Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Low and behold

Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
So I bought a webcam that has a 1.3 megapixel resolution (great for a webcam, crap as a digicam) but it is better than nothing! So here is one of my first rosettas that i took a picture of. Quality isn't great but you can see the seven leaf beauty with it's hollow leaves in the dark crema from the seemingly fresh store bought beans.

I went to Clements Cafe today, a cafe that would be compared similarly to Artigiano in Canada. Their espresso isn't bad. Two of their barista's came first and second in the UK's barista Championship. They have interpretted this as: Clements Cafe- Offically the best coffee in the UK. I thought it would mean two of their baristas are the best in the UK, as oppossed to their 7 stores producing the best coffee in the UK. Anyone any suggestions on how to interpret having won first and second in a barista championship? Surely it is about the barista more than the cafe they work for. I decided to buy some of their beans and as everything here is in grams i bought 2x250gm bags. They offered to grind it for me and i figured it would be a more consistent grind than my blade grinder so i tried to explain to the female barista that i have a home espresso machine and she couoldn't comprehend what i was talking about. I then pointed at their three group and said; "it's something like this except only has one group head." To which she says; " is it one with the handle you push up and twist?" I say "Yes the same as what you are doing here except it's a wee bit smaller." (getting very irritated at this point!) I said "it'll probably need to be a little courser than you grind here but not much." She then discusses with a colleague that they would grind it on setting ten which is what they use for Moka Pots. They asked me if this would be fine and i say it will need to be finer than that but courset than what they use. Then she tells me she'll just do it on setting ten and chats and laughs about it with her friends. "it'll work fine" she says and fires ahead on setting ten- for MOKA POTS! I say " do whatever you think after all, what would I know about coffee..." I take a seat after that and await my double espresso and the one i ordered my friend. A male barista brought over the shots and looked at me queerly as i inspected mine. I suspected channeling as the shot smelled and tasted sour, it also lacked the depth of colour and mouthfeel of previous visits. This was confirmed when i got home and made on similar with obvious channeling upon puck inspection. When the girl brought over my 500gms of coffee, with a price tag of $16 cdn (7 GBP), she proceeded to inform me that it will be better the slower the water comes through, and should take about 22 seconds to fill a cup. I sincerely pity the next amateur that goes there to seek advice. What size should this cup be? 2oz/8oz?

When I pulled my first shot channeling was not the word! With a fairly hefty tamp my espresso cup was filled in 13 seconds! I new it would be too course but not 11 seconds off target! So it turns out i ended up throwing the grounds into my blade grinder for a 9 second buzz anyway! Very disappointing considering this is apparently the best cafe outlet in the UK! Perhaps i'm just being a little critical but at that price i am practically devastated!

As i sit and finish off tonights latte whilst listening to The Postal Service I feel quite nostalgic. A common soundtrack to my room for the last few months of being at Pearson. A place where I would consume many a latte in the company of other coffee enthuiasts and veyr close friends. I miss you all a lot right now! I have three words: Skype, Skype, Skype.

Off to read a little more of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. It is fabulous!


Monday, July 11, 2005


Still as busy as ever but it is just incredible to be starting my day with a latte again. I pulled some shots yesterday to work on them and I pulled three consecutive shots of 1 3/4 oz. in 24/25 seconds and then i went for my first ristretto which saw my little shots glass fill to two oz with pure crema in 25 seconds. Once the crema settled it looked and tasted like the perfect ristretto, given the beans I am using...They are store bought, but are so much better than the beans *$'s gave me. Fresher!

Off to find an air conditioner for Subway. I passed out in work yesterday as it was too hot.

Today is a holiday here. It is the celebration of the battle of the boyne. It was the river in Dublin where the brits came to win the war with the savages of ireland to gain ownership over the land. All the Unionist areas (Protestant or British) will be having huge Bonfires. Most people just get drunk and go to bed or fight rather than celebrate its true meaning. There is a heavy paramilitary presence at the bonfires, which can detract from the fun of the evening.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Budding barista back in business!

Originally uploaded by i_got_art.
Today was a rather expensive venture into Belfast city. I came home with a juicer, a toaster, a kettle, a drip coffee machine and last but not least a Gaggia Cubika (left). I wanted better but had to settle for this for a few months. It was a £129 purchase (300CDN). I also had to settle for a starbies blade grinder, whic proved wise as they threw in half a pound of free beans. Gaggia gave me some pods, which were horrible. I didn't think they could be soooo bad but they truely were. I proceeded to grind my own and try again. First shot: horrible channeling. Grind way to course 14seconds for 3 oz. Gave it to my friend that i have told will be converted to coffee loving. He also recieved a full cup rosetta. He loved it as it didn't taste bitter, but was nice and creamy (full fat milk). I told him it was crap espresso but it didn't matter to him. Mediocrity will be the death of me in this country! (As if parimilitarism wasn't enough, people want to self destruct!

I proceeded to try again. I ground for longer and low and behold got a very nice 2oz. in 24 seconds. This was topped with a heart.

Frothing on the Cubika is very nice. I made perfect milk both times, the art just flowed on top effortlessly. Can't wait to get a digital camera at some point to start uploading pics again!

For now I am going to set up my new PC. This should keepo me busy for a few hours! It will be well worht it though.

Hope you are well wherever you might be!