Akron, Ohio
* Ericka of Plano, Texas
* Michele of Horseheads, New York
* Eileen of Haverville, Massachusetts
* Lyn of Vanceburg, Kentucy
* Jan of Freeport, Michigan 
* Madonna of Blue Ridge, Virginia
* Carol of Coral Springs, Florida
Gwen of Sacramento, California
* Connie of Santa Clara, California
* Barbara of Reston,Virgina
* Nancy of Cape Coral, Florida
* Susan of Philadelphia, PA
* Karen of New Haven, Indiana
* Phil of Bronx, New York
* Barbara of Wyandotte, Michigan
* Gayle of Plantation, Florida
* Alexandra of Mercer Island, Washington
*Joe of Chantilly, Virginia
* Heather of Prince George, BC, Canada







October 30, 2010

SPRING 2011 COFFEE PICK: Cops Coffee



Cleo Coyle's
Spring 2011

Coffee Pick




Cops Coffee:
"Midnight Shift"
Dark Roast


Fly through the shadows in your
stealthy cruiser armed with a steamy
cup of Midnight Shift. Have no fear. This
dark roast is rich and smooth with the
perfect amount of smokiness...

"Your safest cup of brew..."

Click here
to learn more about
"Cops Coffee" and the Cops and Doughnuts
bakery in Clare, Michigan, owned and
run by real police officers.



To purchase Cops Coffee for
yourself, click here.


Drink with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle,
author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries




To enter Cleo's weekly 
coffee drawings, and all of
her future drawings, in which you can win
a free package of her latest Coffee Pick,
sign up for her free E-newsletter.


Simply send an e-mail that says
"Sign me up" to

Just Cleo's way of sharing some
excellent coffee finds with her readers
and site visitors.

Cheers & Good Luck!



October 30, 2010

SUMMER 2010 COFFEE PICK: Haiti's Kafe Lespwa







 "Coffee of Hope"
(in Haitian Creole


Grown by the subsistence coffee farmers in the mountains of Baradères, Haiti, (yes, Haiti, I'll bet you never tasted Haitian coffee before, have you?), this rich, darkly roasted, low-acid coffee is velvety smooth but  with a full-bodied mouthfeel. This is a sweet-smelling coffee with notes of chocolate, caramel, and (as it cools), hints of dried apricots. My husband and I never tire of brewing and savoring it and the best news of all, every package we buys helps the people of Haiti help themselves.



As most of you know, Haiti was hit by a catastrophic earthquake earlier this year, killing tens of thousands and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Although the coffee growers of Baradères are located about 100 miles from the epicenter of the quake (see map below), their chief concern is a flood of earthquake refugees who came to their region lacking adequate food, shelter and medical care.

Above map of Haiti shows the epicenter of the earthquake, near the country's capital city, Port-au-Prince. The mountains of Baradères are about 100 miles away. Read more at www.JustHaiti.org


The coffee growers of Baradères are contributing about one-third of the funds from profits they have earned (from sales to the US) to
a relief program in Haiti that will focus on households in their community that are sheltering additional people because of the quake. The program will provide food and medical assistance, grants to help repair homes, and primary school tuition for children displaced by the earthquake.



 Above photo of Haitian coffee growers loading bags
of green beans - www.JustHaiti.org

To help these growers help
the people of Haiti, you can purchase
Kafe Lespwa by clicking here.

I drink their whole bean, French Roast, which they call "regular" roast.
~ Cleo 

If you would like to learn more about "Just Haiti," the organization dedicated to helping these coffee farmers help themsleves,
visit the www.JustHaiti.org
website, where you can read press releases and view photos and video of their work.

    BTW - A 12-ounce package of Kafe Lespwa is going to be my featured Free Coffee Drawing prize every week, all summer and fall. If you haven't signed up yet for my weekly free coffee drawings, scroll down to the green text and learn how. It's free. Sign up once and you're entered in all of my weekly coffee drawings for the life of my web site.

Drink with joy,
~ Cleo Coyle (aka Alice Alfonsi)



Would you like to win a package of my latest coffee pick? Enter my next free coffee drawing (and all of my future weekly drawings) by signing up for my free, seasonal E-newsletter. Simply send an e-mail that says "Sign me up" to VillageBlend@aol.com and you will be entered automatically in Monday's drawing as well as all of my future drawings, just my way of sharing some excellent coffee finds with my readers and site visitors.

 Cheers and Good Luck!

~ Cleo (aka Alice)  




August 19, 2010


A Note from Cleo...

My latest Coffeehouse Mystery, Roast Mortem, is now available. The book has had some very nice reviews, including Publishers Weekly, which praised the book as a "tribute to New York City firefighters..."


Above photo of FDNY firefighters
taken in New York City (c) 2010 by Alice Alfonsi who
writes as Cleo Coyle with her husband, Marc Cerasini

Book review bloggers who are readers of my Coffeehouse Mystery series have posted reviews, as well. Just do a Google search for Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle...

My favorite quote is not from a book reviewer. It's from a book reviewer's father. Gary S. Downey served 40+ years as a fire chief in  South Carolina. After his daughter {Barbara Hightower of World of Book Reviews } read Roast Mortem, she gave it to him for an opinion and was shocked to find out that he had read it in one night. Chief Downey's verdict:


"That was the best story
about firemen I have ever read
and so real."

~ Chief Gary S. Downey, ret. 

Yep. My favorite review
quote by far.
(Barbara: Your Dad
has trumped you!)

 I greatly appreciate your comments on my message board and your wonerful e-mails and Facebook shout-outs, too. If you have not yet "friended" me on Facebook, I am there as Cleo Coyle. Click here
to visit my Facebook page.
Thank you so much for
your support and stopping by to
celebrate Roast Mortem's

release with me!

~ Cleo

August 19, 2010

COFFEE PICK FALL 2009 - Gimme! Coffee's Amaro Gayo


 Cleo's  Coffee Pick
from fall 2009 


 Gimme! Coffee's
Amaro Gayo


  To see my interview with Gimme Coffee's
CEO and founder, Kevin Cuddeback,
scroll down to the post after this one...


Hi there. Cleo Coyle here. I tasted a lot of coffee before selecting my latest Coffee Pick. I wanted to bring you something very different and exotic this fall, and I found it in the Ethiopian coffee Amaro Gayo

     I'd like to thank the person who highly recommended the roaster for this coffee, former college instructor (and Coffeehouse Mystery reader) Mary T. of  Appleton, Wisconsin.
     When I first went live with this site a few years ago, Mary contacted me with a helpful e-mail, pointing out some typos on the site. (She has since pointed out some typos in my books, as well, and I was most grateful.)
     None of us are perfect, but we can keep swinging with the help of constructive advice. I replied to Mary with a heartfelt thank you. From then on, Mary and I have had some fun, informative exchanges. Mary has sent me links, comments, and info on some of her favorite coffeehouses (see below!), and I've appreciated her valuable input. 


Mary T. (right) enjoying a delish cappuccino with
her sister Helen (left) at Mocha Moment in Janesville,
a gorgeous coffeehouse with an amazing location
in the Wisconsin woods. Click this link to read the inspiring
story of this beautiful coffee shop...

    Photos of the shop are by Cindy Dalton (c) and courtesty of
Mocha Moment's Web site. Click on photos to visit them online!


"I went to the woods."
~Henry David Thoreau

   Photos of the shop are by Cindy Dalton (c) and courtesty of
Mocha Moment's Web site. Click on photos to visit them online!

