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What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I also have a K30 but with a La Spaziale. You are probably like me where there are very few cafe's that actually know how to make good coffee.

I was once in Four Barrel where they barista pulled a shot using a crotchless portafilter. Channeling like nuts. Still served it to me. Tasted like crap. Couldn't even finish it. The line was out the door. I'll never go back.

Definitely try Temple at home. A touch better than Verve and that says a lot!

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

Found another place in Mountain View in a real tucked away location.

Dharma Coffee
425 N Whisman Rd #800
Mountain View, CA 94043
Monday - Friday 7:30 am - 5:00pm

They serve Moksha coffee.

New bakery in Los Altos: Voyageur du Temps

I stopped by for the first time. I had an incredible lavender macaroon and a really nice shot of espresso using Caffe Vita beans. Sadly they are switching to Mr. Espresso beans which is a major drop in quality of the beans. I don't understand why they can spend $15k on an beautiful Kees Van der Western 3-group machine, a few thousand $$$ more on a double Mahlkonig K30 grinder (I have the single version of the K30 for home use) and use far from the best beans.

Taco Question: Suadero

What kind of meat? It's great tasty meat. Mamacita's in Mountain View.

Local Coffee Clubs

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

Macchiato translates as marked/spotted. A latte macchiato is an espresso (~1.75 ounces) with about an ounce of milk. It is in between an espresso and a cappuccino.

I don't believe there is an equivalent to a caffe latte in Italy. If you ask for a latte though, Robert is right in that you'll get a glass of milk.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

yes milk. It's breakfast. ;)

No matter how much pressure you tamp with, it's nothing compared to 9 bar. 9 bar is ~130psi. 53mm portafilter has ~450 pounds of pressure. Just be consistent and level.

Weigh your shots with the time fixed (fewer variables). I was amazed at how much more indicative of the shot quality is by weight rather than volume.

I agree with your shot times. I have 5 seconds pre-infusion. Less than 25 seconds I toss.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I've read that grinders designed for espresso aren't so spectacular for pour over. Jack of all trades versus a specialist.

A Mazzer Major (great grinder!) should more than easily choke any espresso machine. I've had issues with FourBarrel myself in the past. Specifically, shots pulling from a crotchless portafilter spraying like the coffee was 6 weeks after roast. This was using a Mahlkonig K30 grinder which is comparable to the Major.

As to how oily the beans are, a little is ok but in general you shouldn't see any visible oil on the beans. The roast level is more a matter of what flavors the roaster wants in that bean profile.

There definitely is a time-of-year with regards to how long the green coffee has been sitting after harvest, humidity and how many shots you successively pull (heat causes expansion of the burrs which changes calibration). That's why espresso is so much more finicky than regular coffee. You're always fine-tuning the calibration.

A good test of quality control is measure the dosage of coffee in the portafilter and then measure the liquid you get out for a fixed time. For example, many coffees are generally at a ratio of 1.55 extraction. 16.5g coffee in a 53mm portafilter results in 26g of liquid coffee at 30 seconds. This is more precise (but much more time consuming and wasteful) than going by eye.....but you're much more likely to be repeatably making great shots.

Here's what I'm drinking from my own kitchen. Not a pro but better tasting than what FourBottle <sic> makes. :)

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

The Sweet Shop in Palo Alto carries Verve. Fresh coffee beans are delivered on Thursdays. Red Berry in Los Altos carries many roasters including Verve, Temple, Intelligentsia, Stumptown and others. They get fresh coffee delivered probably every day.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I've heard good things about Old Soul but never have had them.

I started with a Capresso. Then went nuts with a Baratza Vario when I got my first espresso machine. First one was defective. Baratza replaced it. Occasionally it pulled great shots but sometimes lost its settings and would burn through a pound of coffee in 2 minutes. I then got a (barely) used Mahlkoenig K30. Great shots all the time. It's the last grinder I'll ever buy as the burrs are rated for 100,000 shots. It'll out live me by a long, umm, shot.

Seems that you use good beans and good technique. The last piece is a phenomenal grinder. Ditch the Capresso, spend as much as you can afford and never look book.

I also strongly recommend the classes offered by Temple.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

Verve is top notch. Definitely give Temple in Sacramento a try. Free shipping on orders of ~$25 or more. Linea (Andrew Barnett) is amazing. His coffees are really balanced "comfort" coffees that are typically very forgiving to pull or brew. I've also had excellent results with Equator Coffee but haven't used it enough to say they are on the level of Verve and Temple. Same goes for High Note ( Moksha Coffee found at Zombie Runner in Palo Alto is very good too.

Sounds like you are using good beans and good technique. What kind of grinder are you using?

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

Hetch Hetchy needs 5-10micron filtration but not softening. IIRC, it was at 49-55 <units> or ~2.5 grains. With the drought, it's probably higher but not off the charts. I descaled both boilers on my machine and turns out both were extremely clean after 1 1/2 years. My friend's water in Los Altos (source?) was through the roof....12-14 grains IIRC.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I'm not saying one is darker than the other. The only coffee I generally buy that dark is Vivace. Otherwise it typically city plus roast. With so many great roasters in the area, I focus on making the coffee and not the roasting. I leave that up to the true roasting professionals.

And since no one has mentioned it, the 3 most important things for making great coffee are: fresh beans (typically no more than ~12 days after roast), good technique and a great grinder. The 4th ingredient is a good machine/pour over/drip/french press/etc. For me, Mahlkoenig K30 and a La Spaziale Vivaldi.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

Actually ignorant or unknowledgeable (and all too common) roasters call burnt coffee beans French or Italian roast and then the public incorrectly adopted the wrong terminology. If you look at Illy or Lavazza, they are "espresso roast" and many shades lighter than char$'s and aren't coated in rancid oil like Philz beans. Kind of like Char$'s calling calling a 16 ounce milk drink a "cappuccino" when a real (traditional) cappuccino is ~6 ounces.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I haven't been to Old Soul but been to Temple many times including a 5 hour private espresso making class. Absolutely phenomenal. The training is extremely valuable and their coffees are absolutely top notch. This place is 2nd to none. They also offer free shipping for orders over $25.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?


