I just moved here and am looking for excellent coffee. I've worked in coffee houses for years and while it's given me a great affinity for strong, dark brew, it's also made me quite particular.
Ideally, I'd like to find some dark-roasted Ethiopian Harrar. Signs of the place I'm looking for include the house carrying about 15 varietals not counting flavored or decaffinated coffee (if a house even has flavored coffee, it's a bad sign), and frequent local roasting.
I don't care about espresso or atmosphere. I just want a place that has great coffee that I can take home and brew in the morning. I've tried Rue de la Course and thought it was terrible. I can't afford to try a dozen places until I find the right one, so I hope you guys can help.
Anyone got any ideas?
My favorite cup of coffee in the city is a breakfast/lunch joint called Surrey's. I don't think they have much as in variety, but their regular coffee is the best I've had. It is a free trade coffee...that's all I know
I've heard from various people (one in the local coffee roasting biz) that Zotz on Oak St. has the most knowledgeable baristas as far as brewing goes. I've never noted their varietal availability. I'll be anxious to hear your opinion of them.
Did you try a cup *at* Rue - and if so, was it their Ethiopian? I find their coffee varies a lot between types, but I do like their Ethiopian (Ethiopia is also my favorite source of coffee in general, and though I've had better Ethiopian than theirs, I still find it an enjoyable cup of coffee). Anyhow, if theirs wasn't up to snuff, I can cross off some other places for you -- Puccino's, across from Rue, in my opinion has pretty worthless brewed coffee (everyone likes their ice cream coffee drinks) and I also think community coffee (CC's) won't do it for you, especially with darker brews. Personally I buy beans when I'm in New York and they last long enough (and I'm there often enough) that I haven't bothered to find a better bean source here.
No, they were serving Colombian that day. I had a cup there and brought a pound home. Neither were any good and Colombian is on my list of favorites after Yemen, Guatemalan and Sulawesi.
hmm - maybe that's a better question. If anyone knows a place that has coffee from Yemen or Sulawesi, let me know. That's a really good sign.
I can't really help you out finding a coffee shop that fits your needs, but as far as the homebrew trouble goes, look no further than:
Call them up and ask them what's freshly roasted, or find out when your favorite beans are coming up in their production schedule. They aren't really set up for retail sales at the plant, but they've been pretty accomodating when I've wanted to pick up a few pounds to take as gifts on my way out of town (very near MSY). If you're unable to find anything there that floats your boat, my general feeling is that you'll probably need to look outside of the metro area to source a coffee that conforms to your personal ideal. If you have to go that route, I'd give Intelligentcia (out of Chicago) a try---their offerings are stellar.