A Cup of Joe and Thou

My June Martha arrived in the mail yesterday (hallelujah!) and I quickly devoured it cover to cover. In her column this month Martha details her approach to summer entertaining: weekend gatherings of six to ten people, with casual breakfasts in the kitchen, carefully considered suppers in the garden, and the hours between filled with an itinerary of hikes and horseback rides, cocktails and conversation. As usual, Martha paints a picture of genteel civilization unseen since the days of the Saturday to Monday party.

Marthascappuccino_4

Well. The concrete alley outside my apartment doesn’t lend itself to a supper under the stars. The most vigorous hike in my neighbourhood is the trek to the Q train (the riding of which has nothing to do with horses). But casual breakfasts around the kitchen table? Waffles and scones, sausage and eggs? A steady stream of coffee?
That I can do.

Like Martha, I believe in the power of a warm latte or cappuccino to mark the start of a new day. And like Martha, I find that espresso and steamed milk go a long way towards easing auroral awkwardness amongst friends and strangers alike. However unlike Martha, I haven’t designated a corner of my kitchen for an $8,300.00 La San Marco espresso machine. There is an easier way.

You need only two pieces of equipment to prepare the perfect latte for visitors, and you can get them both from Bialetti—no surprise, as the Italians practically invented both coffee and companionship. The first is a stovetop espresso maker: a standard in European homes but a relative unknown stateside. It yields a sultry, syrupy brew in moments, and aside from the small explosions that can result if you use the wrong grind, it is foolproof.

I like the Bialetti Musa for its streamlined shape and brushed stainless steel finish. It lives on my stovetop when not in use and quietly projects continental élan.

Musa_3

The second necessity from Bialetti is the Tuttocrema milk frother.

Tuttocrema_3

I “borrowed” this months ago from my in-laws and they’re never getting it back. In my two years as a java jockey at Starbucks, I never made foam as thick and smooth as I make now with my Tuttocrema. I heat the milk in the microwave, pour it into the 6-cup canister, work out some aggression on it’s manual piston, and voila! Instant dairy delight. Organic 1% milk strikes the right balance of creamy goodness and nutritional sensibility.

The surprise breakfast presence of my roommate’s lady friend “B” recently allowed me to test my theories on espresso as a social lubricant—I suppose a booty call could be Brooklyn’s answer to a country house party—and I am happy to report that we avoided the initial period of wary, catlike circling that can occur between newly acquainted females. I must credit most of our rapport to B’s outgoing demeanor, though I like to attribute some of that morning’s harmony to my humbly offered bowl of caffeinated conviviality.

But should I even question the cause when it’s the result that counts? For in the scheme of country hikes and Q train rides, coffee and conversation, it is the last that brings the most unrivaled pleasure. And I’m sure Martha would agree.

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One Response to “A Cup of Joe and Thou”

  1. Mussy Wells Says:

    I’d like to comment on the elegant and articulate manner in which this entry was written. In manner of seasoned magazine writer (for lack of better title, as I am unfamiliar with “industry lingo” for such positions) you have eloquently described not only the pleasure that can be had from combining heat, milk and coffee in few simple steps but also the benefits such competence affords. The recount of your unexpected breakfast guest not only had me giggling embarrassingly to myself, but made me realize that I too ought to be practising this art, should I ever be in such a position. Not necessarily that of an impromptu host, but any number of anxiety-inducing ice-breaking scenarios. Like yourself, I take comfort in the ability to share with others a self-made indulgence that brings pleasure and richness to their day and adding coffee-making to my repeteoir is sure to come in handy. The fact that a delicious, better than Starbucks homemade brew is a) convienient b) economical and most importantly c) out of many peoples’ reach proves that having the opportunity to have one on offer is something to be very proud of indeed! Having been on the receiving end of many of your morning caffinated creations I can attest to your having reached the upper echelons of coffee brewing and I can only hope that one day I too will be in your echelon-residing company. To that end might I propose that in addition to your implement recommendations you add your method/ recipe for making your trademark morning cup of joe? It would be most appreciated.
    Mussy
    P.S. At the risk of detracting from the post’s (and my comment’s) witty reparte and sounding utterly unsophisticated, what’s elan? sound’s like a type of pastry.

