Despite my aspirations I have yet to get my espresso machine — A.K.A. Miss Silvia — tuned up and ready to claim her long-coveted counter space. I suspect my claim of eminent kitchen counter domain is still in the appellate court of domestic bliss, and herself sits as chief justice on that bench. (I remain confident she can be bribed with a well-prepared chocolate cappuccino.)

Meanwhile this presents something of a quandary. I now have two coffees awaiting review that in one way or another demand espresso preparation: one being specifically blended for espresso, and another that I understand really shows its stuff only when pulled as a single-origin shot. What to do? Why, brew them in a espresso pot, of course! If it’s good enough for generations of Italian grandmothers it’s good enough for me. And it just so happens I have this nifty new Bodum Mocca Brewer handy…

Before you read any further, however, I need to offer a note or two about me and espresso: I am an espresso enthusiast only… I make no claim to being an espresso expert. I haven’t earned my stripes behind a coffee bar pulling shots for the huddled masses day after day. My milk texturing technique needs work. Latte art? Fugettaboutit. And so I suggest you consider my opinions on espresso for what they are — at best the coffee world’s equivalent of an enthusiastic Monday morning quarterback — and little more.

Coffee Emergency’s Tribal Medicine Organic Espresso

Currently offered as a limited edition, I think Jason at Coffee Emergency is pretty excited about this new espresso blend, as well he should be. Tribal Medicine offers everything I love in an espresso blend: a nose that is both fruited and floral, a taste that offers dusky notes of earth and worn leather and — the coup de grâce — an only-just-tamed dry berry appeal. It plays exceptionally well as a straight-up espresso; it’s nothing short of inspired in a cappuccino. I’d compare it to Dr. Josuma’s Malabar Gold in its baseline and middle notes — it’s got a similar nutty pistachio complement to it — but the soaring fruit makes for an altogether new and dramatic composition; one that, honestly, I adore.

Rated: [rating:4.5]

Available now at Coffee Emergency.

 

Ecco Caffe’s Fazenda Cruz Branca

One of Andrew Barnett’s many offerings that, while perhaps not roasted exclusively for espresso, are most probably best enjoyed in a tazza, this bean took first place in the 2005 Brazil Cerrado Quality Competition. While I admit to being something of a reluctant drinker of Brazilian coffees (save for the many that are tried and true components of a thousand-and-one espresso blends) Andrew’s Brazils are winning me over a sip at a time. This one — the Fazenda Cruz Branca — might as well be named “Death by Chocolate”… it’s nothing short of a cocoa-iced fudge brownie cleverly disguised as a coffee bean. There’s chocolate in the nose, chocolate in its ample body, even sweet chocolate in its finish. To say that it plays nice with milk would be an understatement.

I should add that in addition to brewing in an espresso pot, I enjoyed this coffee every bit as much in a press, but found that it lost a fair amount of its appeal as a drip offering. Don’t that deter you one bit if you’re an espresso hound… and don’t delay much, this is listed at Ecco Caffe as a limited offering (there’s only so much to go ’round.)

Rated: [rating:4.0]

Available now at Ecco Caffe.

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