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Coffee Brands???


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#1 Rosie

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Posted 23 September 2001 - 08:35 AM

Which brand of coffee do you like and why? Also, do you think that restaurants should list the brand of coffee they serve? You are told for ex. that they serve Pellegrino water,  certain brands of tea and brands of liquor. Couldn't a restaurant offer you Kona coffee, Blue Mountain coffee, Starbucks coffee etc? Each could be appropriately priced. And I wish more restaurants would serve French pressed coffee. What are your thoughts?

#2 Steve Klc

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Posted 23 September 2001 - 09:05 AM

I've been loyal to three brands for years:

1) Illy--whole bean espresso (silver label, red lid)
2) Graffeo--"dark roast"--they only have two--light and dark--from San Francisco, 800.222.6250
and
3) Torrefazione Italia "Perugia" blend, 800-827-2333 and available online at:

http://www.titalia.com/site/

Though Torrefazione has been bought out, I haven't noticed a drop in quality.  All give full, smooth, rich and rewarding espresso.

and my machine is a Rancilio "Sylvia"

I do think you'll see more restaurants offerring French press coffee and revealing the brand and roast as consumers become more savvy and aware.  You've seen this happen with microbrews, tea sommeliers have gotten alot of ink within the past year and I've seen movement on the coffee front as well.

Thanks for starting a valuable thread Rosie.



#3 Rosie

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Posted 23 September 2001 - 10:07 AM

You're welcome!;) I must tell you that I did not have one bad cup of coffee in Hawaii and  it is unusual for me to be served a drinkable cup of coffee in NJ.

#4 Peter B Wolf

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Posted 23 September 2001 - 10:48 AM

Lets draw a line between Restaurant served and what you use at home. Also a distinction should be made between "coffee" and "espresso". After living in Germany for the last 14 years, I have yet to find a "tasty" cup of "coffee" here in the States, "espresso" mostly fair, but sometimes very good. Now, that is drinking outside of my home. At home I use "Melitta Traditional Torrefazione" brand, extra fine grind. Readyly available her in Maine in Supermarkets, such as Stop & Shop and Shaw's. The Melitta brand is about the nearest to German style roast (maybe because "Melitta" is a German roaster). I use a regular drip coffee maker, so called 10 cup, it's actually 50 ounces, and for that measure I use six good and full "coffee measures" or 60 grams of coffee meal. My wife and I drink that for breakfast everyday within about a half an hour. For "Espresso" I have a Saeco "Bistro" model '98, brought with me from overseas. The coffee meal I use is Lavazza, and I have friends or family send me that from Europe when I run out (twice a year a Kilo)

#5 Bux

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Posted 23 September 2001 - 10:55 AM

Coffee is another very interesting subject. Rosie's only touched the surface and already asked more questions than a simple reply will answer. Coffee drinkers may be more shabbily treated by American restaurants than cheese eaters, if I can make reference to problems noted in the cheese thread. Traveling in Italy, I remember using a restaurant guide that rated not only food, service and wine cellar, but the coffee. Be that as it may, Americans traveling in Italy constantly complain they can't get a "decent" cup of coffee. I suggest they have the wroing standard.

I'm not of the opinion that the "French press," if I  understand it correctlly, is in any way as good as a properly prepared espresso, which is what I expect from a restaurant. The quality of espresso, both here and in Italy, varies considerably, but even in France, espresso has become the standard. Yet, at an expensive wine tasting dinner at one of NYC's finest restaurants, plain old American roast coffee was served by the potful. I'm not sure if it was a cost factor or if it was assumed that's what everyone wanted. I'm also sorry to see fine French restaurants in NYC asking for the coffee order with or before dessert. It's a pet peeve of mine and I realize, it's not a popular view. In fact, it this thread is not about dark roast coffee, my comments may be irrelevant.

I have a problem with the price of Illy. It always seems as if it's too great a jump from the next brand. We had been buying a blend of dark roasts that varied, but was predominantly Kenyan beans. Lately we've been buying Danesi gold. I may come to accept Illy's premium yet. In Philadelphia, we had coffee at La Colombe and enjoyed it very much. I was told they served La Colombe at Daniel in NY and thus it should be available here. With a little resaearch I discovered it is a local Philadelphia roasting company with two retail shops in Philly. It also provides coffee for Daniel, the Waldorf Astoria and some other restaurants in NYC, but there seems to be no retail outlet in NY.