Well, Mother's Day of last year, Mary told me that she received a pound of coffee and a fun coffee cup from her daughter, Shelley, who discovered an excellent roaster that sells coffee online. The coffee Mary received was roasted by Gimme! Coffee. (See photo of Shelley's Mother's Day gift to Mary. Isn't that the greatest cup?!)
TO ME...
"I received a package of Gimme! Coffee (Las Mingas) and the great Gimme! cup from my daughter Shelley for Mother's Day this year. She found the Gimme! Coffee site online. Great coffee! (And I do love the cup!)...
Mary (left) and her daughter Shelley
are big fans of the Green Bay Packers!

"Go Pack!"
 "I am a retired college instructor, and I LOVE coffee and reading, especially the Coffeehouse Mysteries and the Haunted Bookshop series. I have two daughters, and two great sons in law, and a very special granddaughter, who just started her first year in high school, and also made the high school swim team!"
~Mary T.
Appleton, Wisconsin
So thank you to Mary T. for helping me find an outstanding roaster for this outstanding coffee!
~ Cleo Coyle
 To learn more about the Amaro Gayo coffee, roasted by Gimme Coffee,
or to purchase it for yourself,


See my interview with Gimme Coffee's
CEO and founder below...





Coffee Break


Gimme! Coffee's


Photo of Kevin courtesy of Gimme Coffee

 Kevin is the CEO of Gimme! Coffee, named by Food and Wine magazine as one of the top coffee bars in the country.


 To read Cleo's
exclusive interview,




 Scroll down to read more
about my fall 2009
Coffee PIck: Amaro Gayo...




Melissa of Austin,
Texas, was
one of my many winners of my
2009 Coffee Pick:
Amaro Gayo.

Below is her e-mail to me
and my reply...


Hi Cleo,

I am ecstatic to have won a free pound of coffee! Thank you! My three teenagers looked at me like I had two heads as I jumped around yelling "I won!  I won!  I won!" After about 10 seconds they did the traditional teen eye roll that means "Mom has lost it again" and then went back to doing their homework. My hubby, however, was excited as well. (He didn't jump and yell though, he is the mellow one.)

I look forward to curling up with a cup of Amaro Gayo java and one of your books! 
Thanks again,

Austin, Texas

P.S. I think my teens will take back their eye rolls when they smell my exotic coffee!


Cleo's reply
to Melissa below... 

Part of Cleo's reply...  

Hi Melissa

  Congrats! I am so happy that you're happy. (LOL on the teen eyeroll.) The coffee you have won is an exotic Ethiopian drop called Amaro Gayo. It is exported by the only female miller and exporter in the whole of Ethiopia (Asnakech Thomas, pictured left), and her coffee has a very unique flavor profile...

 In my 4th Coffeehouse Mystery Murder Most Frothy, I had Clare Cosi drinking a Ugandan coffee with notes of strawberry. It's taken me a long time to find one like it that I can share with my readers, but I finally found it: Amaro Gayo has the oddest hint of strawberry and the roasting makes it taste almost baked. To me it tastes like a strawberry donut! But of course it's also coffee so it's one very unique drinking experience.

(UPDATE - Note from Cleo: My original 2009 pick was a "dry processed" Amaro Gayo with notes of strawberry. At this time, it is sold out, but I have linked to the wet processed Amaro Gayo, which is available for purchase. The wet processed is still an amazing coffee, but it has different flavor notes than the dry processed Amaro Gayo. Keep watching the Gimme Coffee website for news of the dry processed being available again. To learn more about the difference between wet and dry processed coffee, read the Recipes and Tips section of my latest Coffeehouse Mystery, Roast Mortem.)  

This is one coffee that   proves premium coffee can have the complexity of fine wine...
As you can see I'm personally coffee crazy -- just like Clare Cosi?and filmmaker David Lynch. I know I'm in good company because Mr. Lynch actually sells his own brand of coffee on his Web site! LOL!


August 11, 2010

Coffee Maker Question and Cleo's Answer





I recently answered a Nebraskareader's question about drip coffeemakers. Her question and my answer are below. (You can visit my message board by clicking here.)   ~Cleo

 Dear Cleo,

I belong to a mystery book club and chose the first book,THE GHOST AND MRS MCCLURE, in the haunted bookshop series when it was my turn to introduce a new book and author. We all loved it! Everyone wants to now read the series along with the Village Blend books. We meet monthly on the first Monday, mid- morning for coffee and treats which brings me to my question.


I am in the market for a new coffee maker. I just want an everyday drip version. I have plenty of the 'fancy' types--french press, espresso, etc. and don't want to break the bank! Do you or any of your readers have any suggestions? Thanks for 2 great series and the help! 


~Pam in Nebraska






Hi, Pam,

Thank you for posting. I am very happy to hear that your book club is enjoying my books. Please wish them a Happy New Year from me!

    OK - Here is an answer to your question about drip coffeemakers...

     With the understanding that I am not officially endorsing any products and the understanding that no drip maker is perfect, here is what I can tell you..

    We buy economical drip coffeemakers in our house--because my husband and I are writers and not investment bankers, LOL :). FYI - this is why Clare's "democratization of luxury" philosophy is a lot like ours. Murder Most Frothy and French Pressed are the books in which she speaks about this the most: When folks can't afford a $5,000 trip to the South of France, they take a $5.00 trip to a cozy coffeehouse to enjoy an excellent coffee drink. And that's what the coffeehouse experience is really all about: an oasis in the middle of a hectic day; a place to relax and rejuvenate for people who cannot afford the time and money for a full body massage at a day spa!

     Okay, so the brands we use (at the moment) to make our drip coffee are Cuisinart and DeLonghi. Both coffeemakers sit side by side on our counter. The Cuisinart (12-cup, model DCC-1200 series) is for larger pots. This pot has an automatic turn off, a good and safe feature. It also beeps you when the coffee is ready and when the burner is about to turn itself off. We also use a DeLonghi (Twenty Four Seven model). This is a 4-cup maker for very small pots. This model does NOT have an automatic turn off so you have to remember to turn it off yourself. But it's great for a small pot of joe.

     Just like you, we have other methods of making coffee: French press, Moka express pot, but you were asking about drip.

    We have also used Braun and Krups brands in the past and were happy with both of them. We don't think the expense of a thermal pot or grind-and-brew combo is worth it for us. We like to grind our coffee separately with a burr grinder. A burr grinder, by the way, (and not a blade grinder) is the very best way to grind whole bean coffee. Whole bean is the only kind we make because after coffee is ground in rapidly loses its flavor and aroma.

     Anyway, what concerns us most when we shop for a drip coffeemaker is the SHAPE of the filter. A CONE filter is a more economical way to make premium coffees and that's what we use. Flat-bottomed filters do not concentrate the flavor as well and you end up using more coffee to get the same strength as you'd get with a cone filter. Pot after pot, using more coffee adds up, so a cone filter is more economical. Both our Cuisinart and DeLonghi brand drip makers have cone-shaped filters. 

     You can also look into "pour-over" methods for economical drip coffee making. This is when you heat the water yourself, then pour it over a cone-shaped filter and the coffee drips down into the carafe. Two popular pour-over brands are Mellita and ChemEx.

    You can always check out the Consumer Reports run down of drip coffeemakers. Here is a link for you if you're interested...

 Consumer Reports often gives ratings on coffeemakers.
to read their general buying guide,
which will give you an overview on the brands and types
of features on today's coffeemakers.

