- Created: Wednesday, 17 December 2003 13:30
- Written by Colin Newell
This is chapter one of the beginners guide to the pump powered espresso maker.
Renaissance, revival and romance: these three things seem to be key elements in the cafe culture phenomenon today. Taken collectively or individually, they contribute to some or all of the coffeehouse experience we enjoy today. Whether it is the first and highly anticipated date with a new friend, a solitary repast in the middle of an autumn afternoon or the regular Saturday morning ritual taken with your partner, the coffee is often the signature beverage that anchors the experience.
The fashion and rhythms of daily life vary with the seasons and such is the resurgence of quality coffee shops appearing everywhere in your community. Now, you may not personally remember the neighborhood cafe popping up as they do now, but the diner and the coffee cup did rule the cities and suburbs at one time. In Europe and the Middle East, the cafe has been an integral part of village life for 400 years.
Home coffee and espresso preparation in Italy, for example, is ritual verging on religious fervor. Jog your memory, or the memory of your parents and grandparents. You might be surprised to find what methods of coffee brewing existed in years past.
Take a look in your local museum or community historic display. You just might find that kitchen coffee consumption was not restricted to old percolator pots.
Sure, you probably will not see a hundred year old Gaggia in your community hall, but you might see the dual-globe Chemex or Silex that looks like it would belong in the scientists chemical lab.
My point is, the love for great coffee came and went through the roaring twenties, the fabulous forties, and diminished during the nifty fifties for a wide variety of economic reasons.
Zoom forward to a modern cafe glistening with brass, steel, porcelain and fresh roasted coffee. Your neighborhood cafe is in the heart of the city.
It is on the country boardwalk, in the darkest of back alleys and nested in the anonymity of the strip mall.
Coffee that you used to load up with cream and sugar finally tastes great black.
Somewhere along the way someone put a cappuccino, latte or espresso in front of you. You did not like it the first time, but slow but sure the intense taste experience of espresso coffee grew on you. It seems your neighborhood cafe features a roasting facility. It is inevitable. You take home a bag of their fragrant beans for conjuring the brew in the comfort of your kitchen. On to chapter two!
Colin Newell lives in Victoria B.C. Canada and finds coffee drinking entirely agreeable...