Friday, February 02, 2007

Deep in the Heart...

....of Texas. I just completed my first ever visit to the Lone Star State. I few days with good friend and coffee pro Mike McKim was a great way to first check out the state.Mike is an up and coming roaster (hmmm...4th wave?) in Houston.

Passion and professionalism shine through in everything he does. His roastery, Cuvee Coffee, reminded me of a once little wholesaler I am partial too in North Carolina. His desire to serve his customer partners was apparent, and the proof really was where it is needed the most, in the cup. Keep fighting the good fight Mike!

A road trip together to Austin was coffee-centric as well. I was impressed by the city, from the rolling brush hills down to the hipster college town culture. The coffee seen is big, but not very mature. We visited several shops, and I was not surprised to see lots of flavored syrups, super-size menus, and more food choices than necessary in most shops. There did seem to be interest in producing good espresso, so that was nice to hear in the conversations I participated in.

One shining star was Caffe Medici Espresso and Coffee House. The beautiful La Marzocco FB-70 draws your eye the moment you walk in the door. The hand made wood counters and tables showed the love of the owners, and were probably stained with some of their sweat. No pre-fab anywhere, the cafe reeked of quiet comfort and personal energy. As I stood at the counter waiting for my very tasty espresso, the quick and arbitrary flickering boiler light of the FB-70 gave away its little secret to me immediately. La Marzoccos first go at a temperature stable espresso machine, the Hybrid, was the delivery agent for my sweet brown nectar. The staff was interested and friendly, and it was clear the the patrons were in a place they felt welcomed and recognized. They also passed my ridiculously illogical test of a truly good independent coffee house, great t-shirts. Only open since last September, Caffe Medici is a maverick in Music City, sure to tempt a change for the best all over town. Kudos.
All told, the trip great. I love to see new places, and I love to drink espresso. I also learned that I love something new to me....Tex-Mex Food.

No comments: