CoffeeBeer >> Double Shot Buzz >> Previous Coffee Columns >> Caffe Espresso
Recently I was walking down Barber Road when I noticed the cafe that was once Food Fusions had taken on yet another identity. It was difficult to tell what the place was called, and a visit to the URL posted outside, cafeology.com, produced only a retail coffee website, which is presumably the brand of coffee the cafe uses.
A couple of weeks later I passed by again and saw a man installing an intricately carved sign above the café announcing its name, Caffe Espresso. Although it's not exactly the most original name for a café, as the place is close to home I made plans to visit and see what it was all about.
It was a Wednesday morning when I stopped in. The space is very small, but the decor is very classy, with cushy backed stools at the window, a cushy brown sofa next to a tiny table, and four big luxurious chairs grouped around a table, all perched on a pleasantly rustic floor. In other words, the atmosphere was definitely comfy and cosy, in the slightly cramped sense of the word.
I sat at the window with a view of terrace houses across the road. Nearly all of them had To Let signs out front. I'm assuming they were mostly student houses, as they tend to be around these parts.
The barista was very nice and obviously wanted to give me a good experience. Unfortunately I forgot to say "and no chocolate" when I ordered my double cappuccino, as the first one arrived covered with chocolate. When he noticed my dismay he immediately took it away and made me a chocolate-free cappuccino. It's sad in the UK that you always have to specify No Chocolate with cappuccinos. You certainly wouldn't run into this situation in Seattle or San Francisco. I would assume the Pacific Coast barista's response would be "Chocolate? Oh, sorry, I didn't realise you wanted a mocha." But then things may have changed for the worst since I've been gone.
Anyway, back to my double cappuccino. It was served in a large café au lait cup filled to the brim with milk, so I should have allowed 45 minutes to drink it rather than the 15 I had allotted. And considering how extremely hot it was as well, perhaps an hour and a half would have been more appropriate. Because of the searing heat and the pint or so of milk I couldn't taste the coffee at all, which was disappointing as I was tired and was really looking forward to a caffeinated experience. After my coffee I was going to treat myself to a grilled haloumi wrap from Fanoush in town, but I realised I might be so full from the drink I'd have to forego lunch.
I now had a real dilemma. I knew I wouldn't be able to get through even half of this massive drink of hot milk, and yet I was the only customer and the barista was so sweet and eager to please. When I suddenly realised a bus was due around the corner in 5 minutes I jumped up and said, "Sorry, can I pay now? I didn't realise what time it is and I don't want to miss my bus!"
So my tender stomach was saved by the bell, and I did have plenty of room for my wrap, as well as a double macchiato afterwards at Caffe Nero, which is what I should have ordered in the first place at Caffe Espresso. At least I told the truth...
Speaking of lunch reminds me of a recent e-mail conversation with my Bay Area Friend:On NPR this morning I learned about a Venezuelan children's song for the season "Mi Burrito Sabanero". Somehow it never occurred to me that a burrito plays a role in the Nativity.