Thousands of wild-eyed, glazed-eyed humans mill about the Convention Center in Seattle mumbling words about body, mouth feel, and smoky. One hesitates to meet this crazed visage until one realizes that the same expression wears itself upon one’s own face.
This is CoffeeFest
Where else can you taste a wondrous Peruvian coffee and then meet the owner of the farm from which it came? Nor will you find it odd to hear oracles opining over obvious olfactory opulence.
I will review the Coffee separately. The new products that caught my eye were: Coffee Soda (made with cane sugar, not HFCS), and herbal tea that tastes like soup.
The Coffee Soda is from Fizz Coffee. It tasted good: not too sweet, the carbonation contributed to the sparkle.
Check out http://www.fizzUSA.com
As for the herbal tea that tastes like very good bouillon soup, it is from Millies Savory Teas: Comfort Food in a Broth. The Teas are all Vegan, but they taste like a well crafted unvegan broth. I had the “Smoky Facon” and the “Indian Spice”. The Smoky Facon is an attempt to go for a pork broth taste. To me it tasted like a very well done beef broth. I could not convince my tongue that this was vegan. The Indian Spice tasted like a curry broth. It was complex and very delicious. They also have Tomato Basil, Thai Lemongrass, and Spicy Tortilla. For those of us in the Seattle area, Millies Savour Teas (OneFarStar, LLC) is local. Their website is milliessavoryteas.com
CoffeeFest is a trademark of Coffee Fest. Their website is http://www.coffeefest.com
Life took me to Seattle on a rainy day. I know it never really rains in Seattle to a Florida boy, but this day succeeded in being genuinely soggy. Stopped in at Stumptown Coffee Roasters on 12th Avenue to unsog. Walked in and got an Indonesian Gajah ache and enjoyed its tangy aroma, delicate citrusy tastes on the front of the tongue, earthy body and flowery finish. Then went downstairs to watch Adam roast coffee. I must have watched 4 different batches being roasted. The last batch was an Indonesian Sulawesi Toarco AA. I took home about a quarter pound of these large reddish beans and tasted them. The ground coffee has an earthy piquant to it. The reddish amber colour shows up in a white porcelain mug. Sipping an autodrip brew had light peppery tones on the back of the tongue with a pleasant sharp spiciness at the back of the pallet and the tip of the tongue with a medium body. As it cooled, sweeter notes came forward.
Second cup I added Sugar and Cream and noticed the earthy piquant came forward. The body actually increased instead of becoming paler, almost as if it were saying, “come on sugar and cream; you think you’re tough; I’ll show you.”
In a press pot the balance was better all over and the body fuller. Whereas the auto drip had engaged mainly the tip and back of the tongue, the press pot engaged all of the tongue. It had an excellent aroma tickling the soft pallet. The aftertaste was a very pleasant smokey eggplant
Sugar and cream don’t hide that. This coffee is engaging all the tongue in a wonderful play of flavours.
Ancient Grounds – Seattle – 1220 First Ave, Seattle WA 9810
Ancient Grounds is a Combination Oriental Art Gallery (with a touch of North West Tribal art) and Coffee Bar (with a fine selection of beer too). It’s just a few doors south of the Seattle Art Museum.
One walks in to see tapestries, kimonos, partitions and all sorts of oriental art. In the center stands the espresso machine.
When proprietor Roland Crawford first opened more than a decade ago he put out a sign saying “Best Espresso in Seattle?” with a question mark. At that time there were two others who could claim better. Both of those establishments have since lost their leases. Now the question mark is missing.
Roland has deliberately sought to bring extreme excellence into his espresso shot pulling. So many places I have gone to pull shots that I would call an Americano (weak with no body and no creme) To watch Roland pull a shot is to watch a man balance the elements of a good espresso (bean freshness, fineness of grind, tamping tightness, water quantity, water temperature). He does not rest on the reputation of his last pull. One can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he works the various components to pull his next shot so that it is as good or better than his last shot. His beans come from Lighthouse.
On my last visit there the shot he pulled was Earthy with citrusy almost peppery shades. Slurping the shot on the pallet brought a sweet/bitter aftertaste with just a hint of cocoa tones.
Is it the best espresso in Seattle? I don’t know. I haven’t yet had all the espresso in Seattle. What I must say is it is certainly one of the most conscientiously pulled shots in Seattle.
Roland is a social media non believer, so if you read this blog and go there, tell him that you read about his place in my blog.
A REAL MOCHA
When one walks into a coffee shop in Seattle and orders a “Mocha” what one inevitably gets is hot milk flavoured with Coffee and Chocolate. Never in 10 years of ordering coffee in Seattle was there a single bean of Real Mocha in the drink. Mocha is a silted-in port in Yemen. Only Yemenite coffee can truly claim the name “Mocha”
This week I walked into Fonté Coffee & Wine Bar (1321 First Ave) in Seattle and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were willing and able to serve an authentic Mocha from Yemen.
They ground and brewed it fresh in the cup as I waited.
The Yemen had a very earthy aroma, with spicy undertones and a berry finish with the slightest hint of flower at the end. They prepare it in a 12 oz mug. If I had thought about it I would have asked them to stop the water at 8 oz in order to taste the delicious elixir at full strength (perhaps if I had asked for “room for cream”).
Fonté also serves food and wine in a very elegant setting. I heartily recommend stopping in and having a REAL Mocha from Yemen.