A good coffee, people: A good coffee.
This morning I have made one. This I am proud of.
It’s not even – well, just – I normally don’t spruik my own wares too much is what I am promising you.
Back to the beans though.
Let me clarify exactly what I’m talking about with the coffee:
Because we (all of us included) need to be specific. We need not to delve into the expertise of others; blacks (short or long), “cuppa cappucinno” (as my mum likes to call it), or anything else.
Latte is endgame.
Maybe not for you?
It is for me. Except on random occasions where I (and my feelings) suddenly decide espresso on the rocks is the only creature on the planet that could ever really understand where it is that I come from. (That could be true regardless).
So, according to research (including mine) a good latte needs: correctly frothed milk (keep the pitcher cool people), good fresh beans (not talking baked here), an eye on thermometers (no need to burn baby burn) and, a well maintained machine…
BUT. Let’s take a step back then and look at that evidence.
Let’s throw it aside and forget pragmatics are necessary. Because: they are not. Ok, there are a lot of reasons (for sure) why the pragmatics get good coffee happening. But just to humour me (and let me have my humour), pretend there are some things that just go above and beyond these pragmatics. There’s a lot o’stuff that goes on in this world that doesn’t jump on the bus all stops to Pragmatic (and even those that do: some don’t pay the fare), right?
Taste. For example. We all have it…. well, ok, debatable. And I don’t mean to be offensive to those who suffer Dysgeusia. (Pretty please Karma, do not be a bitch).
I, for example, seem to like a good hard kick-in-the-teeth (sweet-bitter-sweet) coffee flavour (I could munch on beans like they were a packet of Supreme Cheese Doritos – I quite like them, is all).
Second to this, I like a bit of chocolate to my flavourings (pattern emerging here – I like chocolate, like… ok, chocolate and I may need some relationship therapy soon because obsession is not completely healthy. Not in technical terms anyway).
I am not here to dole out lectures on how to make a good coffee. (For those of you interested in wasting some time on the web of the wide world today – learning some tips – the following could be up your spooky, cold, dark alley: Coffeegeek.com and Radified).
Anyways, learning from those that know, be damned. My ability to turn out something worth drinking can be put down to 3 plain and simple pieces of the reality of what it means to be me. (I still think all good things come in 3’s). These are the difference between me personally creating coffee nirvana or, alternatively, creating a latte that looks and tastes like it’s straight from a Tim Burton fairytale:
1) Fluke. You can call it Celestine Prophecy if that’s your thing, but: right place, right time is probably the safer option for this topic.
2) Coffee Kudos. Ok, ok, we all have to probably recognise the fact that mean bean=mean ends. I’ve tried a few. Mmkay, a LOT. A lot of beans is what we have tried over the course of our existence with a coffee machine. And before that? Well, I have been drinking coffee ever since Nescafe tempted mum with the free Shaker deal (young: I was shorter and a whole lot lighter than I am today).
So. Skipping all the ones that may not have crossed my life-path and destiny to date, and the ones I won’t talk about (because, even I fear litigation), there are, for me, two standouts:
Coffee Basics. These dudes are my new local roasters and I love them. You should check them out too.
Atomica. A friend-fellow-fan rec. I’m not sure what the full story is to the growing, roasting and what not. But you can figure it out for yourself by visiting Atomica Cafe in Fitzroy. Whilst you’re there, get one of their breakfasts. (I insist).
Also, I asked the bean question to the Book and Twitter today. Sneaky survey purposes only. (Shits and giggles behind all that). Responses? Well. Well, what did I expect?
“Anything Fair Trade!” claimed B from the Central Coast. Wholeheartedly supported with a thumbs up by J from a similar place.
(Yes, I’m hip to that, because Fair is Fair, and Fair is one of the best things to happen if we are ever to save this world from the slippery slope it’s on).
Cousin C from Bathurst: “Fish River Roasters”
(Proving a point that you can always rely on family to be helpful in times of need. Although: trust my dad to throw in some random comment clarifying his passion for Maccas coffee. Not helpful).
“Peaberrys” piped in G-R.
(More helpful. And she’s a dancer. So, you know. I’ll know where to turn if I want some extra kicks. ‘Like’).
And: A comment from M from Morpeth leading me up the garden path about some joint in Manly that she couldn’t remember the name of.
