I've been doing plenty of complaining lately about coffee shops that are so inept that they cannot serve a passable shot of espresso. Note, I'm not complaining about the use of an automated espresso machine. I use an automated machine at home. I'm not that high maintenance. No, I'm vocal about putting 1 to 2 ounces of espresso in a 16 ounce paper cup. Or not even knowing what it is to just order an espresso. I recently suggested legislation to remedy this and Peter Vader commented about Kopplin's Coffee and suggested I should try it. With this sturdy recommendation I asked my neighbor and coffee connoisseur Mike if he wanted to join me and drive over there, about 30 minutes one way, to give this place a try. Obviously I'm not going to make a habit of driving 30 minutes to get a coffee, but if it really was special I thought it would be fun to try.
Kopplin's is totally unassuming. It seemed like a simple, notably small, coffee shop with a few laptops open and a couple of people chatting at tables. The guy behind the counter was the owner, Andrew Kopplin, although I didn't know that until I looked at the newspaper clipping on the wall with his picture in it. The first thing I noticed at Kopplin's were the two Clover machines on the counter.
I knew a little about the Clover from a thread that had spread around the Internet a while back. Mainly, I knew they were $11,000 coffee machines. Not espresso machines, but single batch brewed coffee. Check out this video of the Clover in action to see what this is all about. There was a very big hubbub when Starbucks bought them [nofollow link] in a desperate grasp for authenticity and coffee that tastes less horrible. To be clear, I'm no fan of brew, but I had to give this a try. We ordered a 16 ounce pot of the Guatemalan and gave it a try.
It was really good coffee. Extremely smooth. But, it was still brew. I enjoyed it, but the taste wasn't what I like. For those that love brew, the Clover is probably a gift from the heavens. For me, the $11,000 is lost.
Onto the real reason for the trip, to give their espresso a go. In short, it's about the best espresso that I've gotten in a coffee shop in town. It is incredibly deep with a very thick crema. The service is perfect, in an appropriately sized ceramic cup that has been preheated for a while on the top of the espresso machine. Kapplin's seems to do a very fine grind, and the resulting espresso just drips into the glass.
We chatted with Kopplin himself for a little bit and he's a really cool guy. Very nice, obviously knows his stuff. I give him huge respect for being in his mid-20's and opening up his own place and making that all happen. And on top of making great coffee he is sourcing local ingredients, and even using milk from grass fed cows in his drinks! I don't think you can go wrong with a trip to Kopplin's.
And last but not least, I really dig the logo.