Stopped by Moschetti Espresso the other Saturday during the free tasting, and after hanging out for a while talking politics and sampling a variety of fresh roasted coffees, I chose three to blend at home for my daily shots of espresso.

I got Brazil for the base. You’ll find Brazil in most coffee blends since it is mellow, tasty and tends to compliment most other expensive or exotic tasting coffee beans. I also got a really nice batch of Ethiopian with it’s telltale aroma and flavors of blue berry. It wasn’t the blueberry bomb of a couple years ago, but it is still a clean and fruity smelling and tasting coffee. I love the stuff. The third bean I came home with was the Burundi.

The Burundi is a huge, aggressive coffee with an earthy base, a towering sweetness, and for several days it had an intense aroma of almonds.

I fiddled around for several days blending. Starting at 1:1:1 ratio of each I found the Burundi to be too aggressive as espresso. It overpowered the Ethiopian and Brazil. I kept decreasing the amount of Burundi and increasing the amount of Ethiopian.

In the end I preferred 4:4:1 of Brazil to Ethiopian to Burundi. At this ratio the sweet fruit of Ethiopian shown through, the Burundi added a very interesting layer of complexity and the Brazil just held it all together.

Big thanks to Fabrice Moschetti for the freshest coffee in the Bay Area.

porcelain coffee filter holder
Was lamenting the fact that the coffee pot at work always puts out a bit of a funk coffee. I suppose this has something to do with the coffee pot being dirty very often, and due to the fact that the thermos the coffee is stored in is also dirty.

Decided that I’d just get myself a simple drip coffee filter holder and a pound of my favorite fresh Moschetti Coffee and grind it up fresh at work and brew directly to my cup. Looked at Walgreens, looked at Macy’s and a few other stores and no one had simple drip coffee filter holders. They were happy to sell me a fancy electric coffee pot though. That was annoying.

Ok, stopped at Blue Bottle and of course they had them in stock with the #4 filters. Cool.

Now, that’s better. Good fresh, rich coffee and none of that dirty pot funk.

I very seldom come across a fresh bag of coffee that I don’t appreciate. Well, today I started pulling shots from a bag of Blue Bottle Kintamani Coffee, and I must say that it has a most peculiar and chemical flavor that I just don’t like. I imagine the flavor to be something along the line of blue toilet bowl cleaner. This suggests to me that some single origin coffees just don’t do well by themselves. Perhaps this Kintamani combined with something more earthy would bring down that tinge of nasty.

I pulled the shots short, I pulled them long, and adjusted and re-adjusted my grinder but I was never able to shift the flavor from nasty to good. I was able to dial out all suggestion of bitter and sour, but that funk just would not go.

This is a first for me. No more Blue Bottle Kintamani Coffee.

Update: Talked to a Barista at BlueBottle today and he said they’d been struggling with this particular batch of Kintamani Coffee. They are recommending that you just let it age for a week to mellow it out. I smelled some day 6 Kintamani and it most definitely had mellowed out. I tasted a roasted Kintamani Bean and it had toned down enough that perhaps a cup of joe, or an espresso made with it would now be drinkable.

This past Saturday I visited my friend Fabrice at his place of business: Moschetti Espresso. He had roasted a bunch of coffee that day and he had some new, super fresh espresso to share with me. I don’t think you can get any fresher than just roasted coffee, and I was giddy with anticipation.

And so I went home with a pound of my favorite Moschetti Espresso Dolce, New Guinea Peaberry, and something he said would blow me away. That was his Ethiopia Yirgacheffe.

I took a whiff of it before I took off to fire up Miss Silvia, and I detected an interesting fruitiness that intrigued me. Now mind you this is today’s roast and it won’t be at it’s peak until two, three or four days later. But it already had a powerful hook that was pulling me in. Tasting a fresh roasted bean also made it very clear that THIS was a special coffee.

So I spent the next half hour grinding beans and pulling shots and tweaking my procedure until…. I got a BlueBerry Bomb. I couldn’t believe it and I think I actually shouted out, “BlueBerry!!!!”. I have heard about Blue Berry Bomb shots before, but I’d never experienced it. And I stop by Blue Bottle daily and though they almost always pull flawless shots, they’ve never, ever given me a BlueBerry Bomb.

This Shot was amazing. It blew me away. There was the initial Big Burst of Blue Berry and it was followed by a no less intense and earthy dark chocolate flavor with hints of cherry, and toffee.

The shots I pull tend to start out very syrupy and drip, drip, drip out the naked portafilter. And then the drips become a steady stream. And if I’ve done it right, the shot is done somewhere between 25 and 35 seconds. The espresso should be a rich brown with tiger stripes of lighter and darker patches. The aroma should be powerful and yet delightful, and there should be no more than one ounce of espresso that is topped with a dense layer of crema. Sometimes Moschetti espresso is so fresh that I have one ounce of one hundred percent crema. It’s amazing to have access to such amazing and fresh coffee.

This one ounce or less of coffee is called a Ristretto, or Restricted. It is super concentrated, and if done right is not bitter, rather it is dense, creamy / buttery in texture, and is sweet. I love to pour the whole shot in my mouth and swish it around so my tongue is coated from front to back and side to side and each and every tooth gets to taste the espresso ambrosia.

I can’t wait for tomorrow morning so I can have another shot or three before going to work. Sometimes I wish I had an Cafe or Espresso Cart set up for pulling shots like this all day long for folks. Of course I’d need a professional Super Jolly burr grinder, a three group espresso machine like a Conti and the best espresso beans I can find.

Moschetti has a new online store to buy coffee! Buy Fresh Coffee Now!.

This cafe is next to my work place. I pass by on a daily basis, and I usually don’t stop. I’ve had an occasional cup of joe, and today since I neglected to get my shot of espresso from Blue Bottle, and also neglected to get enough of the freshest espresso from Moschetti, I figured I’d get a shot of espresso from The Coffee and Tea Leaf.

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf - San Francisco

A “small” shot is $1.75 and a “large” shot is $2.25. I decided to see what they could do with a “small” shot. As is my usual habit, I planted myself in a place where I could watch the barista do her thing. She loaded up the portafilter with a mound of already ground coffee from the grinder’s doser. Then she didn’t bother to tamp the coffee and just stuffed the portafilter into the Cimbali Espresso Machine. A paper cup was placed on one side of the dual spout portafilter and a shot glass was placed on the other side. The shot was poured and it was all of a 5 second shot. The paper cup was handed to me, and the shot glass was unceremoniously dumped.

I opened the lid of the cup and stared at a watery bit of espresso that had almost zero crema. I took a whiff and the espresso had little aroma, and the taste was bitter, and little coffee flavor. There was zero body to the espresso and no-silky texture. One sip and I threw away the cup with the remaining espresso. It was a crappy experience and I’ll not buy another cup of coffee or espresso.

The curious thing to me is that there’s always a crowd there, and I see folks who are regulars, and I wonder why.

Don’t bother getting a shot of espresso from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. They have no interest in quality coffee. It is obviously not fresh, since there is no crema, and I don’t think the baristas are up to the challenge of pulling a decent shot.

On an espresso rating scale of 1-5, they get a 1. Poor taste, poor execution.

I recommend that the owners, managers, and employees of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf cafe march down the street to Blue Bottle on Mint Street and experience what a good shot of espresso looks like, and tastes like. Then march right back to your cafe and practice until you can pull a good shot of espresso.