But. (BUT). At least M made an effort. Way to go team. 390 “followers” (and I know I’m not Jesus, but JEE-SUS) on Twitter, and 655 so called “friends” on FB and not even – not even 1% of them can be bothered to watch my every move and comment on it? I even posted at 9.30am whilst I was sipping the latte (feet up, back deck, nice view). What gives! Give it up! What? Do these people that I know (mainly know. At least 10% of them anyway) have work to do or something? Whatever dudes. Don’t come crying to me when you think I should have publicly commented on your latest change in relationship status.
Move along crowd. (Me included).
3) Pushing the red line. I like to use the analogy: going for broke.
Despite my adventures as a smaller Darls (riding pushbikes with no brakes, jumping bareback on horses that didn’t belong to me, hurling myself off ladder swings, throwing rocks at school windows on a dare…), I am not what many would describe as an avid risk taker. But. But, I can surprise those that even think they pretend to know what I’m all about.
To be technical about this in coffee making terms:
Imagine me. Imagine my kitchen (the one with the flies). Imagine my beam me up coffee machine (yes, it’s a Sunbeam). Also: Imagine a couple of accessories that help me make my coffee.
Now, here’s the thing.
Accessories are crucial to me pushing the red line. Because. (This is what happens):
I just like to shove a whole lotta ground coffee (and press it down as tight as my pathetic muscles will allow) in the thingy that gets shoved up into the thingy. Then – well, all hell breaks loose. That is what happens.
I press the button that says it is “manual” (whatever that even means in this context), and then I grin maniacally whilst jumping up and down when the dial on the beam machine for beans goes beyond it’s sunny gold and heads where pragmatics would tell it: it just shouldn’t head.
Red line. (It’s not even a thin one).
I get off on it. Every time. (I won’t dare use analogies here).
Look, this is enough talk about me and pushing boundaries. Time to finish up. But before I do…
Quickly let’s just touch on two other important things, shall we?
One is something that I’d love to be able to do: I get hearts and stars in my eyes when it’s presented in front of me. The other is a relatively new revelation to me – something I think I could marry, should this country ever truly embrace the term “marriage equality” (up yours Jules and Abbottface, I see Green):
1) Latte art.
Come on peeps – you know what I’m talking of. And don’t tell me you wouldn’t smile a little bit if you were served up a latte etched with the image of a baby seal (or one of these things).
And the like. Let’s keep it simple yet complex – “Beauty: Appreciate it. Red hot technique: big applause.”
Summary: I like a bit of art on my latte. (My own attempts are still a little like Leunig on Speed – just, not in a good way at all).
2) Espresso Martini.
I know, I know, not latte. Still, this is a factual point worth stating that needs to be said and shouted from the roof tops to share with all coffee lovers of the world. (Unite!)
You are looking here at someone who digs cocktails deeper than some of the excavation action happening in W.A and every other beautiful place on the planet (not cool, people, there is only so much dirt in this world).
My “first time” with my new love was a gentle, but thrilling experience at Perfect Drop. (Deliciously perfect wine bar in the magical land of Daylesford). Not meaning to be slutty or anything, but I backed it right up a few days later by spending some time with EM (that’s what we’ll call her now, ok?) over at Horvat’s (another wonderful great wonder of Daylesford town) just a few days later (hey – that dirty little martini called me, people – she called me).
(Latte side note: if you are in this place of all great wonders of the world there are some good cafe coffees to be had. Just sayin’. Hot tips: Breakfast and Beer, Ego’s Culinaria, Frangos and Frangos, and The Gourmet Larder to name just a few… hey, only been here a little while, will try everyone’s eventually. Because Fair is Fair.)
Back to your direct needs though. If Jo down at your local R-y refuses to put in the time and do you some action that results in Espresso Martini, I reckon you should do it for yourself.
There are a few versions apparently, but for starters… See here. And see what I’m talking about: Take action. Trust me, you’ll never look back.
Don’t care for me dishing out plugs for Absolut? No worries, do your own Google dude. Heh, maybe EM is old news to you (an ex-lover even)? Sorry, I can be a bit slow on the take-up of uptakes.
Will try harder, better, faster, stronger next time.
Yes my friend(s) (if that’s what you profess to be), push the red line is what I am prepared to do for you.