Occasionally I go through phases where I think I need to give up coffee. Usually when I start thinking that, I wind up drinking MORE. I don’t drink a lot – I mostly stop at one morning cup though a couple times a week (or more) I might have gone to get a latte in the afternoon, also.
I don’t drink a lot but man, I love my damn coffee. I’m not giving it up. Ever. ESPECIALLY since I recently got a swanky new home espresso machine because really, lattes and cortados (Spanish style, not Starbucks style) are my weakness. I don’t go out for lattes anymore, but I still make them at home!
By the way, a tip: The fancy conical burr coffee grinders make a world of difference. We had a separate one for several years but it started to go haywire. The espresso machine has one and oh, Heaven. Having a burr grinder that works properly again reminded me why I go bonkers for all this coffee equipment.
I’ve always been a bit of a coffee snob but it’s gotten far worse since living in Seattle for going on 6 years now. I had at least tolerated Starbucks for awhile but in the past few years, you couldn’t pay me to go there. It’s not good. IT’S JUST NOT. (And what’s up with the smell? A good coffee house should smell like fresh brew and maybe an undertone of baked goods… Starbucks has an odd stale, dairy-farm like smell to it.)
When we travel, I hunt down good coffee shops. Generally speaking, I will only get my coffee in a dedicated coffee place (as opposed to a restaurant, bakery, etc that also happens to sell coffee.) I make exceptions if I know the place well and that they generally make good brew. (No, really. Did I mention the coffee snob bit?)
When we first moved to the Pacific Northwest, we naturally fell into drinking Stumptown. By now, we’ve moved past it. That’s not to say Stumptown isn’t good – it is – it’s just kind of the cliched “good coffee” up here. But I do like them. We tend to drink Stumptown, Caffe Ladro, Espresso Vivace, Victrola, Fiore, and my latest favorite – Elm Coffee Roasters in Pioneer Square.
OH, but then… BUT THEN. I’ve had Caffe Lusso Coffee Roasters on my radar for about a year but just never got around to going there. Today, on a whim (and wanting to find some good espresso beans for MY MACHINE), husband & I went on a mission to track it down. The general location was easy but the actual space was not! It was in an entirely unassuming little corporate center area with a few small batch beer breweries around. We weaved up and down row after row of tiny little warehouse-like facades until BINGO! We spotted it.
I had done my research – Caffe Lusso, the oldest microbatch roaster in Seattle – was not a coffeehouse but a ROASTER with retail space (sort of.) You could go in and see the small operation and buy some beans to go. You could even open up the giant containers of beans and inhale all the incredible coffee bean goodness aroma.
The place is amazing – I love that it’s so ware-house like without the usual hipster, clean line Scandinavian design that’s so popular now. They even have a completely silent, lever-pull espresso machine made of copper (well, the sides) that was hammered by hand by some old Italian guy. The guy that was working there during our visit CLEARLY knows coffee from bean to cup and I think I learned more about coffee bean farming and roasting during our half hour there than I have in a decade.
So we came home with three pounds of beans. *grin* One bag of espresso beans, one single origin Costa Rica, and one single origin Sumatra. Apparently, in the coffee world, this particular Costa Rica is “the most pedigreed and revered seed-to-cup” bean around. The guy can explain all that better than I can ever regurgitate but I’ll just say DAMN, that’s good coffee.
I know. It’s a little ridiculous but what can I say? We live in Seattle!