We ran out of our new favorite coffee, and since we were passing by the area we decided to go directly to the source. Intelligentsia has ten officially branded coffee bar’s. Six are located in Chicago, three in California and one in New York. Of course, the coffee beans can be ordered online or you may find a bag being sold at select coffee bars here and there, but for the full experience we decided to try a cup of the freshly prepared brew at the Venice location.
We walked up to the cafe and stepped in line. A line for coffee! I’ve seen lines at Starbucks before. In fact, I’ve been in that line. But, this wasn’t Starbucks coffee. My go to drinks at Starbucks are usually Grande, Green Teas sweetened, Vanilla Chai Tea Lattes, Vanilla Lattes or to be naughty, Vanilla Bean Frappuccinos with chocolate on the cup, whip and chocolate drizzle on the top. Notice a trend? There’s something about the taste of straight Starbucks coffee being a little too bitter for my liking or hard on my stomach that lead me down a path to vanilla and tea.
While I don’t consider myself a coffee connoisseur I do appreciate a good cup of joe. The Intelligentsia menu featured three in season blends that could be prepared a variety of ways. Wait. . . coffee has seasons? In season coffee means the coffee is offered when it is fresh and retains the vibrancy in flavor. Just like waiting to eat fruit when it’s ripe, coffee should be drank within 9 months from harvest. I studied the menu and decided to go with the Flecha Roja (red arrow) a blend from Costa Rica.
I watched as the barista quickly and methodically brewed the coffee to perfection. First, a special paper filter was placed into what looked like a plastic coffee cup with a flat bottom saucer permanently attached. The cup with saucer had a large hole on the bottom. This was placed over a glass carafe. As the water temperature was heated to boiling, the coffee was simultaneously ground to a fine sand, then placed into the filter. Water was poured straight down the middle of the filter and the grounds were given some time to bloom. Blooming essentially means letting the grounds soak a little in an effort to bring out the aroma in the coffee. After blooming more water was added, first down the center, then in a tight clockwise motion. Once the stream slowed to the occasional drip, my brew was ready!
From a girl that usually drinks creamer with a little bit of coffee, instead of coffee with a little bit a creamer, I drank this cup black with no creamer. My coffee was amazing! Intellegentsia’s Flecha Roja from Costa Rica is my new favorite blend and its description says it all. This clean and crispy coffee sparkles from start to finish with bright, juicy notes of kiwi, raspberry and passion fruit. Yum!