"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2005 - All rights reserved
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What I Have Become
I had a flu/cold/viral thing for about a week or so as the old year left us and the New on began. I wasn't real sick- just sort of run down and head-coldish. Still, it was too much effort to make espresso. Thank goodness I had just received the Keurig, so when I needed a cup of coffee, all I had to do was find a cup, drop in a K-cup, and hit a button. It was also nice to be able to drop a bag of peppermint tea in a cup and hit a button for hot water.
About three or four days before I got sick I had roasted a batch of espresso from my home blend. I pre-blend about three to five pounds at a time and then when I need to roast I can just weigh out a roaster-full and go to it without all the blending hassle each time. About the time the batch previous to this one ran out was when I got sick, so by the time I got back to the new batch I had roasted, it was about twelve days old as near as I can remember.
Wellness once again flowed though most of my body and I want back to making espresso. Since Silvia had sat idle for over a week I began the session by bleeding out about 8 ounces of water the flush out the boiler and I then let the machine sit idling for a time to come back up to temp before resuming the session. I made the two doubles, just as always, but they sure smelled bad. I wrote it off to my nasal passages being affected by the disease and we drank our morning drinks which bordered on undrinkable. I can say they were about the worst cappas I have made since I installed the PID, or maybe even longer.. Still, after reading all the alt.coffee posts over the years about how disease affects your senses of taste and smell, I wrote it off to disease.
The next morning- same routine and unfortunately, the same result. I made a bit of a face when drinking mine, and my wife immediately commented, "It tastes stale." You betcha! The aroma of the straight espresso was sort of industrial, and it reminded me of used motor oil without the oily smell- just the used part of the stench. The cappas tasted much the same.
Out to the roaster and using the same exact beans from the bag of pre-blend, I roasted up another half pound of my espresso. The next morning the difference was easily smelled in the espresso and tasted in the cup (and more so the second day of use of that batch). I even smelled the old vs. the new roast in the jar and the difference was there to be experienced (but not to the same degree as in the cup).
I still have some of that bad batch left, and just might pull another double (for the garbage disposal) just to test it to make sure it was really bad coffee and not just my taste buds, but am quite sure that this will not be necessary.
So, banging around in my head are various thoughts as to cause- Did someone adulterate my beans when I wasn't looking? No. Was there a dead mouse in the roaster. No. I suppose some storage anomaly could be to blame but it seems that I have progressed to the point that two-week-old coffee is undrinkable- at least this blend/roast/storage procedure.
After accepting this it occurs to me- How did I ever drink what passed for coffee before I started all this? How we have grown.