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Comments

Chris M

Preach it brother. I hate the mini latte and it's just about all I can get nowadays (outside of you guys of course)

Michael

Are you saying that "free-pour" macchs are really macchs (jeez that's an ugly abbreviation)? Or just that some places free-pour too much milk?

Also—and here's another place to stir up lots of controversy—what do you see as the difference, if any, besides the cup they come in, between the latte piccolo, the cafe cortado, and—wait for it—the gibraltar?

rich

Chris, I learned my lesson getting chewed out by the wife for doing art in one of yours.

Michael, we're apparently in the minority here, but it's more of the free-pour too much milk.

Thing is, if you're going to use microfoam for a macchiato, it takes about as much milk to make that spoonful of foam as it does for a full cappuccino. So we're guessing that rather than throw that milk away, some shop owners and baristas simply decided to use it, pour art with it, and then it got out of control.

rich

To your other question, it's mostly milk/total drink volume. Latte piccolo would be in a demitasse, so 3oz max. Cortado in 4-5 oz glasses (usually straight sides and narrow). Gibraltars at Blue Bottle are in 5oz Libbey Gibraltar glasses. I've seen others as big as 7oz.

Russ

At what point does our Italian terminology become too convoluted, though, for our very American audience? We already have a hard time distinguishing the macchiato from the S$ macchiato--what if we added the minute differences between that and cortado and piccolo and gibraltars, especially when orders of macchs are very limited?

I usually describe macchs to customers thus and so-ly: "An ounce or two of espresso (depends on a single or double macch), topped with a dollop of foamed milk." Then I have found out that I have to add: "It is a very small drink, about 2-3 ounces tops" otherwise the expectation is still (for reasons I cannot understand) at least a 12oz drink.

Rich

Russ,
Your description pretty much matches ours.

Fair question on all the drink names. Our point was more along lines of barista peers complaining about Starbucks' caramel "macchiato" on the one hand, then making their own drinks that extend and confuse the definition of what a macchiato traditionally is/was.

I don't think it's necessarily worth it for shops like ours to put all these things on the menu. But it's not a bad idea for the staff to know what each is so that odd customer who wants a piccolo latte or cortado can get one.

And even the guys at Blue Bottle who originated the Gibraltar will tell you the drink was a lark that caught on for no apparent good reason.

Russ

The name confusion game makes sense. I probably would opt not to have it on the menu, but it is Bethany's favorite drink.

I hope to get down there soon. With my new job, I may be in your area or near abouts with some frequency.

I'm gonna have to try one of those Gibraltars as well.

Russ

My first sentence didn't make sense. I meant to say that your explanation of the "name confusion game" makes sense. Oy.

Rich

Russ, we've never made a Gibraltar.

Don't make us go there ;-)

Anne

Just curious, and I haven't read the comments through so I'm not sure if it was already asked:

What do you think about shops who justify an overall lack of latte art based on this pushback against the '3rd wave' theory that macchiato should only come in this "true" latte-art state? I've worked with great cafe owners who really hate latte art, constantly citing a jumbo macchiato. I'm not really committed to latte art either way so I kind of have no opinion (I suppose, if forced, I like "american", latte-arted style machs but in 2.5 oz cups).

For me as long as the foam is good and the espresso is good, I'm happy. I get afraid when people abandon latte art altogether because it's a reaction against "the cool kids and their cortados", because then it's a slippery slope back into crappy foam.

Clearly I know this is not Aldo's approach but I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Anne

oh, and also, for the record, whenever customers ask me what a macchiato is (or I think they may be asking for a caramel latte), I always give them the power of definition: macchiato means marked in Italian, so here is what you get - espresso marked with foam.

Rich

Anne,

The macchiato one of the (few) things where Melanie and I are on the same page (although I dabbled in the art for a bit and am still tempted to do so).

Best I can answer is that if I go into a shop and order a macchiato, I really want to taste the coffee first, not the milk. Thus I don't like the mini-latte approach. If I wanted a piccolo/cortado/gibraltar/whatever, I'd ask for that.

I guess that's at the nut of the rationale. As stated above, what's the point of mocking Starbucks for their "interpretation" of a macchiato when we can't even agree on what it should be.

It's not "pushback" on 3rd Wave in our case. It's more trying to keep the different drinks distinct in the customer's mind as well as our staff's.

You've had a busy week - wish we could've made the Summit. Sounded great. Hope to see a transcription sometime.

Cheyanne

Thank you soo much! This tip is super useful!
http://www.filecatch.com/trends/rs/01-08-2010.html

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    Jake Liefer of Beaver Falls Coffee & Tea built a blog aggregator and community site for local baristas.
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  • Murky Coffee (NoVa)
    Retailer (non-roaster) who's one of the best indie shops on the East Coast. Features selection of top roasters and pulls only ristrettos. No drip - Americanos and press pots only.
  • Stumptown (Portland, OR)
    Along with Intelligentsia, probably the most acclaimed coffee roaster in the US. A certifiable Coffee Mecca that's turned Portland into the quality coffee capital of the Pacific Northwest.
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    David Schomer is widely acknowledged as a perfectionist. Espresso Vivace is home to his science and art.
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    Our coffee source and one of the most highly acclaimed roasters in US. Taught us most everything we know (although we think they're still holding back some secrets).
  • Joe The Art of Coffee (NYC)
    Preposterous name, but consistently ranked among top espresso joints in New York, which has to mean something, no?
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    OK, maybe it's not the best espresso in Boston. But Vittoria is a great North End experience. A riot of noise, cappuccino, cannoli and sambuca. This is Rich's dream joint. Except with better coffee.
  • Blue Bottle (SF)
    Beans microroasted fresh daily and whatever doesn't sell today is tossed. Has raised the bar for every other joint in the Bay Area.
  • Peets (Berkeley/SF)
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  • George Howell's Terroir (Boston)
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  • The Roasterie (Kansas City)
    Reginal powerhouse coffee buyer, roaster, trainer and local retail chain in KC, Missouri.
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    King of espresso on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
  • Gimme! Coffee (Ithaca/NYC)
    Gimme! was among the first Eastern shops to rival the best in the PNW. Born in Ithaca, they're now in Brooklyn, Chelsea Market and LES.
  • Simon's (Boston)
    Cambridge, MA, used to be home to Jaime VanSchyndel, barista provocateur. Not sure if they're still what they were when Jaime was on bar, but it's likely still the best cup in Boston.
  • Caffe Artigiano (Vancouver, BC)
    Two time Canadian Barista Champ Sammy Piccolo and his roaster brother Vince have put Artigiano in the heads of espresso geeks worldwide. They cornered the market on 2005 Brazil CoE Santa Ines to ensure their proper place on the quality map.
  • Ritual Coffee (SF)
    Ask for Gabe or Baca. Lines usually out the door. For good reason.
  • Cafe Grumpy (NYC)
    In the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and now with a Lower West Side storefront. Top equipment and beans from Ecco and Counter Culture.
  • Octane (Atlanta)
    Hotlanta's cool kids of coffee, led by M'lissa. Great skills, great training, great coffee.
  • Alterra (Milwaukee)
    One of our favorite macchiatos was served here. Scott and Justin rock. The espresso stands up to milk like few others.
  • Zoka (Seattle)
    One of the largest and best macroroasters in the Pacific Northwest. Numerous barista champions worked on bar for Zoka.

Muses

  • Chris Brogan
    Fun guy, busy guy, usually in Pgh for PodCamp. Chris is the best at distilling high-tech social media concepts for use in low-tech businesses.
  • Seth Godin
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  • Hugh McLeod
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