Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blue Bottle San Francisco

Blue Bottle seems to be all over in San Francisco.
So a long post under my finger tips right now.

The main Blue Bottle bar at Mint Street (behind the old Federal Reserve) is so centrally located that we even passed by 3 times.

First visit was for break fast and .... coffee, of course.

It felt very special to enter this place. The day they installed this famous Vac Pot brewing installation/Syphon Bar, this joint became one of the best known bars in the world. And with reason.
At The Shot Coffee Ratings they are number one in the ratings since 2005 I think.

Maybe the expectations were set too high up front or maybe we're too spoiled, or maybe our 'European' coffee palette is off, but we were not always too fond from what they offered us.

The cappuccino looked very tasty, but was too bitter to my understanding. The idea to pull very strong double ristretto's is perfect, but I was lacking marriage between coffee and milk. It could be the blend, but I think it was the overconcentrated shot. The sweetness of the milk needs to blend it with the acidic part of the espresso and here it wasn't working. Why aren't they serving them the way they do at championships?
These days I also see the same type of unbalanced and too bitter caps served in London and Australia (from what I heard of) and I think it's a weird evolution, and I have problems with it. Although maybe it's the future of milk based coffee drinks.....who knows....

Their 4 group La Marzocco, coupled with big Mazzers, Nueva Point cups and Clover milk was a nice way to go and the place was packed on every visit.

The interior feels a bit cold, but nice and the outside space is quite unique I think.
The lamps and speakers were the coolest ever.
And the mixture of people couldn't be better.

And then all the facial hair at both sides of the bar..... No comment :-)

The coffee though ....
The drip coffee was average and the Kyoto iced brewed tasted like root beer, old and dirty.
Then the syphon bar brew, from this spectacular Hario bar.

We went for a Colombian, the Cauca Tierra Dendro. Sounds great.
It was a good cup. Full & complex. A bit leathery and sweaty as well, but we missed the higher notes. And without these higher notes the drink became rapidly boring. We only drank half the serving. It's a very spectacular way of brewing coffee, but I'm not so sure it's the right one for commercial environments.
Oh yes .... can you please throw these long, small Hario glasses in the garbage can? They're good to smell the aroma's, but impossible to drink from.

We keep the best news for last : the espresso's.
Their regular one was good.
Their Indonesian on the San Marco Lever was .... stunning! One of the best ever. Very, very complex, with tons of fruit, spicy acidity and a very long and exciting after taste.
Well done Barista.

It's a very spectacular bar, but doesn't someone behind the bars dares to talk or smile? It felt a bit like a laboratory in there. So, throw away those black working clothes, pump up the volume and make some fun alright?!

Then the SFMOMA roof top garden coffee bar gave us a warmer feeling. The very good looking and friendly female Barista was pulling good shots on a KVDW lever machine, in fantastic arty cups, and made our stay memorable.
I understand there's less traffic at a museum, but still... a bit of a smile and talk won't hurt no one.

The fantastic outside rooftop terrace and the Luc Tuymans (from Antwerp!!) exhibit on the same floor made the visit a once in a lifetime experience.

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