Category Archives: Espressamente

Espressamente – An Improve Experience


Went to Espressamente again today with my wife. My first experience was not that great.

But I was impressed by Michael D’Alessandro’s response… “We are not a Starbucks who in reality, is more about the people than the coffee, we are a specialist coffee bar who are as much about the coffee as the people.” 

Reached there around 3pm and lucky me, Michael was around. It was lovely to be able to chat with like-minded coffee enthusiast.

He was true to his word and offer to make me a nice drink. I asked for an espresso for myself and an americano for my wife.

Many times one can somewhat predict the quality coffee by observing a few visual clues.

Let’s consider the 4 “M”s of good espresso.

Macchina (espresso machine) – La Marzocco, good machine.
Macinacaffe (grinder) – Mazer, excellent grinder. Need a good Mano to adjust the grind.
Miscela (coffee blend)
Mano (the barista)

Here’s the Mano. How do you recognise an expert? Notice his attention to details.
– Cleaning the portafilter.
– Flushing the portafilter to ensure that it is hot.
– Wiping it dry.
– Careful dosing and tamping.

The visual from the extraction looks good.

Here’s the result.
It is good. Smooth, medium acidity, moderate body and a nice after-taste. No bad bitterness.
In fact my wife was raving about it afterwards and she is one who normally gets headache drinking bad coffee. The americano was just as good, with hint of fruitiness. You know how I always rant about not finding good espresso in any cafes in Malaysia. I take that back. Here’s one worth trying.

The Miscela (coffee blend) of course is Illy. Normally I don’t fancy Illy. In most cafes, they are very much lacking in freshness. I guess in Espressamente with reasonably high volume traffic, their beans should not be staling so fast. And Illy was known to be quite a forgiving blend.

Therefore, if it is reasonably fresh with the 4 “M”s in sync, you should get a pretty good cup. And if you are at Espressamente the next time and the espresso is not good, most likely it will be the Mano’s fault. Ask them to redo or complain to Michael.

Lastly I asked to try again their cappuccino.

What can I say? It was better than my last visit. Microfoam was better. It’s a decent cup of cappuccino that I consider above average and certainly better than most cafes. Oh yes, the cups.. it’s top notch. Thick and beautifully designed.


Here’s Michael on the left with his crew.

It’s a pleasant afternoon, good espresso and nice coffee.

For good coffee in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia… visit Espressamente.

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Espressamente


(Special Note: The improved experience is here)

Drop by Espressamente today. This is a store of everything Illy. Illy’s home espresso machine (Francis! Francis!), Illy coffee beans in cans, Illy Coffee cups and big Illy logo everywhere.

Location: 3rd Floor, The Pavilion.
The front entrance faces towards KL Plaza.

The display of beverages were nicely done. In fact they look so good, I really felt like trying them all. Presentation is impressive.

espressamente.jpg

But alas, the coffee is average at best. I would rather go to Gloria Jeans.

I ordered a Cappuccino.

espressa-cappa.jpg

As you will notice, there are some attempt to create microfoamed milk. (They call it emulsified milk), but the milk were not really velvety smooth. Still lots of small (small but still very visible) bubbles. Well, still better effort than most Starbucks.

One thing that is almost always consistent with places that uses Illy beans is that the beans lack freshness. How do I know? Credit to them, when the espresso is extracted, it does look promising from afar. Small stream of mouse-tail-like espresso pouring out. Extracting time is about 20 to 25 secs, I estimated. But the result in the shot glass is apparent. THE LACK OF CREAMA.

You don’t see a lots of crema in Starbucks because most of the time, their espresso extraction is less than 20 secs, in fact from my personal observation, most of the time it is less than 18 secs. They can harldy get the extraction timing correct, how in the world to get nice crema. Especially most beans in Starbucks is OLD.

Another thing that really bug me is that they re-froth their milk. No wonder the microfoam is not well done and most of the natural sweetness is missing.

Why am I being so critical. Dr Ernesto Illy, the second generation of the Illy family, and an absolute giant in the world of espresso and coffee research and science – has just passed away on the 3rd Feb 2008.

dr-ernesto-illy.jpg

Using the Illy brand, they owned it to the Illy family to do a good job.

Especially if you want to charge premium price for a cup of coffee. My 7oz of cappuccino (smaller than Starbucks and Gloria Jeans) cost RM 10.00. Add in 5% tax + 10% service charge, a whopping RM 11.50.

Good presentation, nice design, average coffee and ridiculous price.

Note: All comments are purely my own opinion and preferences. Feel free to go and try. It is your money.

Last thought: There are many cafes out there. Most serve an average cup of coffee. I don’t really want to complain too much. They did charge an average price for an average coffee. But when you charge even higher than Starbucks for a smaller cup of coffee, get your act right lah.

Re-frothing milk??? Dirty portafiler??? Never dry the portafilter before dosing??? Arrrgghhh..

Final good thought: The Illy cups are great. In fact they are among the best. Thick and nicely design. Not cheap but definitely very nice cups. I will go back and buy their cups for sure.