"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2002 - All rights reserved
E-mail me at email@example.com
More Guests and a Test
Although it has been nearly a year since I began making espresso at home, this past weekend was my first opportunity to make coffee for a group. Around 16 of my motorcycle Club members were at my home, about half of them spending the night, for a social get together and work session. On Sunday morning we had breakfast which consisted of pie and various coffee drinks. I know that everything is relative, and many of you make more coffee then this on a regular basis, but this morning found me pulling over 11 double shots of espresso in less than an hour. I was kept hopping, making espresso and making sure that I wasn't mixing up the high octane Malabar Gold and my normal caffeine-level home blend.
Many of the members of the group came from the San Francisco Bay area, where it seems that you can find a coffee shop on every corner and one in the middle of just about every block. With the proliferation of Starbucks, and the local popularity of Peet's coffee in that area, I knew I would have my work cut out for me. I was apprehensive only because most of those people are accustomed to drinking a much darker roast of coffee than most of us are accustomed to roasting. After all, if you roast your coffee to the point that the beams are dripping in oil, then you have killed off most of their taste, and all that is left is the taste of dark roast. I showed a jar of my roasted beans to a few of the guys, and the universal comment was that they were nowhere near as dark as what they were accustomed to.
It was with no small amount of apprehension that I began the pull shots. And when I say shots, I mean exactly that. Two or three of the group ordered double shots of straight espresso. There were also some Americanos as well have as some cappuccinos made. I didn't have much of a chance to poll the group specifically and ask him what they thought, but at the end of the morning during clean up when we were bussing the tables, all of their cups and glasses were found to be empty- void of any remains of their beverages. The entire weekend, only one person asked for sugar, everyone else drinking their beverages just the way they were brewed, and a number of them did comment and all comments were quite positive. One fellow later wrote, "...next morning true to his promise there was coffee/espresso to die for..."
That was important because it is very easy to fall into a rut where your coffee tastes good to you because you have become accustomed to it. it is important tog et opinions of other coffee drinkers to verify that you roasting, blending, and barrista skills are producing quality coffee drinks.
I struck another landmark this weekend as well. As my wife and I both display some level of lactose intolerance, I make all our
cappuccinos with soy milk. Although soy milk can be stretched somewhat, it lacks whatever is found in cow milk that allows it to be so
easily stretched. We had purchased a half gallon of low-fat milk (two per cent), so that our guests would have the opportunity to have
cappuccinos NOT made from our homemade soy milk. Upon applying steam to the fist pitcherful I could immediately see the difference. Not
only was it far easier to stretch, but less care had to be taken as far as creating the bubbly foam. The stretched milk also held its texture for far
longer and had a much better feel on the tongue.