#6 Steve Klc

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Posted 23 September 2001 - 11:37 AM

Bux--French press is indeed a very different animal from espresso.  These days, when I'm on the road I bring an inexpensive press with me and that's about the only time I use it.  I, too, expect elite restaurants to have a commercial espresso machine and wait staff that knows how to use it--and I'm let down often.  I bought my "semi-commercial" Sylvia, partly, in response to this.  In order to get what I wanted--what I knew to be sufficiently good--I had to be able to control the process by getting a powerful pump machine.  (I got mine here, from an excellent site that happens to have a ton of helpful information:

http://www.coffee-machine.com/cm/rancilio/silvia_features.htm

Also, I bought a real grinder which makes more of a difference that you might suspect.  It was my first trip to Italy, getting off the plane in Bologna, that convinced me this was the way to go.  That basic espresso, from the generic stand in the middle of the airport lobby, was both a shock and a revelation.  There was no going back.

Coffee before or even with dessert should not be encouraged, for it is as palate-dulling as cognac or brandy or cigars.  We share the same peeve.

Illy is absurdly expensive and now you know how they can afford all those well placed, full page ads.  I use Graffeo and Torrefazione at least 3:1 over Illy.  

La Colombe is not yet available on the web, though their basic site is up and they do mail order:
http://www.lacolombe....com/index.html



#7 Rosie

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Posted 23 September 2001 - 03:45 PM

"These days, when I'm on the road I bring an inexpensive press with me and that's about the only time I use it."  

I LOVE it! In another forum Tommy wrote that he brings a pepper mill with him on vacation. What else are people packing in their suitcases to enhance their dining experiences when on vacation? ;)


#8 Bux

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Posted 23 September 2001 - 05:33 PM

What else are people packing in their suitcases to enhance their dining experiences

Well in my pocket rather than my suitcase, tickets to France. ;)

#9 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 24 September 2001 - 11:18 AM

We buy beans exclusively at Peet's.  (Decades ago, Peet's partner split off and started Starbucks.  In Northern California, your patronage of Peet's vs Starbucks is both a gastronomic and political statement.  Peet's product is generally a darker roast, and Peet's represents to us the small, local business.  However, all of this is relative.)  I have found that coastal people prefer Peet's roast, while those from the hinterland/midwest prefer Starbuck's which is probably closer to familiar American coffee brews.

We use African beans in a French press, usually Kenyan, but when we can get them, Aged Camaroon is incredibly aromatic.  AC hasn't been around in some time due to political instability in Africa, but is worth looking and hoping for.


#10 MHesse

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Posted 24 September 2001 - 08:10 PM

For home consumption we use fresh ground coffee from the Sensuous Bean.  Was about to say french roast, but I just checked the fridge and the bag says italian. Guess I failed a taste test recently without knowing it. ;)

I think I replied to an older thread once before about very ordinary to poor quality coffee served at very fine restaurants in NYC.  Not only is it probably american roast perked from a 5 pound can, but the coffee pot isn't cleaned well either.

I once read a Science Fiction novel, "The Mote in God's Eye" in which the quality of coffee was a minor subplot.  Cleanliness of the brewing equipment was very important, even in the Imperial Space Navy!

Last year in Charleston SC I had one of my better coffee at dinner experiences.  Served in a french press at the table.

--mh

(Edited by MHesse at 11:11 pm on Sep. 24, 2001)


#11 Ellen Shapiro

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Posted 24 September 2001 - 08:49 PM

Try as I might, I can't extract a decent cup of coffee from a French press. I'm aware that every expert says this is a superior method to the drip filter, yet it hasn't worked for me and the two restaurant experiences where I ordered French press-pot coffee (at some absurd premium) were extremely disappointing. So I'd appreciate some tips in this department, first of all.

