Monday, May 30, 2005

The Last night

Cafe Bonanza
Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
This was it. The last night of our Pearson College Coffee Shop. As I steam milk with the tempermental krups Peter is pulling shots. Meanwhile Sam was sitting in the corner sipping a macchi. We managed to raise over $40 on coffee sales alone for student aid. This is quite the feat given that our latte's are $1.75 and and espresso is $1.

I am at home now and my latest quest is as the store-manager of a Subway store in my home town. I had worked there last summer and apllied for the job a few months ago. I have been working in another store for the last two days as it is busier than mine it will get me into the swing of Sandwich artistry faster. It certainly has! This store is inside one of the busiest malls in Northern Ireland. My store will serve between 140-200 customers in a day which I hope to expand on. The stores also have super automatic espresso machines that brew an entire latte/cappa themselves. They do have a steam wand which I am hoping to take advantage of. If i can tweek with the grind on the machine in my store. Weird news is that we will be getting a smaller machine: the new starbucks super auto. My opinion will be shared soon.

It's nice to be home. Sure I miss the other muskateers but there is something about home that quenches my thirst. A sort of familiarity that is hard to come by anywhere else. A street I can walk down and know almost everyone that I walk past or that drives by. The excitement is also killing me for when I return to Canada whether it be for a holiday or to stay. Hopefully we can do a roadtrip to San Fran next year to see Jon. Peter, Alex and I. Lets see what the future has to hold.

Peter is now a barista!!! Can't wait to hear his stories. Mine will come in the form of home machines and super autos unfortunately and i'll try and see how far the espresso culture/scene had developed in Northern Ireland.

Brain Cramp...
Tomorrow I have a managers meeting at 9am which means I need to leave at 7am to get to the bosses office.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Holy Cow

The craziest night ever...

We were able to open the cafe one last time before departing for home on thursday!!! We had a total of 28 customers, well 29 if you include Sam Jones, yes that right...the owner of 2% JaZz! Sam Donated 2lbs of fresh beans and came for the night to pull a few and drink a few! Insane! Ok enough of the exclaimation marks already I hear you cry.

So we opened at 9pm with a pound and a half of the 2% house blend and 1/2 pound of Mexican malinal. It all went very well. We did have some serious issues with the machines though. One was having trouble pushing out shots after the 20th (some were a bit oily, a problem Andre has been having with his Silvia recently) and the other startes steaming clockwise and producing super dry foam even though i was doing everything the same! We still managed to pull of art in every cup and Tara, our syrup loving regular, clained tonight was the best she's had from us yet.

To cut a long story short Rita, our brazilian friend, came with her digicam and took a few pics for us so i'll post some soon. Have been gone for a few days finishing off exams and packing up to leave.

Sam: thanks for coming, it was an absolute blast! I will upload and e-mail you the pictures from tonight. I'm liking the weblog also, looking forward to following your life, although a little disturbed that you may be posting your secret bedroom footage... wtf!


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Latte- try La-Tayy...

Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
I am back! I stayed with my host family for a long weekend to see them before going home next week. (Host families are families in the surrounding community that host students from Pearson during periods that may be times when we need a break from school life or if we need somewhere to stay during holidays when making an international trip home would prove expensive. I think I got the best of the bunch with my host family although my host mum might say I'm biased for saying that!)

Being gone for the four days has meant; wait for it... no espresso machines/good espresso for that time! I know it sure is heart breaking... i did have one espresso at a place in Sidney which was terrible. It was listed a regular or medium in the menu which proved confusing to the "barista" there. As was expected it was a 5oz overextracted drink in a 10oz cylindrical mug. Disappointing as they had lots of illy espresso cups on top of the machine. Another Point of Interest was that they bought bags of Java Club coffee, $8 for 2lbs and were filling up their bulk bins with it and selling it as Columbian Supremo for $2.49 per 100gms. A sign of quality...

Peter roasted some beans over the weekend with today being their prime. He did some malabar and bolivian. Today I am roasting up the last of my Panama Garrido Volcancito and my Organic Timor. The last week is going to be a caffeine fuelled emotional roller coaster of goodbyes and celebration of exams finishing. It will be difficult saying goodbye after living so closely with the same 200 people for a year, one hundred for both years. Living so closely together has developed friendships i would say are harder to come by anywhere else. It will be a painful time but hopefully we become more determined to ensure a lasting friendship that involves visits long before our ten year reunion!

Jon finishes his exams in half an hour and a tradition here is to jump into Peddar bay after you finish the last one so I am off to watch the jump.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Here it is

new style...
Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
Here's a not so good photo of the latte art style I've been trying out. After liking Master Barista Luigi Lupis swirl/sideways art in the video rfom Treiste that Thomas has on his blog, i've tried making it a little different. We've all tried rosettas and hearts but after seeing that there are more forces of physics capable of acting inside the cup, I wanted to take advantage of it. The whole thing is done with only one pour, from the swirl then turning the pitcher in and pouring the heart. The aim is to have the swirl big enought to frame the heart. I have another couple of pictures taken on a better camera which i'll post during the week.

