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Oscar's espresso bar - good and can be better

 
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boblam
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註冊時間: 2007-05-04
文章: 294

發表發表於: 星期四 七月 01, 2010 4:27 pm    文章主題: Oscar's espresso bar - good and can be better 引言回覆

A short note on another Aussie invasion

Oscar’s cappuccino is kinda lagging. While at the right temperature, it’s neither velvety nor sweet enough. Had the cocoa powder been in the cup as the barista highly suggested, it would be harder to distinguish this issue. Its coffee is a saving grace though. For this kind of mixture of nice acidic coffee and lighter texture frothed milk, I prefer Barista Jam. For the sublime milk texture, my choice is Crema Coffee.

Surprisingly good ristretto for 1 month old coffee with a forwarding note of nice citrusy/orange peel. I wonder how much better the cup will be if the bean was fresher and the flavorful the shot would be if it was pulled shorter.

Mind you there seemed to be a kinda movement against freshly roasted coffee as “too fresh” and labeled the freshly roasted bean as “gassy”, a coverup for “inferior” skill of local roasters.

Somehow, this idea works well into the hands of cafés that imported their bean from somewhere either to leverage on the famous café in those area/the super duper guru the beans were roasted/blended by/ just want to distinguish its "signature/uniqueness" or bring in the taste of "home'.

Whatever the idea is, the customer is the one to decide. As for me, the freshly roasted coffee wins unless it’s the purposed imported blends like what Barista Jam does, ie arranging coffee to land at the right time and served within the window. As a comparison, in an extreme case, I choose locally “inferior” baked goods like pineapple bun (菠蘿包) over 4 days old bread from the best bakery of the world.

Just my liking though
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boris



註冊時間: 2007-04-10
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發表發表於: 星期六 七月 03, 2010 1:41 am    文章主題: Re: Oscar's espresso bar - good and can be better 引言回覆

boblam 寫到:
Mind you there seemed to be a kinda movement against freshly roasted coffee as “too fresh” and labeled the freshly roasted bean as “gassy”, a coverup for “inferior” skill of local roasters.


Bob,

I think you should also have awared that, this so called "movement" is not promoted by local coffee shops that import their beans only. Many big names and big roasters aboard also suggest that beans are better pulled after some rest and airing, and the mileage depends on the blend itself. For instance, Crema Coffee, extented their bean resting time recently.

Boris
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boblam
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發表發表於: 星期六 七月 03, 2010 8:56 am    文章主題: Re: Oscar's espresso bar - good and can be better 引言回覆

boris 寫到:
Many big names and big roasters aboard also suggest that beans are better pulled after some rest and airing, and the mileage depends on the blend itself. For instance, Crema Coffee, extented their bean resting time recently. Boris

Thanks for the note.

I remembered vividly for winter espresso's test shot I had with you that morning, around 1 week I guess after roasting and not airing out that much very well. William said it's still need some resting but I think that's the best one I had. After the "resting" to fit what Square Mile suggests, they were more balanced, subdued with nutty tone rearing its ugly head to me like when you have too much peanut and burp. In this case, the resting actually did damage to the bean if I'm the one who is the end user. Very important, YMMV

For the Mecca Espresso I had, it was quite good and was told it was two weeks after the roast. Espresso at Oscar reminded me of Mecca's but more like a "remnant" of what it used to be. I wouldn't continue to sell that coffee if I'm Oscar and consider a disservice to my customer but I'm not the owner and don't have their palates. I doubt that one month old coffee is the best too. However, different place has different practices and all one can do is airing out their thought. I'm not talking as a seller though so I have one less issue to care about.

Call me old fashion but I still think freshness does much less damage than stale if it happened to do anything bad. In fact, too fresh is still much better than any chance of staleness. Of course, if one could get things in just right, that would be great but the logistic usually works against it, particularly the smaller cafe. Even larger and more experience shop like Fuel has consistency problem.

