Baristi and Barista Milk

Milk and Baristi at Grumpy's, New York, NY / Leica D-Lux 4
Milk and Baristi at Grumpy’s, New York, NY / Leica D-Lux 4

A different Office Coffee (I)

Undrinkable Coffee and Saffron Rests
Undrinkable Coffee and Saffron Rests

Take cold milk (whole), three threads of Saffron, grind them between the fingers and shake together well.

Use cold brew concentrate from Grady’s and fill cold glass half way up. Add the Saffron Milk.

Do not be discouraged if you do not get such a beautiful undrinkable rest in the end.

An easy way to enjoy very good and demanding taste in coffee at the office.

When a Barista is able to let hearts sink

I do admit, a heart looks very different. It is just that the modern day human has agreed to change the way to sketch it. I also admit that baristi usually make flowers with frothed milk on coffee, as opposed to hearts. But in this case, a flower turned into a ‘heart’.

What surprised me was that this form stayed almost unchanged and simply sank as I kept drinking my cappuccino. Finally it reached the bottom of the cup and turned into an undrinkable coffee heart.






Coffee with Hazelnuts

Coffee, Hazelnuts and Cardamom
Hazelnuts popped suddenly in front of my eyes and just as quickly my mind was agreeing to the imagination that they could be combined with cardamom in a coffee. It seemed like a promising future for the palate.

For the preparation of this coffee I took an Italian coffee pot, known to some as espresso pot/cooker. My key rule with these interesting and difficult pots is to avoid using too much water. Their filters, the cavity where the coffee is put into, are in my view always much too small in relation to their water cavity. Or it is perhaps the other way around: for the amount of water that each could hold, the space for the coffee powder is too small. By this relationship the coffee produced on the top half is not well-rounded – too watery. They usually have marks to ensure one does not fill them with too much water, but even these marks I consider to be engraved much to high.

Precisely that is part of why they are difficult to operate. It requires some practice figuring out the right amount of water to pour into each specific pot, then supplying the proper density when filling the filter with the coffee powder and finally using the flame or the heat amount at the proper, most effective level, so the brew comes out at its best, with a full taste, and most of all, without a burnt taste. I find the later to be a major problem with these pots and the steps just mentioned should help avoid this. If the water does not get too hot too fast, it will ascend with a good speed, given the coffee is not too densely packed. This way the water steams smoothly and not so abrupt and bubbly. Something highly important to avoid is leaving the pot too long on the fire, after most of the water that could steam up, has already done it. Many leave them unattended while they spend their time with other preparations in the bathroom or are busy elsewhere. When your hear the bubbles reach a certain sound, but let the water boil incessantly, you will obtain a burnt taste in your coffee.

I wonderful, oily and dense brew.

The only coffee preparation method by which I do not use the very least water possible, is when preparing a (Turkish or Greek) Mocha. Otherwise my taste says clearly that  the water should be forced through much coffee, instead of letting the coffee swim in water.In the very end, what counts is the taste – almost only the taste.

Apparently it is the high level of fat in the hazelnuts what made an oil became visible. For the taste it was a definite advantage, giving it a very creamy texture as known when using cream, but without having the taste of cream and oil in the mouth. I was more than impressed with the taste for tongue and palate. My eyes, mind and imagination were right.

Oil from the Hazelnuts
… with milk and an agreeable creamy feel, without the typical taste of oily cream.
In the end also some undrinkable coffee rests.
Coffee Cooker on Fire

The Jew who had not had his Coffee yet / Jerusalem Poetry

We are in a residential area, but the streets are empty.
Seldom does a car drive by and precisely that is what the camera registers – Emptiness.
A car driving up the hill comes nearer and nearer to the camera and is followed by it. Then it disappears to the right. From there appears another one and follows the street downhill. Far, coming from left, a moped driver approaches up the hill and turns suddenly left into a smaller street, while a car comes out, turns right and continues up the street where a man, somewhat bored, slowly walks down along the sidewalk.

The young man perceives a shoe on the floor, picks it up and gives it to a boy sitting bored-still on a wall along the sidewalk.
The man reaches a small store and buys a milk for 4,80, while the attendant is on the telephone. He leaves, walks back up the hill, sees once more the shoe lying there and once more gives it to the boy. Having reached his house, standing at the door just about to open it, he hears the cry of a kitten. While bending down he opens the milk container, but as he is about to open the door once more, notices that the kitten does not drink. Bending again he smells the milk and realizes, it has gone bad.

The bored one returns. Finding the shoe on the street, he puts it on the boys foot himself.

