There is a cafe not far
from where I live - I often pass by as I walk to or from my office
, but almost never stop in. They are open from 6PM to Midnight, which isn't terribly convenient if you want a cup of coffee in the morning. But the owner is known for his hot chocolate, and for attempting to make the World's Strongest Espresso shot
I actually had one of those once, and not entirely on purpose. It was a Saturday afternoon, and we'd just finished walking down through the 9th Street Market
, and were headed home. I needed something to perk me up for the afternoon, and we stopped in for a cup of coffee.
"How about an espresso," René asked, "it's really good, I make it wonderfully."
"Sure," I said. I was in a rush, anything would do.
René then proceeded to run water through the espresso machine to clear it out - about 23 gallons of steaming hot water. "Most people don't bother to clean the machine but once a day, and you have to clean it every single time
or the coffee will be horrible." He started tapping out freshly ground coffee into the filter - I'm sure I heard that handle snap 12 or 13 times. Every third or fourth snap he tamped the grounds down, and then snapped the filter into the machine and began pumping water through it.
What came out was impossibly thick, almost syrupy, and topped with an almost-solidified crema. I downed it in two quick sips, paid my $6, and left.
My family, who had gone in with me, and left a few minutes earlier (the kids were antsy) and I jogged to catch up with them. About 5 strides in, I noticed the strangest thing: my feet weren't actually touching the ground any more. I was coasting down the sidewalk, about 4 inches above the concrete, the air in my wake swirling under the hot summer sun.
When I caught up with my family, my wife reminded me that the kids would need to nap when we got home.
"YeahIthinkthatsagreatideaIthinkImgoingtocleantheyardandmaybemakesomedinnerandpossiblystraightenoutthebasement," I replied.
"What's wrong with you," she asked.
"You're sweating. A lot. Are you sure you're ok?"
About an hour later I finally hit the ground. It was a soft landing, mostly, and the sweating had stopped. I'm pretty sure it took another 30 minutes before my heart stopped pounding.
René also makes a mean cup of hot chocolate, so I've heard. This recipe is partly inspired by that, but with no sugar it provides quite a different experience. Make this with a cup of mild coffee, or 14 shots of espresso, whichever you prefer.
- Add all ingredients to a blender or small, tightly-sealable water bottle
- Close lid securely, and shake/blend for 45-60 seconds (a little longer with water/tea than coffee.)
- Open carefully, pour into a mug and enjoy!