2/26/2013 01:19:00 PM

Coffee Talk with The Golden State's Jason Bernstein

Thinking about coffee/Photo: Casey Mortensen

In honor of Coffee Week, we're talking with some of the cities most caffeinated restaurant personalities to find out where, when and what they they're drinking. Yesterday it was Roy Choi and his preference for NesCafe, and today it's Jason Bernstein, who recently opened Bludso's Bar & Que with his partners from Golden State. Finding a moment for a good cuppa while running two popular spots, especially a new restaurant, isn't easy.

When do you sip your first cup of coffee?
I don't so much have a time when I take my first sip but I never drink coffee after 3pm. I'm terrified that it will mess up my sleep.

What do you drink (espresso, cappuccino, latte, etc.) and where?
I drink French Press coffee at my house and drip coffee when I'm out. Home tastes best, but more because of the concurrent entailments. If I'm having coffee at the house, it means that I also have enough time to sit down, relax and do a crossword puzzle or Sudoku.

Do you have a favorite coffeeshop and why?
Actually I have two. And each one speaks to a particular aspect of coffee culture that I love. Peet's opened up at 3rd and Fairfax. It's across the street from our butcher. I love popping in for the same drink (medium coffee in a large cup because I'm somewhat paranoid about spillage in the car - extra cup height is protracted insurance). It's great.I love the consistency and I love the routine. But I've also become extremely friendly with the folks at Intelligentsia Venice. When I have the time, I visit and see what incredible things they are brewing. I love the conviviality and the education. It's simultaneously more social and more reflective. When there is so much attention and focus given to the preparation, it behooves me to be equally attentive during consumption.

How many cups to you drink a day?
I drink one cup a day. If I'm dragging, the cup becomes larger. Until it becomes a pot sized cup.

What's your favorite brand?
Frankly, there seems to be a lot of good stuff out there. Haven't tried them all. When I was in college it seems the the trend was for these big dark roasts. A lot of dark chocolate and tobacco. Now most of these boutique-y roasters seem to prefer a lighter roast. I'm not a coffee expert but I'm thinking it's to allow the varietal to better disclose it's flavors - probably not unlike when the wine guys talk about terroir. You taste the bean, not the roast. To that end, I think that since there's a lot of good coffee out there, consumers might do better to figure out what sorts of flavors they like and "buy the region" instead of the brand. I've found that, for whatever reason, I have liked a lot of the coffee from Central America. My fiance likes the stuff from Africa. This has been relatively true regardless of what coffee brand we have purchased.

Coffee goes best with... pastries.


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