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Best coffee/espresso in the world


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#1 phaelon56

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 10:29 AM

Hardly an original concept for a thread but since our companion thread has folks spending so much time on the dark side.... how about some warm and fuzzy memories of your favorite coffee/espresso experiences? Perhaps it's not really the best cup you've ever really had per se but for whatever reason is very memorable.

Mine would have to be back around 1979 or so when my GF spent six months in Colombia South America teaching. She brought back a few vacuum packed pounds of a special grade of Colombian Supremo that was available only for export - much higher quality than what was sold for the local Colombian market. I promptly brewed up a small pot with my trusty Melitta and for the first time ever, discovered a coffee that was ruined rather than benefiting from having half 'n half added (I have typically always added half 'n half to my coffee - even the good stuff). This stuff was so good that drinking it black was the only viable option. Thinking about that first cup still evokes tangible taste recollection not to mention the intensity of being in love for the first time.

I'd be remiss if I failed to mention the first time I tried Ethiopian coffee made in the traditional manner, which is the preparation method used in the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. It was like drinking liquid gold (or so it seemed.... never having drunk liquid gold but I'm struggling for an analogy). I exited the restaurant (in Denver CO) and was greeted by the largest and most visible double rainbow I've ever been lucky enough to see - somehow very apropos.

#2 tryska

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 10:51 AM

french roast at 5am (i know very unorthodox) with my dad ever since i was little.

#3 Squeat Mungry

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 12:42 PM

One of my favorite coffee memories also involves a rainbow! In 2001, I vacationed with two friends in Costa Rica. One rainy morning we went for breakfast to a place along the main road that had been recommended in a guidebook.

The place was charming and we were seated on the covered patio in the back, surrounded by beautiful Central American flora. A delicious aroma soon filled the patio area... coffee! As our coffee was being poured, the clouds parted and sunlight filled the entire space. As we were taking our first sips, a HUGE rainbow appeared and seemed to actually engulf us, and the entire backyard was suddenly filled with butterflies!

The coffee was delicious (I bought some to bring home), and the experience is one I won't forget.

Cheers,

Squeat

#4 slkinsey

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 12:52 PM

For me the coffee experiences were aslways in Europe -- mostly Austria and Italy. I always thought I didn't like coffee until I spent a lot of time over there and figured out I just don't like American coffee.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#5 nanuq

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 04:35 PM

The first sip of espresso at Tassa d'Oro in Rome (did I spell that right?) - finally understanding what espresso should taste like. And then the first time I treated myself to some Jamaica Blue Mountain just to see what the hype was about.

#6 phaelon56

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 07:06 AM

And then the first time I treated myself to some Jamaica Blue Mountain just to see what the hype was about.


How did you like the JMB? I've received it as gifts on two occasions and it was remarkably smoth and well balanced. I think others may be underwhelmed by it but it was the delicacy and balance of flavors that really appealed to me (and the price that has kept me from keeping it on hand regularly). There's lots of faux JMB out there and from what I understand, there are only two farms that are consistently producing the best quality "real thing". Mavis Banks is one and I can't recall the other.

#7 Mark Beemsterboer

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 03:59 PM

I spent a year in Montreal with friends that were fond of whiskey, gin and pot; we could be found at any party with libation or smokables in hand, lounging against a wall just so, slowly taking drags with pursed lips and silent nods. Yeah, man, we might have said, ridiculously, Manet speaks to me.

An older transplanted Frenchman in my building named Raymond was married that winter, and he invited our Bohemian lot to the wedding and to the reception at the Ritz. We stayed sober for the wedding out of respect for the bride. I remember that a young man played a violin beautifully at the wedding, causing me to drift and forget the Anglican church in which I found myself.

That evening at the Ritz in a winsome room of panels of paper and walnut, after I was kindly escorted from the women's rest room after blearily wandering inside, Hugh caught my eye and silently nodded towards a coffee urn. Raising my brows after noting the coffee in his hand, I walked over and poured a cup. I sipped and the world fell away in a soft splash of roasted coffee bean heaven, of velvet dark-brown heaven. We, all of us, switched from booze to coffee, certain that we would never taste such a perfect cup, again. I was up all night, chattering incessantly.

