Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In search of cappucino perfection

La Boulangerie, on Dublins Chatham Row, off Grafton street, in the heart of the city. The service is good - imprecise, but with such warmth and welcome that the occasional wrong table can be easily forgiven. This is a nice space to spend time in.

Not because of the decor - marbletop tables, bentwood chairs, a little too close to one another, in a relatively charmless room, but with a full glass door wall looking onto the street.

Not because of the music, commfortibgly and familiarly bad as all French Pop really should be. It's bad in entirely the right and gallicly perfect way.
But because of the sevice. Quiet, friendly, a place that feels genuinely pleased to have you in it.
To the coffee. The presentation made me smile. A really nice touch that. The coffee itself. It's that milky style of cappucino, with none of the balancing bitter notes excellent cappucino needs. I didn't need suger - I normally take one for good coffee, two for bad, and three and a serving of self loathing for the IFI stuff. This needed none. Just a long, milky bland dairy sweetness, with a hit of cocoa, but nothing oif he dark and beautiful bitter heart good cappucino needs.
I'll be coming back, but not for the coffee.


Felix said...

My God,
You are so much more nuanced than me re: coffee.
Ever since I got an Italian stovetop espresso-maker for Christmas, (it's a 6-cup one) I like to start the day by loading it up with LaVazza, and drinking the resultant black fluid in a 60/40 blend with boiled water.
I sometimes add a pinch of salt to intensify the flavour.
I am all about the bitter heart of coffee and have no requirement for any long, milky finish.

Shakes. Shaking, shivering, full-body hypertension is for me the only real measure of good - strike that - EFFECTIVE - coffee.

Keith said...

Salt in coffee. Sounds fantastic. Such a subtle wonderful compound. Must try it.

Must look up McGee, but I reckon the milk, along with having some sweetness, helps coat the tongue with fat globules, smoothing out the more intense taste of the coffee. Too much milk, means too much fat, means masked taste.

Kind of like having milk with a balti.

Curiously, salt, according to Herve This, tends to emphasise most sweet flavours, and emblanden most (but not all) bitter flavours....

Good coffee is like the Nietzschean abyss, I think. When you gaze into it, it gazes back.

mmmmm.....must make my morning cup

Felix said...

Yes, coffee is a philosophical abyss of dark excellence.

Your post has made me consider a more subtle approach. Or to revisit the milky goodness of my latte days. Lately I've taken to using skimmed milk with a bit of skimmed milk powder in it. I like the body of milk; the protein and flavour... but I do not want the fat. So maybe a double milk/double espresso latte is a new direction for experimentation...

But I can vouch for the salt. I do think that salt definitely emphasises sweet and I reckon your man Herve is right: it does something to soften any bitterness. Maybe it just confuses the tastebuds?

Anonymous said...

Average coffee, quick service. However, when we were leaving the waiter may have attempted to short-change us by returning TURKISH LIRA coins instead of euro coins. The cafe was quiet, these guys are professionals, they know the difference between euros and Turkish lira. Something like that just spoils the whole visit - nobody likes to think they are being ripped off.

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