Sunday, February 12, 2006

Comedia Del Latté

I like to think of the collaborative team at We Do Chew Our Food as a hand picked League of Food Justice, doling out the good (and sometimes, the bad) word about the world of food for the benefit of all the regular people out there. And, like the League of Justice, AKA "SuperFriends", each member had their own merits which bring the powers of the team as a whole to fullness. In time you'll get to know us all, as we'll get to know each other. After the first couple of times we save the world by the timely reviewing of the foods you'll come to feel safer just knowing we're here.

We actually live here. Sweet eh?

"Super" wise, I bring my own warm yet powerful brand of domesticity to the team. While the others are out doing the fancy stuff I'll be shaking the panatone crumbs out of the Hall of Justice toaster and grating a fine layer of Parmigiano Reggiano onto a tray of hot polenta.

But no type-A individual is that "up an at 'em" all the time. No, like you, we supers put our tights on one leg at a time. And when we wake up in the morning are our faces not all puffy and scowly, and does not our breath smell a little stale? So the first thing I like to do of a morning before the rest of the League wakes up is put on a pot of coffee.


Without being a dull purist, I'm quite particular about my coffee. If you're unfamiliar with the workings of the stove top coffee pot, it does its thing by forcing boiling water at pressure through ground coffee and into a separate chamber. Reportedly, they can explode though thankfully I've never seen it happen first hand. If you're keen on some nice coffee at home on the old stove top (not technically an espresso but the closest thing you'll manage without buying a $1000+ machine) try Illy's sensational Caffe Macinato 250g can at home. It's vacuum sealed and will make a nice pssssst sound when you open it the first time. It's kind of pricey at $16.95 for 250g (that's about double what I pay for freshly ground beans at my local coffee shop) but it will look sexy on the kitchen counter so it all balances out right?


Having a coffee away from home should always be an indulgent and smug Fitzroyesque moment, whether you're slumming in Brunswick or being a hot young architect lounging in the window at Mario's. There's not a bad coffee worth drinking when there's so much good coffee about, so here's a handy rating system which can help you work out whether to tip your barista or simply run screaming.

********** Excellent coffee in your favourite café. The barista has written your name with love hearts around it in the froth. Served by an extremely attractive and attentive waiter or waitress who gives you a wink and all but fondles you when handing you your change. (sidenote: see Hospitality Crushes.) You order a second cup just for the hell of it.

********* Still a class "A" coffee, but (distracted by the hospitality crush?) you accidentally stir in a teaspoon more sugar than you intended. Not wanting it to go to waste you drink it down anyway but it leaves you with an unpleasant road rage edge to your coffee buzz.

******** Still an excellent coffee, and served by the same hot wait-person, but in a slightly strange glass which you're not that comfortable holding.

******* There's some grounds which escaped the filter and you swigged them down with the last sip. Now they're floating around your mouth and getting stuck between your teeth.

****** Coffee made by your mother is always on the bitter side or 'bittersweet'.

***** Coffee made by a trainee barista who over-steams the milk, essentially filling it with water. You try to go back when the other barista is on but they've swapped their shifts around and now the trainee is there on all the days when you usually go.

**** The foam is like fine bubbles rather than a creamy silky foam. Too much separation between the foam and the liquid, usually caused by inexpert foaming of the milk. In Queensland and Western Australia they seem to make a point of this separation and serve lattes in tall Irish coffee glasses to make the layers more prominent.

*** Coffee from a fast food restaurant such as McDonalds. American's favour drip filter coffee which is a far cry from what we've come to expect from our Italian inspired coffee culture.

** Coffee from almost any beachside resort in any tropical area in any country in the world.

* You are travelling in the country and stop into what appears to be a nice café. It looks cheery enough and there's plenty of people chatting happily and drinking coffee which from all appearances is coffee as it should be and eating generous slices of a nutty country cake. You order coffee from an eager to please young waitress and sit back with a copy of Women's Weekly c.1998. Coffee arrives and one sip tells you something is very, very wrong. Later investigation proves that the café uses a rainwater tank in which a large possum had drowned months previous. The locals had acclimatised slowly to the change in flavour.

Before you ask, no the last thing never happened to me. Though my mother did find a very bloated dead possum in a rainwater tank when she lived in the country as a little girl and they had all been drinking the water.

Rightio. Time to pop on a second pot for the League.


elaine said...

I'll take mine with soy and no sugar!

ps I gree, there is nothing that can make good coffee better than a hospitality crush!

Susanne said...

Brilliant post Fluffy.

I love the graphic!

I think my name 'Susanne Newton' isn't very Superhero-esque so I may have to come up with some kind of psudonym and food-reviewing-related-superpower.

Maybe I'll have x-ray vision so I can check the cleanliness of the kitchen and that no one is spitting in my food, yeah.

kranki said...

I didn't know who had written the post until the end and though that I had a new favourite blogger.

"Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice"

There was a Family Guy cut away where Meg was out on a date with the announcer for the Super Friends.

I think the other thing about the coffee experience is the comfort of the seating provided. Nothing better than a soft chair with arm rests big enough to sit in lotus position. Also if it's a tad bit cool outside it's all the better.