The camera shows a bus stop. A person on the right, a couple of girls to the left, all wait. A lady walks by and the girls ask for the time.
Ten and something…
“Thank you!”
A man walks from the opposite direction and the girls need the time again.
“Ten…” and something, he replies.
“Thank you” say the girls once more.
“There comes another one” …they say… “Let’s bug him”
“What’s the time?”
“I do not know. I do not have a watch”
“That’s a weird one” …joke the girls back.

As he reaches the store with his milk, the attendant is still on the telephone.
“The milk is sour. I just want to change it”
From the telephone the attendant nods.
“They have all expired. Do you have no fresh ones?”
The attendant gives him the telephone and informs him:
“Tristan and Isolde. If someone comes to the phone, just say Tristan and Isolde, from Wagner” …and he goes looking for fresh milk.

A voice appears on the telephone and our bored one answers: “Tristan and Isolde”
He hears: “Can you also tell us who is the conductor?”
“mmmmmmm…. Zubin Metha”
“oh! I am sorry. That is the wrong answer”
“That boy did not leave me any milk here. I’ve got no more”
“Is the store down there open?”
“Might be. I don’t know” answers the attendant.

Just as he exits the store, a man approaches him and wishes to know if the flower shop up the road is open.
“Might be. I don’t know!” says the milk-less one.
“And do you know if the store down the road is still open?”
“It might be. I don’t know. Actually, too bad that we are strangers. Otherwise we could have called each other, you would have bought my flowers and I your milk”

They go their ways.

“Happy Sabbath!”

Ilan Kazan in “Himon” walking down the street and the boy that loses his shoe.

The store is open and he takes a milk container, pays 4,60 and goes once more up the hill. Down the hill rolls an orange passed him. He looks after it for several seconds, until it disappears in the curb. As he starts to walk further, another orange rolls towards him. This time he picks it up and notices a woman trying to collect her groceries back into her shopping cart. Her two daughters await her further up the road. After he gives her the orange she asks – “Where is the other one?”

They converse all the way up the road, while the girls play joyfully around them. To say they converse is actually overblown, for she conducts her monologue and he hardly gets a single word in. Suddenly she collects the shoe from the sidewalk, without looking puts it on the boys foot and continues her walk and talk. Once at her flat, he helps her put the groceries inside and almost forgets his milk. It had fallen into one of her shopping bags.

He proceeds and as he approaches the flower shop wishes to buy some, but notices that his wallet is not in his possession. With his slowness he starts on his way back to the store down the hill and passes by the boy, picking up the shoe but taking it with him instead of being ‘kind’. As he reaches the store, this one has closed. He goes up the stairs next to the store and knocks on the door.

“I bought some milk downstairs and forgot my wallet there. Do you know where does the owner live?”

“Come inside” is the response of a young woman. “I cannot come out, but – please – take a seat. My husband should be back soon and he will get the wallet for you. On the table there is some freshly made tea. Take a seat and help yourself.”

He sits down, takes sugar into his mouth and drinks some tea. Another sugar cube, another sip of tea. He then opens his milk and pours a bit into his tea. After some minutes he hears sounds and notices that the young woman is in the restroom.

“I cannot come out” she says.

“Can I do anything for you? Are you alright?  …he answers, a bit concerned.

“I am pregnant and cannot allow that you see me. It is not good if you see me for the first time in the state of pregnancy”

He suggests that she comes out, he sits facing the window and will not look at her. She sits behind him and they could converse that way, without him seeing her, until her husband arrives. She comes out and he starts the conversation…

“My day did not start well today. Thru the window I smelled some coffee and had the desire to have some. Got up to prepare one, got water, some sugar and coffee. As it was ready I went to get some milk, but had none.” At that point he interrupted himself: “Not that I desire this, but if your husband were not to return, for whatever reason, I would love to marry you and raise the child with you.” As he said that she stood up and said this would be the time to light up the candles and pray. Just as they were about to start their prayer, her husband came in. The men introduced themselves, prayed together and our man left with his milk.

Now he wanted to return the shoe to the boy, but the boy was not sitting on the wall. He put the shoe on the wall and the found orange on top of it.

* * *

“Himnon” (“Anthem”) (2008)

Short film: 36 min.

Director – Elad Keidan

Actors: Albert Cohen, Maya Gasner, Ilan Hazan, Carmit Mesilati Kaplan

Coffee according to an Espresso

* * * An Espresso dripping out of a Synesso Espresso Machine at Bonanza Coffee Heroes, Berlin. Here (according to my last information) an 'Espresso' consists of 14 grammes of espresso powder.

One single product serves as symbol for a country, for individuality, for quality, for pleasure, for bitterness and intensity – an espresso. At least as long as this is done the italian way, in way of ingredients, preparation, brewing and serving.

