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Apr 3, 2002 06:53 PM

Best espresso???

  • g

Call me culturally deprived, but I've never been to Europe and don't really "get" espresso... to me it tastes worse than reheated burnt coffee BLAH! My friend from Torino said that my aversion stems from the fact that I only know "espresso" as it comes from Starbucks or Peet's.

So do my palate a favor and educate me! Where can I go (preferably Westside) to get the perfect shot? The most authentically Italian-like?

And don't say to do-it-yourself, since I wouldn't even know if I was preparing it correctly.

Thanx :)

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  1. It's strong. So, you might want to start with Cafe Americanos and work your way up. Pretty good espresso at Il Fornaio in a sorta Italian atmoshpere. What to do with the lemon peel? You are supposed to rub it around the rim of the cup. Why? Part of the mystique.

    1. I agree with MC Michael that Il Fornaio, at least the one on Beverly Dr. in Beverly Hills serves consistently the best espresso I've found.

      I go there every weekday after lunch for my daily shot. Try to make sure that Luis is your barrista, and ask for "corto", which means a short shot. Nothing ruins espresso more quickly than too much water.

      They don't routinely serve lemon peel, so that won't be an issue.

      1. Peet's Coffee.

        There are several in LA. They have an incredibly rigid barrista training program and are legendary among coffee growers for their pickiness. Some people prefer a milder roast, but I love the sytle.
        They are the best at foaming milk for capaccino's too.
        Starbucks sucks except for regular coffee, IMHO, and Il Fornaio is wildly inconsistent from store to store.

        If you get to San Francisco, check out Cafe Greco on Columbus for one of the best coffee experiences you can find anywhere.

        By mail or if you are in NY, check out the long-time family owned favorite, Porto Rico Importing Company. These guys are fanatics and believe in a mellower roast than the Seattle style (Peets, Starbucks). They are full of incredible knowledge which they will happily share by phone or in person.


        1 Reply
        1. re: tw

          porto rico??? ack! worst coffee ever. i like my bread toasted and my coffee roasted.

        2. m
          Michael Robertson Moore

          I haven't had a straight espresso at Urth Caffe - only latte and cappuccino - but I would imagine that if those are great (which they are) the espresso must be pretty fine. Most commercially avaiable coffee can't compare to the organic coffee at Urth.

          Sunday's approaching, so it's on my mind.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Michael Robertson Moore

            The espresso at urth cafe is inconsistent. Sometimes it is decent to good; sometimes it is not. The last time I went I ordered a single in a to-stay cup. The barista served my espresso not in a demi-tasse but in a huge, cold, dripping-with-water coffee mug. I rushed to drink it, but the espresso was already luke-warm... ruined. I recently had a good espresso at a place that I believe is called Espresso Mi Cultura on Hollywood Blvd and Gramercy Pl. in Thai Town (GP is one block west of Wilton). The barista there said they use City Bean's espresso blend.

          2. While I haven't had it myself, I've heard that Alto Palato on La Cienega has a superb Espresso. Legend has it the barista was brought back from Rome...