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Need a Latte help with Baltimore coffee.

I just got back from a trip to Seattle and Portland and have been completely spoiled by their gorgeous, perfect lattes. I'm desperate for a fix, and none of my usual Baltimore coffee haunts seem to know how to make one.

Does anyone in town pull a perfect latte? I need a drink with the steamed milk incorporated all the way through, so the whole cup is light and airy. Everything I've had since my return is espresso and hot milk with some bath foam spooned on top.

I'm starting to go into latte-induced depression. Please help.

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  1. Sprou in the Towson Library, end of story. Or Woodberry Kitchen after 5pm

    6 Replies
    1. re: pleiades

      Agreed. You might get a decent latte other places, but I have yet to find a place that can make two good ones on consecutive trips. Spro is it. Also, I've heard rumors of a new coffee venture being opened in the city from the Spro people. Anyone know details?

      I was in your position after returning from a trip to Sydney. I missed really good espresso based drinks. I spent a couple of years trying to find good ones downtown (sorry, towson is just too far to go on a consistent basis). My solution was to purchase a decent espresso machine and grinder. I got a Miss Silvia from Rancilio, an entry level machine. I've had it about 6 months and I LOVE IT! Fantastic caps every morning in the winter, great espresso over ice in the summer. I think there are some threads in the topical boards if you are interested in going this route.

      Then we can talk about sourcing decent espresso roasts in Baltimore!

      1. re: KAZ

        Jay and Spike are pretty cozy, so I wouldn't be surprised to see some sort of Artifact resurrection in cooperation with Spro. Anyone go to the ideas in food dinner that Woodberry did last week?

      2. re: pleiades

        I concur. As far as I know, Spro uses espresso roasted by the people from Hines Public Market/Origins Roasters and Woodberry uses Counter Culture Coffee.

        Also, (as far as I know) there are no other places in Baltimore to get well-prepared espresso and espresso-based drinks (except in my own kitchen). It is sad, really....There are more options in DC.

        1. re: smt

          A side note, the Bohemian Cafe downtown on Pratt Street also uses Counter Culture, but their baristas (bariste?) lack consistency.

        2. re: pleiades

          I completely agree that the best in town are Spro & Woodberry Kitchen. Atwaters in Belvedere Square and Kenilworth just signed on with Counter Culture, bought new La Marzocco machines and are sending their staff to Counter Culture for training. The drinks a HUGE improvement over their prior coffee program and are getting better by the day.

          1. re: winegeek

            According to the woman who worked the window at the Kenilworth location, they will also be selling Counter Culture beans (which is excellent for those of us Baltimorians who like to brew coffee at home in their Technivorm or Aeropress and are forced order beans from all over the country in order to be achieve some semblance of satisfaction daily).

        3. Carma's Cafe in Charles village has the best espresso at a coffe shop in town imo- I'm partial to their soy latte and it has always met my expectations- I think I'll go get one now

          1. I spent almost 10 years in Seattle, and spent too much money on various espresso machines and beans when I moved here, in search of a perfect latte. SBC or Starbucks are OK, but I prefer a strong and somewhat smoky roast and like supporting smaller businesses. For me Coffee Therapy in Mount Vernon has the best lattes, hands down. Fair trade organic coffee, good foam, great local artwork and music in a laid back atmosphere. It is on Franklin, around the corner & down the hill from Beadazzled, which is on the corner of Franklin and Charles.

            2 Replies
            1. re: egret62

              Unless they have REALLY improved their coffee in the past year, I would not consider their product to be even one bit acceptable.

              I was very disappointed with the espresso macchiato I was served from their Lavazza-oriented type, gold-colored, coffee service, machine. I was especially disappointed as I thought the space was very nice...perhaps a re-visit is in order.

              1. re: egret62

                I LOVE the space at Koffee Therapy, but the coffees that I've had there have been pretty so-so.

              2. I always liked Vaccarro's for Lattes. I've never cared for Starbucks or any of the other national chains.

                1. I used to be a Barista for a season over at Pour House Cafe in Westminster. I used to be able to pour a pretty good espresso (don't mind me, just patting myself on the back). One of the tricks is all in the tamp. If you're stingy with the amount of ground coffee bean (among other things), the drink will be poor.

                  I miss doing that work sometimes, as you get to meet a lot of people. If only it paid about 3x what it does...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: myWeltanschauung

                    I just got back from a trip from Baltimore. I haven't posted anything to my blog yet, but after some pretty exhaustive research and a lot of scouting around, I'd concur that Spro and Woodberry are it. Both were pretty phenomenal. I actually had a terrific decaf espresso at Woodberry - this amazing Mexican single origin which they also press for the decaf. At Woodberry, though, make sure if you have questions talk directly to the barista. He's great, but the waiters don't seem to know much. I asked about the re-opening of Artifact and they really didn't know much. Maybe. I asked about a new enterprise at Spro and the barista said that Jay and another guy were scouting around for a spot for some kind of coffee/food venture. But it sounded very preliminary.

                    The only other place I tried that was close is the cafe inside Blue House. It's kind of a high end, furniture and home supplies store. Very nice stuff. They also serve Counter Culture. It was good, and probably the best thing downtown, but the quality wasn't quite up to par with other better CC places I've been. I didn't have a milk drink there, but my guess is that they could do a decent job.

                    1. re: ManSeekingCoffee

                      Thanks for the report. I didn't know Blue House now uses Counter Culture. Thanks for the tip.

                  2. How about Bonaparte in Fells Point? It's a true Parisian café with amazing cappucinos and tarts!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ktracy

                      I've found the espresso and the barista's ability well below par at Bonaparte, The few cappuccinos I've had there were topped with the "dishwater" foam mentioned in the OP.