Secondly, is it truly the case that serious connoisseurs of coffee never use a drip filter? I'm pretty pleased with the stuff I get out of my old Braun drip machine. We don't use any fancy gold filters, nor do we clean the machine with any special descaling agents, nor do we use purified water. It seems to me there are two keys to making good coffee with a drip machine: 1) You have to use approximately twice as much ground coffee as the machine's instructions recommend, and 2) you have to get freshly ground coffee from freshly roasted, fresh beans. Fairway is a good source for this, where high volume and high standards guarantee an acceptable product.

Even using the worst technology, also known as the percolator, coffee made from fundamentally good raw materials is surprisingly drinkable. I maintain the quality of the beans and roast are much more significant than people tend to believe.

Not that any of this compares to espresso-based coffee drinks. But this is an area where I've found that there's no way to do a good job at home without committing significant resources (both financial and temporal) to the effort. With a half dozen coffee bars within three blocks of our apartment, I can't see any convenience advantage to doing it at home, and it would take a lot of espresso to amortize out the cost of a quality home setup.

I've had some pretty good espresso-like coffee, albeit without crema, made in a little Italian contraption that I'd have no idea how to use. It looks like a telecommunications satellite. Does anybody know about this thing?


#12 Fat Guy

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Posted 24 September 2001 - 09:15 PM

If I'm not mistaken, what is called coffee in most of Europe is really a hybrid of what we in America call coffee and what we call espresso. That is to say, it is coffee made using espresso-type pressurized-water technology. Pressure is simply critical to great coffee of any kind, though I agree that very good coffee can be made without pressure.

One point worth noting is that even at the fanciest restaurants Americans expect a "bottomless" cup of coffee -- infinite free refills -- whereas Europeans are willing to pay per cup. This can get really expensive if, like many Americans, you like to drink several cups even when the coffee is quite rich. This may be one factor that prevents a lot of American restaurants from taking the plunge into really good coffee. Certainly the espresso standard in good American restaurants is significantly higher than the coffee standard, though both could use improvement. I agree with Steve Klc, though, that as in many other areas of cuisine it is inevitable that America will wake up to serious coffee eventually. We took one big step forward with the nationwide spread of Starbuck's and coffee bars in general. The next step will no doubt be taken soon enough.

I should note that I'm not much of a coffee drinker, even in excellent restaurants in Europe. I almost always opt for tea, and generally taste coffee only for critical purposes. Coffee, made well, can be an interesting beverage with a certain degree of subtlety. But I think that, as objectively as it's possible to make a taste statement, tea is superior in its depth. I can think of very few situations in which I'd choose coffee over tea. On account of this proclivity, a nickname has arisen in our household. I think I won't share it.

This is another thread that deserves to be several independent threads, but I'm not even sure how I'd begin to divide it up.


#13 Jason Perlow

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Posted 24 September 2001 - 09:45 PM

I agree that tea is certainly the more complex drink, but in my mind there is nothing better than a good cup of coffee. Its two different moods I think. I can drink tea anytime, but if I want to kick myself in the ass, I want coffee.

Certainly pressure is very important for making an excellent espresso, and perhaps the method itself is more important than the quality of the beans, since you are roasting the beans so dark in the first place. But I digress -- a regular french roast of a superior bean like 100 percent kona or Jamaica Blue Mountain thats gone thru a simple Bodum device is as satisfying and complex an experience as most good teas in my book.

Overall, the way I most enjoy coffee is in a Turkish coffee service, served sweet, with a good Baklava.


#14 Bux

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Posted 24 September 2001 - 09:49 PM

Coffee drinkers and tea drinkers are not different breeds. They are more like cats and dogs. When we took a step forward with Starbucks and the likes, we raised the middle considerably, but often when that happens the top and bottom both tend to move towards the middle. I wonder if we'll see a more serious interest at the top as a result of Starbucks. America now thinks of coffee in Seattle terms not Italian ones.

I drink coffee once or twice a day. Usually for breakfast and often after dinner. At both times I'd like an espresso. I'd not like to go out to a bar. Almost any machine could be amortized in a couple of years.

There is no method one could devise to make worse coffee than a percolator.

