Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I had a great initial turnout for the Metro Espresso survey and wanted to first spotlight Benjamin from Mocha Joe's Coffee Roasters. I still encourage readers to fill out the survey and send them to me. For details look at the post below or click here. I am excited to see how the responses compare with each other. Without further ado, here are Benjamin's responses:
1. When you buy coffee on the go, who do you patronize? (Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, an espresso cart, Au Bon Pain...etc.)
I try to avoid chains at all cost. I regularly use Yelp or Urban Spoon on my iPhone to find the closest locally owned cafe. You never know what you are going to get but I like trying new places. With chains you tend to get consistency, but if you don't like their coffee it means you already know what to expect. If I'm in a pinch though, I will hit up a Dunkin' Donuts, cream and sugar.
2. What is your preferred coffee-based drink (drip, espresso, moka pot, French press, latte...etc), and why?
For regular coffee at home I prefer a light roast brewed with a French Press. I like the extra body that you get from using a French Press and I think the light roast gives you a wider range of tastes. The French Roasts tend to roast away some of my favorite flavors, even though it does bring out new flavors that some people find desirable. If I'm going to our cafe I almost always get a double short maple latte. I get a double short shot and double short cup because I like the milk to espresso ratio. In large lattes, the milk tends to mask the taste of the espresso.
3. In general, what is your favorite aspect about coffee? Explain (i.e culture, taste, social lubricant)
Well, tasting it... but the history, culture, artistry of roasting and science of brewing are pretty interesting as well.
4. What is your favorite coffee story? (i.e bad experience at Starbucks or amazing espresso)
I was a regular at a particular small cafe for a couple of months and the same Barista always seemed to be working the shift when I came in. She was friendly but totally spaced out and would mess up 90% of my orders. If I ordered a maple la[t]te I might get surprised with a mocha la[t]te, if I got a small light roast I might walk away with a large french roast. The cool thing about it though was that it broke me out of my "regular" drinks and I began to appreciate espresso drinks that I had never tried before.
5. Folgers or Maxwell House? :-)
Ha! I'd rather go without. If it comes down to that I'll just drink water =)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
*Update* Cafe Amity is now known as Upper Crust Cafe, yet the rest of the review remains the same.
Today, I visited Cafe Amity located in Arlington, opposite of the hustling and bustling Ballston metro on Fairfax drive. Cafe Amity offers pastries, European and Turkish food for lunch and dinner, and most importantly coffee beverages including Turkish coffee.
This morning, I re-tried Archer Farms Ethiopian, and unfortunately yielded similar results from last post: lingering bitterness and weak floral, berry flavors. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter at Metroespresso, where I will be updating with content that does not necessarily need a full blog post devoted to it.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Earlier, I made some espresso with it and it tasted a bit bitter, so I was hoping that that moka pot method would make a more pleasanter beverage to drink. I ground my coffee at a medium grind as to not clog the pot, poured in some purified water (Have to have quality water!), rounded off the coffee on the basket and put it on the stove.
Though as one might be able to see the coffee grind wasn't perfectly rounded off, nor a smooth flat surface. Notice the indentations, that comes from an imperfect hand, namely mine :-).
While waiting for the coffee to come out of the spout on the top chamber, I wonder whether I have finished all my chores for the day. Often times, I haven't but the coffee's aroma reassures me that the chores are secondary to brewing coffee (at least until my girlfriend reminds me to take out the trash).
After a few minutes, the coffee or espresso oozes out. Though its really neither as the moka pot cannot equal the pressure of a real espresso machine yet exerts more pressure than a normal drip coffee machine like a Mr. Coffee, you can google this if you are curious and want to know more.
Once it finally starts coming out, the process takes about 20 or so seconds to finish, and take it off the gas burner. At Metro Espresso we use gas, electric stoves need not apply. I pour it in a cup, although not an espresso cup as I like to drink all of it as it doesn't have the same caffeine content as an espresso from a large machine one would get a coffee bar.
I let it cool for a few seconds knowing that if I let my eagerness get in the way my tongue will be burned for my impatience. After cooling, I tentatively sip, then take a sizable swig letting the coffee wash over my taste buds.
At first, the berry taste comes to the front, but unfortunately soon wiped away by a bitter taste. Sipped it again. Berry flavors, albeit not strong, and soon replaced by bitterness. This doesn't impede my enjoyment and doesn't have the burnt taste of Starbucks, but the bitterness is unmistakably there. Perhaps, in part this taste could be derived from a dirty moka pot, but I do wash it out every time. Perhaps next time I will use the French press.
Overall impressions, it delivers fleeting berry flavors, but a bitterness remained in my mouth for a period of time. Although Coffee Review says the AF Ethiopian received an 89/100, which I'm assuming is pretty good. http://www.coffeereview.com/article.cfm?ID=165 (Bottom of first paragraph) For the price, one could do worse. I have tried the Costa Rican coffee AF sells, and enjoyed it thoroughly so who knows? I'll give the Ethiopian another try stay tuned.
Has anyone else tried an Ethiopian coffee, be sure to comment below. Also, follow me at twitter under MetroEspresso. The link is on the right side of the page.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
What I will be doing in the coming posts and blog is four-fold (sorry for all the folding). First, this blog will review and critique DC-area coffee shops supplemented by pictures, commentary, and reviews about each place. Second, discussing coffee culture. Third, how to make quality coffee ranging from espresso to Turkish coffee using my own experience as examples of what to do and what not to do. Four, pontificating about coffee'ness in general.
What you will not find here is a coffee snob who looks down upon people who drink Starbucks, Folgers, or Maxwell house. As a coffee lover, and all other coffee lovers should, it is our job to tell the world about the wonders of coffee beyond the usual coffee products in a manner that engenders curiosity and a passion for a great cup of joe.
Here is my coffee setup,(from left to right) I have a small Bialetti Moka pot that makes quasi espresso which can be quite scrumptious. Next to it, I have a French Press pot that makes coffee similar to drip, but since it doesn't use a paper filter it keeps all the lovely oils in the coffee making a stronger and better tasting coffee. Next to that, is a Capresso Infinity burr grinder that, you guessed it, grinds whole coffee beans adding to the freshness of the coffee. Buying pre-ground coffee goes staler much quicker than whole bean, making a grinder an integral part to any coffee set up. Finally, the Lello Ariete espresso machine, while not a popular machine, it makes decent espresso for the price compared to other pricier home machines. In front, are all the tools: scoops, tampers, portafilter (the handle-looking thing), brush, and stop watch for timing how long the french press coffee should steep for.
A minor disclaimer(actually not really, more of a disclosure): I am not a coffee expert, but a person who enjoys coffee, who has read up on the subject through a few books, and spent perhaps a bit too many times sniffing coffees at the super market. I have pictures! I appreciate all the feedback, advice, and constructive critiques.
If you have a coffee setup, or had a great cup of coffee somewhere, please tell me at firstname.lastname@example.org