$9 cup of coffee!!!
Ok, call me frivolous, perhaps impetuous, even adventurous, but more appropriately - reckless, since I somehow convinced myself it might be a good idea to throw down $9 to try a single cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee at the Aoyama Cafe at Aberdeen Centre in RIchmond, notable of its use of the vacuum/siphon method of coffee brewing, which is still standard in parts of Asia but has all but disappeared from North America since the invention of the drip coffee maker. Ok, I didn't have my hopes up since I've tried Jamaican Blue Mountain on a number of occasions and agree with the general consensus that it overpriced and over-rated. Still, I was hoping that this carefully prepared cup might be a little bit of coffee nirvana, albeit about $1.25 per sip. The waitress was careful to note that the bone china cup it was served in was so expensive that i "wouldn't want to know how much it cost". Wish i had kept the cup because the brew was unremarkable, murky, disconcertingly acidic and without body. Closer to tea than coffee. Undeterred, and wanting to chase my loses, added a cup of their $2.95 UCC blend, which was more to my liking but still without gusto. The perils of coffee tourism...
4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC V6X4J7, CA
(I was with Paul at this time).
I agree that JBM is an overrated bean - especially given the great roasters we have access to here. UCC roasts all their beans in Japan I believe (where something like 90% of all JBM ends up) then ships it to all their affiliates (Aoyama being one of them).
Accounting for preferences and differences in palates (ie, how the Japanese and Taiwanese like their coffee is very different from our current "3rd Wave" espressos) - Aoyama does not brew a good cup. The coffee lacks body and nuance. It was all burnt-caramel flavour with nothing else (none of the "berry", "chocolate", "citrus" notes that is was expecting - and really no significant aroma to speak of). The JBM was astringent and acidic, but that is about it. I preferred the UCC blend for about $2/cup - not great, drinkable, and similar to my palate and nose to the Italian Illy. I suspect that the age of the beans have a lot to do it - given the stuff is shipped from Japan....and could very well have been preground(!) - a heresy.
For that Asian-style coffee, La Cuisson does a far better job. The proprietor roasts his own beans in the shop and his staff seem to be well trained in the Art of the Syphon. The guy is a real fanatic about coffee. (I think you and I were there a couple of years ago, Paul - if you remember).