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Coffee: The Elixir of the Mind.

It is impossible to imagine a career in the capital markets without the aid of a certain mind stimulating beverage, yes coffee.
In case you are wondering how a man from the land of the double double is authorized to speak to on matters of such great importance; the answer is: the taste of marketing isn’t typically satisfying.

But I digress.

Here is what I have learned after spending numerous hours talking to and consulting for an award winning Espresso Master:

    • A proper espresso shot is 7-8 grams the way the Italians do it. Any less is watery and any more adds unnecessary acidity to the taste. This amount optimizes both the taste, tactile experience and the return per pound.

    • If a café is using 20 or more grams for a single espresso, you are going to end up on the bottle (Pepto Bismol).

    • Great single varietals are expensive, rare and the harvest quality changes frequently.

    • Jamaican Blue Mountain was considered by the Italians to be the perfect single varietal

    • Blending was developed by the Italians to sustainably mimic the taste of great singles by using a variety of different less expensive singles. The result was a more consistent taste profile and an excellent tactile experience at a more palatable price.

    • Espresso is a blend.

    • A perfect blend is constructed by balancing a fusion of body, flavor, aroma, and acidity.

    • The most remarkable blend I have ever tasted was created using 14 different singles.

    • Cocoa-vanilla, bitter-sweet and complex are terms that typically describe outstanding espresso blends.

    • The espresso experience is heavily influenced by factors such as: humidity, the type of machine used, how the beans have been cured, the water ph and your own personal ph. Try the same blend from the same machine over multiple days and some of these subtle differences will become clear.

    • Great coffee is delicious even when cold. You can’t taste coffee when it is hot….which is of course the objective.

    • If your coffee seems to taste worse as the price of the “c” market rises, you are probably noticing that many coffee roasters sell price. Taste and quality are marketing concepts.

    • A little cream and sugar can enhance the taste of a pour over. A tiny bit of sugar enhances an espresso and can reveal its complexity. If you need to double it up: stop lying to yourself and get a piece of cake instead.

    • A pour over provides as good a taste if not better than a machine costing 10 grand…and it fits better in your overnight bag.
    • Water has a significant influence on the taste of a coffee. Try some different spring waters through your machine.

    • If you have to choose between a great grinder and a great coffee or espresso machine, go with the grinder. A great grinder will optimize the taste of a mediocre machine for an excellent outcome. A great machine will not typically compensate for a subpar grind.

    • While baristas will have you believe that latte art somehow denotes a superior coffee, they don’t realize that the art should be the coffee itself….Frankly if you need that much milk and a cool drawing on top, the coffee itself probably isn’t worth drinking. In other words when you put the words art and latte together it is simply another way of putting lipstick on a pig.

After 2 cups of the Turks Island this morning and just completing 3 shots of espresso, an elixir appropriately called “la Futura”, I am feeling great.

So tell me: what have you learned from drinking coffee and espresso in your hood?

3

Comments (51)

  • Going Concern's picture

    Good post...except the part about sugar enhancing coffee that's obviously ridiculous, and (to any aspiring coffee purist) a little offensive.

    Pro-tip: one rough indication for the quality of a coffee shop is the level of detail put into the milk patterns on the surface of a latte (or cappuccino). Also known as latte art. As far as shapes go I definitely prefer the fern over the heart.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latte_art

    Question for OP: what are your top 5 favorite coffee countries? Do you prefer local beans or imported?

    “A deception that elevates us is dearer than a host of low truths”

  • nontargethustle's picture

    grandfather used to sell jamaican blue mountain at his gourmet shop, but years ago he said it was bought by the japanese and they started diluting it with other shit. no longer sells it, he said he cant verify it and there is like 10x more coffee sold under the name than actually produced at the estate

  • adapt or die's picture

    I think caffeine is an excellent PED for interviews.

  • West Coast Analyst's picture

    so you're saying I should not be drinking my caramel macchiatos anymore? :(

  • CRE's picture

    Sugar is for pussies and is horrible unhealthy and coffee tastes better than espresso and has more caffeine.

  • In reply to CRE
    holla_back's picture

    CRE wrote:
    Sugar is for pussies and is horrible unhealthy and coffee tastes better than espresso and has more caffeine.