Susanne. Yeah, I'm sure that's the first thing you'd do if you had x-ray vision.

sublime-ation said...

Can I be Batman? I know our male members (ahem) will want to be BUT I DON'T CARE. I've had enough of genderly restricted Superhero Fantasies.
I wish I could do fancy graphics, and I always appreciate a person whose serious about their coffee. Well done Fluffster.

LadyCracker said...

I shall remain Ladycracker and my superhero power is the ability to resist coffee and stick the green tea, no matter how nice Fluffy makes it sound.

Chai said...

Sounds like your pet has superpowers as well. I'm not a coffee drinker though I love the smell. My grandparents ran a coffee shop/bakery and the smells were to die for. The waking up at 3am wasnt too crash hot though.

Jess said...

Superb post, oh Fluffy one! Simply genius. As a lover of coffee*, I appreciate your passion for the topic.



*But not neccessarily a fussy lover considering I add freakish amounts of sugar to everything and thus cannot really taste the coffee anyway. Let's not even get started on Jessamie Tea (PERHAPS IT CAN BE REVIEWED HERE, JUST A THOUGHT)

Mel said...

Justice League and Coffee - Fluffy, if I weren't happily married to Batman, living in the batcave and being plagued with freshly gound beans from Alan's Beans pressed into heart-racing espresso shots, you'd be a Fluffy after my own heart.

cuntman said...

So where do you get coffee beans without having forking out over 60 bucks a kilo for Illy for fucks? Is Crivelli in Moreland Rd better than Coffex next door? Is there somewhere else? Or should you really buy green coffee beans and roast them yourself? If yes, where do you buy geen beans? And how do you roast them (I've heard popcorn machines are good)? And how do you rate home expresso machines that cost less than $1000? And when will this incessant questioning end?

Mel said...

So where do you get coffee beans without having forking out over 60 bucks a kilo for Illy for fucks? Coffee Company in Elsternwick is pretty good, or Alan's Coffee, where you order online and mails it to you.
Or should you really buy green coffee beans and roast them yourself? If yes, where do you buy geen beans? And how do you roast them (I've heard popcorn machines are good)? Popcorn machines are good, however a great many of them melt under the prolong roasting of the beans, not to mention the mess - lots of hot debris flying into the eyes. Personally it's near impossible to achieve the glossy, chocolate colour of the ready-roasted places.
And how do you rate home expresso machines that cost less than $1000? I'm happy to pop a few names if anyone's interested. My husband is a coffee freak and has a list of good machines.

fluffy said...

I feel vastly underqualified to answer your questions, Cuntman. Thanks Mel for addressing them on my behalf.

Cuntman it sounds like you're from my neck of the woods. I normally get my beans from Dr Java on Smith St in Fitzroy (near the corner of Smith and Gertrude). Tim charges me $30 a kilo and grinds it for me. I can't stand grinding at home - it's noisy and messy and it spoils the calm of the morning to an extent which is not redeemed by the value of freshly ground beans.

For more coffee related pedantry try

Husky Nutmeg said...

I love it Fluffy. But was it wise to show 'them' all where we live?

And the coffee is fabulous. Lots and lots of stars.

MelbourneGirl said...

duty calls dear super-colleagues, so i must away and off on the school run, er to save the innocents from the baddies.

but i shall return to read this mighty post most properly.

Another Outspoken Female said...

I have a troublesome relationship with coffee these days - I like it, more than it likes me (aint that always the way!). Coffee is one of the most sprayed crops, so i tend to buy organic, which fortunately is neither designer branded nor $60/k.

Nice post :)

BEVIS said...

Can I be Robin to Sublime-ation's Batman?

Here's my audition:

"Holy Percolator, Batman!"

I reckon I'd make a good Boy Wonder. (Or is that, "I wonder if I'd make a good boy"? ...)

Travel Italy said...

As a true coffee lover I have seen a moka explode, unfortunately in my kitchen and more than once (you should see the cieling after something like that)!!!

Another variation, very good but very dangerous for the unexperienced: instead of water in the moka machine place undistilled grappa. An experience..., it may explode but if you live through it definitely worth the risk.

Russell Allen said...

Only just found this of the best I've read in ages, ages, ages...I loved it.

Like Kranki, I had no idea who wrote it and didn't pick it from the illustrious list.

To you Fluffy, I thank thee for making coffee great again.

Banttha Fodder said...

Good write-up, but one coffee "experience" was missing - and sadly this truly did happen to me in Alexandra (Victoria). Country cafe, looked nice enough, had a real espresso machine on the counter.. how bad could it be?

Reassuring hiss of milk being frothed by waitress... now she's getting a cup for the takeaway... now she's... she's... DEAR MOTHER OF GOD SHE'S SPOONING INTERNATIONAL ROAST INTO THE CUP AND POURING FROTHED MILK OVER IT!!! CAN NOTHING BE DONE TO STOP HER??!!

Surely there are international treaties covering this sort of thing? My poor heart sank.

fluffy said...

NOOOOOOOOOOO! This, strangely, ISN'T covered by the charter. Perhaps they never foresaw this level of coffee criminality. Luckily they were able to legislate effectively against frappachinos, chaiachinos, caramel lattes and the like so we should be seeing a class action launched against Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, et al.