duke-one wrote:Hello: What is known about the imported beans from Italy? 1st Line sells several and I want to try some but thought I'd ask here first.
OK, you can buy Illy, Lavazza and a number of other Italian coffees at Andronico's (Shattuck, Solano, Telegraph), as well as Sur La Table on 4th St., Market Hall, and probably a dozen other places in Berkeley. (Yeah, I know -- Market Hall is in Oakland, but still.) They are old, stale, and generally not very interesting.
Take a look at "Battle North America vs. Italy - The Results"
, as one example, and the companion discussion, "Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince"
. There's lots more discussions both here on HB and over at Coffee Geek -- the search engine will help you find them.
Keep in mind that so-called "Italian Roast" isn't really anything like what Italy roasts, as a nation, any more than things in the US are only done a single way. Southern Italy -- notably from roasters based in Sicily and Naples -- traditionally roasts their coffees darker than is traditional in, say, Rome, Tuscany, or in the Italian Alps (and the Swiss canton of Ticino).
You may want to take a look at the List of our favorite Roasters
-- all of these are recommended, quality roasters that roast-to-order and ship immediately. In particular, my three favorite "go to" roasters (from that list) are:
- Espresso Vivace Roasteria, Seattle, WA -- they only offer three coffees, all blends; I regularly use their Dolce and Decaf, and they arrive 2-3 days after roasting.
- Caffè Fresco, Port Griffith, PA -- they offer a wide variety of blends and single origin beans; my favorites (so far) are the Ambrosia and the Luna Nova decaf, and they, too, arrive 2-3 days after roasting.
- Metropolis Coffee, Chicago, IL -- they offer a wide variety of blends and single origin beans; I really like their Redline Espresso and Redline Decaf, but these take 4-5 days to arrive.
Within California, certainly Ritual Coffee Roasters
and Four Barrel Coffee
-- both in San Francisco -- are excellent (you can get Ritual coffees at Remedy
, a café on Telegraph & 42nd in Oakland). You can get Bluebottle Coffee
at the Saturday Berkeley Farmer's Market and the Sunday Temescal Farmer's Market at the DMV on Claremont in Oakland. And you should not
overlook Ecco Caffè
in Sonoma County -- they ship UPS to the Bay Area and the beans usually arrive 3-4 days after the order.
Let me say that I like
Black Cat, but I prefer to get it at
Intelligentsia. I personally prefer the coffees I get from the above roasters.