This plain-looking, unassuming cup of coffee HAS to be the best ounce of espresso I ever had.
I am not an educated barista, and my taste buds are not in the better of shapes, so how can I make such a sweeping assertion?
I am in the Guatemalan highlands, at the four-generations owned Dalton plantation where everything leads to my perfect espresso. Our guide, Roberto, should know… he has drunk four cups of coffee a day since he was four years old.
He explains that the beans have been hand-picked by women (I learn that they are better suited to the task than men because their hands have a preferable PH level) after growing under ideal conditions. The altitude is just right, the volcanic soil is nutritious and the plants are kept under trees brought from Australia and pruned to give 45% shade.
They must be very happy beans, and only perfect ones, also selected by hand, have gone into my beverage. I am awed to be in the presence of a Class 1 Specialty Grade cuppa, as per the Green Coffee Classification System.
Conscious of the great responsibility I have to enjoy this experience, I clean my palate with mineral water and shake the cup to release the the aroma. Then I take that first sip that will open my taste buds.
I stir the espresso to mix the oils and the sugars and take the second sip, the good one.
“Oh, wonderful moment!” I tell myself. Then I consider, after the ounce of liquid is gone: “It was probably the best espresso I will come across in my life. Besides, it was so good that now I’m spoiled for every subsequent coffee I will drink”.