Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Pigeon on Top of the Owl

An early morning of rain and traffic as Boyman braved the city so that people would have their coffee. Thanks to online maps that are out of synch with the actual street names, things got a little confused. However, the city deliveries were made in just a few hours.

The best delivery by far: One customer in Noe Valley actually answered the door as the coffee was being dropped off in a bathrobe and holding a little dog with a pink bow in it's hair. He says "You have no idea how wonderful it is that you are here this morning!" at which he turned back into the house and shut the door singing "Coffeeman!" Love it.

Then stopped by the frogs to diagnose some portafilter problems (bent filter basket) and to try some shots. The Chiapas is the key.

Then to Hayes Valley to finally learn the open-up protocols and to pull some test shots. James showed up and struggled with the P.I.D. system (I'll have him explain it at some point in the future). Frustrated, we ate lunch and decided to pull shots anyway. We tried some straight Chiapas in the triple basket with the display reading 215F. This is cold in espresso terms but a few of the shots came out very sweet. We found one blend at this low temperatures that had a sickly sweetness. Interesting.

Then, as if those shot fired some synapses within James sweating think-organ, we realized the problem with the P.I.D. actually sourced from the machine itself! Oops. A screwdriver later and we had that thing showing 258F. At this temp, you could hear and see the steam shooting out of the grouphead. Wow.

We tried some more blends, but basically, by the time we were getting back into the process, we had had too much espresso. Even with little sips we were getting irritable and confused. If you ever had any question as to the psycho-pharmacological effect of C8H10N4O2, let me tell you, paranoid ain't the half of it.

Tomorrow we spit.

Questions for discussion:
1) When sampling espresso blends in succession, is there any way to cut down on the caffeine intake while still being able to taste? Any stylistic ideas for tasting (ie spitting or quenching of the palate)?

2) When controlling for different parameters in the making of shots, whether that is the art, the temp or the blend, where is a good place to start? It seems like the permutations are endless and it would be nice to set a benchmark.

Now Zees.

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