Thursday, June 9, 2011


A tea cake at Velvet Espresso Bar holds all of the joy of cake in a fraction of the size.

There are certain things I am willing to let other people do for me because they can do it better. Examples include oil changes, haircuts, flight, and making coffee. Coffee has just never really been something I really saw the use in fussing over. It is early in the morning, you are tired and grouchy, someone hands you coffee and then your day begins.

Places like Starbuck's, CC's, and PJ's have built empires based on the fact that they can make a cup of coffee better or at least more conveniently than you. I like that about America. Velvet Espresso Bar on Magazine across from Whole Foods has started out pretty strong in this vein..Tucked into an space no bigger than a dorm room, Velvet prides itself on sourcing the best coffee from around the world. Here you can find coffee beans from exotic locales with cartoonish names like Tanzania or offerings from roasters such as Stumptown, who appear to be the coffee roasting equivalent of Domaine Romanee-Conti  Read here: I googled it.

The espresso machine and the grinder were not getting along when we visited, so we instead we opted for a siphon with beans from Guatemala, which I used to enjoy fresh when I picked beans there, fresh coffee right off the trees, I mean. A siphon basically works like this. Some water is poured into a small container and heated to boiling. When it boils pressure or science or something forces it into a second vessel which has the ground beans placed into. After some stirring and a few minutes, a cold, wet rag is placed around the bottom vessel. The temperature lowered, the coffee drains through a filter and into the original vessel. It is then poured into your cup. In college, people did this all the time, but not with coffee.

This was a very good cup coffee. Rounding out the experience were a selection of tea cakes. Miniature cupcakes really, but with interesting fillings like peanut butter, orange, and strawberry. There are worse ways to start your day than a piece of cake a fine cup of coffee.

Velvet Espresso Bar- Birdie
5637 Magazine St.

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