Until today, I had not tried a shot of espresso. That may seem odd, since I brew espresso shots all day long at HeBrews. Oh, I have taken daily sips so I could compare each day’s grind. But, I never get past 2 or 3 sips before I turn it into a flavored latte or a simple Americano. Even though it smells divine, the desire to drink the entire shot has always escaped me.
That is, until yesterday. And what, you might ask, changed my mind? Well, if you know me at all, you know that cookies are my favorite food group, and my favorite thing is to eat them fresh out of the oven. Sometimes while they are still on the spatula. I know it’s an unhealthy obsession, but it’s an obsession I’ve come to terms with. I don’t just love to eat cookies. I love to make them for other people. I want everyone to love cookies as much as I do. Probably an impossibility, but you’ve got to have goals in life!
Okay, small rabbit trail, but it pertains to the espresso lesson. So yesterday, one of our regular customers ordered a double shot of espresso. He’s a local police officer who shared with us the first week we opened that he has roasted coffee beans in his basement in the past. Roasted so many in fact that the essence of coffee was literally embedded in him and the whole house! He knows coffee. After placing his order, he told us how he began drinking espresso. A simple thing really. He paired the espresso with a double chocolate cookie. He paired the two over time until one day, he skipped the cookie and drank the espresso solo. Surprisingly, it tasted good on its own. The cookie crutch was gone. (Makes me tear up just thinking about it.)
After drying my eyes, I had to admit my curiosity was piqued. Could I do it too? I knew I could handle the double chocolate cookie on its own, or with a vanilla latte, but could I become an espresso drinker if I tried his combination? It just so happened that I had some double chocolate cookies in the freezer, so I popped them in the oven this morning, determined to give it a try.
Twenty minutes later, the cookies were cool, so I brewed myself a shot of espresso. To set the mood, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and stilled my racing mind. Ready. Set. Go. One bite of cookie, a sip of espresso. Immediately, my senses come alive with the aroma of espresso filling my nose. Not too bad. A second bite, another sip. After a few bites and sips, my taste buds get accustomed to what’s going on and they like it! And why not? One part rich, chocolaty cookie with melted bittersweet chocolate chip swirling around with–a surprise to the equation–one part espresso. The verdict? One bite double chocolate cookie + one sip espresso = a happy dance in my mouth.
As the saying goes, a spoonful of sugar (i.e., double chocolate cookie) helps the medicine (i.e., espresso) go down! And maybe one day I will, like the police officer, be able to ditch the cookie and drink a shot of espresso “solo.” Although, I learned something else today. This morning the officer came in and ordered a double shot of espresso. While he wasn’t looking, I set one of the double chocolate cookies next to his espresso. Just to see what he would do. Would he drink the espresso alone or pair it with the cookie? I couldn’t resist telling him that I had tried his combination–and actually liked it! Needless to say, he gratefully accepted and enjoyed the cookie along with his espresso.
So what lesson have I learned? Today’s experience tells me that over time I can learn to enjoy a shot of espresso on its own. BUT I also learned that at my discretion, I can choose to enjoy a shot of espresso WITH a double chocolate cookie. Now that’s a lesson I can live with. Let the happy dance begin.