Showing posts with label Arlington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arlington. Show all posts

Saturday, July 03, 2010

CC: Barismo

What's does "CC" mean?

Location visited: Arlington, MA
Free WiFi ? : no
6+ [
see key]

Though I've been quite a frequent acquaintance of disappointment, it always hits me anew when I walk up to a coffeehouse only to see it darkened with an unexpected CLOSED sign. Usually it's thanks to a silly holiday or special event but every once in a while it's something more ridiculous like "eh, we just decided to take the week off."

But ah the euphoria of when it's a false alarm and the cafe is only closed because the sole barista had to run a quick errand. Such was the situation I ran into in my visit to Barismo, a small shop and roaster in Arlington that has earned itself strong bragging rights on quality coffee production. The cafe is a tiny, lab-like space with their two drum roasters in the back and their counter in the middle with plenty of space to mill about and sip your coffee (i.e. this is not a place to camp with your laptop but more a place to talk coffee with the barista).

I ordered myself some shots of their Soma Espresso and a cup of their Guatemala Puerta Verde via V60 cone (aka pourover or filtered). The Soma, pulled short with a nice crema, had a nice brightness, notes of jasmine, soft pretzel, chocolate and a medium body (I would say it was spot on for me). The Guatemalan put forth flavors of nougat, chianti, tobacco, vanilla and a tinge of bourbon. I would also say this splendid coffee proved as sweet and balanced as Barismo touts. The tea is their own.

While I can't say that I see similar styles of this kind of cafe popping up much (people sure love their wifi and comfy chairs), I personally would take Barismo over most coffeehouses any day. Make sure to stop in when you are in town.

Friday, May 30, 2008

CC: Murky Coffee


What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Murky Coffee
Location visited:
Arlington, VA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Update 6/26/09: Murky is closed for good, though owner Nick Cho has new ventures in mind.

I would have to admit that being 2 hours from DC most of my life has only resulted in a surprising three visits, most of them when I was a youngin. For some reason, DC seemed so much farther away (probably because of the traffic). So recently, the wife and I decided to make the trek down to DC with two friends as well as to meet up with a friend who happens to live in Arlington, right near Murky Coffee.

Now my friend, who happens to be a fellow fanatic, has often teased me with his wondrous proximity to such a quality establishment by sending me text messages as he worked from their shop or with tales of his encounters at their facility. So needless to say, I begged my fellow travelers to make our first stop Murky Coffee to which they so gracefully acquiesced.

Murky's 2 story converted house sits right at the junction of what appears to be a fork in the road, the exterior outfitted with a lovely dark greenish-gray paint job and has plenty of outside seating in the front. The interior looked welcoming but also a bit like a cute gutted house; the ceiling beams were exposed yet decorated, the floor had a chic concrete look and aside from the furniture and the bar area, the rest of the structure seemed to be a bit shack-ish. My friend later informed me that they had been improving the building periodically, so I guess the building is going through a slow makeover.

The coffee is actually Counter Culture, though all the bags are repackaged with a Murky Coffee label (a practice I'm not particularly fond of as it gives the impression that the retailer had a role in the coffee preparation). Murky does take a unique stance on their coffees, not serving anything anyone would consider a "dark roast," which I must concur that usually I'm not really a fan of oily beans and I've had about five dark roasts in my life that I would drink again.

I sampled a lightly roasted limited-offering Peruvian coffee which tasted smooth and sweet, with a hint of marinara, but overall seemed to be a very light coffee (very similar to a coffee I recently sampled the day prior at the Spin Caffe).

The espresso is where I expected Murky to shine, as they've hosted numerous barista competitions as well as taken home a few awards. It was easy to see that the baristas definitely know what they're doing after watching them prepare a few drinks as I waited for mine. The espresso was wonderful, with a beautiful citrus tang and a nice zest. My friend got a macchiatto that he enjoyed greatly, though we both agreed that the macchiatto seemed to be more of a strong miniature latte then a macchiatto (that is, if you traditionally define macchiatto as being "marked" with a 1:1 milk to espresso ratio). Overall, an impressive espresso operation.

The teas were free leaf but I failed to discover from whence they came.

Since Murky has definitely been on my radar for a while, I was truly glad to finally have made it down to try the place out. In the end, I would say that I even more envy my friend's location and look forward to making a return trip.

If you happen to be in the area or near a Metro stop (as Murky is right off the Clarendon station), definitely make a stop at Murky.

PS: My condolences with the loss of the Capitol Hill location