Jump to content
  • 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 a free account.

Alinea - Coffee and espresso


Recommended Posts

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:

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.

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

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Similar Content

    • By Anonymous Modernist 760
      Thanks for putting up this forum 🙂
      I would like to bake using a combination of sous vide and a conventional oven. Would it be possible to put the dough in a vacuum bag cook it sous vide at 37C for the dough to raise optimal and then put it in a conventional oven?
      Thanks
    • By PedroG
      Utilization of meat leftovers from sous-vide cooking
      Sometimes when you buy a nice cut of meat, your eyes are bigger than your and your beloved's stomach. So what to do with the leftovers?
      In Tyrolia (Austria) they make a "Gröstl", in Solothurn (Switzerland) they make a "Gnusch", in the Seftigenamt (a region in the Swiss canton Berne) they make a "Gmüder", and we (Pedro and SWAMBO) make a varying concoct using ideas from all of the three. We call it "Gröstl", but it is not necessarily a typical Tyrolean Gröstl, and it is different each time, and we usually do not top it with a fried egg as they do in Austria.
      Ingredients

      All your meat leftovers
      Onion (compulsory)
      Any hard vegetable (we prefer celery stalks, or zucchini)
      Any salad (iceberg lettuce or endive/chicory or any other salad leaves, may contain carrot julienne)
      Fried potatoes, or alternatively sweetcorn kernels
      Sherry or wine or bouillon or the gravy you preserved from your last LTLT.cooked meat for simmering (I usually prefer Sherry)
      Eventually some cream (or crème fraîche)
      Salt, pepper, parsley, caraway seeds (typical for Tyrolean Gröstl), paprika, condiment (in Switzerland we use "Aromat" by Knorr, which contains sodium chloride, sodium glutamate, lactose, starch, yeast extract, vegetable fats, onions, spices, E552)'
      vegetable oil (I prefer olive oil)




      Mise en place

      cut your meat in small cubes or slices
      cut the onion(s) not too fine (place the first cut below your tongue to avoid tearing during cutting)
      cut the vegetables about 3-4 mm thick
      cut the salads to pieces smaller than 4 cm, distribute on the cutting board and season deliberately
      cut the potatoes to 1 cm cubes
      place 3 heavy skillets with ample oil on the stove

      Cooking

      in skillet 1, stir-fry the onions, add the hard vegetables still stir-frying, add salad, add sufficient liquid (Sherry or wine or bouillon or gravy) for simmering under a cover until soft. If desired, reduce heat and add some cream at the end.
      in skillet 2, stir-fry the potatoes until soft (in case of sweetcorn kernels, add to skillet 1 after stir-frying and use skillet 2 for skillet 3)
      in skillet 3, as soon as the vegetables and the potatoes are soft, sear the meat in just smoking oil for 30-60 seconds, then add to skillet 1

      Serving
      You may mix the potatoes with the vegetables and meat to make a rather typical Gröstl, or serve the fried potatoes separately; we prefer the latter, as the potatoes stay more crunchy.
      Do not forget to serve a glass of good dry red wine!
    • By PedroG
      Brisket „Stroganoff“ Sous Vide With Mixed Mushrooms

      Ingredients for 2 servings
      about 400g well marbled Brisket
      3 tablespoons rice bran oil or other high smoke point oil (grapeseed oil)
      3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
      3 tablespoons Cognac (brandy)
      2 small onions, finely diced
      ½ yellow or red bell peppers cut into strips
      90 g mixed mushrooms
      100 ml of gravy from last Brisket (or concentrated stock)
      1 teaspoon mustard, Dijon type
      1 teaspoon paprika mild (not spicy!)
      1 medium pickled cucumber cut into thin strips
      2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
      approx. 120g sour cream with herbs
      Sous Vide - cooking
      Marinate brisket with Mexican style (medium hot) marinade in the vacuum bag for at least 3 days at 1 ° C, cook sous vide 48 hours at 55.0 ° C.
      Preparing the sauce
      At a moderate heat sauté onions in olive oil, add peppers (preblanched in the microwave oven for 2-3 minutes) and mushroom mixture, stir-fry, remove from heat and add the gravy. Add pickled cucumber, pepper, mustard and cognac. Put on very low heat, add sour cream and keep warm, but do not boil as the cream will separate. Remove the brisket from the bag, cut into strips (about 8x10x35mm), sear very quickly in smoking-hot rice bran oil, add the meat and the parsley to the sauce.
      Serving
      Serve on warmed plates. Typically served with spätzle (south German) or chnöpfli (Swiss).
      And don't forget a glass of good red wine!
      Enjoy your meal!
      Pedro

    • By PedroG
      Olla podrida sous vide
      Origin
      Not rotten pot, but mighty or rich pot! Originated in 16th century Spain, olla poderida became olla podrida and was falsely translated into French as pot-pourri.
      Ingredients
      For two servings
      * 100g Brisket well marbled, cooked SV 48h/55°C, large dice †
      * 100g Pork meat well marbled, cooked SV 24h/55°C, large dice †
      * 100g Lamb chops without bone, cooked SV 4h/55°C, large dice †
      * 100g Chicken breast, cooked SV 2h/58°C, large dice †
      * 100g Chorizo, sliced approximately 4mm †
      * 125g Chickpeas (garbanzos), soaked overnight in water †
      * 1 Onion chopped medium-fine †
      * ½ Savoy cabbage approx. 200g cut into pieces, thick leaf veins removed
      * ½ Celeriac approx. 200g quartered, sliced about 2mm
      * 2 Carrots sliced approximately 120g about 3mm
      * 1 Leek approximately 20cm / 100g sliced about 5mm
      * Extra virgin olive oil
      * Rice bran oil
      * Dried parsley qs, aromatic, black pepper
      † Beef, pork, lamb and chicken (or at least two kinds of meat) as well as chorizo, chickpeas and onions are mandatory ingredients, other vegetables vary according to desire and availability.
      Cooking
      Boil chickpeas in water for 30-60 min.
      Sauté onions in olive oil, add chorizo, continue sautéing, add chickpeas including its cooking water, add remaining vegetables, cover and cook to the desired softness, stir from time to time. If additional liquid is needed, you may add Sherry instead of water.
      Reduce heat. Season to taste. Add parsley.
      In a heavy skillet, sear the meat dice in just smoking hot rice bran oil (very high smoking point allows very quick sear, not overdoing the center of the meat).
      Sear one kind of meat at a time and transfer to the pan with the vegetables.
    • By Chef Hermes Blog
      Warm Onion Bavarois
      * 300g Sweet Onion purée
      * 250g Whole milk
      * 150g Whipping cream
      * 150g Chicken stock (or fresh vegetable nage, not stock cubes)
      * 3.5g Gellan gum
      * Seasoning
      Lightly grease with vegetable oil the moulds you intend to use (darioles, ramekins etc) and set to one side.
      In a pan (but not on the heat), whisk together all the ingredients.
      Place on a medium heat and whisk continuously, the mix will start to thicken slightly. Carry on whisking for a further 3-4 minutes when it has started to bubble. Then quickly pour into the greased moulds & chill.
      To reheat for serving, just place the ramekin in a pan of water and simmer gently for 8-10 mins.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...