Hey everyone! Kyle Abbott here! First time writing non-shamisen related things in many years. Much gratitude to my espresso/screamer buddy CJ (I.e, Coffee-Jesus/James) for inviting me to contribute to his CoffeeSite. Hopefully this will be semi-interesting. This story will be of my entrance into the wonderful and flavor-filled world of espresso.
When I turned 19, my dad realized that my brother and I had yet to complete our initiation into manhood. Sure, we drank tequila so half of our initiation was complete. But the other half? “You boys need drink espresso, or at least try it.” said my dad. (this was back when we pronounced it, “eXpresso”) So, on a rainy Sunday, we donned our ponchos and walked downtown to hit the espresso bars (Why *aren’t* they called bars, anyway?). First stop, Pete’s Coffee! Papa (our dad) ordered ‘em up while we cringed in the corner. He brought out an ounce cup filled with about a very short shot of espresso. “Is this for all of us?” asked my brother. “Nooooo” said my dad, “you gotta have a whole one yourself!” Down the hatch it went. Whoa, vile stuff! (Little did I know that I would later realize it was the Nectar of Gods) We intended to hit every coffee shop downtown (“as long as we got a pastry at each one” – my rule), but Starbucks told us to leave almost as soon as we opened the door (shoes were required for “sanitary reasons” because bare feet are… dirtier than the soles of shoes?), so we went home.
Oh, I forgot to say that we made a video blog of that day, so you didn’t have to read that. My bad.
Over the months, I decided to continue pushing myself to drink coffee, starting by weening myself with sweet instant cappuccino mix. A few months later, Papa ordered a moka pot and whirly blade grinder, as he got inspired to drink coffee again. (He liked black coffee, but didn’t drink it regularly) I decided to take it up a notch and join him. Drinking it took willpower, let me tell you, but we got a bucket of biscotti from Costco which softened the bitterness. Upon retrospect, we were getting super-dark beans, so it was more extreme than needed to be. (The Abbotts don’t pussy-foot around.)
Soon after, I was able to enjoy dark-as-my-soul moka espresso. You could say I was in a state of ignorant bliss. The only time I had a shot of espresso was in our initiation, and I had erased that memory from my brain. So I thought that my daily cup (8oz) of moka espresso was the real deal. I was a happy puppy. If things stayed this way, I probably woulda been happy and content for the rest of my life. However, one day I went to Lulu Carpenters and ordered an espresso. Surprised I was that there was only a few tablespoons in the cup! And even more surprised when the sticky, crema topped ambrosia touched my lips. Delicious it was, but wasn’t expecting the intensity. The next thing I thought was, “Dude! Why doesn’t my espresso at home have crema??” That thought was both a gift and a curse. From here on, I was no longer content with moka pot espresso. But in the positive light, this was the start of my eyes opening to the virtually limitless possibilities of flavors that could come from a coffee bean.
My journey has begun.
*drops the mic*