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Legit Coffee

The quest for enlightenment through coffee.

Author Archives: mattb

mattbIsn’t that the way that blogs go?
You get a good head of steam going, and then it becomes impossible to continue. BUT, we’ll update when we can. I’ll try to be much better, personally. And now to catch you up…

I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee. Here are topics I hope to cover soon: Coffee from a Keurig. Coffee-Shop layout. Diner Coffee, and the ritual of drinking. Geolocation’s affect on Coffee. More.

 

Sorry I can’t post more now, but I figure it’s getting something down that counts.
Drink up.

mattbI think it’s important to start this article by mentioning a little about myself. I am one of those guys who enjoys walking into a shop and ordering “the usual.” I find what works, and I get it: Vic’s = Chicken Pad Thai (Mild) with an Extra Large Boba, Parks = 4 Chicken Tacos and a XX Amber, Work = 3 aspirin and a whole lot of interns shutting up. Every time I walk into a business I haven’t been to before, Cheer’s-like delusions fill my head.

So it’s no surprise to readers of this blog that my go-to drink is just coffee. Black. Adding cream or sugar is not an option, and flavored creamers turn my stomach in a way generally reserved for thoughts of catching one’s parents mid-coitus.

However, yesterday I finally made my way into Tiago off Hollywood Blvd. and La Brea. My friend Scott has been trying to get me to stop in there for nearly a year now, and I finally found myself on foot in the area (parking can be atrocious) so I was able to stop in. I walked to the bar and out of my mouth came the words, “Iced Coffee.”

I felt a shudder run through my body. Why had I said that? What was I hoping to accomplish? In my history (with very few exceptions) Iced Coffee means Cold Coffee, and that is a horrible thing tasting of rust and oil. Even worse, lots of places in Los Angeles can get away with it as the coffee culture here is only recently starting to bloom. It’s hot, and people want to cool down.

I handed over a couple bucks for a medium and made my way outside, and was halfway down the block before I even ventured a sip. I often make odd, spur-of-the-moment decisions, but I was afraid this would end up being one of my least favorable.

But I was wrong. Tiago’s iced coffee was good. I will even venture to say it’s the best iced coffee I’ve ever had. I will get it again. I will probably go out of my way to get it today.

It was obviously cold-brewed, smooth and packing a full mouth feel. Caramel tones formed a strong front to each sip, giving way to a mocha-like finish. It was so good that when I finished the cup, I called the store. They revealed to me that they use an 18 hour cold-brew process, which really helps bring out the flavors while taming the acidity that generally plagues cold coffee.

With their goods validated, let me elaborate on their store. Tiago offers plentiful seating (both indoors and outdoors) for people to sit and read or work on laptops. Back in the day, I recall an internet cafe in their location, which probably accounts for their plentiful electrical outlets (another rarity in coffee shops recently). Inside they offer an extensive menu of drinks and food, even carrying some coffee accessories such as Chemex’s and Hario kettles. The staff that I spoke with were friendly and knowledgeable, and warmly asked me right away when I inquired about their roasts if I was a “coffee nerd” (they currently carry both Handsome and Intelligentsia).

I highly recommend stopping into this location whenever you are in the area, you’ll see me there, typing away sipping on “my usual.”

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mattbNathan and I had made a day of coffee tastings, and Brū Coffee was our afternoon destination. We lapped the neighborhood a couple times looking for parking since it was a street-cleaning day, until Nathan ran over something in the middle of the street. It could have been a downed palm-tree or a hipster on a fixed-gear, but we didn’t look back.

After ten minutes in a holding pattern, we found that Brū had parking behind their shop. I highly recommend parking in that lot should you like convenience and a close proximity to your destination.

Brū had an awesome vibe- vaulted ceilings, a lofted dining area, and plenty of tables highlighted the shop, as well as a beautiful patio that was chock full of people on laptops. The people were diverse, ranging from scarf-wearing hipsters to a girl with green hair. I even bumped into an old friend. Other than being a victim of the “no outlet” epidemic sweeping coffee shops, it would be the perfect place to study, write, or take a date.

Now to the coffee:

Brū had a beautiful La Marzocco espresso setup as well as a full station for pour-over. Nathan and I both made pour-over selections from Brū’s 4 coffee menu, which offered a variety from San Francisco roasters, Ritual. Our barista freshly ground each of our beans and did a great job with the pour, allowing time for it to blossom.

I opted for a strong Honduran roast, Las Manos. It had a thick body, and a great aroma that kept my nose in the cup for longer than normal. The defining characteristic was a mango aftertaste, preceded by a hint of chocolate. As the coffee cooled, the mango subsided as flavors of old honey pressed through. As a morning to midday coffee, I highly recommend it.

Nathan had the Los Chacones Boutique from Costa Rica. He noted it as having a light vanilla scone flavor, but having a stronger “coffee” taste than our earlier offerings of the day. The coffee cooled into some nice candy-orange tones, and provided a rich, healthy body throughout. His description of it tasting like “coffee” lead us into a conversation that I’m sure we will chat about here later.

At this point I sent the following texts to my girlfriend, leading me to believe that my caffeine intake had maxed for the day. I won’t go into details of the car throwing,  but I think you probably know what happened…

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mattbsure i like kids and of course i like coffee, but in my opinion, the two should never be joined.
i mean, seriously, best case scenario: these kids get over-caffeinated and tear down your house like an F5 tornado.

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mattbMuch like Batman, Coffee is constantly fighting Mr Freeze thanks to a commonly accepted belief that coffee should be put in the cooler to maintain its freshness.  It works for meat. It works for veggies. Why not coffee?

Think about coffee- more specifically that expensive coffee that you are putting in your freezer (I’m assuming you didn’t put Folgers on ice). The bean itself is incredibly porous, and by putting it into your freezer, you are welcoming it to absorb the pantheon of odors/flavors that permeate your fridge. As delightful as salmon is for dinner, I don’t want my Ethiopian blend tasting like it just came out of a river.

Even if your freezer doesn’t host any aromatic threats to your coffee, you should still be cautious. Moisture alone can prove to be erosive, especially if you thaw and refreeze your coffee multiple times.

In cases of needing to store beans for an excessive amount of time, some have adopted a “one-time-only” freeze practice. As the name implies, you only freeze the beans once, and once they are defrosted, they never return to the icebox. This reduces the amount of damage that the expanding and contracting moisture can cause, and limits the amount of exterior tastes that can be absorbed.
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I have never found myself with enough coffee on-hand to need to resort to this method, so instead, I keep my beans in an airtight container placed in a dry, cool location.
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mattbLately I’ve been obsessed with Regular Show, which had somehow slipped under my radar. Not only is it hilarious, but the protagonists spend a large amount of time in a coffee shop. In the clip below, they even harness the power of coffee to help them at work.

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I’m totally Mordecai.

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mattb

Starbucks just announced today their first light roast coffee. It was a smart move to mark the light roast as a developing trend, as I feel the clientele at Starbucks tend to be those who fit into the ritualistic category of coffee drinkers- people who drink coffee as it is something they do. How will this new/trendy roast compete against their previous selling point of “bold” coffee?

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