I've gone through a lot of ideal home coffee makers from the early machinettas that were heated on the stove top and turned over to drip. These were the favorites of Greenwich Village coffee houses and Italian restaurants of the 60's. For a while the Chemex reigned. It seemed scientific and is no different from the Melita and automatic drip. I think we abandonned it when I discovered I liked stronger coffee more than good coffee and was losing too much to the filter. Our current dissatisfaction is with a non-pump driven "espresso" maker that makes a good cup of coffee, but not really espresso. One really has to envy tea lovers, unless of course you like to play with toys.


#15 Bux

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Posted 24 September 2001 - 09:54 PM

Fat Guy: I can think of very few situations in which I'd choose coffee over tea. On account of this proclivity, a nickname has arisen in our household. I think I won't share it.

Jason:  if I want to kick myself in the ass, I want coffee.

I thought that's what Fat Guy was saying, but ever so much more discreetly. ;)



#16 Roger McShane

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 01:23 AM

Fascinated to see the terms 'coffee' and 'espresso' differentiated!
To me coffee is espresso and espresso is coffee. The drink commonly found in American diners made with the drip-filter process is so far removed from what a coffee should be that a new name should be invented for it.
It just goes to show that your palate craves for what you are reared on! (That is why Australians miss the strange taste of the dark black beef extract called Vegemite.)
To me the quintessential taste of coffee is most clearly expressed in the coffee 'palaces' of northern Italy - in Milan and Turin.
There, as in Middle Eastern countries for hundreds of years previously, coffee is an end in itself, not something used to finish off a meal. It is the focus of a social occasion.
But it is the espresso (or preferably the ristretto) that marks the purest form of the art of coffee making. And this is why so much money, pride and effort goes into the centrepiece of these establishments, which is the espresso machine itself.
But having the machine is not the complete answer. The way it is cleaned, the freshness of the beans, the type of roast, the skill of the barrista in packing the group (too much coffee and the steam will burn it, too little and the full flavour will not be extracted), the type of water used and dozens of other small items all go into the making of a good coffee.
I agree with Steve Klc that Illy is one of the best commercially-available mixes. I also partly agree with Steven Shaw about tea. When accompanying food, tea is a more subtle (and sometimes more complex) flavour and therefore sits more comfortably with food. In red wine terms, tea is pinot and coffee is shiraz. There is a place for both.
And it depends on the type of tea. Often one of the better Formosan oolong teas will be an ideal way to finish a meal. In the afternoon with a light snack, a single estate Darjeeling is perfect. A Japanese green tea such as Gyokuro, however, I prefer to drink on its own as a refreshing pick-me-up.
I recently attended a meal for a large group of wine lovers. It was a northern Chinese restaurant and we ordered the standard dishes such as dumplings, jellyfish, mock goose, Peking Duck done three ways along with silver thread bread (mantou). The wines had been chosen to accompany the food.
After an hour or so I introduced pu ehr tea (also known as bo lai) to the table. It was a twenty year old version so had developed a nice mellow pungency. The wine tasters at first rejected it. But after a few more courses they started to drink it and by the end of the meal nobody was drinking wine, they were all drinking the tea. They had become obsessed with the way the tea enhanced their appreciation of the food as well as its ability to stimulate the appetite and to assist with digestion.
But back to the coffee theme. I agree that Starbucks produced a leap of some sort in the appreciation of coffee. However on two recent trips to the US where I have been trapped in places where Starbucks was the only place for a coffee fix I have noticed that the vast majority of customers order some strange perversion of the coffee concept – often with something sweet added to it in syrup form. Yuk!!!!



#17 Steve Klc

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 06:34 AM

Ellen and Bux--if you have one espresso a day for 3 months you will "amortize" the cost of a 踰 Rancilio "Sylvia"--or one of the other 2 or 3 worthwhile semi-commercial machines--versus those espressos purchased from your local outlets.   Two caveats:  you have to be the kind of person who likes doing things for yourself, with your hands and making espresso at home is kind of like a high school chemistry lab because of, as others have rightly alluded to, the many inter-related variables. The seemingly expensive machine pays for itself much more quickly, however, when you start having a second one later in the morning, as you undoubtedly will.