NOTE: Consumer Report ratings are for subscribers only,
but their very informative general buying guide is
freely posted on the Web. 

Thank you so much for posting, Pam, and especially for reading my books. Java joy to you and your Mystery Book Club in beautiful Nebraska!



July 12, 2010

Cleo's Coffee Break with Coffeehouse Mystery Readers...

Coffee Break with
Coffeehouse Mystery Readers....





 A short time ago, I received this e-mail from a CM reader...

 Cleo: Love your books and the recipes! Thank you for providing such great entertainment?I can almost smell the brewing coffee way up north in Maine!

Loyal fan,
Joanna Ellis

 I was so intrigued by the mooseheadquilters Web address that I wrote back, asking about her quilting, which is a worldwide, historical folk art traditionally practiced by women. Happily Joanna wrote back...


Hi Cleo,

I am attaching a photo that my daughter took of me this morning while I posed by one of my recent quilts, Mexican Star. This is my interpretation of a design by Annette Ornelas. As you can see, I have just had another cuppa joe and am rarin' to go! 


 Joanna Ellis (above) posing before one of her many quilts. Joanna, a lover of coffee and an enthusiastic reader of Cleo's Coffeehouse Mysteries, is the founder of Moosehead Quilters of Maine. To see their Blocks and Patterns page, click here!   

 P.S. I am a breast cancer survivor (over 2-1/2 years now, but who is counting?!!) and escape into your coffeehouse, put my feet up and read the mysteries. I'll even admit to re-reading them after a few months! My thrill of the summer, aside from visits from children and grandkids, has been the transformation of my long held Apple stock into a new John Cooper Works Mini. What a blast to drive! This former SCCA racer sure enjoys the 6-speed manual, turbo-charged, 208 HP, little car. Of course, I obey speed limits and drive defensively ... most of the time!

 Life is full of fun
if you only
follow your dreams and persist!

~Joanna Ellis



To read my full "COFFEE BREAK WITH JOANNA ELLIS" post and learn more about the Moosehead Quilters of Maine, including info on how to attend their workshops and classes, click here and read the post in my article archives. To visit the Moosehead Quilters virtual home, click here.

Till next time,
~Cleo Coyle



Coffee Break with
Coffeehouse Mystery Readers....





Shirley Jackson, 78 years young and
Queen Mother of the Totally Eccentric,

Adventurous Red Hatters of Vienna, Virginia!


A short time ago, I received an intriguing e-mail in my VillageBlend@aol.com box, which said: "I can not put these books down and am sharing with all my Red Hat ladies and we just love them . . .  After reading your Coffeehouse books, the ladies comment on how much they've learned about coffee and are out there tasting all kinds . . . please keep writing. Faster and Faster.  ?Shirley Jackson, Queen Mother."

      I'm thrilled to have Shirley and her Red Hatters reading my books. Although I'm not old enough to be a "Red" Hatter (I'm under 50, so I'd be a "Pink" hatter! LOL!), Shirley's amazing energy, creative spirit, and zest for living have already made her my role model!


To read my full profile on
"Queen" Shirley and learn more about her
Red Hatt Socity, visit my article archives by
clicking here.


 Till next time
 ~ Cleo Coyle





Coffee Break with
Coffeehouse Mystery Readers....



Bruce Porter's
Java Art


 "I love drawing what I call
Java Art," Bruce told me.

"I call this one French Roast'."

  Artwork courtesy of Bruce Porter.
Click here
to visit his blog/website

and see more of his work.

 To read my archived
article on Bruce,

 Archived articles take a minute to load.
Please be patient.


July 11, 2010







Below are some fun posts
and e-mails that I've received

from readers...

~ Cleo Coyle




Posted by: Cierra Derrico, Georgia


Hi Cleo, I love your books they are wonderful. I couldn't find that right mystery book until I first read Latte Trouble, then I started reading the other novles of the coffehouse books and I was hooked! You are a very talented writer and you really have a 9th grader (me) reading much more than I used to. Thanks for the very very interesting mystery books because I can just sip on some coffee, relax and read your books Thanks Cleo!!!

 ~ Cierra Derrico,
Clayton County, GA

Cleo's reply: Hi, Cierra! Thank you for stopping by my "virtual" coffeehouse. And thank you especially for reading my books. I am thrilled to hear that you enjoy them, and I'm absolutely delighted to hear that you're in 9th grade.

When I was your age, I discovered some of my favorite authors, many of whom I continue to read today. I can only hope you will continue reading me for years to come, too!

I see that you're from the beautiful state of Georgia! I had the greatest time in your state when I visited Atlanta to attend "DragonCon" - that's a wonderful convention for fans of science fiction, fantasy, comics, and pop culture, among other things (all of which I love). So, in that spirit, I've "virtually baked" you a Georgia peach pie!

This is actually a Maple Cappuccino Peach Pie, if you can believe it. There's a site on the Internet that sells a Maple Cappuccino SAUCE and this recipe uses it to create a peach pie with some very interesting flavors. Click here for the recipe or to find out how to get the sauce.

Thanks again, Cierra, for taking the time and trouble to stop by and post. Keep reading and I'll keep writing!

 Java joy to you,
~ Cleo






 REPOST: FROM E-MAIL TO VillageBlend@aol.com...

SUBJECT: Java.net Coffee and Gifts in Houston, MO



Staff of...

Java.net Books and Gifts
418 N. Franklin

Cuba, Missouri

Cleo, I read about the coffeehouse in Houston, MO, and wanted to let you know there is another new coffeehouse in rural Missouri. Jave.net uses Kaldi's coffee, which is roasted in St. Louis. Java.net baristas prepare a full line of specialty coffee drinks.

     The coffeehouse has computers and WiFi for customers, and sells new and used books. The operation is housed in a rehabbed 1930s Coca-Cola Warehouse. It has already become a social gathering spot. You will be glad to know that the shop's first book club meeting is discussing your book On What Grounds.

     If you are in the neighborhood, drop by Java.net at 418 N. Franklin in Cuba, MO. Cuba is also known as Rt. 66 Mural City because of its 12 outdoor murals along the Rt. 6 Corridor. I have pre-ordered French Pressed, and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival at Java.net.

~ Jane Reed

Cleo's reply: Thanks, Jane! I'm sending my shout-out to you and Java.net owners Mary and Joe Miller! I enjoy hearing about coffeehouses around the country?and letting my virtual "Village Blend" visitors know about them, too. I also enjoyed your wonderful article for the Cuba Free Press and linked to it below for anyone who'd like to read more. The rehabbed 1930's Coca-Cola Warehouse sounds absolutely awesome. If I'm ever in the area, you can be sure I'll stop by Java.net.

~ Cleo

 P.S. I'm reposting your photo of
Java.net's delish iced mochas.


Photo by Jane Reed. Click here to read Jane's article!

Photo of Iced Mochas served by Java.net
coffeehouse owner Mary Miller

 "This drink is a shot of espresso, steamed milk with Ghirardelli chocolate, whipped cream, topped with more chocolate syrup and chocolate sprinkles. Definitely the chocolate lovers delight."

From Java.net's website.





VillageBlend@aol.com BOX

 FROM: Karen
SUBJECT: "Good Idea"

 Cleo, I think that you should eventually publish a Village Blend Cookbook.  One of my many resolutions is to attempt trying a recipe from the Village Blend.  Please note the word "attempt", that's why my son is a graduated chef from Johnson & Wales University.

