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Best espresso in Tampa Bay?
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Discussions > Regional > US East > Best espresso in...  
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Worldman
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Worldman
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,820
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Expobar Office Control
Grinder: Cimbali 6/S
Posted Tue Nov 7, 2006, 10:54pm
Subject: Best espresso in Tampa Bay?
 

My former boss (& friend of >30 years) now lives in Tampa Bay and admitted to me today that he goes to *$s all the time (& gets an acceptable cino ~20% of the time).

Joey and I used to regularly go down to La Prima (www.laprima.com) for cino in the middle of the work day and we still meet there sometimes when he comes into Pittsburgh. He (as owner of the company for which I worked) bought 2 Coffee Gaggia and even 1 Cimballi Jr. w/ Cimballi Jr. grinder at my direction for interoffice use.  

I think that we can all agree that he needs some advice on which bars to frequent in Tampa. What are the hot espresso bars in and around Tampa Bay? What equipment do they have/use? Whose beans do they use? Have you any pictures or links? Are the barista proficient?

Any comments would be appreciated.

Len

 
Len
Len's Espresso Blends
www.lensespressoblends.com
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Worldman
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Worldman
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Expobar Office Control
Grinder: Cimbali 6/S
Posted Thu Nov 9, 2006, 8:32am
Subject: Re: Best espresso in Tampa Bay?
 

WOT!!!! Are there NO espresso bars in Tampa Bay worht mentioning?

Len

 
Len
Len's Espresso Blends
www.lensespressoblends.com
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hrin
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Joined: 12 Aug 2005
Posts: 6
Location: FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Nov 9, 2006, 7:13pm
Subject: Re: Best espresso in Tampa Bay?
 

try
www.delocator.net

I have tried a few places near me but IMO ...
Even my mistakes are better and cheaper when made at home.

Plus I usually dont leave the house without a thermal carafe full of fresh hot coffee.

"acceptable cino ~20% of the time" Those odds dont sound so good, for me its three strikes and your out.
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49express
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Joined: 7 Nov 2003
Posts: 261
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Francis Francis X5
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky Doserless
Drip: Braun
Posted Fri Nov 10, 2006, 7:51am
Subject: Re: Best espresso in Tampa Bay?
 

You'd have better luck asking about a good Cuban coffee.  I am surprised though that things haven't improved since I lived there in the 90's.  I was making espressso at home then with a Krups pump - a novelty then - and people were amazed when they saw it.  I can't even remember where I got my coffee!
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TheDeeOhCee
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Joined: 6 Aug 2006
Posts: 25
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Drip: French Press
Roaster: BBQ
Posted Fri Nov 10, 2006, 12:36pm
Subject: Re: Best espresso in Tampa Bay?
 

Len,

I live in Tampa and I can vouch for Hrin when he says the coffee's better at home.  Tampa really does not have the coffee scene seen in other large metropolitan cities.   Fresh roasted coffee is not a priority here.  49express, on the flip side of the coin, is right on about the Cuban coffee.  It's basically espresso with a lot of sugar and it is tasty.  Also good are the cafe con leches (as close to a good latte as you are going to get).  I recommend the Florida Bakery on Columbus Ave (excellent assortment of Cuban pastries) and the West Tampa Sandwich Shop on Armenia.  Both are very good and consistent with their product.  Both are also very popular with the local Hispanic and Cuban community which says a lot right there.

D.O.C.
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rudedog
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Joined: 28 Sep 2005
Posts: 104
Location: FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea, Gaggia, Spidem
Grinder: Rocky DL, Maximo
Vac Pot: not yet
Drip: Zoji, Presto Scandi
Roaster: SC/TO, I-Roast, popper
Posted Fri Nov 10, 2006, 2:47pm
Subject: Re: Best espresso in Tampa Bay?
 

You can buy beans at Caracolillo Coffee Mill at 4419 North Hesperides, Tampa.
I have bought there before and greens too.
http://www.ccmcoffee.com/
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Worldman
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Worldman
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,820
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Expobar Office Control
Grinder: Cimbali 6/S
Posted Wed Nov 15, 2006, 6:08am
Subject: Re: Best espresso in Tampa Bay?
 