Ellen--I used various drips for awhile in the 80's with a gold filter and found that the machines heated the water to an inaccurate and variable temperature.  Also, the hotplate tended to hold the coffee at too high a temp.  Braun et al have realized this and now offer a variable temp switch for the burner, an insulated pot, but the initial water temp is still a problem for some.  Surely the drip and percolator methods gained popularity because both extract the most caffeine--caffeine extraction being related to the time the water is in contact with the grounds.

And Ellen, the ultimate in convenience surely is rolling out of bed, on cold wintry morning, without regard to appearance, and returning to same cradling that double shot with some steamed milk, the warmth of the porcelain bleeding into your palms.

Margaret--I, too, love African beans in the French press, though my favs tended to be Ethiopian, especially the winey varieties.

In addition to the quality of machine, origin of bean--
and Roger's great points about freshness and roast--I'd add how beans are stored as another paramount concern--and reiterate my previous comment about grind.  You really do need to spend as much money on a grinder as you can afford to do it right at home.  Think of it this way--that 趁. grinder will be the last one you ever buy and it's consistency is remarkable.

Most coffee aficionados agree quality of bean is paramount--all this talk is beyond an inherent assumption of great beans, roasted properly for your intended use.  Kind of like cacao beans and chocolate:  it is impossible to make interesting, complex chocolate without inherently interesting, complex beans, harvested and processed properly.  

Two other practical issues which may seal this for some people--how much permanent counterspace are you willing to dedicate to this effort (my setup takes 24" by 18" to the left of my kitchen sink) and cleanliness--how fastidiuos are you?  It is impossible not to have finely ground bits of black sand and powder all over the place--and you have to clean up, wipe down, empty and rinse the overflow tray, remove and replace the "group" as Roger mentioned--every time you use the machine.

Perhaps one way to look at trying to make great espresso at home might be to consider whether you are more like a chef or pastry chef--if you are demanding, anal retentive, scientific, precise, a perfectionist--like a top chef--only more so, and like to play with toys and fancy equipment, like a pastry chef (or a writer, who researched this topic like a pastry chef, Corby Kummer, author of the very enjoyable "The Joy of Coffee," which was based on his series of articles on the bean from the Atlantic Monthly years and years ago)

then making espresso at home is for you.  If not, then perhaps view it as a somewhat masochistic challenge--like golf--where no matter how good you get at it, no matter what your level of investment and commitment--you can still screw up occaisonally.  But those times you hit it dead center perfect, oh those times...

I'd also cast a vote to say that espresso and coffee should just be considered two different, but related, drinks--and that each have their own peculiarities, sensory appeal and standards for evaluation.  So now we need 3 threads--tea, espresso and coffee (non-espresso).

Perhaps we should put an ongoing tea thread and the coffee threads in "Cooking," since it involves discussion of ingredients and equipment and technique?
 


#18 Ellen Shapiro

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 06:41 AM

Steve Klc, can you follow up with some tips on how to get good coffee out of a French press pot? Thanks!

#19 Steve Klc

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Posted 25 September 2001 - 07:18 AM

Ellen--the French press gives you coffee with body--thick and chewy.  This is perhaps the closest method to brewing tea and the most direct.

I use a 1.5 cup glass Bodum.

Use filtered water, whole beans that you grind yourself immediately before brewing.

Use a coarser grind than you might expect--sandy gravel--and at least a moderately dark roast.  You know you have the grind right when you are able to push down the plunger smoothly without struggling too mightily.  It should push down with some resistance but not effortlessly.  If you can't push it down at all, or it requires herculean effort to push down, resulting in coffee spraying up through the sprout, your grind is too fine.

Like in making tea--warm up your glass carafe first.  I put some water in it and microwave it while I'm measuring out the grounds and boiling the water on the stove.

Empty it, then put in the coffee--then pour water just off the boil on it--then stir slightly--then put the lid on.

Plunge after 5 to 5:30 minutes.

It probably doesn't surprise you that I weigh my coffee out--15 g per espresso double shot;  for the press, start by using 2T of ground coffee per 6 oz cup.  But even that is variable--you can use it to your taste for a given bean and roast--and I often use more than recommended.


