The God Shot
Meg skips up to the counter at the coffeehouse, her gentle smile in full bloom.
“I’m taking the afternoon off for some me-time in the garden. Then I’m going to write the report I have to write for the craft school tonight. Crappy report.” She crinkles her petite nose slightly, raising her always blushed cheeks and furrowing her brow. But her frown only lasts a moment across the pale silk of her easy face. Meg is a local art teacher and one of the finest women to work with children that I know. She teaches all ages in all types of learning environments and she teaches patiently, with spiritual integrity and faith in the grace of children. “But you know why I came here today Katey, right?”
“Oh yes,” I smile back at her. We’ve been discussing this for weeks and today Meg has finally come to experience –
“The God Shot,” we say in surprising unison.
“Tell me what you’re doing while you’re doing it, tell me what makes it so good,” Meg says leaning over the counter. Robin walks in the door, my faithful americano (or chai if it’s cold out) customer; tweed in the winter time, cotton in spring, occasionally even shorts in the summer, always a smile.
“Whatcha lookin’ at?” Robin leans over the counter too, each of them perched eagerly in the direction of Flo(w), our LaCimbali espresso machine.
“It’s God Shot Robin, Katey’s making me a God Shot. Or maybe I should say Goddess.”
“Ok Meg, so I tamp at ninety degrees at my wrist with thirty pounds of pressure, see?”
“Wait, wait, wait, what are you doing?” Robin begs to be in on this. He is, after all, expertly opinionated about his beverages.
“It’s the perfect shot. She’s going to try and extract a perfect shot. Robin, you don’t understand, our barista here has pictures of espresso shots on the screen saver for her computer. She loves it,” Meg explains. By now I am beaming, envisioning a golden crown of shining, oily espresso beans a top my head, a queen’s dress the color of crème that flows lightly like steamed milk.
“And then you watch as it is extracted. What you’re going for is a thin line of espresso about the width of a mouse’s tail,” I conclude. We all lean down with our faces near the Flo(w), shifting around the group head to see the stream of espresso from different angles. “And the crème, it should be the color of – “
“Hazelnut,” Robin says looking at the finished shot. This man, in charge of imagery and publications for the school, knows his color schemes. Clearly he also knows his espresso because he is exactly right.
“Yeah, but ideally without any splotches,” I say, indicating that that’s the hard part.
“Oh my God!” Meg says, “Ohmigod. Wow. Yes. This is soooo good.”
“I want one of those too,” chimes Robin but before he finishes his order I am already working the tamper into the palm of my hand anticipating his request. Once he is served I pull a shot for myself and we all stand at the counter oohing and ahhing.
“How do you drink it though, I mean – what do you recommend?” Robin asks.
“I like to stick the tip of my pinky into the crème and just taste that part first. Or, if you have a sugar cube, you can just hold it to the tip of the shot and the espresso will draw up through the cube and you can suck on it before drinking the rest of your shot.”
We continue to hover around the counter, now in complete silence, sipping our God Shots and occasionally sighing to ourselves with inebriated satisfaction. A perfect day, a perfect shot, the perfect customers, the perfect job.