(( I sent this link to Joey so that he could read for himself what you were all saying. He concurs that there are no accepatble coffee bars in Tamp.  I, for one, can not imagine why that is since it is a fairly major metro area as well as upscale.

Anyway, I am now advising him on espresso equipment to buy...here is the e'mail I sent to him yesterday.


Roki,

Here are my espresso equipment suggestions.

High end set-up

  1. Quick Mill (hereinafter “QM”) Vetrano Rotary by Chris Coffee (hereinafter “CC”) (http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/espresso/vetrano) @ $1460 WITH Siria pressure stat (hereinafter “PS”) upgrade ($60). QM has been working with CC for the past couple of years to develop machines suited to the US customer and this one has it all. This machine features:
    - Rotary pump - SEE NOTES.
    - Faema E61 GH.
    - 1.6 liter insulated (copper) boiler
    - All stainless steel outside
    -60 pound weight!!
    Here are some consumer comments: "QuickMill Vetrano Espresso Machine"
  2. Mazzer Mine Electronic Doser-less grinder (Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)) @ $700, This features:
    -64mm burrs
    -1/3 HP motor
    - No doser to hold stale coffee grounds and interfere with fresh coffee dispersion
    - A funnel on the front into which the ground coffee “settles” to fall into the awaiting PF. This funnel is made of metal so that static is not a problem. (My grinder also has such a funnel but mine is made of plastic; static is a problem.)
  3. Bottomless PF by EPNW (http://espressoparts.com/product/F_354B) @ $49. This will allow you to pull beautiful shots such as those shown in the attachments. Notice the tiger striping as well as the crema.
  4. Reg Barber tamper from EPNW (http://espressoparts.com/product/RB58_WDTALL) @ $53. Depending on which machine you buy, you will need to get a tamper that is the correct diameter (58mm is the diameter for all E61 GH) and either flat or convex piston. My feelings are that the flat piston works best with machines having a flat shower screen and the convex work best with those having a convex (or is it “concave”?) shower screen. Also, the 304 SS piston is the better choice than the aluminum piston.
  5. Knock box can be your choice of any of the following.
    - Bumper knock box from EPNW (http://espressoparts.com/product/BUMPERKB_BL) @ $45. This is big-ish and quite heavy/well-built.
    - Wooden knock box from Espressovissions (http://www.visionsespresso.com/ProdDetl.aspx?ID=713) @ $43. This is not uite as big or heavy but you may prefer its looks.
    - Grindenstein knock box from Dream Farm (https://secure.grindenstein.com/)  @ $29 delivered. This is plastic but quite robust and small enough to fit on the machine’s drip tray when not in use. It comes in several colors. This is my current knock box.
  6. Frothing pitchers, both form EPNW.
    - 12 oz. for making single cino or 2 machiatto from EPNW (http://espressoparts.com/product/5007_12) @$28.
    - 25 oz. for making 2 cino from EPNW (http://espressoparts.com/product/5007_25) @$35.
  7. Filtration & softening system for direct plumbing machine, all from Chris Coffee (Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)) @$95.

    Middle range set-up

  8. QM Anita from CC (http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/espresso/anita) @$1000. This machine features:
    Vibratory pump.
    - Faema E61 GH.
    - 1.6 liter insulated (copper) boiler
    - All stainless steel outside
    - 47 pound weight.
  9. Macap doser-less grinder with step-less adjustment (http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/grinders/mc4) @$420. This features:
    - 58mm burrs
    - 1/3 HP motor
    - No doser with its problems
    3., 4., & 5. – as above

Low range (but still good set-up) – Later!!

NOTES:

-          HEAT EXCHANGER (hereinafter “HX”). An HX machine allows you to steam milk WHILST pulling the shot, but, more importantly, it has a much more stable temperature profile than a “single boiler”, i.e. thermo-block machine (such as Nik’s Francis Francis or our old Gaggias). In an HX machine, the brew water is routed through a heat exchanger which passes through the boiler thereby flash heating the brew water. It was another development by Faema in 1961 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faema) and allowed the use of a pump for espresso (all machines had previously been piston types like your old Pavoni) since it solved the problem of hot water passing through the pump. All of the machines I recommend are HX machines.

