Friday, February 04, 2005


the coffee at l'ecole

long-time readers know that one my favorite restaurants in new york city is l'ecole, at the french culinary institute. fantastic prix fixe lunch, and the dining room is without a doubt one of the more elegant, private, quiet, and airy in all the city.

plus the food is unusually fresh and inventive without screaming trendy. sure, i've had some wacky only-in-new-york moments there, like the time i took catie baril and friends from green mountain there only to find they had run out of food.

but since it happened to me, i'm pretty sure it won't happen to you!

needless to say i was thrilled to receive a pound of l'ecole's new-ish exclusive coffee blend. got your scaa flavor wheel ready?

i'd say this coffee is properly a mélange, or different coffees roasted separately and then blended together. i say this because some beans seem a nice city, while others are roasted a little beyond that into full city, showing scarce pinpricks of oil.

i didn't have time to cup this properly this morning, so i just brewed it up the cafetiére (a.k.a. french press) at the usual 55g (2 oz.) of coffee to a liter (33 oz.) of water.

the fragrance of the dry grounds was sweetly floral, and the coffee bloomed moderately when i poured in the 200-degree water, so it seemed fresh enough to me. (unfortunately the package had no "born-on" roast date.)

actually it had a nice 1/2 inch of hazelnut-skin brown mousse-y foam, and pleasant vanilla and candied nut aromas. the coffee is bright: definitely a lightly bright taste that i'd call nippy.

with a splash of cream and splenda added, the aftertaste of the coffee developed a lovely light milk chocolate feel. that's the way to drink it, i think.

it's a really friendly coffee and quite easy to drink. i can see that it would appeal to a broad spectrum of people and wouldn't interfere or clash with any food.

in fact, since most people here in new york do take their coffee with cream and sugar, the light chocolate aspect would seem extra pleasing, and compliment many desserts.

so i understand why the chefs at l'ecole chose this particular blend. if you're looking for a good drip or french press coffee, i'd recommend this one.

a little bird tells me it won't do so well in a vac pot, which i can believe -- that would unbalance the coffee by overemphasizing its brightness. and for the same reason, it wouldn't make a nice espresso, to my mind. . .

they do sell this at the restaurant, and i bet they take phone orders, too.

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