We decided to go to four coffee shops in Mount Pleasant and four in Steveston, and to taste pure espresso, no cream or sugar. Just to learn the differences. We got an educational lecture in the car by my husband, which helped a lot. We learned words like "acidity" "the roast" "nutty flavour" "flowery" and "crema". We started at Starbucks and I kept notes. The espresso tasted burnt, which I've heard from other people. My mom described it as "vile, vomit-tasting stomach acid." I couldn't agree more. The foodies convinced us that this was not good espresso. So next we went to "Our Town" at the corner of Kingsway and Broadway. Cleansed palates with a cinammon bun.
Next we moved on across the street to "Pleasant Beans" and cleansed palates again with a croissant. They had 3 demi-tasse cups although my SIL broke one on the way out! After Gene's, I just didn't like this coffee. It tasted weird - almost like a chemical. The foodies hated it.
In Steveston we started out with Rocanini at the corner of Moncton and No.1 Rd. Great service there - they let us try the espresso, the cold press and the siphoned coffee all for a bargain price (their coffee is quite pricey normally) and gave us complimentary sparkling water. I took one sip of the espresso and looked at my mom who was about to spit it out. SO acidic. Wow. This is what we get for having delicate baker's palates. It didn't even taste like coffee. My husband and his sister thought it was great. Great. Right then and there I realized that there's no pleasing everyone when it comes to coffee. If you normally can't distinguish butter from cream cheese (my dad called my cream cheese frosting "salty buttercream") then these zapping acidic tastes will appeal to you. If, like me and mom, you can tell the difference between types of eggs in a recipe, then it's going to be awful. The siphoned coffee really was great. After tasting espresso all day it was lovely to taste a brewed coffee, but more than that I actually liked it. Black! The cold press was a bit like Kalhua and my SIL called it "flowery"; mom said it tasted a bit like perfume.
We crossed the street to Beans and Beyond. Very similar shocking acidic taste right at the start. Just the aroma and I looked at my mom like "I don't wanna do it mom!" LOL. Our next stop was at Steveston Coffee Co. who roast their own beans and it's all fair trade. It was pretty good, and after one or two sips I added some cream which made a huge difference (and it's the way most people drink it). It's a blend of beans there.
Our final stop was Waves in Steveston just to compare chain-store espressos with automatic barista machines. Pretty much just thin and watery coffee like Starbucks but without the burnt taste. In lattes it's probably fine.
After our road trip my husband circumnavigated the globe five times in the next hour, swung through some jungle vines and ran up a few walls. (He drank the whole espresso at every stop!) This Friday we're excited to taste the Fair-Trade coffee of Mogiana Coffee, right here in Steveston. They don't have a coffee shop - they just import the beans from their family's farm in Brazil. We would really like to buy this coffee for our shop as their story is wonderful and goes well with our brand. At least now even we non-coffee people have 8 other places to compare the taste to!