Friday, January 25, 2008

$20,000 cup of coffee x 2

Note: I wrote this the day the cafe opened (23Jan08), but I had to wait for the pictures to post. These were taken from Alice's camera phone! Such good quality for a phone. And here's a chat from today:

[13:34] alice: i went to blue bottle again
[13:34] alice: and had the kyoto iced coffee
[13:34] alice: I'M AN ADDICT
[13:34] katwork: are you serious??
[13:34] katwork: with who?
[13:34] alice: my friend
[13:34] alice: lalalalalalal
[13:34] alice: i love coffee
Spoken like a true crack fiend.

So today was the opening of the new Blue Bottle Cafe at the Mint Plaza. I normally wouldn't care that much, but there was a NYTimes article about their new machine, the "siphon," and it dramatically described their brewed coffee as the greatest thing next to sliced bread. I am not a coffee connoisseur whatsoever, so I was fully expecting to not even be able to tell the difference.

Alice and I trekked over to the shady Mint Plaza, and after a good 5 minutes of being confused, we finally found our way to the happenin new space that is no longer a kiosk. There were 3 roasts from the siphon bar that we could choose from, and each was served with a different treat. At roughly $10 each, I went for the $11 Nicaraguan brew, and Alice the Ethiopian. I really just chose mine based on the snack that was served with it (Miette toffee). Not until later did we realize that each pot can serve 3 cups. Whoops! But $20+ worth of coffee? We might as well try more than one. Also to our surprise, we HAD to drink it there - you can't take it to go. There wasn't an explanation as to why, but I can make up my own: drinking it 30 seconds after brewed in a glass cup enhances your experience, as opposed to drinking it all out of a paper cup. Am I right???

Since the siphon can only make 5 "pots" at a time, we had a little while to wait and take pictures. There was also a taller and more ostentatious display of a machine that made slow-drip [iced?] coffee that took about an 8-hr process according to one guy. I won't really go into detail about the machine itself since the article is pretty thorough. But yeah, those Japanese. "They must have nothing better to do," says Alice.

Iced coffee machine

So my pot was exactly as the article described - juicy and sweet. "Juicy" is probably the best description I can think of for this coffee experience. I'm also the type of person who adds a ton of cream and sugar to my coffee (I like to drink coffee as if it's melted coffee ice cream from Haagen Daz), but I was able to sip this brew black without making a face as if something died in my mouth. It also tasted pretty much the same after I added cream and sugar... and I don't know if it's because there might have been residual undissolved sugar at the bottom of the cup, but towards the end it lost its "juiciness" and felt more on the creamy side.

Alice's Ethiopian brew, on the other hand, was distinctly different in taste - very fruity with hints of blueberry, according to the menu. Unlike the Nicaraguan roast, this one lost its flavor once we added cream and sugar. Alice preferred this one, and ended up drinking more even after she started feeling dizzy. Anything with caffeine (e.g. coffee, soda, red bull, etc) usually has no effect whatsoever on me, but after 2 cups, I started feeling light-headed, and even as I'm writing this 4 hours and one bathroom visit later, my head still hurts. That must be some potent stuff!

Despite having to drink the coffee there, we were able to take the rest back with us. Now I'm not really sure what to do with it, since it gave me a headache... but it's $11 coffee! Sacrifices will have to made this time. My health (sanity??) is more important! You win this round, Blue Bottle!


Your Pal, Al said...

I talked to the owner who was featured in the article. He said that the $20,000 was kind of a ballpark figure and the headline was written by someone else. The author actually called the owner to apologize for the misleading headline. I don't know if this comment makes any sense as I am still high on the Kyoto iced coffee. Lalalala...let's go again!!!!!!

annie said...

hey, cool that you actually went there and tried it! i just read this article yesterday and was meaning to myself one day. thanks for sharing ;)

hope you're well!