fresh hope in a double-macc wasteland

March 6, 2006 – 11:16 pm

saturday being beach day, i dug up an old CG thread that gave hope: perhaps, at last, someone would be slinging truly drinkable espresso in south carolina. now before you sling me a slew of pixelized spite, consider: one greenville shop is just now figuring out roasting, with presumably no competition or peer culture to really force the issue. another is known to spike its espresso with glopping portions of robusta. still another serves the brew as a sort of perceivedly hip sidelight to the featured ice cream. and the rest are mediocre chains or hopelessly small and well-meaning joints with only an owner’s dream of an urban cafe and total lack of espresso know-how to speak of.

there is, indeed, the sometimes-respectable drive-through product. outside the immediate environs, the capital city is totally devoid of any caffeinated pleasure worth the drive. and then there’s, well … charleston. the heart of classy southern culture, all crab legs and overpriced euro antiques and classy gin, but no espresso worth drinking. as with the parisian experience, i find this theoretically odd.

so. the ghetto web site notwithstanding, we took a jaunt over to muddy waters, which is all of 2.5 months into its infancy. the owner’s request for advice from geekers had been promising, the use of counter culture coffee a good start, and the late saturday hours a sign of their aspirations, at least. made for convenient after-beach stopping. verdict: a decent double macc — but only decent. i saw signs that the barista, obviously new, was taking pains to learn latte art. i saw great care taken with the shot build. i tasted great potential in the cup. and i heard an admirable level of passion when i quizzed her about the newest coffees. but the flava-flav, it no blew me so much away. overall, i’d label it transitional, and hope that subtle improvements in the shot product will soon make the place well worth a detour. as it was, i ordered a second drink for the road and thanked them for the wooden train feature (really, an urban-hip decor and a kid-friendly corner lined with leather couches? uber points for diverse appeal!)

the charleston beach being a regular day trip, we’ll plan another jaunt there. and one day soon, i hope, something in this neck of the woods will be worthy of some big-media coffee expert’s guide to meritorious ‘java.’

oh, how i hate that word.