Maxwell House. I remember opening the can in my mom’s house in Manhattan Beach Brooklyn while staring at morning Bugs Bunny cartoons on the black and white television screen. Turning the wings of a can opener on the edge of the thin round can top. The sound of swoosh and the smell of escaping coffee vapor mixed with the salty air from the Atlantic Ocean’s edge. I was hooked then and thought it was the best coffee in the world. Much better than other vacuum packed can varieties from the supermarket. The instant stuff was undrinkable to me even then. Milk and sugar made mocha heaven in a fresh cup of percolated brewed coffee. My journeys in life continued and always began with a cup of joe no matter how early or late I got myself up and out. I began moving on to the heavy stuff with espresso and a fresh canoli at neighborhood and fancy Italian restaurants. Sometime in the 80s and 90s there began huge varieties of gourmet ice cream and coffees. My God, a drunkards dream!
It was around then I moved to cappuccinos, and finally to my mind, the perfect coffee concoction when made to standard, the latte. The latte was a perfect combination of coffee strength, steamed cream to smooth the coming edge, heavenly taste, and art. The artist required training to perfect his or her art and to obtain the respect of the title of “Barista.” It is now clear that just owning and using the required machinery was not even close to adequate. The selection of the world’s darkest yet most flavorful coffee. Creation of the espresso liquid with its velvety top layer followed by careful steaming of its dairy counterbalance. Then, finally the union. Careful pouring of ever thickening steamed froth into the dark rich velvet ending with a cafe background to a tan-white colored creation. Heaven to the tongue and taste buds.
Upon coming across the chosen Barista I would ever return. Carefully watching the detail of his or her task. Always meticulously cleaning the steam wand and portafilter between drinks. Is it then so hard to understand why lattes made by reputable national gourmet chains are undrinkable in airports? Undrinkable even to instant coffee drinkers. No it’s not hard at all.
You may enjoy the finest coffees and teas at the Pawling Trading Co in the Village of Pawling. Make sure to check out our new online store at www.pawlingtradingco.com