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A Cup of Joe and Thou

My June Martha arrived in the mail yesterday (hallelujah!) and I quickly devoured it cover to cover. In her column this month Martha details her approach to summer entertaining: weekend gatherings of six to ten people, with casual breakfasts in the kitchen, carefully considered suppers in the garden, and the hours between filled with an itinerary of hikes and horseback rides, cocktails and conversation. As usual, Martha paints a picture of genteel civilization unseen since the days of the Saturday to Monday party.

Marthascappuccino_4

Well. The concrete alley outside my apartment doesn’t lend itself to a supper under the stars. The most vigorous hike in my neighbourhood is the trek to the Q train (the riding of which has nothing to do with horses). But casual breakfasts around the kitchen table? Waffles and scones, sausage and eggs? A steady stream of coffee?
That I can do.

Like Martha, I believe in the power of a warm latte or cappuccino to mark the start of a new day. And like Martha, I find that espresso and steamed milk go a long way towards easing auroral awkwardness amongst friends and strangers alike. However unlike Martha, I haven’t designated a corner of my kitchen for an $8,300.00 La San Marco espresso machine. There is an easier way.

You need only two pieces of equipment to prepare the perfect latte for visitors, and you can get them both from Bialetti—no surprise, as the Italians practically invented both coffee and companionship. The first is a stovetop espresso maker: a standard in European homes but a relative unknown stateside. It yields a sultry, syrupy brew in moments, and aside from the small explosions that can result if you use the wrong grind, it is foolproof.

I like the Bialetti Musa for its streamlined shape and brushed stainless steel finish. It lives on my stovetop when not in use and quietly projects continental élan.

Musa_3

The second necessity from Bialetti is the Tuttocrema milk frother.

Tuttocrema_3

I “borrowed” this months ago from my in-laws and they’re never getting it back. In my two years as a java jockey at Starbucks, I never made foam as thick and smooth as I make now with my Tuttocrema. I heat the milk in the microwave, pour it into the 6-cup canister, work out some aggression on it’s manual piston, and voila! Instant dairy delight. Organic 1% milk strikes the right balance of creamy goodness and nutritional sensibility.

The surprise breakfast presence of my roommate’s lady friend “B” recently allowed me to test my theories on espresso as a social lubricant—I suppose a booty call could be Brooklyn’s answer to a country house party—and I am happy to report that we avoided the initial period of wary, catlike circling that can occur between newly acquainted females. I must credit most of our rapport to B’s outgoing demeanor, though I like to attribute some of that morning’s harmony to my humbly offered bowl of caffeinated conviviality.

But should I even question the cause when it’s the result that counts? For in the scheme of country hikes and Q train rides, coffee and conversation, it is the last that brings the most unrivaled pleasure. And I’m sure Martha would agree.

One Response to “A Cup of Joe and Thou”

  1. Mussy Wells Says:

    I’d like to comment on the elegant and articulate manner in which this entry was written. In manner of seasoned magazine writer (for lack of better title, as I am unfamiliar with “industry lingo” for such positions) you have eloquently described not only the pleasure that can be had from combining heat, milk and coffee in few simple steps but also the benefits such competence affords. The recount of your unexpected breakfast guest not only had me giggling embarrassingly to myself, but made me realize that I too ought to be practising this art, should I ever be in such a position. Not necessarily that of an impromptu host, but any number of anxiety-inducing ice-breaking scenarios. Like yourself, I take comfort in the ability to share with others a self-made indulgence that brings pleasure and richness to their day and adding coffee-making to my repeteoir is sure to come in handy. The fact that a delicious, better than Starbucks homemade brew is a) convienient b) economical and most importantly c) out of many peoples’ reach proves that having the opportunity to have one on offer is something to be very proud of indeed! Having been on the receiving end of many of your morning caffinated creations I can attest to your having reached the upper echelons of coffee brewing and I can only hope that one day I too will be in your echelon-residing company. To that end might I propose that in addition to your implement recommendations you add your method/ recipe for making your trademark morning cup of joe? It would be most appreciated.
    Mussy
    P.S. At the risk of detracting from the post’s (and my comment’s) witty reparte and sounding utterly unsophisticated, what’s elan? sound’s like a type of pastry.

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