Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Closed: CoolGrindz: 3Ms is better than none.

I've noticed a disturbing trend here. Good, local places that seem to care about the food they serve are apparently named by suburban middle schooler poser skate punks: Moziak, CoolGrindz, Cool Beanz. I honestly have no idea how this happened. It's like the little scoops of potato salad everybody glomps on the top of an otherwise decent greek salad here. The vast mysteries of Tallahassee.

CoolGrindz is a respectable little coffee shop. It's bright and pleasant, with a nice patio, good cuban music, and a homegrown feel, right off Tharpe at Lake Ella Plaza. They've got a live music schedule, free wifi, comfy chairs and very non-starbucks bright orange walls. And they make a decent espresso. Well, three-quarters of a decent espresso.

There's an old italian formulation for a good espresso: the four M's.
  • Macinazione is the correct grinding of the coffee
  • Macchina is the espresso machine
  • Mano is the skilled hand of the barista
  • Miscela is the coffee blend.
CoolGrindz has an admirable 3-group Nero Italia Espressa, beans ground fresh for for the shot in Espressa K-1 grinders, and the barista did a reasonable tamp before pulling a 25 second 2-ounce shot. A little rough around the edges, but altogether way better than par. The Miscela is where this whole deal falls apart. These beans were past roasted. These were baked. The flavors were overpowered by an earthy, deep, charcoal. Not since I last visited Peet's have I had a shot with beans this dark. Not that it was all bad - there was a nice, lasting crema, the espresso was silky and substantial, and there was next to no bitterness.

In all, it was a pleasant surprise, and a far cry better than the Starbucks that has so far been my one Tallahassee espresso option. With a lighter roast, these guys could have something really memorable.

1 comment:

NArnoldBlais said...

Hi Eli! Bill and I found an inside track to Ohori's coffee in Santa Fe. One of the professors here has a brother who lives in Santa Fe and knows the woman who owns Ohori's. This results in the periodic arrival of packages of Ages Sumatra. We can't seem to find this stuff anywhere else. The fermented beans remind me of a really good wine.

Any plans to come to Pittsburgh?

Love and hugs to the family,


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