Short version: if you want the good stuff, you probably need to go to the Ferry Buidling on Saturday when the guy who owns Blue Bottle has a stand at the farmers' market, not just to the Frog Hollow store on any old weekday.
After all the rave reviews about Blue Bottle coffee, I headed over to the Ferry Building to pick up my very own bag. When I got there, I found out that Frog Hollow only carries 2 or 3 blends at any given time, and none of them were the ones recommended to me by this board! Apparently, Blue Bottle makes a few blends just for Frog Hollow, so the blends recommended to me would only be available on Saturday, when Blue Bottle has a stand at the Farmers' Market.
Not to be deterred, I bought a bag of the espresso beans and went home to try it out. I followed the brewing instructions for my stovetop espresso maker, and the result was....INCREDIBLY BITTER. I tasted it, was horrified, added sugar, added milk--still horrified.
Now the good side: I took it back the next day, and Jeff (apparently the resident coffee expert) told me the espresso blend I bought might be too overly roasted for a stovetop espresso maker, but that it was good for fancy espresso machines.
He graciously exchanged what was left of my coffee for the house blend. I tried it in my regular drip machine, and it was fine. Not out of this world, but fine. It didn't have much of a bitter edge, but it lacked natural sweetness. I didn't mind drinking it black, but I found myself drinking it quickly rather than savoring the smell and taste.
The service throughout my adventure was impeccable, and I would defintely go to Frog Hollow again for a cup of coffee or a pastry. However, if and when I buy Blue Bottle again, it will be directly from the company.
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