Black Cat Coffee and other News
Posted September 8, 2002 2:15pm
Update: I finally got around to posting my next eBay auction: I put the La Pavoni Professional up for bidding. This is an excellent machine and I'll be sad to see it go, but I need the bux for the website costs and expenses (there's a huge one listed below!).
I had the singular pleasure of having one of the best espresso shots of my life this week. It came courtesy of the Black Cat espresso blend, from Intelligentsia a roaster in Chicago. No, I didn't drive to Chicago for it (but I might, it was so good!), I had the shot at Cafe Artigiano in Vancouver, a cafe supplied by Intelligentsia.
This blend is the result of a hella lot of tweaking and refining, and and the tweaking was a huge part of the Espresso-In meeting at Intelligentsia back in June. Doug Zell of Intelligentsia wanted a bam signature blend, and it looks like he has found it.
What's fortunate for me is that it appears Doug and I seek the exact same tastes in the "perfect" espresso. The final Black Cat, which I tried for the first time this Friday and have been drinking ever since at home, has chocolate (number 1 thing I look for in an espresso blend), a wide variety and punch of fruits, spices all over the place, and another valued commodity in a perfect espresso blend - tons of natural sweetness.
This is truly a blend that you can drink sans sugar. And I like sugar in espresso.
In the home, I haven't been able to match the shot quality I got at Artigiano on Friday. I've come close, but I had to ramp up my pressurestat in my Livia a smidge and do some serious pressure-surfing (akin to temperature surfing, but I have a gauge to watch) to get close. This is a blend specifically tuned to precise brewing temperatures.
In fact, to be a "perfect blend" is demanding on the blend. It's so demanding that it will probably be less than perfect on most machines. Especially consumer machines. This is a blend specifically tuned to being produced on a La Marzocco machine with precise brewing temperatures.
I found out that it likes another machine too... it loves being put through an Elektra Micro Casa a Leva. The 15 minute temperature of that lever machine is almost perfectly suited for this Black Cat blend. I had a better shot from the Elektra than any other machine I've tried this coffee in. Wowsa.
I highly recommend ordering a few lbs if you can from Intelligentsia. This is the standard, as far as I'm concerned. Until the next "more perfect" blend comes along.
I'm insane, I know. I just dropped $500 Cdn on new thermometer (btw, when they cost this much, they aren't pronounced ther- mau- mehter. I pronounce it ther moh meee ter :). It's a new Fluke 53 Series II with datalogging. My old thermoh meter was also a Fluke Series II, but the 51, which is single probe, no data logging. Also, my bead probe was more than a bit beat up, and I think it lost its accuracy. I sold it off.
I love and hate this new model. Love it because the data logging saves me a lot of effort. But I also don't like the fact that it doesn't come with ANY data logging software for the PC, which I would completely expect for the price jump between this and the 51 (an extra $175). Nope, I have to drop another $275 on the software if I want it.
It's also supposed to have an IR port built in, but I cannot see it, cannot find it, and when I hold it up to my notebook computer with its IR port on auto seek, it cannot find it either. I think it may be broken, which means only days after obtaining this I may have to send it back.
Still, look for much more comprehensive temperature readings on my future Detailed Reviews at www.coffeegeek.com thanks to this device. With data logging, I don't have to hang around and go take readings when my alarm goes off every hour. I missed so many readings because of this.
Till next time...