Showing posts with label Ecco Caffe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ecco Caffe. Show all posts

Sunday, August 19, 2012

CC: Trouble Coffee

Subject: Trouble Coffee
Location: San Francisco, CA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

When you do a bit of research on coffeehouses, usually the first place you look is their website. Most have pictures of the establishment as well as the usual "About Us" and "Menu" pages, both with occasional useful information about what they really offer and what to expect. 

And a very small percentage of the time, you get a website that makes you curious as to the establishment purely by its odd nature. Take Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club, a small coffeehouse on the far west side of San Francisco that seems to defy convention, but at the same time seems to provide the necessary information if you're willing to seek it out. It did it's job on me, as I added it to my list of places to visit even though it was somewhat out of the way of my travels. 

Sporting an outside seating area complete with flower boxes and a large log, I knew I had found Trouble long before I stepped inside. The interior, while very cozy, maintained an intimate and welcoming feel amidst an array of stimuli. As for coffee, they brew Ecco Caffe, specifically blends called Elbow Grease and the Hammer, the former offered as drip coffee and the latter as espresso. The shots of the Hammer were short with brown crema, smacking of vanilla, peanut, ginger, caramel, cola and lemon; a tart yet balanced spro. The Elbow Grease drip proved (surprisingly at the time) dark, with notes of well-done steak, cigar, white bread, sugar cookies and spinach. I found out later that Elbow Grease is an attempt at a non-bitter French Roast, to which it certainly achieved a great taste compared to a typical French Roast, but I personally found it too dark to be very pleasant. 

In walking away, I can say that the only thing I would have changed would have been the Elbow Grease. Otherwise, Trouble Coffee seems like a great local hangout where folks come to commune over good coffee and toast. If you happen to be on the western edge of San Francisco, make your way over to Trouble Coffee.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

CC: Ridgewood Coffee Company

What's does "CC" mean?

Subject: Ridgewood Coffee Company
Location visited: Ridgewood, NJ

Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

The land of NJ that lies to the northeast is a land fairly different than the rest of the state. The number of roads and highways obviously is much greater and the proximity to New York City makes the place a congested nightmare during the waking hours of most days.

With such a large amount of traffic, you would think there at least a few good coffee places, especially with New York City's ever-improving coffee scene. But alas, few good places have sprung up in northeast NJ.

Yet every now and then, a prospect pops up, the most recent being a place called the Ridgewood Coffee Company in the lovely town of Ridgewood. Rumor had it the place was doing great things with great coffee, so the first time I needed to go through the area via automobile, I made sure to make a stop.

I arrived in Ridgewood one brisk weekday morning, finding the coffeehouse sitting pretty on a corner along a main stretch of town. The outside had a collection of plastic porch chairs (some had blown away) and the building itself had but one large window. Inside, the seating forks on either side of the coffee counter in what was a fairly dark room with most of the light coming in from the window.

The coffee comes from three coffee greats: Ecco, Novo and Intelligentsia. With such an arsenal, the fact that Ridgewood can show them off on a Clover makes good sense. I had the Novo's Colombian via Clover which came out lovely with the sweet taste of pear and dough; an overall mellow and wonderful coffee. The espresso, which was pulled so-so (the barista was definitely half asleep), expressed a tart lime-ish tang in front followed by notes of cane sugar and (sadly) a strong amount of char on the back end. The tea is Stash and Tazo.

Sadly, the whole coffee experience was soured by the two baristas working that day. Not only did they both give me their coldest shoulders when I first came in (they were still slowly setting up) but despite a completely empty shop, I had to initiate every inch of my order (including payment!). Even after I sat down 5 ft away from the counter, they were loudly grumbling about how they needed more money as well as other woes in their life. Normally, I give a slip in customer service the benefit of the doubt, but this topped the charts as the worst I've ever suffered. Hopefully I just experienced a negative anomaly (so it seems, as others seem to have had good experiences).

Thus in the end, I drove away from Ridgewood let down with the overall experience but pleased that a coffeehouse with potential of blooming has taken root in the northeast of NJ. While I'm not up in that neck of the woods a lot, I do hope to make another stop in soon, with hopefully better results.

If you're nearby, give Ridgewood Coffee Company a try; I pray your encounter plays out better then mine.

Friday, February 27, 2009

CC: Kaffe 1668

What's does "CC" mean?

Kaffe 1668
Location visited: Manhattan, NY

Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Not every day do I get an actual good lead or corroboration on a new-to-me coffeehouse from personal contacts. Most often people will throw me something I've been to or have heard often, but not always do new or forgotten tips pour forth.

But just this past week I was talking to a new acquaintance and he reminded me of a place I'd heard of but had escaped my radar, a place called Kaffe 1668. With my memory freshly jogged, I made my way over soon after.

Kaffe 1668 is located a block or two north of Ground Zero on Greenwich St in a nondescript building with floor-to-ceiling windows and a simple street sign outside. The inside blew me away with an almost complete contrast, as the interior was possibly the best decorated cafe I've ever seen, with beautiful furniture (even a beautiful banquet table) and just an overall well-construed ambiance that made me want to redecorate my apartment.

The coffee comes from Intelligentsia and Plowshares Coffee Roasters, as well as a guest espresso from random roasters (this time, it was from Ecco Caffe). I had the Bolivian (didn't ask who roasted it, though I'm pretty sure it was Intelligentsia) via a Clover machine. The coffee came out beautifully, displaying hints of flowering grass and an overall taste of pomegrante. I had the guest espresso, an Ethiopian single origin from Ecco, which by far was one of the best espressos I have had in a long time; the front of the shots were crowned with the flavors of vanilla ice cream, following with some orange and semi-sweet chocolate. The tea is free leaf and organic.

Walking away, I thanked my lucky stars that Kaffe 1668 made it back onto my map as the experience was one I shant forget. If you are anywhere near Manhattan, give it a hearty try.