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Favorite Espresso of 2011

Sweetleaf Coffee and Tea, Long Island City, NY (Nov 15, 2011 / La Marzocco Strada EP) (Photos)

Sweetleaf was the first cafe in New York City to receive La Marzocco's Strada EP, the newest electronic paddle version of its popular Strada series. This machine allows baristi to focus on the myriad other variables of the extraction while the machine handles the pressure profiling automatically. When co-owner Rich Nieto received this machine he said, "all hell broke loose" in learning how to use it. It's clear that the time and effort the team at Sweetleaf put into mastering this machine has paid off. This was not only my favorite shot of the year, but likely that I've ever had. The shot, pulled from Ritual Roaster's Volare beans from Guatemala, was extremely balanced, straddling the line between fruit and acidity. The texture was smooth like velvet leaving behind a creamy, buttery mouthfeel. I can't wait to see what happens in 2012 as Sweetleaf further masters this powerful machine.