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Lets talk about COFFEE - Page 38

post #556 of 2757
Quote:
Originally Posted by blahman View Post

Nah. Nespresso isn't instant coffee. Nespresso is actually decent.
Nescafe is instant though and that tastes like ass.

I think the concept of Nespresso and the technology is sound, however I still think their coffee roasting profile and grind on a lot of their pods errs towards the lighter spectrum of things compared with third wave roasters. Their espresso tastes like a good classic Europiean espresso, which is much less crema intensive than what third wave cafes strive for and often their consistency is all over the place. I do admit when they get things right they produce some grail espressos, but what Nespresso has going for them is that consistency.
post #557 of 2757
Thought some might find this article interesting, apologies if it has been posted previously. The Village Voice restaurant critic tries out the new Blue Bottle and pretentiousness ensues. I am not sure he is really qualified to judge but I thought it was an interesting read nonetheless:

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkintheroad/2012/02/blue_bottle_cof_1.php

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkintheroad/2012/02/blue_bottle_par.php

First link is his review of the regular store. Second link is a review of the upstairs bar.
post #558 of 2757
As a chronic stander I like that there is no seating.
Edited by patrickBOOTH - 4/23/12 at 5:10am
post #559 of 2757
I just spent a few days in London, and the coffee scene is really vibrant out there, with apparently lots of good shops, though I tried only two because I wanted to try a lot of different things from one shop. I was mostly around the Covent Garden area, so I went to Notes Music & Coffee. They offer espresso, Aeropress, and V60 pourover, each using a different bean. The coffee was in general excellent, with the espresso falling between the blandness of an Intelligentsia shot, and the face-melting shots (Verve shops) that amplify every flavor in the bean. The filter coffee was well-prepared as well, tending towards the lighter side, which fits with the popularity of the lighter roasting style, but the flavors were generally brought out well, and most importantly, in balance with each other. I never had anything bitter. They tends towards acidic and fruit forward with relatively delicate flavor balances. Everything was just so when the extraction went well.

I was really impressed with the knowledge and care of the baristas. For example, they will presoak paper filters, weigh their grounds, measure their water (by volume), and preheat every instrument and holder that comes in contact with coffee. Grinders were generally Dittas for the filter coffees. For Aeropress, they use the upside down config with 12-15 g of grounds, 220 mL of 97.4C water, steep for about 1:30, and push 20-30 seconds, all timed and weighed with precision. Stirring was minimal, almost like just waving your hand over the coffee. Interestingly, Caravan (mentioned below) says that with the right-side up config, one should use a higher dose of grounds: 15 g instead of 12. Notes did 15 in an upside down config, and that's what I do, too. It probably depends on the bean and your tastes.

Aeropress in a commercial environment was pretty popular throughout the city, with another coffee bar I visited (Caravan, near Sadler's Wells theater) having multiple Aeropresses for a big rush. The barista at Caravan apologized and said his main job was as bartender (Caravan is like a hybrid specialty coffee bar and regular drinks bar), but could still tell if something was over- or underextracted --- he was complaining to me about how his V60s usually end up a bit over, and the little sample he gave me was ever so slightly over, but nothing as gross as some of the espressos I've had from specialty shops in the US. The baristas I met were all uniformly very well trained, and knowledgeable. I'd say they were a cut above your average 3rd wave (ie. the specialty hipster places) American barista. They also didn't dress like hipsters, but a popular place that I only walked by (Monmouth) did have a very hipster-looking staff.

Pourovers were a bit simpler: they pour a little in to prebloom, and then filled the cone with the rest of the water. They didn't seem to know about the pulse method, and I suggested to the Caravan barista that perhaps that was why his pourovers were getting overextracted.

The atmosphere at the coffee bar is also very friendly, unlike our somewhat isolated, laptop-reading experience in the US. It feels almost like a traditional English pub. On the two days I went to Notes by myself, I found someone next to me who was really knowledgeable about coffee. They knew coffee at a level that would exceed the knowledge of most US baristas I've met.

Many bars offer at least 2 single-origin coffees for their filter brew. All that I saw used espresso blends.

Most people were also very curious about coffee in America. They all knew about Starbucks, but most had never heard of Peets, much less any of the specialty 3rd wave roasters. One barista did know the west coast coffee people relatively well, but that was because he'd met many of them at an SCAA event or something similar.