#20 franklanguage

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Posted 13 October 2001 - 02:34 PM

Quote: from Ellen Shapiro on 11:49 pm on Sep. 24, 2001
Try as I might, I can't extract a decent cup of coffee from a French press. I'm aware that every expert says this is a superior method to the drip filter, yet it hasn't worked for me and the two restaurant experiences where I ordered French press-pot coffee (at some absurd premium) were extremely disappointing. So I'd appreciate some tips in this department, first of all.

First and most important, the coffee you use in a melior pot (the name of a french press, and not the brand name) must be coarsely ground. There is no other way; if you use coffee ground as for regular drip, you will get a fine silt, like Turkish coffee. Was this your experience?

Secondly, is it truly the case that serious connoisseurs of coffee never use a drip filter? I'm pretty pleased with the stuff I get out of my old Braun drip machine. We don't use any fancy gold filters, nor do we clean the machine with any special descaling agents, nor do we use purified water. It seems to me there are two keys to making good coffee with a drip machine: 1) You have to use approximately twice as much ground coffee as the machine's instructions recommend, and 2) you have to get freshly ground coffee from freshly roasted, fresh beans. Fairway is a good source for this, where high volume and high standards guarantee an acceptable product.


Well, we grind our own beans using a burr grinder, and I'll agree that this is highly important. Some coffee geeks even insist on roasting their own green beans, but we're not that hard-core.

I don't know about the "twice as much as the machine's instructions recommend" rule of thumb, though; we just use a standard coffee measure per mug (12 fluid oz.), which I believe comes out about the same as the manufacturer's instructions.

Even using the worst technology, also known as the percolator, coffee made from fundamentally good raw materials is surprisingly drinkable. I maintain the quality of the beans and roast are much more significant than people tend to believe.

I'm inclined to agree, since we use a Krups 12-cup drip that's served us for years; however, we do clean the machine periodically using white vinegar which we run through twice; this is to remove calcification buildup.

#21 Ruby

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Posted 13 October 2001 - 08:31 PM

Wow! I used to think a good cuppa coffee was a simple, necessary  pleasure but after reading some of these 'scientific' posts,  I'm not so sure anymore.

I became addicted to coffee when I was about four. My mother used to make hers with Chase & Sanborn or Savarin coffee--whatever tin was on sale--and the plainest/homeliest percolator.  I'd be fascinated as I watched the little see-through glass top on the percolator.  First the water would run clear, after a few minutes, the perking would pop faster and faster. The color got dark, then darker while the wonderful aroma filled the whole kitchen in our apartment on the Lower East Side (it wasn't trendy then).  That was the best coffee - no fancy presses or exotic coffee beans. And she always served her coffee with what else? Coffee cake from Orchard Street.

Now I buy coffee beans from Oren's for about twelve buckaroos and the beans have to be weighed exactly - 3/4 of a pound of French Roast with 1/4 pound of mocha java. Then the water has to be of a certain temp....blah blah. And you know what? My mom's coffee was better! Please don't write and say that I was only four and couldn't judge because I was already a gourmand by that time! :-)

I do have one peeve that I'd like to share with you. I hate when restaurants tell me the coffee was just prepared and I know it's been sitting there for awhile. One sure giveaway is that as soon as the milk hits the coffee, it turns murky and tastes stale and terrible. No matter how much milk is added, the coffee stays muddy. One time in a trendy pizza/bistro/wine bar, I asked the waiter if the coffee was freshly made. He responded very enthusiastically: "Yes, we made it this morning." And he wasn't kidding.



#22 Bux

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Posted 14 October 2001 - 07:56 AM

Ruby, I'm tempted to suggest you develop a taste for espresso, it's always made to order and, in my not so humbel opinion, just a better beverage.

However I'm most struck by the restaurant quote that the coffee is made fresh every morning. A while back I was reading a post about pasta in one of the usenet restaurant newsgroups. The gist of the post was about a complaint similar to yours, but about the pasta in some mediocre Italian restaurant, possible a local chain. At any rate the punchline delivered with a straight face by the manager was that they cooked their pasta fresh every day.


