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Not Your Average Joe

President Obama has inspired the production of a slew of souvenirs that go way beyond buttons and T-shirts. Our president's likeness now graces water bottles, pops out of jack-in-the-boxes and even encourages safe sex on condom wrappers. Really.

One of the more creative products born out of Obama fever--with more practical potential than the usual commemorative dust-collectors--comes from Oren's Daily Roast, an independent Manhattan coffee chain that has an online store for non-New Yorkers. To honor our 44th president, it created Blend 44: Beans You Can Believe In.

Inspired by President Obama's diverse background, the blend is charmingly inventive: Kona beans are a callout to his Hawaiian roots; Ethiopian Harrar beans to his Harvard Law years; Spanish La Minita to his time at Occidental College in Los Angeles; and a Colombian blend for his time at Columbia University and, of course, his current residency in the District of Columbia. Cute, right?

But this isn't just some marketing gimmick--when I switched out the office's usual coffee for Blend 44, the difference was astounding. Our regular brew comes from a respectable national chain and has never offended me before, but compared to Blend 44, it could have been battery acid. Blend 44 is smooth, rich and nonacidic, pleasing coffee aficionados while providing our morning caffeine fix.

Founder Oren Bloostein and his associates travel the world to find the best-tasting coffee beans. Farmers get bonuses for quality, and those who fall short receive helpful feedback. Along the way, Oren's has taken the commoditization out of coffee beans and hopes to inspire a new quality-based way of coffee-purchasing. Recently a buyer/exporter in Colombia related to him that coffee farmers there have been requesting the "Oren system" of pay, to Bloostein's delight.

To get the most out of that hard-earned quality, Oren's promises its coffee beans are fresh--in-store, the beans have left the roaster within 24 hours; if you place an order it may be more like three or four days. The work Oren's puts into delivering such quality is evident. Blend 44 is $16.79/lb. and available on the Web ( and in stores, where lucky Manhattanites can get a cup to go, too.

Associate Editor

Melissa Maleske

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