For me, the highlight was visiting HR Higgins in Mayfair, thanks to a suggestion from RJman. They are a tea and coffee supplier, and import and roast their own beans. They had some really exotic beans that I have never seen anywhere else: did you know they grow coffee on one of the Galapagos islands? 15.70UKP for 250 grams! That's like $50/pound.

There's also a Malawi Gesha, and monsoon-washed Indian beans. Their selection of Indian beans (most of the staff were Indians) was the biggest I'd ever seen, mostly because almost no one in the US supplies Indian beans! I got to talk to their roaster directly for a long time, and learned a lot of interesting stuff. He was also very curious about American coffee, especially about how the specialty shops sell their beans. He was the only person who had heard of Peet's, but didn't know much about them other than the name. Their roast profile is pretty light, but they also have a few beans they roast very dark.

The HR Higgins cafe downstairs will also prepare a French press (they call it "cafetier") from any bean they sell in the main shop. It's half price, about 1.60UKP for a 125 mL container, if you buy 500 g of beans from them. That's a great deal, and a great way to try different coffees before buying.

Anyway, due to limited baggage room, I came back with only 3 different beans in medium quantities: HR Higgins Colombian Madelin and Ethiopian Longberry single-origins, and a Square Mile Roasters Tanzanian. I've tried the Tanzanian already, and I may have to experiment more as it is a really lightly roasted bean. With my regular preparation methods, which work for American 3rd wave roasters, I get barely sweet, cucumber/green pineapple notes, but without the strong tanginess that's underextraction. I'm not sure if that's what the beans are intended to taste like, or whether I can get more out of them. They are certainly not averse to sweet coffees: the Aeropressed Rwandan I had at Caravan had a really appealing dark plum sweetness.

Costs were not excessive relative to their espresso prices for the filter coffee: 2UKP for a shot of espresso, and maybe 3.5UKP for the filter.

If you're going to London (or live there!), the book I used to find interesting coffee shops is this one: http://www.independentcafes.co.uk/london.html Their shop delivers to the US pretty quickly.

Also apropos of nothing, I saw a McLaren MP4-12C parked outside Caravan, parallel parked with the other regular cars, slightly dirty, which just made the whole experience that much better. Of course, I had to gawk.
post #560 of 2757
Interesting. I have experienced a lot of what you are talking about in terms of proper prep here in New York for brewed coffees at third wave joints, however the part about the friendliness is spon on in America. You are sitting next to, or standing next to tons of people and it is sometimes an effort to engage people. I like the social aspect to coffee and I like that in Paris and many other large European cities there is no concept of coffee "to go". You go in have a shot at the bar and then you are on your way. It forces people to mingle a bit.

The only non-traditional coffee place I encountered in Paris last year was a place called Cafeoteque, where they had coffees from places that I never knew even grew coffee. They roasted their own beans there, and what was interesting was the bar was in the back and the register in the front. So, you had to order from the barista, hang around and BS for a while, drink your drinks, and then pay when you leave. I liked it.

Indian beans are interesting. Nespresso actually has some Indian beans they put in pods, I think they are very peppery from what I remember.
post #561 of 2757
Here is a bonus shot of pB drinking espresso this weekend, lzoxol!!1!!

1a4a32f1.jpg
post #562 of 2757
Just finished a bag of Ethiopian Guji from Square Mile. Most fickle beans. When a shot was good, it was very good but very temperamental throughout the bag. This was a very light roast with underlying sweet tones.
Have a client in London, he travels to the US a few times each year and I meet him for fittings and he brings me a couple bags of whatever he finds interesting in London at the moment. If you are going back again AY, will ask if there is anything you missed or should try. Will be talking with him in the next day or two.
post #563 of 2757
I wonder how much weather and humidity and as affects espresso. I had a couple of shots at Stumptown yesterday in the pouring rain and they were surprisingly very good.
post #564 of 2757
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

So, you had to order from the barista, hang around and BS for a while, drink your drinks, and then pay when you leave. I liked it.

Yes, this was exactly what happened. The baristas were really friendly, even when the bar was slammed, unlike the high-priest-like attitudes some baristas cop here (not all of them, but enough to be annoying). I forgot that Nespresso has Indian coffee. I imagine that the volumes Nestle has to produce drives them to develop as many sources of high quality coffee as possible.

