inimitable riotous service

June 2, 2007 – 12:47 am



the preamble is like limbo. horrid, dizzy, limb-tearing. that lethal cocktail of exhaustion and the jitters. synthetic evening jitters. waiting. tapping. polishing the drip tray, lining up the regiments of porcelain, holding out for that first …

and then a torrential, blazing, deceptively casual crush of drink orders and questions about that purty leaf thang on the top of the cappuccino and nasty, cantankerous turns of the grinder causing suddenly blond gushers from the portafilter thanks to the sweaty heap of people draped over the bar to see that slurping gurgle noise and molasses drip and lazy rosetta pour, and “it’s like ART,” and “how DO you do it?” and “what kind of bean do YOU like?”

gesha. the answer is gesha, but that is SO not what she was asking … or was it … and how do you tell someone what espresso is in 27 seconds flat, with a smile and punctuating hand gestures and the air of someone who’s not just making it up from some random blog? “it’s the finicky thoroughbred of coffee tasting like it smells through a mashed puck evenly!” or something. and where DID that gallon of milk go? and is it just me, or is this extension cord so not pulling enough current for this canister, and can you people please PAUSE for a moment so i can hear my heat exchanger stop hissing — thank you ! — and who was next? a single? how about a restricted double, and this is a doser, and that is a tammmmper and over there on the wall is where my left eardrum just exPLOded from the atmospheric variations, and this, this THING i’m doing is basically a wipe and a thwackthwackthwackthwackthwackthwackthwack, thump, push, thump, lunge, yank, tilt the head, flip it off, lock, pull, twirl, grab the pitcher, slosh, stride, gawk, flip it off again, BANG, rinse, twist with the left, grab with the right, slooooorsh, twist, pause, tilt, drizzlepourdrizzlejiggle, hereyougonext?

a mocha? you want a mocha? forgive me, friend. i have spent the last seven summers in italy and denmark — sometimes both at once — and have never heard of a mocha.

the rental cups were just … beyond a dream. eight oz. round-bottomed. and cheap. who knew? the three-day-old code brown, it stuck to its groove with minor grind adjustments. the drinks, they were five to seven deep for two hours solid. the capps, some of the best i’ve ever made. the wife of a charbucks manager partook. so did the kin of a local roaster. and people who hate coffee but have been told to trust, and maybe i could put just a smidge of sugar in thi …. saaaaaaay. that’s SMOOOTH! the people, they thought it was a circus act.

and that was the evening. cheers to the fellows whose graduation it was. a man with a camera was lolling about. they’ll surface.

meanwhile, the balls of the feet are smoothed to river stones, the eye sockets worn to wide craters. this blog has no idea how it’s going to knuckle on down to atlanta for back-slappage and bashery tomorrow (or today, rather), but we WILL. we will.