Part V: The CBTL experience - Comparing Espresso and Single Serve Coffee Capsule Systems
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is one of the oldest of the California Specialty Coffee chains and may even be said to have been the one that started it all. It is a world wide franchise today but still reminds me of its California roots. As I mentioned in the introduction, it is based around the Caffitaly open standard capsule so that the coffees reflect the individual roasters, in this case the coffees and teas of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
I moved out to California not very long after the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf opened their first stores. Having grown up on the East Coast I had vision of California but it took a while for the reality to set in. One of my first hints that California might be more than expected was the nightly weather reports. Not report, but reports. There were five different and distinct weather reports every day, Beach, Valley, Low Desert, High Desert and Mountains.
The Caffitaly Contata from CBTL is like that in every way. There is something for just about every taste, espressos, long espressos, brewed coffee, teas, even a very nice Chai Tea.
Just like with California I had real doubts that reality would live up to expectations, but I can happily attest that in the case, reality has exceeded my expectations. The espresso choices (CBTL offers four varieties of each, espressos, brewed coffees and teas) are all clean, bright with distinct personalities and all have a great finish.
The coffees, espresso and teas from CBTL remind me of life in LA, always interesting and exciting whether it is a formal dinner at the Beverly Wilshire or a dog at Pinks, a cookout in the backyard in the Valley or sitting around a campfire on the beach.
The capsules are sold in sleeves of ten and my favorite is the House Blend brew, a light roast blend of Columbian, Brazilian and Costa Rican coffees that is sweet, flowery, fruity and with a lingering finish. The CBTL capsules sell for about $0.55 each.
When you flip the capsule over one of the things you see immediately is that the Caffitaly CBTL brewed coffee capsule (and the tea capsules) has a large precut hole sealed only with a light foil. That larger hole along with the lower 3.5 BAR pulsed pump helps the Contata produce very nice brewed coffees as well as espresso.
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Posted by Jay Brewer at May 27, 2011 7:43 AM