One month later our bride died from the cancer inside her. Out of respect for the groom, we weren't terribly sober for the funeral. That same young man played his violin beautifully for the same crowd, causing me to drift and think about the bride: Margot, who had loved Raymond, briefly.

Edited by Mark Beemsterboer, 04 December 2003 - 04:18 PM.


#8 Hopleaf

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 05:12 PM

wow, my mouth just went completely dry.

What a first post.

Please indulge us with more, Mark Beemsterboer.
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

#9 nanuq

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 05:36 PM

About the JBM - I had come across it when spending hours on the internet trying to figure out why I did not like most of the coffee I was buying. Wish I had come across eGullet! CNN (of all places) had a site describing beans and roast styles that helped me out. So I knew to be careful and bought a half pound of JBM at a Gloria Jean's. It was high mountain grown and I think the real thing. The price was real, that's for sure. It was a revealing experience - had never tasted complexity approaching wine in a coffee before. Most times I see it I question the freshness so am wary of buying.

Since then the drip machine has been packed away, space taken over by Rancilio Rocky and Silvia, and the daily espresso ritual.

A restaurant near by apparently offers blue mountain as a special coffee - I'm thinking it's time to go give it a try.

BTW, I am delighted we now have a coffee board.

Tracey

#10 Culatello

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Posted 08 December 2003 - 06:03 PM

One of the best espresso's I've had was in Treviso Italy called Hausbrantd the other was here in Montreal but imported from Verona Italy called Giamaica Caffe
Giovanni Erbisti 1947 & Giovanni Frasi

You should check out the Montreal site Best coffee
Con il melone si mangia , beve e si lava la facia
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#11 phaelon56

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 07:17 AM

The Hausbrandt will soon be available here in the US. Here's the

Hausbrandt Thread

They're opening a cafe in Philadelphia.

#12 Schielke

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 10:43 AM

I have yet to do the european coffee thing, same with the JBM, but I do live in Seattle and the best place to get coffee by a far margin is Cafe Vivace. They make fantastic espresso and even do lattes and mochas well if you are in the mood.

Ben
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#13 mikeycook

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 10:57 AM

Our last few times in Paris, we have stayed at the Hotel Duc de Saint-Simon and perhaps my favorite coffee experience is ordering breakfast in the room with croissants, bread, etc. and enjoying their coffee (I am not sure I can stay anywhere else now).

I have been experimenting with varieties to try and find the closest comparable blend and the best so far has been Yrgacheffe ground for espresso and run through as normal drip coffee.
"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."
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#14 phaelon56

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 11:08 AM

I do live in Seattle and the best place to get coffee by a far margin is Cafe Vivace.


Just curious.... have you tried Hines Public Market Coffee. It's a bit off the beaten path relative to other Seattle espresso hotspots but I"m hearing that it's amazingly good and very consistent.

I'm reading so many positive comments about people's coffee experiences in France. Not having traveled there (yet), I'm curious - is there a predominant roast style and prep method? Is it a dark roast and press pot ? (which would seem too easy an answer as we know those items as French Roast and French Press here in the US).

#15 Culatello

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 05:20 PM

It's already 6 years we have the brand Hausbrantd in Quebec but it doesn't seem to be doing all that well compared with other brands like Segafredo,Lavazza,Illy & a few others Motta,Adelia.
Con il melone si mangia , beve e si lava la facia
My Nonno Vincenzo 1921-1994
I'm craving the perfct Gateau Foret Noire .

#16 Jason Perlow

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 05:23 PM

Turkish Coffee in the Yaffa Souk in Tel Aviv by a street vendor, during the summer of 1990. With baklava and Jaffa oranges on the side.

My first experience with Turkish/Arabic style coffee and the benchmark for which all others have to live up to.


