Following the daily morning coffee cup emails, and my travels, I thought I'd
share my weekly coffee experience.
Sunday I set off for LAX to go to London, and then Southampton. Running a
bit late, I pushed it up the 405 because my goal was to visit Intelligentsia
in Venice, CA, or Cafe Cielo in Santa Monica (I believe). I drove by LAX at
my 2 hour mark for checking in. Feeling my heart rate increasing, I said to
myself, "I hope I can find a parking space in Venice." Driving by
Intelligentsia, it didn't look like I was going to find parking, but then, 1
block later, a car pulled out, and I was in. :-) Walked back to the shop
to see how the line was. Not too bad. I introduced myself to the barista,
asked for a shot of Black Cat, and he recommended a Machiato of a SO
Ugandan. Both were great, and I have to say, the machiato was the best I've
had. Very impressed. So I picked up a bag of Black Cat for home, and was
happy to hear that they start pulling shots 7 days post roast, which was
perfect for leaving it in my car and having it when I return to the states.
I also figured I would hit Cafe Cielo on my way back, and taste 49th
Parallel beans. So off to LAX.
Made it to LAX with an 1 hour before my flight. Luckily there was almost no
line for security. I went through security without any problems, and I was
carrying my Hario Skerton, Aeropress, and about 10 oz of Sulawesi about 5
days post roast. I think what helped was that I had all of my coffee gear
in a big ziploc and as a separate item in my security tray. Got to my
flight with 15 minutes before boarding. Whew!
Arrived in London on Monday around noon. I was happy to see that the law
firm I was having a meeting at was less than 5 minutes walking to Dose (an
espresso bar on the Disloyalty Card
http://www.jimseven.com/2009/12/17/gwilyms-disloyalty-card/). So after
lunch, my colleague and I went to Dose. I introduced myself, and asked them
to impress me since I flew all the way from California to experience the
coffee scene in London. The baristas got a kick out of this. I had a shot
of their Winter Blend, which was also very good, and then a Flat White,
which was fantastic. They offered me a cup of drip, which is all brewed in
the Aeropress. I declined since I told them that mine was riding shotgun,
along with the Hario grinder that they sold, I would prefer espressos since
I was going to be without for a few days. They were cracking up at how I
brought all of this equipment with me, and then I explained that I didn't
expect any decent coffee for the rest of the week if I didn't bring my own.
They understood. Then we compared some notes on brewing with the Aeropress
since that is how they serve regular coffee to their customers. I put a
pound of their Winter Blend on the counter, and went to pay when I realized
they didn't take credit cards. So I put the coffee back, and asked my
friend to pay, LoL, since I wasn't bright enough to get cash. After getting
the stamp on my new Disloyalty Card, we were off to explore some other
shops, but they close early in London, so they were closed. Off to my
meeting with attorneys.
Tuesday through Wednesday I enjoyed my homeroasted Sulawesi taken about 20
seconds into 2nd crack. Definitely made my stay in Southampton and work for
the day more enjoyable. I had to grind and brew with the room window fully
open to minimize insulting the hotel with the odor. It got cold in my room
fast since I was brewing around 5 AM. Hopefully I won't see another
cleaning charge from the hotel.
Thursday it was back to Heathrow and then to LAX. Did the same deal with my
coffee travel gear, and the London security didn't have a problem either!
Landed at LAX right on time, and was set to swing up to Cafe Cielo and then
home. Customs was unbelievably slow, and by the time I was through, I lost
my coffee drinking time, and had to boogey home to try and avoid LA traffic.
So Cafe Cielo will have to wait until my next LA visit.
Friday (today), nice to be back at home. Pulled some shots of the Black
Cat. Made 2 espressos, and 1 Breve. It was good, but I think I need to
work on my technique, b/c the shots were pulling a little fast. Tomorrow is
my next experiment. I believe updosing may help a bit. Also had a cup of
the Sulawesi, and it is really good.
I read the comments on the Barefoot Lever Domination brewing class, and that
sounded great. I'm going to play some more with my Factory. Chris - your
comments on the Boss and the Element are very interesting. I had a hard
time with the Boss, so I'm thinking I'll pick up a bag of Element next week.
And, today, I also opened my Sweet Marias box of 20 lbs of coffee, and I'm
looking forward to start roasting those (Brazil Raisin, Sidamo Maduro,
Rwandan, and a Guatemalan). I should be having lots of fun with these over
the next few months.
So take home messages from Greg:
There is good coffee in London, and I have 7 more shops to visit in the
future. London Baristas are really fun and friendly. I definitely
recommend Dose to any visitors. Thanks for the links to the UK blogs, and
thanks to the baristas at Dose.
Travelling with coffee gear to the UK is easy, and my fears of having to
ditch my equipment are now alleviated.
I like Intellegentsia in Venice, but I can see the crowd situation being
disheartening to those who visit more frequently.
Homeroast Sulawesi is fantastic ... Thanks Tom!!!
Have a good weekend everyone.
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