Mar 16, 2006

An Inverted Triangle

Kids are funny. Espresso is funny - to understand the funny espresso part you have to learn about the Inverted Triangle further down.

I just whipped up a batch of macaroni and cheese, with peas and beef hot dogs mixed in. While the three of us are enjoying the gourmet offering Evan looks at me and says “How old is Evan?” I respond with the starting to become repetitive “Two years old” then the funny part “How old is Evan’s macaroni?” honestly, who things of these things but kids. The age of macaroni, it could make for some sort of what is the meaning of life discussion - probably a spirited debate in Modern Anthropology 101.

Keegan is now on the threshold of standing/walking by himself. He is quite pleased to be standing up unsupported, wobbling like a drunken sailor. He typically gives a goofy grin, much like this one from last night.

This morning I pulled a couple of shots from a batch of Brazilian and Papua New Guinea I roasted 24 hours ago. The Fazenda Cachoiera is so nice even this soon after roasting. It has quickly jumped to the top choices of my single origin espresso. The organic PNG was also a nice shot, a bit wild, chocolate-y but still too early to tell what it is going to develop into a couple more days from now. This is a photo of the PNG shot just forming through the bottomless portafilter.

Here is a photo of the Brazilian pulled into a two ounce cup and measuring approx 1.25 ounces in volume. The crema still looks nice nearly a minute later.

On to “The Inverted Triangle”. I’m a guy who likes process. It is probably part of my nature but it was certainly reinforced during my 13 years in the military. Laying in the dirt in the pitch black of night at 0200hrs, fully dressed, maybe asleep and maybe not asleep, requires that you have your main weapon in an exact position, that your assault webbing is also in a particular spot and so is your rucksack. Your other weapons need to be in order and your night vision goggles/red filter flashlight/everything else is where it has to be. You know who is next to you and exactly where that is. You are aware of everything, always. Everything you do has a purpose and is driven by process. Sniping, well that’s just a different level of process, but its still process, executed at an excruciatingly detailed and typically stressful level. Everything, always. Yes, the military probably did reinforce my process-driven nature. Fortunately for me I now get to pick and choose what to throw process at. It takes a long time to develop the experience to understand why things need to be the way they are. Along the way you question the processes you are taught or you learned and develop your own ways to do things because they work for you, or at the very least you see some form of success feedback. Typically these “personal processes” aren’t too far from the time-proven methods that have been going on well before your time. I have found that generally each person at a high level of experience tends to try and recreate the wheel and typically finds out the wheel works just fine with maybe a little tweak for themselves. As a newbie in any given field I can always reflect on the lessons learned in the several careers I have moved through which at times started from square one in the knowledge base/skills set sense. After the military I always had the advantage of lessons learned and the experience of how process can work to your advantage. Generally I make out ok with whatever I put my mind to; I guess all those hard lessons learned help out some. The old saying “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” might apply, that could very well make me the strongest man on the block, haha. Whatever Shaun, what does that have to do with your recent ramblings regarding coffee? Thank you for asking but first a photo of beans about to meet their fate in a french press which will prove to be an excellent segue into the conclusion of my "Inverted Triangle" nonsense…

I enjoy the steps required in making great espresso. I also enjoy the process behind a great french press. Not that I am pronouncing I do either magnificently, I just try to make them great. A quick mental count and there are well over 20 small parts to pouring a coffee out of the french press. I am now quite particular during the process behind a french press (and most other things I suppose). One of the later parts to the press would be to pre-heat the mug with boiled water prior to pouring the pressed coffee into the mug. Imagine having the first sip of a freshly roasted El Salvador Santa Rita and wondering what hell, what went wrong??? An instant assessment pointed the ugly finger at… oops I forgot to throw the pre-heat hot water out of the mug before I poured the pressed coffee in. Lesson learned, probably won’t do that again for a long time. But that simple oversight got me thinking about how new I am to “being coffee” how far I have come in a short period of time and how much more there is to learn. The moment frozen in time of “oops, didn’t pour out the pre-heat water” created a massive flash of understanding/recollection. I know less about coffee now, than I did a year ago when I thought I understood coffee. More introspection made me reflect on those other careers where I have had some semblance of success and where I have also thought the exact same thing “I now know less that I thought I did a year ago.” Coffee or anything for that matter is like moving up an inverted triangle; the further you progress the more that lays before you. I suppose that’s a good thing.


Chris said...

I really enjoyed this post. I have enormous respect for the discipline required to be a sniper (even if I'm not totally keen on what is considered a positive outcome in that line of work if you know what I mean...). Came over from CG from GCBC. Keep up the good work.

Shaun Taylor said...

Glad you enjoyed it Chris. And I also agree with you on the outcome part. I'm sure I will bump into you at GCBC. Regards.