Where’s the Great Espresso?

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In this week’s review of

French Riviera Bakery

, I praised a cup of Segafredo espresso I was served there. But two of my espresso-loving friends, Jay Francis and Paul Galvani, were not as impressed as I was.

"The flavor was good and strong, but the crema was a little weak,” Galvani said. He also observed that while Segafredo is a leading Italian coffee brand, it’s not as good as Illy, which he considers the best.

Jay Francis agreed with Paul about Riviera’s coffee. “Crema is kinda like roux or caramel,” he said. “There's a subtle difference between 'almost there,' 'right on the spot' and 'oops, went too far.’”

To get a great crema the barista has to pack the coffee densely to prevent the pressurized water going through too quickly, resulting in a limp crema. “I don't think they packed the espresso tight enough at French Riviera,” Jay said.

I asked Paul where he went for a good espresso. He said great espresso was very hard to find. But he said he never drank espresso at Starbuck’s. Why? Because it ruins the entire experience to drink espresso from a paper cup, he said.

Jay said his favorite espresso bar was in the Galleria, but they just went out of business and he was looking for a new one.

Any suggestions? -- Robb Walsh

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