Ahh Seattle. Home of grunge. Megachurches. Silicon Valley. And the production of high end commercial coffee machines.
Three of my favourite commercial machine producers are based there, so I’m pretty jealous of Gizmodo contributor (and former editor) Matt Buchanan, who toured the factories of Slayer, Synesso, and La Marzocco – and put this video together.
This cafe knocked my socks off. I’ve never had so much fun in a coffee shop. Though that may well have been the company. Bean Drinking on Ernest Place in Crows Nest is the happy owner of Slayer Espresso Machine #007. They use it in their “Coffee Lab” rather than as their stock standard machine. Today they were pouring Yirgacheffe shots with the Slayer. One of my favourite beans, and the machine did it justice. I would have licked the cup. Full of fruitiness and citrus. Sparkling.
The Coffee Lab is a great feature – they offer the Coffee Flight Test – three different brew methods, using different coffees, for $12. My only gripe, and it’s not significant, is that two of the methods I chose used the same Nicaraguan Cup of Excellence bean – who complains about that sort of thing? Not me. Not really. But I probably would have chosen something else had I thought about it, just for something a little different.
I started my flight test with the syphon, lovely chocolatey notes with a strong and complex mix of fruit in the aroma and the mouth.
Next up was the cold press with sparkling mineral water. Which was effervescent and amazing. A light roasted Tanzanian bean. I highly recommend the sparkling effect. It was so refreshing.
Finally, it was the pourover, which tasted quite a bit like the syphon, but was probably a little clearer, and was certainly fruitier on the nose.
I love that these guys recognise that good coffee is both art and science – and they hit up both with equal measure. Such a delight.
My biggest disappointment was that after having these four coffees I didn’t get any of the house blend milk based drinks my coffeepanions were enjoying. But, happily, the staff pulled some strings (they don’t normally sell the blend as a retail bean) and sold me 250gm to try at home.
The customer service was just sensational. Not only were the baristas obviously excited about coffee and their work, they were aiming to please, and right on target. When they asked my friend Paul if he’d enjoyed his flat white, and his comment was it was a little too milky but otherwise pretty good, they served up another, on the house, with a slightly longer pour. It hit the spot. And this sort of ability to meet a customer’s taste, and to do it without any complaint but just to please, was just sensational.
We spent about two and a half hours in store. I loved everything. The vibe. The coffee sack decor (framed on the wall, sewed together as cushions on the couches, covered in glass on the coffee table. The chalkboard diagrams of brew methods and roast profiles. Such a great aesthetic. Probably my favourite cafe in the world. So far. And I didn’t even drink my standard double shot flat white. Their food range is also pretty sensational and I enjoyed one of the best almond croissants I’ve ever eaten with my shot of yirgacheffe.
On the whole, Sydney has been a little hit and miss coffee wise. I had such high expectations (though still have two serious contenders to check out) – but I’d say, per capita, that Brisbane is a little ahead of the game. That said, these guys live up the Beanhunter hype, and they are well worth travelling for.
Sydney Cafe Review: Bean Drinking, Crows Nest April 10th, 2011Nathan
If you’re a coffee geek and you want your coffee to be made by coffee geeks with an absolute commitment to coffee that’s 99% good not 90% good, if you want your coffee made by people who sweat the small stuff, then head to Cup in West End. It’s a coffee geek’s paradise.
Cup serves up coffee from one of the world’s most advanced machines. The Slayer. The first machine to experiment with pressure profiling – which means they can fiddle with the amount of pressure the water is being pumped at while they pull your shot of coffee. Coffee geeks around the world are excited about what the fruits of being able to control such a variable might be. Cup offers living proof. The coffee is excellent. Beyond excellent.
Cup’s roastery/cafe is in a little garagey warehouse tucked off West End’s main street. They’ve got a giant remote controlled robot painted on the wall, and they’re fast earning a reputation in competitions, not just for their latte art – though for trophies for such achievements adorn their walls.
They offer light meals, which I haven’t tried yet, and heavy, almost viscous coffee that’ll take your breath away. I promise. It’s amazing.
Their attention to detail, and their quirky, typographically driven design on take home packs of beans and other paraphernalia, makes them an absolute favourite in my books. And my wife and I are locked in a long debate on whether or not their coffee is better than Dandelion and Driftwood. I say yes. She says no. Perhaps Cup’s coffee is more manly. It certainly packs a punch.
Here’s a little video from their website to give you a taste:
When I was there last their signature blend included Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, and any use of that bean is a winner in my book. Basically, if I walk into a cafe and can spot the word Yirgacheffe anywhere I feel a little bit of calm wash over me.
They change their house blend regularly, based on season, another mark for quality in my books.