• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
phaelon56

Alinea - Coffee and espresso

4 posts in this topic

I presume this question is best asked here rather than on the Food Lab thread? As an espresso enthusiast, life-long coffee drinker and lover of all things related to the humble bean, I've been consistently disappointed in the coffee and espresso/cappuccino offerings proffered in most restaurants. Although my high end dining experience is extremely limited, feedback from fellow coffee lovers who've dined far and wide at all levels of the culinary spectrum seems to concur: it's tough to find an exemplary cup of coffee in restaurants and nearly impossible to get truly good espresso (kudos to Gramercy Tavern in NYC for the Yauco Selecto coffee I had when dining there - best cup I've ever had in a restaurant).

Does the Alinea team have specific plans to ensure consistency and excellence on this small but crucial detail of the dining experience? This of course includes not only the choice of roaster/bean supplier, the type of beans or blends... brewing equipment used... grinding gear... process control.

Please share with us all the great news about how good your coffee and especially espresso will be and why so I can begin making my Chicago travel plans :wink::biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too feel that in many high-end restaurants, especially in America, the coffee service is considered an afterthought rather than a seemless part of the meal.

Alinea has been speaking with 2 coffee purveyors about providing an assortment of unique, top-notch artisinal coffees. Service too will be well thought out, will include a choice of brewing methods (to include at least espresso and french press), and will be handled as an integral part of the overall beverage service.

Chef Achatz and our Sommelier / GM Joe Catterson have been actively working on this aspect of Alinea for a few months. In addition, Martin Kastner of Crucial Detail has prototyped several service pieces for the coffee service. As the serviceware, purveyors and methods are settled on we will provide more details.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alinea has been speaking with 2 coffee purveyors about providing an assortment of unique, top-notch artisinal coffees.  Service too will be well thought out, will include a choice of brewing methods (to include at least espresso and french press), and will be handled as an integral part of the overall beverage service.

Quality product is great. With French Press coffee, it pretty much gets you there. The only big variables left to work with being grind and water which are easy to "solve." Storage is a lesser concern.

Espresso and espresso based drinks, however, are another story. Technique and equipment are far more crucial. How do you "solve" these in a dining environment where the turnover is very low in comparison to a cafe. Foaming milk to a perfect velvet consistency takes a lot of practice and pretty high turnover as does pulling perfect shots. Are you considering having a true barrista or at least someone with real training?

I feel like this is something that many diners, even very "sophisticated" diners, do not have much experience with - perfect espresso. It could be a mind/palette opening taste phenomena on par with the cuisine.

Ciao,

rien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Espresso and espresso based drinks, however, are another story. Technique and equipment are far more crucial. How do you "solve" these in a dining environment where the turnover is very low in comparison to a cafe. Foaming milk to a perfect velvet consistency takes a lot of practice and pretty high turnover as does pulling perfect shots. Are you considering having a true barrista or at least someone with real training?

I feel like this is something that many diners, even very "sophisticated" diners, do not have much experience with - perfect espresso. It could be a mind/palette opening taste phenomena on par with the cuisine.

All points extremely well taken. Fresh beans, proper machine cleaning and maintenance, accurate grind and tamp... these are but a few of the starting points as the skill of the barista is the determining factor. Just as the highest quality foodstuffs and kitchen equipment cannot yield a work of true culinary art, so goes the art of espresso production. Although it's produced by a relatively new company and a limited number of these machines are out in the field at present, I suggest that the Synesso Cyncra should be included on your list of candidates for house machine.

The fragility of straight espresso shots and the short-lived nature of the precious crema present huge challenges for presenting the beverage in its finest state in the restaurant environment. Milk based drinks- far easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By bhsimon
      I want to make mint spheres for use in a hot sauce. (Think lamb with mint caviar.)   Can this be done? Is it possible to make heat-stable spheres?   What is the most effective way to extract mint flavour from the raw leaves? I don't want the resulting spheres to contain alcohol as it will be served to children. My cursory investigations indicate that glycerol may be an alternative—has anyone done this?
    • By boudin noir
      I recently did some halibut steaks sous vide. They were about 1 1/2  inches thick. I did them for 30 minutes at 122 degrees. When i took them out to brown them, they were very fragile. As I browned them they fell apart. They were delicious, perfectly cooked from an eating point of view, but ugly. Too hot, too long or both?
    • By bhsimon
      Anyone tried this?
       
      I'm trying to think of something novel to do for my friends at an upcoming birthday weekend. We are renting a house in the Hunter Valley (Australian wine region) and food is a major component of our weekend. Last time I did fizzy fruit—the grapes and oranges were awesome and everyone enjoyed the unique experience. I want to do something quirky like that again.
       
      The whipping siphon is easy to transport so I'm interested in using it. The siphoned soufflé in Modernist Cuisine, volume 4 page 297, has a chocolate variation that does not require propylene glycol alginate or maltodextrin (I don't have those things in my pantry, yet). That looks like it might be a good one to try. Anyone done that and have some advice for me before I dive in?
    • By bhsimon
      Besides the health concerns, deep frying steak is the best way to get an even colour and crust on steak. In my most recent experiment, I tried the technique of deep frying prior to, and after, cooking the steak sous vide. In the past, I had only fried the meat after it had been cooked.
       
      The meat was veal chops. As can often be the case, the meat was mishandled somewhere along the way. The obvious signs of this were indentations in the surface. This kind of thing makes it tricky to pan fry and get even colour.
       


       
      This soft meat is also tricky to vacuum seal as it can often be further compressed and misshapen in the process.
       
      I was delighted to observe that a short 45 seconds in hot oil fixed both of these issues! I didn't expect that. Nice. The meat plumped up and that indentation was gone. It also held its shape nicely when vacuum packed.
       

       
      Time and temperature matters. The difference can be just a few seconds or degrees. In the next picture, the time was the same but the oil was 20°C hotter for the steak on the left and the crust is noticeably darker. My next experiment will try 30 seconds at 200°C before and after.
       


      The goal is to keep the crust as thin as possible.
       

       
      I hadn't anticipated the secondary benefits of deep frying prior to sous vide. The plumping of the meat and slight firmness made them easy to package and present. I am curious whether anyone has observed this. I am also curious if it would it work in hot water, rather than oil.



    • By Porthos
      I have purchased an Anova circulator. My interest in sous vide is based upon needing to prepare chicken and pork dishes that remain more moist than other cooking methods I have used. This is based upon needing more moistness for my wife. After her bariactric surgery she became sensitive to meat that is not still very moist.
       
      I would like recommendations for some threads to read through to help get me started.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.