November 20, 2002
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. Seduced by coffee-porn, I let myself be led astray. I read of:
an espresso where the crema is the equivalent of microfroth, melded with the liquid
and I wanted one, wanted one so bad it hurt. How odd to see one’s private urges laid bare before the world…
This afternoon I trekked to Caffe Artigiano to try their “latte art” cappuccino. I skulked, I averted my eyes, I walked out of my way to avoid my usual coffee haunt: the Caffé Buongiorno, where Michelle, the always-smiling Korean barista greets me with delight each time I walk through the door. “Michael!” she always says, delightedly; “Michael!”
But I wanted something more than mere recognition: I went in search of God.
And was it worth it? you ask. Was it worth the anticipatory salivation, the higher cost, the shame? Well, in a word: no, not really. No, in fact: not at all. Yes, the coffee was probably better, “the microfroth melded with the liquid” as lavishly described. And the ripple pattern on the surface was a treat to contemplate (pale microfroth alternating attractively with the darker crema). But the place was crowded and noisy, and the music felt intentionally “hip,” and you could tell that the latte drinkers were there because it was the coffee-place-to-be (indeed: had we not walked 8 blocks to “check it out,” to see this place that was getting “buzzed” about?)
Well I’m sick of “buzz”, and I’m really no great coffee purist, if truth be told. There are other reasons to frequent a café. Seduced, as often is the case, by a cheap hack with a bit of linguistic flash. A sad story, and a common one, but I tell it again in the hopes of sparing others from the slide…