PDX summer continues.
Hot, dry, berries, now corn.
It's sunny most all the time and our yard is going brown.
The other day it was only 4degrees cooler here than it was in Bishop. Of course, the humidity here was what? 5 times what it was in Bishop?
I had a chance to play with yet another take on the Daterra espresso. This time from Caffe Fresco. It was interesting. The darkest roast of the four examples I've tried (two from Terroir, one from Ecco and this). Dramatically less marzipan and with far less of the aromatics and fruit that I was getting from the others. Tons of chocolate, quite buttery and with hints of fig and date. I found it best in short milk drinks where it became soft and round and ended up tasting kind of like a caffe mocha.
I also got a whole bunch of the new Artigiano espresso. I have a ton of respect for Vince and for Sammy - they've build a great business in Vancouver. I was a little nervous when I heard they were switching from Intelligentsia to roasting their own. It made sense at a business level, of course, but it seemed really risky for such a high-profile and high-volume business to do this - especially given that they didn't have experience roasting.
I had all sorts of expectations about the espresso - that it would taste like the Black Cat, that it wouldn't be good, that it would be poorly roasted... I'm glad to say that I was wrong on all counts. The espresso is very much its own thing. It doesn't taste like the Black Cat or, for that matter, like any other leading espresso blend. It has a signature taste. As you'd expect, given Artigiano's focus, it's optimal in milk drinks. It has lovely fruit with tons of aromatics, some honeyed-citrus (Meyer Lemon?), lovely dark chocolate and a very long finish. Notes of peanut and vanilla and a little oily-herbal note round it out.
It's a really nice espresso - and incredibly impressive for a first go at it. Given the drive and passion of the owners of the business it's only going to get better.
I also had a great talk recently with John Bicht from Versalab. Quite and incredible experience. He's a really interesting guy. Yes - he has very strong opinions and yes - he speaks his mind. But the guy is bringing a very different perspective to problem solving with espresso - and he's pushing the envelope perhaps more than anyone in the last 40 odd years.
I wish I had the chance to work on one of his machines for a couple of months - I think I could learn so much about the effects of brew temp profile and brew pressure profile and their interactions and the results in the cup... Actually, who am I kidding... that's a lifetime of work right there.
If I had my dream espresso lab, it would have one of those Versalab machines in it (along with a couple industry standard commercial machines of course).
Other than the above, I haven't had a ton of time for coffee stuff recently.
I've been really busy with work (business and strategy consulting).
The leg is (slowly) getting better.
I was allowed to paddle on the machine the other day. I'm horribly out of shape and now really sore but it was nice to do something physical again.
Oh... I figured something out about holding a milk pitcher and all of a sudden my latte art has come together. This morning I poured a perfect, symetrical, centered and well defined 18-leaf rosette in a 5oz cup. Sweet.
And it was a Capp made from the Hairbender and it was fucking glorious!!
Finally, speaking of the above - Stumptown has started offering Euro-style aka Competition-style cappuccinos. Hurrah!!!