Sunday, March 20, 2005

Seattle Diaries Pt. 3 (Finale)

Following a day of recuperation from espresso overdose, Boyman decided that good coffee trumps all other activities, so he returned to Victrola to once again draw from their font of knowledge in order to bring more learning back to the BBCC.

That mornings menu included a flight, or cupping right, of Monsoon Malabar. Now Monsoon Malabar is one of those coffees that some people will snicker behind their hands about. For those not in the know, the Malabar is known for it's extremely low acidity and super funky flavor. Like Sumatra-plus. The beans are yellowish in color. Here's Tom from SweetMaria's recommendation. (Be sure to check out the listing for Mysore Nuggets, Extra Bold...hehe)

And previous tastings of this coffee had been tainted by a prejudice against the Malabar, but the cupping went well. The taste was akin to sucking on moldy paperbacks, but that's not really a bad thing... well not too bad anyway.

Cupping the Malabar

And Tonx even pulled a Malabar shot which Boyman naturally cringed away from. To the surprise of the BBC, the shot was strangely salty and totally smooth. The creama, of course, was incredible. This is why some roasters will use the Malabar in their espresso.

Cupping coffee necessitated beer, and beer necessitated more coffee. The days second visit to Victrola was in the company of both Tonx and Bronwen. Our shots, poured deftly by team Victrola's Bob.

Victrola Macchiato #1
B's Macchiato

Victrola Macchiato #2

Victrola Shot Boyman's shot

And of course, one is never enough so our little trio headed down to Vivace's stand on Broadway. They too have one of those Synesso's, only in the two groups style. Their baristas are fantastic and very well taken care of. Scuttlebutt has it that their store location on Denny will be torn down so that a Monorail station can be built.

Vivace on Broadway

The stand is strangely similar to our kiosk only without the sawdust.

Round #2:
Vivace Shot Boyman's Shot

Vivace Macchiato #1 B's

Vivace Macchiato #2 Tonx's

And then Round #3 @ D'arte downtown.

D'arte, downtown

One Bay Area coffeewriter has always lauded D'arte for their espresso, though he has always seemed in the minority. Still the BBCC will give people the recommendation somewhere on the list of places to hit in Seattle. And wanting to walk the walk so to speak, Boyman wandered in the store and ordered up a shot. The barista claimed this to be the darkest espresso roast, and though the flavor would agree with that assessment, it was not without interest. Normally darker roasted espresso leaves a charcoal aftertaste which demands milk and sugar. This shot however was served straight with a little chocolate on the side. Just what a caffeinated person needs.

D'arte shot

Yes, at this point it was stop or hemorrhage so the tour was over.

The BBCC sincerely thanks all the wonderful folks at Victrola for sharing their knowledge and their space. Thanks as well to Bronwen and the folks at Hines for the coffee and the cupping.
Many experiments to come, in the meantime check these out:

Tonx, of course, has his own take on the first cafe crawl.

Also, everyone should be awed by the dedication of the Gimme! coffee team to out-cool everyone else. Their project, and the photos to prove it.


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