Five Minutes in the Rush

It builds with the roar of the line. I’m presently minded as the coffees pile up, one after one, and the excitement of being busy takes hold.

Head down, I only look to the first few orders and their necessary additions. Always milk before espresso as the crema will disappear within a minute.

Skinny, full and soy make their appearance in the batch at hand and the customers assume their positions in front of the machine to wait for their hit.

I fill the stainless steel jug up to where the spout begins, three quarters full. When steamed, the milk will make three large cappuccinos, or one strong latte, two normal and a flat white.  I put paper cups underneath the pouring porta-filters.

Full fat milk, finished.

I bring down the espresso filled cups while starting to froth the skinny, same amount. It doesn’t take as long to steam, because the liquid is less dense from less fat. I pour the fat milk with my right hand; make drinks, whilst the left continues to foam.

Four coffees called out loud, the crowd of people shift as a few leave and some join in.

More cups going under the pourers, more getting tacked on to the end of line.  People are talking to me, I smile and nod and laugh inappropriately, while trying to fill a tiny jug of soy for the only outsider in the batch.

The skinnys are down, poured to the brim but no time for art; there’s a snake of empty cups waiting for the steam wand to turn them into something magical. I yell them out, one by one.  

The line shifts again.

And the lone soy coffee is finished with a heart, because I had an extra millisecond and my left hand was idle.

“Thank you, it looks magnificent.” The customer smiled.

I shoot back a toothless grin and everything stops as she reminds me that I’m giving someone something they’ll enjoy. The smile gets me through the next few empties.

I look back at the mass of cups and start to steam another jug of full.

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1 Response to “Five Minutes in the Rush”


  1. 1 David May 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    It is actually quite amusing watching the customers trying to figure out it the next latte is theirs. Sometimes, there is that little awkward step forward and step back when someone else beats them to it.

    I like my specific coffee. In most cases, I know it’s mine.


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