Saturday, April 24, 2010
2 Jobs 10 Pounds
I starting drinking coffee at a pretty young age. My dad was in college when my sister and I were small and he drank instant coffee all the time. I never remember proper coffee in the house unless my family were having a party and then they made percolated coffee. In the meantime, everyone used to mix up some instant coffee. I used to stay up late on the weekends listening to records with my dad while he did his homework and I was assigned making his instant coffee..and I would make myself a cup too.
The first time I had really decent amazing...mindblowing...if you will...coffee was on a school feild trip to France. Yes, for one fleeting moment I was good at a subject in school...French... and I managed to convince my parents i had to go to Paris. About 400 kids from the west coast of Canada got onto a plane and flew overnight to Brussels for a day then to Paris for a couple of weeks. On the plane trip over...most of my French class dropped LSD. No, really I'm not making this up...I was not a druggie and just remember kind of babysitting some of the kids while they peaked somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. I found their behaviour fascinating...plus, I was a rather shy kid (I know hard to believe huh?) and I suddenly was making friends with kids who we never spoke to each other previously. We got to Paris and were put up as billets in a boys dormitory in the burbs of Paris while the full-time boys school was on some kind of break. I had three room mates who lived in a small town about an hour away from me on Vancouver Island. These three girls and I proceeded to have the most amazing time in Paris. We absolutely went nuts looking for ways to get away from the group and go nuts in Paris. These three girls were looking for French boys! Of course. I was not so interested in chasing boys...but I loved being their "wing man". The first morning when we woke up...we went to a huge dining hall...and we were served baguettes, fresh cultured butter and huge bowls of coffee. Each of these three items was the most amazing food I had ever tasted so far in my life. I was utterly blown away. The butter was like salty whipped cream, the baguettes flaky, crunchy and moist all at once. And the coffee. Outstanding. In a bowl! It was so exotic to have this huge milky bowl of coffee! There were other exotic fun things about this trip to Paris, but the coffee always stands out. (my dorm friends and I spent the evenings looking for "gin fizzs" discotheques and meeting guys...but thats another post...) I also loved checking out all the coffee in various street cafes and patios on that trip.
The second most amazing cup of coffee I had was in Rome. I was a teenager and went to Rome for a meditation festival with a bunch of friends. I had never had cappuccino before and loved finding a whole world of hanging out trying different places with different elixirs of cappuccinos. I was living in Calgary at the time and if anyone was making such a coffee i sure as hell hadn't found it...it was much later that Calgary adopted the international drinks of lattes and cappuccinos. I was amazed at how much care was put into preparing and serving these coffees with little paper doilies and specially wrapped sugar and foams adorning the tops of the drinks. I was obsessed with trying as many different baristas coffee as possible on that trip. When I got back to Canada I tried to find cappucinos...finally my sister worked in a kitchen store that had a small machine and they would crank out wonderful coffees and I had to visit her all the time.
Its hard to believe there was a time in Canada when finding a cappuccino was a challenge...now every where you go you can find such beverages.
Anyways...I have a little part time job at a cafe. It's been crazy getting used to all the drinks my boss makes there...especially when I'm only part time but the last couple of days I feel I am used to the place and used to her style of brewing. We serve Intelligensia coffees which is one of my favourite brands of espresso. A couple years ago my sister called me to tell me she found a great new coffee company, Intelligentia...and I told her I had been also drinking it here when I visited Chicago.
Here is a little from Intelligensias website It all started more than a decade ago in October of 1995 when Doug Zell and Emily Mange left San Francisco to open an in-store coffee roaster-retailer on Broadway Avenue on the north side of Chicago. At that time they were simply hoping to bring great, fresh-roasted coffee to their own coffeebar with the help of a charming, but perhaps too often erratic 12-kilo roaster. Since then this has all evolved to a place they never could have imagined.
Intelligentsia now has three great cities to call home: Chicago—a city that is brooding, practical and reluctantly beautiful; Los Angeles—a city that views creativity as a birthright, is immensely vast, decidedly impractical and equally messy and marvelous; and New York—a city of paradoxes, hulking but chock full of intimate corners, timeless but achingly current, polished but decaying, worldly yet oddly provincial, all crashing together in perfect cacophony (or is it harmony?).
Honestly, we love all of these places, but for very different reasons. Straight backed-Midwesterness gives us pragmatism and self-discipline, West Coast optimism leads us to believe anything is possible, and the dynamism of East Coast is an unending source of energy. This combination provides the fuel for what we love to do: sourcing, developing, roasting and delivering the best coffee in the world.
At the end of a shift I clean up the cappucino machine soaking the brew baskets, cleaning the filters and making sure we have enough espresso for the next shift. It's a simple but very enjoyable errand. I absolutely love cappuccino machines.
See, these are the kinds of tools that make making cappucino so much fun. A tamp, a cleaning brush, a screwdriver and a paint brush!
I thought it was kinda cool that my boss also sells Cafe Du Monde coffee. I have spent many happy visits to New Orleans Cafe Du Monde and had beignets and coffee sitting at their famous outdoor setting. I've posted a few pics here at the blog...but of course i can't find them right now...too tired from work. I've had a number of little jobs and contracts in the past few weeks and I've managed to lose 10 pounds. The secret to weight loss? Eat less...and have at least two jobs ha ha!
Oh wait...here I found a picture I took at Cafe Du Monde and their beignets...