Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Espresso? Cappucino? Affogato? No Problemo....

Oooh.... It's thick and long and black!

yay!! Our very own, very cool-looking....... espresso machine!! Woohoo! For those of you who don't know me personally, my family lives in an oil palm plantation.

Notice how the last sentence conjures up images of impoverishment, hard labour, lack of access to basic healthcare, agriculture and its attendant connotations, 3rd-world country, filth, no running water etc. etc?

Au contraire!

Despite what you might imagine, we have all the basic accoutrements of a modern 21st-century family. There's electricity, cleeeeaaaaaannnn piped water(as opposed to Kuala Lumpur, which should really be renamed Air Lumpur), and the kitchen has 2 fridges, an industrial-sized deep freezer, a top-of-the-range fruit juicer(can masuk whole apples wan!!!), hi-fi (yes in the kitchen), electric non-stick griddle, sandwich maker, dish dryer, a monster-sized microwave, electric water boiler, blenders, mixers, toaster oven..... and finally, a sleek, chic, fantastic espresso machine!!

Here are another two cock-looking pictures for your delectation:

I won't show you a picture of this wonderful machine in it's entirety, but trust me, it's fucking cool. After admiring it's sleek lines over and over and over, I managed to divert some energy from my eyes to my limbs and make some awesome coffee.

At the risk of sounding like an asshole, here's a secret that I'm going to tell you: NO LOCAL COFFEE can even dream of touching espresso in terms of quality. NONE. The secret is pressure, heat, and the quality of the coffee beans. Your local coffee dude could never do that with a muslin filter, inferior robusta beans, and condensed milk.

Another secret: I make better espresso than your local Starbucks. No small statement, considering the fact that the baristas at Starbucks do this for a living, while all I do is fuck around and pretend that I'm an expert in coffea arabica and bandy about sexy-sounding Italian words. Hehe:)..................... NOT! Actually it's because I have all the time in the world to make sure everything's perfect, while they have to shout "2 venti mo...kuh LAH-TEHHHH"in some weird sing-song accent and crash about making coffee and steaming milk for a million people at once. Mostly it's because I have good coffee beans, and a very very good machine. How do I know I make better coffee? Because I went to Starbucks with my dad, and my dad later went with my mom, and we all agreed that the coffee we made at home was much more flavorful and aromatic.

In the beginning my mom jammed up the poor machine with a too-finely-ground Ugandan coffee that a friend gave her, and we had to clean it out properly before using the espresso blend that my dad and I got. Long before this I was geeking out big time on the forums and message boards, finding out all about espresso: The beans, coffee geography, the ideal temperature and pressure for different blends, roasting, grinding, storing, tamping, cleaning, extracting, plus the meanings of all the lansi-sounding Italian words: espresso, affogato, cappucino, latte, doppio, americano, ristretto, crema, niama........ so I had something of a headstart when it was time to "pull my first shot". To my absolute bloody surprise, the first double shot I pulled turned out to be so rich in crema(the froth on top that denotes "solid", "bagus punya" espresso) that my dad and I were grinning from ear-to-ear. It was so good that I downed it straight like my dad did, without diluting it with any milk or water, amazed and finally understanding what the essence of coffee was. Before this, every experience with espresso was a confused rebellion by my taste-buds at the attack of concentrated bitterness.

After that I spent every chance I could to make coffee for my folks. "Pa, want coffee?" "Mummy want coffee?" and went through with the elaborate rituals that were at times even more pleasurable and tactile than the actual drinking. Heating up the machine, running the beautiful steel cups with hot water, opening the aluminium bag to whiff the intense coffee aroma, measuring out a perfect dose of coffee beans, tamping it into an organised pancake, feeling the thud as I locked the heavy portable filter solidly into its gasket, and only then turning the knob to hear the pump buzz in a low frequency hum, tense with expectation as the first few drops of chocolate gold dripped into the cups, slowly increasing into a thick, syrupy stream of concentrated coffee essence that flowed for exactly 20 seconds before I switched it off.

It was so technical! So fucking fun! Anyway see the pictures below as I make affogato(coffee with ice cream)


A double scoop of coffee into the filter........................... becomes a gorgeous cup of crema-topped espresso



The giant ice cream tub is broken out and a single scoop of rich vanilla is plopped into a giant mug

pour coffee into giant mug and..........



kmiin said...


Eu Kit said...

How I wish I had one of those cool espresso machines like you, I'd be skipping work everyday and enjoy my coffee while making a few bucks brewing/delivering coffees around my apartment blocks to make a few bucks...

Lucky Bastard!!! :P

Oh yeah... surprise!!! I have broadband now!!!

deusvenia said...

ohh...yummy..so temptin and indulgin'..

so when ya gonna make me a cuppa coffee the next? sure a hoped-for meet up..