Thursday, May 21, 2009

In the improved coffee karma department... turns out that there is now a place in Tucson where you can get genuinely exquisite coffee. There's this guy with a trailer that's outfitted as a coffee brewing station. Hey, it's Tucson! Much of the best food in Tucson is served out of trailers, or so I suspect. I passed a tamale trailer on the way to Gates Pass the other day that looked like the place to be; I almost stopped, but chickened out. Maybe next time. But I digress.

The owner, Jason, calls his business Cafe VanGo - a suitably Tucsonan riff on a popular cafe naming scheme. The setup is basically just the trailer and a couple of tables under a shaded awning out in the parking lot; despite the theoretical lack of atmosphere, it kind of works, or maybe it's just that the coffee is so good that you see flowers blooming in your peripheral vision.

Because the coffee really is that good. It's at least as good as the coffee I was getting when I was in Austin at Caffe Medici; possibly better. It's as good as the coffee at Everyman Espresso in New York. I don't know of a place that has coffee that good in the Bay Area. I asked for a macchiato, and after a brief secret handshake to indicate that I knew what I was asking for, got a cup of about an ounce and a half of the most exquisite coffee drink known to humankind.

Andrea encouraged me to order a second shot, so I had a breve macchiato, which was even better. He really makes a purist macchiato - the shot was short, and there was just enough milk to mark the coffee - not much weaker than straight espresso. The espresso was bright and citrusy and chocolaty. Bring your own cup if you don't want paper. That's the only thing I could even remotely complain about, and it's not a serious complaint, because I'm happy to bring my own cup, and I will next time.

Oh, one nice thing about Jason was that despite the fact that he won the 2008 Southwest Regional Barista Competition, and despite the fact that he's got an encyclopedic knowledge of coffee, he didn't seem to bring an ounce of attitude to his work. He was very apologetic about asking me if I knew what a macchiato was. He didn't try to tell me what I wanted. He just tried to figure out what I wanted, and then made it, perfectly.

So if you are in Tucson, and love coffee, I really recommend checking out Cafe VanGo. If you're driving through on the highway, make the detour. Bear in mind that he's only open until 3 in the afternoon, though.

BTW, he also has a Clover. I might check that out at some point, just to see how it does.

Oh, there's a good shot of the trailer here: Tucson Foodie Blog: Cafe VanGo


Blogger Will Shetterly said...

What's a Clover?

Thursday, May 21, 2009 3:03:00 AM  
Blogger Will Shetterly said...

Ah! Followed the link for the answer!

Thursday, May 21, 2009 3:06:00 AM  
Blogger Ted Lemon said...

Needless to say, I thought of you guys as I was writing this post.

Thursday, May 21, 2009 3:33:00 AM  

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