Las Vegas emerges like a mirage in the desert, and even after several days there, I am still not convinced it’s real. The most clear evidence I have is the lingering taste of the espresso from Vesta Coffee Roasters in the Arts District.
The Strip of Las Vegas is a grand spectacle, but when you arrive in the Arts District, Casino Center Blvd #1, your eyes finally open. Nevada mountains abroad, a man in a wheel chair cruised down the dusty streets. A hooligan glided by. There were enough hipsters around to suggest the coffee would be good, but it was the edgy street-scape and grit that seduced me to expect greatness.
The interior displayed the hallmarks of top-shelf cafe: ample windows, crisp design, top-shelf equipment, and the staff were “on” like lightbulbs. Behind the La Marzocco espresso machine, custom finished, the barista was focused. I told her that I was looking for the best coffee in Las Vegas and she said “they were killing it.”
The look of the espresso would say more about that. The taste would say it all. To my delight and surprise, the cup boasted a huge volume of espresso, topped by a lush a crema. I inquired to discover that they dosed the grinds high, 20 grams yielding a handsome 40 grams of espresso, if my memory serves.
It was the thickest, fullest espresso I had ever tasted, like chocolate ice-cream at the perfect temperature. The mouth-feel was substantial and the crema sustained in the cup and on the tongue. Chocolatey, smoky, and sweet. I saw volcanic smoke hissing from rock, blackberries clustered in the garden, that blissful moment when you let go of all thought and fall asleep. Delicious.
Vesta Coffee was the highlight of Las Vegas. As you scan the desert surrounding the bombast, you get a sense that there is something deeper and darker beneath it all. Something sweet and still inside of all the glittering and wastage. A black pool where we face ourselves and taste the truth. Surely we won’t find that in coffee. It depends on whether we taste it in water first.
Featured image downloaded from gdefon.ru