cfest v: the humble blog is skooled

June 3, 2007 – 9:58 pm

it says something about this rarified consortium of coffee devotees when some of those best known for cupping the stuff begin to analyze the party pork. “there’s something in this pork,” said a genial, bearded fellow. “something secret.” and so these great brains with tongues (known, sometimes, as counter culture employees) began to mull the issue, rolling great shredded wads of pig over studiously pressing flappers of a million tiny taste sensors cribbed directly from someone’s flavor wheel.

“it’s not cinnamon,” said one. “noooooo,” said another, “and it’s NOT nutmeg.” these fellows were really getting somewhere, eliminating the two most common spices known to lesserly sensitive chewing humans everywhere. on to the rarer substrates! paprika, cumin and still other stupid choices of clumsier palates were quickly ruled out, and, frankly, this blog doesn’t know if a resolution was ever attained — indeed, there may not be a spice rare and special enough for the things these guys were tasting in that barbecue.

the moral: those chummy counter culture people, they may not make their beds, but they can cup a pig.

but that’s not all this blog learned at coffee fest. oh, no.

* did you know, for instance, that if you say the right things — in total innocence — to an intelligentsia barista, you might just walk away with a couple of those groovy winged demitasses valued at $8.99 apiece? it’s true! we were calmly ginning up on some black cat espresso doubles, which, the day before, had been spicier (like lemon myrtle sprinkle, let’s say, just to be obscure) and notably more bold than the selfsame stuff we’ve been pulling on our home machine for its high-toned caramel-and-custard sweetness. but today, we tell this lady, “it’s wintergreen.” fresh, clean and minty. like life anew! next thing you know, we ask about the cool new tulip cups and she’s rummaging through some bin and producing two — in pristine paper wrapping!

after that, even the brochures looked glossier, the steam pitchers gleamier. the italian ices icier.

* there are just more and more and more grinder innovations, and philip search is very glad to tell you about his anfim. an uber-fast sucker with a timer that grinds to within miniscule volumes and a doser that drops particles through a funnel instead of throwing clumpy stuff to the side of the portafilter basket. daynjah dan was telling us about this as he manned a three-group levered heat exchanger machine that flowed with the northeastern epic espresso — so named, we guess, because it features a monster lockjaw mouthfeel like bouillon-flavored yogurt. “off the chizzain,” as the cuppers say. the net effect of these conversations: a swept-clean, no-waste, clumpless grinder and doser with minimal bean trappage between the burrs is amazingly possible within a basic framework that still looks very familiar.

but don’t trust this blog — ask philip about it. he’s the one with the friends in pharmaceuticals who bake his pucks in chemical dryers and end up disproving some of the scintillating hypotheses about grinder fines recently floated elsewhere

* here’s a maxim: if you apologize, contritely and in person, for telling the world via the internecks that a guy has forgotten to make his bed, then you rave about his orange juice kenya, you might just walk off with some! and maybe even a bag of decaf mexican zaragoza for the greatly pregnant, low-caffeine-budget blogwife…

we’re nowhere close to showing the freebie-snarfing prowess of these quirky, murky schwag collectors, but shaysh. we didn’t want a trunk-full of mate’ latte’ anyway.