Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blue Bottle Coffee

Here's an unpublished post from back in July. Guess it got lost in the shuffle (with a lot of others). I think of it as spring cleaning.

We recently ventured to the Temescal Farmers Market in Oakland for the reported excellent coffee and nice produce.

We were met with crowds of young families, baby-mobiles, and the appearance of affluence. The line at Blue Bottle Coffee was long. Very long. N informed me most passerby usually remark "Is it really worth it?" Well, was it?

Blue Bottle Coffee brews every cup individually for a fresh cup every time. Great idea for great coffee. Now, how about weening people from their disposable cups and plastic lids? People love carrying around their cloth bags as opposed to plastic for their produce. It's pretty silly to see one of these fine folks mindlessly throwing out their cups. Also, who wants their coffee to taste like paper?

I ordered an espresso. Two bucks.

E had a macchiato. Two seventy five.

Now I know what some of you are thinking: Foam art, argh! Well, you are drinking a rich person's beverage. Drinking an almost three dollar coffee beverage has its detractors. Oh: this drink was reportedly excellent.

N had soy something with a silly name. Two seventy five.

This was very good. A little bigger than a machiato, a little more milk, but still a strong cup of very good espresso.

I like Blue Bottle Coffee. They are nice people. They make good coffee. My only complaint is that a few bucks gets you a cup that you can stand around in a parking lot with. In this case it was the DMV parking lot. Not normally a place any rational person would pay to hang out. Actually, this sounds like someone's version of hell. However, you will not likely find a better cup of coffee.


Robyn said...

Tried a cup of their drip last October. Good and strong, a little bitter in a good way. I felt sort of like a coffee heathen adding milk.

Anyone in the Bay Area doing siphon coffee? Have been investigating siphon coffee cafes in KL for an article. Almost has me converted to drinking my coffee black. Almost.

Even better - ice drip coffee. 6 hours for 4 cups. What I'm finding these past couple weeks is that coffee fanatics are a whole other species of fanatic.

a said...


Every cup I've had from them has been different as they do small batches. A cup I had from them the other week blew me away. As I understand it, single cup cone filter has made a huge splash with connoisseurs in the last few years. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm slowly being convinced of its greatness. I sometimes use cream, and dammit sometimes it's good that way.

I think Blue Bottle has some siphons. At least I think I saw some photos of them on their website. I think Stumptown in portland oregon does too.

As for ice drip: what kind of device are you using? In Bangkok I used to use a french press for cold coffee. A press full of cold water and coffee overnight made a great smooth cup the next morning before work

Coffee people are like wine people. At least they're not drunk

Robyn said...

Hey, I don't have anything against drunks. :-)

We've been doing single filter drip for years, not because we're connoisseurs but because it's easy/fast, portable (ie we can make coffee when we travel) and cheap (plastic 'device', paper 'filter').

I am a milk in my coffee person though, unless I'm in the US in which case it's half-and-half. In fact h-and-h is one of the things that I most miss about the US. Milk doesn't taste the same to me.

An ice drip set-up looks like a chemistry experiment -- a glass 'jar' for the iced water, suspended over the coffee which is in a filter, and then a snaky glass tube that runs down to the 'receptacle'. The water really is iced when it falls onto the coffee grounds, and it falls *very* slowly, drop by drop -- and that's why it takes 6 hours to brew 4 glasses' worth.

But I have to say it is pretty amazing tasting, one of the truest expressions of coffee flavor I've ever tried, and very potent. This one I don't even put milk in!

a said...

I want blueprints or at least a picture of this set up. I'm intrigued.