A Great Cup of Joe
It’s Sunday morning and I’m hankering for a good strong cup of coffee so I decide to go visit the new Intelligentsia in Old Town Pasadena. This is the first Intelligentsia east of the 5 freeway in the greater Los Angeles/hipster area. I’ve been to other high-end coffee shops before like LA Mill and understand the thought and mission behind these establishments. Provide the best in season coffee from small organic farms and brew in the best way possible to produce the perfect most flavorful cup of coffee.
When you enter Intelligentsia you are greeted with a simple printed menu with coffee and tea choices.
Behind the bar there are two espresso machines.
And a section for individually brewed cups of coffee.
Against the wall there are large stainless steel containers that look like they hold gallons of coffee but they actually hold filtered water and there are digital temperature displays at the top holding the water at the correct temperature for coffees and teas.
As I reviewed the menu and approached the barista I have to admit I was in a Starbucks frame of mind. Blurt out some crazy multi layered coffee order as quick as possible, give my name so they can write it on the cup, pay and run over to the pick up area. Instead I was greeted by a chill barista with a hey buddy calm down tone. I immediately got what this place was all about. Take your time because we’re going to take the right amount of time to produce the best cup of coffee. This isn’t a race but a true experience so take your time ordering and ask all the questions you like because we like talking about coffee then take a seat and chill out. We’ll serve your coffee when it’s truly ready to be served.
That being understood I ordered siphon brewed Kenya Thiriku, which was roasted on 8.11.10. They describe it as follows:
Effervescent acidity of marmalade and lime. Rhubarb, peach and blackberries with an underbelly of dark chocolate and fig bars. Hints of spiced rum in the finish.
When it was ready they called me up to the bar and informed me that if I needed sweeteners or dairy products to cloud the true flavor of this awesome coffee it was on the counter by the front of the store. They didn’t actually say that but I got that vibe. Hey buddy this is good coffee don’t mess it up by adding anything to it. Enjoy the pure flavor of these perfectly roasted beans that are brewed with the purest water at the optimal temperature.
So I sat down and happily drank my coffee sans milk and sugar with my croissant. It was a pure cup of good coffee that went down smoothly. It wasn’t too hot. It didn’t have a kick or bitter taste to it. It tasted just right. I can go into some frilly description but it just tasted right.
As I sat there I observed the other customers as they approached the barista. They too were searching for a menu board. They looked confused and apprehensive. One customer brought their coffee back to the counter and said that it was not hot enough and asked if it could be microwaved. I saw the barista’s eyes widen and they politely told the customer that there were no microwaves on the premises. Microwaving coffee is considered a cardinal sin in the coffee world and the good news is that another person in this world has learned this fact.
Is America ready for these types of coffee shops? The answer is yes. We’ve had good and now we’re ready for better. I feel like Will Ferrell in the movie Elf. Congratulations you’ve done it. World’s best coffee! Keep doing what you’re doing Intelligentsia.