Well, sure the brew at the newly open Ascension Coffee is good. Really, really good, in fact. And, the shop's Design District space is lovely. Broad windows send light flowing into a space filled with blond wood and open ceilings. The air is not saturated with the heavy aroma of over-roasted beans. It's, you know, nice.
But I wasn't there for the design or even really the coffee. When City of Ate's very own Foodbitch wrote here yesterday that Ascension "has a Synesso Hydra Hybrid espresso machine. ...It costs around $20,000 and is the only one in town" I had to check it out because I am a shallow consumerist who likes shiny tech things. Shiny, shiny, shiny.
And that was the wee bit disappointing part. While the pricey machine makes damn good drinks, from something called a Synesso Hydra Hybrid, I wanted a show. Clouds of steam and gurgling valves. Brass and copper. A cross between a blade server and a calliope.
I wanted steampunk. The Synesso's console was stainless and hardly visible. No steam. Hardly a whisper of sound.
It was not to be. But my latte was The. Best. Ever. Keep reading for more Observer staffers' opinions on the brew. Except for Scott. We ignorant normals got our coffee to go, but apparently espresso can only be properly evaluated on site. Hope he's not expecting a show.
Jamie Laughlin, Mixmaster editor and latte drinker: "It soothed the scary place where my heart lives."
Music Editor Audra Schroeder: "My latte made Starbucks coffee seem like elk vomit."
Art Director Tracie Louck: "My vanilla latte actually tasted like good coffee with a sweet flavor, not just a sugary blast of vanilla syrup (i.e. Starbucks-style)."
Web Editor Nick Rallo: "The double espresso was so smooth I got pregnant."
Ascension Coffee is located at 1621 Oak Lawn Ave., next to Meddlesome Moth.