Lets talk about COFFEE - Page 171
I think Smart Coffee is open in the mornings, but to me the hot coffee is not as good as their iced coffee for some reason. They are also famous for their Japanese style pancakes and french toast, so maybe get breakfast with coffee. http://www.smartcoffee.jp/menu
Elephant Factory Coffee was pretty good when I tried it, but I'm not sure if they're open in the mornings: http://tabelog.com/kyoto/A2602/A260201/26005522/
I'm not sure if you like Japanese tea, but this place is good for real Japanese tea (matcha or gyokuro): http://www.ippodo-tea.co.jp/en/index.html
All the above including Ashishima are within about 10 min. walking distance from each other.
Those for those recs, I'll check them out.
Went to Ashishima. Really nice setup - on the 5th floor only accessible by elevator. I got their Ashishima blend (can't really read Japanese so thought I'd play it safe, they said the more expensive one was from Brazil). It was a very good cup, better than the one I had in Osaka. Depth of flavor was there. Maybe it was the particular beans, but if I have to nitpick, I feel like I've had "cleaner" pourovers in Chicago. I'll take back my statement about no good coffee in Japan, but I still think the coffee situation is much better in Chicago/SF/NY
Also, I'll definitely try Ippudo tea, though I don't think I can discern tea quality that well. I've been drinking tea like water on top of my usual coffee intake, which has probably spiked my caffeine levels like crazy.
Actually got the dripper at BB&Beyond. Interesting situation. Their computer said they had 6 in stock but they couldn't find one so they said they would ship one to me with 20% discount and free shipping. Was curious why they would do that instead of having one sent to the store and I pick it up. The guy said they do it so I won't get one on Amazon when I leave the store.
So I ran into a buddy of mine this weekend who owns a local coffee shop. He recently bought a space for roasting and he inquired with me about roast profiles and such after seeing my ranting on Facebook. He pretty much agreed with me that many of these third wavers in NYC are doing the same thing and he wants to incorporate more variety into what he offers. I'm excited, I hope he can score some decent green coffee though, because the big players with the big money seem to be buying a lot of the good green coffee. Slim pickins left these days.
There's plenty of good green coffee out there if you are willing to pay for it. The reality is the most of the really big players don't bother with the good stuff anyway. Even the bigger specialty roasters aren't operating at high enough volume to corner the market on quality beans.
I think you're right that for coffee the temperature control is awesome but not necessary since coffee brewing temps can generally be counted by seconds "off the boil". I would say that some pour over brew methods would be terribly difficult without a gooseneck kettle though. For those that drink tea in addition to coffee, the capability of holding an entire kettle at a constant, say, 65 celsius is really helpful for doing multiple rounds of steeping on temperature sensitive teas.
I always notice a lot of small roasters offering coffees with the same name. Not sure if they're actually the same green coffees from the same lots but they do share the same names. Maybe they're just from the same plantation/washing/processing station?