Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Coffee

I've made two recent incremental coffee discoveries.

The first is that a recent study proves that my coffee shop addiction isn't costing me too much money. The economics study indicates that if you saved your daily cappucino money and invested it over 30 years, you will end up with $55,000 to your name.

I will grant that $55,000 is a large amount of money. You could probably open your own coffee shop with that money. But the timeframe is just wrong. Over 30 years? $55,000 is simply piddlywinks. I go into a coffee shop, and I talk with the baristas, and I hang out and talk with my friends, and I read the newspapers (which would cost me over $5 to purchase myself), and I get some work done. Going to a coffee shop for your coffee is a combination of entertainment and convenience. I rarely go to a coffee shop expecting the nirvana of a coffee tasting experience. I just want a pretty-good beverage to keep me awake, or a decaf to sip over as I relax. Given that it costs $10 to go to the movies these days, I think my coffee shop money is well spent.

The second development is in mocha-science. Every once in a blue moon, I will order a skim milk cafe mocha, and the texture of the milk will be thick and foamy and luscious. The texture and consistency will melt away any care in your body. As far as I can tell, the only reason I get that result is pure accident. The barista has done something "wrong," yielding my beverage of choice.

Every once in a while, I order a mocha, and ask for the foam to be delivered in some special way. I use terms like "extra thick foam" or "extra foamy." I have had the hunch that maybe the milk has simply been overheated, and the proteins in the milk have changed ever so slightly to produce my luscious foam. So I ask for the drink to also be "extra hot." No matter how I describe the foam, it fails to be the result I'm looking for.

Until the other day. Mikey, at the Coffee Tree Roasters in Squirrel Hill, told me that he thought he knew what I meant. So, he gave me a wet cappucino-like mocha. The texture was not perfect, but it was closer to my ideal beverage than I've ever gotten before. Mikey is now my official, personal coffee savior. I am now convinced that with a little more work, I will be able to order my favorite drink with some reliability. Of course, even then, I'm sure it will still be a rare occurance that I actually get the drink I order, unless it's my hero Mikey serving.

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