Poll #1: Fav Tag

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Coffee Translation: Piccolo Latte

When I first came to Australia and ordered a cappuccino…out came this frothy drink with dusted chocolate on it….SAY WHAT??!

Then I ordered a macchiato, and a small little cup with a dot of milk on it (“macchiato = mark of”, DUH!).

Apparently back in Calgary, people at Phil & Seb sometimes order flat whites. WTF is that?

Hopefully this is the first installment of a series to unconfuse the confused.

Edit: So I guess it’s not evident from the video, but piccolos are like N. American macchiatos but a bit thinner in milk but other than that its the same.

Elusive, exclusive…espresso

For the better part of my life, I have had a major beat down courtesy if espresso. I will now take you for a journey that will not necessarily answer questions, nor enlighten you in anyway but hopefully bring you some amusement.

I have been a serious coffee enthusiast for almost three years now. What drew me to the realm of coffee smut I do not know but for me the velvet texture of precision steaming opened my eyes to specialty coffee obsession.
I feel that it is easier to become excited about things such as glistening textured milk and latte art than about intense, Bruce Lee powerful espresso. That makes the first step of serious coffee drinking made up of lattes, mochas and frivolous things like that. Next comes the cappucino or the macchiato. Finally is the espresso, the step that some people never get to but is the things most coffeenuts go nuts about.
Alright so we’ve finally gotten to espresso and you take your first sip and maybe you’re thinking…”what is this feeling???”
It kicked my ass first time around (and probably the next 50 times) but I kept going back for more. To be honest I don’t think I could taste anything but raw intensity until maybe some time this year, almost 2.5 years after I got “seriously” into coffee. But all those experiences of drinking espresso without knowing what the hell I was drinking got me to this place, a place where I think I can finally appreciate it. Now the aromatics, the body, the lingering finish, the origin is something I can evaluate and distinguish.

This makes me wonder: am I slow?? Is that why it took me so long to develop?? Or: I’d espresso is so elusive, and so exclusive what are these people tasting when they first try espresso??

I don’t think that true espresso appreciation occurs until you taste the complexities of the drink and also understands the complexities involved in the preparation where the barista battles all the variables out to destroy your quest for espresso perfection.
Espresso, you have stolen my youth.

Final words:
I don’t think there is such thng as a god shot. What you thought was a god shot is synonymuously known as a fluke.

Had an amazing espresso from work. Has to be my most favourite coffee we’ve had and can be described as passionfruit custard.

First post completely done on iPhone. I’m proud of this.

Baristas! Please make espresso as approachable as you can. Be knowledgable and impart that knowledge.

Organic

In the coffee world, the words “organic”, “fair trade”, “rain forest alliance” really hold no bearing to the quality of the bean. Therefore although these things may sound nice to the customer, it really doesn’t taste any different. It’d be really awesome if I could drink a cup and say “Mmmmmmmm I can really taste the shade in this shade-grown coffee” but I really can’t.

organic

fairtraderfa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, it seems to me that there’s a different attitude in regards to ORGANIC food. “Mmmmmmm this organic carrot TASTES less chemically” Doesn’t seem like a statement that is too far off ay?

Why?

I think that for the most part produce really do es taste better as organics because their essence is preserved. What I mean is that the carrot  is more carrotty than a GMO mega-carrot, or a DDT-infused bite-free carrot. Maybe its because we convince ourselves before eating that “surely organic tastes better”. Studies have shown that there really isn’t a discernible taste difference.

Maybe:

– the food is eaten when

it should be eaten (it’s more perishable and not preserved)

– the pesticides really do affect the palate

– the produce is smaller in size and therefore more concentrated in taste

I dunno.

Anyways, my question is why is there a per

ceived idea that organic food is tastier whereas in coffee it is not?

Is it because there is so many things that affect quality of cup that the organic process is essentially negligible?

What?