 ~ Karen


 Cleo's Reply:  Hi Karen. AWESOME that your son is a graduate of Johnson & Wales. What a great school!

      I recently took a class with a chef graduate of J&W (at a place in SC called Charleston Cooks!). He was great and told some wonderful tales about his training. In the coming weeks, I'm going to share a delish rice pudding recipe that I learned from him (and to which I added my own twist). You know, French Pressed might actually entertain your son! It focuses on a cutthroat New York restaurant kitchen. If he happens to read it, let me know what he thinks!

 Thanks for the idea on a cookbook, Karen! Who knows what the future will bring!

 ~ Cleo Coyle 





RE-POSTED FROM E-MAIL to VillageBlend@aol.com

Posted by: Davida of San Francisco

  Cleo: I worked a small coffee kiosk my senior year of high school. Waking at 5 AM to open the booth and lay out the pastries. By first period psych class I had already had two eye openers (speed balls) and was sipping on a monkey mocha (banana flavored mocha). Our kiosk was in a hospital, and sometimes I would comment to the ER nurses pulling a double and sometimes triple shift (after making their quad shot, or worse six shot drink) that I totally didn't want them trying to find a vein in my arm. And then there was the doctor who always ordered her "why bother" Non Fat, Decaffe Latte...without the fat and caffeine, why did she bother? Anyway, I love your books, and would love to visit a real Village Blend someday.

 ~ Davida of San Francisco, CA

 Cleo's reply: GREAT memories, Davida. You had me laughing again. Thanks for sharing!










 Meet Maisy Jo, a 14 year-old coffee-drinking cocker spaniel, owned and loved by Victoria, a Coffeehouse Mystery reader from California, USA.

  Cleo received the following
e-mail from Victoria...

 Hello Cleo, We are the owners of two "coffee" (cocker) spaniels! If I or my hubby walk away from our coffee cup for a second, it's gone! Thought it was because of the half-and-half, but they like it black too?weird! I have a picture on my cell phone of the 14-yr-old Cocker drinking out of my cup. Wish you could see it! Look forward to your next Clare Cosi novel!..I have all of your books and have enjoyed all of them! Pass them on to friends, but I always make sure they are returned to me! Be well.

 ~ Victoria

 Cleo's reply: Thanks for the adorable story, Victoria! And thanks for the picture, too. It made me smile today, and I thought it would make plenty of other people smile, too. So I'm very happy that you sent along the pic. Java joy to you and your hilarious coffee-drinking pups! You be well, too. 

 ~ Cleo


 If you have a comment or question for Cleo Coyle, send and email titled: "Note to Cleo" to VillageBlend@aol.com






Visitors from across the USA, as well as
Canada and the UK, have posted on
Cleo Coyle's Coffee Talk Message Board.

   To read even more postsand replies,
click on the green Coffee Talk chalkboard
at the top of the right colulmn of this website.




October 1, 2009

Killer Coffee Club discusses Cleo's Holiday Grind

Article Archived from January 2010


discussed Cleo Coyle's
Holiday Grind with Cleo appearing
LIVE via Facebook IM.

Photo courtesy of Nikki Bonanni


 If you would like to invite Cleo to your own book club discussion via Instant Messaging on Facebook or AOL, you can arrange Cleo's LIVE "IM" appearance by sending a NOTE TO CLEO to VillageBlend@aol.com

 & FYI...

The Killer Coffee Club holds its meetings,
at the Ithaca Barnes & Noble:

Plaza, 614 South Meadow,
, NY 14850

For more information,
visit the reading group's
web site:

 Or contact the Killer Coffee Club at



August 19, 2009

A Coffeehouse Mystery Reader Visits Intelligentsia in Chicago and Meets US Barista Champ Kyle Glanville






Hi there. Cleo Coyle here. One of my CM readers recently posted on my Message Board, asking where she could find a "Village Blend" coffeehouse in her own hometown of Chicago, Illinois.

       I haven't been to Chicago in years, but I knew that one of the best coffee bars in that city (and the country) was a place called Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea.

      For two years in a row, Intelligentsia has produced the #1 ranked barista in the country. Mike Phillips won this year's U.S. Barista Championship and last year Kyle Glanville earned the title.

      Frankly, I had only one worry about recommending the place: I didn't know whether Intelligentsia would treat her right—be friendly and welcoming. You see the hallmark of a truly great traditional Italian barista is his or her friendliness to customers. One thing I could be sure of: The Intelligentsia coffee bar would certainly make her a great cuppa joe! So I gave my reader the addresses of the three Intelligentsia stores in Chicago (not really believing she'd actually go there).

     To my happy surprise (and shock actually), she visited their flagship store AND met Kyle Glanville, the U.S. Barista Champion of 2008!

  To meet U.S. Barista Champ Kyle Glanville yourself and watch him create some
classic latte art, click here.


(The above video of Kyle was recorded earlier this year at Intelligentsia's Los Angeles store.)


     To visit the Intelligentsia web site,
where they also sell coffee
click here.


   To read my reader's report from Chicago on my message board, 
Click here


If you have a coffeehouse
that you'd like to tell us about, you are
welcome to post on my message board, too!
Message Board? Where's That?!
Just click on the coffee cup in the upper left
column that says "Go to Cleo's Message Board"... 


 Till next time,
—Cleo Coyle




August 19, 2009

Battle of the Instant Coffee Sticks!










                   Nescafe Taster's
             Choice Instant Sticks

    Starbucks Via
Ready Brew Stick Packets



Who will emerge as
the coffee stick champ?


No. I am not going to be drinking instant coffee. Ever. Okay, I can think of a few situations . . .

      Say, a hurricane hits Flushing and all I can get my hands on are Saltines and a jar of Folgers crystals . . . or I'm stranded by the side of the road in the NJ Pine Barrens and a family of campers rescues me, and all they have is . . . well, you get the idea . . .

      If civilization remains intact, however, I will only be using coffee sticks as a flavor enhancer to my recipes....

Click here to get
my recipe for
Cuppa Joe
Mocha Drops

(PDF format).


Adding coffee flavoring to recipes usually involves dissolving instant coffee or espresso powder into brewed coffee or espresso before adding it to the recipe.

     Here's the good news: Starbucks VIA is a great instant coffee for recipes. If you're only buying it as a flavoring, then the higher price shouldn't be an issue because you're really getting value for money. (I mean, have you seen the cost of cloves lately?)

     If you're really drinking instant every day, however, and money is an issue, I can see where you'd rather choke down the Nescafe. (Sorry, but you know my feelings about instant!)


To read about a recent taste testing
between Starbucks Via Ready Brew Stick packets and Nescafe Tasters Choice
Instant Sticks:
click here.



Till next time,

~Cleo Coyle


August 19, 2009

An Angel in Queens





 Don't believe
in them?

Well, I do. They're right
here among us...

Click here to meet one.

He's a Queens
School bus driver...


 Click the picture to meet this angel
via Toan Lam's YouTube video...


This story also
appeared on CNN


I donated to help him with his work.
I hope you will consider helping too...


Click here to visit
"Helping an Angel" on Facebook.



Click here to donate direclty
to "An Angel in Queens"




August 8, 2009

SUMMER '09 COFFEE PICK - Dallmayr Prodomo


Cleo's Summer 2009
Coffee Pick:




For over 70 years, Dallmayr coffee has been a beloved brand to the people of Munich, Germany.  Read Cleo's post below to learn more about this world-renowned coffee, including tips on where you can purchase it for yourself...


