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Between a Rock and a Hard Place

August 19, 2009

Did I really let a week go by without a word of fuss?  How did that happen?

Time did crazy things to me during my recent California trip.  First, time made it seem that my two-year absence from the state was just a long holiday, and flying into SFO felt just like coming home from an extended trip.  Mind you, a trip I was retuning from with an extra child in tow, but still.  Second, time made my twelve-day marathon seem like a fleeting dream upon my return.

I was expecting to gain ten pounds.  I gained three.  Which means I failed.  Though that is not to say I didn’t try.

Before I talk about anything else from the trip, I need to talk about one thing.  In one of the few posts I was able to fire off while away, I cruelly teased about some stunning espresso, and Brent called me out on leaving all of you hanging.

The name of the place is Blue Bottle Coffee.

And it’s a name to remember if you make it out to San Francisco.  In my limited time in the city, I found a way to visit these espresso virtuosos four times.  And that number would have been greater, had I been introduced to them earlier.

I came here with my old friend Raf.  He gave me the rundown on the place:
– Their $20,000 vacuum pot brewing system that is custom built in Japan.
– The availability of single-origin espresso beans.
– The drip coffee, brewed to order.

But when I saw their menu and read that all their espresso drinks were made with double ristrettos, is when I took pause.  Nobody does that.  And it’s exactly how it should be done.  And only the fussiest of the fussy would even ever ask for their cappuccino to be made with a double ristretto.

This place is serious.

So Raf stumbled upon an amazing off-menu drink they make at Blue Bottle.  Here is roughly how the conversation went:
Raf: I’d like a drink that has more milk than a macchiato, but less than a cappuccino.
BB: What you want is a Gibraltar.

Not only is it a drink they make, they have a special double shot glass just for the drink.  Everyone behind the counter knows exactly what you are talking about.  It will set you back $3, but it will be the best three dollars you have ever spent.

The espresso pull was so dark, and it was crowned with such a thick rich crema, I was floored.  The milk for each drink is steamed fresh to order, and any remnants are discarded.  Small delicate bubbles were deftly poured into the shot of espresso, and the drink resembled a miniature pint of Guinness as it cascades in the glass.

In the mouth it was velvet.  And on the tongue there was nothing but the taste of rich, intense coffee without a trace of bitterness.  As I said before, it almost brought tears to my eyes.  And the flavor of the coffee lingered.  And lingered.  And lingered still.

So much so, that when I met another friend for cocktails twenty minutes after my Gibraltar, I decided to wait about ten minutes before getting a drink.  I was still enjoying the lovely coffee flavor in my mouth.

Naturally, I felt compelled to tell everyone who would listen about this transcendent coffee experience.

And you know what most people said?
“Eh.  Blue Bottle is good, but there is this other place that is much better.”


You may have to bear with me this week.  I have a feeling it’s going to take a few posts to get all of this coffee stuff out of my system.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sister of Raf permalink
    August 19, 2009 10:54 am

    I beat you; I gained 5 lbs in the 7 days of my trip.

    • brownie permalink
      August 20, 2009 12:55 pm

      Pfft. I stayed home and gained more weight than all of you! Amateurs.

  2. Tonia permalink
    August 20, 2009 11:10 am

    My mouth was watering just reading your blog…. Mmmmm.

  3. March 28, 2015 2:04 pm

    I enjoy reading your views. I used to hate coffee. I started drinking it years ago when I was burning two ends if the candle.Going to College by day,and working as a waitress at night. Later on a true coffee lover introduced me to what good coffee was. Some coffee can be drinking without sugar or cream. But that strong bitter coffee my mother taught me to make sure gets you out of bed fast! Have a nice day. Sincerely,Kare

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