This famous Napa coffee roaster has locations in downtown Napa and in St. Helena, and it routinely receives “best coffeehouse” awards in Napa town. They not only roast their own coffee in 20-lb batches, but they also offer regular coffee cuppings. And although their location gives them every excuse to abuse misplaced wine tasting analogies in the Napa Valley, they instead emphasize how cupping is a process designed to determine the potential of — and defects within — a lot of green beans. (It’s all business here.)
Entering inside the café, you encounter tall ceilings, Victorian architecture, a worn wooden floor with a harlequin paint job, track lighting, and the odds of hearing Modest Mouse on the stereo system. There are a few small tables, an upstairs, an espresso bar right as you enter, and a coffee bean sales counter further behind it.
For an espresso machine, they interestingly use a two-group Diadema — produced by B.F.C. of Italy. Diadema machines are more widely available in Australia, but they do appear in the States as very high end home machines — such as the Junior Plus and the Unico Splendor. (Never mind how much the B.F.C. logo looks like it was lifted from SBC, now AT&T, née Pacific Bell.)
Yet despite this interesting pedigree, the resulting espresso shots here are very disappointing. There is virtually no crema — just a whisp of something more than black filter coffee. It’s the right pour size and serving temperature, but yet the flavor is more smoke and some ash. Not ashy in an entirely unpleasant way, but it tastes of an extensively dark roast and leaves a powdery coat on the tongue.
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