Chris, definitely ask your UK friend about the good coffee shops or roasters in the UK. I just had the Square Mile Tanzania again (Blackburn Estate AB) in a CCD, and it's like a slightly more complex bean (mainly in the aftertaste) than a typical Blue Bottle coffee, but very similar in style --- light with lots of fruit flavors. I think I'm definitely more of a fran of earthier coffees.

As for humidity, I think it definitely affects it, especially for something like espresso. The local place will dial in the espresso at least in the morning, and any time they switch beans, but they've also noticed the coffee changing throughout the day. Of course, there are so many uncontrolled variables (apparently grinder heating, even for the heavy duty ones used by commercial shops, is a really big, unaddressed deal), so who knows?
post #565 of 2757
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Interesting. I have experienced a lot of what you are talking about in terms of proper prep here in New York for brewed coffees at third wave joints, however the part about the friendliness is spon on in America. You are sitting next to, or standing next to tons of people and it is sometimes an effort to engage people. I like the social aspect to coffee and I like that in Paris and many other large European cities there is no concept of coffee "to go". You go in have a shot at the bar and then you are on your way. It forces people to mingle a bit.
The only non-traditional coffee place I encountered in Paris last year was a place called Cafeoteque, where they had coffees from places that I never knew even grew coffee. They roasted their own beans there, and what was interesting was the bar was in the back and the register in the front. So, you had to order from the barista, hang around and BS for a while, drink your drinks, and then pay when you leave. I liked it.
Indian beans are interesting. Nespresso actually has some Indian beans they put in pods, I think they are very peppery from what I remember.

Yeah, anglo expats tend to think it is the only decent coffee place, I sorta like it but it really feels like a north american coffee shop which can be weird (and that is the point). Choice seemed indeed pretty good with lots of african coffees.
post #566 of 2757

coffee? I like it strong like some civet coffee (yes, I know its a sh*t in a box) and Timor coffee (this one sense a hint of chocolate-like flavours and aroma). some other exotics like Sidikalang Sumatrans with their spiciness just not my favourite

post #567 of 2757
So Verve gave our local coffee shop some of the Panama Los Lajones gesha beans they'd roasted (for espresso) for the 2012 USBC competition, and I've been visiting the shop everyday to have it while it's there. The most surprising thing for me is that bean is milled in a natural process, and the actual beans are huge!

This was today's pull. It's a bit tall, but they say that they need to produce about 25 g of liquid for the pull to be right, at a dosing of 19-20 g. Anyway, it's thin in mouthfeel, but has all sorts of orange and tropical notes (passion fruit or guava) with well-balanced acidity, though it may be too tangy for those used to traditional espressos. It is totally different in character to the same bean when they roasted it for filter brew a few months ago.

P75750400.jpg
post #568 of 2757
I can't believe I just paid $4 for a small Starbucks coffee. They have a 100% Kona reserve single-origin that they brew with the Clover. I ordered one iced when I found out the Clover has an ice setting that doubles the brew strength to compensate for the ice. Iced also preserves and brings out the flavors more if done right, which in theory this was. Anyway, initial notes of burnt bitterness giving way to a surprisingly pleasant nuttiness and slight caramel flavors in the aftertaste. They claim floral notes, but I can't detect any unless they're talking about burnt flowers. Very low acid, with an almost ashy mouthfeel.

I was also surprised to see that they had a Galapagos bean, and it's less than $3/cup!
post #569 of 2757
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Y View Post

I can't believe I just paid $4 for a small Starbucks coffee. They have a 100% Kona reserve single-origin that they brew with the Clover. I ordered one iced when I found out the Clover has an ice setting that doubles the brew strength to compensate for the ice. Iced also preserves and brings out the flavors more if done right, which in theory this was. Anyway, initial notes of burnt bitterness giving way to a surprisingly pleasant nuttiness and slight caramel flavors in the aftertaste. They claim floral notes, but I can't detect any unless they're talking about burnt flowers. Very low acid, with an almost ashy mouthfeel.
I was also surprised to see that they had a Galapagos bean, and it's less than $3/cup!

have you tried the Kona Peaberry? I personally was not a fan and like reg Kona better but supposedly peaberry kona is exquisite.

Hope you guys tried Philz coffee if you are in bay area, place is awesome.icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif
post #570 of 2757
A Kona peabody sounds very expensive. I like Philz, but mostly for their coffee-based drinks than just plain black coffee. I haven't been there in a while.
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