por·ce·lain (pôrs-ln, pr-, pôrsln, prs-)
1. A hard, white, translucent ceramic made by firing a pure clay and then glazing it with variously colored fusible materials; china.
2. An object made of this substance.

Porcelain is a material of choice for high quality coffee cups, china, coffee filter holders etc. It retains heat well, and also is easy to clean and is stain resistant. I love my porcelain coffee filter holder.

Porcelain Coffee Filter Holder

Ethiopian Amaro Gayo Espresso

Latte art from Ethiopian Amaro Gayo

Moschetti Espresso, the San Francisco Bay Area (Vallejo) Coffee Roasting company, has been knocking me out with their latest offerings from Ethiopia. We are not getting the Blue Berry Bombs of a few years ago, but we are getting mellow, milk chocolate bombs that are making my taste buds ever so happy.

This month Moschetti got in a fresh new batch of Ethiopian Amaro Gayo in a medium Espresso roast. My shots are effortless and easy to dial in, and I am rewarded each morning with massive crema, and all it’s silky mouth feel. Milk chocolate with a hint of fruit, and with milk an amazing richness.

For espresso equipment I use a Rancilio Miss Silvia with a PID temperature controller, and an oversize bottomless portafilter, and a professional Mazzer Mini burr grinder. You can tell when a coffee is not so fresh by how much splattering you get and how impossible it is to get a great shot. Since Moschetti roasts five days a week, you are insured that you getting uber fresh coffee. Sometimes the bean really needs a bit of age to get the best espresso shot. Day 1-5 are actually very difficult to deal with and you end up with mountains of crema on top of too bright and citrus flavors. Wait a day or two more, and you are rewarded with a very complex demitasse of incredible goodness.

Starting the day out with a beautiful shot of espresso is the only way to start my engine. I am very lucky to have a roaster just a few minutes away who knows how to roast a perfect and freshest coffee bean for espresso.

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.

Several years ago I visited Fabrice Moschetti at his place of business in Vallejo, CA (an ex-military town in the SFBay Area). Fabrice roasts coffee.

It was the beginning of a journey where I started to learn about various coffees from around the world, and a bit about roasting and a little about blending varieties of coffee beans to get well rounded flavors or even a distinct flavor profile.

Moschetti Mistral Espresso (medium roast) was the first Moschetti blend I tasted on that Saturday afternoon. I recall being amazed that the shots of espresso that Fabrice pulled for me did not have that funky, bitter, burned flavor that I’d experienced so often before at cafes from one end of the country to the other. Those experiences made me think that all espresso was funky, bitter, and burned. But this first shot from Fabrice was absolutely amazing. It was sweet, mellow, complex, and tasted of chocolate, and had hints of fruit. Whoa! I was transformed.

Since then I’ve come to realize that all those bad shots of espresso I’d gotten from Peet’s, Starbucks, and countless other cafe’s were inferior, and suffered from lack of good coffee, poor roasting and just as importantly understanding of proper technique of pulling shots.

I then discovered Blue Bottle in San Francisco, and found one more place I could go to get a decent shot of espresso. Blue Bottle is a highfalutin, look down their nose sort of roaster, and cafe. But I think they have good reason to look down their nose compared to most of the roaster and cafes in the country. They, just like Fabrice take extra care in selecting the coffees they want to roast, and how they blend them, and how they roast. And the Baristas understand the technique of proper espresso, and at times the shots they pull are just short of, “an Angel pissing on my tongue”. And both Fabrice and Blue Bottle understand that fresh is best when it comes to coffee.

And now I’ve gone full circle. Back to tasting Moschetti Mistral after so many adventures with Bali Kintamani, Ethiopian, Kona, Panama, Kenyan, Brazil, Guatemala etc. Single source coffees made me drunk with desire, and I started to avoid blends. But after a couple pounds of Moschetti Mistral, I’ve come full circle, and I’m back to blends. It’s so mellow, chocolatey, with subtle hints of sweet fruit, and complex. I’m back.

Visit Fabrice and his crew for an Open House and Coffee Tasting on most Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. It’s free, and you are likely to find local Honey being sold, organic burgers, live music etc. The line up varies from week to week.

I’m a lucky man. Went over to Moschetti’s yesterday and Fabrice’s right hand man, Mario, let me bury my nose and taste the latest fresh roast coffee (crunch those beans). I ended up with four pounds of amazing beans. Panama Finca La Florentina, Kenya Peaberry, and one more bean that escapes me.

This morning I’m pulling shots and happy as a clam, and then on the 7th shot, before it’s done I know it’s a good one. GOD Shot! Pure essence of coffee, port like intensity, dense, so complex I can’t describe every flavor I discover. Sweet and lingering goodness.

And it holds up very well in our typical giant latte. I’m wired.