Saturday, September 5, 2009

Morning Cappuccino and a Coffee Comparison/Review

I've talked about my cappuccinos before, the ones I have on a daily basis with my wife to tremendous enjoyment an as a celebration of everyday romance, but I haven't shown you what these little beauties look like. Here's the cups I made the other day in my favorite mugs ever, which I got at Big Lots about seven years ago for fifty cents each (had I known their greatness when I bought them, I would have bought all they had of them).
two mugs of cappuccino everyday romance styleSomeone might find argument with how these look, but do remember that I don't actually possess any of the proper tools for making a proper cappuccino, and yet I still have fooled even seasoned Europeans (meaning Europeans that have been to Italy and France and enjoyed many coffees in each place) into believing I do have such equipment. This isn't about recipes, though. I think I mentioned before how I make these. See here, for instance. The real trick is simple, of course: don't be cheap, i.e. buy good coffee, use plenty of it, buy good sugar and cream, and use enough of those, and if you add flavorings, get the good ones, e.g. by Rieme.

This post really was to show that picture, but I should talk about the coffee in those mugs. As usual, it came from Vienna Coffee Company here in Maryville, TN. The method of brewing it into cappuccino (actually what we call "pressoccino," to be more "accurate") is the same as in the recipe linked to above. All that varies over time is the particular kind of coffee we get. What's in those mugs is their Sumatra Mandheling, which is roasted medium-dark and absolutely glorious as everyone who has had a Mandheling from Sumatra knows. The flavor is rich and complex, deep and satisfying, and it stands up nicely to milk and sugar to have a very round, full mouth feel and flavor. I think that were it not for my love of variety, I'd probably only rarely buy any other flavor of coffee because this one is really hard to beat. It is almost definitely my wife's favorite.

I'm comparing it with the other flavor we've been going back and forth on, one I intend to write a more proper review of later: their Mocca Java, a blend of coffees from Yemen (Mocca) and Indonesia (Java) that they claim has big earthy flavors and a complex flavor for a darker roast. I definitely taste the earthiness and complexity, but honestly, I find the taste a bit flat, particularly after the very round, robust taste of the Sumatra Mandheling. I've been holding off on a review of this particular blend because I figured I owed it the honor of being brewed in a Moka since there is pun-value there, but I haven't gotten around to it (my wife doesn't much like the output of the Moka because the coffee seems to make her jittery that way -- I suspect it's the oils, many of which don't pass the paper filter of the Aeropress). The Vienna website claims that this cup has chocolate notes despite being unflavored, and I think I can see that. Perhaps it is one of the reasons for my distaste of it, despite the fact that it's obviously well roasted and well blended coffee: I don't really like chocolate going in my coffee, although I really like coffee going into my chocolate. Honestly, I don't feel like I can give this coffee a fair appraisal until I taste it from a French press, and I broke mine and haven't been in a rush to get a new one (since I only rarely drink brewed coffee now). I will note that it's good enough, despite my tastes, that it has been purchased three out of the last five times I've bought coffee, so it's definitely worth picking up and enjoying.

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1 comment:

cafenginer said...

Jim,
Thanks for the shout-out. The Sumatra IS a favorite for a lot of folks. I understand your comments about the Mocca-Java. The Mocca bean is a bit of an acquired taste with it's sometimes extreme Earthyness/mustiness. Come in this week and check out the new crop La Armonia Hermosa. It's crisp, sweetly fruity & plenty of body. I'm loving it!