Friday, December 16, 2011

[jules' pics] San Franciscan kohi

Kohi is Japanese for coffee. It's always a surprise that coffee in the USA is such appalling hogwash. Afterall, wasn't it the USA that invented Starbucks? Now obviously, a Starbucks capuccino isn't the same drink as an Italian capuccino, but they aren't so bad. In fact they are quite nice. At least in Japan. But in the USA even Starbucks seem a bit like...hogwash.

So we went to some effort to find a renowned cafe in which to drink coffee in San Francisco. There is one such place near the Moscone Center, called Blue Bottle. You have to queue for 30 minutes in the cold while the inefficient staff bumble around. Two Japanese could do the job of the six or so staff in a fraction of the time. Then you have to wait for some time while they create your coffee. And then you have to drink it quite fast, before it gets cold in the draughty cafe. But I suppose its as reasonable a ritual as tea ceremony...

The odd thing was that the Blue Bottle's 2 speciality coffees were imported from Japan. Not the beans, of course, but the coffee processes. This is surprising because Japan hasn't really had coffee for very long. And I assume they got it from America. Now it seems they've reinvented it and are selling it back.

We now realise that the rather mild but expensive coffee we get in a little cafe in Kita Kamakura is probably siphon coffee.

This is how you make siphon coffee in San Francisco:
Siphon coffee
In Kamakura you stick the flask over what looks like a Bunsen burner.

The other sort of coffee (which we haven't ever seen in Japan) is "Nel" coffee, which seems to be a long-winded extension of the convenience drip coffee. We didn't have time to try this one.


And here's the stupendous preparation - see the stopclock and weighing scales?
Nell Coffee

More importantly than any of that, here below you can clearly see the effects of siphon coffee on a jetlagged James.

1.  Feeling quite sleepy before drinking
pre-coffee fatigue

2. Enjoying the flavors (sic)
enjoying the flavours

3. Post-kohi buzz
Post coffee buzz

Hogwash does not have the same effect...because it is hogwash.
AIrport hogwash

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/16/2011 11:37:00 AM


Anonymous said...

I used to have a beautiful Kona coffee maker which had the same syphon principle. It belonged to my grandparents. I nearly cried when someone broke the irreplaceable upper bowl glass while washing it.

I hope one day we'll be able to discuss ocean heat content over some good coffee. In the meantime, I just wanted to say I appreciated the comment you left on Greg's blog the other day.



Hance Huston said...

Here's a relevant article on the subject from the NY Times....

James Annan said...

Hance, that's a neat coincidence. Might have to seek out one of those cafes next time we are in town.

Tallbloke (I should probably call you shortbloke), well one does not have to think you and others have covered themselves in glory over the emails, to think that Laden was a jerk. Mind you, it hardly seems credible that his article will have harmed your reputation, so threats of legal action seem a bit precious.

Anonymous said...

It is sometimes said that modern civilization will fall apart when oil runs out. But just imagine there being no coffee...

Anonymous said...

"I should probably call you shortbloke"

Heh, I'll have you know my partner says I'm the height of nonsense. ;-)