I love to sit next to the fireplace this time of year…it warms my feet and soothes my soul like none other.
Few things in life that connect with the soul like a fire. I find that the sound of the ocean is as soothing, as is a steamy hot sauna with the scent of birch. But the one delight of mine that I can enjoy anytime is a perfect capuccino.
I’m not talking about the gimmicky Starbucks capuccino or any other capuccino that has that stiff layer of tasteless foam that can be consumed only with a spoon. I am talking about what is known only to true bean lovers as the Traditional Capuccino.
This drink is served as a single-shot in a 6 oz. porcelain cup or as a double shot in an 8 oz. (in-house only) porcelain cup. Any bigger and I’ll order the house coffee instead. Paper cups…are a true abomination.
Discriminating, lovers of espresso care only for the quality of the shot–which can be delivered in one of three ways: the dopio (straight double shot of espresso), the machiatto shot (Starbucks followers–you may be excused–this post is not written for you) and my favorite–the capuccino.
Dark shots of espresso are crafted with the perfect bean (preferrably organic), the perfect grind, a good hard tamp and a watchful pull–all in perfect rhythmn. The thin bead of dark rich espresso slips to the bottom of the cup like rich chocolate then builds into a beautiful crema. That’s the first step.
Next is the steaming of the milk.
The milk is aerated so as to build a tight, thickly weighted foam that should then be tapped to rid it of any bubbles…a microfoam…and swirled so that it may be poured rather than spooned into the cup. A traditional capuccino foam must never be spooned–neither can it be poured too hot, too stiff, or too quickly. It must be able to marry with the crema at first pour, then carefully, artfully brought up to the rim so as to carry that dark, colorful, flavorfully rich crema right up with it–then finished with a beautiful rosetta or a leaf or a heart.
This is art–it is music–it is sauna in a cup.