Tuesday, March 14, 2006

2 out of 3 ain't bad!

Ritual Flag
Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
Before I arrived here (San Francisco) I was aware of two reputed cafes: Cafe Organica and Ritual. Jon soon informed me of another, Bluebottle, whether or not it is a cafe, espresso bar, or a stand i'm not sure but it was cool.

Cafe Organica was top of list to visit so we jumped on a bus as soon as I got up on Saturday morning to head across town, but we were left disappointed by the door being locked and Jon was puzzled that they were closed. We tried again on Sunday and then on Monday there was a note on the door explaining the location was closed for renovations until further notice. I hope they will be open before I fly home next monday as Jon and Peter have both said how great it is. I hear they walked away with a third place in the western regional barista championships and Eton is keen to share his passion with everyone, this to me is an important quality for all third wave cafes.

We could have gone round the corner for some Starbies consistent super-auto cappa's with loads of chocolate or toffee syrup drizzled over but instead we jumped on another bus which took us to Ritual. Check out the flag! The first two visits to Ritual impressed me. Particularly the ambience. This place is kicking! The drum and bass music they have been playing kicks ass and the difficulty in finding seating added to the intensity of the experience. This place feels alive. We ordered double 8oz cappas which were topped with some fine art. I think the beans were extremely fresh as there was a predominant sour edge and lots of fairly large CO2 bubbles. On the second visit the cappas were fairly similar except the negatives were lessened and i could taste more of an almond-like praline. We started todays visit with two short double 8oz cappas and were sort of disappointed as they didn't seem up to the standard they had been on previous days. The almond flavour was present but not as strong, we both felt the shots had some serious channeling. Jons was sour and extremely bland tasting while mine had an almond molasses thing going on, sort of burnt molasses... Not that the art really matters but the attempt on my cappa showed apathy for the drink, it was clear the foam was too dense but instead of going for a monk head or something a rosetta was attempted and left as a wobbly blob. If the shot had been better the art wouldn't have mattered but it was generally a poor drink.

After the cappas we had two double espressos which i asked to be pulled ritretto. Mine came out and looked great, just over 1 oz with awesome specking, Jon's came out at over 2oz and the crema looked quite pale compared to mine. I wasn't ovefrly impressed on the whole with my shot. Despite being ristretto the mouthfeel was pretty thin. There was no predominant flavour other than it felt like i was drinking Jasmine tea...

We finished on macchiatos which had the almond praline edge to them again. they were decent. In general i think this place is awesome, mainly due to the atmosphere, it is never quiet. The first two experiences were topped with great drinks and art. The owner of the cafe was pulling shots on the first two days and I suppose it is reassuring to know that they do take what they do seriously, if my staff back home weren't making sandwiched as good as i can though, i would retrain them, and I am constantly giving feedback. I will be back here though despite being disappointed by todays inconsistency. A place should never be judged on one poor day.

I didn't plan on writing so much so i will post about Bluebottle in the near future, it's cool!

I haven't been this high on caffeine in months wooooohoooooo!!!!!!


Anonymous Nicky (next door neighbour!) said...

yu should update again. how you finding bloomers?

8:56 am  
Anonymous Jman said...

Hey! Super-auto coffee can be good too. In fact, I drink it instead of drip coffee. Although, I agree Starbies super-auto espresso pales in comparison to the semi-auto "real thing"

2:11 am  
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8:55 pm  
Blogger nichilemei said...

I liked your write-up about Ritual Roasters. I have the great, great fortune to live just around the corner. I try to stop by for a daily fix. What I think is amazing with RR is, as you pointed out, that the ambience/atmosphere of the place is as good as their quality coffee. To top it off, the staff is relaxed and friendly. Can't beat this place.

10:58 pm  
Blogger Jonathan Howse said...

where are you Scott?

8:04 pm  
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