Sense and cents abilities

I'm embarrassed: I've let days—nay, weeks!—slip by with nary a peep regarding coffee.

In fact I'm actually a little bit tired: I'm working a lot and pitching journalistic stories left and right (no bites yet, but keep your little caffeinated fingers crossed) and it's summer and all I want to do is enjoy an alternating schedule of going to the gym and jogging to Tasti D-Lite.

I haven't even had a decent cup of coffee in weeks: My home-to-work-to-home trajectory brings me past no fewer than two Dunkin Donuts and two Starbucks(es?), but no cool indie shops with anything resembling a decent macchiato. If only I could convince the higher-ups here that we need a Silvia for the kitchen...

But even without me there, life goes on at Joe: Both the Waverly and 13th St stores just got beautiful, shiny, new, bumblebee-quiet Mazzer Roburs. At long last!

Thank you for the photo for which I didn't ask permission, Espresso Parts!

It's easy to get envious of the equipment that other shops have (GB5s, for instance—oh boy, what I wouldn't give to have one of those at my disposal), and to sometimes wonder why this kind of change can take so long.

But there are two halves to that equation: Always having the best and newest equipment means always shelling out fistfuls and fistfuls of dollars.

It's easy for me to get antsy about progress because they ain't my dollars to be shelling out, and of course it's easy for a business owner to get antsy when his top brass is constantly recommending this or that new, expensive thingamajig.

But, to paraphrase the poet Gusteau, as he says in the new documentary film Ratatouille: Anybody can make coffee.

Like I teach my in-home clients: If you know what you are doing, if you respect coffee and your sense of taste and your work, if you take the time to learn from your own mistakes, you will be amazed at the results you can achieve, even in a less-than-perfect world, on less-than-perfect machinery.

When I got frustrated that the Mazzer Majors were overheating under the crush of our springtime rushes, I remembered that I can troubleshoot that situation—I know how to cheat, pamper and coax them back into working order, or at least to bypass the problem until there's a lull. I wouldn't have known how to solve that problem if I had never been faced with it—there's putting a positive spin on things, am I right?!

Rely on your personal resources if your mechanical ones aren't 100% superb. Compensating for imperfections is how we learn to make our jobs easier and our skills more sublime. If I can pull a great shot and pour beautiful latte art on a Francis Francis, then I sure as hell better be able to make a great-tasting and great-looking cup of coffee on a spunky if exhausted, four-year-old Linea, even if I do always have visions of GB5s dancing in my head.

Patience, little green beans. Progress comes in its own time, and at its own cost.

What a genius, that Gusteau!