This year Shangri-La opened their newest location in the middle of Jing’an District. The modern, 500+ rooms establishment was constructed in the newest 450,000 squaure-metre Jing’an Kerry Centre which is a mix of hotel, office, restaurant, and retail in the heart of Shanghai’s fanciest district. We took a tour through the facilities and this place is more than posh, elegant, dapper, opulent and luxurious – it’s downright pimp.
We were approached by executive chef Franco Brodini and mixologist Dario Gentile with a challenge to create an espresso blend for their newest Mediterranean restaurant Calypso. These two Italian F&B superstars understand coffee and were looking for a solution to deliver fresh roasted, specialty coffee in their restaurant. As we discussed flavour profiles and direction with the two, we were presented with the catch – it has to taste better than anything they could find anywhere else in the world. Franco had just returned from a trip to Australia where he hand selected lots of cattle for their signature beef. Dario had just returned from Kentucky hoping to find a bourbon whiskey he could stock behind his bar. These guys have a no excuses policy on quality and they will only select the best.
On to the espresso. We played with several flavour profiles, trying to keep the idea of bright Mediterranean culture at the forefront. We pushed away from the typical Italian ‘motor oil’ thought of espresso and used our vibrant El Salvador Pacamara as the base. This crisp and balanced bean creates an exciting foundation from which we build the rest of the flavour profile. It has a hint of sweetness and a silky texture which we accentuated with our Sumatra Gayo Linge – a full bodied bean rich in texture. For a clean, bright finish we introduced Kenya AA Mtaro into the blend. The Kenya’s acidity creates a playful, snappy sensation on the palate which intensifies the vibrance and makes this espresso incredibly interesting. We small batch roast the espresso and let it rest for one week before delivering to Calypso to ensure consistency and quality for their baristas. If the beans are too fresh, the CO2 gasses inside the beans will alter the extraction and the espresso will taste overly sour, or astringent. If the beans are too old, the espresso loses it’s crema and flavour becomes dull, and one-dimensional.
You can find Calypso at the corner of Ton Ren and An Yi Road in the Jing An Kerry Centre Piazza. Stop in and can try their signature espresso or take home a 225g bag of beans for sale in the restaurant.