The first espresso machine was developed in France. Some say it was in 1822, others claim it was the year 1848. A prototype was exhibited at a fair in France, but that did not bring any success. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that a commercial path was laid for the idea, which would revolutionize the world and start a wave of interest for this type of coffee preparation, as it has developed over the last one hundred years. It began with Desiderio Pavoni, working in his workshop in Milan’s Via Parini and developing a machine for which he sold the rights to Luigi Bezzera. Bezerra obtained the patent for it in 1902/03, records which could be found at the corresponding council office in Milan. At the Milan International Fair in 1906 Bezzera presented the espresso machine that truly started what we know today as espresso.

On July 6, 1998 the National Institute for Italian Espresso (Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano – INEI) was founded with the intention to protect and promote the originality of the espresso. Although coffee as such has nothing to do with Italy and espresso is not an Italian discovery, no culture has done more for the development, quality and popularity of espresso, than the Italian coffee culture. This ist due to the dignity with which these folks celebrate coffee and their global contribution to technology and aesthetics in the coffee industry. In order to protect this drink in its quality, the INEI issued the notification, that as of September 24, 1999, the Italian Espresso is a certified drink. Thus, when an Italian Espresso is to be sold, it must meet certain parameters and regulations set by the institute. Even though there are different espresso mixtures in the Italian market, the coffee “bean” composition, the machinery, the preparation. as well as the material and form of the cups are set. These are as follows:

  • 7 gm (± 0,5 gm) espresso powder
  • water temperature – 88°C (± 2°C)
  • temperature of the drink in the cup – 67°C (± 3°C)
  • water pressure of the machine – 9 bar (± 1)
  • time given for the espresso to come out – 25 seconds (± 2,5)
  • amount of drink in the cup, including the cream – 25 ml (± 2,5)

So far an Italian Espresso, in Italy simply called ‘caffé’.

Especially in the western hemisphere, this is considered to be the best coffee. This is however a highly subjective view, and within the array of possibilities to obtain an espresso, there are many and significant differences. These differences could be noticed for the most part in a number of countries and areas which have done much investigation and shown constructive fanaticism towards the conservation of the quality and variety of coffees. Some examples for these significant differences are the amount used for an espresso unit and the coffee used. While in Italy it is common to use 7 grammes and a strong mixture with some robusta seeds, in countries like New Zeeland, Canada, the USA, Germany and the United Kingdom it is common to use 14, 16 and at times 21 grammes per cup. This is explained with the sole use of arabica seeds, as opposed to the 15 – 40% of robusta used in Italy for most espresso mixtures.  Arabica seeds are milder and contain less caffeine.

If it is about 7, 14, 16 or 21 grammes in a cup of coffee, either way it is a matter of taste to consider an espresso to be the best coffee drink. It is without a question a loved form, but love is not necessarily connected with quality. Many types of coffee drinks have been built around rich, complex and historical developments and any choice is mostly based on preference. Certainly some of the best known and culturally richest are Turkish mocha, Ethiopian coffee and Italian espresso.


Café Tres Leches (Aristippos)

Café Tres Leches (Aristippos)


Tres Leches is normally a sponge cake, specialty in parts of Latin America and originally from Nicaragua. However, here there is nothing to eat, for my Café Tres Leches is a coffee drink. A ristretto rounded up with milk, sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk. If you wish a wonderful and tasty alternative to a cappuccino, try this. If you prefer it without sugar, replace the condensed milk as you wish.

  • one ristretto (a short espresso)
  • 10 ml milk
  • 10 ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 10 ml coconut milk

Firstly, warm the condensed milk and the coconut milk up and heat up the milk while beating it to obtain some froth. With hot water heat an espresso cup. Prepare an espresso but let only half the water amount through. It is however a matter of taste, so you may reduce the water to only 1/3. Pour the ristretto into the cup, then the coconut milk with the condensed one. Finally pour the milk with froth on top.

The taste of coffee, coconut and sugar is well-balanced.

Rests of a Café Tres Leches


Coffee and the Centuries between Goats

Goats Milk, instead of Cow Milk

A legend tells of the young herder Kaldi, who noticed his mountain goats jumping around nervously in a yet unseen manner.  He then noticed they had been eating the berries from a bush he had never payed much attention to before. It was a coffee tree. Now I have bought some goats milk for my coffee.

The tangy taste of goat – or lamb for that matter – is not only found in their meat. Their milk is just as tangy. But especially in the last decade, a time in which we have been increasingly paying attention to the vast variety of tastes and quality in coffee seeds, as demanding as with wines, it is certainly worth it giving the taste of goats milk a try.

Milk with the typical goats note sounds and tastes different, but wonderfully different. You have my strong recommendation.