About a month ago, I sent out a twitter/facebook request for coffee shop recommendations in town. (Big thanks to Laura Oleson and Kiara Alvarez for providing the bulk of the recommendations!) The idea was that Austin has coffee shops everywhere you look. Some have great live music, some are great places to read or study, and some have the best double-chocolate upside-down lattes you've ever tasted. But who has just the best straight up cup of coffee?
Well I'm ready to call off the search, and let me just say it wasn't even close.
But before I get to it, let me preface this by giving a little of my coffee background. I believe that coffee is like pretty much anything else in the world, and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I think it's important to know where I'm coming from. I don't consider myself a coffee snob at all, but I do have distinct likes and dislikes. My preferred cup is brewed at home in a French press, and my favorite brand is HEB Taste of Texas: Houston blend. I do not like flavored creamers, but I do like flavored blends. I prefer a very full body but a taste that is smooth and not acidic. And the best cup of coffee I've ever had was on a sidewalk cafe in Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
With all that being said, the Ethiopia Siddammo at JP's Java is pretty much as good as that Guatemalan cup, and possibly better. Their secret, of course, no secret at all. It's an $11,000 coffee machine called the Clover. I won't go into the science of how it works (you can read about it here) but from my perspective, it's worth every penny.
The resulting cup (though pricey) is the smoothest, most flavorful brew you can get from an instant machine. I rarely drink my coffee black, but you can easily get away with that here. I can't really describe it any better, you have to just try it for yourself.
After the Clover-brewed coffee, it's really hard for regular drip brews to compete, but the two I liked best as runners-up were of course the famous Jo's on South Congress and a place by my work on Bee Caves called Trianon. Jo's was a great light taste with almost no bitterness, and the Coconut Cream brew at Trianon was definitely the best flavored brew that I had. Definite coconut flavor but not sweet like candy like you might expect.
Upon further research, I found one blogger's take on how to replicate the Clover using your own French press at home. I'm a little skeptical but I may give it a shot. If anyone else out there gives it a try, be sure to let me know how it goes!
Well Austin? What do you think? Am I crazy? Is JP's the best out there or is there something you think I may have missed? Post below!
San Jacinto and Duval