Friday, May 18, 2007


uncommonly good, uncommonly bad

woot! yesterday the beautiful jessica of batdorf sent me their new latitudes organic sumatra, the tanah tinggi. and i gleefully brewed it up the cafetière (that's a french press to you!)

oh yeah, drag out your scaa flavor wheel for this one. jessica's 3-day-old coffee looked to me like a city roast, no visible oil.

these beans are of wildly different size however, which is probably part of what gives this coffee its delightful complexity. opening the bag alone was a delicious experience – the beans offered a lovely touch of turmeric even in the bag.

slightly earthy, exotic, and also somehow sweet. i was transported to asia already.

the fresh grounds offered a fantastic spicy-fruity fragrance. more turmeric, but also a yellow fruit; roastmaster scott calls it mango, but honestly it reminded me more a sweet, very ripe starfruit for some reason.

ok, we agree at base this a golden-yellow coffee. in the cup, there's no doubt about the cedar aroma and the scented pipe tobacco aftertaste.

the coffee's mellow taste made it so easy to drink black, while body trembled and shock with a near-gelatinous quality. oh yeah: that's the freakin' earthquake-heavy body we associate with a sumatra in a press pot.

lovers of sumatra, this is a coffee for you. uncommonly good.

last night, coming home, i chanced to take a different train than usual, and so popped up in front of the new bklyn coffee shop uncommon grounds. when it comes to coffee retailers, i'm an optimist.

i always want to like 'em. but how rarely do i get that chance!

the shop itself is promising: charming, funky, lots of cushy seating, wi-fi, nice big mac display, cute curved marble counter.

i was deeply put off by the window sign saying they served seattle's best. omigod. the mermaid's second-tier brand.

but hope springs. . .i ventured inside and talked to the chick-behind-the-counter, one bree. i ordered a decaf doppio macchiato (yes, i know i'm evil).

first good sign: bree appeared to know what this order meant. second good sign: the machine was a 2-group la marzocco displayed like an art object in a niche in the wall.

i looked around. where was the grinder?

i asked bree, who told me it was around the corner from the machine. i'll let you pro baristi faint at the workflow mechanics of such a set-up while i plow on.

so bree wandered around the corner and returned with a silver bag of pre-ground coffee. i did not see her grind coffee. i did not hear her grind coffee.

i saw her scoop pre-ground coffee from a silver bag. trying not to faint, i casually asked her if the espresso was also seattle's best.

suddenly bree turned coy. "it's our own brand," she said, "for us, special to us." oh. ok.

after an eternity in the twilight i got an 8oz. cup half filled with coffee and topped with a large cap of stiff beaten-eggwhite type foam. no latte art here, for sure.

i paid bree, dropped my tip in the jar, walked out with the cup, took a sip, and promptly disposed of it in the corner trash can.

i hate to say it, but the mermaid herself would have made a better beverage. uncommonly bad.

what they're doing to that linea oughtta be a crime.

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posted by fortune | 6:34 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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