Thursday, February 25, 2010

I understand your rage, Mad Barista.

Whilst biking around West Philly on this pleasant, lightly flake-filled afternoon, I decided to stop at a neighborhood cafe and grab a quick doppio to inspire the rest of my afternoon endeavors. After waiting almost two minutes for the gloomy grump of a barista to step away from the dishes and hastily and half-heartedly dry their hands, I was already getting a little frustrated. After placing my order, the slumping grinch stepped up to a shoddy, grind-covered wee machine and pulled my shot, which was then left on the grill a good thirty seconds after extraction while she glowered suspiciously at a group of tween girls who had just entered the cafe. When she placed the cup on the counter, I was hoping for something that looked like this:

What I received instead looked something like this:

My excitement over what I had hoped would be a tasty afternoon treat waned further as I put the paper to my lip and immediately realized that the liquid therein was mouth-scorchingly hot, and not at the pleasant temperature I was accustomed to when consuming my daily shots at Capogiro. I waited until the espresso had cooled enough to no longer render my mouth as shredded as half a box of Cap'n Crunch might, dropped my crummy little cup in the trash (zut alors! what a waste!) and walked out feeling a mite bit grumpy myself.

As a laborer in food service establishments for nigh-on ten years, and as a coffee connoisseur of fifteen years, my appreciation for the standards that we at Capogrio maintain grows daily. When I pour a perfect rosetta in a cappuccino and the customer, who might have never though twice about the drink she was about to consume otherwise, makes a glowing comment about how beautiful it looks, I do indeed feel a sense of pride. My smile widens as our kitchen staff brings out pan after glorious pan of gelato every morning, and getting that first little nibble of blood orange sorbetto is always a highlight of the morning. When Jason carefully hand assembles each plate of crostini, layering the prosciutto atop a fine layer of mascarpone, you know the assemblage is one of love. I am hard pressed to imagine a finer end of the night drink than one of our carefully selected (universally, uniquely delicious) draught beers.

As someone planning on working with food and drink for the rest of my days, the attention and love that everyone here gives to our work is a daily inspiration. It makes me feel good to let people know that I work at Capogiro. It feels wonderful to be the smiling face presenting you with a perfectly sculpted latte (with espresso at a proper heat, pulled from our gleaming Adonis of a machine) and a fine Au Fournil pain au chocolat, toasted ever so subtly. Sharing excellent experiences of flavor and presentation is really what cafes and bars should be about, and Capogrio is a gleaming example of that ideal.

See you at the bar for a Smuttynose IPA, perhaps, Mad Barista? The first round is on me.

And don't laugh; his name really is Adonis!


  1. Great post, tvr! Thanks for your dedication to our craft :)

  2. i always like to slap the paper cup full of crap out of their hands and in my best nacho libre voice yell, "Get that corn outta my face!" except i don't say corn... you get it. so glad you are a capogirista!

  3. and after a few pints of Smuttynose, Adonis really does get all swirly like that. It's neat!