    A tiny bit of sugar in a cup of coffee is most certainly not "horrible unhealthy." He didn't recommend drinking orange mocha frappuccinos.

  • In reply to adapt or die
    droking7's picture

    adapt or die wrote:
    I think caffeine is an excellent PED for interviews.

    What the hells a PDE bro?

  • In reply to droking7
    CRE's picture

    droking7 wrote:
    adapt or die wrote:
    I think caffeine is an excellent PED for interviews.

    What the hells a PDE bro?

    ...wut?

  • In reply to Going Concern
    GED or Bust's picture

    Going Concern wrote:
    Good post...except the part about sugar enhancing coffee that's obviously ridiculous, and (to any aspiring coffee purist) a little offensive.

    Any pro-tips on shops you prefer? Can't recall what city you live in.

  • McEnroe's picture

    I throw a bit of cinnamon into my cup. Makes it a touch sweeter, and is much better for you than sugar (and it also has stimulant properties).

  • Jatye22s's picture
  • In reply to GED or Bust
    Going Concern's picture

    GED or Bust wrote:
    Going Concern wrote:
    Good post...except the part about sugar enhancing coffee that's obviously ridiculous, and (to any aspiring coffee purist) a little offensive.

    Any pro-tips on shops you prefer? Can't recall what city you live in.

    Not comprehensive by any stretch but a decent start for manhattan and brooklyn:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/03/09/dini...

    “A deception that elevates us is dearer than a host of low truths”

  • In reply to droking7
    reformed's picture

    droking7 wrote:
    adapt or die wrote:
    I think caffeine is an excellent PED for interviews.

    What the hells a PDE bro?

    I think it's pretty safe to say that you're not becoming a quant any time soon.

  • In reply to computerized
    MindOverMonkey's picture

    computerized wrote:
    ST Monkey wrote:
    it helps me poop.

    this

    Personally, I find shitting quite therapeutic and enough coffee will certainly bring on a good poop. Just make sure there's a bathroom nearby as you finish your third cup (second cup if you make it right).

    Also, sugar? Hell no. I think a small splash of milk helps to bring out the taste of a good cup of coffee, but coffee shouldn't be sweet. Go get a damn hot chocolate.

  • In reply to reformed
    adapt or die's picture

    reformed wrote:
    droking7 wrote:
    adapt or die wrote:
    I think caffeine is an excellent PED for interviews.

    What the hells a PDE bro?

    I think it's pretty safe to say that you're not becoming a quant any time soon.

    Haha

  • In reply to Going Concern
    Lone Wolf's picture

    Going Concern wrote:
    Good post...except the part about sugar enhancing coffee that's obviously ridiculous, and (to any aspiring coffee purist) a little offensive.

    Pro-tip: one rough indication for the quality of a coffee shop is the level of detail put into the milk patterns on the surface of a latte (or cappuccino). Also known as latte art. As far as shapes go I definitely prefer the fern over the heart.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latte_art

    Question for OP: what are your top 5 favorite coffee countries? Do you prefer local beans or imported?

    A little sugar will enhance an espresso and bring out the complexity of the blend. It will also help determine the quality of the crema as well. I'm talking half a teaspoon of the raw kind. You can try one with and one without.

    High quality beans come from a number of countries and these vary from year to year. Because I drink complex blends created by this guy, I am not focused on specific countries. With up to 14 beans in a blend, many countries can be represented.

  • In reply to nontargethustle
    Lone Wolf's picture

    nontargethustle wrote:
    grandfather used to sell jamaican blue mountain at his gourmet shop, but years ago he said it was bought by the japanese and they started diluting it with other shit. no longer sells it, he said he cant verify it and there is like 10x more coffee sold under the name than actually produced at the estate

    I was told by someone in Hawaii this was a problem with Kona as well.

    The JBM I tried was from a family owned estate and a trusted supplier.

  • In reply to CRE
    Lone Wolf's picture

    CRE wrote:
    Sugar is for pussies and is horrible unhealthy and coffee tastes better than espresso and has more caffeine.

    You have never had a great espresso then. Both are great, but they are inherently different experiences.

    I only use 1/2 a teaspoon of raw with my espresso, all drip coffee is consumed black.

