Comments on a lot of cappaccuino drinking lately. This has been fueled by my good friend David Ebrey's of a top of the line Silvia espresso maker.
Really good capps depend on a good barrista, so this may vary depending on who you get, but:
Most of the capps in this town are really depressing. The milk is too airy and flavorless. The espresso flavor tends to have no bottom. Feels kind of - weak. You can taste right through it. Maybe there's a bit of roast flavor, no real dense coffee flavor.
So, of what I've found:
Third favorite capp in town: Peet's in Brentwood. The weathered barrista with the English accent. I'm a Peet's partisan, but most Peet's I just use for the coffee, the espresso drinks are only OK. Somehow the Brentwood one is way better. Solid, deep espresso - fine velvety milk. Also a fine latte.
Second favorite capp in town: Mr. Ebrey's at his home.
First favorite capp in town: Conservatory in Culver City. Man, great. Everything right, but, better than Peet's because: a richer milk flavor, a denser foam, more alive and textureful, can really wrap your tongue around it - but smooth. And good goddamn espresso.
I've been to Urth. I don't understand why people like Urth. The espresso is kind of whiny, and doesn't really have any depth. Man! Mr. Ebrey tells me that it may be because they only roast coffee once a week, and the two times I went, maybe I got unlucky and had long-ago-roasted coffee. But hell! What sort of a high-end coffeehouse roasts once a *week*? Peet's roasts 6 days a week. So does Gourmet Coffee Warehouse.
Side comment: to all the people on UCLA campus, the best capp in shooting range is made by the older, curly-haired Asian lady at the business school cafe. The one that got shut down for cockroach action. It's not great, but it's not depressing.
Comments about Gourmet Coffee Warehouse:
On Rose in Venice. Very good coffee - not the finest the world has ever seen, but astoundingly good for the price. Good Ethiopian Yergecheffe for $8 a pound. And they roast, er, 5 days a week? The people at the front counter are astoundingly uninformed about their beautiful product. Ask to talk to their roaster, find out what they've roasted that day, and see if you can get what's just been roasted. If there's 3 days old beans on a variety left, that'll still be in the bins - but they'll get you the new stuff if you ask. (All this glorious data uncovered by the dear Mr. Ebrey).
My favorite here, though, is Kenya AA. It is not the best Kenya AA, but since the good stuff tends to be $30 or $40 a pound at least, and theirs is $15 a pound and you don't have to wait to have it mailed out - man. Most Kenya AA is pretty smooth. This is not. Rough, beautiful-but-not-pretty. Hits every flavor range coffee could possibly hit. Deep roast flavors, warm nut flavors, bits of fruit, high sweet singing flavors, all at once. It's almost brutal. I *love* it. Most Kenya tries to be Johnnie Walker. This is more like good Kentucky bourbon. Christ! This is a really happy coffee. The only other thing as good for this low price I know is Peet's Major Dickason's blend.
Anyway - thoughts? Anybody know better?