Germans are serious about coffee. Per capita, their consumption has ranked them among the biggest coffee-drinking countries in the world. (The USA ranks below Germany, click here to see the entire list.)

 I still vividly remember the richly satisfying cups of java that I enjoyed in West Berlin?and this was before the infamous Wall came down, so we're talking quite a few years of memory!

     My next encounter with German kaffee came (of all places) at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. It all started with Steve Martin. Yes, the actor/writer/comedian.

     When Mr. Martin embarked on a mission to bring the legendary Inspector Jacques Clouseau (aka the Pink Panther) out of retirement, my husband and I were contracted to create two original comic mystery novels featuring the bumbling Inspector. The publisher had only one stipulation. We had to send Clouseau to an American city. So we did: Sin City... 

     As part of my research for The Pink Panther Gets Lucky and The Pink Panther's Just Desserts, I flew to Las Vegas to check out the MGM Grand?s casino, back offices, underbelly, and security processes. When one of the hotel?s executives gave me a tour of the most exclusive high rollers suites in the complex designed for international tourists?I was highly impressed to see that they?d imported Dallmayr Prodomo from Germany. That's right...     
      Forget the HDTV flat screen in every room, spectacular views of the LV Strip, ostrich skin pillows, and mood waterfall in the bathroom, the MGM Grand impressed me by providing their high rollers with Dallmayr! (Stop laughing people. You know I?m a Coffee Geek!) 


Three centuries ago, the family-owned Dallmayr gourmet food business began in a Spezereien-Handlung (grocer's shop) and over the years developed into a brand enterprise that is now known throughout the world. In the early 1930's, Dallmayr began operating an electric coffee roaster. Today customers are still sold freshly roasted coffee in the coffee department of Munich's Dallmayr delicatessen. The coffee is taken from exquisite, hand painted porcelain vessels and weighed on custom-made beam balances.




I completely forgot about my love affair with German coffee until I received an e-mail from one of my Coffeehouse Mystery readers who was born and raised in Germany and now lives in the United States. She wanted to know what coffees here were most like her beloved Dallmayr Prodomo. So I decided to do some research...and I hit java pay dirt!
       I found a wonderful online vendor who imports this coffee  www.Enjoybettercoffee.com. The prices are reasonable and the vendor has an amazing specialty: they offer beloved coffee brands from all over Europe (an "ex-pat" paradise for coffee lovers if ever I saw one).  As for the Dallmayr itself, the producers say its secret lies in the raw coffee that's used: the finest highland coffees from the best coffee-growing areas in the world, which is (frankly) a pretty generic description. They do mention Ethiopia Sidamo and Harrar blended with coffees from Asia, and Central and South Africa. But, again, that?s pretty darn general, too.
     On the other hand, coffee is an agricultural product, so any master roaster may changes his or her house blend from year to year depending on the quality of each region's crop.
     The bag of Dallmayr came to me efficiently enough via UPS with tracking and a swift e-mail confirmation. Initially opening the vacuum bag, I inhaled a slightly nutty aroma and a brief whiff of lemon (no doubt from the Ethiopian beans in the blend). Once brewed, the cup is a balanced one with a full body and a lively brightness (greatly appreciated with so many flat, dull coffees out there).


My personal preference runs to darker roasts, but this medium roast preserves more of the caffeine, and I can feel the slight lift with each cup, which is why it's a great morning brew or afternoon pick-me-up coffee. The producers also use a special refinement process that removes irritants and bitter compounds. "This full-aroma roasting process imparts that signature taste," the company says, "a real delight for all coffee connoisseurs. It's also suitable for those who tend to react sensitively to coffee."
     I also find that the Dallmayr stands up longer post-brewing. After going back to the warming carafe on the drip burner, I was happily surprised to find it tasting fresher longer than my usual darker roasts. The coffee's balance and body makes it a great bean to make your own blends at home. I've mixed it with a single-origin Ethiopian and even a French roast for more complex cup.
     The Dallmayr is also a great coffee to serve with baked goods. At breakfast it pairs beautifully with muffins, waffles, pancakes, danishes, croissants, or doughnuts. At break time, coffee cakes, cookies, and strudel are a nice combo. ( And...need I say chocolate? To quote Nora Ephron's Sally: Yes, yes, oh, yes! )

       Finally, to answer my German reader?s question: To find a coffee that would compare to Dallmayr, look for a good Vienna roast from a trusted roaster. Joe the Art of Coffee here in New York (one of my inspirations for my fictional Village Blend coffeehouse) has an excellent coffee with a similar flavor profile, and, as crazy as this sounds, the Krispy Kreme doughnut franchise sells a Smooth coffee blend (in the yellow bag) that would favorably compare.      


     Or you can simply purchase the Dallmayr Prodomo directly from the wonderful vendor that I found!

      Click this link to visit www.EnjoyBetterCoffee.com and you can purchase the Dallmayr or check out the left column of the page and investigate a number of other highly regarded coffee brands from Europe!


 To purchase Dallmayr Prodomo
in the USA, click here.


To *virtually* visit the Dallmayr shop in Munich, Germany, click here. (And be sure to hit the "English" link in the upper right corner.)

 To hear a fan of this coffee play the Dallmayr brand jingle on the piano via YouTube, click here.

(I told you this coffee is loved!)


Till nex time,
Drink with joy!

~Cleo Coyle




August 8, 2009

How to Store Strawberries





When shopping for strawberries, choose berries that are bright red in color. Look for firm berries with fresh, green tops. Pass by any containers that have berries that are molding or mottled with dark patches. If the berries are staining the container, they’re past their prime.



Strawberries will not keep long, so try to purchase them a day or two before you intend to eat or cook with them. Because strawberries retain water, do not wash them
until you’re ready to use them. To keep the
berries fresh for as long as possible, I store
them in the refrigerator in a single layer on a
paper towel within a moisture-proof container.
They keep well for several days this way.



To get my free recipe for
Fresh Glazed Strawberry Pie,
click here
and . . .



Eat with Joy!


~Cleo Coyle, author of

The Coffeehouse Mysteries
"Where coffee and crime
are always brewing..."



July 23, 2009

Joanna Ellis and Moosehead Quilters of Maine











Hi there. Cleo Coyle here. A short time ago, I received this e-mail from a CM reader…

Cleo: Love your books and the recipes! Thank you for providing such great entertainment…I can almost smell the brewing coffee way up north in Maine!

Loyal fan,
Joanna Ellis


I was so intrigued by the “mooseheadquilters” Web address that I wrote back, asking about her quilting, 
which is a worldwide, historical folk art traditionally practiced by women. Happily Joanna wrote back…


Hi Cleo,

I am attaching a photo that my daughter took of me this morning while I posed by one of my recent quilts, Mexican Star. This is my interpretation of a design by Annette Ornelas. As you can see, I have just had another cuppa joe and am rarin' to go! 


Joanna Ellis (above) posing before one of her many quilts. Joanna, a lover of coffee and an enthusiastic reader of Cleo's Coffeehouse Mysteries, is the founder of Moosehead Quilters of Maine. To see their 
Blocks and Patterns page, click here!



Joanna writes...

After working as a technical writer in various fields, all involving computers, for 40 years, I retired last summer to have more time for quilting, outdoor sports, and playing with grandchildren.

     Coffee has always played an important part in my existence, starting each day and sustaining me through my adventures. We are pretty remote here, so sampling coffees vicariously through your Coffeehouse Mysteries is great fun.

