Sunday, 21 August 2011


Stood before me were three options each with their own merit each tantalising in their own way.  First, a bean plucked from the Wahana Estate in Sumatra, the worn label telling me "A strong and aromatic blend".  Second, a lighter shaded bean in a jar regularly refilled at Wallingford Tea & Coffee Company shop on Martin's Street along with the first.  A higher caffeine content producing "Arabica coffee with body, flavour and finely balanced acidity".  To these two stalwarts on my shelf I have recently added, Nairobi Java Houses' Kenyan AA, a gift from some friends who visited those distant shores this summer.  I selected approximately 30%, 30% and 40% respectively and added to the grinder.  The unpleasant noise was soon drowned out by the ringing pleasure in my nostrils of this magical blend.  I charged the portafilter and gently tamped the coffee into its bed. Loading into my Rancillo machine I switched on the water and judged the flow to produce a consummate double espresso.  I then attended to manufacturing the foamed milk essential for the breakfast cappuccino I had promised myself.  At last the many months of practice had paid off, I seemed to create the frothing equivalent of my Sistine Chapel.  I gently added the milk/foam combination to the espresso in one action and sat down.  I inhaled.  I slowly lifted the cup to my lips and drew in the first mouthful, careful to pour steep enough to get a hit of coffee. The day had started perfectly.

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