Posted Sat Jul 26, 2003, 8:06am Subject: So very ture.
One of the best articles I've read on CG. We don't seem to have a cafe culture in the US or Canada as they do in France and Italy. What we did have probably vanished with the Beat Generation and MacDougal Street
Read it all the way and even printed off portions, "best part of the coffee was the company" and "What you look for in a Barista".. a new shop owner (doors to open soon) looking for all kinds of info to make this happen both financially & personally. The best tips I got is you gotta love people and brew the best you can. Strive to educate and go boldly...thanks for the "uplifting" article. I can even picture Julie..very well written. Aly
Posted Sat Jul 26, 2003, 6:21pm Subject: My Sentiments, Too
Hope this isn't too long. I posted it to alt.coffee 2/5/03:
"There is a current thread noting (once again) that Italians don't participate in a.c. The answer, as so many have said, is that espresso is taken for granted in Italy. It is simply a part of daily civic life and not something to be obsessed over through a computer.
For most of us most of the time, having a good espresso means performing a meticulous ritual at home, often alone. We worry about freshness, grind, weight, tamp, color and shape of the pour, duration of the pour, volume in the cup, color of the crema, .... And then we pour it out and start over again, if it's not perfect.
In the U.S., at any rate, buying an espresso at a shop is, if anything, usually even more stressful. We come into the store with a chip on our shoulders, expect the worst, and usually get it.
I had an outside meeting this morning that made it impossible to bring my Thermos of coffee to the office and still enjoy it while it was decent. So I treated myself to an espresso at Peet's.
It was their new (and only) espresso blend ("Forte"). The barista was well trained and dedicated to her work. Two deep gold mousetails of crema poured from the Faema into the demitasse. I took it outside and sat at a table on their patio. The coffee was very good, even if it wasn't a godshot. But the 75F Pasadena sun and the view of the San Gabriel Mountains were lovely. People sat around me, some reading, some chatting and some, like me, just enjoying the experience. Life was good.
I think this is how espresso is meant to be enjoyed."
Posted Sun Jul 27, 2003, 1:23am Subject: beat like a drum?
I don't know the specifics of the Iron Barista contest, but have a hard time believing that if the contest had to do with straight espresso, not a cappuccino, that Dismas Smith could beat Mark like a drum. If so, then Mark needs more practice.
The overall tone of the article seems to be quite condescending to us poor home espresso fanatics who can regularly beat the commercial stuff in our local cities like a drum. No I am not talking about latte art, just the straight out espresso - in which there is no place to hide.
The beauty of a commercial machine is that it is just a lot easier to use than the home, near commercial espresso machines. Having played around with one at the July 19th SCAA open house, I came away with the feeling that given an afternoon or so that I could zero the machine and do comparably to most baristas who were using exactly the same machine and grinder. I would certainly not be as fast or have the deft touches with the tamper.
I will pass on the social aspect of espresso, but would state that the company and/or ambience would have to be very interesting to overcome lousy espresso that is, unfortunately, the norm in your business.
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