#23 Ruby

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Posted 14 October 2001 - 09:07 AM

Quote: from Bux on 10:56 am on Oct. 14, 2001
Ruby, I'm tempted to suggest you develop a taste for espresso, it's always made to order and, in my not so humbel opinion, just a better beverage.

Bux, I love espresso too and prefer it in the latter part of the day.

That's funny about the pasta. After reading your post, I almost fell off my chair laughing about it. And to think here in New York we pay so much for a bowl of it! More and more, I'm seeing prices in restaurants for pasta in the high teens and it's not because there are costly ingredients in the dish like shrimp or lobster. Maybe we should start a new post about pasta.


#24 Bux

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Posted 14 October 2001 - 09:32 AM

Before I offer any more humbel (sic) opinions, I will configure my interactive spell checker to work with Explorer and risk the crashes I expect will ensue.

The other thing about coffee, is that for me, it's always a beverage apart from the food of a meal. It can be taken by itself at any time of the day, but except at breakfast, it follows any and all real food including dessert for me. In the US, it's often the beverage with the meal for many people. I recall an Air France stewardess rather befuddled by a request for coffee as a meal was being served. She was evidently prepared for Coca-Cola in lieu of wine, but not coffee. I also recall a gentleman asking for coffee at the beginning of a meal in a top NY French restaurant. For me it was as striking as if he had come in wearing a beanie with a propeller. Obviously, for him, it was natural.


#25 yvonne johnson

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Posted 14 October 2001 - 06:14 PM

Illy and Lavazza, in tins, get my vote. I don’t buy beans anymore. We (me and my husband) used to buy beans and keep them in the freezer, grind in AM and so on. Illy ground espresso in tins is twice the price of Lavazza, and has, I think, a more rounded and delicate taste than the latter but I’ve not done a blind tasting. I use either for cappuccino or drip-made. I hardly ever order coffee when I’m out. I’ve had too many disappointments.



#26 franklanguage

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Posted 15 October 2001 - 07:14 AM

Quote: from Bux on 12:32 pm on Oct. 14, 2001
I also recall a gentleman asking for coffee at the beginning of a meal in a top NY French restaurant. For me it was as striking as if he had come in wearing a beanie with a propeller. Obviously, for him, it was natural.

Reminds me of the time my parents were in town and we all went to the Second Avenue Deli for lunch. When it came time for my dad to order, he blurted, "I'll just have a sandwich and a glass of milk," (which was what he always had at home) before he realized his mistake. He looked like he wanted to crawl under the table - and so did I.

#27 rockhopper

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Posted 19 November 2001 - 09:01 PM

I was happy to see Peet's mentioned. When I work in the bay area it's all I drink. There are a few Peet's in Boston also.

I live in Haddonfield which is close to Philadelphia. There is a BigBucks in town but there also is an independent shop (called 3 beans coffee co. 140 N. Haddon Avenue, Haddonfield (856) 354-2220 ) that serves La Colombe from Philadelphia. You can also buy the beans there. The also have live music.


I've been to La Colombe on Rittenhouse square also. The same top quality coffee but marred by far too much cigarette smoke.

They have a pretty uninformative web page at http://www.lacolombecoffee.com.


#28 =Mark

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 01:48 PM

Quote: That is why Australians miss the strange taste of the dark black beef extract called Vegemite.

Vegemite is a product of yeast extract, not beef.


#29 Wilfrid

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 02:51 PM

It is indeed, and very unpleasant too.  But they serve it at Eight Mile Creek in SoHo if any Manhattanites want to try it.

Coffee?  I find unground beans often disappoint, and I suspect some stores just keep them too long.  Ready ground, might I suggest a Puerto Rican brand such as Bustelo.  Powerful, rich, and not overpriced.


#30 Jinmyo

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 05:28 PM

I'm nowhere near a coffeenista. I drink gallons of tea daily, some fine Chinese green teas ocassionally. But I'll go for periods where I must have a cup of coffee with cream and a pinch of sugar around 11 a.m. After working my way up to Illy (by being willing to pay that much for the pleasure) I took a step to the side. Same price range as Illy, but Malongo Cafe's Moka D'Ethiopie is absolutely delicious. Just mentioning it as I didn't see it come up in this discussion.