October 16, 2012

Soy Foam at the Mountain Top

It's amazing how mundane an ultra feels, while you're doing it. It really is as simple as one step after another, an exercise in mental as much as physical endurance. And when it's done, that's it. You return to your life, and find it unchanged. The person who rings up your gas at the Kwik Shop still doesn't smile, and that customer still wants a non-soy/dairy milk. You limp a bit, but mostly hope people don't ask why, because the whole thing can be a chore to explain. "Yes, it's far. And yes, people run it. No I can't really tell you why, other than because. Sometimes you just do things."

But there is comfort in that sameness, in the routine. It helps, of course, that I rather like mine. Monday came, as it does, and Tuesday after it. People came and bought their usual drinks, and we talked about the usual things. It was, despite the sameness, not mundane; and it never really is.

I trained another person, as is happening a lot lately. The owner of my shop is opening up another, and it largely falls on me to bring the would-be-baristas up to speed.

I made, probably, my best triple rosetta. Perhaps this has to do with the above, as explaining my milk texturing and pouring has a way of focusing my efforts. No matter how good you are, you're better when you really dial things in.

And I made the best dry soy cappuccino in the history of Earth. Really. Allegedly, there are shops who will tell you this cannot be done. They are either lying, or wrong. Maybe they can't meet the challenge, or perhaps it's too daunting to attempt. But I've climbed that mountain, tasted the air, and it's real. Let me tell you, it's real. The dry soy cappuccino can happen, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

In summation, I feel more proud of my ability to stretch soy milk than my ability to traverse 50 miles somewhat quickly. Weird.


  1. You lost me at the end. ;)

    Though your comments about life unchanged resonated with me. I always experience a bit of "culture shock" when I return from an amazing race I've been training for over months and months, enter my normal coffee shop and people treat me like I did nothing more than wake up and come to get coffee. From one angle it feels demoralizing, but from another it feels like the greatest secret ever.

    Like, I just did something so amazing that you will never be able to comprehend, "I'll have an americano please." And that's that.

    Then I also wonder what amazing things others have accomplished that morning of which I'm completely unaware.

    Anyways, I've also enjoyed creating solid froth from soy. :)

    1. That's good perspective. I have a lot of customers who, though I see them every day, I know little to nothing about what they do. Maybe some of it's pretty epic. I've found that, at the very least, people tend to have one or two interesting things about them, if you take the time to investigate.

  2. I don't actually know what a dry soy cappuccino is but it doesn't matter. I *totally* know what you mean. It's like how I feel more proud when I manage to convince my 4 year old to eat his brussels sprouts than when I achieve the perfect pie crust. Nobody can explain why or when or where we will feel that sense of pride. Great post!

    1. Lol. Thanks. A dry capp is composed of almost all foam, so you have to stretch the milk really hard. The challenge is in doing this while maintaining decent texture. This is especially hard with soy, but I'm getting pretty good at it. Oh, and good work with the brussels sprouts. I love them.