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.

I am gathering up a list of San Francisco Bay Area Coffee Roasters. Why? Well, because I love coffee, and I want to try as much high quality micro roasted coffee as I possibly can. Here are a few I’ve tried and like.

San Francisco Bay Area Coffee Roasters
Moschetti Espresso
Moschetti is a Northern California Microroaster of the finest organic, and pesticide-free, shade-grown, fresh roasted coffee beans. Small batch roasting insures the freshest coffee and finest control of the flavor profile of each single origin coffee bean or blend of the world’s most fascinating coffees. Located in the North San Francisco Bay Area, Moschetti roasts coffee on a daily basis insuring the freshest espresso.
Moschetti strives for dynamic, sweet, earthy, balanced and complex flavors by carefully choosing coffee beans from the world’s
coffee growing regions. We love and respect coffee. Contact Fabrice Moschetti for all your coffee and espresso needs, whether it be freshly roasted coffee beans or top of the line espresso machines.
Blue Bottle Coffee
Blue Bottle Cafe is San Francisco Microroaster.
Pacific Bay Coffee Inc.
Pacific Bay is a San Francisco Coffee Roaster
Ritual Coffee Roasters
Ritual Coffee is a San Francisco Coffee Roaster
Rogers Gourmet Coffee & Tea Market
Roger’s Gourmet Coffee & Tea Markets a San Francisco Coffee Roaster
Graffeo Coffee Roasting Company
Graffeo is a San Francisco Coffee Roaster

Le’Lit pl53 Espresso Burr Grinder

After buying a Breville BCG450XL Conical Burr Grinder to grind coffee for my family’s Miss Silvia Espresso Machine, and finding out that it did not grind as advertised, I returned it to the store. I replaced this crummy grinder with a Le’Lit pl53 Espresso Burr Grinder.

I chose the Le’Lit pl53 Espresso Burr Grinder because of the good reviews and the price point. Mind you, at $230 + I don’t think this grinder is a cheap grinder, but compared to $300-$400-$600 Grinders I saw Coffee and Espresso Addicts using, I thought it might work.

Ordered the Le’Lit from 1st Line Equipment. There was a sale and free shipping which sweetened the deal. Got the grinder and filled it up with some stale beans I had laying around to try it out and to flush away any manufacturing crud. From the factory the grind was beyond even Turkish grind and it immediately choked Miss Silvia. After a bunch of shots I finally dialed it in to beyond 25 turns backed off. Replaced the stale beans with some fresh Mistral Espresso beans from Moschetti Coffee Roasters and set about to fine tune the amazingly infinitely adjustable grind of the Le’Lit.

Shortly I was pulling the best espresso shots I’d ever pulled. I was in hog heaven.

Since getting the Le’Lit I’ve gone through probably 15 or 20 pounds of various coffee roasts. While the grinder does a good job of grinding mostly clump free and very light and fluffy grounds it does have issues.

The first is the grinder is loud. The metal casing obviously contributes to the noise level since the stainless panels rattle and vibrate while grinding. My wife has moved my grinding facilities to the laundry room where I can close the door to grind coffee.

The second issue is that the plastic hopper broke after a couple months of use. Turns out that the metal surrounding the entrance hole for the hopper has a burr that slowly but surely scratches a line around the hopper mouth. Eventually the plastic mouth breaks off. 1st line promptly and cheerfully replaced the hopper under warranty. The service at 1st Line is very excellent.

The third issue is that the Le’Lit does not like oily beans. They quickly jam up and the grinder makes that runaway sound of an engine suddenly losing load. It’s annoying since you have rattle the grinder around and sometimes poke a bamboo skewer in the hopper to get the beans moving. This one issue is going to make me get rid of this grinder. It’s too much of a chore.

The fourth issue is that the parts of the Le’Lit do not fit all that well. This becomes very apparent as you take the grinder apart to clean it. The spout requires much effort to remove the thumb screw, and even more effort to replace it. The holes do not properly line up. This is also true with other stainless steel panels of the grinder. I’m contemplating replacing the side panels with some wood to quiet the grinder down and to get better fitment.

In the end I’m not sure I can recommend the Le’Lit pl53 Espresso Burr Grinder. If you need to get an infinitely adjustable coffee grinder that is reasonably inexpensive, that will grind fine enough for espresso, and you can deal with the noisy nature of the beast and its seemingly inability to handle oily coffee beans, then perhaps it will work for you.