Caffeine meets terroir
At thirty-three, Saborio is arguably Ann Arbor's most famous barista: he's won prizes in national barista competitions. He most likely brought latte art-inscribing pictures on cappuccino foam-to Ann Arbor when he was working at Cafe Zola, where he served from 2001 to 2007. "If I wasn't the first to pour art in Ann Arbor, I'd like to meet the person who was," he says, though he dismisses latte art as a "cheap parlor trick. It signifies that a barista has a rudimentary grasp of the appropriate way to texture milk. Unfortunately, a barista can still pour beautiful art onto a lousy shot of espresso."
One quickly feels that Saborio will be very much at home on campus-his conversations about coffee are deeply intellectual, infused with science, history, and occasionally pedantry. He often relates coffee history in first person plural, even when speaking of events that happened before he was born. "We learned in the seventies that adding heat to coffee was bad," he says, embarking on one of his pet peeves, the air pot, which first necessitates an explanation of why the air pot itself was an improvement on the reigning technology of the time, the hours-old pot of stewed Bunn-brewed swill.
There will be no air pots at Comet. All coffee will be freshly brewed to order: your choice of espresso, French press, or vac pot. The vac pot, popular in Asia, uses an hour-glass-shaped double beaker and something like a Bunsen burner to produce a slightly brighter, sharper cup than the French press. Most of his coffee will come from Vancouver roaster 49th Parallel, and he'll have five types available each day. He'll also sell some pastries, coffee by the pound, French presses, vac pots, and other paraphernalia.