a new way to kill time.

Category: coffee

rudeness, customer style…

Working at the coffee house has been a delicious caffeinated treat. For the most part, the neighbors have been friendly, welcoming, and really supportive of a coffee that isn’t served by a multi-national corporation. But then, what would a day be without the presence of the least part?

louthrows2nd.jpgOn my first day, a fellow barista served up a double espresso. It seems that a woman ordered this beverage to-go for her husband. He was waiting outside. She received her drinks, paid with a credit card, and took off. A few minutes later, she returned.

She came up to me and sotto voce said, “This espresso is cold.” I asked if she wanted a new one, and she said, “No. That’s alright. My husband is a chef. He wanted me to tell you that it was cold.” Um. Okee doke. How about a refund? Then she repeated, “He just thought you guys should know.” What I think she was gently trying to say was “Mr. Chef said that you gave him a cold espresso.” Either that, or “Mr. Chef thinks you have discovered a great method for cold extraction and we should go into business together!”

After Mrs. Chef left again, I began my investigation. That’s right. I stuck my finger in the drink. Yes, I licked it. I am not ashamed, scientific method and all. I’d do it again. Visually, the crema was beautiful and plentiful, and the coffee seemed the perfect color and texture. On the down side, the thermometer read 57°F and any aromatics were gone, gone, gone. I went to the machine and pulled a test espresso. 23 second pull, serving temperature a piping 155°F. So much for cold extraction. Well then, why would Mr. Chef think we would serve cold coffee?

Mr. Chef doesn’t understand thermodynamics.

Quick math problem: if you put 3 fl. ozs. of 155°F espresso into a paper cup, wait 30 seconds for a credit card to clear, give it a 16 second jostle while trying to rebalance three beverages and a purse, and then take a 40 second walk across the street to deliver said beverage to Mr. Chef, who has been waiting outside on a 38° F afternoon, what will the temperature of the espresso be? If you said frickin’ cold, give yourself a gold star. Mr. Chef should know better. Props to Mrs. Chef for rolling her eyes when delivering the message. Read the rest of this entry »

a steaming pile of bubbles…

Those of you who love me are aware of my recent obsession with this thing they call latte art. For those of you who don’t know, latte art is made by pouring milk into espresso a very special way, thereby forming pretty pictures. Take a look at the random video above to get the idea. Anyhow, ever since I learned of its existence, I can’t seem to get it out of my head. I scan youtube, looking for new pours, possible techniques, and the like. I watch it the way dudes watch porn.

Fortunately, I am blessed with friends who feed my neuroses. Dearest Paul Walker, the Neat Stripe not the actor, and his adorable wife Dawn, gifted me a gently used espresso maker with steaming wand. Immediately, I set out to perfect my craft. Alas, it is not nearly as simple as it appears. Based on what I have been told, it takes about a gallon of milk to learn how to properly steam and foam.

Bad news for a gal who is lactose intolerant.

After a quart milk, a box of lactaid, and some serious tummy distress, I decided that the only way to learn how to do this properly is to go pro. And this, my friends, is what brings about my latest scheme. As I wait to hear more rejections from graduate schools, I have taken on a part time job at the newest coffee house in Evanston [Edited because I am now using this space to start ranting on insane coffee house issues]

Set to open on Monday, I had a spot of training last night. The super duper steaming wand was not as easy as my home machine. Suffice it to say, I am going to need a LOT of practice. If my Chicago peeps are ever up in the hood, please stop by and order a latte.

P.S. Sorry for the freak out last week. Muchos gracias for all the love. I am doing better. Maybe it’s all of the caffeine. Ah. Self-medication. xoxox

fashionista, or walking billboard…

Yup, I heart Project Runway, and I am not afraid to admit it. I will also add that keeping current on the show has been an amazing feat to accomplish from someone who does not have cable! Kudos for me for finding a way. starbuckscoffee2.jpg

So, fan favorite Mychael Knight (dig the crazy y) designed a t-shirt for Starbucks. That’s just what this world needs. Sponsored casual wear. Though my disdain for being a tool for the man is off the chart, so is my my closeted love for some over-priced coffee. That’s right. I’m out. Off I went to the site. I put in my favorite beverage from the evil empire and got myself a custom shirt. Nicest part, it’s free!

I was ready to put in an order for my cousin when I realized 2 things: first, I don’t know what my cousin’s beverage of choice might be. Second, they are out of shirts for the day. Wow. Just like getting a good price on an airline ticket!

I am guessing that fate wanted me to get this shirt. I hope that it will get me the cojones to actually wear this thing in public!

For those of you that want this shirt, the giveaway starts at 10AM PST, and is happening until February 28, 2007. There are a fixed number of shirts daily (10,000 total), and they run out within the first few minutes every day. Now be a good shill and get yourself a free shirt.