Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Taming the Beast

Everyone has that one thing that must be overcome in their life; something they have tried to do that has consistently defeated them, though they have made repeated efforts. My Waterloo; my Big Horn; my He That Shall Not Be Named has been the espresso machine and all the little limbs and gadgets attached that make it sputter and steam, even when no one is touching it.

As far as running the cafe goes, I've learned to make all kinds of soups with our "rustic" setup. I've mastered the panini grill. The cash register was never a problem and I do all the books.

But that beastly espresso machine has defied my attempts to tame it. It spits at me and gurgles angrily in the corner of the counter, like it's murmuring expletives under its breath. I just know it's watching me, like an angry dog crouched in the corner, waiting to bite me if I get too close.

There is just no way to not anthropomorphize the espresso machine. It's like this sour, embittered employee that was part of our deal to buy the business.

But it makes nice lattes...

...for other people.

It plays nicely with Dirtman and also with the twins. It even tolerates DG.

Finally, this morning I found myself alone in the cafe and there were no customers. I figured it was time me and the espresso machine had a conversation. It was just sitting there, looking almost benign for once; so I approached it, summoned my courage and dared to request of it a cafe mocha.

I must admit, I'd been researching how to establish a more amicable relationship with an expresso machine, so I wasn't approaching it without a plan. And I've noticed that everyone else seems to approach the thing without all the tension I seem to exude when I get within a few feet of it. So I calmly walked up to it -- almost I hadn't meant to get near it at all.

Just a mocha, I said, as I've heard others fluent in coffee shop-ese: "A small skinny mocha latte with an extra shot." I said it out loud, with authority, like I knew what I was talking about.

And it acquiesced. Skim milk, steamed, just a little foam -- and no milk sputtering all over the counter. A nice flow of espresso and then the grounds coming out with a nice little "puck," telling me I used the exact amount of pressure.

It was the perfect cafe mocha, believe me. It was all a cafe mocha should be.

I just wish I like cafe mochas.

Now we need to resolve DG's relationship with the blender*.

*The blender has it out for DG -- but that's understandable because he tried to make it work harder than it wanted and things just blew up after that.