I have been quilting for over thirty years, starting when my children were small. I joined the Clueless Quilters in Stetson, Maine, the year they formed, and after moving to Beaver Cove, Maine, nine years ago began to go stir crazy and formed the Moosehead Quilters, thinking there might be eight or ten other quilters hiding in the woods. Much to my surprise we had almost a dozen attend the first meeting at my log home on the shores of Moosehead Lake in 2003.


This map shows the location of the Moosehead Lake
area in Maine.


     We have grown to about 50 members and meet twice a month in nearby Greenville. Some of our members travel 15 to 20 miles to attend our business meetings and workshops. We have a spring and fall quilt retreat for a change of scene and fresh inspiration. To stay in touch with each other, since some of our members are seasonal to this vacationland, I created our Web site, which is loaded with photos, a calendar, meeting information, etc.


Our annual quilt show is held at Di's Kitchen and Beyond, in an old Victorian home overlooking Moosehead Lake. Di creates the most wonderful gourmet meals, desserts and coffee, too!




"Di" aka Diane K. Bartley (pictured right) has a wonderful life story. She is a graduate of Johnson & Wales school of culinary arts and served as a TA there, too. Her passion (running a restaurant and gathering place out of a beautiful Victorian house) sounds like my own Fiona Finch (friend to Penelope McClure in my Haunted Bookshop Mystery series). Fiona just loves running the Finch Inn out of her husband's old Victorian home. But, of course, the Finch Inn is fictional and it's located in Rhode Island. Di's lovely Victorian is located in Maine—and it's real, so you can actually visit her place! Click here to meet Diane and read her bio. You can learn more about Di's business, DKB Catering, by visiting her Web site. 

 The thumbnail photos of Di, her Victorian restaurant, and her Veranda are from her Web site. Click any photo to visit. ~Cleo



Di is most gracious and allows us to take over her house for our show on the first Saturday in September. Our quilts are displayed throughout the first floor and on the veranda. We have crafts and items for sale in her barn, too.

      Last year we presented Di with a wall hanging quilt that depicts a mug rack. This quilt hangs in one of Di's dining rooms...


The removable quilted coffee mugs (on the hanging pictured above) actually hang on real wooden pegs and can be rearranged or changed to suit the season. One mug is attached in the lower corner and has wisps of steam rising to represent freshly poured coffee! What fun!




P.S. I am a breast cancer survivor (over 2-1/2 years now, but who is counting?!!) and escape into your coffeehouse, put my feet up and read the mysteries. I'll even admit to re-reading them after a few months! 

      My thrill of the summer, aside from visits from children and grandkids, has been the transformation of my long held Apple stock into a new John Cooper Works Mini. What a blast to drive! This former SCCA racer sure enjoys the 6-speed manual, turbo-charged, 208 HP, little car. Of course, I obey speed limits and drive defensively ... most of the time!


Life is full of fun
if you only follow your dreams and persist!

~Joanna Ellis




 Cleo here again. Sending a warm Java thanks to Joanna for dropping by and letting us take a virtual little trip to Maine with her today! (And inspiring us all with her get-up-and-make-it-so caffeinated attitude! LOL!)



Saturday, September 5th


If you live near Maine's Moosehead Lake, then be sure to drop by the Moosehead Quilters annual Quilt Show!  (And tell Joanna that Cleo Coyle says Hello!) The location of the show is Di's beautiful Victorian restaurant: Di's Kitchen and Beyond. Click here for information about Di's "DKB catering" and directions to the restaurant. For more information about the show itself, visit the Moosehead Quilters' Web site by clicking here.


Till next time,
~Cleo Coyle


July 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mr. Chandler - Cleo Coyle on Raymond Chandler

Posted July 23, 2009 




Mr. Chandler


Raymond Thornton Chandler

Born: Chicago, July 23, 1888 - Died: March 26, 1959


Did you know that Raymond Chandler didn't publish his first story until he was 45?

     He worked his way up in an oil company, from bookkeeper to executive, but he came to hate his job and took to drinking heavily as a result—as well as doing things like threatening to jump off the roof of the Mayfair Hotel and trying to sell the entire oil company over the phone.

     Fired at the start of the Great Depression, Chandler couldn't find another position, so he turned to writing to make some dough.

     Lucky for us he did...

The man in the powder-blue suit — which wasn’t powder-blue under the lights of the Club Bolivar — was tall, with wide-set gray eyes, a thin nose, a jaw of stone. He had a rather sensitive mouth. His hair was crisp and black, ever so faintly touched with gray as by an almost diffident hand. His clothes fitted him as though they had a soul of their own, not just a doubtful past. His name happened to be Mallory...

So begins Chandler’s very first hard-boiled short story, “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot,” originally published in the December 1933 issue of Black Mask magazine, (c) copyright 1933 by Pro-Distributors Publishing Co.

     Yes, you read that right.

     The future "Library of America" grandmaster started making his bones in a pulp magazine, where someone else copyrighted his material...


To read the rest of this article,
please go to:


 where it is still posted on the Home Page. Just scroll down the center column
to locate the piece. The
article will be archived here in the future.



July 10, 2009

Industrial Design & the Coffee Cup Lid - Coffee Break with Josh Harris












the design student

who figured

out how to

get this...


to fit


 Behold Josh Harris's Coffee Top Caddy, a nifty solution to those coffee runs for groups of friends and co-workers. "Okay, who gets two creams, one sugar; and two sugars, one cream?" 



Hi there. Cleo Coyle here. Industrial design is a marriage of art and engineering that we often take for granted in our busy lives.

Take the Moka Express. This beautiful, little eight-sided stovetop espresso pot didn't just appear off an assembly line—it was conceived and produced with care in the 1930’s by a talented metal worker and engineer named Alfonso Bialetti.

        I'm always curious about the creative process (be it writing or architecture) so when I noticed the "Coffee Top Caddy" posted online, I contacted the man who designed it:

       Josh Harris is a 21-year-old college student at Syracuse University, majoring in industrial design, which he explains is the study of product development.

      "This includes everything from tennis shoes to User interfaces on cell phones," Josh notes, "Everything that is unnatural had to be designed. My major makes sure we design these things to be useful, thoughtful and beautiful.”

CLEO: How did your Coffee Top Caddy come about?


Josh Harris
(The one on the left!)


JOSH: The product was designed during my second year of college. We were given a challenge to design a coffee lid. It had to be plastic (unfortunately) and it had to fill a user’s needs. I actually came up with the idea while researching user scenarios. Industrial designers study how people use existing products to find a need that could be filled. 

         I noticed that I often get coffee for many people at a time and that I always messed up orders involving how many extras they wanted on their coffees. My coffee runs are nothing compared to the massive coffee runs I have seen people make while working at a small café in my hometown. (Josh was born and raised outside of Boston, Massachusetts.)

         The next step was solving the problem. There are many ways to solve the problem of remembering coffee orders and I sketched through a few. This way seemed to make the most sense but that does not mean it is the final or the best way. 

CLEO: As a student, are you permitted to submit your invention to companies for possible purchase? Are you sending your design to the executive offices of  Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, and Starbucks? 

JOSH: I am able to submit my design for patenting and license it to these places and I certainly will try. However, there is already a very similar patent out there from 2005. 

         This means I can apply for a design patent, which will require an improvement on the existing design. Right now, I just want to get a job and continue to design. I have my whole career ahead of me. 