100 Percent Pure Kona, black, roasted less than an hour old at a coffee plantation on Kona.

Drinking JBM at a resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, overlooking the Caribbean.
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#17 Schielke

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 06:25 PM

I do live in Seattle and the best place to get coffee by a far margin is Cafe Vivace.


Just curious.... have you tried Hines Public Market Coffee. It's a bit off the beaten path relative to other Seattle espresso hotspots but I"m hearing that it's amazingly good and very consistent.

I'm reading so many positive comments about people's coffee experiences in France. Not having traveled there (yet), I'm curious - is there a predominant roast style and prep method? Is it a dark roast and press pot ? (which would seem too easy an answer as we know those items as French Roast and French Press here in the US).

No, I have not tried them out. I will be sure to go the next time I am in that neighborhood. It does sound intriguing.

I looked it up and just for the record they are located at:

2243 Eastlake Ave. E
Seattle, Wa
Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

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#18 markovitch

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 12:26 PM

My best coffee memory.. hmmmm... all of my memories are coffee memories...

I had the wonderful pleasure of trekking for four days to Machu Picchu. It was a fantastic, taxing experience; i had quit smoking the day before going into the mountains so Dead Woman's pass, a knee bashing 1500 vertical feet of stairs over about 3 miles at a rediculously high altitude with wild alpacas lookin at you with mild bemusement was the toughest part. Anyway, after four days of ethereal beauty i found myself in the ancient city of Cuzco, which was once the Capital of the Inca empire.
As i walked through this city, whose center is built on the foundations (literally) of the inca buildings, i was reminded of "Aves sin Nido" by Clorinda Matto De Turner. The first chapter is about Turner's first visit to Cuzco as a young boy. I will spare you the spanish and transliterate a passage. loosely.

"as i passed through the narrow roads i saw the great stones of the inca underneath the stucco walls of the spanish haciendas. It was as if the white spanish walls existed solely to lighten the inca."

I found a hole in the wall restaurant far from the tourist traps but still in the center of the city. i climbed the narrow, precarious stone steps to the second floor. The restaurant was one room of tables: cheap plastic and not very clean. The tables in one corner apparantly served as the owners' family's living room, for there were five little children watching three year old copies of WWF Smackdown.

It was an israeli restaurant.

i'm not kidding.

The owners fed me much to much as they interrogated me about the finer points of Stone Cold Steve Austin's persona, and the significance of Austin 3:16; apparantly the reference was considered borderline heresy in Peru. They kept filling my coffee mug- coffee was not on the menu- and it was the best coffee i have ever had. It was as thick and black as the oil drained from a '64 plymouth valiant.

the coffee was so good when i returned to the states i refused all coffee. I reasoned if i couldn't have coffee that good it just wasn't worth it.

that held until i discovered Stumptown coffee roasters in Portland Or.
they make great coffee.

Edited by markovitch, 10 December 2003 - 12:28 PM.

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#19 phaelon56

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 07:30 PM

I love stories like this. The hike up the Inca trail is on my list of "must dos" for completion in the next three years before either I'm too old to do it comfortably or travel on it becomes restricted.

Stumptown - yeah.... they rock. Where else can you get coffee by the cup at a competitive price that's made perfectly with press pots all day long? (the notion is inconceivable to nearly any independent cafe, even the good ones)

#20 markovitch

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 05:21 PM

I love stories like this. The hike up the Inca trail is on my list of "must dos" for completion in the next three years before either I'm too old to do it comfortably or travel on it becomes restricted.

Stumptown - yeah.... they rock. Where else can you get coffee by the cup at a competitive price that's made perfectly with press pots all day long? (the notion is inconceivable to nearly any independent cafe, even the good ones)

Travel on the trail is already restricted: one must now travel with a licensed tour operator to get into the park, but trust me, that is a good thing.

