A lack of direction

May 29th, 2005

I feel a little lacking at the moment. My hunger for more knowledge increases but I don’t know what or why I want to learn things.

It seems that in some areas (for now) I’ve hit a brick wall. I rarely get to hang out with people like Fritz Storm or any of the other baristas who actively push me forward and are unashamed to let me know when I am messing up. I worry that it’s hard to push my technique forward.

Even more annoying are the days where you work so hard technically but you know what will end up in the cup is just filth as I have to work with some truly terrible coffee. Is it perverse pride or is it just good practise?

As for the science – its pretty typical: the more I learn the less I know. The guys at Illy seem very interested in getting me out on a course, but I just can’t afford it and it seems unlikely work would be willing to foot the bill.
My understanding of what is going on is always going to be limited by how far those with geniune scientific skills have taken their research. The don’t truly understand the formation of crema, it’s stability, it’s content even – so it seems unlikely that I will be able to.
Experiments with Xanthan, Versawhip, methyl-cellulose and others haven’t given results I wanted, but it will be interesting to see what the experiments at the Fat Duck throw out.

In other thoughts – spices are fascinating to me. Wattle seed in particular offers some interest in its flavour profile – all caramel, coffee and roasty notes. How I use it and what I combine it with should be interesting. Don’t like the amount of tax I have to pay to get it through customs though!

Finally I am trying to put together something useful in a course on tasting, flavour and gustation. In the library today to get stuck into a few dulls texts, but hopefully they should yield something of interest.

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