Summer Espresso

The greatest advantage to roasting your own beans would have to be the fact that you have TOTAL control over the quality of beans you are using each week.  I assume this is the reason why Phil and Seb are getting into the biz. I mean, if you find that the sweet spot for an espresso blend is 8-10 days, then Phil and Seb can tailor the roasting so that it peaks right during the weekend sessions at the Farmer’s Market. Make sense?

Another awesome company uses their full control over roasting in another way. Square Mile decided that it’d be most kick-ass of them to have a seasonal espresso. We sampled some of the Winter Espresso and it held up nicely regardless of the harsh conditions of air travel. They are now featuring a Spring Espresso blend that is comprised of 80% Columbian Caturra and 20% Brasilian. I’m pretty sure that the Summer Espresso will be amazing.

yummy i'll bet

yummy i'll bet

Now this long-ass intro was just a build up to the words ‘Summer Espresso”. Today was the end of a hot… sweaty weekend in the market. During winter times I manage to sweat at work even if it is -30 outside. Throughout this weekend it felt grungy and gross ESPECIALLY after pulling shots and then moving over to the flood lights … or as I like to call them, the ‘Heat Lamps‘. Why am I complaining so much? Let’s just chalk it up to a little thing I like to call ‘swass‘ [note: it is not the definition related to Sir Mix-a-lot].

I’ve now learned that a key to being an awesome barista is resistance to heat stroke and heat-related death.

[sidenote] Sorry for the lack of posting, I’m without a computer at the moment and Jer is busying eating elephants and boxing gazelles :).

Asian People #2: You gotta eat your worth

I alluded to this topic in my last Asian People post. To elaborate on the topic I will use the ultimate example. Let me set the scene.

The Buffet

(also known as the All-U-Can-Eat, or the Smorgasboard)

[after an hour and a half long eat-fest the main characters reflect on what just transpired]

A: That was good. It was really cheap too!

B: Man I could have eaten more but I ate a piece of toast this morning, I think that threw me off.

A: Damn, that sucks. I didn’t eat anything all day today to prepare for this eat-fest.

B: I should have done that too. Oh well, I think I ate my $12.95 though.

Step 1: Identify "money" items

Step 1: Identify "money" items

 

 

This is the model example because the topic is grasped most easily here. The way asian people equate money to food often times gets in the way of enjoying the food … but who cares. The need to “get the most” out of a situation exists inherently in our genetic code. We must find the best deals that exist. Now there are certain ways to get the most out of a situation. 

1. Don’t eat anything before going to a buffet. 

– this is pretty self-explanatory because eating anything beforehand means you will be eating less able to eat –> less bang for buck (B4B)

2. Don’t eat the items that are not “money” items

– this means stay away from salad, soup, veggies etc.

3. Do eat the “money” items

– instead of roast beef with mashed potatoes, go roast beef with a side of roast beef; or if at a seafood buffet, “double money” items rank higher than “money” items

4. Do eat until you vomit

– and then eat some more, if you don’t eat some more then change Do eat until you vomit to Don’t eat until you vomit

I’d like to stress point 3. It may take a little more time and effort but this will definitely give you your best B4B. Let’s say there’s a seafood medly of scallops, clams, shrimp, and fish. Pick out items in the following hierarchy: Clams/Scallops –> Shrimp –> fish. This is the succession of “money” items.  Feel free to stop anywhere along this succession. What this means is, you don’t feel like shrimp or fish? It is perfectly acceptable (actually highly encouraged) to take all the “money” items and leave the “less-money” items for the rest of the people. The meek and courteous shall starve.

 

Step 2: Exhaust the limited supply of "money" items

Step 2: Exhaust the limited supply of "money" items

So I’ve been jumping all over the place without a real concise message in this post. I’ll try sum it up. 

Asians like to equate how good a meal was to the B4B of a meal. If it was tasty, yet expensive, or small portions, or BOTH (gasp!) then it was in fact NOT a good meal. However if the food was mediocre but had huge portions (or buffet) then it was in fact a GREAT meal. This seems backwards in food appreciation but sometimes you can’t fight what you are. I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom…

 

“The best meal, is a free meal”

– probably some Asian person