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Remember When "Coffee Thick As Mud" Was Just An Expression?

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Sep 14, 2006 1:30PM

The photo above is a shot across the bow.

This is the molecular gastronomy movement being brought to the masses. It's called "espesso", and it's the newest coffee offering from Lavazza, the Italian coffee company whose three Loop locations are their only coffee bars in the country.

Espesso is the creation of Ferran Adrià, the famed chef of Spain's acclaimed el Bulli restaurant, and considered by many to be the world's most creative chef. If Cantu and Achatz were wedding crashers, Adrià would be crashing funerals. Adrià is best known for creating "culinary foam", which adds unxpected textures to traditional foods. According to the folks at Lavazza, espesso only uses two ingredients: espresso and a secret ingredient. They won't say what, but if we had to guess, we'd say that gelatin is somehow involved . The mixture is then left under pressure for up to twelve hours, resulting in a thick mousse that doesn't fall from the cup when initially served.

2006_09_coffeecaca2.jpgEspesso comes in three flavors: regular espresso flavor, cappucino, and macchiato. Opting for the macchiato, we received our espesso and a dollop of foam. The texture of the espesso was more akin to pudding than mousse, exposing thick bubbles when spooned (mousse should be smoother in texture), and a noticeable tangy flavor that threw us. The presentation also left a little to be desired. The espesso in our cup looked nothing like what was on the menu. Overall, we were slightly freaked out that we were eating espresso, and found the experience to be sort of "bleh". At $2.49 a serving, people will be trying espesso for the novelty, but it isn't memorable. It isn't bubble tea, that's for sure.