This post is so crazy I can hardly wait to see how I am going to write the ending up. Honestly its kooky, so bear with me and don't skip all the train stuff just to see the kooky stuff near the finish. Trains have feelings too.

Doreen delayed going in to work this morning so she could hang with the boys, she was at her sisters stagette in Banff on the weekend and didn't get to see much of them. I figured I would get a couple of cool photos of her and the boys goofing, as soon as the camera came out, Evan and Keegan swarmed me. When Doreen pulled out the train, Evan was in full-on train mode. In this photo, I'm not sure who is more fascinated with the train.

I thought I would join the train-fun by putting Doreen's americano puck in the rear car, apparently that wasn't fun, that is where the wolf belongs dad! So to demonstrate that espresso pucks can go anywhere I grabbed a pineapple (with associated pineapple balance it on your head antics) and carefully placed the puck in the top leaves. As you can see in the background, Evan gave this some consideration.

I pulled an assortment of espresso this morning. This one is the Brazilian BECCOR lot 152 Cafezinho pulped natural Cerrado. I roasted it up over 48hrs ago. I'm still getting used to the roast on the Hottop and I'm finding I have had to shift my grinding to a much coarser setting as compared to the grind I was using on the now defunct iroast2. I have my own theory on this, it is overly long and probably boring for most but suffice to say it involves a better quality roast from the new roaster; an even internal to external roast and consistent from bean to bean. I believe the Hottop is creating more "oil per weighed gram" better solubles essentially than the iroast2, therefore it requires a coarser grind. This photo shows my second attempt with this Brazilian, the first shot choked out my Brewtus II. Even with a good correction towards coarser you can see I got a ristretto at an ounce and approx 40 seconds. The espresso was really good but intense, more intense than I am used to in a Brazilian. I would take that shot again, but would have preferred a gram less and a touch more coarse. The Hottop has really allowed the beans to start showing off their qualities and it will take a few more days to adjust my baseline understanding of grind, dose and time for ristretto and regular shots. I suspect by the weekend I will have a pretty good handle on the interplay between new roaster, the grinder and the espresso machine. Pre-Hottop my shots were pretty good I think, now I can see how things are going to get better. The Brazilan Villa Borghesi/Yemen Ismaili Hirazi/Aged Timor Maubesse/India Mysore Nugget blend I roasted up five days ago is stellar compared to the same batch I whipped up on the iroast2!!! Change is good in this case.

Now we are heading for the kooky stuff, someone is going to want to sell the "Alien" on eBay, haha (don't read ahead, savour the anticipation). These are my latest attempts at latte art, I now understand the correct consistency for latte art and things should improve more rapidly from here. Latte art milk is tasty, for sure, but I think I prefer more microfoam in my milky drinks, more cappuccino style; I prefer the mouthfeel of cappa's. I never used to be interested in latte art so why is it that I rate my milk pours based on this aesthetic now? No idea... but for now I'm stuck trying to do "fancy art". Anyway these are from tonight's and last night's decaf's.

Here's the last latte art photo, (just before unveiling the "Alien") it's from this morning and obviously it was good to the last Beccor Lot 152 drop. OK, you have all been very patient. The last photo is from last night's decaf latte art adventure. You have to stare at it for at least 10 seconds and find a nose, mouth and eyes. Obviously, this latte art is a message from outer space, I'm not sure which quadrant but I'm sure there will be more messages. I don't know what kind of alien this is, perhaps it was just a formal introduction to let us know they are out there. We didn't communicate, but I managed to grab the camera as he/she/it started to fade into the milk. They will be back, and next time I will be quicker with the camera and I will for sure ask he/she/it what quadrant they are from.