Sunday, May 04, 2008


The Best Cappuccino I've Had in a While

So I went camping in the Sierras this weekend (lovely but still a little chilly), and on my way back home I stopped at Temple Fine Coffee and Tea in downtown Sacramento and had one of the best cappuccinos I've had in a good long while.

(OK, actually, I judged at the Western Regional Barista Competition in late March, and I had some good ones there. The blog entry on that experience is still forthcoming, with all my usual blogging urgency. So let's say that this capp at Temple was the best one I've had in an actual coffee shop in a good long while.)

When I ordered, I was offered the choice between two espressos - a blend called Element 114 and a single origin Ethiopian coffee called Ghimbi, both roasted by Barefoot in Santa Clara. I chose the Ghimbi, and WOW. The cappuccino was basically delicious burnt caramel in a cup. And the milk was frothed to perfection - ideal temperature, ideal texture. I think I literally smacked my lips. It had the flavor of the crackly part of a creme brulee.

The experience also ran contrary to one of my pet theories, which is that it can be hard to get a top-notch cappuccino if you go at kind of an off-hour. I've had the experience dozens of times of going to a supposedly-wonderful shop that is home to championship barista or two and getting a cappuccino that is (let's be frank) kind of crappy, because I don't happen to be there during coffee prime time (i.e., a weekday morning). So the people working behind the bar are kind of the bench warmer baristas, and you can taste it. But I was at Temple at 4 pm on a Sunday. Honestly, I was expecting the D Team to be behind the bar. But it was still a gorgeous, perfectly-made drink. For the first time in many months, I am impressed.

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