  • In reply to GED or Bust
    Lone Wolf's picture

    GED or Bust wrote:
    Going Concern wrote:
    Good post...except the part about sugar enhancing coffee that's obviously ridiculous, and (to any aspiring coffee purist) a little offensive.

    Any pro-tips on shops you prefer? Can't recall what city you live in.

    I'm on the west coast. I think the important thing to remember is that there are lots of cool shops out there, but there is no correlation between the atmosphere and service of a given shop and the quality of what they serve.....and how they serve it.

  • In reply to West Coast Analyst
    Lone Wolf's picture

    West Coast Analyst wrote:
    so you're saying I should not be drinking my caramel macchiatos anymore? :(

    Drink what you like. I started drinking lattes and these things but eventually moved on.

    To each his own.

  • In reply to MindOverMonkey
    Lone Wolf's picture

    MindOverMonkey wrote:
    computerized wrote:
    ST Monkey wrote:
    it helps me poop.

    this

    Personally, I find shitting quite therapeutic and enough coffee will certainly bring on a good poop. Just make sure there's a bathroom nearby as you finish your third cup (second cup if you make it right).

    Also, sugar? Hell no. I think a small splash of milk helps to bring out the taste of a good cup of coffee, but coffee shouldn't be sweet. Go get a damn hot chocolate.

    Your defecation aside, some coffee is naturally sweet, and those particular coffees are used to add sweetness to a blend. Some raw sugar can indeed make a sweet cup almost too sweet.

    I have not tried damned hot chocolate, but it sounds devilishly enticing.

  • In reply to Lone Wolf
    CRE's picture

    Lone Wolf wrote:
    CRE wrote:
    Sugar is for pussies and is horrible unhealthy and coffee tastes better than espresso and has more caffeine.

    You have never had a great espresso then. Both are great, but they are inherently different experiences.

    I only use 1/2 a teaspoon of raw with my espresso, all drip coffee is consumed black.

    You are quite possibly right. Any suggestions on where to get "great espresso?"

  • SenhorFinance's picture

    Interesting post, thanks. As a partner in a startup hedge fund trying to juggle tasks such as - but not only - create a franchise, establish business processes, raise money, enhance market awareness, mentor and train the kids, and during my spare time cover dozens of equity names and trade them into a long biased fund, I couldn't agree more that coffee is my best friend. That being said, one of our partners does not drink any coffee at all (and of all of them, guess which? back-office). I find that to be extremely puzzling. Mysterious almost.

  • In reply to Lone Wolf
    CRE's picture

    Lone Wolf wrote:
    I have not tried damned hot chocolate, but it sounds devilishly enticing.

    Do you live outside of the US? Hot chocolate was like a childhood staple

  • In reply to CRE
    Lone Wolf's picture

    CRE wrote:
    Lone Wolf wrote:
    CRE wrote:
    Sugar is for pussies and is horrible unhealthy and coffee tastes better than espresso and has more caffeine.

    You have never had a great espresso then. Both are great, but they are inherently different experiences.

    I only use 1/2 a teaspoon of raw with my espresso, all drip coffee is consumed black.

    You are quite possibly right. Any suggestions on where to get "great espresso?"

    If you come to Vancouver PM me.

  • In reply to CRE
    Lone Wolf's picture

    CRE wrote:
    Lone Wolf wrote:
    I have not tried damned hot chocolate, but it sounds devilishly enticing.

    Do you live outside of the US? Hot chocolate was like a childhood staple

    Great White North.

  • jmoney2405's picture

    Funny this was posted now, first work day in years I didn't have my coffee this morning, struggling hardddddd

    Give me a kid whose smart, poor, and hungry...............

  • Dedline's picture

    This whole threads reminds me of the all the beautiful coffee I drank abroad in Europe. Enjoying an espresso (un Cafe) while sitting on the patio overlooking historic architecture is something I'll remember for a long time.

    ....as I sip my iced black from Starbucks....

  • bullishbears's picture

    OP- did you learn about the different machines? Is it worth getting a $1,000+ machine or is the $300 nespresso machine just as good?

