Wednesday, July 9, 2014

LaLaJava -- Northborough

Very Odd Cafe

A Coffee Maven Review 

Several years ago I had heard about Armeno Roasters, so I decided to visit while Pam attended a meeting in the area this afternoon. The visit there was brief -- it is a cool old grist mill and I was welcomed to look around. I tried to strike up a conversation about coffeelands, but the roaster I spoke with talked mainly about his fear of such places, and he did not introduce me to his partner. He also could not recommend any cafes in the area except for Panera, so I set off on my own.

Within a couple miles I found LaLaJava, where I am enjoying the funky atmosphere as I write this, but am struggling with the coffee. The cafe is spacious and funky -- definitely on the high end of what one would expect of decor in a suburban strip mall.

I should have known something was wrong, though, when I saw a sign on the coffee pots, offering to heat up the coffee if necessary. This should have been my hint to get an espresso drink, which I might still do. But I poured the "Smooth As Silk" blend, knowing it had to be better than the pistachio (!) and other flavored coffees on offer. The barista kindly explained how the heating could be done -- using the steam wand on the espresso machine. She explained that it would not taste like microwaved coffee. Hmmm -- that is hardly a ringing endorsement.

A few minutes later I was back at the counter, getting the wand that made the coffee somewhat passable. The barista tried to answer my questions about how this cafe ends up with lukewarm coffee, but aside from admitting that hot coffee is not a priority, she could not really explain it. The outdoor seating might be enough to tip the balance toward a favorable review, were it not for one other inexplicable characteristic of this cafe -- WiFi is available, but at airport prices. I did not know that any cafes still do that.

Bottom line: I should have gone to Panera after all.

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