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Looking for Lavazza espresso in the East bay

Mattdub Jan 15, 2007 03:30 PM

Anybody know a market that has Lavazza (the best espresso in the known world)?

  1. r
    ristretto Jan 17, 2007 06:45 PM

    I have read on the coffee forums that the Lavazza sold in Italy is different than the coffee sold here.

    Also, by the time it reaches our shores, the coffee is several weeks old - already stale as far as espresso is concerned - thus the focus on sourcing fresh beans. The one-way valve helps but will not totally prevent staling.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ristretto
      z
      zin1953 Jan 17, 2007 07:59 PM

      You are correct in that it's several week old by the time it gets to the States, but THEN it sits in warehouses as the old inventory is (hopefully) shipped out first -- giving it additional time in which to become stale.

    2. c
      Constant Velocity Jan 17, 2007 06:04 PM

      They carry Lavazza at Berkeley Bowl. I buy a can there as a birthday present each year for a friend, who loves it for sentimental-about-the-East-Coast reasons. She just puts it through her drip coffee maker and likes it that way.

      1. b
        Brandon Nelson Jan 17, 2007 03:02 AM

        The reason french roasts (dark roasts) sre popular here in the states has little to do with the consumer.

        Dark roasted coffe is more shelf stable than lighter roasts. Less perishable= more profitable.

        1. Curtis Jan 16, 2007 06:29 PM

          I've enjoyed some good shots from Lavazza, especially from ItalCal's booth at the Fancy Food Show a few years back. That being said, I recently tried the Ticino roast from Flying Goat Coffee in Healdsburg and was very impressed with the flavor. I do not generally drink blended "coffee" drinks, but stick to straight shots, machiatto or capuccino in the mornings. Flying Goat makes two separate espresso roasts. Ticino is Northern style, i.e. lighter and sweeter roast. They specifically tell you not to make lattes and other drinks that will dilute it. For that purpose, and other preferences, they also roast a darker Southern Italian style espresso called Vesuvio that is smokier and heavier in general. I tried both and was amazed at the difference. I recommend trying their two and seeing which you favor.

          a sante,
          Curtis

          1 Reply
          1. re: Curtis
            Melanie Wong Jan 16, 2007 06:48 PM

            http://www.flyinggoatcoffee.com/

            I'm not much of a coffee drinker since I'm sensitive to bitter flavors. But I do enjoy an occasional cap from Flying Goat (and Blue bottle). Flying Goat bakes some nice pastries too.

            And, if you can't make it to Healdsburg or Santa Rosa, here's rw's post mentioning Flying Goat coffee in Berkeley at Village Grounds.
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          2. l
            Laura2 Jan 16, 2007 03:02 PM

            I agree that if you are used to Italian espresso many of the American roasteries produce a coffee that seems overroasted and therefore too bitter. I think that's how Americans now like their coffee. There's nothing wrong with it but if you were raised on Italian espresso the different taste of the American-style coffee can be jarring.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Laura2
              c
              chipman Jan 16, 2007 04:25 PM

              I think the reason Starbucks and Peets roast their beans very dark is because most of their customers really don't like the taste of coffee that much. Consequently, they buy milk based drinks that are more expensive and more profitable. If the beans were not roasted to a dark level, there would be no taste at all when being diluted with all the milk. Kind of a catch 22.

              That being said, there is a 'third wave' coffee movement that stresses quality over anything else. The first time someone has an espresso at ritual, bluebottle, or barefoot, the response is usually one of surprise that they never realized espresso could taste so sweet on it's own. That bitter taste people usually think of when thinking of espresso is the result of stale beans, bad preperation, and poor job by the 'barista' who probably never had been trained correctly and probably couldn't care less.

              1. re: chipman
                c
                chemchef Jan 16, 2007 06:37 PM

                I totally agree! And, its refreshing to know that there are others out there who realize that coffee doesn't have to taste like mud. I like all kinds of espresso drinks, and regular brewed coffee as well. No matter what the drink, it will always benefit from using fresh, high quality, properly roasted coffee. I have recently become addicted to Blue Bottle Coffee, but have been reluctant to try their espresso for the aforementioned reasons. Now that I've heard what all the 'hounds think, I will try it! Thanks!

                1. re: chipman
                  Mattdub Jan 17, 2007 04:45 PM

                  We drink Bluebottle religiously at this point but I have yet to try their espresso. I should give it a shot. As far as baristas at popular coffee places (and unpopular ones) it always amazes me that they would go to the trouble to pay $30,000 for an espresso machine then pay someone $9/hour with 20 minutes of training to pull a shot. This is probably because they pull a detestable shot then blend, mix, dilute and flavor for most....I will definitely give some of the microroasters a shot. Thanks people.

