Reviewing the Central Market Cooking School
Cissi's Market Kohana Coffee
Available at Cissi's Market
1400 S. Congress, 225-0521www.cissismarket.com
Cissi's Market, recently opened on South Congress, is a small, upscale grocery designed to cater to the occasional gourmet needs of the surrounding neighborhoods. Like many microgroceries popping up in Austin, Cissi's sports a coffee bar and pastry counter; unlike the others, Cissi's operates a coffee-roasting facility (on South First) to produce their own coffee blends.
Cissi's Kohana House Blend, which they use for their house drip coffee, is extraordinary. The coffee beans used to make it are entirely organic and grown in Hawaii, where the volcanic soil is ideal for coffee cultivation. All of the beans come from the plantation of John Alvarez, a former Longhorn, who sells exclusively to Cissi's. The Kohana blend is gorgeous, made up of both light and dark roasted beans; it looks like an arresting mixture of creamy milk chocolate and dark-chocolate pellets. The aroma is divine before the coffee is even ground.
The flavor of the Kohana House Blend is rich and smooth, full-bodied, and utterly lacking any trace of bitterness. Cissi's brews it fresh every hour, and a 12-ounce cup is only $1.35; 16 ounces, $1.70. "I have worked in dozens of coffee places all over town," laughs coffee-bar manager Rico Peña, "and this is the best-quality coffee I have ever served and the least expensive."
The Kohana House Blend is also available in decaf, and you can buy it by the pound as well as by the cup. They also sell Organic French Roast and Espresso Blend, and plan to expand their line of coffees to include Hawaiian Hazlenut, Vanilla Macademia Nut, and Kahlúa Fudge, all made from the same exclusively grown, organic Hawaiian beans.