Friday, December 16, 2011

San Franciscan kohi

Kohi is Japanese for coffee. It's always a surprise that coffee in the USA is such appalling hogwash. Afterall, wasn't it the USA that invented Starbucks? Now obviously, a Starbucks capuccino isn't the same drink as an Italian capuccino, but they aren't so bad. In fact they are quite nice. At least in Japan. But in the USA even Starbucks seem a bit like...hogwash.

So we went to some effort to find a renowned cafe in which to drink coffee in San Francisco. There is one such place near the Moscone Center, called Blue Bottle. You have to queue for 30 minutes in the cold while the inefficient staff bumble around. Two Japanese could do the job of the six or so staff in a fraction of the time. Then you have to wait for some time while they create your coffee. And then you have to drink it quite fast, before it gets cold in the draughty cafe. But I suppose its as reasonable a ritual as tea ceremony...

The odd thing was that the Blue Bottle's 2 speciality coffees were imported from Japan. Not the beans, of course, but the coffee processes. This is surprising because Japan hasn't really had coffee for very long. And I assume they got it from America. Now it seems they've reinvented it and are selling it back.

We now realise that the rather mild but expensive coffee we get in a little cafe in Kita Kamakura is probably siphon coffee.

This is how you make siphon coffee in San Francisco:
Siphon coffee
In Kamakura you stick the flask over what looks like a Bunsen burner.

The other sort of coffee (which we haven't ever seen in Japan) is "Nel" coffee, which seems to be a long-winded extension of the convenience drip coffee. We didn't have time to try this one.


And here's the stupendous preparation - see the stopclock and weighing scales?
Nell Coffee

More importantly than any of that, here below you can clearly see the effects of siphon coffee on a jetlagged James.

1.  Feeling quite sleepy before drinking
pre-coffee fatigue

2. Enjoying the flavors (sic)
enjoying the flavours

3. Post-kohi buzz
Post coffee buzz

Hogwash does not have the same effect...because it is hogwash.
Airport hogwash


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