I recently received a used espresso maker. With some guidance from coffee experts on twitter I am slowly learned the ins and outs of making a decent cup of espresso (thanks @chrissrkay and @bessyn for the insight). According to Chris the most important rule in brewing the perfect shot of espresso is fresh beans. Chris suggests no more then 2 weeks from the roaster; any longer than that and it starts to go flat. A quick search for local roasters revealed Java Blend on North street is a reputable local roaster that also sells retail. Unfortunately, they are not open on Sundays, but I plan to check them out this week. Bessy recommends their ethiopian blend.
Chris recommended the Intelligentsia BlackCat or the 49th Parallel Epic. I wanted to find out what the fuss was about with these beans so we went on a coffee crawl today in search for the ultimate bean. After a stop at Brooklyn Warehouse for brunch we were pointed to the Smiling Goat organic espresso bar on South Park St. They use Java Blend Roasters for their beans. Awesome. They also have some of those funky beans Chris had mentioned, such as the Intelligentsia Black Cat. Excellant.
Geoff Creighton made a cup of the Black Cat and accommodated my request for a picture of the day with one of his incredible art creations. Pictured above is the dragon. I have no idea how he makes this art in the crema but it tastes as good as it looks. The Black Cat is smooth yet powerful. Was that a hint of citrus and currant? I felt like I was doing a wine tasting. In any event it was a fantastic, enjoyable cup. I don't think I can drink Tim's again. In addition to being an exceptional, artistic Barista Geoff is a photographer who specializes in artist head shots and portraits. Check out his work here.