The “Tall White”

The “flat white” is apparently the latest espresso milk combo sweeping the nation after erupting out of its Australian borders. It basically sounds like a certain style of latte and not particularly a new drink.

I make cappuccinos and lattes relatively frequently. Despite the decent amount of milk it contains, my wife notes that her latte can sometimes seem a bit too “concentrated” for her tastes (which can include Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, for context). So I recently decided to combine an Americano and a latte for a watered down version of the latte.

The basic approach is to add two shots of espresso to about 4-6 ounces of hot water, then steam some milk and add it on top. This preserved the ability to execute some killer latte art while offering your more sensitive coffee drinkers a milder alternative.

Good coffee…in Boston?

Taste café in Newton

Ever since my Reneka Techno died, the search for good espresso drinks in the Boston area has changed from an interesting challenge to a more urgent need. During a trip to Seattle, I was easily able to locate top quality espresso houses like Vivace, but Boston is not a coffee town at heart. Dunkin’ Donuts seems to be the most popular source for black gold around here. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Taste in Newtonville. It’s a surprisingly good Seattle-style coffee house. All the barista’s seem to be able to pull off impressive-quality latté art, and appear to actually know what they are doing. The espresso is the best I’ve had in the area.

As you can see from the blurry picture above, it’s effectively caffeinated as well.

Worth checking out for sure.

The challenges of office coffee

As the challenges of living with a young child have tested my daily endurance, I have become increasingly reliant on supplements to my usual one cup coffee habit to make it through the day. There is a maxim about lemons and lemonade, but I don’t particularly like lemonade, so I’ve applied to rule to coffee. If I’m going to consume northwards of three cups, they might as well be good ones. And I might as well learn something along the way. I’ve ordered up a large variety of beans from Sweet Marias. The remaining challenge is how to brew the stuff.

The French press (or should it be “freedom press” now) has been touted as a way to fully extract the range of flavor from the bean, but my initial experiments have come up a bit short. One particularly unsatisfying aspect of the experience has been the rate at which the coffee seems to go from drinkable temperature to uncomfortably lukewarm with the accompanying blandness that seems to emerge when coffee has been sitting around too long.

As there’s no stove in the office, I’ve used the hot water tap from our water dispenser to brew the coffee. I hoped, though in the back of my mind I suspected it was a foolish hope, that it would be perfectly calibrated for brewing coffee (200 degree Fahrenheit). I realized that there is only one way to know for sure, so today, I came to work prepared:

Just as I had suspected: 46 degrees too cold. Now the only question is: how crazy will my coworkers think I am if I bring in an electric kettle just to get the right temperature hot water?