That first sip – that gush of hot milk laced with subtle sweetness of sugar-in-the-raw and over a hundred bubbles exploding on your palate with pops of caffeine releasing the aroma of toasted coffee beans is one of the perfect way to start your morning on a busy professional day, or other wise.
And among millions of us caffeine fueled zombies, few coffee aficionados would mentally thank this formula that makes that freshly brewed mug taste so perfect for them –
‘work(w) is needed to increase the surface area(ΔA)’
The idiosyncrasies of coffee, be it mocha, cappuccino, latte or even machiatto all rests on that oh-so-lovable sheet of velvet generated by the above formula, the foam. Chefs of the modern era or to be specific, those going avant-garde are fond of this finely woven network of lamallae that are basically flavors and aromas trapped in an intricate design to elavate the regular dining experience to the elite. It is an expression of art, of passion and with the current trends in gastronomy many sauces and dishes are presented in the form of foams. To give birth to that foamed mayo or frothed milk, mating of Van Der Waals forces with the Marangoni Effect is initiated with various stabilizers like ISI cannisters, agar agar and what not…..BUT….
….these technicalities vanished for me when I woke up to a bright sunny morning, alarm clock in the snooze mode to find her standing in the kitchen, clad in loose pajamas that got to hug her warm legs, a bubble-gum pink tee snugly embracing her body, freshly washed hair smelling of ‘herbal essences’ trying to make my morning coffee just-the-way-i-like-it. I stared with a fond affectionate smile on my face watching her shake the cold milk (I love my morning coffee cold) in a boston shaker to get that thin sheet of foam over my first caffeine dose. At first, my chef instincts (a.k.a SES- Selective Eater Syndrome) kicked in igniting the desire to tell her that the angle of shaking is wrong and that the milk is not cold enough to stabilize the bubbles to form a thick froth, but the sensible lovable part of my brain, the one that can think apart from food, held me back; the latter was apparently winning the battle. She poured my glass and as she brought it to me I noticed her smile, the warmth it radiated complimented the twinkle in her eyes and instinctively I knew that my coffee was perfect, the foam was just right.
She waited expectantly, obviously waiting for me to comment and pick on something. I could find nothing.
The foam was there and so was love – It was little coffee dusted pockets of love, affection blended with care and sweetened with a smile. Her efforts to create that mug of coffee for a selective drinker like me was itself a stabilizing agent for the froth.
F or anyone it may have simply been a cup of coffee, for me it bespoke of her emotions; it was a symbolic expression of how much she cared for my feelings and how much those mattered to her.
As I sipped a weird sense of warmth spread over me that had got nothing to do with the caffeine flowing in my veins; stress of the day began to ebb away as I dissolved myself in her eyes and savored the coffee slowly. My otherwise hectic and chaotic day now seemed to be automatically under control as if things would naturally fall in place. She hadn’t just stabilized the foam, she had stabilized my day. She noticed me smiling, I gave her a tight hug as the humbled chef in me noted that it is love, pure love that is needed to stabilize everything –