CLEO: What would you like to do after you graduate?
JOSH: My dream job would be working for a surf or snowboard company designing components to enhance the experience of the sports. Right now, I’m looking for an internship in the Boston area. 

Thanks, Josh!


Click here to see more of
Josh's ingenious designs
or contact him directly.



 Till next time,

—Cleo Coyle




July 10, 2009

MAY - JUNE 2009 COFFEE PICK: Bishops' Blend



 Cleo's May - June

Coffee Pick:





Regular & Decaf



Hi there. Cleo Coyle here. 
My Coffee Pick this month is an incredibly smooth and satisfying coffee called Bishops Blend.

     As those of you know who've been reading my Coffeehouse Mysteries, a "blend" is a coffee that the roaster creates by literally blending a few types of single-origin beans. (Single-origin simply means that the coffee beans come from a single area—for example, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a coffee that is grown in the Yirgacheffe region of the African country of Ethiopia.)

     Creating blends is a culinary art (something that my amateur sleuth, Clare Cosi, does as part of her job managing the fictional Village Blend coffeehouse), and I'm happy to report that the roasters for Bishops Blend have done a masterful job at creating theirs.

      The beans are roasted medium dark and the package came to me (via UPS) freshly roasted, beautifully oily, and smelling of chocolate. The coffee itself is a perfectly balanced cup. In no way flat—but not overly bright, either. It’s very smooth, almost creamy on the palate without a trace of bitterness. The finish is excellent, as well, with the slightest, pleasant "juiciness" you would get from an African bean but without the lemon or flowery notes, which makes it a cup that can be paired with almost any cake, cookie, muffin, or dessert.

     As the coffee cools, the notes include a slight vanilla flavor and even a touch of cinnamon; it’s a very “coffee” tasting coffee—one I could easily drink all day. In fact, I made a few pots of a Sumatra (sold by a major national company) and found myself not too eager to finish the cups. I couldn’t wait to get back to the Bishops Blend again; and when I did, I found myself downing every last drop.

     Even better, when you purchase a bag of Bishops Blend, a percentage of the money goes toward ERD (Episcopal Relief and Development), a charity that provides disaster relief around the world as well as enabling people in the poorest communities on our planet to climb out of poverty by offering long-term solutions in the areas of food security and health care.



 Click here to learn more
or purchase for yourself.



Buy a bag.

Change a life.




 Till next time,

—Cleo Coyle



June 16, 2009

Meet Shirley Jackson: A Queen of the Red Hat Ladies!




Shirley Jackson, 78 years young and
Queen Mother of the Totally Eccentric,
Red Hatters of Vienna, Virginia!



Hi there. Cleo Coyle here. A short time ago, I received an intriguing e-mail in my VillageBlend@aol.com box, which said:


"I can not put these books down and am sharing with all my Red Hat ladies and we just
love them . . .  After reading your Coffeehouse books, the ladies comment on how much they've learned about coffee and are out there tasting all kinds . . . please keep writing. Faster and Faster.

  —Shirley Jackson, Queen Mother."


Well, of course, I was thrilled to hear from royalty (LOL) and even more intrigued by the idea of a crew of CM readers getting together in red hats. So I wrote back to Shirley and she enlightened me!

     You see, the "Red Hat Society" is a national organization (with a delightful story behind it, click here to learn more). The worldwide sisterhood has more than 30,000 chapters in all 50 states of the U.S. and in more than 25 foreign countries. Shirley is the head of her chapter in Vienna, Virgina.


"We are 8 years old," Shirley told me, "and have 81 members in our chapter. Our chapter does lots of fun things. We just had a breakfast for 161 ladies all in purple pj's and fun red hats . . . some bras and all sorts of silk undies."


 (Cleo is working on getting photos of this! Stay tuned!)


The Red Hat Society humorously refers to itself as a "dis-organization" with the goal of social interaction. The group encourages fun, silliness, creativity, and friendship in middle age and beyond. (Sounds good to me! And I know Madame would be a member!)
"I make almost all my hats," Shirley explained to me when I asked her for a photo. "I keep looking for bigger and bigger ones. Doing one now covered with little tea services and roses and feathers. Found the little sets at the dollar store and bought 4, will let you see it when I get it all glued down . . ."

Shirley also enjoys reading the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs as well as the mysteries of Rhys Bowen. "I am Welsh," she explained, "so I really enjoy her Constable Evans books." She has even branched out into reading my ghost mysteries, which now makes her a friend of both Clare and Pen. According to Shirley:



“In one week, I read all the Haunted Bookshop mysteries and wanted more. I can not thank you enough for introducing me to two such wonderful ladies . . . please keep writing . . . and thanks for letting me share my fun with you. So happy I found your books and have spent so many happy hours wrapped up in them. SMiles, 
—Queen Shirley Jackson"



I am so happy and proud to have Shirley and her Red Hatters reading my books. Although I'm not old enough to be a "Red" Hatter (I'm under 50, so I'd be a "Pink" hatter! LOL!), Shirley's amazing energy, creative spirit, and zest for living have already made her my role model!


Java joy to Queen Mother Shirley
the Red Hatters of Vienna, Virgina
and the rest of the beautiful
Red Hat Ladies all over the world!


Till next time

—Cleo Coyle





June 16, 2009

Bruce Porter's Java Art





 Bruce Porter's

Java Art



"I love drawing what I call Java Art,"
Bruce told me via e-mail. "I call this one
'French Roast'."


Artwork courtesy of Bruce Porter.
Click here to visit his blog/website and
see more of his work.



Hi there. Cleo here again! Bruce Porter hails from Buhler, Kansas. He and I corresponded after he won my weekly Free Coffee Drawing. Like Clare, his wife works at a coffee shop (The Mustard Seed in Buhler - click here to visit!) and when I saw Bruce's art, I flipped over it and asked if I could post it on my site . . .


"I’m not a professional artist," Bruce told me. "I just love to draw. I’ve got a field notebook filled with what I call my Java Art. Most of them are just pencil and pen. Occasionally I’ll colorize them if I really like them and give them to friends as gifts. 

     "'French Roast' was my attempt at a Picasso style piece. It was done in pencil and ink on white paper then scanned into Photoshop where I painted and enhanced it. 'Rod' (posted below) was done the same way."



Artwork courtesy of and
Copyright (c) Bruce Porter


“I’m currently finishing up building our house,” Bruce told me. “In my spare time, I sketch, write and illustrate children’s books (still looking to be published), ride my motorcycle, practice my barista skills, play guitar, garden, and take road trips with my beautiful wife (who works part time in a pretty decent little coffee shop in town). We love finding great little coffee shops in small towns in the mid-west. And, there’s nothing better than sitting by our fireplace, sipping on a good latte’ while reading a Coffeehouse Mystery.” (Cleo appreciates the naked plug!) I asked Bruce about his writing, and he told me one of his book projects is called Growing Up Small. “...comical musings about all the stuff small people deal with while growing up,” he explained. “I even have an extended chapter titled ‘Coffee will stunt your growth’ where I reflect on the experiences of how I got my love for coffee and how it could be part of the reason I only reached 5’8”.  (Cleo laughing.)
     “I’ve also started work on a series of short essays titled And God Made Coffee and said ‘It is very good!’ - What I’m learning about life from brewing and drinking coffee. I don’t know if I’ll ever get published, but it’s just been fun writing.” (Cleo says: In my experience, if you have fun writing it, the reader will have fun reading it.)
     “My 12-year-old Gaggia Classic espresso machine just went belly up,” Bruce admitted. (Cleo says: There's a lot of that going around! Another CM reader, Cathy Lane from Texas, posted a hilarious obituary for her espresso machine. Click my green message board in the right column. Her post is dated April 17.) 
     “I’m currently researching for its replacement," Bruce assures me. "What a chore! In the meantime I’ve reverted to my good old stove top espresso maker – what a treat.”

