Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cafe Cortado

Cafe what?????? Despite aging in the coffee biz, and my almost-daily immersion with my coffee gods Tracy Allen of Brewed Behavior and Roberto Francisco of Boyd Coffee, this particular item on the menu board of Catalina Coffee in Houston Texas left me perplexed to the point that I had to order it to please my nagging curiosity. Nope, not in my past countless visits to the country of Uncle Sam have I heard of such... to think I've scoured the cafes of California, New England, and the Tri-State area.

For my regular blog readers, you all know well that I prefer my coffee strong - not watered-down, not drowned in milk, and definitely not too sweet or immersed with flavor of any sort. As I watched Catalina Coffee's artist/barista prepare my first crack at this particular brew,  I was pleased to learn that the espresso-based drink that's been a staple in my humble abode for the past 5 years is actually called a Cortado (Spanish word meaning "to cut/reduce") - that is, a shot of espresso (1-ounce) tempered with a dash of warm milk (2-ounces). Take note that "warm" milk is used instead of "frothed/foamed" milk, which morphs the drink into a Cafe Macchiato.

Coffee snob or not, it is humbling to know that despite our perceived industry expertise and/or age, indeed we discover something new daily. Cheers to learning!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Inversion Coffee House, Houston TX

As a follow-up article on Houston's coffee hotspots, honorable mention goes to  INVERSION COFFEE HOUSE. Infinite thanks to our second-to-none Sanfo mole turned temporary Houston native Les G for researching ahead, thus giving credibility to the posts this humble blog produces. And true to our aim in searching for non-starbucks-ish caffeinated options, Inversion Coffee House fits our credentials to a T!

Upon our arrival, a sprawling parking lot greeted us - a good omen that we're meant to try out this caffeine hub. Inversion (deriving its name from the infamous Inversion House that once stood in the place of the original Art League of Houston Building) rests in a medium sized warehouse-ish structure, right beside an Arts School since 2005. Don't be fooled by its humble exterior, inside it is artistically inspired, highlighted by ceiling-to floor paintings of all sorts which makes sipping your choice of beverage more invigorating.

The menu is straight forward, no pretenses and no coffee snob feel. Everything's well scribbled in a chalk board which makes it easy for those ordering to glance, navigate and select. Oh and did I mention that the baristas are well-informed and friendly? To them there are no silly questions, more so questions left unanswered specially for a far-traveling tourist like me. I asked if they roast their own beans, and quickly my barista replied that Inversion proudly sources their coffee from Katz Coffee, one of the leading roasters in Houston.

Once more I succumbed to the call for a Cafe Cortado, my end-in-mind is to test and appreciate the espresso more as compared to having a milky latte which dilutes the profile of the beans. My verdict for my drink... Enjoyable in each step of the sensory evaluation! From the simple yet inviting latte art, to the initial sniff of the well-rounded aroma, and finally to the taste of the robust/sweet-toned liquid with hints of cocoa. Just the way I like it!

INVERSION COFFEE, 1953 Montrose Blvd., Suite A Houston, Texas 77006