Off to play a game of scrabble. It's gonna hurt using my brain again but here goes...


Saturday, May 14, 2005

New adventures

Shot with oogles of crema
Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
As Jon's art is progressing so well I've decided to 'leaf' the rosettas to him for a while. I on the other hand have embarked on a Luigi Lupi influnced adventure into this sideways style swirl art. A picture should follow this post. I am very excited as it has actually been working!

The last few days have been great. I am down to only one exam left on the 23rd May giving me lots of free time over the next week. I have been cracking on through the beans from 2% Jazz and Caffe Fantastico. A task I am sure no-one else would enjoy...I mean who else would actually wnat to drink short espresso like the one in photo from sundried mexican malinal. This bean has given us quite a shock. On Jordans recommendations I bought 100gms of Malinal and 100gms of the same bean which was processed differently with a sundried method. The difference is unreal. The malinal typifies other experinces with malinal but the sundried is an amazing opposing contrast. With bright oranges notes and a caramel undertone, it's like drinking a Teryy's Chocolate orange only with british chocolate, which is much better than north american, but I guess I am totally biased in this view. What do think Joe?

The fun began tonight with training Stephania from New Brunswick and Chiara from Italy to run the Student Cafe next year. I am sure they will be brilliant, both familiar with a home machine and Chiara noticed a grind was slightly coarse which more than impressed us! Can't wait for more training sessions with them, hopefully I'll get some good photos of there work over the next two week to post.


(I seem to have the side of Joe's head in the photo, don't know how that happens. I'm sorry I have stopped my photography course, seem to be slcking when looking through the lens!)

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Rosetta w/ 2% Jazz beans
Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
I'm wondering if I'd be right in saying that pouring art into dense crema is harder. It really seems to be. This is the results of pouring into a sweet 1oz ristretto made from 2% Jazz beans. Or is it the fact that the espresso is more 'syrupey' when it is a ristretto? I'm confused. there was a question like this on CoffeeGeek a while back but the site is down at the moment so I can't search for it.

On a different note, more related to the title of this post: This is a must for everyone with a sense of humour:

Go to Gizoogle and type in your favourite website. Gizoogle then translates it into talk from tha hood, if ya gettin' me!

It hilarious...

Monday, May 09, 2005


eerie outline rosetta
Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
Peter was off campus at his uncle's new place for the weekend and I felt like opening our student cafe. So on Saturday night I did; with Jon pulling the shots and myself on milk. We had our busiest night of the year so far. We had 25 customers! in just over an hour! it was so insane, all we could dream of was how much nicer it will be when we have a grinder that pumps out the same grind every time, a machine that doesn't keep stopping for the boiler to come on, and a machine that has a steam wand longer than 1 inch that has variable steam speed and takes less than 2 minutes to steam! Something more like a two group Synesso Syncra would be ideal. We used 6 litres of milk, usually we only go through about 4! We had about 20 lattes, 3 mochas and 1 americano and 1 americano misto.

I will post a series of pictures detailing our equipment, I find what we use quite amusing when we look at our results! The picture is of a latte I made for Ferdinand from Greenland before we opened for a last minute practice.

Off to play water polo!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Friday 6th May 2005...Awesome!

Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
Everytime I have gone on a quest for real (non-home made) espresso I usually end up at the Keating Cafe, by force of habit. As Jimmy left on Wednesday though we were not sure if the cafe would be open or not so planned not to go up.

I grabbed a quick double at a place brewing Torini Lamborghini on Fort St beside the HSBC bank, can't remeber the name but was impressed when I was asked whether I wanted my shot long or short and if I wanted it to go. I chose short and to stay naturally, but was puzzled when she looked at a standard 2oz. espresso cup and didn't think it would fit. She decided to pull into a 6oz. Lamborghini cup. I took the 3 oz. she gave me and I sat down. The espresso was terrible and it was clear she didn't really know what she was doing so we proceded to talk about cups and cup sizes. I really like the cappa cup she gave and want one but for cappas not doubles!!!

I met up woth Peter and Jon after the bank and we started the day at Buon Amici's on the other side of the bay. We walked for a long time and were happy to walk in to a nice relaxed atmosphere, with cool chairs and a barista that didn't ask us what a ristretto was when we asked. the results were disappointing though. The 3 shots varied from 1 3/4 oz. to 2 1/2oz, with varying levels of grounds deposited in the bottom of each cup. Overall the espresso had an intial bakers chocolate taste, with leguminous cabbagey mid-tones and a heavy charred but caramelly aftertaste. Not bad although I think the espresso may have been better for a latte.

After a decade of walking we reached 2% Jazz, and Sam was working! Before we had even placed our order he had started making a little something, called a Granita (not sure how to spell it!). It was divine! To sum it up, it was grated frozen espresso, whipped cream, some grated chocolate and grated frozen strawberry. Then we all had doubles all round. As usual they were amazing. A total explosion on the tongue, as Sam was explaining to me how he has 5 different beans to cover the five different taste buds in your mouth and boy they do! Jon then had a latte, which was poured by Andrew. I think it was one of the best latte's I have ever tasted! The crema was rich and dark, contrasted with a beautiful little six leaf rosetta. I had to have one! So I ordered one which Sam took over the making of. To my astonishment, out came the 12 oz. martini glass. "This cannot be my latte..." I thought. It was. I watched as Sam poured the espresso from the little stainless steel jug into the martini glass, then watched as the first rosetta was poured in the left hand side of the glass. He then proceeded to pour a second on the right hand side, and finished with a little heart between the two. If there was ever a moment I wished I had my camera, this was it! All I could think was DZAMN!!!

