Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Best Cup of Coffee - caffe d'bolla's siphon brew

The best cup of coffee
› Caffe d’Bolla’s siphon brew

"This is not your breakfast cuppa java—you may not have time for your usual second cup. Caffe d’Bolla’s transcendental coffee is brewed by a master fanatic who pays as much attention to making your single cup as he might to walking a tightrope without a net. It deserves to be savored just as attentively. 249 E. 400 South, SLC, 801-355-1398"

Salt Lake Magazine link HERE

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

(Excerpt from) The Short List: SLC Eats [Downtown]

From Vanessa Chang @ she craves
"...People can think what they want about this adopted city of mine. We, like Buffalonians and Oaklanders, travel beyond our city limits with stereotypes and a barrage of lame jokes. The reality is, Salt Lake City is a bit of secret. Some of us like to keep it that way (those who already think there are enough California refugees in state limits) and some who love to preach the affordable cost of living, gorgeous landscape and the fact that not everyone is "of the faith."

I often tell my baffled out-of-state friends to think of SLC (all cities seem to have a hip or diminutive moniker, NYC, Sac-Town, Philly...) as a Chicago. A cultural — and in Utah's case, a political — capital surrounded by perceivably less enticing realms. The only difference: Red rock is infinitely cooler than acres of government subsidized corn.

Thanks to a variety of factors, we are a surprisingly diverse lot on this blue island in a very politically red sea. And despite the officializing of Jell-O as the state food, we regularly consume other cuisines. Some are of the innocuous chain variety. But a good deal are local endeavors that feature talented chefs, local products and even — get this — alcohol. Private club laws that plagued the city have gone the way of the covered wagon. I'll drink to that.

My day job means that I get to troll much of the state in search of the best molé, tom kha ga, frites, hand made pasta, micro brews, wine lists, pastries and more. I often get asked for dining recommendations through the day job, my work with Slow Food Utah and this blog. It's safe to say that downtown SLC has a high concentration of the good eats, all within walking distance of the public transportation. I even urge locals to use since parking is a nightmare. Plus, Trax trains are free within the downtown area.

So, for curious readers and soon-to-be travelers, I offer what I consider my shortlist of good, interesting Downtown SLC eats. [NOTE: This is by no means a comprehensive list of what I dig in the state. For advice beyond city limits, i.e. if you have a car to take you into other neighborhoods and cities, contact me. I'd love to dish.]

For another perspective on the City of Salt, check out this thoughtful blog from a fantastic writer and food-lover.

Caffe d'Bolla [249 E. 400 South, #B, 801.355.1398]

For caffeine freaks and connoiseurs alike. SLC's teetoling and caffeine-free stereotypes belie the coffee geniuses who have set up shop in the city. Most notably, is John Piquet's Caffe d'Bolla. Along with his wife, Yiching, he micro roasts high quality beans, sourced from all over the world. He talks coffee the way a sommelier talks wine.

This is not the place for lovers of Java/Espresso/Joe/Cafe/Etc. "Express," or "On the Go." This is thinking man's coffee. You come in, order one of the daily brews or a finely pulled espresso shot and sit down and sip like a civilized person.

Caffe d'Bolla is one of the handful of cafes in the country that offer Japanese siphon brewing. This laboratory-looking contraption brews elegant cups free of grit (sorry, Greek coffee lovers) and full of nuance. Watching John measure and grind the beans, track water temperature and set the timer is akin to watching the rituals of a Japanese tea ceremony. Only this time, you sit at the bar, with a tall glass of water and a shot of sparkling water to cleanse the palate.

Plus, richly flavored, densely smooth gelato, spun in small batches, on-site and some of the best Boba Tea (tapioca pearl tea) in the region.

Take TRAX to the Library Square stop, Caffe d'Bolla is right across the street on the north side."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Siphon Brewing and Commitment to Excellence

Recently, we were noted in Salt Lake City Magazine as one of Utah's Must Try Culinary Creations.