Palo Alto/Menlo Park rant

It's the grinder, the bean and the person making it. It's not the espresso machine is by far the least important part.

He has a Compak K10 grinder.

He had a La Spaziale Vivaldi double boiler. On my Vivaldi at home, I've pulled many a god shots. Now he has a La Marzocco GS/3 (I think) with pressure profiling. It's definitely an upgrade but beyond miniscule compared to getting rid of the crappy months-old Illy coffee and now roasts his own beans.

Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to try it. Maybe tomorrow.

Palo Alto/Menlo Park rant

Fraiche is ok in a pinch. After that, all the other places are junk. Philz is on par with Char$'s, so absolutely disgusting. Their own description of one of their coffees includes the word "charcoal" (or something similar).

Red Rocks in Mountain View acceptable. The Sweet Shop in Los Altos uses Verve and is variable depending on who is working.

For french press, Calafia in PA and Scratch in Mtn. Both are restaurants.

Red Berry is Los Altos uses beans from the best roasters in the US (Intelli, Stumptown, etc.) and is by far the best.

South Bay Cafes?

Red Berry Coffee on Main St. in Los Altos opened up a month or so ago. GREAT coffee from many different top roasters (Intelligentsia, Temple, Verve, etc.). Plenty of place to spread out upstairs. Wireless. Small selection of very good pastries. The make cold brew/slow drip coffee too. Parking is much easier than downtown Mountain View.

Quality cheese (for wine pairing) between Mountain View to San Mateo?

I have in the past seen Harley Farms at the Los Altos Whole Foods in the refrigerator section where the fresh mozzarella is.

Looking for good, roasted whole coffee beans in South Bay

And another high-quality local roaster:
Highnote Coffee
Contact them as you may be able to arrange a local pickup rather than shipping it.

Looking for good, roasted whole coffee beans in South Bay

There is also the coffee subscription from Sweet Maria's in Oakland. They are apparently one of the few major coffee importers in the US. $35 every two weeks gets you 2 pounds every 2 weeks including shipping.

Verve always has Streetlevel and/or Sermon for espresso. They occasionally pull shots using other bean. You can easily tel l which beans they use for espresso by the black label on their whole beans. And the roast date is on the package like all good roasters (and not "Good until February 31, 2020" like *$s)

Looking for good, roasted whole coffee beans in South Bay

Barefoot is around but in name only. I haven't been to any since the name was bought out from the roaster but have heard from coffee snobs and non-snobs that their coffee is no longer good in their cafes. I haven't heard if their beans are still good.

Looking for good, roasted whole coffee beans in South Bay

There is also Bitter + Sweet in Cupertino that uses Sightglass.

Looking for good, roasted whole coffee beans in South Bay

Verve is proper roasting and it depends on the type of bean (bourbon, catuai, peaberry, etc.) and their intended use whether the bean is roasted to city, full city or darker.

Zombie Runner in Palo Alto carries Moksha. Moksha beans typically are low acidity, heavy on the chocolate/caramel flavors.

Sweet Shop in Los Altos has Verve delivered Thursdays.

Bellano carries Verve and possibly others.

Red Berry is opening up in Los Altos and rotates through all the top roasters in the US.

Red Rocks in Mountain View carries 4 Barrel. I've had very mixed results with their coffees though. They too have very mixed results the times that I was by their shop in SF.

Chromatic is just down the street from Bellano.

I've had some great shots from Blue Bottle and more often not, not so great but they definitely have a very strong following.

Linea Caffe in San Francisco

The Brazil is amazing as a straight shot as well as a cappuccino! 6 days after roast, 15.5 to 16g dose (53mm portafilter) at 92 C with a 28-30 second 1.5 ounce pull. Amazing how a half pound of coffee can disappear.

German "Oktoberfest" menu at Steins, Mountain View

>Steins has never even "pretended to be remotely authentic"
>in any particular -- such a statement just reflects
>someone's mistaken assumptions.

From the MTV Voice:
"I wanted to make it very German, a very authentic German Oktoberfest,..." ~Ted Kim owner of Steins.

German "Oktoberfest" menu at Steins, Mountain View

Ask for a "stein" in Germany and they'll look at you like you have 6 heads (unless you are in ultra-touristy location).

"Maßkrug (plural: Maßkrüge), a one litre volume glass drinking vessel with a handle. This is frequently used in Bavarian beer gardens and beer halls and is a staple of Oktoberfest. It is often referred to as a beer stein or beer mug by English speakers."

So what I wrote is correct. Only ignorant or uninformed tourists and the restaurant call it a "stein." :)

German "Oktoberfest" menu at Steins, Mountain View

I still can't get over the name "Steins." It sounds like it was contrived for ignorant tourists such as the Hofbraeu Festzelt at Wiesn. A "stein" is a stone and has nothing to do with beer. How can this place be even pretend to be even remotely authentic?

BTW, I did try to get a beer there once. I sat at the bar for 10 minutes. Not one of the 5 bartenders stopped their conversations and walked over. I got up and left and went over to Mervyn's.

best dark roast coffee beans in Berkeley / Oakland area

I can't believe Schomer, Peet's and French Roast (ie carbonized defect coffee beans) are mentioned in the same thread.

Next I suggest we compare a 2 dozen course tasting menu at The French Laundry with McDonald's "pommes frites."