We also ate luch at 2%, and found out that Sam goes in every morning to make the food himself. It was amazing. I had some vienese flat bread topped with pate, fresh vegetables, shrimp, asparagus and cheese, not sure what kind of cheese. Jon had a vegetarian panini and Peter had an italian baguette sandwich.

We said our good-byes and headed up to Caffe Fantastico, the main branch where they roast the coffee. As we approach we see a silver Ford Focus with Saskatchewan plates. "Could that be Jimmy's car?" we asked each other. We walk in and low and behold there's Jimmy and Jordan. HEY! Turns out Jordan has been working there full time for two weeks now. Congrats on the new Job! We ordered doubles all round, which Jordan covered generously. unfortunately he wasn't on the bar! The espresso sadly wasn't up to the usual standard though, the shots tasted very sour like there was some channeling. We didn't hang around too long unfortunately as it was quite busy so we bought beans and left. It cool to see Jimmy and Jordan again. Jimmy is off home to Saskatchewan tomorrow, with a stop off on the way for a new grinder, looking forward to hearing the results of it.

Finished the day with buying a macchiato cup from Value village, and having a total of 1/2lb of 2% percent espresso blend, 100gms of Causeway Fantastico blend and 100gms each of mexican malinal and Sundried Malinal.

What an amazing day it was! We have just finished playing around with all the new beans. Jon's Colombian San Agustin from Fantastico has some amazing lime flavours. Pictures should follow soon.


Awesome Day

Jon Rosetta
Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
Today was so good I'm going to sit down and plan what I actually want to say for a change. Went on an espresso binge in Victoria with Jon and Peter. Will leave you with a picture of one of Jon's best so far and I'm off to think, plus Flickr is about to go down now for a while.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
Jon has made amazing progress with pouring latte art. After about 5 days of about 2/3 lattes per day he has mastered it. It shows the difference actually having someone teach you how to do it makes. It has taken Peter and I months trying only to get Jon doing it in days!

If I can get the pics off the camera later I'll post his latest which is soooo much better than the one I put up on friday. Well done Jon!

I had my first exam; Math! It went surprisingly well, although we'll find out in July...

Teme has been practicing his art as well, making good progress. It's a lot harder trying to get it on your own. I am extremely jealous of your machine and grinder set up, it is beautiful!

Off for tea (dinner)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Making movies!

Made a video of this one
Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
As it is exam season I should probably be studying, but with all this stress I find I need a creative outlet. This started at 1:30am this morning when Jon came by and we thought it might be a good idea to have a decaf latte. Jon then decided I should film a whole pour rather than just the end result. As I don't have web space at the moment I cannot post the pour but the final result is pictured here.

Since then I have slept and woken up and elaborated on the video, going through a series of rosettas, from the first one that looks easy to others that proved to be quite difficult, finishing with a heart I poured about 20 minutes ago, again for Tara from India. It was good espresso for it as well, red crema from medium roast Level Ground Colombian.

It was great fun and has helped Jon heaps in his quest for latte art. He is now pouring hollow leaf rosettas after only 4 days! Unreal!

Does anyone know where I can either get web space? (cheap or FREE?) Or would anyone be able to host it somewhere I can link to? It would be greatly appreciated.

With half an hour until dinner I feel I really should study! Procrastination is EVIL! off now to read other blogs, i'll study after dinner, before I play water-polo at 8pm!


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Grinder; grr!

Fav Rosetta
Originally uploaded by espresso_lover.
I think we have reached about as far as we can with the equipment we have. We grind with a blade grinder, make espresso in a machine that has no means of existence anwhere else (and has a group head sitting at a 45 degree angle) and steam with a Krups Nova with a 1/2 inch steam arm. Talk about a challenge! Due to being poor students we have also resorted to using Java Club beans ($8.50 for 2lb bag!) now that our home roasting has slowed due to lack of beans. Now it is onyl 4 weeks until I return home to my Gaggia Espresso. I can't wait as it will be back to square one more thanlikely with regards to steaming! I'll also have to find out what size the portafilter basket is before going home so that I can hopefully get a Reg Barber tamper while I am here. To top it all off I will need a grinder as espresso joints are few and far between in Northern Ireland, at the moment... So I guess i'll have to try and pick up a cheap Gaggai MDF before getting home as well, another ebay venture no doubt!

Before going I will haev to do a last minute run up to 2% Jazz and the Keating Cafe to get some beans to take back with me to keep me going until I evaluate the scene back in Belfast.

I have got a job to return to, should give me something to talk about next time. I'm off to make the most out of being familiar with Peter's machines and make some more art!