Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review of Theorem at Portola Coffee Lab - Autumn Menu September 25, 2012

Reservations for a coffee bar? It only has six seats? I know some of you are thinking, "That's crazy!" And others are thinking, "Wow! I wonder what makes it so unique that I need reservations?" The later was my train of thought and I made reservations for my friend Stephanie's birthday. My friend Steph is an avid coffee drinker!

First off, I want to say, sorry there will not be a whole lot of photos for this review as they ask us to not use our cell phones, cameras or other electronic devices while inside Theorem. The idea is to enjoy the flavors of the coffee and its presentation while learning the inspirations behind each drink without being interrupted by text messages, phone calls or picture taking. I, for one, am a big fan of this idea and it really made the experience that much more enjoyable. So with that, I will do my best to describe all of the drinks that we had.

The day that we went was the first day of the new menu and it celebrated Autumn. In the future, the menu will change each week and focus on a select coffee or a season or both.

Our barista for the day was Truman Severson. He shared his thoughts on Autumn and what it meant to him. He told us how he was reminded of camping as a child and the smell of smoke. He was also reminded of ten different fruits, vegetables, and spices that he had out for us in glasses and then filled with hot water. That would part of our second course.

He talked to us about fruits of the season such as apples. He prepared an apple cider with ginger shot for us to help cleanse the palette and get us prepared for a taste of Autumn.

The first drink was a cappuccino. There was a base of maple syrup and sea salt was sprinkled on top. It had a nice smoky scent to it. But there was no smoky taste as you sipped it. It felt savory but not heavy. Surprisingly the maple syrup and the sea salt did not overwhelm the flavor of the coffee. Great start to the Autumn menu!

The next drink was an Italiano. Remember those ten glasses of hot water? Well, by now, each one was infused with the flavor of its contents. Instead of Truman making us his vision of Autumn in a drink, he allowed us to syphon whatever flavors we wanted to combine into a glass. We then mixed it with an espresso and had our own vision of Autumn. I combined the flavors of apple, cinnamon, ginger and cranberry. Each sip covered the entire taste palette on my tongue. Such a simple idea that works amazingly well. It was really cool to be able to make my own vision of Autumn! I would love to see more types of interaction like this in the future!

The last drink was a con panna. This was the gastronomic drink of the day! Truman combines apple sauce with liquid nitrogen to make sort of an apple ice. This was combined with another espresso and hazelnut whipped cream in a frosted glass. I took Truman's advice and tried to keep all three ingredients separated for as long as possible to taste each ingredient. Such a great way to finish the tour of autumn.

Steph and I both thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Autumn as told through coffee.

The cost was $20 and that will vary with each menu and its offerings. I love the atmosphere and the interaction with the barista and hearing him tell his story of the idea for the menu. With the menu changing every week, there is more than enough reason to come back more often. In fact I have already made reservations for next month! Reservations can only be made through the web site and I have included the link below.

If you are a coffee lover or even a casual coffee drinker, you owe it to yourself to make reservations at Theorem.

Reservations can be made up to a month in advance at:

As a reminder they ask that you do not use cell phones, cameras or other electronic devices while inside Theorem.

Theorem is located in the OC Mart Mix at 3313 Hyland Avenue, Costa Mesa.

1 comment:

  1. I used to not like coffee very much, but got hooked on having flavored coffees every so often. I should try something like this some day.