My favorite thing about stumptown is the reporducability of their coffee. as i type i am in the reed college library, procrastinating on a paper, making my very own french press coffee as per the instructions i got from a barista at stumptown. It won't be quite as good as what you get in the shop, but i think that is only because everything tastes better when someone else is doing the work.
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#21 Larry

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 05:48 PM

EUROPE!!!!!

#22 Kenk

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Posted 14 December 2003 - 11:02 AM

Espana (Madrid, many locations)

Fragrant, Luscious, Full Bodied, Creamy.

#23 Suzanne F

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Posted 14 December 2003 - 12:10 PM

Not necessarily the best coffee, but the best coffee experience:

Cold espresso sweetened with simple syrup in a stand-up caffe across from La Fenice in Venice, June, 1986 (pre-fire). Just a regular caffe, but a perfect experience. Attending a great conference on Livable Cities, with an international crowd of architects and thinkers. HWOE and I had just gotten married the morning before we left to go to Venice. Still dreaming of going back.

#24 phaelon56

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Posted 14 December 2003 - 01:45 PM

Not necessarily the best coffee, but the best coffee experience


Yes.... sometimes the experience is the key. NOt the best drink I'd ever had but one of the most memorable due to circumstances was at a small Italian restaurant on Caye Caulker, an island off the coast of Belize. After a week of marginal coffee at best and a couple of horrid cappuccino's, I was amazed to be served the REAL thing, Italian style. Turns out that the owner was a native of Milan Italy and used straight Guatemalan beans and an old La Pavoni lever machine. He joined me at the table to chat about coffee, food and life. It was one of the most memorable meals and coffee experiences I ever had.

#25 basque

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Posted 14 December 2003 - 03:42 PM

I'm taking Owen's question literally and responding with my favorite coffee experience. I was working at a Peet's in Los Altos (SF Bay Area) during a winter break home from college, and had decided two weeks earlier to give up coffee with a co-worker. I had successfully managed this same high-stakes gamble while working at a Diedrich's the previous summer in Costa Mesa, both times calculating that a forced caffeine detox following finals week at school was some good body business at any time of year.

The problem with the Peet's experience was that there are few atmospheres more wanting of the reflexive holding and drinking of a steaming cup of good coffee than the magical four o'clock dusk hour surrounded by crisp winter air, grocery bags and wine bottles nearby, with plans for making dinner with friends at the ready. The sight of leeks in the bag alone begs alertness and the initiation of a plan, doesn't it? So maybe it was a conditioned response to my nervousness at starting the dinner shift when I used to cook on the line, feeling I'd benefit from the cerebral boost of the caffeine, but witnessing so many happy customers walk around with their coffees while I had to stay on the other side of the counter--as if through bars, two weeks into my sentence--was all I could take.

My manager said it was all right if I left a couple hours early, so I stamped my time card, called my girlfriend, my best friend and his girlfriend, asked them all to meet me at Shaub's Meat, Poulty & Fish next to Stanford's Oakville Grocery in 30 minutes, folded my apron and put it on the shelf, took a reading on the clarity of my menu-making thoughts and confirmed that I needed some creative calibration, and sort of half-floated, half-sneaked back up to the espresso machine.

Being accustomed to making coffee drinks as quickly as possible during the rush, it was awfully enjoyable to move slowly and create a little ceremony. I warmed the demitasse with boiled, filtered water from the teapot, warmed the double portafilter with the same water, tamped it with real Arabian Mocha-Java (which I had serendipitously chosen that afternoon as my bean choice), and pulled a nice, long espresso (the tailing bitterness on the MJ is required).

I drank it while enjoying a brief chat with my manager, someone I liked a great deal, fully aware that I was somehow bridging reality with a dream state, yet not sure of the optimal sequence or which one belonged where. The conversation over, the cold bulb of my brain aided in its re-blooming by the espresso, I then welcomed what has surely been the most enjoyable solitary bike ride (up to Palo Alto to meet my friends) I've ever had.

P.S. We seared some sea scallops (with walnut oil-dressed bitter greens, I think--this was about ten years ago) and made a coq au vin.