Frog fights, but no coffee

I headed to Paris last tuesday, where I’ll stay a couple of weeks.

As I had to meet one of my friend, we agreed to meet at the “Frog Fight“. What is the “Frog Fight”? Some sort of coffee geeks community event in Paris, where baristas from the Paris area, pros and semi-pros, are meeting, under the pretext of a contest but it’s really more about community, fun, meeting and sharing than anything. No big industry event, no big corp. backing it, no sponsor banners…

The frog fight today was at “La Caféothèque“, one of the first specialty coffee shop in Paris, really well located in the south of Le Marais, along the river, even if this place might not be the best place to run such a business (not that much walking traffic…), it’s beautiful and the folks running it are some true coffee lovers (even if I must confess I have never been a total fanboy of their coffe – oops)

The Fight itself is a funny small Latte Art tournament, baristas are competing two at the same time, today on the dual head Marzocco of La Caféothèque, in a quick improvised tournament style, up to the final. Tournament table is hand-written on a piece of paper and MC’s are rotating shouting the names of the competitors to call them for the fight. Three judges are giving their opinions (which prevent from having a draw) and its all based on the Latte Art (as well as the claps) as none are really drinking any of the beverages I think (but I have seen a lot of beers and wine…). The winner is rewarded by beautiful valueless prizes and the vibe is pretty good!

The good thing of this event for me, beyond meeting my friends in a pretty cool environment, was to see that actually, the coffee scene in Paris start to slightly vibrates. Many folks there were talking about projects of opening a specialty coffee shop in the city. Some already opened over the last 2 years, following la Caféothèque, who was really a precursor and it looks like many other will in a pretty short term. This is good for coffee lovers living in Paris, this city being so retarded about coffee!

Good thing? Let me thing… Not so good if you think about globalization. Despite being local, what does it really means if all cities have all the same local roasters, and all the same fair trade coffee providers, perfectly trained baristas with tatoos and that cool pacific northwest attitude? Don’t you smell a taste of  globalization? Where is my Café Mozart?

Anyhow, no I won’t digress, it would be too easy, this is just me being snob, easy to be as I don’t live anymore in Paris. Truth is: it’s damn good to think I will be able to have a damn good espresso in Paris easily in the future!

RBC NYC, no handsomeness but plenty of good beans

As I was in the city today, I went to RBC NYC. I wanted to try this place since a couple of weeks, but more than that, I wanted to go there to get some beans from Handsome Coffee Roasters, this new roaster created by some good folks from the coffee industry, and RBC is the only place I know in New York carrying them!

Bad luck, no more stock of Handsome Coffee

Still as I was there I bought a stock of different roasters: 49th Parallel 49th (from Vancouver), Counter Culture (from Durham, NC), Heart (from Portland), Barismo (from Barlington, Ma) and Coava (from Portland)

I didn’t know at all Barismo, and it’s what they were using for espresso today. Ended up in a very good, short espresso cup poured by their beautiful Slayer, of a blend (guatemala, colombia and colombia) that was very good. Subtle, a good sweetness, not too strong, almost no bitterness. I really liked it.

Beside that, the space is nice, I think you can work there a little but it’s not that big. The location, Broadway and Worth, is not the best to me, in Tribeca, but not the best part of it (I really have little reasons to go in the area). I would recommend definitely to try it. It’s also interesting to have a place that carry so many roasters, but this can also be questionable, as well as the fact that the roast is not really local for most of them… Anyway, one concrete consequence, you will have less freshly roasted coffee than from a local provider. Some of my beans where roasted more than 2 weeks ago. Depending one when you want to use them, you might want to check this before buying!

  • RBC NYC
    71 Worth Street
    New York, NY 10013
    Map here 

Upright on Manhattan avenue

Upright Coffee, this is my everyday coffee spot!

They opened sometime spring 2011 and I think I was one of their first customers… It’s a 1mn walk from my home and since I haven’t yet (re)invested in an espresso machine, it’s there that I’m having my daily shots. Americanos’ the early morning and Espressos for the rest of the day.

While the first month, clearly they were not pouring the best espresso’s ever, they quickly improved, and have a small but nice rotating staff doing a pretty good job behind the Marzocco now. Not yet top of the cups but getting there.

They use coffee from the Brooklyn Roasting company, which does a pretty good job. If your in Greenpoint, and looking for a good espresso, it’s definitely a good spot, their are not that many in the heart of Greenpoint. You can also buy beans there. I’ve heard from them they are on their way to open another coffee shop in Manhattan (547 Hudson St.) and I look forward to go check it up.

For a full experience, go play pinball at the laundry next door!

Champion on Manhattan

Ok, this is the first one appearing on this blog, a small coffee shop at the top north of Manhattan avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s been almost a year that I targeted it but never tried it. It looked very good from the outside, and I must say I am surprised that I didn’t go there before. Fancy, slightly brooklynish style but not too much, a nice FAEMA E61 that you can see from the street, well good feeling.

English: Espresso making on espresso machine F...

The machine must have been of this kind - Image via Wikipedia

Today so, I was for some reasons close to that place and went for an espresso here.

They use Oslo roasters. This was not necessarily a good sign. I don’t dislike it but I have never been amazed by Oslo coffee.

When I enter, choice offered for espresso are single, double or triple shots. Surprising, very few places I went lately would suggest triple, but also very few steel brew single shot. An espresso is now very often by default a “double shot”.

Here comes the espresso, though I couldn’t blame my barista as there is no rule, disapointment, this was really a lot of liquid. I should have ask “ristretto” here. May be being in this kind of coffee shop, I was sure it would be also by default something short and dense enough, it was definitely not. The coffee was not that bad, but no strong taste or flavor, however way to “longo” for me, a lot of water and a bit too much extraction.

I might go back, ask for Ristretto, but no, not convinced. I was sure the coffee was way better there as it looked very promising, I’ll have to come another time, may be it was a bad day… but as we all know, that is the story about, being consistent!

  • Champion Coffee
    1108 Manhattan Ave # A,
    Brooklyn, NY 11222-1040
    (718) 383-5195 ‎
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Welcome here!

Here is a blog done the right way – quick and dirty, in 5mn. Will I stick to it, and write about it?

My only idea is to write here simple notes ONLY on the coffee I tasted and coffee shops I visited…