The airfreight presents another factor, not yet conclusive for me but I wouldn't add another variable if I could avoid it. I read somewhere Stumptown roaster refuses to supply the bean if they cannot use land transportation; Duane opens the roaster in the East coast. The logistic inside one country was much less of an issue but still why he needs to open a new roaster there. I myself have a mix result with getting in bean via airplane but it's never a better result than the original. So bear in mind the effect of air freight. I'm sure those importer will say it's nonsense. But why one wants to add another variable on a regular basis is beyond me. Everybody can talk and it sounds nice and noble. Whether they can follow up is another story and what in the cup doesn't lie and tell it the other way for almost all the cafe that used import beans that I visited so far. Barista Jam is not in this category as they purposedly imported just for a certain period so logistic is less of an issue. Plus the 'fanatic' William has on coffee will keep the quality up there. I still look for the guy who can do the imported thing consistently. Even the big corporation failed some time on this issue I like to see what small guy can tell/teach the bigger one about this.
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boris



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發表發表於: 星期四 七月 08, 2010 12:48 pm    文章主題: 引言回覆

hi bob,

Glad that you didnt take it the other way and personal. Smile

I had to point out those, becuase, when I read you post I feel a very slightly hint that you think bean resting and airing is kind of commercial excuse..

Agree that bean too fresh is better than bean too stale - you can wait the bean to be less fresh if it's too fresh, but you cant do the other way 'round Razz

Boris
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boris



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發表發表於: 星期四 七月 08, 2010 1:09 pm    文章主題: 引言回覆

Back to Oscar - I have had a shot or two and lattes pulled by the blender - Saxon Wright, who is also a WBC sensory judge. He told us that the blend has milk drink in mind to cater the normal HK palate. Sad
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boblam
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發表發表於: 星期四 七月 08, 2010 9:38 pm    文章主題: 引言回覆

Hmm… Rolling Eyes

It’s never the other way and personal and we don’t have to agree on all fronts as long as we focus on the issue, not the person. I think that’s the beauty of it. It’s actually nice to have a different angle all the time. At least, it helps me think about my belief/experience so far. This one does much less damage than silence. Again, thks for your opinion. Wink

boris 寫到:
I had to point out those, becuase, when I read you post I feel a very slightly hint that you think bean resting and airing is kind of commercial excuse..


I think you had it kinda right in that I felt the need to prick the bubble before it grew much larger than this.

IMHO, these high quality cafes with imported blend use resting period as the main supporting reason they are in business for coffee enthusiasts. Otherwise, one might as well go to Illy and all the names that are hard-to-pronounced from Italy if they think the locally roasted coffees weren’t good enough. But somehow, I had a feeling that the pendulum swings too far, making people believe that rock star roasters are much more important than freshness.

Also, the resting period took away an opportunity for one to appreciate how the coffee develops over time, the opportunity that I cherish but lots think that they are the better judge of coffee than me the one who drinks the coffee. If I haven’t had a chance to have that test shot of Winter Espresso, I will never know and appreciate that that’s the cup that I like, so much so that I went again in the afternoon of that day for more but William took my “only” opportunity away with a good intention. Thank you very much Mr. Barista Jam! Very Happy

Anyway, that’s my opinion only.

boris 寫到:
He told us that the blend has milk drink in mind to cater the normal HK palate


There seemed to be lots of similarity in his wordings to Australian market as the majority of espresso based drink served there is milk based. So, I doubt there’s significant different with the coffee in Australia.

Try this old article by George Sabados on coffeegeek.com. I read it a long while and didn’t care about it. This time, I found it interesting amidst the Australian invasion of the Hong Kong coffee scene. The opinion and discussion on the article is even more interesting than the main article but it carried a strong nationalistic tone though I think it’s closer to jingoism and, sometimes, arrogance. Please bear with it.

http://www.coffeegeek.com/opinions/georgesabados/06-12-2007

I find coffee scene/taste profile in HK evolving toward Sydney’s acidity forward profile more and more these days. I still had a fond memory of earlier espresso here in HK which tastes more like cups I had in North America, be it the US and East Coast Canada.
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