The treat was mine in hearing from Bruce
and getting a chance to share his art
with all of you. If you’d like to visit Bruce
and see more of his Java Art, check out his blog and website by clicking here.

Till next time
—Cleo Coyle



February 5, 2009

SPRING 2009 COFFEE PICK: Rooster Brother (La Minita Estate)



Cleo's Spring '09

Coffee Pick:



La Minita Estate


"...there’s a lot of bad, defective coffee out there so you have to cup regularly to find the good stuff. The coffee team of myself, Gene and Mike cup green coffee on a regular basis all year. This kind of evaluation is very time consuming and labor intensive, but it’s the only way to maintain the level of quality our customers expect. We also roast in the store, everyday.” 


—George Elias

Rooster Brother
The Store for Cooks

29 Main Street
Ellsworth, Maine 04605


Hi there. Cleo here. I’m thrilled to tell you about my Spring '09 Coffee Pick. It's a coffee grown in the Central American country of Costa Rica and roasted and sold by a little shop in Maine, USA, called Rooster Brother.

This outstanding coffee from the La Minita Estate was recommended to me via e-mail by a Coffeehouse Mystery reader in Bangor, Maine, named Bud Knickerbocker. (Hi, Bud!)

 Pictured above: Coffeehouse Mystery reader Bud Knickerbocker of Bangor, Maine. “Hi Cleo!” Bud wrote to me via e-mail. “Your reply has warmed my heart especially after the 18”+ of snow we had over the past weekend (picture shoveling, snowshoeing, five deer under the apple tree, and soft gray quiet along Route 15)…”


It took me a little while to try Bud's favorite coffee, and when I did – WOW. Java heaven! This cup is obviously very freshly roasted.



 Rooster Brother's
roaster > > >



 The coffee tastes both smooth and sparkly (yes sparkly!). It’s so brilliantly bright in the mouth that it’s a delight to drink. There’s a touch of citrus juiciness, like the best African coffees, plus a nice body (not too heavy, just right), and my husband (who has a better palate than I) even detected notes of berry – “blueberry,” he says.

      This La Minita Estate is clearly a primo bean, but the absolutely outstanding micro-roasting is also the story of excellence here. The roaster is a little shop in Ellsworth, Maine, called Rooster Brother. They roast everyday and cup green coffee (not all roasters do this – and it’s an indication of the care and quality at work here). 


Pictured above: Gene - Rooster Brother's Master Roaster. (Hi, Gene! Your roasting is awesome!)


If I lived anywhere near Ellsworth, Maine, I’d be visiting Rooster Brother at least once a week - no doubt! As soon as I saw a picture of their shop online, I thought of my Haunted Bookshop mysteries and all the great Victorian buildings in New England. (Remember the Second Empire mansion that mailman Seymour inherits in The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion? 'Nuff said!)


 Pictured right: The Victorian building that houses the Rooster Brother store in Ellsworth, Maine (There's only one)!


George Elias and his wife, Pamela, started Rooster Brother 22 years ago. According to George, their building is one of the largest wood-frame structures in Maine. “It was built in 1895,” George wrote to me. “Originally built as an Odd Fellows Hall, it has been a car dealership, a general store and bicycle shop, a hardware store and now us. The building has approximately 12,000 square feet of floor space on four floors.”

   In addition to coffee, Rooster Brother sells wine, cheese and bread. On another floor they have cookware, knives, china, textiles and kitchen tools. On floor three, they have a kitchen that bakes bread, cookies, croissants and other goodies. (I’m SO there!)

     “The Rooster Brother store is a wonderful place to shop for coffee, tea and kitchen supplies,” Coffeehouse Mystery reader Bud Knickerbocker told me via e-mail. “We love going there for the smells and tastes they provide. Acadia National Park isn’t that far from their store and makes for a great day in Downeast Maine.”


Pictured right: Donna, who's worked at the Rooster Brother coffee counter for 22 years.
(Hi, Donna!)


Their online store is equally impressive. The care Rooster Brother puts into their cupping and roasting extends to their packaging and shipping.

(I say this after having recently sampled coffees from other roasters who not only poorly roasted their beans but shipped them to me stale. Ugh.)

     Needless to say, my experience with Rooster Brother was a high-quality one. I totally felt the love! Like Clare Cosi, these folks obviously care about the integrity of their product, have pride in their business, and want their customer's experience to be a good one. Their online store was easy to use, the confirmation of order was quick, and the UPS delivery flawless (with tracking). As for the Costa Rican source of their La Minita, George explained to me:


“We have a special relationship with La Minita, the estate in Costa Rica where this coffee is produced. All of us on the team have spent time on the farm and at the mill so we understand the process."


Pictured left: Mike from Rooster Brother's coffee team, picking ripe coffee cherries on the La Minita Estate farm in Costa Rica.(Hiya, Mike!)


I really enjoy learning about the origin of the coffee I drink—the long journey those beans take from soil half a world away to my little coffee mug. Well, thanks to Internet magic, you can *virtually* visit the Costa Rican farm where this coffee is grown by clicking here.

 According to George at Rooster Brother, the farm's owner, Bill McAlpin, is devoted to not only the quality of the coffee, but also the quality of the workers’ lives. There is housing, a medical clinic and even a soccer field on the Estate.

     Finally, George let me know that La Minita is often referred to as the “Lafite” of coffees because it is one of the world’s best and most consistent.

     Agreed! If you'd like to learn more about Rooster Brother or purchase the La Minita Estate coffee (or any of their other coffee or products), visit their web site by clicking here. They have a newsletter, too!



Till next time,

—Cleo Coyle
author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries



A "Coffee Pick" P.S...

CM reader Bud Knickerbocker definitely knows his coffee! His brother (Dickie) and sister-in-law (Lisa) run St. John’s Coffeehouse in Covington, Louisiana, a place that has a lot in common with my fictional Village Blend! For one thing, it has a great history (the building it occupies is over 100 years old), and for another, St. John's obviously strives to be a warm and welcoming place for its community....

Pictured above: St. John's Coffeehouse
in Covington, Louisiana


According to Bud, “Dickie and Lisa lost their house as a result of Hurricane Katrina, but their coffeehouse never closed down. They provided their City with a quiet place to sit for a while.”

     That's just awesome. If you’re near Covington, Louisiana, Bud invites you to stop in at St. John’s Coffeehouse and say: "Bud says hi from Maine!"

      Click here or on the link below to *virtually* visit Dickie and Lisa’s St. John’s Coffeehouse online.





  Item(s) [1-25] of 60  

On What Grounds Cover Through The Grinder Cover Latte Trouble Cover Murder Most Frothy Cover Decaffeinated Corpse Cover French Pressed Cover Espresso Shot Cover Holiday Grind Cover Roast Mortem Cover Murder By Mocha Cover A Brew To A Kill Cover Holiday Buzz Cover Billionaire Blend Cover Once Upon A Grind Cover Dead to the Last Drop Cover Dead Cold Brew Cover
Click here to learn more about the Coffeehouse Mystery novels.
To purchase the books, click here or here or here.