tundra swilling

March 5, 2008 – 6:50 pm

somewhere between alterra’s lakeside location and the prospect spot, this blog’s neck glands signaled pending disaster, and by nightfall we were swallowing jagged shards of pottery, convalescing with oolong in a leather chair and offering to pay the blogbrother to drive us back to chicago. not the ideal development in a week o’ feckless spro tripping.

but oh, the titanic, zeitgeist-changing coffee debates we had in our fevered sleep. at least a dozen well-known coffee professionals were there, and we fought and tangled over the future of the retail environment, the importance of that one shot, the vitality of urban settings, why rust is better than lime green for interior decor and the vagaries of barista hair.

what is WRONG with this blog? can’t it just be sick like normal people?

we normally wouldn’t try to describe our taste impressions of alterra’s spro under such near-addled circumstances, but then all four of the accompanying blogbrothers pretty much agreed. several macchiatos were had at the massive, historic former pumping station that is the lakeshore location, and all were passable. missing, though, was the leathery, fall-floral subtleties of our last visit. a decision was made to hop around the corner to roasting HQ, where, when asked about the comparative brilliance of the various locations, the barista made clear that she definitely pulled better shots than anyone at the lakeshore spot.

my capp was good, the brothers’ macchs more of the same yeasty, lively, hoppy notes — no overheated bitterness, mind you — that made me want to grab a pound and pull it a bit slower myself to see if there’s more sweetness there. and so we did, and we will. those alties were, for the most part, consistent.

latte artist, sculptor and barista competitor justin teisl was encountered on his way out the door to work on next week’s great lakes regional barista competition trophies. they will not hew to the hokey-ironic mid-atlantic models. teisl, by the sounds of it, plans to try a fairly daring competition approach in his burg next week.

which coincides with the triumphal hoffmann east coast concert tour. this blog is glad it isn’t one of those traveling third waveists who has to choose between the two …

we remain enamored with all the cool cats we encouter in milwaukee, and the settings alterra manages to create:

lake.JPG
doesn’t this bulwark on the tundra make you want to drink coffee? inside? and never come out?

spoils.JPG
the afterspoils

prospect.JPG
the prospect spot offers a live roaster circus