That's Ray Sato. He grew up in Los Angeles on the westside and likes coffee like none other. For him it's more than just being a coffee fan, it's living the life of coffee. Like there's wine tasters, beer tasters, food critics (and I'm not talking about the garden variety Yelper), Ray is a coffee master. So hardcore that drinking coffee is more than just drinking it. Some of you are probably thinking, “bullshit” or “it's just coffee” but that's akin to saying sushi is sushi, and most of us know that, it's just not true. The finest grades make the difference, the technique, the prep, the cut, the access, etc, mean something. At his cafe Balconi on Olympic near Sawtelle, yes, near the GR shops in West LA, he makes siphon coffee. It might look meth lab to some of you, but in the end, it's just another way to brew a cup. Each cup is crafted. Grinding the beans, and he lets you smell it first and what you get is a nicely cup of coffee. It's not outrageous, but it's not free. 3.50 for a small and 5 for a larger, and we're talking 6 and 12 oz cups as compared to the new Starbucks Big Gulp rivaling 32oz!
This is cool. It's a cup of coffee that uses no filter or brewing system, except you put in the grinds, and you pour in hot water. There's a technique to get this right and it's a lesson on it's own. The cool thing is, I get to learn and taste it all. I don't go to coffee houses often at all. As a matter of fact, I rarely go since I make it at home, but I can see myself stopping in every so often.