              2. c
                chemchef Jan 16, 2007 02:46 AM

                I'll tell you all why people like Lavazza... b/c its GOOD! I'll be the first to agree with buying fresh, local products, however, when it comes to coffee, roasters in the U.S. (or at least CA) tend to over-roast. Thus the coffee is too dark and bitter. They kill all the subtle flavors. And, the only reason I even know about Lavazza is b/c my step-father, who is just-off-the-ship Italian, uses it. So far, it is the best he has found in the states. So, that's good enough for me. If anyone out there can suggest a local roaster who doesn't overdo it, please speak up!

                5 Replies
                1. re: chemchef
                  c
                  chipman Jan 16, 2007 03:11 AM

                  Are you in the bay area? There are at least 2 very superior roasters. Bluebottle in the East Bay and San Francisco, Barefoot Roasters in Santa Clara, Also, Ritual Coffee Roasters on Valencia in the city. I have not tried their beans personally, but the owner, roaster studied at Stumptown Coffee in Ore. They were using Stumptown beans until they felt they were ready to use their own.

                  Also, a stepdown, but still pretty good are Cafe Roma's and Cafe Trieste if you are carefull and know the roast date.

                  If you are not brewing for espresso I recommend Graffeo in North Beach.

                  1. re: chipman
                    Pei Jan 16, 2007 03:43 PM

                    I agree that you should try Stumptown Coffee (or Ritual, since they're roasting a few blends now) because they're not as overroasted as a lot of American coffee. I also like Italian coffee because it's more lightly roasted, but nothing beats Stumptown in my book.

                  2. re: chemchef
                    b
                    Brandon Nelson Jan 17, 2007 02:58 AM

                    I have found Mr Espresso neopolitin espresso to no be over roasted.

                    None of that "burnt" fresh roast taste. Subtle lingering flavors.

                    1. re: Brandon Nelson
                      b
                      Brandon Nelson Jan 17, 2007 04:41 PM

                      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

                      Should read french roast, not "fresh" roast.

                    2. re: chemchef
                      z
                      zin1953 Jan 17, 2007 05:21 AM

                      Not true at all!

                      Starbucks, of course, burns the $#!+ out of their beans, and Peet's -- as much as I love it for historical and emotional reasons -- does indeed over-roast as well. But Blue Bottle, Barefoot, and Flying Goat are but three readily available roasters that do not, and the result is spectacular espresso! Ritual is another, though not as easy to get (depending upon where you live).

                    3. l
                      Laura2 Jan 16, 2007 01:17 AM

                      I agree it's not the absolute best espresso, but there's something about the taste and smell of Lavazza that reminds you of having coffee in an Italian home, especially when you make it in one of those traditional stovetop coffeemakers. I was in Italy over the holidays and bought four of those small vacuum-packed bags of Lavazza (they only cost 2.4 euros each over there, about $3.10). For fresher taste, I suggest buying those vacuum-packed packages when you find them here and not the Lavazza in the cans.

                      1. Atomica Jan 15, 2007 10:57 PM

                        I just saw some an hour ago at the World Marketplace (Cost Plus) in Daly City, Westdale Plaza. I did not look at expiration dates.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Atomica
                          c
                          chipman Jan 15, 2007 11:18 PM

                          It dosen't matter what the expiration date on the package is. It is already stale! Just as every other coffee either packaged or in bulk that is available in grocerys. Coffee beans are good for up to 14 maybe 20 days from roasting.
                          I do not understand with all the micro roasters available in our area (Bluebottle, Barefoot, ritual) not to mention the coffee available through the internet why anyone who wants quality, especially for espresso would still look to grocery stores for their source.

                          1. re: chipman
                            z
                            zin1953 Jan 17, 2007 05:16 AM

                            Well . . . true. But I was tringto put te best spin on it . . .

                            Actually, in the FWIW mode, I find I actually prefer Flying Goat to Blue Bottle, but -- that's just me.

                        2. Curtis Jan 15, 2007 08:41 PM

                          Andronico's has it, but be really sure to check the expiration date. I picked up a can before the holidays and was dismayed to find out that it was over a year old. They refunded me, but it shouldn't have been left out there that long.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Curtis
                            z
                            zin1953 Jan 15, 2007 08:45 PM

                            Yes, that's why -- IMHO -- Lavazza is not the best espresso in the known world . . . Nothing wrong with the quality of the coffee itself, for a large-sized commercial producer, but it is often stale when bought here in the U.S. due to lack of inventory turn-over, and thus, never as good as it should be.

                            1. re: zin1953
                              c
                              chemchef Jul 9, 2007 01:52 PM

                              That's crazy. If that's the case, then its still better than most of the places that sell so-called "fresh" espresso beans!

                              Pretty sad in my opinion.

                          2. l
                            Laura2 Jan 15, 2007 04:02 PM

                            I'm in SF and find it at most high end supermarkets (Calmart/Bryan's), including Andronico's, which has locations in the east bay.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Laura2
                              Mattdub Jan 15, 2007 07:53 PM

                              hmmmm. I suppose I will look at andronico's but I thought I have checked there.....thanks

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