Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Brew of the Day: Caffè de Gallina di Cacao

Before the advent of microprocessor modules and programmable machine parameters, Hot Beverage Dispensers were at first smiled upon as yet another example of Automated Convenience. It wasn’t soon after that the public collectively rolled its eyes when actually savoring the cardboard “coffee,” the feeble, tepid “cocoa” and the saliferous “chicken soup” the machines had to offer.

The problem, as they say in the industry, was flavour-buddies (a term that is nowhere near as pejorative as it should be). That is, the contamination and commingling of adjacent flavours. Though each commodity was housed in separate containers, they all made their way to the customer’s cup via the same Dispensing Duct. The inefficiency of Brewer Flush sequences only added to the taint of a disheartening Vend Cycle.

But today, with America’s Coffee Renaissance in full swing, vendors have reason to hope. The failures of yesterday can be the successes of tomorrow. All with the power of Marketing.

Just take advantage of the old machine’s default Beverage Configuration -- the flavour-buddy-ridden amalgamate fluid of coffee, chocolate and chicken soup -- and simply change the nomenclature to reflect the demands of today’s self-conscious coffee cognoscenti.

The Orville Corporation’s Marketing Division hosted an array of focus groups in order to distill a brand image for this product that would appeal to the broadest demographic. In this product line, brand names that rated high were:

• Capponeccino
• Dulce de Pollo Blend
• Suisse Hünchen Chocolat (”The Hunch”)
• Chiko-Choco-Chai (or the “Triple-C”) — for the Teen/Collegiate market

But the highest-scoring identity is one that appeals to the upscale niche markets, yet is also versatile enough in styling options (lo-fat, decaf, plus popular additives) that it is attractive to a wider market share.

So, vendors and coffee connoisseurs alike, raise your cups and take in the distinctive, pungent aroma of the bold, new, full-bodied flavour of...

Caffè de Gallina di Cacao

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

La Paz en Cuñamadera: El pedazo que falta

Corre un viento cálido y fuerte.
Una guitarra soñolienta: Bolero lento.
El nombre del niño es Pipo.

The boy wandered along the dusty arroyos and across the llanuras of Cuñamadera, a leather sack weighing upon his shoulder, along with the heavy August sky.

Every few minutes he would stop and gaze at the landscape around him.
Saguaros, high plains, scrub. A lone burro in the distance.
Pipo took in a long breath of the warm air, and from his sack drew a flat piece of slate, etched with the image of a shrouded woman.

Who was she?

Lupita, o Tonantzin? O Madre?

He could not say. All he could remember was a face in the corner shadows of an adobe bohío. Tears of one who had clutched to the storybook endings and knightly sunsets as promised by her abuela. Bitterness rising in the throat, the self-pity of fruitless perfection. He saw a sadness, but not without hope or promise.

That hope pushed Pipo and his mysterious devotion across the high llanos with the stony talisman securely in his satchel.

He roamed onward past a thicket of mesquite, a Gila woodpecker darting past him. Lost in thought with the image of the woman, Pipo startled when he noticed a burro standing but a few paces away. It was the same burro he had seen earlier from afar.

“Stubborn thing,” Pipo sniffed dismissively as he approached the animal. The silent burro watched him in the sun, heavy lashes blinking lazily with the odd swish of the tail.
“Beasts such as yourself can be much trouble, can’t you?” The boy stood watching, as if awaiting an answer. But the weathered burro simply blinked with a slight sway of its head.
“You are not one to complain, mi amigo,” Pipo exhaled, softly petting its mane.
Stubborn, perhaps, he thought... But still, these beasts did bear the thankless brunt of everyday toil. And did they not ask for very little in return?

Pipo looked off to the horizon, squinting through the arid breeze.

The etching of the woman in his satchel, and the gaze of the burro, both heavy upon his back. One soul, with the burden of expectations; the other, with the expectation of burdens.
Each life was missing a piece, and in Pipo’s eyes, this itself was a piece missing from his own life.

The boy wandered along the dusty arroyos and across the llanuras of Cuñamadera, two souls weighing upon his shoulder, along with the heavy August sky.

Corre un viento cálido y fuerte...

Inspirado por la admiración de Mateo hacia Panchita.