Tag-Archive for » New York City «

This is from Giorgio Milos, the 36-year-old is a professor at Illycaffe Universita del Caffe in Trieste, Italy.

Milos is an Italian barista champion who currently lives in New York and will be spending the rest of this year travelling North America representing Illycaffe.

The biggest mistake I’ve seen is an enormous quantity of coffee being used—way too much. I’m talking about 20 to 25 grams of coffee for a single espresso shot! It is like making a mojito with half a mint leaf, one ice cube, a few grains of sugar, and a gallon of rum. Undrinkable!

Espresso made this way—well, it’s not espresso, but I’ll call it that—turns out overly concentrated, and because of that it cannot delight the drinker with the magnificent aromas of toasted bread, chocolate, red fruit, orange, and jasmine flowers that are all present in a high-quality blend.

The beverages I tasted were almost syrups, full-bodied but with a very sour, almost salty taste. I suspect that beans that were roasted too recently played a part. After roasting, beans need a few days to breathe and mature. These too-young beans are a big problem. Also, I’ve visited too many coffee bars that don’t heat cups before serving, and in the process sacrifice flavor and aroma. Or that serve in wet cups, an espresso sin.

An espresso, a real one, requires seven to eight grams of freshly ground coffee roasted two to three days in advance, or preserved using pressurization. The water can’t be too soft, and must not exceed 200 degrees F to avoid burning, nor be lower than 190 F in order to extract all the best aromatic components.

The grind is also fundamental. A too-fine grind can create burnt coffee and extract unpleasantly bitter and woody flavors. This is why so many people describe espresso’s taste as “bitter.” An overly coarse grind doesn’t permit full extraction of certain key elements. The proper, medium grind permits extraction of one ounce of aromatic black liquid in 25 to 30 seconds, the ideal amount of time.

If all these variables are respected (amount of coffee, temperature, time, and volume), along with the right pressure (around nine atmospheric units or 130 psi), you get an opaque, perfumed liquid containing microscopic oil droplets releasing precious coffee aroma, set fully free on your taste buds.

A silky, persistent foam (“crema”) will appear on top, nut brown with red stripes, protecting the liquid underneath for a few minutes—just enough time to hold that ceramic cup in hand, feel the warmth, move it to the lips, and sense those freed aromas in the mouth, where they will combine to create a unique taste experience.

Otherwise known as espresso. A real espresso.

via A Winning Formula for Traditional Espresso – Food – The Atlantic.

As some of you may know, I’m traveling on business in New York City for the week.  NYC has got to be one of the foodie capitals of the world.  With the all the cosmopolitan flavours, the high density of people from all backgrounds, and the amount of cash (still) flowing here…it all adds up to the ability to find great eats at all price levels.

One envious colleague knows about my coffee fetish, and was wondered out loud whether even the coffee tastes better in NYC.  At first, I thought it was a silly comment, but you know what?  IT DOES!  Even your average cup from a street vendor tastes pretty good.

Sure there are artisanal roasting of superior beans here and yes, there are great barristas that care about their craft.  But do you know what I think makes the biggest difference???

The WATER.  Yep, the tap water here tastes great!  This goes against most people’s idea of the state of tap water in this bustling metropolis, but it is true.

I always thought the tap water tasted good, but never really put too much thought into it.  But, while at dinner with a friend that’s a local, she mentioned that NYC’s tap water consistently rates extremely highly as the healthiest and best tasting in the nation.

A bit of research shows that the municipal water system is fed by 19 reservoirs and three lakes in upstate New York.  Most of the supply is protected and filtered by the natural processes of the upstate ecosystems.  In blind taste tastes, NYC’s water frequently rates right at the very top.

So, it makes sense.  If, the main part of a cup of coffee is water, then BETTER WATER = BETTER COFFEE

For those of us that don’t have the luxury of having best tasting tap water, or have municipal water systems that add a lot of chemicals for treatment, the best thing you can do for the taste of your coffee is to run the water through something like a Brita filter.

The fact that NYC’s water may not be kosher is another story…  🙂