2. Blacksmith Coffee Bar Location: 1018 Westheimer Description: Blacksmith takes everything that makes Greenway Coffee great and turns it up to 11. In terms of food, former Plonk chef Erin Smith has worked with owners David Buehrer and Ecky Prabanto to design a menu that brings together Houston's diverse cuisines and pairs well with coffee. For coffee nerds, the shop features the enthusiast bar, which will allow patrons to interact with a barista as she makes coffee. Opening Date: This Monday, January 21
espresso_drinker Senior Member Joined: 26 Oct 2011 Posts: 51 Location: Austin, Texas Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Wed May 22, 2013, 8:33pm Subject: Re: Coffee in Houston
I was able to try both Blacksmith Coffee and Southside Espresso this last week. They are close to each other so it was hard not to try one and not the other.
Both places have ample parking. Thumbs up. Blacksmith has a dedicated lot, Southside shares their's with Uchi, it seems. I went in the afternoon and had no trouble finding a spot in either lot.
The baristas at both places look like they know what they're doing. I couldn't tell what beans were being used at Southside and didn't want to bother the staff since they were being rushed by customers at the time. Espresso was excellent. I was able to glean 2 of the tasting notes from my first sip. My palette is amateur at best so I'm always excited when I taste what I'm supposed to. Temperature was good. Technique was good. No glaring no-no's in preparation.
The staff at Blacksmith seemed borderline compulsive about their prep. In preparing my wife's mocha, before mixing the chocolate and espresso, I swear I saw the barista rinse the spoon in a sacrificial stream of espresso. But same here. Espresso was excellent. No bitterness, lots of body, and plenty of subtleties that require multiple shots/tastings for me to identify. I did not have time to try out the enthusiast bar and was not sure if it was in effect at the time. I did see a LM GS/3 sitting to the side and assumed this was the machine used for the bar. They do serve a decent variety of foods so I'll have to try out some of the menu items next time.
Please chime in if you've had the chance to try them out. I'm hoping my definition of 'excellent' espresso is esoteric and not unique :-)
I agree about Blacksmith. I visited a few weeks ago when I was visiting Houston. That GS3 was formerly owned by a CG/HB forum member and has been modified for pressure profiling (I think it has a separate gear pump with a knob added on the side to control it)
They use that when pulling straight shots and want to play with the profiling thing.
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