Tuesday, August 26, 2008

a new arrival

It's not here yet - but I won this little baby on ebay:

It's safe to say that I am very excited about its impending arrival. I can't wait to start making nice espresso at home, because apparently, there is nowhere to get any in Greensboro. Even at the few places that seem like they would certainly have qualified baristas, I am getting foamy, soapy milk on my cappuccinos, coupled with poorly extracted espresso. lame.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

stretched too far

Well, this was my last latte art pour at the bakery - forever. My last day was on Wednesday, and it felt nice to be done there. In regards to this particular pour, I was going for a curvy leaf, but as usual (at least lately), I over-stretched the milk, which results in the super-fat stem that obliterated most of the leaves on the right side. You may be wondering what constitutes "over-stretching," or even what the hell I'm talking about...

Stretching the milk is the first, very short phase of steaming milk. It is when you introduce a small amount of air into the milk, thus expanding or stretching the milk molecules. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to allow this initial phase to last too long. This produces a final product which is too think and bubbly to create successful latte art with. Oh well.

Friday, August 15, 2008

a real job!

Color me validated - I've been appointed as adjunct lecturer of cello at Guilford College here in Greensboro. It was an opportunity that sort of fell in to my lap, and luckily my interview went really well, and even luckier - they liked me! (they really, really liked me!)

It's a smallish job at the moment, but it is a department that is growing, and it's going to look great on ye olde CV whenever I am ready to move on.

This also means that I am now earning 100% of my income with my cello. That is pretty sweet if you ask me!

Friday, August 8, 2008

adventures in latte art

Since Hannah's photoblog is her new source of awesomeness, this is Brian, attempting to revive our blog. So....here goes!

As many of you know, I have become increasingly more a
nd more interested in the finer points of espresso making. This heightened interest has led me to the exploration of the most frustrating, thought-consuming hobby I've encountered yet - latte art.

Here is a sweet picture of some craziness that I can't even fathom yet:

Pouring latte art is a skill that requires the perfect marriage of three elements: a crema-laden espresso pull; temperature of the espresso, milk, and cup; and the ever-daunting micro foam.

Since starting down the path towards latte perfection, I have discovered that I am a rather inconsistent milk steamer. It's gotten better over the last week or so, but I still have a really hard time getting that variable to be the same every single time. I have also learned that having a dogmatic routine when pulling shots is the only way to get remotely consistent results.

Here's a couple of pictures of probably my best pours so far:

So, I think that I'm doing alright. What I really need to do is pay off my damn credit cards so that I can justifiably spend some cash on a nice/functional machine for the house.