-          ROTARY PUMP. The rotary pump is the best of the best and is what every coffee bar uses. The “downside” of a rotary is that you must assure a water flow or the pump will be damaged. Therefore, if you go with a machine having a rotary pump, you will need to plumb it in to your water supply which will add a little to the cost (for filtration and possibly water softening) but also to the convenience (as you will never have to fill the machine).

-          VIBRATORY PUMP. The vibratory pump is the standard kind of pump one finds on a home espresso machine and is what we had on all the espresso machines that we had at [the company]. They are most certainly serviceable and it is the type of pump which my machine at home has.

-          PORTA-FILTER (hereinafter “PF”). The PF is the “handle” thing which holds the basket into which the ground coffee is placed. The PF is then inserted into the underside of the GH and turned (usually clock-wise) ~60º to 80º to lock it into place. The espresso comes out of the PF and falls into the cup(s). See: Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)

-          GROUPHEAD (hereinafter “GH”). The GH is the thing into which you affix the PF and from where comes the water through the ground coffee. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grouphead.

-          FAEMA E61 GH. The E61 design is a classic and is the most desired GH for home baristas. See: http://www.wholelattelove.com/articles/e61_brew_group.cfm. OK, they call it a brew group…but you get the idea. My machine uses an E61 except that mine doesn’t have the classic lever actuated E61 since my machine is an automatic (meaning that the water dispensing is automatically controlled). The E61 provides the most stable espresso extraction due to its mass and, more importantly, its thermal-siphon. The thermal-siphon means that heated water is circulated through the GH to keep it at an elevated temperature which also means that you must pull a significant cooling flush before each shot. It also employs pre-infusion (where the coffee puck is “infused” with hot water before the pump pressure is fully applied) which improves the espresso.

-          PRESSURE-STAT (hereinafter “PS”). The PS is the mechanism which keeps the boiler up to its set pressure (as opposed to a set temperature) by controlling the on-off cycle of the heating element. Most home machines use one of two PS (either the Mater or the C.E.M.E. Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)) . Both of these are small and light weight being able to fit into ~1.25” cube. The upscale PS and the one used in virtually every professional machine is the Sirai (http://chriscoffee.com/products/home/repairparts/siraistat) which is both higher amperage rated as well as much larger physically (being ~3” x 4” x 5”).

-          BOILER SIZE. The volume of the boiler (usually given in liters) speaks of the “balls” of the machine. Most commercial machines have boilers of several liters (say 6 to 12) while most “better” home machines will always have a boiler of >1 liter. (Mine has a 1.7l boiler.)  Basically speaking two things happen as boiler size increases: the machine takes longer to heat up (from cold start) & the machine will go longer without running out steam pressure. Another way of saying the latter is that the machine will have a more stable temperature profile throughout the shot since the inertia of temperature will be more evident with more mass/volume.

-          SIZE & SPACE. You need to check that your available counter space and overhead cabinet clearance (the distance form the bottom of the overhead cabinets to the top of the kitchen counter) allow the use of whichever machines you choose.

Len

hmmm...what shall be the "low end" system?

 
Len
Len's Espresso Blends
www.lensespressoblends.com
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Worldman
Senior Member
Worldman
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,820
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Expobar Office Control
Grinder: Cimbali 6/S
Posted Sat Nov 18, 2006, 8:49pm
Subject: Re: Best espresso in Tampa Bay?
 

( Here was the past mail I sent to Joey regarding the "cheapo" system.

