August 16, 2010

Lady in Waiting

Lady in Waiting
by Brockeim

As I waited,
I saw I was
not the only one.

August 8, 2010

No WiFi in Cafes? Bad, Good or...

There are a least two good reasons not to have WiFi in a cafe.
  1. Takes up tables needed for income producing customers.
  2. Brings in customers who actually want to talk with each other.

A recent L.A. Times articles looks at a growing trend among shop owners to knock of WiFi access from their list of perks. Your opinion?

Coffee shops are taking Wi-Fi off the menu: To stimulate sales, coffeehouses are pulling the plug on the Net.

August 2, 2010

Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea: My Cappuccino Review

My cappuccino.
Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea. One of their guys won a big best barista award. When I happened to be in Chicago on business, I stopped in. Beautiful women and men are all around, as you can see.

A Taste of Heaven?
I bought the La Tortuga, Honduras bean. They describe it as "Right from the start, lime zest and fruit punch swell the palate. There are floral tones of jasmine and a body like vanilla bean. A move forward unveils the peach and citrus finish; clarity and focus define this cup." $17. Quite possibly, the best cappuccino I have had. It set me in my place. I take care when making these at home, but simply haven't the chops or equipment to deliver this kind of flavor. Good beans help. I have those now, but I still have yet to meet the mark. Intelligenstia hit it squarely on the top.

 Behind me is Randolph Street. On my right is a shelf of beans they sell. To the left of the picture, there are tables, and a bar facing the wall. I sat there next to a Spanish dancer. I smiled, and she smiled, but she was lost in her laptop. We both had other things to do, other places to be, and other lives to live.

The freshness of the beans brought an uncommon thrill to me. Beans, as most of you know, as found on most grocery store shelves, are at least a few months old by the time they are there. No amount of vacuum packing can manage what coffee roasted two days earlier can pull off.

Latte art is always fun. The design on mine was hardly as complex as they can be, but this was around noon. The ordering line was nonstop.

Jesse, my barista that afternoon, was fantastic. Managers, give that boy a raise. Though busy, they answered my questions about beans, preparation and storage. Each drip brewed cup is made individually. The explanation was that with a normal drip brewer, the kind most of us have at home, the water is not well distributed. The result is that the beans do not steep equally, extracting varying amounts of flavor. In my blurry shot below, you will notice he is pouring from a small container. Each cup receives some water, then he repeats it.

As I had only time for a cappuccino, I did not try anything else.

Millennium Park Coffeebar
53 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601

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