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Legit Coffee

The quest for enlightenment through coffee.

Category Archives: Media

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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Nathandisagreed with the LA Times Overrated/Underrated blog recently on the matter of pour-over coffee.

The LA Weekly posted this pseudo-explication and criticism of ristretto shots of espresso, and I’m calling them out for it. More specifically, I’m hanging out with the baristas at Espresso Profeta making fun of it.

The major theme of the post seemed to be that ristretto, a way of making espresso where the shot has less volume and therefore a richer, fuller body, is a poorly defined thing and isn’t always the best way to make espresso.

Well, duh.

Anyone who’s spent time thinking about and tasting coffee and espresso knows that there are different ways to prepare it and that these different methods bring out different aspects of the coffee. And anyone who’s spent time thinking about and tasting coffee and espresso knows that they will like different methods more or less and that a different method may be better for a particular bean and roast than other methods. To say that ristretto is a “lame duck,” as the blog post argues, is just silly. It’s the right way to prepare some coffees; it may well be the wrong way to prepare others.

A couple other points. Charles Babinski from the Intelligentsia in Venice describes the difference between standard and ristretto in a bizarre and incorrect way, and he ought to know better. He describes it by saying that a standard espresso that tastes of chocolate, lemongrass, and cherry will come out as chocolatelemongrasscherry in ristretto, which I think is the wrong way to put it. Instead, different flavors will come out in ristretto, and often you’ll get more chocolate and caramel in ristretto. Knowing (and liking) Intelligentsia’s coffee, I suspect Babinski wouldn’t like espresso made that way, but that doesn’t make it a bad way to make it. It makes it a different way to make it.

Second, and credit goes to Choncey Langford from Espresso Profeta for pointing this out, the photo of the espresso in the story has a totally collapsed crema (that’s the foamy part on top of the espresso), which basically means the espresso has gone bad. One has to wonder how long the writer waited to taste the espresso and whether that influenced his beliefs.

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JaKeEveryone knows that coffee comes from beans. But how many times have you asked yourself where the beans come from? There are crazed coffee wizards who will tell you that beans from different places have distinct flavors and personalities. In fact, we will be discussing that very thing quite soon. Let’s not get too psycho-analytical over the poor coffee beans just yet, though.

(After all, sometimes a “child sized white chocolate mocha frappuccino light blended coffee with an extra shot of espresso, one pump of sugar free raspberry flavoring, and no whipped cream on top” is just a “child sized white chocolate mocha frappuccino light blended coffee with an extra shot of espresso, one pump of sugar free raspberry flavoring, and no whipped cream on top”, Dr. Freud!)

Just like people, the regions coffees come from have a significant impact on how they turn out. What better way to get to know those beans than to study up on where they came from.

The roasters and coffee shamans of Stumptown Coffee have given us a great boon in this endeavor by putting together amazing vignettes about the far off lands where they get their beans and how coffee builds the culture of those areas. So far, they have videos from Kenya and Colombia, with more on the way. Why not take some time and get educated while you enjoy your next cup? It is, afterall, the best way to become a great cupper. (No, that was NOT a Freudian sip!)

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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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NathanLong ago, by which I mean when I was in junior high and high school, we had a word for people who listened to bands like The Pixies because they thought they were cool: Poser. (Never mind the spelling.)

The concept of the poser and the idea that doing the cool thing could be uncool came to mind just now when I checked in with the excellent LA Times blog Overrated/Underrated. You see, they declared the recent pour-over coffee craze overrated. They question the increasing cost of coffee made in this fashion, in which a barista carefully pours 200-degree water directly over coffee grounds, and they imply that it doesn’t actually take that much skill to do it well.

If they’re right about the skill — I sense they’re not, though I’ve never done an experiment — they may be right about the cost. Regardless, I think they’re not up front about the real issue: posers, and the fact that we don’t like them.

Consider Intelligentsia Coffee in the happenin’ Abbot-Kinney neighborhood in Los Angeles. The place is populated by people dressed like they’re in an Arcade Fire cover band — suspenders, muted colors, tattoos, lots of those cute wing tips that seem popular in certain circles. It’s easy to feel intimidated, but it’s also easy to feel, well, cool. Thus, by drinking pour-over and extolling its virtues, you too can seem cool.

But can you taste the difference? And if not, aren’t you just another poser who thinks Candlebox was good? That’s what I suspect the Overrated/Underrated folks were really thinking about when they declared pour-over — forgive me — so over.

Now, me? I can taste the difference — given the right coffee and the right water temperature and so on. And I think you can too, but I’ll side just a bit with O/U. It is the thing the cool kids are doing right now, and that does mean that some people are doing it just because it’s cool. That doesn’t mean it’s over, any more than fixies, Arcade Fire, or craft beer.

Here’s the Overrated/Underrated blog (which you should check out).

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mattb

Don’t even get me started on how many iced cappuccinos I was asked to make when I worked in a shop.
This new video from funnyordie makes me feel validated- I only order hot coffee.

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