Roki,



Low range (but still good) set-up



  1. Expobar Pulsar espresso machine from Wholelattelove.com via Ebay (Click Here (cgi.ebay.com) - OR - Click Here (cgi.ebay.com)) @ ~$600.  The first auction is ending and there were NO bids…the second looks as if it is the same machine. – OR – you can just go to www.wholelattelove.com and buy one for $800: http://www.wholelattelove.com/Expobar/Expobar.cfm.  This is the same machine I have and use EXCEPT that mine has automatic & programmable water dispensing (see attached photo) and the housing of mine is powder coated carbon steel as opposed to stainless steel. While there are NO gauges, you can easily and inexpensively add external gauges for checking and adjusting the machine (also in photo).  This machine features:
    Vibratory pump.
    Faema E61 GH EXCEPT this is a switch-able rather than lever actuated GH.
    1.8 liter NON-insulated (copper) boiler
    All stainless steel outside
    36 pound weight.
  2. Cunill Tranquillo doser-less grinder from Cora Italian Specialties (http://www.corainc.com/Details.cfm/ProdID/485) @ $230. This is the same grinder which I have and use. This features:
    60 mm burrs
    1/3 HP motor
    No doser to hold stale coffee grounds and interfere with fresh coffee dispersion
    A funnel on the front into which the ground coffee “settles” to fall into the awaiting PF. This funnel is made of plastic so static is a minor problem.
    22 pounds weight.
  3. Bottomless PF by EPNW (http://espressoparts.com/product/F_354B) @ $49.
  4. Reg Barber tamper from EPNW (http://espressoparts.com/product/RB58_WDTALL) @ $53. For the Expobar machines you will need to get a tamper that is 58mm diameter and with a convex piston. Also, the 304 SS piston is the better choice than the aluminum piston.
  5. Knock box can be your choice of any of the following.
    Bumper knock box from EPNW (http://espressoparts.com/product/BUMPERKB_BL) @ $45. This is big-ish and quite heavy/well-built.
    Wooden knock box from Espressovissions (http://www.visionsespresso.com/ProdDetl.aspx?ID=713) @ $43. This is not quite as big or heavy but you may prefer its looks.
    Grindenstein knock box from Dream Farm (https://secure.grindenstein.com/) @ $29 delivered. This is plastic but quite robust and small enough to fit on the machine’s drip tray when not in use. It comes in several colors. This is my current knock box.
  6. Frothing pitchers, both form EPNW.
    12 oz. for making single cino or 2 machiatto from EPNW (http://espressoparts.com/product/5007_12) @$28.
    25 oz. for making 2 cino from EPNW (http://espressoparts.com/product/5007_25) @$35.

So, what will your coffees look like with such a machine? See the attached pictures and drool.

I urge you not to run out and buy something just because Nik or someone else may tell you it is OK.  While you may get “serviceable” equipment, you will (most likely) not get the best for the buck. I have…um…researched this quite a bit and am pretty familiar with the stuff about which I am advising. ALL of the attached pictures of pours, espresso & cappucini have benn made with the above listed equipment. Feel free to call me for any discussions or advice.  

Sab


 
Len
Len's Espresso Blends
www.lensespressoblends.com
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Worldman
Senior Member
Worldman
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,820
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Expobar Office Control
Grinder: Cimbali 6/S
Posted Wed Nov 22, 2006, 8:40am
Subject: Re: Best espresso in Tampa Bay?
 

hmmm...I'm going to cross post this under Equipment sinc ethat is a mo' betta' place fo rit.

 
Len
Len's Espresso Blends
www.lensespressoblends.com
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NavyBean
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Joined: 13 Feb 2005
Posts: 16
Location: Seminole, Fl
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Electra Leva
Grinder: Nuova Simonelli MCF
Vac Pot: Bialetti 6 cup
Posted Thu Dec 7, 2006, 8:01am
Subject: Re: Best espresso in Tampa Bay?
 

You all must be in Tampa.  Cause over here in Clearwater, I own a rockin' little shop (New Harmony Coffee  Tea) that is not only a retail roastery- but has 2 espressos on tap every day.  1 Italian style, and 1 Northwest style. We also pull all our  shots on a 3 group La Victoria Arduinio Lever.  We have been roasting and pulling espressos on Drew for 12 years. So, if you want to visit us we are on Drew St. just East of Hercules.

I agree that TB has a long way to go toward espresso perfection- but great coffee in our area is slowly gaining traction from Gulfport to the Hillsborough/Pasco line.  You just may have to be a little adventurous and vary your commuter route once in a while, but it will be well worth when you find that new little shop near your neighborhood.  I can think of a dozen off the top of my head, all in need of more business.

So, if you really wish specialty coffee to grow in our area- you are going to have to put some effort into this thing.  Our area is so dispersed it can be difficult.  But, there it is.  In the next few months their will be independent shops opening near USF (Tampa), Downtown Largo, Gulfport, Dunedin, Brandon and South Tampa, hell even Lakelaqnd is getting inot the game. Not to mention the existing shops, a few that have been around for over a decade.  And I am sure there will be others.

So buck up! bucs fans- at least in the area of coffee we maybe on a winning track.
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