An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Barista, James Bond, and Me

Last month I was in a local cafe` and ordered a cappuccino. I was the only one in there, and as the barista was steaming my milk she asked me this: Why do you like cappuccinos? I was wondering since, really, a cappuccino is just like a latte only that the milk is frothed. Does the foam even taste like anything?

Well. Well.

I put down my purse. This was going to take a while.

This is what I said:

It's like this: you can take four basic ingredients like eggs, butter, salt and pepper. Using those same ingredients, you can make scrambled eggs or fried eggs. Same ingredients, but the results are different.

I was on a roll, so I continued:

Okay, now take James Bond. He orders his martini shaken, but not stirred. Again, same ingredients (gin, vermouth, olive) but with a subtle difference on the preparation (stirred versus shaken) and there you have it: James Bond's beverage of choice.

So, the cafe` latte is espresso and steamed (but not frothed) milk; the cappuccino is all about thirds: 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 frothed milk. Yes, the ingredients are the same, but the proportion, the process, and yes, the preference create the sutbtleties of taste that make each one unique.

Then, because I wanted her to think I was passionate rather than snooty, I smiled like an idiot.

And she laughed as she handed me my cappuccino.


Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El) said...

Is there a difference between passionate and snooty when it comes to coffee drinkers?


Don't ask me, I'm so low brow I drink at least two diet Pepsis a day, and sometimes I reach even lower for a diet Dew.

Someone has to.

Soutenus said...

I love the "smiling like an idiot" part!
That definitely takes it to a zone of "passionate plethora of insight" rather than a "snobby delivery of facts"!

Now I want a cappuccino!

Tiziana said...

Semplicemente meravigliosa!!!
Semplicemente perfetta sotto ogni punto di vista come Mary Poppins.
Questi poveri baristi quante cose devono ancora imparare.

GrandmaK said...

I love it!!! I bet she'll think twice before she asks that again? Well done! Cathy

:o) mg said...

it's the froth.... and thanks for rubbing in the fact that I specifically gave up Starbucks Venti "Breves" for Lent. (lol)
It's ok... I figure when I crave one and "I can almost taste it" then it's almost as if I've had one.

E said...

And the froth adds a tactile element with which steamed milk cannot compare.
This Bia was a wonderful answer. You are surely no coffee snob. You are this as in everything
Nice to see you again