  • Mitt Romney's picture

    Solid advice
    thanks

    I'm not concerned with the very poor
    -Mitt Romney

  • In reply to bullishbears
    Lone Wolf's picture

    bullishbears wrote:
    OP- did you learn about the different machines? Is it worth getting a $1,000+ machine or is the $300 nespresso machine just as good?

    The Nespresso system is pretty good as long as you want to use their coffee, which is alright. This thing has a major convenience factor: no grinding, less mess etc. and obviously there will be a cost advantage.

    The Espresso master told me that all of his original tasting (to put together some of his original blends) was done on the Nuova Simonelli Oscar. I don't know the price, but probably over a thousand. Unlike the Nespresso you will have to do the grinding yourself with this machine which will add to the cost. If the cafe will grind it, that could work assuming they get the grind right. Espresso machines tend to be more fussy with regard to grind (which believe it or not will need to be adjusted frequently for humidity)

    As suggested, I would work on getting a better grinder first and you can use a less expensive machine. You could probably do both for 1000.

    It comes down to taste and the experience you want. Nespresso: easy, no mess, cheaper but limited. Separate espresso machine and grinder: a process, more work, a bit more involved....but in my opinion a better outcome. Kind of like cooking your own meal.

  • mb666's picture

    I have a nespresso machine and it is amazing... only downside being the 60 cent capsules that add up pretty quickly. Still beats Starbucks prices.

    Can anyone recommend super strong coffee beans sold on Amazon?

    Lone Wolf, you seem like quite the coffee addict. I bet that when you don't have caffeine for a day you start getting vodka hangover migraines. I drink far less and this happens to me.

  • That_Aston's picture

    Tea>Coffee

    Here to learn and hopefully pass on some knowledge as well. SB if I helped.

  • shifty's picture

    If your coffee needs sugar it's because the coffee doesn't have enough natural sweetness, or the brewing was poor and left it unbalanced. Or you're just used to sugar in your coffee.
    Some of the best espresso that I've ever had was not a blend, but a single origin espresso. Also, it was an 18g double espresso that tasted shockingly like neopolitan ice cream. Not that many quality focused cafes actually pull a proper single espresso because it necessitates having a separate espresso grinder or adjusting the grinder every time.
    You're definitely spot on with some of your other points though.

  • In reply to West Coast Analyst
    Lone Wolf's picture

    West Coast Analyst wrote:
    any thoughts on k-cups?

    a friend of mine has the machine, but uses his own coffee in it.

  • In reply to mb666
    Lone Wolf's picture

    mb666 wrote:
    I have a nespresso machine and it is amazing... only downside being the 60 cent capsules that add up pretty quickly. Still beats Starbucks prices.

    Can anyone recommend super strong coffee beans sold on Amazon?

    Lone Wolf, you seem like quite the coffee addict. I bet that when you don't have caffeine for a day you start getting vodka hangover migraines. I drink far less and this happens to me.

    I got more of a headache when I stopped eating wheat.

  • In reply to shifty
    Lone Wolf's picture

    shifty wrote:
    If your coffee needs sugar it's because the coffee doesn't have enough natural sweetness, or the brewing was poor and left it unbalanced. Or you're just used to sugar in your coffee.
    Some of the best espresso that I've ever had was not a blend, but a single origin espresso. Also, it was an 18g double espresso that tasted shockingly like neopolitan ice cream. Not that many quality focused cafes actually pull a proper single espresso because it necessitates having a separate espresso grinder or adjusting the grinder every time.
    You're definitely spot on with some of your other points though.

    The espresso doesn't "need" anything additional. The sugar in the espresso is merely there to enhance the enjoyment. I like the drip black. But most importantly: to each his own.

    Espresso is in fact a blend, although you can drink a single through an espresso machine. The place where I go has 5 espresso blends on at any one time, each with its own grinder. Plus 2 more grinders for experimental blends that are being developed and balanced. He has another 15 or so blends he can roll out on top of that.

    Yes the grinder and its adjustment is critical. Humidity will necessitate adjustments daily and sometimes during the day.

    Do you remember the single you had? That sounds fantastic.

  • In reply to Lone Wolf
    shifty's picture

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  • In reply to Lone Wolf
    Going Concern's picture

    “A deception that elevates us is dearer than a host of low truths”

  • Randianhero's picture

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