Where to find “third-wave” coffee in town

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - Molly Boyle

Of late, the City Dif­fer­ent is be­com­ing a more vi­able place to en­joy the “third wave” of coffee — beans with heart and soul, along with an ac­tual ori­gin story.

If you’ve spent time in San Fran­cisco, Los An­ge­les, Port­land, or New York lately, you might have no­ticed that the so-called “third wave” is be­com­ing ubiq­ui­tous. The ar­ti­sanal move­ment that pays close at­ten­tion to all stages of coffee mak­ing (grow­ing, har­vest­ing, pro­cess­ing, roast­ing, and brew­ing) has ex­ploded to such a point that even your clue­less Aunt Dot might now know where to get a good sin­gle-ori­gin pour-over in her neigh­bor­hood.

Un­til re­cently, Santa Fe had some catch­ing up to do, with just a se­lect few lo­cal roast­ers (Ohori’s Coffee, Aroma Coffee) to choose from and no em­po­ri­ums for coffee snobs to share tast­ing notes and en­joy small- batch, fair-trade beans. In­de­pen­dently owned stal­warts like Ecco Espresso & Gelato, Down­town Sub­scrip­tion, Tribes Coffee House, and oth­ers have con­sis­tently pro­vided cus­tomers with a strong heart­beat. But of late, the City Dif­fer­ent is be­com­ing an even more vi­able place to es­cape Star­bucks’ do­min­ion and en­joy beans with heart and soul, along with an ac­tual ori­gin story.

Iconik Coffee Roast­ers is a log­i­cal place to seek out the best cup in town, hav­ing sig­nif­i­cantly changed the coffee land­scape since open­ing in 2013. Iconik has whole­sale ac­counts all over Santa Fe, and the own­ers are earnest in their mis­sion to in­tro­duce more so­phis­ti­cated beans and brew­ing meth­ods. The airy, eclec­tic ware­house- style space just off Se­cond Street doesn’t have a bad seat in the house, which is usu­ally packed with a young, hip crowd. On one visit, the pourover Su­ma­tra Tak­en­gon Mand­heling ad­ver­tised notes of yel­low bell pep­per, fig, and to­bacco; packed with fla­vor, the cup was bright and in­tense, and I missed it when it was gone. One re­al­izes why third-wa­vers use terms akin to som­me­liers’ in de­scrib­ing beans — this is com­plex, heady, re­ward­ing stuff. More straight­for­ward is the cold brew, which con­tained some pleas­ant dark- choco­late notes and put a spring in my step. An al­ready-pre­pared cold brew might be the most time- ef­fi­cient or­der at Iconik, where wait times can be in­ex­pli­ca­bly long (and seem­ingly be­cause of noth­ing other than a lack­adaisi­cal work­flow). Still, the prod­uct is su­pe­rior, and I ad­mire Iconik’s com­mit­ment to fla­vor and trans­parency. Plus, the choco­late-caramel cookie is a gooey, crunchy rev­e­la­tion.

The Bet­ter­day Coffee Shop serves up Port­land’s Stump­town Coffee along with a hip­pie-grunge neigh­bor­hood vibe. Ad­ja­cent to La Mon­tañita Co-op, Bet­ter­day’s well-worn, Art Brut-ish space is no-frills, com­plete with a garage door that rolls up to let the sun shine in. I counted five shaggy dogs (and their own­ers) hang­ing out at the pa­tio ta­bles when I stopped by for a latte, which com­bined rich, bit­ter espresso with sweet well-steamed milk — no sugar nec­es­sary. Stump­town’s espresso, Hair Ben­der, can be tem­per­a­men­tal and overly bit­ter, but Bet­ter­day’s edgy baris­tas are well trained, and the re­sult is a de­pend­able ex­trac­tion done by ca­pa­ble hands. The choco­late- chip cookie was more dry than I would have liked, but the true joy of Bet­ter­day comes from know­ing that the same lo­cals go there al­most ev­ery day to get the same great cup of coffee. It’s a com­fort­able, home­town kind of place.

Speak­ing of com­fort, it’s a won­der that Bill Deutsch, owner of Holy Spirit Espresso, has been op­er­at­ing out of his cramped con­verted lobby on San Fran­cisco Street for more than 20 years. But then you or­der a dou­ble espresso, and you stop won­der­ing. The ban­dana-clad Deutsch has the magic touch. He pulls his shots — some of the more gen­er­ous in town — with ten­der care. He uses Caffé D’Arte espresso from Seat­tle — on my visit, he greeted a new ship­ment with the en­thu­si­asm of a fledg­ling barista — and his breezy charm, along with his metic­u­lously brewed pours, has an up­lift­ing ef­fect on lo­cals and tourists alike. The Siler Road lo­ca­tion of Java Joe’s is a hid­den gem among auto-body shops and ware­houses. Its in­dus­trial in­te­rior is clean and spa­cious, t he per­fect place for a quiet meet­ing. Were I a lap­top lurker, this would be my cho­sen spot, es­pe­cially af­ter sam­pling the Azteca de Oro, a stand­out Mex­i­can mocha with cin­na­mon, nut­meg, and a dash of chile. I have found that Java Joe’s on Rodeo Road of­fers the most re­li­ably great lat­tes around, and it’s a re­lief to find that the qual­ity is con­trolled across lo­ca­tions. Java Joe’s roasts and sells beans un­der the Groovy Bean la­bel, and both stores re­main solid places to grab a straight­for­ward drink or bag. I’d also hap­pily re­visit the flaky, tasty, lo­cally made ham-and- cheese crois­sant any time.

You might get dis­ori­ented and think you’re in some yup­pie cor­ner of Austin while brows­ing Mod­ern Gen­eral’s well­heeled, sun-flooded quar­ters. The coffee by Cu­vée, a roaster from the Texas cap­i­tal, fur­thers that il­lu­sion. Mod­ern Gen­eral takes some rib­bing for its pre­cious ar­ti­san gen­eral-store ap­proach to ev­ery­thing from peanut but­ter to rakes, but this place is home to one of the most de­pend­ably good cups of coffee in town. The Cu­vée is more easy­go­ing than Iconik’s pour- overs — well bal­anced and full bod­ied, with very lit­tle acid­ity, it makes a fine com­pan­ion to av­o­cado toast with seedy semolina bread, lime, cilantro, and olive oil. Sip­ping my small black coffee, I spied the book Shop Class

as Soul­craft on a shelf. That ti­tle that might sum up Mod­ern Gen­eral’s — and in­deed, the rest of th­ese es­tab­lish­ments’ — zeal­ous com­mit­ment to hand­crafted good­ness.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.