"47. A cup of siphon coffee

Chances are good that you’ve never tasted a cup of coffee like this. That means, in a sense, you’ve never really tasted coffee. It takes a coffee fanatic to think the resulting cup is worth the science project of making it. Fortunately, Utah is a great breeding ground for fanatics of all types. CaffĂ© d’Bolla, 249 E. 400 South, SLC, 801-355-1398,

Achieving excellence in any endeavor is more about the commitment to the process of excellence, rather than just to excellence itself. For us, sourcing great coffees is just the beginning. Several trips to Japan, talking to and filming siphon barista there as well as tweaking roasting profiles and having an insane dedication to have absolutely no cream or sugar in our siphon coffee has helped us to get people to see coffee in a whole new light. People plan their driving routes on vacation to stop and have coffee, they've been late for airplanes, delayed meetings, changed office locations to move here, and in some cases flown across country, just to have a cup. Would I say it's the best cup possible? No, but I won't admit to being second either.

Coffee is at a crossroads, you can truly do something great to showcase the coffee, or you can spend a lot of money on glitz and hype. While McDonalds is out there demeaning coffee and the barista profession, rather than just laughing it off we all need to continue to raise the bar.

In order to truly raise the bar, it's not just the passion, or coffee knowledge... because there are countless roasters, barista, and others that have loads more technical coffee knowledge. The problem is, they don't have the commitment to back it up. Why source spectacular coffees, some even farm direct and serve them as "drip". It makes no sense to me at all. Press, Melitta, Eva Solo, Siphon, etc. Great coffees should be made by the cup, and to do otherwise really means you're not committed to the coffee. Don't just say you're committed to giving the best coffee has to offer, do it, and don't compromise. That is what we have been doing since we opened. I'm hoping many more will follow.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Men (should) Buy Drinks

One thing that we have noticed occurring with an alarming regularity is that boys are no longer behaving, or taught to behave, as men.

We have several groups of late high school and early college girls who come to our caffe for drinks, and tagging along with them are their (only God knows why) boyfriends or just boy friends. The girls all promptly order and when asked what you can get started for them, the boys reply with a "Oh, I'm good."

There was a day not long ago when any young man of wage earning age would be embarrassed to accompany the fairer sex and not either A) buy something for them, or B) Buy something for themselves. This says a lot about the erosion of the nuclear family, and the lack of male leadership in the home, the falling away of boys being taught to be men.

Men belly up to the bar. Men buy drinks. Too many young ladies accompanied by boys.


Monday, January 12, 2009


During a recent vist, a colleague of mine brought up the Gerber (E-Myth) quip, "You're working IN your business, rather than ON your business." when he asked how much time I spent at work.

There are two main reasons why someone opens a small business.
1) They love what they do (and they make money doing it).
2) To make money supporting what they love(d) to do.

Now if your love is money, or your love is owning a business, then there are many businesses you can start with that end goal in mind. Create a business. Create a system. Watch the business grow. Repeat. Now if your love is books, or pastries, or sushi, or coffee, or cute crafts, then at what point does your love become business?

Let's look at owner operated shops in other countries. You can see many of them if you watch Rick Steves travel shows, where tourists walk around happily to happy owners in happy shops all over Europe. Small restaurants, wineries, caffe, pub, clothing stores, etc. Some of these are fourth or fifth generation. Families go into work doing something they love as part of their culture, family, or something they discovered in their journey of life. Work schedules are long, but not overwhelming... Want a vacation? Take one! Want to change the schedule? Change it! Want to begin something new? You can do that too. The idea that working successfully IN your business is not as rewarding as standing aside and watching someone else do it often mystifies me.

Again, ask yourself the question, "If I love X so much, then why is someone else doing it for me?" And that's ok. It's just a different perspective.

I love working for myself. I love working with my wife. I love making, tasting, brewing, roasting, and understanding coffee and espresso. It's not work. It's love.
But I don't think I need to limit myself to one song, one drink, or one business. Sharing the daily opportunity for us to grow this business together will always make the caffe "home", but that doesn't mean there isn't a little condo we have our eye on as well.

Stay tuned...