Saturday, April 30, 2005

Local coffee

Today I made my morning cap with beans from Amazing Beans, a relatively new local company that roasts your beans to order and delivers them (free in Ann Arbor) the next day. Here's the review I posted on the AnnArborfood yahoo group which includes a little note to the owner, Johann, who is a member of the group:

I ordered the Really Good Dark Blend--it came yesterday afternoon and it took all my willpower to wait 'till this morning to try it--it smelled so darn good!
Today I made a double shot cap with my Saeco espresso machine (which, by the way, I think is a terrific machine--it makes espresso with lots of good crema, is easy to use and we got it at 20% off from Bed Bath and Beyond with one of those coupons they always send out). The flavor of the coffee was very good--deep and rich. My only gripe was the grind--I felt it was too coarse. I don't own a Burr grinder (one of the kitchen appliances I still covet) so I get my coffee ground at the source I buy it. The grind I get with Grumpy Monkey at Big 10 is much finer than the Amazing Beans espresso grind, and that results in more pressure in the machine and a stronger espresso. With super fine grind I get espresso that is almost all crema (heaven!) and what I made this morning was very good, but not quite as strong and with a bit less crema. Johann, is there anyway it could be ground a little finer?
Other than the grind, I really like the coffee and will definitely order it again. My husband prefers drip coffee most days and the grind is fine for that. And the convenience and price can't be beat!
Now, for a little more about my espresso machine: I have the Saeco Classico which my husband bought as our 5th anniversary present. We did lots of research and consulted our local coffee epicure, John, for his opinions on machines. John makes an incredible espresso (not like a lot of the small-amounts-of-strong-coffee that most cafes in the area pass off as espresso). However, John clearly has more brain when making his espresso in the morning than we do so we chose a less-manual, more-idiot-proof machine than he has.

We've liked our machine from the get go (especially after watching the instruction video that came with it narrated by a man with the strangest, most unplaceable accent), though I confess that we rarely use the frother. I prefer to heat and froth my milk in a less dangerous way than handling live steam in the morning before I'm awake so I nuke some milk in my glass frother which works great. (I tried one of this type of frother once and it was a disaster--I couldn't get any foam and kept getting splattered by hot milk. No fun.) The few times I have used the real frother on the machine, it has worked pretty well, but since I can't tell the difference, I go with the easier way.

However, I do have to pass on Lynne's incredibly sad story of her experience with the same machine which she bought after I made her a mocha at my house. I like to think that the machine she got was just demonically possessed; thankfully the store took the machine back, no questions asked, and are shipping a new one to her house. I'll be sure to report back her opinions of it when she's had a little time with the new machine.

By the way, if you want to subscribe to the Annarborfood yahoo group, you can send an email to It's a newish group so it hasn't really developed a big following or a regular tone yet, but I have no complaints--I love to get tips about local good food.


freddyknits said...

Great post - I'd like to try both Amazing Beans and the yahoo ann arbor food group.

Good news - got email from BB&B - my replacement Saeco is on the way! Maybe I should have you help me with it the first time :)

Now I am off for my first day at Flying Sheep! Yay!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post about annarborfood - the yahoo group I started at the beginning of the year. Foodies welcome! Please join!!