10.03.2007

Esprevelations

I didn't realize until today that is has been quite some time since any insight has been offered into the coffee side of LRBC, and for this I apologize. I'm not going to try to make any excuses, but I will say that I am going to make a concentrated effort to keep y'all in the know as to the latest coffee news coming out of the cafe. To summarize our first month:
Since day one we have been rocking the bottomless portafilters-in the beginning the decision to go bottomless was based on the ability of the design to be used as a training tool. Of late, we all simply seem to like the way the bottomless pours the espresso. For the gear heads out there we are currently using 18 gram filter baskets, and pouring at a temp of 200.00 degrees Fahrenheit.
As for the for the coffee itself, Joel recently revamped his espresso a few weeks back after running out of a coffee that had been a staple in his previous espresso. After some tweaking the new blend has finally come into fruition and is proving to be very enjoyable.
As for the drinking coffee, we have had many different coffees to enjoy. Personally I am a real big fan of being able to try so many different coffees all the time. I know that for some people, consistency is really important, but I tend to feel that so long as the coffee is consistently good, that is all that matters. If I had to pick a favorite (or two) of the coffees Joel has roasted for us to use thus far, I would have to say that the Kenya Thika-Gethumbwini Peaberry and the Guatemala Atipi have really stood out for me. The Kenya was smooth and held some pleasant berry/fruit-like notes, while the Guatemala was wonderfully acidic and oh-so chocolaty.
The LRBC Barista Team is doing a great job. Jo came to us with years of previous coffee experience in the great states of Hawaii and Wisconsin. No training necessary here, she is consistently making great coffee while always offering insight on technique as well as organizational ideas for our 'espresso area.' Tim (aka In House Onion Boy) has proven to be a young lion of the Synesso art. With no previous coffee experience, Tim has approached the machine with an inquisitive and observant mind, and has proven to be a quick study. In about a week he was pouring consistent latte art, which of course does nothing to improve the taste of a drink, but does stand as a testament to his effort and hand-eye coordination. He is pouring great coffee, and I am sure will continue to develop on his already strong technique. I have learned a great deal from both of them, and take pride in the fact that I can trust them to do their very best when pouring coffee for a customer of the cafe.
Among the many highlights from the past few weeks, one of the more memorable coffee-moments we have had thus far came this past Sunday courtesy of Jeremy, whom we first when picking up our Synesso this past August. The 'new guy' at the shop, Jeremy was a barista for more than 8 years before he decided to help build the very machine we use to make our espresso (he also likes old-time music and plays Clawhammer banjo and guitar). When Ali and I visited the factory Jeremy poured me one of the best double shots that I've ever had. This past weekend he and his wife Joy were visiting some friends who live in St. John's, so they decided to pop into the shop to see how the machine was working, and taste Joel's coffee. Without too much prodding we were able to get Jeremy behind the machine, where he gave myself and the rest of the day's crew a mini-workshop, while also pulling shots and making drinks for unsuspecting customers. To watch the guy work was poetry in motion. His years of experience definitely showed in his left-handed tamp and his swift handle of the portafilter. In fact, the visit was so significant that it completely changed the way I plan to approach pouring the epsresso. After watching do his thing it became apparent to me that a more ristretto shot really affects the flavor of the espresso. It was one of those Homer Simpson "D'oh!" moments. I know that this is how many, if not most of the city's best coffee shops opt to serve there coffee, however I have still consistently been pouring that extra 0.5 ounce of coffee in most of the shots I have served thus far (sorry folks). No...its really not as though the coffee has been bad, its just that I think it now kicks major a$$. I encourage any and all of you to come in and check out the difference for yourself.
Alright, thats enough coffee ramblings for now, but I hope that you all are feeling a little more in-the-know. Its time for me to go to bed so that I can get up again and enjoy some more coffee.

2 comments:

Tim said...

Hooray for improving on greatness. I love the darkness of the crema that our new pour volume retains. I think that things are just going to keep getting better with the coffee as we all adapt and learn. I want any of the blog readers who regularly order LRBC espresso drinks to not hesitate to give me feedback on my pours. Obviously, time doesn't always permit a lengthy conversation about each drink I make, but chances are if your drink doesn't taste great, I could be doing something better.

Thanks for the shout outs A & E!

Metolius Mark * Computer God said...

Tim....Your pours are great...never fear. 'Course a stiff Latte is all the adventure I can muster. I dunno how you animals can drink that stuff without water and milk. Bwwwhhhdaaa. Just thinking about it makes me shake my head till my cheeks flap.